Monday, August 22, 2011

Latest obesity paradox...

Just took a break from reading about the destruction of the carbohydrate hypothesis when this scandalous tidbit popped up:

I might have ignored it (it's from the days when the USA was not quite so gravitationally challenged) and just had a private giggle until another, more current, view of American Cuisine from the outside popped up through Stan's site link to Gonzalo Lira.

It just goes to show that high reward food does not have to taste of anything, or perhaps obese people should stop eating their cardboard menus and limit themselves to the Food-shaped-product on their plates to simply lose all interest in eating....

Problem solved.



Anonymous said...

Having not long returned from the Ancestral Health Symposium in Los Angeles, I can concur, compared to my regular paleo cuisine here in New Zealand, the many of the meals consumed in LA were incredibly bland... bland ground beef... bland bacon... bland vegetables... and don't get me started on the coffee. The exception being the breaded and fried brains, sweetbreads, and pigs ears at Animal (a place you wouldn't have eaten at every day). I can well see that much of the food there would require copious amounts of HFCS-enriched Ketchup to gain any amount of palatability.

blogblog said...

Animals simply eat until they obtain all the nutrients they need in the correct quantities then promptly stop eating.

It is almost impossible to eat a large quantity of liver because it is so high in nutrients.

However highly refined foods are practically devoid of nutrients. The body consumes vast quantities of calories in an effort to obtain the non-existent micronutrients. The result is simultaneous malnutrition and obesity.

Fried lambs brains are wonderful!

Kindke said...

However highly refined foods are practically devoid of nutrients. The body consumes vast quantities of calories in an effort to obtain the non-existent micronutrients. The result is simultaneous malnutrition and obesity

blogblog I dont know if you had seen my comments on guyenet's blog but after I saw this study I also came to the exact same conclusion. I think that study also provides a good basis for the phenomenon of acquired taste.

Basically, if you "like" something, it is because your brain has already decided that it wants it.

I tried to explain this on guyenet's blog

We consume food because it tastes good <-- that is backwards

Food tastes good because our brain wants us to consume it <-- that is the correct way around.

Aravind said...

Hello Peter,

Regarding your comment - "It just goes to show that high reward food does not have to taste of anything".

From the following post from Stephan -

"After reading comments on my recent posts, I realized I need to do a better job of defining the term "food reward". I'm going to take a moment to do that here. Reward is a psychology term with a specific definition: "a process that reinforces behavior" (1). Rewarding food is not the same thing as food that tastes good, although they often occur together.

Food reward is the process by which eating specific foods reinforces behaviors that favor the acquisition and consumption of the food in question. You could also call rewarding food "reinforcing" or "habit-forming", although not necessarily in an addictive sense. Food reward is a perfectly normal and healthy part of life, although I believe it can be harmful if it exceeds the bounds of what we're adapted to. Food reward is essential for survival in a natural environment, because it teaches you what to eat and how to get it through a trial-and-error process."

To wit - first time you drink beer, it probably tastes like crap. But you push through and eventually find beer rewarding because of other factors and might eventually actually like the taste the originally was disliked. There are clearly counter examples and I am aware of this :-)

I think the definitional problem of "reward" vis-a-vis "palatability" is confounding the understanding of the Food Reward series with many. This is NOT to suggest that even with this distinction that everyone is on board with theory. I personally find it compelling, but to each their own.


karl said...

I've also heard Americans complain about British food ( "everything is boiled and bland" "There are no British restaurants for a reason" "Better to eat Scottish (McDonalds) than British").

Having changed my diet, some years ago now, I've been surprised how my tastes for food have also changed. The times when I have accidentally gotten a bit of sweet food - my reaction is it is over sweet to an extreme.

Food reward has been made a topic by Stephan Guyenet, but I find his arguments are not convincing - Taubs pretty much accused him of cherry picking studies. I find it strange that Stephan ignores food precursors to neurotransmitters.

I think Stephan is on the wrong track - this has been studied before. He fails to site any studies by Dr. Wurtman which shows that carbohydrates increase seritonin - (later studies show that if the levels are increased, the post synaptic receptors down regulate - thus a withdrawal syndrome.) It appears he is ignoring the effect of BG on appetite.

There are also foods that increase, by their texture stimulating the mouth, a release of dopamine (corn/potato chips). Chocolate also effects the brain.

But the big story is that there is an epidemic of metabolic disease - and I think it is in part a seritonin addiction that might take weeks of low-carb dieting to re-regulate the receptors. Neural interconnections may take longer yet to correct.

We never evolved to eat high-carb diets..

There is another effect of eating fats for me - low LDL causes anxiety - I can not tolerate Niacin nor statins when they lower LDL below 100 - I'm wondering if others have had the same reaction - perhaps to a lessor degree?

David Moss said...

Wow, American food back then must have been really something to count as flavourless even by British standards! (And I say this as a Brit).

Are you sure it's not because liver is very lean protein with an odd (for most people, straightforwardly unpalatable) taste? I don't find that the amount of liver I can eat varies with my micronutrient status. I can eat more or less the same amount in a given day/serving, whereas micronutrition is obviously a long term thing.

allison said...

Americans tend to eat a lot of processed food, which does all taste the same. However, the US also sports some excellent cuisine, influenced by region. Great Britain, on the other hand (and Scotland in particular), may very well have the worst cuisine on the planet. I ate haggis once on a dare and found it palatable, but I was inebriated at the time.

Dave Tate said...


Have you seen the gnolls series on obesity? I have not read the whole series yet - it's long - but the data that shows the mitochondria of the obese burn burn less carbohydrate/glucose than others. I personally like this explanation better than food reward just because food reward sounds more psychological than biological. The science just seems stronger.

I agree a bit with you on liver and feel the same way about heart. I eat organ meats regularly but never feel the desire to overeat. I had a piece of liver for lunch but when I was still hungry I didn't cook more liver, I just popped open a can of sardines.

Alex said...

could there be anything more subjective than bland , many people I know think anything without copious amounts of hot sauce is bland. does hot sauce make us fat?

Owen said...

Kindke, very good point (and study as well.) There is a short TED video by Dan Dennett where he talks about that inversion in relation to sweetness and sugar/glucose, and the first time I heard him put it that way ("Honey is sweet because we like it...") it sort of blew my mind as being so obvious that I had to wonder how I had never thought of it that way before!?

This is the one:

(Food part starts around 2:30)

As an interesting anecdote: I recently started taking zinc picolinate as a supplement for among other reasons that I hoped it would stimulate my appetite and allow me to put on some weight. I'm 5'7" and have always had a hard time cracking 130 lbs, whether eating more towards Optimal diet ratios or an attempt with an SCD diet that was high-fat and also high-fruit sugar or even a high-fat/high-sugar/high-starch all at once diet (once referred to as the HED around here, hehe...)

Anyway there is some data out there of low-zinc levels relating to reduced appetite (with anorexia being one of the extreme end-points), so my hope was to see if it changed my eating habits in such a way that I wouldn't want to skip meals as often or maybe just consume more calories during a meal as well as possibly put on muscle easier, etc.

Maybe one month is too soon to comment on the above, but what is obvious so far is that taking 50mg a day has destroyed any sugar cravings I still had. Things that used to taste great to me like Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream have suddenly become a bit unappealing on both an empty or full stomach. My main dessert these days is homemade blueberry crumble made with very tart, wild frozen blueberries and lots of butter, and using like 1/4 the sugar of what any normal recipe would call for (and even still I imagine that the tartness is what is really allowing for the sugar to taste appetizing...)

Starch and salt still taste quite good to me though, as does dairy fat as always!

Makes me wonder what aspect of my neurobiology the zinc has altered in such a short time? Some pretty constant asthma I've had since childhood seems to be just about gone as well, so you never know... maybe lowered serotonin?

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry T, said...

Where and what is this reading material about the destruction of the carbohydrate hypothesis you mentioned in latest comment?


Larry T.

Stan Bleszynski said...

I like GL's take on this and other related subjects. He is one of the few reporters who noticed a creeping Sovietization of the Northern American life, including food.

Re: "Demolishing" the carbohydrate hypothesis by our paleo friends

Many of them are high carb eaters. It does have an effect on one's thinking and mood. This could be part of the difficulty in this debate. Hard to explain without being completely misunderstood. I think, it is not only about knowing data and mechanisms, it is also about experiencing it, and experimenting with the subject. It is very similar in physics: many can read papers, memorize data and calculate some formulae but very few make discoveries.
Stan (Heretic)

blogblog said...

Food hasn't got any intrinsic flavour whatsoever. Our bodies simply do a rough chemical analysis and assign a taste (and nutrient) profile to each food.

A cat doesn't consider bananas to be food and a cow doesn't consider a pork chop to be food. They are unable to utilise the nutrients effectively in these products so they don't eat them.

The probable reason why humans like sweet flavours is because wild fruit contains high levels of vitamin C. So we are actually seeking a vitamin C fix rather than a carbohydrate fix when eating sweet foods.

Modern processed foods fool our brains because the nutrition in them doesn't match the hard-wired evolutionary database we possess.

Our body assumes that pizza must contain high levels of fat soluble vitamins, essential fatty acids and minerals because fatty meat does. Our body assumes that Coca Cola must be high in vitamin C and flavinoids because it is sweet. So we eat these foods in huge quantities seeking nutrients which aren't present.

blogblog said...

I very rarely bother to read Stephan Guyenet's work. He is exceptionally arrogant with virtually no understanding of the scientific method. He invariably picks the handful of studies that agree with him and ignores the vast bulk that don't.

The Kitiva Studies are examples of extremely poorly conducted epidemiology.

ItsTheWooo said...

This latest craze/gimmick is especially frustrating. I think the most irritating part of it is just how regressive it is. Yea, this is where we started from, this is point A all over again, dummies. At least when I'm driving and get lost I have common sense enough to realize when I'm seeing the same landmarks all over again.

Gee, fat people eat a lot because fat people are always interested in eating food because their brain is sending a reinforcing signal to do so. Frigging duh. I mean, not only is it tautological, but this thing called "food reward" remains nebulous and undefined, sort of like the cry of a religious psychotic that "if it exists its because god made it". Did god make it? If it exists, he did. Show me evidence of god. Well, don't you see all this magical stuff around? What more evidence do you need? It spits in the face of all the real science out there.
Someone eating a lot of cereal 90 minutes on the nose? Food reward.
Someone get high from sugar, keep a stash of pez and licorice? Food reward again.
Someone tend to compulsively eat ice cream? Well, clearly a case of the food reward.

Guyenet claims my oh so hostile tone is the reason he had no choice but to delete my responses. I think he just didn't like the fact I pointed out his errors and didn't tithe to the god of his ego.

ItsTheWooo said...

@ kindke

"Food tastes good because our brain wants us to consume it <-- that is the correct way around."

ABoslutely, and I tried in a convoluted to explain this as well.

Taubes did it the first time in his book.

People enjoy food because their brain is telling them to eat. When your body no longer requires food, metabolically speaking, food becomes repulsive. Nauseating. Sometimes when I am deep in ketosis, actually, I eat a few carbs just so I don't feel so ill. The insulin increase will lower my fatty acids and ketones, increasing balance in my fat cell, which then reduces nausea/disgust of food. This appetite change is purely symptomatic of the cell level / endocrine change.

If I continue eating the carbs, lack of nausea turns into augmented appetite, turns into abnormally chronic hunger, with fat tissue expanding accordingly.

To say fat people are very rewarded from food, is stating the obvious. You have yet to describe WHY this increased motivation to feed seems to occur, and why the obese person does not eat like obesity resistant individuals (becoming full, nauseated, disinterested in food after eating a lot of calories/nutrients).

Yea, and people with asthma are very rewarded from breathing. They are clearly breathing-a-holics. They have a problem of excessive oxygen reward, maybe?

Increased eating in obesity is merely a symptom of pathological glucose metabolism, symptomatic hyperinsulinemia, which is causing a shift of metabolic processes favoring fat anabolism and suppressing catabolism. AT least, until diabetes sets in, then things fall in stasis and further obesity slows or arrests or even regresses if the diabetes is severe.

ItsTheWooo said...

But don't forget guys, as per Guyenet, hyperinsulinemia protects against obesity. SO I'm just crazy/misinformed.


blogblog said...

The taste mechanism is probably (almost) entirely hard-wired. Wild animals are very aware of the nutritional values of novel foods.

I have a large number of feral pigeons that feed in my backyard. They invariably choose the high protein (split peas), high fat (sunflower), high carbohydrate (maize) and low fibre seeds in that order from the bird seed I feed them. They also eat a varied selection and don't concentrate on a single food. In fact they taste and weigh each individual seed before either eating or discarding it. As city dwelling birds for many generations they have no prior experience of these natural foods (maize. sorghum, peas, sunflower seeds, millet etc). So the behaviour must be instinctive not learned.

ItsTheWooo said...

Being a high carb eater, while being an obesity resistant young man like most of these paleo ranters is expected. Thin people don't feel much of a need to restrict their carbs, because they are thin - why should they? They don't have any observable glucose metabolism dysfunction. No diabetes, no hypoglycemia, no obesity, nothing which obviously responds to glucose and/or insulin control. What's really clouding their thinking is ignorance. They aren't clinicians, they aren't obese people, they have ZERO input into this discussion. They criticize me for allowing n=1 to inform my ideas, when these dumb dumbs will often cite studies where n=8, and are listening to someone who can't even SAY his theories were successful in a n=1 experiment. Ironically, I have more input... at least my ideas were tested on at least one person, an very successful. LOL.

" It is very similar in physics: many can read papers, memorize data and calculate some formulae but very few make discoveries."

It's very depressing how rigid and uncreative their thinking actually is. It's like they are incapable of getting from point A to B unless the minutiae of the details is spelled out to them by someone else (who be incorrect but at least is original). They have no ability to problem solve, compare, contrast, see the big picture, etc. They compulsively read studies, collect opinions like an autistic child collects toy cars, and then regurgitate their findings with a bias toward ideas which are the most socially/politically fashionable at the time. Then, they retroactively draw from their memory bank of bad bad bad obesity related studies and cherry pick the ones that support the socially fashionable idea.

blogblog said...


