Around the Web; Labor Day Edition

Happy Labor Day weekend to our American readers.

I’m pleased to be able to announce a few upcoming talks:

  1. On September 17 in York, Maine. I’m awaiting details and will provide an update when I get them.
  2. On October 2, we’ll speak to the Living Paleo in Boston group, on the topic “Common Pitfalls of Eating Paleo.” Thanks to Amit and Shilpi Mehta for hosting the event and suggesting the topic. Unfortunately this one is already full.

[1] Interesting posts this week: Chris Kresser and Stephan Guyenet are organizing a weight loss trial. It will test a low-food-reward eating plan against a control group who “will be asked not to change diet or lifestyle.” To be eligible, you

must not currently be weight reduced relative to a prior weight [and] must not currently be on a weight reducing diet (low-carbohydrate, low-fat, Paleolithic, Zone, Ornish, etc).

Since the control group will be eating diets that have given them the highest weight of their lives, I predict the low-food-reward diet will outperform. (NB: There is nothing wrong with jumping over a low hurdle before attempting tougher tests.) If you qualify, please consider participating in this trial.

In another post, Chris points out that people with low T3 in intensive care units have the worst outcomes, but supplementing T3 doesn’t help them. A helpful reminder that hormone levels, for the most part, are adaptive responses and can’t easily be improved on. You have to address underlying causes.

Gary Taubes introduces a new series on his blog, in which he will reply to his critics. Stephan Guyenet wrote a counter-post. You won’t miss much if you wait for them to get to the substantive posts.

Peter Dobromylskyj of Hyperlipid has replied to an earlier post by Stephan. I think Peter does a fair job of getting at the weakness in the food reward theory of obesity: there is no obvious mechanism by which eating rewarding foods produces the metabolic damage that is found in the obese; whereas it is quite easy to see how metabolic damage can disrupt the brain’s food reward system. However, this same line of argument works against Taubesian insulin-carbohydrate theory: one needs metabolic damage before insulin can cause problems. Key line in Peter’s post: “Once you are insulin resistant carbohydrates become spontaneously fattening.” This is a sort of admission, also made by Taubes, that metabolic damage comes first, then carbohydrates and insulin become a problem. But what causes metabolic damage? Peter hints that (possibly inherited) epigenetic damage from past fructose consumption is the culprit. I think this is not quite adequate, but it is great that Peter is putting forth a hypothesis. I wonder if Gary Taubes in his series will offer any opinions on the “first cause” of obesity.

Melissa McEwen (“Good Books, Bad Taubes”) sums up Gary’s legacy: His defense of fats improved a lot of people’s health, but some of his ideas are unsupported by the evidence. Since truths are precious as jade, errors easily discarded, that’s a resumé to be proud of.

Seth Roberts, who pioneered the treadmill desk, is on to the next big thing: the lounge-office.

Emily Deans says homocysteine can degrade arteries and bones, and maybe cause psychosis. Best to stay well-nourished.

Jenny Ruhl wonders if plastics may be responsible for the diabetes and obesity epidemics. Bix at Fanatic Cook says NSAIDs damage joints. It’s hard to keep up with all the villains.

Jamie Scott reports the Tokelauan eating schedule: nothing but coconut milk in the morning, followed by a “substantial meal at midday, and another main meal in the late afternoon.” This closely resembles our recommended plan for ketogenic intermittent fasting.

Bryan Caplan says Pinocchio’s doctors were canny diagnosticians.

Jenny at Nourished Kitchen has lists of micronutritious foods. Liver is #1.

Danny Roddy is offering his “Hair Like a Fox” pdf book free to anyone who “likes” his Facebook page.

I was disappointed to read that the Japanese government is confiscating iodine tablets, so that supplements are impossible to obtain. This is hard to fathom because the reactors may still be generating radioactive iodine, and iodine supplements are an effective defense (see Iodine, the Thyroid, and Radiation Protection, Mar 17, 2011).

Probiotics can reduce anxiety and improve mental health. Exercise also helps.

Hey, Europeans! Cover your mouth when you sneeze! Microbes can cross oceans. Also, bacteria developed antibiotic resistance 30,000 years ago.

