Around the Web; Davy Jones Goes to His Locker Edition

The Paleo Summit continues: today we have Cate Shanahan, Keith Norris, and Daniel Chong; tomorrow the summit wraps up with Jimmy Moore, Stephanie Greunke, and Dean Dwyer.

To download the full set of videos, you can buy the Paleo Summit upgrade package:

[1] Music to read by: Davy Jones passed away at 66 from a heart attack:

He looked good 8 months ago, just overweight:

One more for the road:

[2] Interesting items:

Beth Mazur organized discussions at PaleoHacks for each of the Paleo Summit talks. Here is a list:

Jimmy Moore asks, “What’s With The Antagonism About Low-Carb From The Paleo Community Lately?

Richard Nikoley‘s ideas have been sipping scotch in the back of his mind, and now that his safe starch experiment is going well, they’re ready to come out:

Four days in, and I’m averaging 300-400 calories below what I was averaging before. I feel more full on average, more satisfied, sleep WAY better, and have a mental go-for-it attitude I haven’t felt since I was on that high-fat diet, in caloric deficit and losing 60 pounds.

I’ve lost between 2 and 3 pounds since weighing in Saturday morning when this all began.

SCD Kat is giving up starches after contracting appendicitis. Get well soon, Kat!

J Stanton gives us the next big thing: the Australopithecine Paleo Diet.

Conner Whitney, cancer survivor, chef, and author of Zest for Life: The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet, explains healthy ways to create processed meats, including home-made bacon.

Bruce Charlton reports that nerve function has degraded 35% since the 1880s. He thinks it’s due to genetic changes; I would put my money on dietary changes and the evolution of chronic infectious pathogens since the invention of plumbing and water treatment.

Fight Aging! notes a 1929 study in which rats lived 10% longer when some of their dietary wheat was replaced with milk. Elsewhere, Fight Aging! notes that HDAC inhibitors can reverse Alzheimer’s in a mouse model. This is interesting, because many foods contain HDAC inhibitors, and HDAC inhibitors are also effective against cancer, as I will blog about in my next cancer post.

We’re pleased to be featured in “Dan’s Report”.

Dan’s Plan reprints a post by JD Moyer that starts with the links between Toxoplasma infection and traffic accidents, and ends by saying you should drag your doctor into the modern era.

A Mongolian-trained Harvard doctor thinks modern milk has too much progesterone. Mongolian milk is much healthier.

Cate Shanahan thinks that the elevation of rT3 and decrease of T3 thyroid hormone sometimes seen on extreme low-carb diets is due to abrupt reduction in carb intake. I think it’s due to the body being unable to manufacture enough glucose to meet its needs.

Jack Kruse offered two posts: First, why you shouldn’t eat a banana if you find yourself in Calgary, Canada on Dec 31st. Second, why the death of a patient from cold taught him that we should expose ourselves to cold. Melissa McEwen thinks Jack’s posts deserve criticism. Melissa’s post has a vigorous comment thread that includes comments by me, Chris Kresser, Kurt Harris, Steve Parker, and others.

Walking the dog can be hazardous to your health.

The New York Times reports: postprandial blood glucose will be better regulated if you keep moving.

Stephan Guyenet reports that more palatable foods are less satiating.

More on food reward: The history of toothpaste shows that the Flavorists were already getting started in the early 1900s.

Paleo ideas are going mainstream: FoxNews has a slide show featuring nutritionist Carol Cottrill’s advice to avoid processed foods.

Dr Steve Parker reviews Mark Hyman’s book, which is #1 on Amazon.

Robert Su asks: what does it mean if you can hear your heartbeat?

Judy Tsafrir discusses the FODMAP diet.

Via Ruthie, cuddling dying pets can sometimes give the owner a life-threatening infection. A hospital in Akron, Ohio, saw three such cases in a year.

Jennifer Fulwiler remarks upon a photo series of New Yorkers eating dinner: “I was surprised by the number of people who ate alone and/or who watched TV or used the computer during dinner.” New York is a lonely place.

[3] Cute animals: Looking for ideas to treat the mange on your baby sloth?

