The Safe Starches Panel from AHS 2012

I discussed it in AHS 2012: The Safe Starches Panel, Aug 18, 2012. The Ancestral Health Symposium Facebook page gives this summary:

The Ancestral Health movement—often known as “paleo”—has generally favored low-carb dieting with an emphasis on vegetables and sugary fruits rather than starchy tubers, roots, and grains. In 2010, however, Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet with their Perfect Health Diet argued for an ancestral diet with more starchy plants than fruits and with a moderate carb intake; they popularized the term “safe starches” to describe starches that are low in toxins after cooking, such as white potatoes and white rice. This panel brings together Dr. Ron Rosedale, author of The Rosedale Diet; Dr. Cate Shanahan, author of Deep Nutrition; Chris Kresser, blogger at chriskresser.com and integrative medicine practitioner; and Paul Jaminet to extend a discussion initiated on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog. The issues: What is healthier – low-carb or moderate-carb? sugary fruits or starchy tubers?

Here’s the video:

Safe Starches: Are they Essential to an Ancestral Diet? — 2nd annual Ancestral Health Symposium 2012 (AHS12). from Ancestral Health Society on Vimeo.

Leave a comment ?

78 Comments.

  1. Great to be able to watch all these writers I’ve been following discussing this issue in person.
    Chris Kresser is really impressive, never seen him speak before.
    For me the fibre content of safe starches seems to be important. Fruit and greens don’t supply the right sort, maybe it’s resistant starch I’m looking for.
    I could buy fat and protein for me, safe starches for the microbes, just like I also buy foods for my dog that I don’t feel like I need to eat.

  2. I wish people would mention sodium in these things. I have an idea for a new diet, ‘LCHFES’, Low Carb High Fat Enough Salt.

    • Good point tam, on low carb you do need a lot more salt.

    • That’s always a good point. I think the omission of things like salt cause many of the problems people experience on VLC diets.

      I seem to remember from the P&V studies that they augment a well-formulated VLC diet with about 1.5g of extra (on top of regular food sodium) salt. Especially important for those that are exercising vigorously.

  3. i never understand the breast milk analogy. Carnivores have some carb in their breast milk

    • Hi Casey,

      Which shows that carbs are desirable — especially in infants who have larger brain:body ratios.

      • well, I think breast milk is evolutionary designed to make a child grow as fast as possible, so that it has a chance for survival. I do not think this is desirable for an adult.

    • I also have a hard time accepting dairy itself and the argument for it because it seems clearly geared toward that specific period infant growth, whether targeting carbs, fat, protein or their proportions.

      Without a doubt its composition reflects infant needs at the cell level. And infant dietary needs as well. And to an extent it must be (at the very least) a skewed approximation of adult organ/cell needs as well; I think the PHD explains that part well enough.

      But as you bring up, that doesn’t necessarily say very much about adult dietary intake needs or optimal intake. At that point the discussion switches to “it remains an open question as to whether it is better to eat a source of glucose or have the liver produce it from other non glucose ingested substrate”, as someone posted below. And I don’t see how dairy has any clear bearing on that.

      Furthermore, at that point I’m personally fairly convinced of the “minimal effort” argument of matching dietary intake to cell/organ needs – to minimize conversion work needed by the liver/organs. But then I also see this as an argument against larger amounts of dairy (because it represents cell needs of infants rather than adults). So one way or the other, I have trouble accepting dairy as a major component of a diet plan in principle. But that’s just me.

      • Hi John & martinus,

        We have a more extensive exposition of the breast milk argument in the new edition. As far as growth is concerned, the main part of the infant that is growing rapidly is the brain. To support brain growth milk is more ketogenic than an adult diet needs to be. On the order of 10% of calories in breast milk are devoted to generating ketones to support brain growth.

        The rate of tissue growth in the rest of the body is small and only requires a few percent of calories at most to support. It doesn’t significantly change the composition of breast milk.

        The other major difference is that infants have relatively larger brains compared to body size, so breast milk may have more carbs (39%) than the adult diet needs.