I bet John Durant has this too: A part of the human brain is dedicated to reacting to animals.

Anthony Bourdain attacks Paula Deen – for using butter!?!

[2] Music to read by: Ah yes, the golden age of rock and roll, when musical giants chicken-danced the earth:

(This was a Dutch comedian. The real Trashmen may be seen here.)

[3] Picky eater:

[4] Notable comments this week:

  • Kate points to a paper confirming that protein deficient diets cause low T3 and high rT3. It’s not just glucose deficiency.
  • Scott points to a paper showing that lower cholesterol was associated with longer lifespan. Do lipid-deficient diets, like protein-restricted and carb-restricted diets, extend lifespan?
  • Ludy Feyen on Facebook points to a report that potatoes reduce blood pressure. The very first comment on the article? “Slightly lower blood pressure at the expense of strong blood-sugar spike and it subsequent insulin spike? NO THANK YOU POTATO STUDY!” Where did potato-phobia come from? Even Walter Willett has it.
  • Michelle has a great story of how a stool test helped her uncover chronic infections and start on the road to healing.
  • Pascal pointed out that Vitamin C helps normalize cortisol (paper, paper).

[5] Don’t tell my nieces: This shark might be chasing them on Christmas Day:

[6] Happy Beaks: The best penguin movie yet?

[7] Shou-Ching’s Photo-Art:

[8] Inspiration: Ami Sano is a Japanese girl born with no arms and only one partially formed leg. At age 21, she is already a published writer (two books) and singer. This music video features her childhood:

Leave a comment ?


  1. I wish I could I eat huge amounts of coconut milk, but I suspect I have a salicylate sensitivity. Any idea what causes the sensitivity? I am going on a salicylate free diet for a while to see if my rosacea and some lingering health problems improve.

  2. Thanks for the inspirational video of Ami Sano – I’ve shared it on facebook. Amazing woman.

  3. I am obsessed with sharks, have been since I was a kid and am currently working towards my future career at Discovery channel. The air swimmers is amazing and I am ordering it now.

    Thank you for catering to my inner child Paul!

  4. Around the Web; Labor Day Edition | Low Carb Daily - pingback on September 3, 2011 at 8:26 pm
  5. “Kate points to a paper confirming that protein deficient diets cause low T3 and high rT3. It’s not just glucose deficiency.”

    How much or how little protein are we talking about?

    I already have low Free T3 levels… I don’t want to get any more lethargic than I am now.

  6. Also,

    Why do some people have so conflicting ideas? Some say, don’t Intermittent Fast if you have thyroid issues… others say to do it… bad for your adrenals blah blah blah.

    I remember a post of yours, Paul, where you (and/or) Seth Roberts mention Intermittent Fasting to aid in hypothyroidism.

    What if someone has, and according to you Paul, healthy, low levels of TSH (1.0-1.5) but low levels of Free T3 as well? That isn’t hypothyroid, but it is a thyroid issue.

    I don’t think IF is good when you have stuff like adrenal or thyroid issues, or a slight anemia (like I do). IF was what put me in this state in the first place… however I’m the first to recognize that I was doing IF on a low carb routine (<100g – not from starches), and Low Carb + IF is usually a recipe for disaster.

    Still, I don't think it's a good idea for people with health issues. If you've got everything dialed in, try IF… if you're recovering, better stick to a normal eating pattern.

    As of the moment, I'm having 3 meals a day, 6-7 hours apart, even if I'm not hungry (which is a problem as I'm never hungry, even with ridiculous low levels of protein while following the PHD – protein is pretty satiating and I'm still not hungry).

    Plus, even with loads of fats my body seems to burn calories like crazy (I was the opposite before quitting wheat) so I'm struggling to gain weight, even no doing any cardio or exercise… it's kind of ironic that I'm in a position most people (women especially) would like to be in… if it wasn't for my health issues of course.