Also, be careful in Calgary: Stabby’s Japanese cousin is visiting.

[4] Only in Japan: Japan is a special culture. Many tsunami survivors lost all their family photos in the flood, and Japanese photographer Nobuyuki Kobayashi, with the help of hair and makeup volunteers and a legion of grade school students, decided to make up the loss with professional portraits and letters of support from schoolchildren. Here’s a slideshow.

This is Katsuko Abe, age 71, with her dog Kaede, getting ready for her portrait:

[5] Giving up weight for Lent? In the same post I linked above, Jennifer Fulwiler shares some good news:

As I look for something to wear this weekend, I’m reminded that I am in the middle of the wardrobe crisis that I’ve been waiting to have for ten years: all my clothes are too big. I don’t mean a little loose; I mean I perpetually look like I’m headed out to an M.C. Hammer costume contest.

Over the past few months I’ve lost 25 pounds. That’s a good thing, mainly since the drop on the scale was more of a side effect of lifestyle changes that have left me with more stamina and energy than I had when I was 20….

It’s too long a story to explain in detail here, but the short-short version is that it was Perfect Health Diet + rethinking what a reasonable portion size looks like + accepting that spiritual warfare really does come into play with getting healthy + learning to depend on a good jog for an energy boost.

[6] More on pork: Via Dan Moffet, another reason to avoid undercooked pork:

[7] Not the weekly video: Via Chris Highcock, Jeb Corliss makes a spectacular base jump in a wingsuit:

This was in Switzerland. On 16 January 2012, Jeb suffered multiple leg fractures in a similar jump off Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa.

[8] Shou-Ching’s Photo-Art:

[9] Weekly video: The Dance of the Water Sleeves:

Leave a comment ?


  1. re: Cate Shanahan thinks that the elevation of rT3 and decrease of T3 thyroid hormone sometimes seen on extreme low-carb diets is due to abrupt reduction in carb intake. I think it’s due to the body being unable to manufacture enough glucose to meet its needs.

    We could both be correct. These two ideas are not mutually exclusive. In fact, it could be the chronic consumption of high carbs that shuts down some of the glucose-making pathways. Thanks for always keeping me on my toes.

  2. Hi Cate,

    True, they’re not mutually exclusive explanations.

  3. With all the recent excitement over mouse studies of drugs that may or may not cure Alzheimers in people (bexarotene), I’m surprised that more attention is not devoted to the question “How can we avoid getting Alzheimers in the first place?”

    I look forward to your post about HDAC inhibitors as yet another piece of this puzzle.

    Second, I hope it’s not pedantic to point out that that the topic in question is palatability vs. satiety, not palatability vs. satiation…and that the study used as source data for the hypothesis that “palatable foods produce less satiety” has fatal flaws that prompted me to debunk it last year as an example of bad science — “how to get the results you want”.


  4. Hi JS,

    Not pedantic at all! Thanks for the correction!

  5. Thanks Paul! I’m also making use of your post on wound healing:

  6. Paul Jaminet-

    I remember in a comment a few blog posts back you saying something along the likes of “from what i know about biology i tend not to focus on hormones parameters as its extremely complicated” ( Apologies if its a complete misquote)

    For some reason that really got my attention and i was wondering WHY??

    the paleo scene seems to write a lot about insulin, cortisol, thyroid hormones.
    I.E. it seems the consensus that having low fasting insulting levels is ideal (all else equal).

    How come i don’t read more articles from the paleo scene about isolated investigation into other hormones?

    Ray Peat writes on what he believes to be the dangers of excess Prolactin, estrogen, parathyroid hormone, serotonin , etc.

    Is it reasonable to conclude you’d want to optimize/minimize these as well or is it just too naive one can hack the human body like this toward some “optimal” hormonal ratios?

    Id love to hear what you think, thanks a lot 🙂

  7. Paul your comment on Melissa’s blog was perhaps the wisest thing I read all week.

    It also makes me wonder about where the Paleo movement will be down the road.

  8. Hi Igor,

    Most of the things I see written about hormones I think are either wrong or oversimplified.

    I don’t think one can easily generalize about what levels of hormones are optimal, since their level varies depending on a myriad of factors (everything else going on in the body), and any number of levels could be optimal depending on your state.

    So I think hormones are better left to specialists/endocrinologists than bloggers.

    Hi Steven,

    I don’t know where Paleo will end up, but if “Paleo” means a specific set of foods or macronutrient composition rather than an approach to discovering the optimal diet, or if the movement can’t tolerate the full range of human personalities, then it’s bound to fragment.

    I would like to see it retain integrity as a movement because it will have more influence that way, but I don’t see herding people as my calling.

  9. What?! No one’s called foul on that pun in the title?! Who knew … astrophysicist and comedian ;).

  10. This stood out, “Milk from a cow in the late stage of pregnancy contains up to 33 times as much of a signature estrogen compound (estrone sulfate) than milk from a non-pregnant cow.” This concerns me more than progesterone which, if natural, has many beneficial effects. Of course, progesterone should not be confused and grouped in with synthetic “progestins” that appear in pharmacologic products.
    One other thing, I don’t understand why the appendectomy patient thinks she needs to give up starches again and re-embark on the grueling spartan-like GAPS diet. I would venture to say she may just need to cut back on dietary fiber some.

  11. “Most of the things I see written about hormones I think are either wrong or oversimplified.

    I don’t think one can easily generalize about what levels of hormones are optimal, since their level varies depending on a myriad of factors (everything else going on in the body), and any number of levels could be optimal depending on your state.

    So I think hormones are better left to specialists/endocrinologists than bloggers.”


    There is a lot of money being thrown down the hole of hormone testing and people have come to me after having spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on tests and sometimes hundreds more on supplements which, in many cases, do not help their original symptoms.

  12. @Gabriel For about a week after the surgery I was still eating some rice or potatoes and each time felt a knot in my upper abdomen. I’m feeling much better off starches for now. I’m not following a ‘grueling GAPS diet’ at all, I’ve just felt better with fruit as a source of carbs (mainly bananas, honey and berries) than starches.

  13. A couple of the paleo summit presenters still think that carbs=disease. I think that’s kind of weird. How do they explain the good health of many high-carbers? I like Nora Gedgaudas, she seems bright and I she explained that low cortisol is not due to the adrenals fatiguing but due to some other mechanism and that sounds like a better explanation to me. But she’s obsessed about the carbs. I can’t see what’s wrong with ‘safe starches’.

  14. personally i can’t even see what’s wrong with sugars IN GENERAL anymore. i have been tracking my vitals at work, and whenever i start to get into a stressful response (loss of sense of humor, frantic/panicky thoughts, increased heart rate, anger), i drink some oj mixed with club soda. i also sip it throughout the shift. i find i can deal with the situation in a much more relaxed manner, sometimes even TOO relaxed! this entire “you will get fat and sick if you eat x grams sugar” is TOTAL BALONEY nowadays and i suggest everyone test new strategies for themselves rather than relying on “experts”.

  15. “Here they come…
    Walking down the street…
    Hey Hey we’re the Monkees”

    Brainworm: Getting a song (usually one you dislike) stuck inside your mind that repeats endlessly.

    Hope that’s the only ‘brain worm’ I’ll experience this week…Whew! that IS nasty!

  16. @drcate – You said: “There is a lot of money being thrown down the hole of hormone testing and people have come to me after having spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on tests and sometimes hundreds more on supplements which, in many cases, do not help their original symptoms.”

    Perhaps I don’t understand what you mean by this.

    Because, realistically, what else could these patients have done? There are precious few doctors like you, and most of us are going it alone after being abandoned by conventional docs. We hormone dysregulated patients would prefer not to spend hundreds on tests and supplements but the fact is there just isn’t much else out there in the way of help, and certainly no consensus on what to do. (I’m refering to sex hormones here, as there are many more resources for thyroid, cortisol and insulin problems.)

    Once the diet is dialed in, there’s nothing left but alternative practitioners, and the several I’ve tried have only offered saliva testing and supplements (and stress reduction tools) as diagnostics and treatment. What else can they do? What else is available? I’m confused about what kind of approach a proactive patient can take that doesn’t end up in the situation you describe above.

    On a personal level, I’m bursting at the seams reading this thread because I want more than anything to rebalance my sex hormones and, Dr. Cate, a low carb/zero starch diet is what you’d recommend (according to your past writings and podcast with J. Moore) but I felt like death after 6 months on such a diet and didn’t feel alive again until finding PHD and adding back starch. But if the “sugar” is making my insides “sticky” and preventing me from healing… well, then is my choice to heal and feel like death during the process, or stick to a diet that allows me to feel good but prevents healing? And I must say I have a hard time believing that a diet that makes me feel terrible is good for me.

    So, honestly, what’s a person to do? I certainly don’t mean for this to sound critical of Dr. Cate or generally combative. It’s more desperate and plaintive than anything else. I hope the appropriate tone comes through. Thoughts and opinions from anyone who has them are welcome.

    And thank you, Paul and Dr. Cate, for sharing your time and talents with those of us who so greatly benefit.

  17. Very nice comment over at HGL.

    Paul wrote:
    “In my case, I long ago decided that it was much more productive to focus on discovering the truth and expounding it, than on refuting error. The reason is that there are millions of ways to err, but only one truth. Despite being outnumbered, truth has God on its side and is bound to triumph.”

    I’m an atheist but I’m convinced there are Platonic truths. Truths with a big ‘T’. I was swayed into this convincingly by Roger Penrose, who is also an atheist.

    Penrose writes:
    “There is something absolute and ‘God-given’ about mathematical truth. This is what mathematical Platonism, as discussed at the end of the last chapter, is about. Any particular formal system has a provisional and ‘man-made’ quality about it. Such systems indeed have very valuable roles to play in mathematical discussions, but they can supply only a partial (or approximate) guide to truth. Real mathematical truth goes beyond mere man-made constructions.” (The Emperor’s New Mind, pp 146)

    And later on:
    “I imagine that whenever the mind perceives a mathematical idea, it makes contact with Plato’s world of mathematical concepts…When one ‘sees’ a mathematical truth, one’s consciousness breaks through into this world of ideas, and makes direct contact with it.” (The Emperor’s New Mind, pp 554)

  18. Ok, have to comment – can’t contain myself anymore! I am a lurker of the worst sort, but here goes. As a 54 year old woman, I am more energetic, flexible (yoga three times a week), and healthier than I have been for, oh, decades. My doc, a wonderful, but dye-in-the-wool vegetarian, told me to keep doing what I was doing – cholesterol dropped, good TSH levels(I’m hypo), and down 5 sizes. Talk about replacing a wardrobe! My worry, of course, is gaining it all back, which, sorry to say, is an experience I have had already in days of yore. I was an avowed low-carber back then and I can attest that, while it was effective for losing weight, it was not a good long term strategy. So far, as long as I stick to basic PHD principles, things are going swimmingly. In general, PHD has been a huge success. Thank you Paul and Shou-Ching!

  19. Hi HM,


    Hi JW,

    I feel for you. I think that once the diet is dialed in, the thing to look for is infections. But more on that later. I wish I knew more about sex hormones and their interplay with the immune system.

    Sean, thank you.

    Hi Java Girl,

    Congratulations! Thanks for sharing, we love success stories!

  20. @JW
    Important: I do not recommend a zero carb diet. My How Many Carbs do You Need Post was not about shaping a diet for life. It was about busting the myth that we have all heard that sugar equates to energy, and I do say this in the blog. But your confusion offers a perfect example of why a relationship with a health practitioner is important.

    I do recommend developing a relationship with a practitioner you can trust who is not making oodles of money selling you tests or supplements. There are not many of us, true, but we are available!

  21. @Dr. Cate, thank you for pointing out that you don’t recommend a zero carb diet. It brings up an important and fundamental question about what “counts” as a carb.

    Do you count starchy vegetables, like potatoes or sweet potatoes, among healthy carb source for someone trying to normalize sex hormones (and who is normal weight, not diabetic, and whose insulin + PPBG + FBG all test normal when eating starchy veg)?

    This is the question at hand.

    I agree with Paul’s argument that non-starchy veggie carbs shouldn’t count toward carb totals, since they render no net glucose benefit to the body. Eating a lot of non-starchy veggies to get my carb intake on up there doesn’t relieve my glucose deficiency symptoms, whereas eating a small amount of starch does. The reality is that I feel better with starch in my diet.

    I have read on your blog that you recommend a ~100g carb diet. That sounds like a good number. EXCEPT, there’s a big difference between a PHD 100g carb diet (400 cals of sweet pot, e.g.) and a Dr. Cate 100g carb diet. That’s why I tend to use the term “low carb/zero starch” when referring to the latter. There’s a big distinction between LC and LC/ZS and I wish it were made more often in the Paleosphere, because it would lessen confusion.

    If I have it all wrong, please let me know. I would absolutely be elated if I were wrong and you approve of starch (>= 200 cals/day worth) and believe it can be part of a healthy hormone-rebalancing diet. Then I could marry the advice of two of my favorite and most respected scientists, you and Paul.

    Again, my disclaimer that I hope this comes off respectfully as sincere curiosity with a bit of confusion, and not hostility. And fwiw, I have a virtual appointment scheduled with you. It was scheduled some time ago, prior to this thread. I hope you’ll still take me as a patient. 🙂

  22. @JW
    1. 🙂
    2. I’m not zero starch. Sugar is sugar, right? Your body doesn’t know where the glucose/fructose/xylose whichever came from. Source and tradition. Those are my two guiding rules.

  23. Well that’s delightful news! Thanks, Dr. Cate, for your input.

  24. Paul –

    Thank for your reply 🙂

    One quick follow up…your a physicist…..can you tell me when nanotechnology will come onto the scene and revolutionize diet and health care?
    much more importantly…..treat male pattern baldness.

    As random commenter on your blog i would like to request you speed this along.

  25. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for all you do.

    Ned Kock mentioned autophagy in a new post, with a link to the Wiki article about it. At the bottom of the Wiki article an article from Harvard’s Focus was quoted. The link to the Focus article (in case you haven’t seen it already (unlikely)) is

    It discusses the role of autophagy in cancer, mentioning that cancer cells (some at least) can ‘hijack’ autophagy’s usual role and evade chemo drugs.

    Thought you’d be interested, and couldn’t figure out how to mention the article to you except by posting here.

  26. Hi Igor,

    I’m not optimistic that nanotechnology will progress quickly. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong.

    Hi Jim,

    Thanks for the link. I hadn’t seen that Focus article but I have seen similar research. Autophagy is a resource generation mechanism that aids survival, and viruses and cancer cells utilize it. But promoting it yourself denudes the cell of resources to scavenge, so it makes autophagy less useful to the viruses and cancer cells. This is one reason fasting before and during chemotherapy is so helpful. Fasting turns on autophagy and strips the cell of the resources it would need to survive the chemo.

    Of course, the focus of the researchers is on pharmaceutical means of stopping autophagy. I think fasting before chemo will have far fewer side effects.

    Best, Paul

  27. Excellent post over at HGL Paul!

    re autophagy: I saw this awhile back, thought it was interesting –

    It discusses “periodically restricting your protein intake and adding common herbs & spices to your diet to promote autophagy” in order to prolong life. There is a weight loss page on the site as well.

  28. Hi Leila,


    Ron Mignery’s ideas are really interesting. I’m glad he’s moved to WordPress. Hopefully it will give him more visibility.

  29. Ah, the random wanderings of free association – the non-prison variety.

    Let me see.

    Davy Jones’ Locker . . . . Pirates . . . . Treasure Island . . . . Treasure chest . . . . Sea shanty

    “Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest–

    …Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!
    Drink and the devil had done for the rest–
    …Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum!”

    I read Robert Louis Stevenson at the age of eight,
    but at age eleven, Jack Martin’s adventures in R M Ballantyne’s “The Coral Island” enlivened my winter weekends.

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