        So much for macronutrients. You can worry about the healthfulness of the hormonal content of milk. But the macronutrient content is extremely good. Many dairy products also have modified macronutrient profiles, eg fermentation reduces the sugar content of milk.

        Even if you thought dairy was off from the ideal macronutrient ratio, it’s not likely to be the only thing you eat, and it would be easy to hit whatever macronutrient ratio you wanted by choosing the remaining foods in your diet appropriately.

        Best, Paul

        • Thank you Dr. Jaminet. Still looking forward to that read.

          Already I do think you’re right about dairy [fat] being healthful – but that final clause about balance with other foods is essential for it to register in my brain :).

          Side note: I brought it up elsewhere that my biggest concern with dairy was actually the fat composition (I don’t even consume carbs from dairy and limit protein to 15g casein/day max), primarily for reasons evoked above and compounded by weight loss (issues with palmitic acid, etc.). So I was intrigued to read the following section on Dr.Rosedale’s diet plan, which someone linked below (http://drrosedale.com/healthplan.htm): “LIMIT SATURATED FAT FOR THE FIRST THREE WEEKS”. Despite touted healthfulness of dairy it seems I’m constantly stumbling on these tidbits that seem to suggest it should be moderated, mainly in context of weight loss. But to what extent is the real question… I’ll be sticking with that 50/50 sat/mono balance for now, but I still wonder if greater mono/oleic acid wouldn’t be more appropriate for weight loss. Anyway I’ll stop before I trail off even more.

          • I don’t think focusing on monounsaturated fats is better for weight loss — it’s not bad, but there’s no benefit to it compared to saturated fat.

            Ron’s advice is based on observations in diabetics in a state of energy excess. Saturated fat increases oxidative stress in this context, and if they’re deficient in antioxidant minerals as many people are this can be a problem. But after a day of fasting to relieve energy excess or a few weeks of healthy eating to eliminate mineral deficiencies, the problem goes away. I think Ron is just being cautious here and trying to minimize the risk of any short-term problems in people who may be at high risk of heart attacks or stroke. I don’t think it means you should stay away from saturated fats for any long period of time.

  4. Paul do you subscribe to any of the methods of determining what the optimal carb intake is for the individual relative to their “ancestral” habits. Such as the “blood type” diet. It is very hard for me to come up with a percentage of what I am and relate that back to diet.

    • Hi Casey,

      I think optimal carb intake doesn’t vary much among healthy people but can vary more in various disease conditions. I think for most people around 30% carb is going to work well.

  5. I am amazed that nutritionists such as Rosedale and Mcdougal can exist and both think they’re right and demonstrate success. Rosedale is saying to avoid everything Mcdougal encourages and vice versa. I am familiar with the idea of “islands of safety” within macronutrient ratio’s, however I can’t help but feel that these “all or nothing” doctors aren’t constantly analyzing new data that emerges. I think Chris Kresser does a good job of that.

    For instance I don’t think anything can compete with a low-fat diet for reversing athlerosclerosis. Eventually a high fat doctor would stumble across this and compare it to the results some of their patients have achieved and modify accordingly, one would hope.

    • Hi Casey,

      One perspective on this is that a common cluster of diseases (met syn, diabetes, CVD) results from excess energy intake and any restrictive diet (low-fat, low-carb) will tend to reduce appetite and eliminate the energy excess.

      If this view is correct, then the defects of such diets would show up in other diseases that are more strongly promoted by malnutrition. Some of these might be slow-developing, like cancer or chronic infections. So the diets may appear better than they are because they reduce the risk of diseases that present immediate risk but increase the risk of diseases that present delayed risk.

      • I think that hypothesis would hold up if there weren’t other clues that fat isn’t the best for healthy vascular health. Such as down regulating the LDL receptor and that it can induce plaque in rhesus monkeys. The reason that I think that’s a viable example is that animals can and do develop vascular plaque, and you can easily overfeed them or give them unlimited calories, they are going to develop the disease when there variable being changed is a macronutrient.