Stephan Guyenet hates any criticism of his utterly profound and unbelievably brilliant ideas. However he only appears to have published either two or three papers as a co-author.

I guess Stephan spends a lot of time blogging and waiting for the call from the Nobel Committee rather than researching.

blogblog said...


The structure of DNA was co-discovered by people who had almost zero prior knowledge of genetics or biochemistry.

David Moss said...

"Being a high carb eater, while being an obesity resistant young man like most of these paleo ranters is expected. Thin people don't feel much of a need to restrict their carbs, because they are thin - why should they? They don't have any observable glucose metabolism dysfunction. No diabetes, no hypoglycemia, no obesity, nothing which obviously responds to glucose and/or insulin control."


Gadfly said...

@Stan (Heretic):

"I like GL's take on this and other related subjects. He is one of the few reporters who noticed a creeping Sovietization of the Northern American life, including food."

Not food-centric, but you may be interested in Slavoj Zizek's work on ideology, specifically "Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?" That is, if you aren't already.

Gadfly said...


"The taste mechanism is probably (almost) entirely hard-wired. Wild animals are very aware of the nutritional values of novel foods."

Yup, and it doesn't matter how many different kinds of fruits and vegetables I offer to the cat, unless they're smeared in fat or salt he - rightly - knows I'm pretending not to know why he's stalking my dinner.

blogblog said...

Poi essentially disproves the palatability hypothesis of obesity.

Poi is a traditional Hawaiian staple made from steamed taro roots. It is a thick and very bland starchy paste. Most (non Hawaiian) people consider the taste and texture to be quite disgusting ("glue mixed with dirt").

Poi was used in the past to deliberately make Hawaiian nobles incredibly fat (obesity was then considered very desirable).

Makro said...

"Poi essentially disproves the palatability hypothesis of obesity."

Not really, if it was used in intentional overfeeding, no?

I doubt that today´s obese people are intentionally overfeeding on carbohydrate.

blogblog said...

pet food makers use flavour enhancers to make grain based foods taste meaty.

I tasted one of the expensive "veterinary formula" brands of dry cat food once out of curiosity. I was amazed how strong the flavour was - far more intense than real meat. In fact it could be described as absolutely delicious.

blogblog said...


people can overeat poi precisely because it is bland. It is very difficult to eat large amounts of intensely flavoured foods.

I doubt that today´s obese people are intentionally overfeeding on carbohydrate.

Just unintentionally. All junk food is high in refined carbohydrates - cake, cookies, bread, pizza, fries, soft drinks and juices.

I have never seen a fat person who gorges on liver, anchovies or parmesan cheese and seriously avoids carbohydrates.

Aravind said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aravind said...


Reward is not synonymous with palatability or the lack thereof (please refer to the excerpt I included above). I do realize that this may not change your point :-)

Kind Regards,

M. said...

blogblog said It is very difficult to eat large amounts of intensely flavoured foods.

Not sure that makes any sense at all to me. I used to gorge on ice cream.

All junk food is high in refined carbohydrates - cake, cookies, bread, pizza, fries, soft drinks and juices.

I think what is more interesting than junk food though is the food that we will consume even when we are not really hungry. Soft drinks, juices, cake, and cookies fit into this category, but for me personally I will also consume things like 90% dark chocolate, bacon, nuts, and heavy cream when I’m not really hungry, so I am skeptical that the insulinogenic properties are a key part of the equation. Even ice cream has low Glycemic Load. (It is interesting though how sweetness “enhances” the flavor of chocolate, bacon, nuts, and cream)

I think one of the reasons refined carbohydrates are so common is just because it is a relatively cheap raw material that can be fairly easily engineered into more profitable and appetizing end-products.

Makro said...

"Just unintentionally. All junk food is high in refined carbohydrates - cake, cookies, bread, pizza, fries, soft drinks and juices. "

True, but I've rarely seen people gorge themselves on, say, boiled potatoes.

Owen said...

I think the idea of "intensely flavored" food must be separated from intensely satisfying (rewarding) food. Good chocolate ice cream may be rich and hit lots of pleasure centers, but the combination of dairy fat and sugar tone down anything that may have initially been "intense" about the cocoa powder. In the same sense the cocoa and sugar tone down the intense richness of the cream.

My first foray into high-fat eating was to drink a cup of cream as a quick breakfast, and as rewarding as that may seem to people who avoid saturated fat to extremes, in practice it becomes a harder behavior to repeat over time than eating a pint of ice cream for breakfast.

In the same sense, when you are eating the OD ratios, using your carb portion on a baked potato is highly satisfying, but if you tried to get fat on just baked potatoes (or white rice) it is so intensely starchy that it would end up being more a form of force-feeding rather than what you could think of as "reward" eating.

I think a classic example of this food reward idea (as I understand it) is potato chips or really any fried chip product. While some may contain flavor enhancers like MSG/autolyzed yeast which obviously magnify the effect, even a simple bag of potato/corn chips fried in corn oil and some salt is enough to cause a lot of people to keep eating well past the point they are hungry, and these same people will eat these same products every day for years if not from childhood to death.

Interestingly, one of the most consistent food preference shifts that you hear from people who start eating paleo or any diet that removes white flour, sugar and vegetable oil is that the flavor of foods fried in vegetable becomes almost intolerable after a few months of not eating them. I've read many times people like Richard Nikoley or Kurt Harris saying that can't stomach to eat hash browns or fries served in breakfast diners because of that horrible rancid flavor, and I personally find the same thing when I smell a bag of Triscuit or Wheat Thin crackers or potato chips being opened.

And yet that same flavor must seem extremely appealing to people while they are eating it, because all of those above foods are notorious for being overeaten by people, almost unconsciously.

I once attempted to make some homemade tortilla chips when I had bunch of ghee sitting in the fridge and though the nutty flavor of the butter made them a real pleasure to eat, there is no way you could have sat in front of the TV and consumed a whole bag- they were simply too intensely buttery to eat a lot of. I wonder if a version fried in unflavored coconut oil would be easier to consume in quantities?

Peter said...

Hi All,

It's still hard to get the time to even read all of the comments here, but never the less a post with my views on Stephan's destruction of the insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis is still cooking. Nothing about it has me wanting to live on potatoes.

I have to comment that I tend towards carbs not being bad or fattening per se. Once we are insulin resistant (quite whatever that means) carbs become a problem for us in exactly the way they were in ancient Egypt.

I'm also struck with the fairly ubiquitous idea of "carb addiction", mentioned a fair bit in the LC world, which supports some sort of reward aspect. I also recall a case of anosmia, which was equally interesting.

That said the reward hypothesis does seem to have some problems, to say the least. Luckily LC eating seems to work, at least in many of those of us who need or wish to lose weight. And stay healthy.


STG said...


I thought Stephan's censorship of your post was inappropriate especially since other people on his blog had used profanity, sarcasm and insults. I quoted some examples from posts on his blog. I don't know if he saw them or deleted them? I appreciate your comments--tone and content.

So glad Peter is back sharing his humor and insights!

Sue said...

Peter I look forward to that post. Also why do some folds do well on LC at the beginning and then plateau. Gain weight, can't keep up with LC. At a certain point may need to add back in carbs?

ItsTheWooo said...


I would agree... I think "normal carbs" like potatoes and fruit are fine if you are metabolically healthy. The problem is we have widespread metabolic disease in the west, which is probably attributed to multiple factors... genes for glucose intolerance are rather common due to our ethnic makeup, exposure to lots of refined sugar, prenatal exposure to an diobesigenic endocrine milieu, gradual depletion of glucose tolerance enhancing nutrients due to highly concentrated carbohydrate being a staple in our diets, and the end result is that we simply can't eat potatoes and fruit any more without becoming hyperinsulinemic therefore obese.

I don't think anyone except true low carb zealots really believes that fresh strawberries and boiled potatoes CAUSE glucose intolerance and obesity. Most of us agree that non-diseased people can eat this and be healthy.

The problem is people who have no business even making dietary prescriptions for obese people (non clinicians, non experienced, never worked in any capacity with real obesity) freely feel at liberty to tell fat people that low carb stuff is nonsense, eat a bland diet instead. Ridiculous.

I don't know if I really believe in "carb addiction". Carbs become compulsive once your glucose is messed up, but that's expected. I think when fat people speak of "carb addiction" what they mean to say is "due to my metabolic disorder, I can't stop eating food once I start eating high carb food". They don't literally mean that they get high from food the same way a heroin addict does.
I am very drug naive. I've tried sugary food, I've tried percocet, I've tried caffeine, I've tried alcohol, I've tried nicotiene, I've tried dilaudid, I've tried oxycodone. The sugar did absolutely nothing for my mood, maybe very slightly increased it (sometimes), other times it decreased it making me sleepy and apathetic and a little depressed.
On the other hand, every single drug I have ever tried has powerfully increased my mood, energy, or both. A single percocet/codeine makes me feel fantastic, everything feels interesting and exciting, life is awesome, any bad feelings or thoughts melt away as if I had never had them. A sufficient dose of caffeine gives me a ton of mental energy and dramatically improves my excitement about life and physical energy too. A dose of alcohol makes me confident and social and excited and emotionally intensifies everything. A dose of nicotine affects me like caffeine, except more powerfully (probably because I am nicotine naive whereas I am very coffee / caffeine addicted).
Sugar? Has never done anything even REMOTELY like drugs.

FYI, I used to be a thousand million pounds, so if anyone is sensitive to this "food addiction" stuff it would be me.

Fat people never have a moment where they look like drug addicts. They go right from normal straight to haldol without any gaps of being high or energetic (high dopamine). It almost suggests that obesity is not the result of food reward or food addiction, but rather food ITSELF causes the brain to directly transform into a dopamine insensitive state, which then causes the obesity (and post addicted people are very vulnerable to obesity and over eating, suggesting overlap).

ItsTheWooo said...

I also find it ironic that casual observation suggests that obesity resistant people are those who are most sensitive to getting "high" from sugar and food.

Children with excellent glucose tolerance are most apt to run around after sugar. Adults with relatively poor glucose tolerance just fall asleep.

I remember in nursing school, during my psychiatric clinical rotation, we went to the state psych ward. End stage schizophrenics on lock down, drugged to the gils on antipsychotics, which we all know block dopamine and serotonin receptors, producing metabolic syndrome and obesity (just as occurs in freely occuring obesity - a loss of dopamien sensitivity is essential to trigger obesity, whether spotaneous or drug induced).

Now if you've been in a psych ward you know it's full of screaming outbursts about aliens, people rambling about nothing, hostile aggression, grandiose manic rambling and so on. I mean, they really would do this.

I found it so interesting and ironic that the entire ward calmed down and went to sleep when we brought them all tin of dunkin doughnuts for the patients. Sure, it was after med time, but this was the first time in the entire duration of of clinical where almost all the patients calmed down and went to sleep - a few minutes after eating a ton of the doughnuts.

Hey, here's the real mechanism of action from antipsychotics: lack of dopamine sensitivity in the brain turns doughnuts into sleeping pills.


ItsTheWooo said...

Yea it was pretty obvious he just didn't want to respond.

The discussion was full of ad hominem and insults from all direction. But my sarcastic tone was just crossing the line apparently.

I think Stephan just didn't like that I laughed in his face when he said hyperinsulinemia protects against obesity. Sorry but a statement that medically preposterous deserves only ridicule.

He also didn't like it when I told him that citing fat people have a poorer response to an insulin infusion only supports the low carb theory, and he didn't like it when I laughed at him for arguing that diabetic hypoglycemia prompts hunger and physiological compensation whereas relative hypoglycemia does not (this is the exact opposite of medical reality).

Everything he wrote in that post was a big joke, and all the morons were like 'GOOD JOB STEPHAN, WAY TO DESTROY THE CARB HYPOTHESIS!"

Very frustrating. But no worries, I am forbidden from talking now, Stephan is alone with his sycophants, all is well again.

blogblog said...

The reason that people can eat huge amounts of bland high carbohydrate food such as boiled potaoes or white bread is simple. There is almost no danger of eating excessive amounts of potential toxins.

The intense flavours in plant foods are nearly always caused by potent toxins - piperone (pepper), cacpsaicin (chillies), alkaloids (chocolate), oxalic acid (rhubarb), cyanide (almonds). Strong flavour is a warning to minimise consumption and avoid posoning.

The wild ancestors of most of our food plants are barely edible due to the high levels of toxins.

Young children usually hate foods like brussels sprouts because they don't have the capability to properly process the toxins. From a toddlers perspective eating veggies is suicidal.

Fermented foods such as aged cheese or pickeled herrings also contain volatile compounds indicitave of decay. This is a signal that bacterial poioning is a distinct possibility.

Eating 500g of liver daily over an extended period would inevitably cause hypervitaminosis A as well as copper and iron poisoning. This quantity of liver would also cause severe birth defects if eaten by a woman of childbearing age.

Eating 500g of 90% cocoa chocolate would result in acute theobromine/caffeine toxicity and extreme nausea. Severe diarrhoea would be almost certain due to the high fibre content. Pure cocoa is extremely bitter and totally unpalatible. The sugar in choclate makes it tolerable.

Force feeding bland high carbohydrate was actually the norm in most societies until comparatively recently. Two centuries ago Irish peasants ate 3-4kg of par-boiled potatoes daily. The English ate 1-2kg of coarse wholemeal bread each day.

Many athletes still force feed themselves vast quantities of bread, pasta, porridge etc.

blogblog said...


True, but I've rarely seen people gorge themselves on, say, boiled potatoes.

Visit the Andes and you will see most of the population doing it every single day. They literally eat them by the bucketful.

The Irish peasants ate 3-4kg of potatoes every day two centries ago.

Stan Bleszynski said...


I was very surprised when Stephan deleted your post, since your previous posts that I saw, I thought didn't seem offensive to anybody.

That debate was probably taken too seriously and too stressfully. I did find it interesting that people who consume high carbohydrate diets seem to react very strongly in stressful situations(*), where as we on ketogenic diets, tend to be more calm. Did you notice it too?