    As of late, I've been recovering slowly. While I'm rambling on this, someone might find some of the things I'm saying useful if they're in the same position, so here's what I've been having that seemed to help me recover a bit through the past few weeks:

    1. Following the PERFECT HEALTH DIET (some changes*)

    2. 30-40g of Maca powder/day (maca with yogurt, maca with coconut oil, maca with tea, maca is good with everything, it's my new favorite food/adaptogen)

    3. Goji berries (handful/day – 20g is alright as max as it gets expensive)

    4. Cacao beans (4-8/day max)

    5. Multivitamin (Rainbow Light Just Once) + B-Complex (Jarrows)

    6. Royal Jelly + Bee Pollen + Propolis + Ginseng (Korean and Siberian – Panax and Eleuthero) in honey – there's one product I have that combines all of this together, I take one teaspoon daily in the morning on an empty stomach with a bit of water.

    7. Licorice Root

    8. 2 Brazil Nuts (selenium) + Kelp supplement (iodine) – watchout as multivitamins already have selenium (mine does so I stick with max 2 Brazil nuts a day)

    9. Vitamin C (1g/day) – from camu camu, acerola, rose hips, not the worthless ascorbic acid (Madre Labs Vitamin C is good – I should be earning commission on this).

    10. Last but not least, the past couple of days I've been having 1 or 2 drops of Marine Phytoplankton (Ocean's Alive – again, I should be making a commission out of this). It seems to be helping, and it's a great superfood.

    – Lower carb higher fat during the day

    – Higher carb lower fat at night (helps with sleep)

    – 3 meals a day: breakfast has no starches but it does have carbs: lunch and dinner do, AT LEAST 300 starch calories per day + random amount of carbs from fruit (sometimes a lot)

    – In the book (PHD) the Jaminets mention fruit/fructose is probably best safely consumed in the morning: I've had good effects by loading myself with fructose and fruit (either fruit or jellies) in the evening (I go through almost a full jar of St. Dalfour blueberry/blackberry/raspberry in one sitting at night). I only do it when I'm in the mood but I've felt good in the morning after when doing so. May depend on your liver. I'm from the Mediterranean, maybe I'm adapted to eat lots of fruits. I also eat lots of diary and feel good on both.

    – Sometimes my protein may exceed the 50-70g of protein a day recommended… from someone used to have 200g of protein a day (or more), you can start to realize how 50-70 is insanely low now for me… still… I find that it didn't made much of a dent in my appetite, I'm still satiated throughout the day (doing 3 meals a day instead of my previous 2 on a high protein diet).

  7. Joao,I also have some of the same issues as you,I had lost 55 pounds, and was eating 4500 cal/day with min.exercice but could not put any back on.About 6 mo. ago I started following Dr.Ray Peat’s guidelines and have gained back 25 pounds,and also droped 8%body fat. I am also finally sleeping all night without waking(first time in 4 years). Also make sure and check the label on your bee pollen,some have wheat in them,which was disasterous for me. Good luck, Kevin

  8. Kevin,

    Could you say more about what exactly you are doing that is helping you sleep through the night.

  9. “But what causes metabolic damage? Peter hints that (possibly inherited) epigenetic damage from past fructose consumption is the culprit.”

    What about epigenetic damage from one, or a synergy, of the kazillian new chemicals in our lives? Variations on what Jenny is proposing with the plastics.

  10. Oops, please delete my previous comment. I see that is exactly what Jenny says.

  11. Kevin,

    We appear to be in the same boat, I still am, you got out, so congratulations on your regained health.

    What kind of Ray Peat recommendations did you follow? I didn’t mention in my post, but I do have sleep issues. I go to sleep easily but I wake up at 3AM. It’s really draining me.

    So what were those recommendations you followed?

    P.S.: I wouldn’t believe myself if I went back in time and encountered myself and said I couldn’t gain weight: I practically have to force feed myself at every meal and eat good amounts of coconut oil, olive oil (staple in our diet), and diary, lots of diary. I would assume all of this would make me gain weight. My gut is bigger (maybe from the starches) but my weight is stable.

    Back in the day eating 5 meals a day, with my bread-wheat fest, oatmeal and the likes, I would gain weight like a rebel. Now I look like a squirrel.

    This is just paradoxically evil.

  12. EDIT: I found this post about Ray Peat’s eating guide lines:

    And articles on his homepage:

    Was this you followed Kevin?