        • When the variable being altered is a macronutrient RATHER than excessive calorie consumption

        • Hi Casey,

          I agree that macronutrient mix is important. But I think it’s low omega-6 that is most important, followed by low fructose. Then I think there are modest benefits from eating ~30% carb. I don’t believe “fat” in general is a bad macronutrient.

          Our new book discusses some of the evidence on CVD in animals, mainly in zoo animals. CVD/atherosclerosis develops rapidly in animals fed high-carb diets when their natural diet is high-fiber.

          I don’t think downregulating the LDL receptor matters. It’s just arranging to get the right amount of fat into cells; any leftover is cleared from the blood by adipose tissue or the liver. Unless there’s a chronic energy excess leading to fatty liver or obesity-induced insulin resistance in adipocytes, there will be no negative consequences.

      • I agree. This study showed that low carb, low fat, and the Mediterranean diet all reversed carotid atherosclerosis the same. The reduction was not associated with a particular diet but was associated with weight-loss and lowering of blood pressure.

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20194883

  6. I’m toying with the idea of having occasional low-fat, low-calorie vegetarian days as part of a high-fat low-carb mostly animal food regime. That would mimic an ancestral diet of occasional shortage.

    http://www.andaman.org/BOOK/chapter15/text15.htm

    this account seems to me about as primal a diet as still exists in the modern world…

  7. I really find the arrogance of the doctor on the far left to be to much to handle. We get it, you’ve been doing this for 20 years.. get over yourself.

    • Agreed, we already have more than enough mainstream docs whose m.o. is defending their own turf.

      • Yeah I feel like Paul and Chris are really the stars of this video in that they obviously care about people and their main desire is to see people live better. I feel like the other two are mostly looking for gratification of their own ideas/methods.
        Don’t want to spread negativity, just an observation. I think the “well being” element of health is extremely important, I work in addictions and those who drink a small amount every day live longer than those who never drink, the happiness and well being element are super important.

    • Dr. Jaminet and Chris Kresser definitely came off as more down-to-earth in this video. Dr. Shanahan was well-placed in that she seemed a bit caught in the middle.

  8. Does Dr. Rosedale really follow a zero carb diet? He states cholesterol not an issue,but his diet book is very polyunsaturated/monosaturated oriented with lots of chicken and fish recipes, and few meat or any lamb recipes that i noted. Maybe he has changed his mind. As to starch his book has manna bread and wrap recipes; last i checked that is a source of starch.
    Didn’t you mention you had a follow-up discussion with him; and if so will that be posted?
    Rosedale is clearly smart, but his style is off putting to say the least; perhaps he is insecure and therefore has to repeatedly state that he was the first to say “X” 20 years ago really detracts from his message whether you buy in to his diet recommendation or not.
    The common theme expressed I think is this: carbs should be minimized and it remains an open question as to whether it is better to eat a source of glucose or have the liver produce it from other non glucose ingested substrate. Probably there are individual differences regarding this. Moreover, there is food reward: some may like a potato or rice with there meal.

    • Hi Steve,

      Good summary of the issues and common theme.

    • Some observations regarding the Rosedale diet …

      It’s curious why canola oil would be allowed at all.

      Also, “white” potatoes are not allowed, but I didn’t find anything about sweet potatoes, yams, starchy tubers generally. I’m guessing an oversite, although my impression has been this is vitally important to Ron and so I figured there would be some attention to details there.

      http://drrosedale.com/healthplan.htm

      Nutritional Recommendations

      Protein & Fat Sources

      Limit these foods to once or twice a week:
      Beef or Lamb ? preferably free ranging, leaner cuts.
      Soft full fat Cheeses
      Canola oil ? limited

      FOODS NOT ALLOWED
      Dairy? skim, 2%, powdered, flavored yogurt, non fat yogurt
      White Potatoes

  9. Thanks Paul:
    Look forward to more of your excellent work, and getting copy of 2nd ed of your book.
    I approach the diet issue from the point of view of one who has some CAD and a family history of CAD. The work of Peter Attia and Dr Thomas Dayspring is quite helpful in addition to your dietary recommendations. Genetics play a huge role as I tend to produce lots of small LDL particles no matter the level of carbs or fat in the diet. Same appears to be the case for my brother. Stay well.