Stan (Heretic)


*) I posted some speculations on why it might be the case, here on my blog. I also recommend to watch Sapolsky's lectures (linked there).

John said...

I don't understand where we [everyone] are supposed to go now that we're "re-visiting" everything we thought about carbs or insulin. It's not as if reading today simply replaces past reading/knowledge from last year. What do we do with all the information and posts on diazoxide, mitochondria [metabolism nuts and bolts], intermittent fasting, etc? There is more out there than just a few studies that show non-significant differences in weight change in a few people on "neolithic" diets with altered macro ratios.

blogblog said...

Very few people seem to be aware that nearly all mammals on a natural diet are in (borderline) ketosis most of the time.

Cows fed on natural pastures only obtain ~2% of their energy from carbohydrates and ~80% from volatile fatty acids.

Ed said...

"I did find it interesting that people who consume high carbohydrate diets seem to react very strongly in stressful situations(*), where as we on ketogenic diets, tend to be more calm."

Stan, I love you man, but you're kidding, right? The context is Woo, who writes extended, hostile, insulting, rambling posts, and acts as if it is her god-given right to do so in forums hosted by others.

Woo? Calm? Huh what?

I for one agree with kicking her off of Stephan's blog.

I think Woo could have some very interesting things to say. She needs to start her own blog, marshall some coherence and references, and make her f'ing case. I don't march into my vegetarian neighbor's house and sit down at the coffee table and argue with the residents and every visitor about how stupid they are, ad nauseum, staying past time when everyone else has gone to bed. That's the online equivalent of what Woo does.

Calm? No, your generalization is not accurate in this case.

Christ Woo, show some respect. You don't have to agree, but be respectful. Part of that is to not insult. Another part is to be respectful of other's time -- long, unreferenced, repetitive diatribes ask a lot from readers. In your case, too much.

Aravind said...

@Ed - I completely agree with you regarding Woo. And this has nothing to do with whether Woo is right and Stephan is wrong or vice versa

Stephan wasn't reacting to any one comment by Woo but repeated insults over many posts where she essentially called him an idiot. Stephan may be many things, and he might well be wrong, but he was more than tolerant and any such characterization is ridiculous.

Speaking of ridiculous, Woo wrote - "The problem is people who have no business even making dietary prescriptions for obese people (non clinicians, non experienced, never worked in any capacity with real obesity) freely feel at liberty to tell fat people that low carb stuff is nonsense, eat a bland diet instead. Ridiculous."

Perhaps Woo should channel her energy to read carefully. Here is what Stephan wrote in the opening paragraph of his Carb Theory of Obesity post - "I'd like to begin by emphasizing that carbohydrate restriction has helped many people lose body fat and improve their metabolic health...I consider that to be a fact at this point..."


STG said...


Go girl! Don't ever stop commenting. I love your energy, eloquence and passion. Stephan's blog needs debate and discourse not censorship.

STG said...


Did you read all the comments on Stephan's blog? There were other people who posted comments that could be interpreted as insulting to Stephan or other people. Some individuals also used profanity and sarcasim. Stephan has the right to delete comments. Has he been consistent by deleting all comments that violate his standards/rules for commenting on his blog? Has he singled-out ItsTheWooo2 for censorship?

Dave Tate said...


When I was in college the philosophy department had t-shirts that said:

Sure it works in reality, but will it work in theory?

I think that's the best approach for those who benefit from low carb. Stick with what works and let the scientists fuss over why it works.

CarbSane said...

Lordy! STG ... that Stephan left others but deleted Woo's comments demonstrates his extreme patience and willingness to post some "ugliness" in the interests of allowing debate. Anyone who has read Woo's diatribes -- accurately described by Ed -- should understand why he deleted them. Most were probably wondering why he let her go on as long as she did. Woo HAS her own blog as well.

M. said...

STG, it wasn’t just the comments on that particular blogpost, it was a culmination of activity over an extended period of time. There were several warnings and several promises from her to control her behavior. Stephan even cut her some slack because of her emotional problems.

It wasn’t so much as deleting her particular comments as saying that she would no longer be allowed to comment there because she kept failing to abide by the rules and her own promises to control her behavior.

ItsTheWooo said...

Wow, influx of stephan's glad handers all of a sudden. I suspect someone is blogging that I am blogging here?

Listen, guys: (carbsane, ed, m, et al) the MAJORITY is on your side (that I am a rambling offensive idiot and stephan as patient as he is, finally had no choice but to ban me... meanwhile, as stg points out, others were just as sarcastic and were not singled out, hmmm wonder why).

Why don't you get lives? Accept that there are people who think stephans ideas are ridiculous, go back to your blogs where you nod in agreement when someone says insulin protects against obesity.
You of all people, carbsane, shouldn't criticize for speaking harshly... it's more the rule for your repsonses than the exception. But I guess it's okay when someone's agreeing with you, meh?

ItsTheWooo said...

FYI right now I'm gettin' dressed to get' goin... wearing a size zero , 24 inch waist and 35 inch hips.

Yesterday I ate some berries, a TON of mixed nuts, a piece of chicken cooked in butter, and then I ate the pan drippings of some salmon, with a few carrots, I ate a lot of cream with some LC special K (less than 1 serving). Basically I ate mostly fat. Lots of salt, garlic, splenda, you name it.

Since doing this it has gotten much easier to control my weight again.

It's just so funny to me, being as hugely fat as I was, and as thin as I am now, to read people who have no idea what they are talking about (non-clinicians, non-obese people) trying to convince fatties to give up the high fat low carb thing. It completely changes your metabolism to work more normally. Sad really, there are so many people who just need the education, and then you have dummies like this getting in their way.

ItsTheWooo said...

M - There was one "warning", and it is plainly false to say I used his blog as a soap box for my crazy ideas. Everything I posted was a direct response to something he was posting.

But I get the idea - you aren't ALLOWED to contradict, argue, or point out where he's wrong. That's the problem. I did it constantly and he got fed up I wouldn't stop.

Hey, it's his blog, he's allowed to run it however he wants. He clearly wants no dissent, or if you MUST dissent, do it weakly, meekly, and briefly so that it is easily ignored by other readers.

ItsTheWooo said...

But all the same, I don't want to discuss this here.

This may shock the sycophants, but people are ALLOWED to criticize guyenet. Don't come here and bring that bullsh*t, because the majority opinion here is that guyenet is mostly wrong.

If you want to go on your blog(s) and call me a big crazy meanie, have at it. I'm not going to jump in and be like OMG NOOOO YOU'RE WRONG. I don't care what you say, because I know the truth. I know everyone who has maintained massive weight loss has done it by intentional or unintentional carbohydrate restriction. I have never, ever,ever heard of a long term weight loss success who has done it by specifically keeping carbohydrates high and lowering dietary fat or protein.

CarbSane said...

Woo -- whatever anyone thinks of me, I've NEVER gone on someone else's blog, monopolized their comments with diatribes against them (although I will post in response to comments directed towards or about me) or any such thing. This is what you did on Stephan's blog because you don't agree with him. Do you or don't you have your own blog? You could post a link to your work countering someone's blog. I'd let that stand on my blog and I'm sure Stephan would have as well, but I sure don't speak for him.

STG said...

Let's move on and get back to the content of the blogs not the emotions. I prefer civility to hostility, but I don't like censorship. I know that I can read or ignore any post that offends me. I think I will do that rather than bash people who post comments that offend me.

John said...

Dave Tate,

First, are you the "real" Dave Tate?

Second, I guess my point was that these recent arguments using personal evidence are just tiresome. I don't know how others feel, but I couldn't care less as to whether Suzie Johnson can lose weight or not eating high carb. I like to make new discoveries about optimal nutrition. Peter has posted so much here in support for high fat, from diazoxide to electron transport chain to atherosclerosis. I care zero about a human diet study that found nonsignificant differences in changes in bodyweight using meals that I don't eat.

Dave Tate said...

@ John,

No I am not the Dave Tate, just another guy with the same name. I understand where you are coming from and look forward to Peter's response. I haven't followed the Paleo/low carb movement for very long but it seems like things have certainly become quite contentious since the AHS.

blogblog said...

@M. said...

blogblog said It is very difficult to eat large amounts of intensely flavoured foods.

Not sure that makes any sense at all to me. I used to gorge on ice cream.

Icecream is extremely sweet but in reality it has very little other flavour. A 250g tub of chocolate icecream has no more than a 1-2 teaspoons of cocoa.

Food scientists (I used to be one) trick the senses by concentrating flavours on the outside of potato chips, using intensely bright colours in candies or using very small chocolate chips in artificially coloured icecream. These tactics all greatly enhance the perception of flavour.

blogblog said...

Apparently any Low Carb "guru" is beyond criticism. Any country yokel MD or two bit junior university researcher who writes a blog or publishes a book (even if riddled with errors and half-baked ideas) espousing a paleo lifestyle is considered a genius.

I will exempt Peter from criticism because he is a genuine scientific sceptic who never takes himself seriously or engages in self-promotion. He is also a graduate of one of the finest universities in the world. Best of all he makes no attempt to commercialise his ideas.

Wolfgang Lutz, Uffe Ravnskov and Robert Atkins. all deserve credit. They were all highly regarded medical professionals long before they wrote a book. They weren't graduates of Boondocks College of Medicine and Beauty Therapy who write books, sell supplements and attend seminars to get rich.

ItsTheWooo said...

Could not agree more with you blogblog. You said everything that needs to be said.

Someone said they are tired of n=1 accounts.

Well, that's cool, because I'm tired of dummies with doctorates trying to be famous showmen and women banking on those letters, meanwhile their idea sucks and is full of holes.

Chris said...

Couldn't agree with you less, blogblog. A person's reputation, provenance, and education have no bearing at all on whether they're right or not.

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...


Couldn't agree with you less, blogblog. A person's reputation, provenance, and education have no bearing at all on whether they're right or not.

Remember that comment next time you need medical treatment or legal advice. I'm sure the local grocer or butcher will provide quality advice far cheaper. I mean how much more could some fancy pants, high-falutin' university graduate with 30 years experience possibly know?

ItsTheWooo said...

I'm a little confused; blogblog did not argue that education and experience is relevant or not.

Blogblog made a statement regarding people who happen to have some kind of medical or scientific training (whether or not it is even related to the subject at hand) and then they write a crappy book or come up with a crappy idea, and are heralded as a genius by people who want that idea to be true.

Of course education and expertise are important... but no one cares about your education and experience unless it is very specifically related to the subject at hand. "I'm a heart surgeon, so don't eat dietary saturated fat because it makes you fat and animal products are not that good for you" - Dr Oz. That idiot.
Fact: Dr Oz' ideas about diet come from his vegetarian wife. Not science.
And his prescriptions for weight loss come from "common sense" which is not scientific and actually incorrect.

Now, if you actually have a practice where you help people lose weight with positive results, then by all means please do share your expertise and what you have observed, we all want to hear this.

I also very much agree with blogblog re: Peter. Peter is the only blogger I can think of who is interested in understanding and discussion; he's not just trying to sell some crappy book or idea and make a name for himelf as TEH PETER OF TEH OPTIMAL DIET or whatever. Therefore, this is by far the most informative blog on the web. It is totally free of agendas and crazy theories and sales pitches, just pure information (with discussion regarding implications, always fun)

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blogblog said...

I have been fortunate to have been taught by a group of very talented PhDs. They have published hundreds of scientific papers on nutrition and exercise science between them. Several have have also trained and coached international level athletes and sporting teams.

However none of these academics has ever appeared on a TV show, written a blog, newspaper column or popular book to promote their views. They all have open minds about their ideas and are never dogmatic.

I have also seen dozens of self-promoting nobodies with dubious qualifications who have written a best selling book on diet or exercise. In most cases the book is barely adequate for toilet paper. However in most cases it effectively impresses the non-expert with BS and jargon.

John said...


n=1 accounts are only rarely useful, and they are annoying because people simply lie (intentionally or unintentionally). Comment sections have been filled lately with people saying things like, "I had no energy on low carb," or "I gain weight with any starch, but I can eat all the fat I want." For the record I do value your shared experiences, but all this talk about weightloss can be boring.

I like blogblog's points about intense foods. I will gorge on any fruit or starch no matter how bland, but I don't get fat, so I don't know how to interpret that.

blogblog said...


I will gorge on any fruit or starch no matter how bland, but I don't get fat, so I don't know how to interpret that.


I used to eat a high-carbohydrate very low-fat Mediterranean diet. I was very thin (65kg 183cm). I later discovered the reason I was thin was because most of my calories were going down the toilet bowl undigested due to IBD. I eventually discovered I have extremely limited tolerance for any form of carbohdrate or fibre (20g/day).

When I changed to a VLC diet I bulked up to around 80kg in a few months. I'm now around 85kg and fairly lean.

John said...

Perhaps, I don't feel bad or anything when I eat lots of fruit or starch, just really full and that I still want more. If my protein and fat go low, I definitely lose muscle.

Gadfly said...
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Gadfly said...

My, my! What a circus we have here.

Let me get this straight: The opinions of "(a)ny country yokel MD or two bit junior university researcher who writes a blog or publishes a book" are out. But we're supposed to supplicate to the authority of someone merely "fortunate to have been taught by a group of very talented PhDs"?

Of course, we've also got the inimitable CarbSane pronouncing forth on web decorum while being the mirror image of the person she's criticising: chasing about the internet looking for any mention of the evil GT so she can repeat her litany of insults and half-truths backed by unsubstantiated claims of authority. Like a fly to scat, it predictably took a nanosecond for her to arrive -- triumphant -- on the scene of an anti-Taubes diatribe on Guyanet's blog.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm a two-bit yokel researcher who studied with some great PhDs, and used to be 'in the industry" so you can rest assured what I'm saying is God's Spell.

Aleister Crowley once said that science is merely instructed common sense. It seems to me that half the formula is missing from most of the scienticians making themselves known here.

Chris said...

@blogblog, don't be foolish. You're conflating credibility and competence when they are not inherently the same thing.

ItsTheWooo said...


Amen re: carbsane. That crackpot has been criticizing me for my oh so harsh and unforgiving tone since I began commenting on WHS, meanwhile her own blog (and her behavior on other blogs) is worse. I personally don't become offended by brashness , so I couldn't care less if carbsane posts this way... I just had to laugh when she was taking me to task for my tone.

I don't think blogblog was asking that you take him as an authority. You are totally misunderstanding what he was trying to say.

Blogblog was critizing intrinsically unscientific talking heads who look for fame and fortune and bluff up their credentials while preaching to the chior, regurging what they want to hear. E.g. Guyenet. This guy has some nerve speaking with the authority he does. he has never treated obesity, he has never HAD obesity, he has neve rworked with a real obese person, but he has the gall to say that low carbohydrate diets don't work because of controlling glucose/insulin and that people should just eat a very bland diet instead - in spite of ample evidence supporting the carbohydrate/hyperinsulinemia theory, in spite of equally ample evidence that a high flavor diet may REDUCE weight and help people control obesity The argument can be made both ways, there is evidence for both ideas - Stephans ideas are beyond hypothetical at this point in time but he has the nerve to speak as if he is some kind of expert and he's discovered something.

Why? Because he wants fame, fortune, basically what Taubes has already obtained, hence the bad blood.

ItsTheWooo said...


I can understand your feelings regarding personal testimony... but I think the problem inherent in personal testimony isn't the limited sample size, but rather the fact that most people are lying/crazy/have not maintained weight long enough to even definitively speak that what they are doing is effective.

If someone e.g. Kimmer says "I lost a lot of weight by eating only eggs", but they are a) lying or b) regain their weight next month, that obviously indicates their personal testimony was irrelevant - it was not even effective for THEM.

However, I do think personal testimonies of massive weight loss where the person is healthy, maintaining the weight for many,many years, and doing so without drugs or surgery is very informative. I am always interested in hearing from others like this. Unfortunately, they are extremely rare, and I think the reason they are so rare is precisely because idiots try to dissuade people from staying on a low carb diet long term. I truly believe this is the only way for a morbidly obese person to lose weight and keep it off long term (read: MORBIDLY obese, I did not say "overweight" or "somewaht obese")

The reason that is so, is because I believe almost every case of morbid obesity is the result of hyperinsulinemia + extreme fat cell sensitivity to insulin, therefore the primary intervention will be eliminating glucose (in all forms) from the diet.

Sure there are weirdo cases of MCR4 receptor mutations and leptin receptor mutations and carrying a only a single functional copy of the leptin gene, but most of us merely have "traits" for morbid obesity, and we can control the expression of those "traits" by preventing our insulin from being too high - and that is first and foremost accomplished by not eating food that requires insulin to process. Butter, bacon, beef.

And secondary intervention would be to improve glucose tolerance: low grade cardio/walking, weight lifting, acetyl -l - carnitine, bright light therapy, inositol, magnesium, omega 3 fatty acids, and of course chromium.

But primary is not eating carbs.

I mean, to be honest... have you met anyone else who can say this:

-Was always chubby, even as a toddler
-Became obese as a child
-Became morbidly obese by a teenager, reaching a high weight of 280 lbs (5'5 height)
-At 20 went on a ketogenic diet
-Lost over 160 pounds
-Have been maintaining weight / diet for over 9 years
- Do no exercise, other than walking; my energy levels are naturally high and prompt me to move.
-I take no stimulants, pretty much eat whatever tastes good as long as it is high fat and low carb, with emphasis on all the foods the experts say are bad (I prefer butter, eggs, beef with lots of fat).

You don't think perhaps I might know something that could be useful to many other morbidly obese people? Perhaps, more than someone like Guyenet who has no idea what he's talking about and has never treated or been obese himself , and really isn't an expert at all?

Surgical-Blog said...

Well peter I do agree with your post but let me add here that life time change in one's life style will solve this problem for ever.

Surgical-Blog said...

on thing more i forget to add here that this change in the life style includes proper and regular exercise, in start this exercise should be as hard as possible, I have also explained this in my blog Surgical Blog and the next thing is that to avoid the foods of obesity and include foods which gives minerals and vitamins.

Owen said...

Well now I have the proof I need regarding my comment above that french fries and potato chips are more fattening than plain boiled or baked potatoes- and all thanks to Surgical-Blog!!!

As you can see here, "Having more French fries led to an increase of about 3 pounds" and "Potato chips were linked to long term weight gain for about a pound or more."

But in a sad turn of events, the Harvard study cited only carried on for four years, so if only we could know for sure if life time change in one's life style will solve this problem for ever!?

John said...
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John said...


I mostly agree, and I usually straight don't believe people who say low carb doesn't work for them. But, since I don't have experience with obesity, and my goal isn't to treat it in others, I don't really care that much either way and prefer focusing on things like aging.

Regarding Stephan and his latest posts: Taubes' book is an important work, and I still side with Hyperlipid, but I've read all of Stephan's posts and followed him for years, and his overall nutrition/health contributions trounce Taubes', despite reaching a smaller audience.

Gadfly said...


"in spite of equally ample evidence that a high flavor diet may REDUCE weight and help people control obesity"

Could you show us that? Guyanet's motives don't concern me.

ItsTheWooo said...


You must be new to the diet/nutrition blogosphere, hehe. A few years ago the brilliant expert geniuses were making the opposite argument - that intensely flavorful food satisfies appetite and reduces weight; that people over eat bland foods because they are unsatisfying presumably do not produce the same neurotransmitter stimulus as flavorful food. THe person then eats more to feel satisfied.

"The science

Forget low-fat, low-taste diets, the civilised secret to weight loss is all about taste. Whether it's tapas, dim sum or mezes, small plates with big flavours can be as filling as big portions.

"Our research has shown that much eating satisfaction is derived from the flavour intensity and visual impact of a meal, not necessarily the amount served," says Dr Brian Wansink, director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab in New York, and author of Mindless Eating (Bantam).

Stop ploughing through mounds of mediocre food, increase the taste and decrease the waist with these simple high-flavour meals. (Each recipe serves four.)."

It's kind of funny to think about it - that just a few years ago, they were sort of saying the opposite and that was trendy.

ItsTheWooo said...

Note that it has been fairly consistent that food variety will lead to increased eating... however, there is argument whether flavor INTENSITY leads to over eating or not. Some researchers have argued intensely flavored foods satisfy the appetite; Guyenet cherry picks research which suggests that bland foods decrease the appetite. IT's hardly decided.

However, one thing is certain:Insulin will always lead to storing fat. This is not a debate. This is not an argument. This is a scientific fact. Destroying ones pancreas leads to uncontrolled fat catabolism until insulin is injected to stop this process. Raising ones insulin level with insulin injections, while also infusing nutrition, leads to a gain in body fat, unless one has an atypical body fat gain resistant metabolism (it happens sometimes).

Insulinomas have been known to produce extreme obesity.

Some patients who elect for bariatric surgery have been discovered, after surgery, to have insulinomas. This was only unmasked by the fasting intolerance of the obese person - prior to surgery they would just eat and eat... after surgery, woops, hypo time.

Oh look at that, the proinsulin level is like a million plus. Oh look at that, they have an insulinoma. Gee, didn't need that small intestion mutilation surgery after all.

No one who is sane/not schizophrenic will argue that an elevation in blood insulin level will lead to body fat loss, it would be like saying an elevation in blood hemoglobin will lead to anemia. It's just like, WUT, WUT???
Except Stephan Guyenet, apparently... and the shocking thing isn't that Guyenet was arguing that an elevation of insulin protects against obesity, the real shocking thing was that everyone was agreeing with him and no one questioned him. It is like those psychology experiments where a bunch of unsuspecting people are asked to do something against the grain, and they simply will not do it, no matter how heinous it is to go with the flow, people CONTINUOUSLY prefer to follow rather than stand up and say "this is crazy, no".

Gadfly said...

@ Woo2

"You must be new to the diet/nutrition blogosphere, hehe."

Maybe. Maybe not. I'm just trying to tease out the evidence from all the other....shall we say, "confounding factors".

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...


blogblog, don't be foolish. You're conflating credibility and competence when they are not inherently the same thing.

Credibility is due to proven competence. It isn't based on irrelevant qualifications or appeals to authority.

Ed said...


"Wow, influx of stephan's glad handers all of a sudden. I suspect someone is blogging that I am blogging here?"

No. You are being paranoid and narcissistic.

I have been a fan of Peter's for years (still am, love this blog.)

I used to read your posts. I skip them now. The signal:noise ratio is too low. I value my time. My time is not well spent paying attention to you.

My post was to Stan, who I normally find on the intelligent side. I am at a loss as to why he thinks that Stephan was the rash one, and not you. Boggles the mind. But, whatever.

"Listen, guys: (carbsane, ed, m, et al) the MAJORITY is on your side (that I am a rambling offensive idiot and stephan as patient as he is, finally had no choice but to ban me... meanwhile, as stg points out, others were just as sarcastic and were not singled out, hmmm wonder why)."

I do not think you are an idiot. I think you are rambling and offensive, though. You are trying to take the cloak of victim with the term "idiot."

You misunderstand the reason for your banishment. You minimize in your mind your disruptiveness and conflate it with sarcasm from others in order to validate yourself as unjust victim. You will continue to find unnecessary conflict until you understand the grievances that other people have with you.

"Why don't you get lives?"

You would like to diminish my observations by imagining that there is someone wrong with me. I'm sorry if my opinion hurts you to the extent that you have to demean me to protect yourself. I would rather hope that you understand where I'm coming from.

"Accept that there are people who think stephans ideas are ridiculous,"

Now you conflate my poor opinion of your behavior with defense of his ideas. I am not defending his ideas. I am saying that your behavior is socially unacceptable and justifies "punishment." I think that you are conflating the issues, probably subconsciously, to defend yourself from social reprobation. Again, until you get why I (and others) think you deserve social punishment, you will continue to find yourself in unnecessary conflict, wasting a tremendous amount of your energy, and the energy of others who engage with you in any fashion.

"go back to your blogs where you nod in agreement when someone says insulin protects against obesity.

Now you try to diminish the criticism by implying that I am a sycophant or idiot. Surely the criticism of a stupid sycophant is worthless.

I am not offended, by the insult or anything else you say about me. I am saddened.

blogblog said...


I suggest you read what I wrote before shooting off your mouth.

I never claimed to be an expert on nutrition. Merely that I had formerly worked as a food scientist and that I had been taught by real experts.

I was attacking people who uses their PhD/MD titles to write popular books on nutrition and exercise despite having absolutely no expertise in the area (medical students typically have a mere 10-20 hours of nutrition lectures).

A rural family doctor who wrote a book on neurosurgery or ophthalmology would be regarded as a total crackpot. Yet the same doctor can write a poorly researched book on exercise or diet and be regarded as an expert. This is absolute nonsense.

Real scientists never claim to have all the answers. Only fools do.

Gadfly said...

@ blogblog

"I suggest you read what I wrote before shooting off your mouth."

I did. Apparently I cut to the quick with my response, too. Need I mention that repeating a laundry list of ad hominem, innuendo and Appeals to Authority doesn't strengthen them as arguments?

Now, rather than discuss my personality traits and those of diet gurus, bloggers, etc., do you have some evidence to supply in relation to the topic?

What of all this Carb-Insulin/Food Reward business, anyway?

birkenstock said...

I've been a keen reader of Hyperlipid for a few months now and would like to say how extremely useful and interesting this blog is. It's witty and exciting and getting the actual empirical side of things from a real-life clinician adds bite to the narrative.

Further to Woo's comments to this current post, I've also been trying to read Stephan's post about "the" (is there just one?) carbohydrate hypothesis. Please forgive me, Peter, for putting my question in here, but Stephan's blog is a bit feverish at the moment!

The question is: I've got stuck on the following in Stephan's paragraph 11:

"If blood glucose decreases enough, it activates a system called the "counter-regulatory response", designed to maintain blood glucose at all costs to protect the brain from the effects of hypoglycemia. Part of this response is hunger and increased food intake. However, this system is not activated except in severe hypoglycemia, which is rare except in diabetics, thus it is not relevant to common obesity."

I am puzzled and don't know if I have understood this correctly. I thought that the activation of the sympathetic system in response to low blood glucose - such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol - was pretty much a universal thing, prompting the liver to pump out more glucose (and, if necessary, make some glucose from protein) when needed. (Incidentally, it seems logical that along with this would go hunger).

Is the question just a semantic one - is it that this sympathetic response is labelled "counter-regulatory response" only in the context of over-dosing of insulin to diabetics, and not otherwise? If so, perhaps arguably Stephan is (in a strictly literal way) correct to say that the "counter-regulatory response" of (Type 1?) diabetics to low blood glucose is not "relevant" to "common obesity". But the same sympathetic response (absent the label "counter-regulatory", because it is not being applied in the special, diabetic, low blood-glucose situation) surely may well be relevant to common obesity, together with Type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, glucose-intolerance and metabolic syndrome - as these all seem to be related.

Does he means that "low" blood glucose only occurs in (frank?) diabetes. But that doesn't seem quite right - isn't it the case that non-diabetics' blood glucose levels do drop, even if only for a short time, whereupon the sympathetic system mobilises to raise blood sugars.

The question is important to me, because although I am not diabetic I do experience (like many people) a sympathetic response to (at least what my hypothalamus perceives to be) low blood glucose. I don't believe this phenomenon to be irrelevant to obesity - certainly not to obesity related to metabolic syndrome.

I don't know how important this particular point is to the rest of Stephan's post - presumably it is, or why else would he have made it at the beginning? But I don't want to read the rest until I've understood the beginning - and to help with that I would very much appreciate the thoughts of Peter, Woo and others here.

Thanks very much,

blogblog said...


I did. Apparently I cut to the quick with my response, too. Need I mention that repeating a laundry list of ad hominem, innuendo and Appeals to Authority doesn't strengthen them as arguments?

You haven't hit a nerve. You have just displayed a complete ignorance of logical fallacies.

Firstly you have absolutely no idea what comprises an ad homonem attack. It is an attack on a person solely for their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, physical appearance etc. Criticising a lack of qualifications related to a topic is not an ad hominem attack.

An appeal to authority is actually claiming that a person is correct merely because they are famous or important even if they have no expertise. Claiming that Professor Jones, a cardiologist, is an expert in heart disease is not an appeal to authority. It is a stament of fact. However if I claimed that Pope Benedict was an expert in heart disease I would be appealing to authority.

Claiming that country family doctor is not qualified to write an diet or exercise book is a fact. It is not innuendo. However the same doctor is probably highly qualified to write books about rural medical practice.

Mentioning that academics rarely write blogs or popular books is merely a statement of fact. So is mentioning the fact that I worked as a food scientist. Neither statement is an appeal to authority.

Stephan Guyenet, Gary Taubes, Michael Eades, Barry Sears etc would not be allowed to give testimony in any court as an expert witness on nutrition. It doesn't mean they are incorrect just not considered experts.

Lets use Stephan Guyenet as an example. He is considered an expert on the neurobiology of bodyfat regulation by some blog readers. Yet (according to Medline) he has only co-authored two papers. Both papers areunrelated to fat regulation. One paper is on seizures in zebrafish and another on cerebellar ataxia in mice. He has no personal experience of obesity or other health issues and has no clinical experince. By any reasonable definition Stephan Guyenet is not an expert in nutrition.

Note that I don't criticise Stephan as a person. I just don't accept that he has any profound insights into nutrition at this stage of his career. Maybe in another 20 years he will make some major contributions.

Robert Atlkins is another example. His significance isn't that he was rich and famous, attended Cornell or wrote bestsellers. It is because he treated many thousands of patients over decades and had personal experience of obesity. For this reason I do consider him to be an expert in nutrition.

blogblog said...


hypoglycaemia resulting in a catecholamine surge is very common in the early stages of VLC diets. Reactive hypoglycaemia after a large carbohydrate meal also causes catecholamine surges.

blogblog said...



Do you mean experiments on mice, short term n=12 human trials or D-grade epidemiology? Those are your basic choices in the published literature.

The correct answer to appetite control is probably extraordinarily complex intracellular mechanisms interacting with the neuroendocrine systems.

Come back in 100 years when science has a better understanding.

birkenstock said...

@blogblog 3:08

Thanks, that's what I understand, too.

Do you think the catecholamine response you refer to is the same thing, or a different thing, from the "counter-regulatory response" referred to by Stephan?

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, for I am just a parasite that feeds of a little fish, that the big fish are prone to consuming, in the very big pond . . .

Just wanted to say that for those criticizing the "lay persons" N=1. Some of us haven't the luxury of associating with certain minds in our lives (we didn't have the opportunity to make it our profession or otherwise haunt places of great minds and visionaries (darn poverty stricken upbringing and parents hours toil in factory . . ahem).

Some of us didn't even go to university, and seeing our selves "tellings" reflected back to us, might actually help at least some of us broaden our understanding of how to help ourselves. Yeah, really selfish, and yeah a nuisance for people more learned (having to flip through illogical content).

I've improved my understanding of what is going wrong with my body so much just realizing my own ignorance about how I had interpreted my experience.

A perspective (of being ignorant) granted when you don't understand what went so wrong according to how you recall/interpret your experience. So saying all sorts of 'wrong' things to 'experts' who can in turn apply theories apposing interpretation of my N=1 has actually been really important; a learning process.

So please don't knock our feeble minds so readily, my mind is not steeped in higher math, of biochemical insights, etc, all I have is my "N=1" . . . . and language, and hopefully some accruing methods to determine the value of 'idea's' experts guide the lay mind to; to judge the informations (there are more than a few theories floating about) rationality/logic.

I had to say the former because it seems completely ignorant to criticize 'those irritating N=1 folk telling "porkey pies" when the fact is that the 'average reader' is not perhaps on the same page of those with certain specialist/generalist insights (other than N=1). And through combat, so to speak, and criticism knowledge grows. At least thats my N=1.

Not one of us is excluded from the realms of idiocy. There's just different degrees, and on different levels. . . .

Just a tit bit to suck on further (if you didn't skim content already :D) . . .

And, "Viva forever" (spice girls); to the realms of bitter sweet ignorance, but hopeful learning.

last days of the polymath

And, bon voy·age!

John said...


I think I'm the only person "...criticizing the 'lay persons' N=1..." so if your comment is directed at me, sorry, I didn't mean to be rude or ignorant. I do like hearing about experiences when people are specific. No more contagion?...

Anonymous said...


I think partly my comment regards yours, but actually I didn't have a name, or specific comment in mind when I decided to comment. Sorry if it seemed to be an attack at you specifically, it wasn't.

It's just the general impression I am getting of late; the lack of distinction between, the manner in which useful ideas/ "specifics"/people just trying to learn, N=1, are communicated.

e.g. The assumption that if I for instance were to shout loudly enough, or repetitively enough I would be taken seriously, or think my comments were worth anything regardless (beyond some gratification that my "ego" has a wider more intelligent audience to gain acknowledgment of, "yes, I do exist" and "in fact, I am superior"; "look at all these people who are actually engaging with me!").

In an ideal world I wish people would rid themselves of unnecessary rhetoric/language tactics/games, juvenile behavior; to instead speak (somewhat) plainly so people can clearly engage with the merits of ones ideas and (perhaps) experiences.

However, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink".

So its easy to ignore comments as appropriate instead, and have hope that others will catch up, to a place of humility (an element of doubt, i.e. receptiveness to exceptions): some idealistic version of the human being, in the world of the didactic.

Ignore the bullshit. Keep your eye on the ball.

(The Contagion is laying dormant for the moment. Thanks. :D)

Dr. Curmudgeon Gee said...

Hi, Peter,

yes, please share with your thoughts on Stephan's recent articles.

the food reward theory seems like a circular reasoning. but i'm only a layman.


Jin said...


Word. ITA

Dr. N said...

Most of the comments on this thread are foolish and immature. Vent your arguments with each other elsewhere so the rest of us who wish to discuss this topic may do so.

ItsTheWooo said...


"I am saying that your behavior is socially unacceptable and justifies "punishment."
"Again, until you get why I (and others) think you deserve social punishment, you will continue to find yourself in unnecessary conflict, wasting a tremendous amount of your energy, and the energy of others who engage with you in any fashion."

You cray-cray.

Thanks for saying I should be "punished sociallY' for writing on the internet in a sarcastic manner. You need to take your xanax and relax. It's not that serious. And I couldn't care less at all if Stephan wants to ban me for arguing too loudly/too often, and if you want to nod your head and wring your hands. That you think this is "punishment" only suggests you need to remember we are on the interwebz talking and nothing more.

blogblog said...

The real question isn't "why do some people get fat?" it is "why don't all of us get fat?"

blogblog said...

Some criticisms of the "food reward" hypothesis of obesity:

- wild/zoo/farm animals frequently become overweight on a balanced natural diet if food is in abundance.

- taste buds have been around for more than 40 years.

- most processed foods have little taste or texture.

- sugar has been cheap and readily available since the 1840s. Sugar consumption was as high (or higher) in Australia 120 years ago as now. Yet morbid obesity was rare until the 1980s.

- Chrisco has been available for over 100 years.

Anonymous said...


Pekka Pessi said...

It seems to me that Guyenet has his own research area from which he approaches the issue. I think he has done very valuable work but he seem to ignore evidence that does not fit in his own domain.

Nevertheless, he had linked to some interesting articles. Gordon (1960) reports on p. 743 that obese people have resistance to develop ketosis during fast. I wonder what that means – are there plenty of FFAs around, so no need for ketone bodies? I think Peter has earlier discussed that both ketone bodies and palmitic acid induce insulin resistance, iow, protect precious glucose from being consumed by lesser body parts. Another possibility is that liver has excess glycogen or it has some trouble in getting the gluconeogenesis process to full speed. (I'd put my money on the last choice.)

In any case, I just can't help seeing an unnamed American cardiologist thinking what would happen to his obese patients if he just could somehow induce ketosis in them. In 1960.

It would be also interesting to know if the metabolism of obese people nowadays is similar to those of 50 years ago.

In any case I think the liver and its malfunction is the key piece in understanding obesity. Guyenet seems to ignore liver, perhaps because it is largely autonomous from neutral system. However, liver is tasked to neutralize most of the harmful substances. Chemists have been busy inventing new poisons besides alcohol and sugar for a long time now. I must but wonder if some of them will harm livers ability to perform its duties. Malfunction in liver would then gradually lead to obesity.

allison said...

Funny to read all of the diet diatribes going back and forth. Most of the critical posts seem to leave out the dietary details that would effectively support or refute Stephan's hypothesis.

How many calories do you consume now as compared to when you were obese? And how is your appetite?

For example, if you have lost weight by taking in fewer calories, but you are struggling with appetite control, you largely prove Stephan's point.

ItsTheWooo said...


My appetite control depends on how well I am sticking to low carb, high fat. For optimal well being, my diet is rich in the three b's: butter, beef, bacon.

3 days ago when I drank beer (I never ever do this) and ate potatoes my appetite control was afterwards horrible. This horrible appetite control (triggered by the hypoglycemia of beer + potatoes) lead to me being quite hungry and eating crappy (i.e. high carb) the next day. I felt like run over ass, was constantly hungry, ate a lot of calories because I was hungry, and gained some weight (which is plainly visible as body fat).

This then predictably lead to a deterioration in my mood as well as PCOS. I got a flare of acne and started feeling a bit down emotionally.

That lasted 2 days, then I cooked a gigantic steak so as to break the funk. I know myself. If I gorge on steak, and just eat as much of that steak fat as I want, I will be hallelujah jesus walk again throw down your crutches cured.

For 2 days now I have been eating mostly steak and all the drippings as well as additional butter.


Energy - way up.
Mood - way up.
Appetite - way way down (this typically happens after fattening - when I go back to ketosis, I am far less hungry).

So to answer your question, as long as I eat enough calories and tons of beef, bacon, and butter, my mood and energy are fabulous and my appetite is relatively low, considering I am documented leptin insufficient due to massive weight loss and have hypothalamic amenorrhea from it.

Right now I have heart palpitations from the thyroid/energy increase status post eating butter + steak while in a low insulin ketogenic state. I am very warm and my mood is nice and balanced/optimistic.

2 days ago I was a pile of garbage, fatigued, constantly hungry, bloated, gaining weight. Thanks potatoes + beer, for setting me down that path.

But oh, right, food reward, etc.


I feel bad for fat ppl who eat low fat food, meanwhile I am thin and eat butter and steak and have heart palpitations from the energy surge it thereby triggers. I actually have a psychological conditioned enjoyment of heart palpitations because I so associate them with high energy, an increase in energy from fat, with corresponding increased mood and motivation and energy. This typically occurs after eating a ton of butter or beef fat or coconut oil or something because my body just churns it into energy.

Never, ever, ever happens when I eat carbs. Flavor or not.

ItsTheWooo said...

@Pekka -
I think it depends on many factors.
It depends on the nature of the obesity, the severity of the insulin resistance/hyperinsulinemia, as well as the type of ketogenic diet used. Some ketogenic diets are relatively high in carb, and will not necessarily work for someone who has hyperinsulinemia which is reactive to glucose intolerance.

Ketogenic diets used for childhood epilepsy are relatively protein restricted and relatively high in carb because children are normal glucose tolerant and do not respond to carbohydrate with excessive insulin. Glucose tolerant people enter ketosis on higher carbohydrate intakes than glucose intolerant people, as they make less insulin (and insulin is the arbiter of ketosis - ketosis is only determined by your insulin levels checked against your fat availability).

It may be the case that severely glucose intolerant obese people would fail to enter ketosis on this diet, instead developing hypoglycemic attacks and a low energy state from insulin surges in response to the not low enough levels of dietary carbohydrate.

Speaking as a once obese person, I entered ketosis very very well on a 20 gram per day diet which was high in fat. The ketosticks were dark deep purple and the weight melted off without effort, with symptomatic nausea and disgust of food (who needs food when morbidly obese fat tissue is hemorrhaging fatty acids for energy substrate?)

I suspect this is because I do not have classic "insulin resistance" (e.g. high fasting insulin), but rather I have a problem tolerating dietary carbohydrate specifically overproducing insulin in response to it. In other words, my insulin levels drop very nicely if my diet is free of carbs, which is probably why I am teeny tiny thin now (and many fat people can not easily lose weight, even when they properly follow the low carb diet - these are the fat people with fasting hyperinsulinemia and proper insulin resistance).

I had this idea many years ago - the difference between myself and many other fat people is that I am not insulin resistant, but I DO develop hyperinsulinemia. I am glucose intolerant in that sense (that I make far too much insulin) but I am not insulin resistant (in that my insulin levels come down rapidly if I do not eat dietary carb).
This is why the low carb diet is pretty much a cure for me, but many other fat people don't find that to be the case. This is typically the case when people gain weight gradually later in life - they are insulin resistant and always have relatively high insulin and high glucose levels, and a low carb diet is not going to make them thin. They would be better off taking drugs like metformin to control their liver and that would help bring insulin down further.

ItsTheWooo said...


The liver is extremely important in obesity, but much more so in type 2 diabetes. The person with advanced insulin resistance cannot suppress gluconeogenesis and this further aggrivates hyperinsulinemia in a glucose intolerant person. This is why metformin is so helpful to the type II diabetic, or the documented insulin resistant individual (high fasting insulin). I don't think I am really "insulin resistant", and pretty sure if I took metformin I would be hypoing all over the place.

However, if you are genuinely insulin resistant, the drug metformin is awesome precisely because it STOPS gluconeogenesis, withOUT stimulating insulin. It normalizes the metabolism somewhat. Therefore, the insulin resistant lose weight on it. That's the problem with insulin resistance. Your liver is spewing out sugar like cray-cray and this is driving your basal insulin higher, as well as your fasting sugar, and you gain weight from this process.

**Note that people who develop type II diabetes are often found to have a naturally extreme ability to make blood sugar in the liver. It's not just about insulin resistance, it's the fact that their glucose output from their liver is by genetics just higher so that they easily exhaust their compensatory ability. If you take two people, and they have the same level of insulin resistance, but one of those people has a gluconeogenesis capacity 3 times as much as the other person, which of these people do you think will end up diabetic?

This is another reason why diabetes is so common among indigenous hunter gatherer peoples. These people, evolutionarily, naive to agriculture selected traits which favor gluconeogenesis ability, much like a carnivore. In modern society this just sets them up to easily become diabetic when insulin resistant.

ItsTheWooo said...

I think we will find out, one day, that "obesity" is not some common disease with a similar underlying pathophysiology between obese people, but rather an aggregation of many different genetic traits, different pathophysiologies which work together to result in excessive fat gain.

I think we will also discover these traits typically and most commonly affect glucose metabolism, which is why a low carbohydrate diet is so effective in the overwhelming majority of obese people. We will one day discover that a very high percentage - probably over 3/4ths - of obese people are obese because of glucose metabolism defect/deficiency.

It's analogous to mental illness, for example, schizophrenia.

One day we will discover there is not much pathophysiological similarity between 10 different schizophrenics. One has a prenatal gene disrupting virus, one has a spontaneous defective gene regulating neuronal growth, one fried his brain from drugs and chemicals at a young age, one has a bunch of weirdo genes affecting COMT and D2 receptors...

... but, we find, the overwhelming majority of "schizophrenias" are mediated via defective regulation of dopamine activity in the brain.
Not enough in the frontal lobes, too much in the limbic system, leading to paranoia and illogical thinking and frank psychosis. Brain tissue loss, leading to enlarged ventricles.

No two schizophrenics are alike,
few schizophrenics have exactly the same disease, but they all share this common "symptom" of their brain being too active in dopamine in some ways and hypoactive in other ways.

Since the defect in psychosis and hallucinations is excessive dopamine and serotonin, we give NEUROLEPTIC medication to these patients. And, it controls their disease.

This is what the low carbohydrate diet is to obesities. It doesn't matter if one person overproduces insulin to carbohyrate (but is relatively insulin sensitive), meanwhile another person is frankly insulin resistant, and a third person has poor glucose tolerance because they are taking haldol and zyprexa for schizophrenia (and dopamine signalling is essental for normal cell-level energy use: a lack of dopamine receptor activation literally causes a shift to hibernation and an inability to use glucose for energy with compensatory hyperinsulinemia).

All these people share a common root symptom: body fat accumulation, secondary to excessive insulin production, which in turn is secondary to some fubary in how their body uses glucose.

All of them will experience some degree of symptom remission and control (symptom=high body fat) if they stick to a high fat, low carbohydrate diet.

ItsTheWooo said...

I think the reason that most obesities are mediated by atypical glucose metabolism/insulin regulation is because of the fact that dietary glucose is so seasonably variable.

Unlike fat and protein, which are on our body year round, dietary carbohydrate is the one nutrient that radically shifts from fall, winter, spring, and summer. Depending on the environments our ancestors herald from, we have picked up some weirdo idiosyncratic genes affecting glucose processing along the way. They were once adaptive (helping us survive lean times), but now they just make us fat and/or diabetic.

For example: you carry a gene which means that dietary carb hitting your small intenstine means BIGTIME INSULIN.

When your great great great great great grandmother was in a tribe, gathering and hunting, this was awesome. Oh, it's summer/early fall, and look, a ton of berries, insulin time, eat up and get fat!! hungry hungry hippos!

Then comes winter and poof, insulin goes bye bye and so does the body fat. She lives, meanwhile her sister without that gene is dead because she didn't become relatively hyperinsulinemic in response to the berries in fall.

She was so good at surviving and breeding, her ancestors now have this gene.

Oh wait, now we are in america 2011. Chinese takeout carb fest time! Insulin insulin insulin... but no winter ever comes. Genes iz confuzed.

Result? 300 pounds of fat stack, with no dopamine receptors, preparing for the hibernation that never comes. No winter ever comes. Year round carbs and food.

It wouldn't be evolutionarily logical for genes which control seasonal exploitation to affect food taste or texture or anything BUT carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the one thing that is very predictably and solidly seasonably in flux. Sunlight controls greenery, and their offspring fruit, which in turn controls animals.

Therefore, a room full of obese people with a ton of different genes will find that almost all these genes target how their bodies process and use glucose for energy, and all will find relief of some degree when eating a low carbohydrate diet.

Obesity is so common today precisely because the tendency to store body fat in response to seasonal carbohydrate fluxes was once super adaptive. It is not a disease, it is a functional trait which can be controlled by following a diet that circumvents the tendency.

I mean, to return to the mental illness allegory... there are some forms of depression, particularly manic depression/bipolar depression, which may represent a functional seasonal adaptation. Burst of energy from an increase in light, a slowing down and hibernation in response to decreasing light... many depressives especially manic depressives follow this pattern, bursting out nuts in spring and falling into a hole in fall.
Our environment may make this otherwise adaptive tendency pathological, due to chronic abnormal light and abnormal sleeping patterns and taxing our health with omega 3 deficiencies.

Schizophrenia, again, is something that happens to HUMANS specifically because our brain evolved sophisticated ability to think abstractly and reason... to think far into the future, to imagine think, speak. Our dopamine system is like, full on hardcore. When that goes wrong, you get human insanity. You do not see crazy chimpanzees, banging their head against the wall, pacing and behaving with strange motivation, or lack of motivation... only humans have this happen to them. Craziness is the flipside of a human brain.

Animals can become mentally ill in regards to depression (e.g. a lack of motivation) or anxiety (e.g. frantic excessive grooming) and this happens from very high stress hormone levels.

But you don't see like, psychotic animals. That only happens when a parasitic organism hijacks their nervous system to promote vector transfer, e.g. rabies or toxoplasmosis.

Crazy is human specific and its because we evolved a high powered nervous system that is super sensitive.

Stipetic said...

"I will be hallelujah jesus walk again throw down your crutches cured."

Amen! That is funny as shit.

Always a joy to read your comments, Itsthewoo. Full of wisdom. Keep it up.

lightcan said...


Are you saying that the last 40.000 years (approximately, it's not the exact number of years but the idea of adaptation that matters) the time spent by Homo Sapiens in a moderate climate with 4 seasons and winter/springs with no carbs (especially the last Ice Age) altered permanently the genes/the ability to deal with carbs of those descending from those groups?
From the point of view of prevention shouldn't you argue then for seasonality of carbs rather than for low intake all year round? Doesn't it depend on the metabolic status of the child or his/hers visible tendency to put on fat?

Talking about anecdotes relating to weight-loss and difficulties on low carb I would like to add that for me, cutting added fat from an already low carb regime helped me lose 5-6 kg in the last two months. I was surprised, as I have been trying to lose the last 10 kg for more than a year (after losing 36). I make an effort to eat boiled potatoes or rice, rarely, to get glucose (wouldn't have eaten them before), otherwise I would end up eating mainly protein and little fat, which, I suppose we agree, it's not great. My body obviously is using the reserves of fat.
I know I wasn't morbidly obese so I don't count in your book, but low carb high fat is not working for everybody in the long term. People are different.

Anonymous said...

Via Evolvify: "Comments
Okay, I’m not really conflicted about Richard’s talk, but I’m conflicted about the concept of self-experimentation and the whole n=1 “meme”. The conflict is simple: It’s a brilliant and important concept, but I don’t think most people are capable of executing it in a meaningful way. I too often see people talking about self-experimentation in terms of how they “feel” after doing something or changing something, or whatever. Unless the measure is objective (time, distance, etc.), it’s likely so influenced by cognitive bias that it’s either totally useless, or counter-productive. This is particularly true when talking about dietary compounds that have a short-term psychoactive effect on the brain (neurotransmitters, etc.), in longer durations that introduce stealth and unexpected confounds, or otherwise decouple inputs from outputs or experience. Poorly executed, then continuously recited, N=1 experimentation is an endless fountain of misleading anecdotes that are assigned more value than they warrant.

In other words, watch the talk and practice self-experimentation. But if, and ONLY IF, you pay close attention to the parts about scientific method, and are religious about using only [more or less] objective measures. Even if you manage that, you’re still exposed to a range of biases and need to temper and discount the reliability of your findings more than you’ll want to.

Example of almost totally useless “objective” measure… weight. Throw away your damned scale. You’re better off with a digital camera."

ItsTheWooo said...


"Are you saying that the last 40.000 years (approximately, it's not the exact number of years but the idea of adaptation that matters) the time spent by Homo Sapiens in a moderate climate with 4 seasons and winter/springs with no carbs (especially the last Ice Age) altered permanently the genes/the ability to deal with carbs of those descending from those groups?"

No, I do not think that the environment altered genes (in the sense of lamarckism, or even epigenetics)... I mean some of us evolved the vulnerability to become obese on a high carb diet.

I think that the pressures of the environment resulted in genetic selection which affects our physiology today. In the case of many people who are prone to obesity, we carry genes which were adaptive in environments where there were large shifts in nutrition from season to season. We evolved from hunter gatherers, and some of us are more hunter gatherer-ish than others. Obesity is relatively rare among most asians and europeans because they are well acclimated to agriculture and have lost the capacity to detect seasonability via dietary glucose.

My previous example describes the utility of responding to dietary carb with hyperinsulinemia, assuming the environment involves wild swings of high and low nutrition states, as is common to many hunter gatherer groups. Those same genes in modern america result in morbid obesity and diabetes - the fat gain continues indefinitely, there never is a famine.

I suppose the logical deduction would be seasonal carb fluxes, but this is needlessly complicated and has no advantage over maintaining a low carb intake year round. Sure, you can binge on fruit and fatty animals for 4 weeks, and then you can eat 500 calories per day for 4 weeks, but why would you do that when you can just eat 60ish carbs per day and calories to satisfy hunger every single day?

I think it is a far too literal interpretation to assume that the prescription is to have wild swings in carb intake. Just because the genes evolved to cope with that sort of environment, does not mean that this is the only environment where these genes can be stable and thrive.

It is much better for a modern western person, who happens to have obesity genes, to just eat a low carb diet. Your boss would frown on you staying out of work for 4 weeks while you binge as much as possible on fatty animals and fruit, and he would probably also not appreciate you being haggard and relatively low energy during your famine season.

For example, I have biological depression, with a clear seasonality. This most likely is a result of my recent ancestors being from the equator - I have a higher physiological need for light than your average person.
I could, for example, quit my job, move to the equator, wander about all day under the sun so as to maintain normal emotional balance... or alternatively I could just buy a 100 dollar bright light box and look at that for 30 minutes in the morning. Both work relatively the same to keep me from crying, wanting not to live, physical pains/aches, and feeling like a pile of bricks to heavy to move... except one works very well with my life and the other is an insane idea which requires a needless massive overhaul of my lifestyle, due to a far too literal interpretation of how to approach my genetic inheritance.

ItsTheWooo said...


Regarding your difficulties with weight... if you are eating potatoes and rice, don't be surprised if you find it difficult to lose weight, and in that case, I would expect cutting fat to help you, as dietary fat impairs glucose tolerance (however, in the context of a borderline or fully ketogenic diet, dietary fat is merely additional rocket fuel). The more carbs a person eats the less dietary fat they should be eating, as fat results in more glucose being made to process carbohydrate they are also eating.

I totally don't agree with your belief that you need to eat crappy rice and potatoes "to avoid your body from eating its muscles", that is a myth and superstition.

Muscle composition is controlled primarily by genetic potential, dietary energy (calories), amino acids (protein), and your hormone status. I.E. normal levels of estrogen, testosterone, IGF-1/insulin (protein will take care of the "normal levels of insulin" part).

Muscle, like body fat, is hormonally controlled. This is why body builders inject themselves with growth hormone, insulin, and testosterone. THey only utilize food calories in the context of hormone manipulation (steroid use). Food calories, in isolation of hormone manipulation, is more often than not shunted into body fat, because food is not going to radically increase your hormone levels (unless they were suppressed by food restriction).

Food calories can affect hormone balance if one is starving themselves - leptin, insulin and IGF and testosterone are abnormally low in a starved state, which results in an inability to retain your normal biological potential of muscle mass.

Eating food calories can increase insulin/leptin, which increases IGF-1 and testosterone, normalizin gthis and therefore result in the retention of muscle mass even if protein content of the diet remains the same.

But, like I said, unless you are starving yourself (eating too few calories), or you are on some sort of freakish weirdo vegan or vegetarian diet, don't expect your food to make you grow muscles. Odds are your IGF1, insulin, testosterone, leptin, is where it should be right now... and eating more rice and potatoes is just going to make your belly expand if you are glucose intolerant.

When I took leptin replacement for my hypothalamic amenorrhea from leptin insufficiency, I grew muscle mass and looked naturally thin and lean. I did no additional exercise, I did not change my diet. Correcting my leptin insufficiency (purely a result of massive weight loss) increased my IGF1 levels, which then changed how my body processes amino acids: less being turned into glucose, more being turned into lean tissue.

If I attempted to eat rice and potatoes to achieve the same effect, I would increase muscle mass, but I would increase fat mass far more.

ItsTheWooo said...


Thank you, glad someone is appreciating my rambings ;)

ItsTheWooo said...


"The real question isn't "why do some people get fat?" it is "why don't all of us get fat?""

I agree very much.

This sums up what I am trying to say. There are a lot of different defects that can lead to obesity, but pretty much all of them, or the vast majority of them, involve atypical glucose metabolism-resultant high insulin levels-genetic potential of adipocytes to respond to it.

Those of us who DONT get fat, lack either the atypical glucose metabolism, OR they lack the hyperinsulinemia, OR they lack the adipocyte genetic potential to respond to hyperinsulinemia.

You can have a totally in tact glucose metabolism. Your average thin, young, healthy person.

You can have an atypical glucose metabolism, but no hyperinsulinemia. T1diabetes or MODY are examples.

You can have an atypical glucose metabolism, AND you can have hyperinsulinemia, but your adipocytes resist responding to hyperinsulinemia with body fat gain for purely genetic reasons. These are the "metabolically obese" skinny people with crazy high triglycerides and visceral fat and rigid arteries and diabetes. These are people who have lipodystrophy.

The question is not why we get fat, but what is different about those who don't? This illuminates the basic physiological mechanisms underpinning most obesities. A very basic description of which is above.

blogblog said...


The common human mental illnesses including schizophrenia are all found in non-primate mammals such as dogs, cats and rodents.

If you go to any primate research centre you will soon discover nearly all the animals are, in fact, totally insane.

blogblog said...


Are you saying that the last 40.000 years (approximately, it's not the exact number of years but the idea of adaptation that matters) the time spent by Homo Sapiens in a moderate climate with 4 seasons and winter/springs with no carbs (especially the last Ice Age) altered permanently the genes/the ability to deal with carbs of those descending from those groups?

Humans evolved during a 200,000 year ice age. Glaciers extended as far south as Spain. This climate didn't really end until about 7000 years ago.

There weren't four distinct seasons in the Northern Hemisphere for the past 40,000 years. The climate was similar to the modern high Arctic. There was nine months of winter and a brief summer partial thaw. Fruit, nuts and tubers were essentially non-existent. The food choices were meat, fish and eggs (2-3 months only). According to bone isotope measurements as much as 98% of calories were from animal sources.

Fructose malabsorption affects as many as 40% of westerners. This is obviously because our diets were practically devoid of fruit during a crucial evolutionary period.

blogblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blogblog said...


the "miracle" ingredients of Wate-On weight gain formula were vegetable oil and sugar. It seems like those old time chemists knew quite a lot about nutrition.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...


Indeed! And, (they new must have known something about) calories . . . .

(And, neurosis . . . of the liver . . . . the brain . . . . and some other internal things which become detrimentally excitable as a result (surely) of thinking in total . . . . leading people to be most vulnerable to create/consume hydrogenated banana flavored toxins in pill sized formula.)

Maybe it would be good if we returned to some kind of zombe state. Oh wait . . . the zombe meme . . . the 'I' meme . . .

Anek Dodl said...


Thanks for the education! I love reading your comments.

ItsTheWooo said...


Are you arguing that humans did not evolve seasonal shifts in physiology, at all?

There is plenty of evidence that humans do shift their physiology season to season, and some may be more sensitive to this than others.

For example, an increase in melatonin (part of the decline into fall and winter) will cause infertility in many species. Utility why is obvious - as part of the hibernation process, as part of seasonal adaptation, increasing melatonin levels indicative of the dark period results in infertility so as prevent an unsustainable pregnancy during winter famine/decreased nutrition.

This ability for melatonin to trigger amenorrhea is still conserved in humans, and some are more sensitive than others. During starvation itself, central melatonin levels increase and this plays a role in eliciting hypothalamic amenorrhea in females who are starving. There is a great deal of overlap between mechanisms to induce hibernation and mechanisms which deal with already occurring starvation - hibernation/seasonal adaptation is like a highly sophisticated starvation response. It happens before nutrition even changes yet and depends exclusively on seasonal cues suggesting future nutrient availability.

It is known when humans take melatonin, there is a decrease in FSH and LH output consistent with slowing fertility.

Females who are thin and have low leptin / insulin levels are most at risk for melatonin induced infertility, for obvious reasons (their fertility is already marginal - the additional burden of seasonality and melatonin fluxes can cause a shift into amenorrhea, which is part of starvation as well as seasonal adaptation).

I personally experienced this - while using low dose leptin for hypothalamic amenorrhea, I regained menstrual cycles, but would lose them again in the fall and winter. Using bright light corrected this completely (which suppresses melatonin and augments dopamine).

It has been shown in studies that people with anorexia nervosa show a seasonal birth trend, with anorexia births spiking in the spring season. The reason why is that anorexia (compulsive food restriction and low weight) is a heritable condition, daughters of restrictive anorexics often have anorexic mothers, or mothers with a subclinical problem of self starvation and food restriction. Mothers of anorexic daughters are sensitive to seasonal fertility patterns, lose their cycles in fall and winter and may only be fertile in the summer. Result? A lot more anorexic people are born in spring, and this is because starving women may only be fertile in the bright warm months.

This is all about seasonal patterns.

Judi O said...

I discovered my own seasonal pattern last October when my fasting blood sugar rose abruptly to 115 -118 after being in the low nineties over the summer. It remained that way all winter until March when it slowly dropped again. July & August are my best months for blood sugar control. I use a low carb diet to manage my "prediabetic" state. Horses become more insulin resistant in the fall and it's called seasonal rise. I wonder if a light box would help with this. If not, there is always metformin.

ItsTheWooo said...


Regarding my second response to you , rereading your original post it seems I misunderstood you the first time so you can disregard that second response.

It's difficult for me to comment on how cutting fat helped you lose weight from a sufficiently low carb diet from this vantage point - I don't have all the information regarding your diet and lifestyle.

I would like to rephrase again that I do not think everyone needs to eat a low carb diet, just those of us who are clearly vulnerable to significant obesity and clearly respond to dietary carbohydrate with hyperinsulinemia and subsequent chronic weight gain. There are many many cases of men and women who were 20 or 30 pounds chubby and lowered dietary fat or stopped eating sweets and lost the weight.

When you say that you "don't count" in my book, you needlessly spin things in an emotional way (that your weight loss success is meaningless). It is difficult to maintain any kind of restricted eating program and all weight loss is difficult - you clearly have made a significant accomplishment, which was hard work, and you vigilantly monitor your response to variables in diet and lifestyle so as to achieve and maintain your success. You do absolutely "count" in terms of successful weight loss and I would not denigrate anyone who successfully reduces and maintains a healthy weight.

When I argue for the utility of separating the significantly obese (>75 pounds of excess body fat) from the slightly obese and overweight, I do this purely to highlight the fact that obesity of this magnitude is not the same, physiologically, as lesser/"Normal" degrees of obesity.

It would be like if you had two patients exhibiting the symptom of cough, but the cough between these patients had an intrinsically different quality with attending differences in lab works. One of the coughs was mild, not distressing to the patient, barely noticeable. The other was horse distinctly abnormal, painful, with bloody expectorant. Would you think the treatment between these patients would be the same? If the first guy with the mild cough waited things out and his cough went away (etiology: transient/viral) and told the other guy that his cough would probably go away too... do you think he would be right?

We all have fat cells, fat cells store fat, that is their purpose. Almost all of us are capable of gaining some excess body fat from time to time, depending on the quality of our diet and activity, because all of these things affect insulin levels.

HOWEVER, When someone weighs SO MUCH that the majority of their body weight is in their white adipose tissue... when their arms and legs are almost pure fat, and like the size of small children... I think it is time to consider that what is going on in this person's body is in no way comparable to a woman who gained up to a size 12 dress size.

I think it is time to realize that what is going on for this person is not related to fluctuations in activity levels (starting a new job), or liking sweets too much, or eating white bread instead of high fiber bread. There is some major, serious, neuroendocrine problems going on for this person which probably doesn't have much of a relationship to their diet/lifestyle, other than the fact that perhaps some element of diet/lifestyle is triggering this distinctly abnormal physiological shift.

blogblog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
blogblog said...


There is a view amongst the amateur paleo community that a northern hemisphere lifestyle is the norm for humans. In fact is is very, very abnormal.

The vast majority of people have always lived in the tropics and subtropics. In these regions there are no (harsh) winters, no need to fatten up or hibernate, no seasonal depression and no shortage of vitamin D.

It is quite obvious that humans have very few if any major seasonal adaptations. [This is to be expected as descendants of tropical apes]. We breed equally well at any time of the years. We don't grow more hair in cold weather. We have virtually no seasonal weight gain/loss.

lightcan said...

Thanks Woo,

I wasn't eating potatoes before cutting fat, or in other words, I was very low carb high fat and I couldn't lose more fat after 2 years. Typical plateau that you hear about. I changed my way of eating two months ago by cutting the extra cream and butter, and adding about two potatoes a day or rarely 3 spoons of cooked rice, which is not much, I don't think it goes over 60 grams (20 grams carb in 100 grams potato). I don't eat more than 60 grams of protein a day, generally. It's all approximately as I don't have the time to measure the ingredients that go into my food and I don't really want to either. The main change is the change in fat calories.
I don't want to increase muscle mass, otherwise I would be exercising regularly. I am aware that low fat weightloss might mean muscle mass loss. At the moment I'm fine like this and other concerns take priority, the weight stabilisation is great because I wanted it for a long time but it's not the main thing that motivates me.
Maybe low carb high fat is good for everybody in all contexts, that's what I have come to believe too, maybe not, maybe it is not necessary for all and maybe it's not good for me. Some people mount a stronger starvation response, my T3 got very low and I have hormonal problems, too minor for an endocrinologist to care. I also have chronic gum disease and it didn't improve on low carb. An understanding of the pathology and of the context of the individual is important.
Seasonality, in my opinion, doesn't mean huge swings or short binges on fruit and fatty meat, there is a difference between two main periods, but it's more gradual and more extended. The body needs time to adjust too. When I was little, in Romania there was a definite seasonality. During the winter we lived on pork, potatoes, pickles, during the summer and autumn we had all the fruits, tomatoes, aubergines, green beans, etc. a totally different diet. The difference was more qualitative rather than in macro ratios.

Everybody tries to make their own mind and dialogue is necessary.

lightcan said...

sorry, I didn't read your last/third comment to me before I posted my answer. I didn't mind your discussion about morbidly obese people, I understand it's a different category, but I thought you can't really relate to others who are different from you.

so, what is it, tropical ancestry or northern european one? There is only what, 4 %, Neanderthal genes in those of European descent? In your opinion, is a moderate meat, high fat diet evolutionarily speaking the optimal diet for a human? Is the last period more important that the previous ones? I think humans can thrive on a variety of macro ratios. Does longevity depend on lower fasting insulin levels? Well, populations eating more carbs don't necessarily have higher levels.

Anonymous said...


"Everybody tries to make their own mind and dialogue is necessary."

Exactly what I was trying to say, but my ramblings came out all long winded, idiotic and illogical (which seems to be a character trait). haha.

Just follow the science.

I think as long as each of us follows what we are individually looking for, which is what each of us presumably are doing anyway, there should be no need to deviate into bullying people who are just seeing things differently at a particular point in their investigations.

I guess the deviation (regarding when comments get all angry and annoying) is more about when someone is certain of their view and is trying to persuade someone who clearly doesn't hold the same point of view and is equally certain of their own views. And, in that case 'persuasion', is an end game, and so a more or less pointless engagement. (Unless you get some gratification arguing for arguments sake; the equivalent of slinging bits of brick back and forth).

blogblog said...

you are almost certainly losing muscle mass and increasing fat levels.

Low protein diets can only work when combined with a very high carbohydrate intake. This is because carbohydrates can be converted to non-essential amino acids.

However on a low carbohydrate diet some protein always gets used as an energy source. This leads to protein deficiency.

You really need at least 2-3g of protein per kg of bodyweight.

You must exercise to stay healthy. There are no exceptions.

lightcan said...

I checked the wiki page for human evolution and I have to correct my mistakes. 1-4% of all non-African populations' genome is Neanderthal.
Regarding the Ice Age, that lasted until 10 000 ya and had a maximum 18 000 ya, considering the out of Africa theory (exit minimum 50 000 ya) and the presence in Europe of Homo Sapiens, the questions that I haven't found the answers for are how far north did they go and live until the end of the last ice age and how many of them, how did that population influence the present genome, considering the theory that hunter-gatherer populations have been replaced by agriculturalists coming from around the Black Sea/Mediterranean and also what kind of climate did the subtropical regions have during the ice-age?
John Hawks doesn't write for paleo anthropology dummies like me.

lightcan said...


It doesn't seem that I'm increasing fat levels from the way the trousers look on me. I kind of knew what you're saying regarding protein needs in case of low carb. You say 2-3 grams of protein/kg, I think 1 g is enough and I'm generally aiming for Jaminet's 600 kcal of glycoproteins as mimimum, that's why I try to eat more carbs, besides veg and salads. I might not get that so muscle mass loss comes as a consequence, I suppose. Thanks for the reminder to exercise.

ItsTheWooo said...


How do you explain the fact that melatonin causes infertility in human females?

In fact, thin women do show seasonal trends of fertility - and thinness is the human norm, obesity and being excessively fat is the outlier. Obese women are more resistant to melatonin fertility suppression due to the fact they are hyperleptinemic/hyperinsulinemic which causes a chronic excess of GnRH (much more so than the suppression by melatonin). But, a very low body fat female can become amenorrhetic in total darkness as in the deep winter. This rarely happens today due to the copious amounts of artificial bright light, as well as copious amounts of insulin/leptin stimulating glucose food. But, it is quite clear humans stop fertility when melatonin is high just like many other animals do routinely in fall and winter.

How do you explain the seasonal mood shifts and blood sugar control and weight gain many humans experience, including myself?
We have a poster in here with diabetes (thanks judi o) who is confirming that her diabetes follows the sun and temperature... just as my mood does, and my weight. Her seasonal trends with diabetes are exactly the same as my trends with energy, mood, weight.

I'm going to have to completely disagree with you, it seems beyond evident that humans exhibit mild physiological shifts depending on light and temperature patterns. No we do not hibernate, but yes, light / dark cold/warm patterns absolutely do seem to trigger physiological shifts for many of us.

ItsTheWooo said...

I think perhaps we need to consider that traits which make us vulnerable to carbohydrate sensitivity (blood glucose/carbohyrate induced dopamine d2 receptor downregulation/hyperinsulinemia) are not necessarily evolved during the paleolithic period.

I have medium toned skin; during the winter it is medium-fair, during the summer my genetics result in the stimulus of uv radiation causing my melanocytes to make protective pigment, and my skin darkens and superficial layer thickens accordingly. Like a chameleon, I posses the genes that can lighten or darken my color very well depending on the light patterns. This is because genetically my ancestors were from the equator and central europe; there is a lot of sun exposure, but it does fluctuate. So, as a result, my pigmentation also fluctuates.

My irish friends are ruddy and can barely elicit a tanning response - some frankly burn and can't tan at all. It takes me just a few minutes of late day sun to equal a tan as deep as they can acheive under the most intense uv radiation. I almost NEVER burn, whereas they burn easily.

My african american friends are always dark and do not lighten in the winter. In this cyclical sun environment, they succumb more easily to vitamin D3 deficiencies and are perhaps more vulnerable to the mood/metabolic effects of a low light environment.

We clearly see that humans, along ethnic lines, have evolved and concerved genetics for coping with UV exposure patterns. The lightest humans are found in northern europe and some of these humans can't tolerate UV radiation at all, developing burns and compromised skin barriers. The darkest humans are found in southern parts of africa and do not do well in a low UV radiation environment, easily developing d3 insufficiency.

What makes you assume that, perhaps, after the paleolithic period, some of us picked up some WEIRDO genes for detecting - and responding - to nutrient trends in a cyclical light/seasonal environment?

All it takes is one or two genetic mutations to completely change how we can or can not tolerate nutrition. If it helped one of my great great great great great great grandmothers survive if she overproduced insulin in response to seasonal food excess (and, my coloring DOES suggest my ancestors saw seasons)... then, all it takes is that gene thriving and being conserved and in my body today. Except today, it just makes me obese if I eat "normal american food".

I have medium fair skin that is hyper responsive to light patterns, green eyes, light brown hair, and I also have a very, very strong vulnerability to seasonal shifts in every aspect of my physiology. Perhaps not all humans react as strongly to a seasonal environment, but if my coloring is any indication, I probably have quite a few genes which were selected in an environment with seasons.

Of course, I am speaking hypothetically, but I think it is very likely that quite a few among us have genes which are aware that seasons exist, as this was at one time super adaptive. Most of us are medium complexioned and tan rather well; it's only reasonable to assume that the capacity to elicit a tan is a good barometer of whether or not your ancestors knew seasons.

ItsTheWooo said...


Were you eating to hunger on the higher fat diet? I can and will gain weight if I force feed myself a ketogenic diet. This is because, a person with an intact pancreas and nervous system will generate more insulin to cope with extra fatty acids in the body. Food itself - the act of eating - is insulinogenic in a non diabetic person.

I know of many morbidly obese people who try the low carb thing, FORCE FEED themselves, and wonder why they fail to lose weight. I suspect these individuals may have some kind of psychological disorder and do not want to lose weight, but either way, if you eat in excess of hunger, and eat when you are not hungry, you can expect to gain weight.

Lack of hunger is your body's sign that it has enough nutrition already (disease states notwithstanding). If you are a healthy person and do not feel hungry even if you ate not much today, I assure you your body knows what it is doing. You probably ate a ton of calories yesterday.

One thing I noticed about myself, that was not common on the low carb bloggers who stay fat, is that these low carb bloggers would purposely try to like, over eat. They would eat when they weren't hungry and they would force meals. They would spread propaganda that you wouldn't lose weight unless you were always eating on a ketogenic diet.

When I was first starting out I believed them (I was young and ignorant) but later I realized they were probably just psychologically disordered and didn't really want to lose weight. I personally don't have any issue with emotional eating/carb enjoyment/ wanting to stay fat, but I hear that some fat people do have this attending issue. I suspect these issues are involved in making people force feed themselves while in ketosis.

Hunger is your body's gentle signal telling you it needs nutrition - lack of hunger is a signal that your body is using its nutrition stores for energy. Excessive hunger all the time is a sign of hypoleptinemia (too little body fat) or hyperinsulinemia (an imbalance in storing nutrition as fat excessively). Too little hunger can also occur, but unless you have cancer or some other disease which causes cachexia, odds are your lack of hunger is a direct result of body fat catabolism, i.e. the diet is working and you are well on your way to not being a fatty anymore.

I can promise you, that your body will absolutely make you very very hungry / feel very shitty with no energy, even on a ketogenic diet, if your insulin/leptin levels become critically low. It is impossible to go on a ketogenic diet and "enter starvation mode" or such nonsense, the feedback of wasted body fat and hypoinsulinemia/hypoleptinemia will make you feel like the dead//ravenous with hunger until you eat and gain weight.

ItsTheWooo said...

I don't know, based on your description of the romanian diet it seems as if in the winter it was relatively low in carb and in the summer there was a lot more fruit, which is to be expected. The quality of nutrition also seems better in the summer due to more fresh produce and less preserved food.

Insulin doesn't just store food energy it also stores minerals and electrolytes, so another utility of responding to carb increases with high insulin is that you can store all the minerals in the seasonal excesses .

It sounds like you are still eating a ketogenic diet. I eat 60 carbs per day to maintain optimal well being , not easily losing or easily gaining ... that seems to be my sweet spot. It is the cusp of ketosis, assuming fat intake is sufficient and protein isn't excessive.

Your protein is quite restricted so you are definitely eating ketogenically. You probably could tolerate more than 60 grams of protein - I would not thrive on a protein intake that low, I do best if my protein is over 75 grams (but not much higher than 120ish). I am 115-120 pounds.

I too find that a zero carb diet is not as effective as a diet with some carbs in it. I have never done zero carb , but I did 10-20 carbs per day, and it worked fabulously. I had more energy, and just as much insulin control, when I ate 30-40 carbs.

ItsTheWooo said...


"You really need at least 2-3g of protein per kg of bodyweight. "

This is disastrous advice for a diabetic or obese person.

The main problem in diabetes, and often also occurring in obesity, is that excessive glucagon from insulin resistance results in a very high output of basal blood glucose, thus higher insulin and fasting sugar.

Eating 2-3g of protein per kg will only exacerbate that.

The idea of a LC diet is to shift most of the body away from depending on glucose, not to foster it with extreme amounts of protein per day.

Not to mention the fact that protein itself is insulinogenic and in excess will impair ketosis and body fat loss. Proper ketogenic diets in labs are also protein restricted - protein in excess, like dietary carb, is insulinogenic and keto suppressive.

I have always found the best appetite control comes from a relatively high protein, but not too high protein diet. I do agree on a very low carb we need more protein... but no, I do not need over 100 grams of protein per day. I get all the same problems associated with carbs if I eat a million grams of protein... except, protein does not do as good of a job of raising leptin and suppressing the stress response in my body as does insulin, so it doesn't feel as relaxing and numbed while my glucose is unstable, lol. Too much protein also is responsible for the "atkins attitude" so many people suffer from by reducing serotonin levels (ketosis, on the other hand, is pleasant, relaxing, and mildly euphoric due to the gabaergic/dopaminergic properties of ketosis).

MYTH THAT NEEDS TO DIE: Eating protein does not cause muscle growth, any more than eating fat causes body fat growth.

Muscle growth is hormonally controlled, just like body fat growth, and my lean mass set point is set to this level due to my leptin/insulin/tesosterone/IGF1 levels. Eating more protein does not and will not shift them that much. Ironically, i am far more likely to grow muscles if I eat CARBS, because high glucose metabolism/ insulin promotes more leptin, testosterone and resultant IGF1 in my body, all of which will cause my muscle mass to increase.

I suspect a man may require a lot more protein than I do, due to having high testosterone and subsequent high muscle mass, but my profile at this time does not and will not result in much lean mass being conserved, and bolusing protein will just turn my liver into a sugar faucet with attendant higher insulin hunger and MO PROBLEMZ.

Neonomide said...

@ blogblog,

Your depictions on ice age and hominid evolution make limited sense to me. As icy zone was late it may well gave had dissimilar impact on migrant vs african populations. Actually several genetic differences in metabolism have been detected between for example african bantus, natives in India and Caucacian people. It's really weird these paleo bloggers have been so slow to acknowledge any of this.

I also have IBD and am from northern Europe (eastern Finland haplotypes) and get my fix from moderate to higher csrb diet - with exercise required. I gave no fantasies on my ancestors killing cave bears and getting superhealth from eating seal blubber and mammal brains. Oh and even insanely far Nordic countries had a couple of degrews higher avg temp than now, which muct have inflenced on diet as well. These things are far from obvious, imho.

Anonymous said...

I forgot: humility is an art, but does not actually exist.

Anonymous said...

(As far as I can tell.)

lightcan said...

Thanks Woo for your comments,

we get used to eating certain things. Maybe I should eat 75 grams of protein, it seems a lot, and over 60 grams of carbs, but then I have to check and measure for a while to change my habits. It's an effort already to make sure there are some boiled potatoes , because before I didn't need them. After doing low carb (meat, fat and green veg) for two years I got used to eating in a certain way. Last summer, I added more sat fat and although I ate to hunger and no more, I even skipped breakfast, a few times I put my intake into Fitday and it was around 1400, I stopped losing. I think it was the low T3, high rT3.
There is also a lot of stress, some sleepless nights.
I'm 9 stones now at 1.68.

ItsTheWooo said...


75 grams of protein, in the context of an almost totally carbohydrate free diet as you are presently eating, is actually still quite low. The need for protein is higher on a very low carb diet.

During catabolic states (this includes wt loss) there are higher levels of protein turnover, which increases the daily needs for amino acids and zinc. You may, also, very likely benefit from zinc supplementation.

Your low T3 and high rT3 are functional hypothyroidism, which is probably due to a combiantion of weight loss induced relative leptin insufficiency, and the calorie restricted diet. Zinc deficiency can also do this. A low T3 with a high rT3 is the signature for leptin insufficiency / excessive dieting.

I am an american so not used to stones and meters, but I take it you are 126 pounds (9*14) and over 5'6 (168/2.54) tall? You are quite thin at this time... and it is quite likely, actually, that after your weight reduction you are leptin insufficient, as I am, which is contributing to if not causing your low T3 and high rT3. Feel free to ignore this question but have you noticed if your menstrual cycles have become irregular or have stopped, because that is also very specific for leptin insufficiency in a female.

The increase in carbs (the trivial increase) probably did not boost your metabolism much to shift your T3/rT3... it just increased your eating satisfaction so that you ended up eating a lot less calories (from fat), and therefore, lost more body fat. 2 tablespoons or whatever of rice is almost no energy, but a tablespoon or two of fat is a lot of energy. Less energy intake, even in a starved person with very little leptin, causes body fat catabolism. You just feel crappy while it is happening.

If you added more dietary protein you would probably not be as dependent on dietary carb to meet your glucose needs. I suspect that your overall well being would increase if you added just a little more protein, at the very least, it would help you feel warmer (which you probably feel cold all the time given your relatively low calorie intake and functional thyroid decrease).

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...


The whole of the Northern Hemisphere as far south as 40 degrees (Spain) was covered with up to 2000 metres ice for over 200,000 years. Finland was buried under ice until about 7000 years ago.

Nordic countries were 10C colder than now for the past 200,000 years. They were only warmer for a few hundred years around 2000 years ago and 1000 years ago.

Your ancestors had no choice but to eat meat because it was too cold to grow any crops.

The Sami people in Finland lived entirely on meat and fish until the 20th century.

Dr Wolfgang Lutz successfully treated over 700 patients with Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. Every patient who remained on the low carbohydrate diet went into permanent remission.

blogblog said...


HGs typically eat only in the late afternoon or evening and fast for 16-20 hours a day. Even if they eat a huge amount of protein they are only going to have a brief increase in insulin levels.

Eating small meals every few hours prevents the body from properly adapting to a VLC diet.

blogblog said...


Every mammal on a natural diet obtains a minimum 2-3g protein per kg bodyweight per day. This occurs via direct consumption or gut fermentation. Grass fed cattle can produce as much as 2.5kg/day protein from rumination.

Cattle obtain their energy in the following percentages via rumination:

protein 20%; fatty acids 80%: carbohydrates 2%.

You will note this is the same proportions as traditional Inuits, dogs and cats.

Stefansson and Andersen averaged 230g/day protein (3g/kg/day) during the year long Bellevue dietary experiments. This level of protein was the norm for the Canadian Inuits that Stefansson lived with for 10 years.

The research that shows humans need very low protein intake is all based on very high carbohydrate diets. In this case carbohydrates are used to synthesise non-essential amino acids,

On a low carbohydrate diet much higher protein intake is necessary because some protein is always used for gluconeogenesis.

Muscle growth occurs in response to neurochemical stimulus. However muscle cannot be produced without essential amino acids. These can only be obtained from dietary sources.

blogblog said...
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blogblog said...

I read an article today by a veterinarian about feeding pigeons. He argued that pigeons (like children) don't understand nutrition and simply eat what tastes best. To argue his point he said that pigeons much prefer "unhealthy" grain to "perfectly balanced" commercial pigeon pellets.

I have a large flock of feral pigeons that I feed each afternoon using a commercial bird seed mix as well as split dried peas. The pigeons nearly always eat the fattiest and highest protein seeds first. Individual birds also have different preferences. This is logical if each pigeon is trying to balance the needs of itself and it's chicks. A pigeon can't properly control its macro- or micro-nutrient levels simply by eating more or less of an homogeneous pellet.

These "dumb" pigeons also seem to like a lot more fat and a lot less fibre then the textbooks say they need. I wonder how these "stupid" birds survived for millions of year without scientists to provide them with a "balanced" diet?

blogblog said...

A quarter of a century ago my university biochemistry lecturers said that no one understands nutrition. Nothing has really changed since.

Human nutrition research is little more than third rate epidemiology and worthless rat experiments.

I'll stick to instincts honed over a hundred million years or so of primate evolution for my advice. That mean no grass seeds, not to much liquid calf food and plenty of fatty meat.

lightcan said...

Sorry to Peter and others for this back and forth personal discussion

yes, just to confirm, there are hormonal problems, but my hormones have never been quite right. For a while now, based on what I could find on the web, I think I've had a 'luteal phase defect', which could be caused by hypothyroidism but also other things. Shorter periods, no amenorrhea. Abdominal ultrasound negative. I think progesterone deficiency.