    I don’t think I agree with everything he says there (broccoli and kale are goitogren and not good for the thyroid, basically you shouldn’t eat most meat (pork, beef, etc and other stuff I’ve read I don’t quite agree – but hey if it worked for you I’m willing to give it a shot and experiment à la Seth Roberts).

  13. Hi Joao,

    I had a condition like that, it turned out to be scurvy, as soon as I started vitamin C supplementation my calorie consumption went down and weight went up. It seems a little different in your case, since you’re taking 1 g C, but you might try increasing that to bowel tolerance for a while and see if it makes a difference.

    Dr Cathcart claimed that viral infections could lead to the loss of huge amounts of vitamin C per day, up to 100 g, so 1 g/day doesn’t completely exclude the possibility.

    Hi Kevin,

    I’d also like to hear what specifically you did.

    Hi Ellen,

    Great point. What is causing the problem is the million-dollar question.

  14. “One needs metabolic damage before insulin can cause problems” and “What is causing the problem is the million-dollar question.” I think it is unfortunate that Taubes has spent so much time and energy promoting his Insulin Hypothesis instead of going after this million-dollar question. I think if he had pondered all the high carb cultures of the world while writing his book, he would have spent much more time looking at this million-dollar question instead of condemning an entire class of macronutrients. This million-dollar question should have been what the second half of his book was about.

    This million-dollar question ties in a lot with what “Ancestral Health” is all about – Neolithic agents of disease and diseases of civilizations and all that sort of stuff.

    It is also unfortunate that even today Taubes feels it is more important to speak out against “carbs” and spends so much energy trying to get studies funded to validate his Insulin theory. That million-dollar question is still just sitting there. Instead he writes about his Insulin theory being the big paradigm changer that makes him smarter than all these PhDs and MDs with sub-optimal intelligence.

  15. I have spent a lot of time reading and rereading Dr. Peat’s articles, books, and interviews(which I seem to get the most info from).For me, in a nutshell,I have removed all nuts,seeds and grains from my diet.I went from a high fat/low carb, to an equally balanced ratio, with my fat being mostly sat.(beef tallow, coconut oil, grass fed raw butter).I have made it a point to as much as possible eliminate pufas.I try to eat sugar(fruit) with protien,also when I eat meat(daily),I will eat gelatin with it.As for my sleep, I will eat a serving of cheese and a spoonful of honey, or drink a glass of milk with a TBS. of simple syrup, about a half an hour or so before bed. This seems to be working for me.From what I’ve read, when your body is short glucose(sugar), it will convert protien(muscle) into it, which I think was happening to me. By eating the sugar/protien at bedtime I no longer am waking up at 2am starving, and like I said before, am gaining back some weight(I went from 160 to 184)I am 6’2, so at my lowest point,I was pretty skinny looking(according to my wife). I’m sure I am leaving something out,Ray Peat fans facebook has helped alot. I also am very greatful for Paul’s web page and try to work in his dietary advice when possible. Kevin

  16. “On October 2, we’ll speak to the Living Paleo in Boston group, on the topic “Common Pitfalls of Eating Paleo.” Thanks to Amit and Shilpi Mehta for hosting the event and suggesting the topic. Unfortunately this one is already full.”

    Is this going to be posted online anywhere? I eat somewhat of a mish-mash of paleo and other relatively-similar recommendations, such as yours. I’d be really interested to hear this speech.

  17. Thanks for the input Kevin.

    Some, or most of Ray (and Lita Lee) guidelines make sense, others I’m not so sure I agree with. Still, thanks for writing it all out, I’m going to experiment with going higher protein for some time along with more fruit and diary as well (which I’m already doing).


    What are your thoughts on this (Ray Peat)?

    P.S.: I think goitogren foods (broccoli, kale, etc) should be considered seriously. Today I had a crash 2-3 hours after breakfast. I couldn’t do anything, I just lay in bed and rested while watching Batman cartoons. It took 1h30-2h to get myself recovered from it. This was at around 11 am. Now it’s 8.30PM and I’m feeling very sharp.

    The only thing/supplement I took that I’m not used to take was Rainbow Light Just Once (I’m moving over to Life Force Multiple).

