Category Archives: Science

Toward a Proof of the PHD

I hope all of our readers enjoyed a happy and healthy Father’s Day.

We had two PHD-related sources of happiness this weekend. On Friday and Saturday we filmed a documentary for Korea’s SBS TV, which will air July 7 in Korea. And then, over the course of the weekend, we heard a number of positive reader stories.

I’d like to share those stories, as a warmup to telling you about about a new venture that will, we expect, create many more health successes.

Reader Results

John Parker is 70 years old and looks fantastic on PHD:


Well done John!

Antoniette Descisciolo-Rozean is losing weight with ease:

Week 4 Update:

Another half pound bites the dust woot woot!! 😀 😀 😀

This may not sound like a lot to many people, but I don’t have a ton of weight to lose, and I’ve NEVER lost weight as painlessly and naturally as I have on this plan!

I can absolutely do this plan for life and never feel deprived. I still have not counted one calorie, nor have not felt hunger once.

This brings my total loss at close to ten pounds on one month. I am so completely happy with this!!

My husband, who doesn’t need to lose weight, is trimming up. Though he’s lost no weight, his waist is trimming up, his chest is getting more solid, etc.

He has only cut out grains/legumes and has not changed his routine (which is naturally active), yet is experiencing these surprising improvements!

He was previously getting stiffness in his joints, and that has nearly disappeared!

Aaron Macomber has lost 53 pounds and feels ten years younger:

January to June, I’m down 53 pounds on the PHD. I also weight train for 1-1.5hrs 4 days a week, no cardio training at all. I weighed 238lbs when I started and now weigh 185, and still dropping! I’m 40 years old and I feel and look better than I did when I was 30 (now just figure out how to re-grow hair :).

The better part of the story is that the inflammation that I was constantly suffering with is reduced so much it’s incredible! My hands and feet used to ache at the end of the day, and they just don’t anymore. I used to be hot all the time, and was popping advil like they were breath mints, and I just don’t have a need for that anymore. I am still dropping 1-2lbs a week and packing on the muscle fairly fast. I will be seeing my abs for the first time in my life within the next few months and have gone from a 38-40 waist to a 32 already.

Both Antoniette and Aaron left Amazon reviews – thank you very much!

Gill is only two weeks into PHD, but has some results already:

In desperation one night I trawled the web and found your website and thought it was worth a shot. Within a matter of days of kicking gluten for good (not that I ate much wheat anyway but we scots eat a lot of oats) and starting magnesium/selenium/iodine supplements I felt 50% better. Given my deteriorating health over the preceding two years, this was a HUGE improvement. My sinuses, whilst still far from perfect, are feeling considerably better.  My energy levels, whilst still not what they used to be, have definitely picked up.  This is after a fortnight.  I am so excited that I might actually keep improving!!

June is healing:

I have started eating this style of eating introducing bone broths, organ meats, coconut oil, eliminating vegetable oils, sugar amongst other things. One big change I am finding is at 59 I was having problems with the skin on my hands, every little knock cause a a heamatoma type of bruising under the skin, an obvious sign that the collagen in my skin was lacking. Today I gave my hand a big knock & there is only a small bruise.

Also I am having less problems with my knees, so I am sold on the paleo/high fat style of eating.

I haven’t lost a lot of weight but it is stable & body fat percentage is reducing slowly. On a low fat, moderate protein diet my body fat percentage just kept going up & up.

Thank you for your book & the information it provides.

Richard Parker had inflammatory bowel disease for 35 years, now it’s gone:

I have been following the PHD for about 5 months. I had a serious flare of IBD over the Christmas holidays. For several years I had been able to control my symptoms to tolerable levels but this flare was beyond my control with my old diet. I first started with a broth diet for 2 weeks, then elimination diet before I discovered PHD. I lost 30 pounds in a month, which is mot particularly healthy before starting the PHD at the end of January. Several things truly shocked me on PHD that helped. Being able to tolerate fat, cutting down on fruit was good, elimination wheat and whole grain was good, eating egg yolks didn’t raise my cholesterol, eating liver and liking it and switching to goat dairy helped. I had been on a low fat, whole grain, yogurt, low animal protein, probiotic and Chia seed fiber diet before. The Chia seeds had been my savior to slow down the diarrhea. I still eat Chia seeds but just sprinkle them on salads. Today my digestion and elimination system is better than it has been in 35 years. My triglycerides have dropped from 153 to 72. My HDL has risen to 45 after 30 years of HDL between 27 and 35. I drink bone broth every day as I eat 3 egg yolks. The only probiotic I take now is Live Zing Salad. I also take most of the supplements recommended but take them on faith that Paul knows what he is talking about here too. I have never been able to say that I know a supplement has helped. But I wouldn’t stop anything I am doing for fear that the good changes I have experienced would end.

Bill Rafter found that PHD helped him deal with cancer:

About 6 months ago I learned that I had metastatic prostate cancer.  The treatment recommended was hormone therapy and targeted radiation.  The hormone (androgen deprivation) therapy tricks the brain into suppressing testosterone production.  The effects are a total suppression of sexual drive, hot flashes similar to those experienced by menopausal women, and the feeling that one is an old, old man.  The lack of sexual function I could deal with, and the hot flashes just seemed like a good sweat.  But, at 65 and still athletic, I found the last one particularly brutal, and questioned whether I wanted treatment at all.

A friend gave me a good book on cancer, recommending an all-out approach rather than the sequential attempts favored by most oncologists.  Nutrition was a major part of the approach.  I then trolled my friends for books on nutrition and one commented that PHD was the best he had ever read.  I am overwhelmed by what it has done for me.

After reading PHD, I immediately adopted the recommendations in full, with the exception of fasting.  I then went thru 44 radiation treatments, and never felt fatigue, a common symptom.  No more old man feelings, and no thoughts of quitting treatment.  Hot flashes are completely gone, which really puzzles the oncologists. Everyone wants to know what stopped the hot flashes.  The trouble is that because I adopted everything at once, there is no way to identify that which contributed most.  But that’s not all.

Ever since grade school I have been a nailbiter.  I knew the habit was caused by a chemical imbalance, rather than behavioral, but could never figure out what.  But since adopting PHD, my fingernails have grown to the extent that filing them is annoying.  That makes me wonder that if PHD brought my system into balance, how many other imbalanced people could also benefit.  Those people could manifest their imbalance otherwise, say with abuse of alcohol or drugs.

This reduction in cancer therapy side effects may be more significant than mere symptomatic relief. Cancer therapies generally have a very narrow margin between hurting the cancer and hurting normal tissue. A diet that enables normal cells to tolerate cancer therapies better may allow more effective doses of therapy to be used, potentially significantly improving odds of remission.

There are many other great stories on the PHD Facebook group. Our thanks to all who share their results!

Toward a Proof of the PHD

I strongly believe that PHD is, indeed, the most healthful human diet. The science is solid. Moreover, diet seems to have a large influence on health, so adopting PHD can lead to dramatic health improvements. Personal experience, and reader stories like those above, give me confidence in those claims.

But how can we prove PHD to skeptics?

Self-reported reader results don’t convince skeptics because they are an incomplete and biased sample. Those who have good results are enthusiastic and excited and take the time to report their success. Skeptics can always wonder whether there were an equal number of readers with poor results who simply didn’t report their negative experiences. To prove a diet, it is necessary to compile unbiased evidence from a complete sample.

For some time, I’ve been looking ways to generate compelling evidence. At the Ancestral Health Symposium in 2012, I organized a panel discussion (“New Technologies, New Opportunities”) looking at how new technologies such as quantified self tools with automatic data collection via Wifi could help us generate unbiased data on the effects of different diets and lifestyles.

Others in the ancestral health community are also attacking this problem. For example, Gary Taubes and collaborators have created NuSI in an effort to fund clinical trials testing the effects of low-carb diets.

Now, happily, thanks to a new partnership which I’ll announce on Thursday, we are going to have an opportunity to do a fair and unbiased test of PHD’s effectiveness. In fact, it’s already underway. At a secret location in Austin, Texas for the last four to eight weeks, a half dozen people with serious health concerns have been following the PHD diet and lifestyle advice. Every one of them has experienced health improvements. Among the results:

  • A woman who in February was walking with a cane, taking pain medications, and scheduled for knee and hip surgeries is now walking with no difficulty and has stopped her pain medications. A longtime Sjogren’s sufferer, she now has tears. She has lost two inches from her waist, is sleeping better, is happier, and has more energy.
  • A diabetic with fasting blood glucose of 160 now has fasting blood glucose in the 90s. He has lost 7 pounds and 4 inches from his waist.

I will share further details on Thursday, as we still have work to do before a formal launch and announcement. Let me just say – I am excited; I am optimistic that we can make a huge difference in the lives of a number of people; and I believe we will be able to generate convincing proof that a natural diet and lifestyle, along the lines of PHD, is the path to good health.

More coming soon!

High-Carb Diets Can Be Tough on Bacteria, Too

Sugars are toxic in excess because they are highly reactive. But we don’t normally think of them as toxic to bacteria. Bacteria thrive by eating sugars.

I was reading “TB or Not TB?” at The Scientist and was amused at this anecdote, about efforts to find new ways to kill drug-resistant TB:

Rainer Kalscheuer, now at Heinrich-Heine University in Germany, was searching for genes and proteins that made some TB cells more treatment tolerant than others. After doing a microarray analysis, Kalscheuer wanted to investigate a metabolic intermediate enzyme called GlgE, but Jacobs balked. “I told him a group at Harvard had already shown that glgE was an essential gene that can’t be manipulated,” Jacobs remembers. But Kalscheuer persevered and found out that glgE could be knocked out and studied if grown in the right culture medium.

Note for grammarians: glgE is the gene, GlgE is the protein.

The key to creating viable glgE knockout strains turned out to be trehalose, a cell wall carbohydrate. TB bacteria that lacked glgE died instantly when trehalose was present, but survived if it was removed. The Harvard group had used medium that contained trehalose without realizing it because the carbohydrate, used as a preservative, was an unlisted ingredient.

This is the kind of thing that drives impatient biologists crazy. Experiments are so sensitive to subtle variations, such as an unlisted preservative in the culture medium, that Biology smiles only on those who are exceedingly careful, thoughtful, and patient with tedious troubleshooting. Also, those who don’t put too much faith in the results of their peers!

The next step for Kalscheuer and Jacobs was figuring out the functional relationship between the two proteins. GlgE had been implicated in glycogen metabolism, but the connection with trehalose was unclear. Finally, after a painstaking series of suppressor genetics experiments, they elucidated the biochemical pathway: Glycogen and glucose produce trehalose; an enzyme known as trehalose synthase converts the trehalose into maltose; then, the maltose becomes maltose-1-phosphate, the protein that GlgE converts into glucan. When glgE is knocked out, maltose-1-phosphate accumulates, which kills the tuberculosis bacterium.

Turnabout is fair play. It seems only fitting that bacteria should die from high-carb diet toxicity. Why should humans be the only ones?