  10. Sorry, but are you going to post what i thought was a subsequent conversation with Dr. Rosedale sponsored by Dr. Mercola regarding the starch issue?

    Thanks.

  11. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/forum/thread70009.html

    You guys will love what we’re doing on Mark’s Daily Apple!

  12. A whole bunch of folks on Mark’s Daily Apple are eating potatoes for 7-14 days, nothing else allowed, and losing fat at amazing levels. Would love to get one of you guys on our thread to see what you think of our fat-busting trick. Please click link above!

    • That’s an interesting undertaking, and it must be manageable seeing as potatoes are surprisingly satiating.

      In the past I managed to lose weight very quickly by eating loads of pasta and some beans with only mild calorie restriction, so I can believe potatoes would work too, if not better.

      But I don’t think I’ll attempt again. Not out of concern of high carb but rather concern for too low fat. There’s no way very low fat can be good for digestion and nutrient absorption, barring some specific disorder. And then the hearsay about possible relations between low-fat and gallstones…

      I think I’ll stick to the occasional day of high-carb (potato) feeding; that seems to stimulate the metabolism enough. I don’t really need to lose the remaining weight any faster. But good luck with that! I don’t really have any doubt that it can work for weight loss. Plus it must be damn cheap.

    • Hi Tater,

      It’s certainly an effective weight loss tactic. The all-potato diet does produce lipid deficiencies however, so I personally would recommend eating egg yolks and some liver with it (at a minimum). You’ll still lose weight, a little slower perhaps, but it will be healthier.

      As you know, I recommend going a little slower, but being very well nourished from the beginning – eating basically your diet for life, slightly calorie restricted. See our weight loss version: http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/02/perfect-health-diet-weight-loss-version/.

      • We have a couple folks experimenting with adding protein to the potatoes. Most of us are eating super-healthy diets and not afraid of safe starches. Many of us found that even though we eat a very healthy diet, we still have a bit of belly flab or hit a years long stall. These are the people that really benefit from the potato-diet.

        Potatoes have a complete amino acid profile (protein) and a little built-in fat. Thanks to guys like you and Guyenet, we have learned that starch is not the enemy. Potatoes, eaten without fat or meat are extremely satiating!

        An all-potato diet for more than 2 weeks would be problematic, but it seems a short-term potato feast keeps one in remarkable energy and the fat melts off at .5 to 1 pound per day.

        Thanks for your work with safe starches!

      • Cheap, effective, predictable, and repeatable! Don’t overlook the potatoes fat content…2 pounds of potato have 21 grams of fat and 15 grams of protein (and ALL essential amino acids). Even large men are feeling satiated on 2-3 pounds of plain potato a day (900-1500 calories).

  13. Hello Paul,

    I am implementing the PHD advice to correct a recent spike in LDL and TC. I believe the spike happened due to one or several of the following:

    LC (18 months)to VLC (past 6 months)transition (going to less then 40 net carbs a day – and nearly all veggies anyway)

    Too much goitrogens (didn’t know about these cons until a few weeks ago after the bloodwork). Perhaps overdoing it with almonds, like handfulls per day, PLUS 8 oz of almond milk daily, and daily veggies of much broccoli, cauliflower, sauerkraut – all as primary veggies.
    Use of Sea Salt (no iodine, hey i didn’t know!)

    Many symptoms of Hypo too.

    So, as per PHD I revamped my supplement

    Daily: CU (2 mg – cant due the liver), Iodine 250 mg, about to bump to 500, 2000 D3, 1000 C, 100 k2, 200 Mg
    weekly: B100 complex, zinc 50, Se 200

    AND ADDED, 1.5 cups of white rice a day.

    WOW, Feeling great in just 3 weeks.

    Question 1: How long do I need to get blood work done after these changes? Doctor is panicked by my LDL.

    Question 2: Could excessive almonds have spiked my LDL playing with thyroid issues? Also, should I cut out the daily 8 oz of almond milk?? I didn’t see you write much on Almond milk in general (checked the site), what are your thoughts? I read online somewhere that boiling it can help? As I avoid milk due to lactose sugar, almond milk was a great plug – esp for whey protein shakes. But of course worried it encourages Hypo

    thanks much,
    Evan

    • Hi Evan,

      Great! Glad to have you on PHD. Needless to say I think it’s much healthier than what you were doing.

      The one thing you didn’t mention that may be helpful is the 3 egg yolks a day for choline and other nutrients.

      I would normally expect lipids to be normalized in about a month. (It can take about a month to relieve nutrient deficiencies, and the thyroid takes about a month to fully adapt to a changed iodine intake.) The fact that you’re feeling better suggests the lipids have probably mostly normalized.

      Almonds are a “pleasure food” in our food plate which means they are healthful but shouldn’t be a major source of calories. All nuts/seeds/grains have significant toxin loads, so shouldn’t be a major calorie source; but almonds are safe in moderation. I personally would not recommend almond milk, it’s easy to drink too many calories so we recommend getting calories from food, and would make almonds an occasional snack rather than a daily meal.

      Some sites do say that almonds and almond milk are goitrogenic (http://www.ehow.com/list_5889714_almond-milk-side-effects.html), but I don’t see anything about it in Pubmed. I would think it’s fine to eat in moderation.

      • Thanks Paul,

        I was ‘averaging’ 3 eggs a day for about 18 months, sometimes 3-5, sometimes none.

        Then when trying to diagnose horrible tennis elbow (inflammation?), I thought I should cut out AA (Arachidonic acid), so when I went VLC eggs ‘slipped’ to perhaps 1 a day on average suspecting AA….I was trying anything…..Over time things did improve, but not sure if from weight lighting overuse or what….

        Anyway, yes, the past 3 weeks, very religiously have 3 eggs a day. Is there a daily upper limit on eggs?

        I also cut out frying in bacon grease and use pastured butter….thoughts on this??

        Curious, is there a summary article that recaps your ‘adventure’ in tackling your health issues and how your diet morphed? Perhaps it is in the book, but the book is not available until Dec (and I figured i wouldn’t need book 1 if I will have the second edition).

        Thanks again, and no rush in your answer(s).

        I want to say, I find your blog great, just great AND your professional and caring attitude is at the top of the heap.

        kind regards,
        Evan

        (I just want to point out unsweetened almond milk can have as low as 30 calories per 8 oz.)

        • I think 3-6 egg yolks a day is good.

          Pastured butter is indeed much better than bacon grease. Most commercially raised grain-fed confined pigs have belly fat that is 33% omega-6.

          No, there isn’t a detailed recounting. I will do that when the dust is fully settled.

          Thanks!

          Best, Paul

          • Thank you Paul. Appreciate.
            BTW, new pics look good.

          • Hi Paul,
            Although I agree it is a good idea in general to reduce omega-6, wouldn’t you agree that the omega-6 in bacon and other meat is probably somewhat safer than the omega-6 in processed seed oils, or even nuts (which may go rancid)? If the problem with omega-6 is that it becomes damaged/oxidized, then I would expect the least-damaged source of omega-6 is probably fresh meat.

          • Hi Mike,

            Fresh meat is better than seed oils for sure, but there are problems even with fresh and non-damaged omega-6.

  14. Hi Paul,

    Chris Masterjohn’s presentation seemed to be a nice lead into the Safe Starch Panel.

    I noticed you in the audience – did you have any key takeaways?

    I took some notes for my own benefit while viewing the presentation and one thing that is interesting is the adaptation to starch vs. other simple sugar sources and how it seems to vary based on an individual’s traditional background. Otherwise, it got a bit dense for my taste when Chris got to the Methylglyoxal stuff.

    Chris Masterjohn – Oxidative Stress & Carbohydrate Intolerance: An Ancestral Perspective

    2:37 Salivary Amylase starch-specific adaption
    – digest starch into sugar

    4:15 Hunter-Gatherers diets have no/low-starch carb sources e.g. milk, fruit, honey

    5:44 natural selection from societies traditionally eating more starch

    6:05 amylase gene duplications ~200,000 years ago, toward the beginning of modern humans

    6:55 Salivary Amylase Improves Plasma Glucose Response to Starch by Stimulating Pre-Absorptive Insulin Release
    – insulin release begins with food in mouth, but before glucose in blood
    – some early insulin results in less later insulin and less overall insulin/blood glucose

    10:18 Salivary Amylase Improves Plasma Glucose Response to Starch by Rendering it Similar to the Response to Glucose
    – low and high Amylase have same response to glucose, but different to starch

    12:20 Widely Varying Carbohydrate Intakes in Traditional Pacific Islander diets
    – 34%, 50%, 69% carbs

    13:30 42% of Americans have Hyperglycemic Disorder
    – 25% glucose intolerance eating carbs, but fasting blood glucose okay

    14:50 Why Glucose Intolerance so common

    15:02 Energy Imbalance, Part of the Answer
    possible factors:
    – eating too much
    – don’t have capacity to burn energy
    – don’t have capacity to store energy

    20:20 Insulin resistance is stopping the retention of energy in cells that are already overloaded with energy

    20:35 Oxidative Stress

    23:20 Glucose Intolerance May Be Caused by Mitochondrial Production of Hydrogen Peroxide

    27:40 glucose in blood is better than no cell regulation of energy intake

    27:57 How Does oxidative stress communicate energy overload? Miscommunication?

    29:30 Methylglyoxal (MGO) … Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs)
    – AGEs blamed on glucose because glycation naming, but really it’s MGO directly

    36:30 Glutathione (GSH) Depletion Increases MGO Confounded by Oxidative Stress

    39:20 Supporting Glutathione (GSH)
    – adequate protein
    – un-denatured whey protein for biologically available cysteine
    – cartilaginous materials for glycine (bone broth)
    – B vitamins, magnesium for synthesis and recycling
    – robust insulin and thyroid to promote synthesis
    – polyphenol-rich foods to promote synthesis (fruits, veggies)
    – antioxidant defenses (selenium, iron, copper, manganese, vitamins C and E, energy-related nutrients such as CoQ10

    39:44 Conclusions
    – humans should be able to tolerate carbs
    – glucose intolerance widely prevalent
    – oxidative stress communicates energy overload and decreased cellular energy retention, contributing to insulin resistance and glucose interance
    – support carb tolerance through antioxidant defenses
    – i.e. eat traditional, nutrient dense diet

    • Hi Mark,

      Yes indeed, when I heard Chris speak I thought he belonged on the safe starch panel, and eloquently made a lot of the points I could have made. The biology of salivary amylase is most important for the safe starch debate, as it shows that we evolved eating starches and that the presence of dietary starch + salivary amylase improves glucose regulation which is a big concern of the low-carb movement. But the rest of the talk is important and interesting too.

      • Yes, agreed. I think it would be interesting to hear just you and Chris Masterjohn in a discussion, where you take the lower (30%) carb position and Chris takes the higher carb position.

  15. Paul – Love your website, I’ve been reading on it for days since seeing a link to AHS2012 which led me here.

    What is your view of insulin in the normal, insulin sensitive, healthy person? What I’m wondering in particular, if we eat a fairly low carb diet, our blood glucose stays fairly low and we never get insulin spikes.

    Is it beneficial to NOT have glucose/insulin spikes? Adding a cup of rice or potato to a meal doesn’t cause my glucose to rise substantially as measured with a finger-prick meter, but a meal of ONLY rice or potatoes causes my blood glucose to spike to 180 after about 30 minutes, then quickly down to normal within 2 hours.

    I have also found that if I chew on a mouthful of rice or potato, but spit it out instead of swallowing it, my blood glucose will drop rapidly for 30 minutes, then climb back to normal. I am assuming this is from amylase sensor derived secretion of pancreatic insulin. I wonder if doing that periodically would have any benefit, ie. just prior to exercising.

    Sorry for rambling, hope you can make sense of my questions.

    • Hi Tim,

      I think about a 30% carb diet optimizes glucose regulation. Higher carb tends to create low blood sugar and stress during a fast; it also tends to increase appetite and make conditions of energy excess more likely. Lower carb decreases insulin sensitivity to conserve glucose for the brain; this leads to bigger spikes in glucose/insulin when eating carbs.

      Starches shouldn’t be eaten by themselves. They should always be eaten as part of a balanced meal. See http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/10/how-to-minimize-hyperglycemic-toxicity/.

      No, I don’t think tricking your body into transiently lowering blood glucose would have any benefit. Optimal blood glucose is 90 to 100 mg/dl. You want to keep it steady in this range for best neuronal and metabolic health.

  16. Hi Paul

    What do you think about Chris’ recent article on rice and arsenic?

    He also recommends in comments to totally aviod brown rice syrup as a safe starch option because of the high arsenic levels. Do you think it is better to use another glucose syrup? tapioca, white rice, corn (not high fructose but glucose) dextrose?

    Thanks

    Ben

  17. Hello Paul,

    Are you familiar with any studies of decreased glucose intolerance in formerly obese, lean people? I think something this debate is not placing sufficiently on is more contexts.

    thanks,

    • Hi Henry,

      That’s fairly common I think. Often it was poor glucose regulation that helped make people obese, and weight loss needn’t fix all the underlying health conditions.

      • Hi Paul,

        I’m sorry, do mean formerly obese have poorer glucose tolerance than those who have never been obese (generally speaking)?

        If so, do you believe from a general standpoint that someone who was obese (whether it was years ago or very recent) is not healthy because he/she would have poor glucose tolerance?

        This type of question was asked on the Paleo Solution (and there are subsequent related articles from researchers in those articles if you follow the trail).

        http://robbwolf.com/2012/11/13/flax-episode-158/

        http://www.cracked.com/quick-fixes/fat-officially-incurable-according-to-science/

        • Hi Henry,

          Certainly not all the formerly obese, but some fraction of them. Actually, it might be better to speak of diabetes / prediabetes rather than obesity, because that is really the condition I mean. If you are obese and diabetic you can lose weight without curing the diabetes. There are gradations of this condition which might not be diagnosed as diabetes, but have a mild impairment of glucose regulation.

          I think often the problem is caused by a gut / pancreatic infection and can often be healed by a healthy diet and good immune function, possibly treatment.

  18. I have read of 2 recent studies that indicate that fatty diets can worsen cognitive function (NY Times a few weeks ago), and the latest (NY Times yesterday) that links red meat consumption with heart disease and cancer. What do you think of these studies?
    I really respect your opinion. Thanks!

    • Hi Kathleen,

      I don’t consider them convincing studies. “Fatty diets” doesn’t have much to do with fat; it usually means junk food with lots of sugar, wheat, and vegetable oil (think doughnuts and cookies). The red meat correlation has many confounders and, if the effect is real, may be confined to people with iron overload or to specific cuts like processed meats or pork. You can analyze the red meat studies differently so that the red meat looks protective — it depends on how you correct for different confounders — and I believe unprocessed beef and lamb look protective even in the raw data. I think if people avoid processed meats and manage iron levels through blood donation if necessary, then beef and lamb are probably the most healthful of meats after fish/shellfish.

  19. Paul, I always enjoy your posts. Thanks again! I’ve now documented the results my best friends & family members had after eating a diet I think you’d agree at least 99% with. Do check out their impressive results, in particular quality of life factors: http://bit.ly/QQSHJq

    let me know what you think.

    Regards from Norway,

    Bjarte

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  21. Hey Paul,

    I saw in another post you said that most of the toxins in potato’s are near the skin.. so do you not eat the skin? also curious if that is true of other safe starches?

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