    Rainbow Light has broccoli, spinach and other filler stuff like that. The quantities are very low, but still, I’m not sure to attribute the crash to the multi, or the fact I slept 3 hours but stayed in bed and have awaken ok. Or the fact that I had no starches and minimal fruit at breakfast (I was probably fine when I first woke up because I still had energy from the sweet potatoes of dinner – could be an explanation).

  18. Hi Josh,

    I’m not aware of any plans to videotape the talk.

    Hi Joao,

    I prefer starches to sugars, and we’re probably a bit lower-carb than Ray, but otherwise our advice is pretty similar.

  19. Paul,

    Are you ok with all diary (including yogurt, greek yogurt, non fat or full fat cheese, raw vs pasteurized, etc)?

    Why do some people have intolerance to it? And others take it so well. Is it genetic ancestry? Like say, someone from a country where during thousands of years people were herders and ate diary?

  20. Hi Joao,

    No. Dairy is complicated. Raw fresh milk is best, if the animal is healthy.

    As milk becomes more foreign by coming from other species, homogenization, pasteurization, etc., it gets less healthy. The proteins are affected most, the fats hardly at all. So dairy fats (clarified butter / ghee) are healthy always. The higher the protein content, the more risk.

    There are genetic adaptations to digestion of milk sugars (lactose), and people may be better or worse adapted to milk proteins too. It also matters what your gut bacteria are like. So the response to milk is a very individual thing.

  21. Anthony Bordain did not criticize Paula Dean for using butter. The only reference in that article to butter was from the article’s author: it was not a quote from Bourdain.

    Bourdain’s complaint is that Dean’s food is bad for you. He didn’t elaborate, but I’m guessing he was referring to all the sugar. Not the butter.

  22. There is substantial research about vitamin C and adrenal function.

    We know that C is mandatory for correct adrenal function in all animals. Guinea pigs are correct model for humans (better then GULO mouse who didn’t adapt to absent gene) since they are one of the rare animals that can not produce vitamin C and various research shows that there are some more profound metabolic problems related to adrenalin and free fatty acids (one of the reasons one should supplement C to loose weight, apart from carnitine synthesis). Vitamin C seem to regulate cortisol in children. It is even coexcreted with adrenalin (which is why chronic stress depletes vitamin C) and some researchers think it has paracrine efect. I suspect that it might be another protective measure for flight-or-fight response given that C is potent antioxidant and reduces exercise stress (to the point that some researches wrongly started to think that it prevents beneficial exercise adaptations), anti-viiral and anti-bacterial agent, plus it is needed for wound healing – all this is critical in adequate fof response.

    I see here that some people still think that synthetic ascorbate acid is not the same as plant C (acerola, rose hips, etc.) but this is not correct – animals produce C in liver/kidney so stories about plant “vitamin c complex” are not true. There is one recent research showing that bioavilability of C in kiwi gel is better compared to pure C but its probably due to synergistic effect of other bioflavonoids. So save your money, use pure ascorbate acid powder and eventually use it with kiwi, limun or some other low carb fruit. Linus Pauling recommended up to 18g a day given its low oral absorption (15-50%), but there are liposomal forms which absorb completely (remember New Zeland story ?) for situations of extreme body stress.

    Vitamin C Is an Important Cofactor for Both Adrenal Cortex and Adrenal Medulla

    [2]The effects of dietary vitamin C on growth, liver vitamin C and serum cortisol in stressed and unstressed juvenile soft-shelled turtles
    [3]Vitamin C amelioration of the adrenal stress response in broiler chickens being prepared for slaughter
    [4]The absence of plasma free fatty acid response to
    epinephrine in vitamin-C-deprived guinea pigs

    [5]Inhibitory effect of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) on cortisol secretion following adrenal stimulation in children
    [6]Is the anti-stress effect of vitamin C related to adrenal gland function in rat?
    [7]Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone
    [8]Dietary ascorbate intake affects steady state tissue concentrations in
    vitamin C–de?cient mice: tissue de?ciency after suboptimal intake and superior bioavailability from a food source (kiwifruit)

  23. on the Ray Peat subject; i found a link to an interview with Ray done in Nov 2000 which may be of interest to some.

    It looks like he is not a proponent of Iodine supplementation (or at least not back in 2000).

Leave a Comment

NOTE - You can use these HTML tags and attributes:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks: