Saturday, 22 December 2012

Evolutionary Trade-Offs: Fast Versus Famine

This is a sister post to Primal North's "Keto Adaptation vs Low Carb Limbo".

Gluconeogenesis (GNG) is a big topic in ketogenic dieting, and most people think it means eating too much protein knocks you out of ketosis as they think excess protein increases GNG which then increases blood glucose and thus insulin. This is completely wrong. GNG changes little between a high-carb and low-carb diet (link), which of course means Jaminet's idea of eating 'safe starches' to "less the burden on the liver" is nonsense, but it actually has many implications that no-one seems to be addressing: glycogen depletion from exercise in keto-adapted individuals. To many the mere idea of glycogen being using when keto-adapted, let alone it being depleted, is seer heresy but it can and does happen, and a lot more often than people think it does.

We have three major fuel tanks, as it were, in our body: glycogen, fatty acids, and ketones. We burn a mix of these at all times. There are three basic 'modes' that our body uses:
  • Carb mode: most energy is being derived from glycogen, and a small amount from fatty acids.
  • Fat mode: most of the energy comes from fatty acids, and of the rest most comes from glycogen, and a small amount from ketones.
  • Ketone mode: about half of the energy comes from fatty acids still, but of the rest most comes from ketones and a small amount from glycogen.

We burn glycogen all the time, whether we eat high-carb, low-carb, ketogenic, zero carb, nutritional ketosis; it doesn't matter what diet you eat, we always burn some glycogen. While exercising energy requirement increases and so too does need for glycogen.

The reason I describe them as 'modes' is because the body doesn't slowly change what fuel mix it uses, it's like a switch, the body will suddenly change from say fat mode to ketone mode. This study (link) on sled dogs revealed that "[d]uring the first few days of racing, sled dogs draw energy from glycogen stored inside muscle cells. But instead of depleting glycogen stores and tiring the muscles, the animals suddenly switch to a glycogen-sparing metabolism." (Emphasis mine)

But what's interesting is that after racing 100 miles for 5 days, their muscle glycogen was slightly higher than when they started (link). Even if they're burning a smaller amount of glycogen something has to be refilling it for it to end up higher. Most people think GNG means turning protein into glucose that then raises your blood sugar, this is wrong, GNG is the turning of protein into glycogen. All carnivorous animals have high levels of GNG in their liver, and they need it to be high, as they need glucose to simply live (all animals die if blood glucose levels drop to 0) but also to fuel their high intensity exercise aka chasing down prey.

Dogs and cats, which are domestic versions of wild wolves and big cats, have much higher levels of GNG in their liver, and only can tolerate higher levels of protein intake than us before toxicity aka rabbit starvation. The sled dogs in this study ate a lot of protein: "[e]ach 50-pound canine consumes about 12,000 calories daily (typically 60 percent fat and 40 percent carbohydrate and protein)", this works out to 800g of fat, and up to 1200g of protein and this is for an animal a third our size!

The reason these animals can tolerate a much larger amount of protein then we can (anything over ~200g of protein for a human starts to become toxic), is because they have a higher level of GNG. Dietary protein has three major metabolic pathways it can take: muscle/protein synthesis, GNG, and breakdown to urea. Only so much goes into muscle/protein synthesis, as much is needed but only so much proteins are needed and even rapid muscle growth works out to only a handful of grams a day; the rest either gets turned into glycogen via GNG, or is broken down in urea and then excreted in our urine. So when certain leaders of certain zero carb groups say that excess protein isn't a problem at all and won't raise blood sugars and drive up GNG, they're partly correct. GNG is limited by the size of our liver, and doesn't change much depending on diet, the excess protein is indeed broken down in urea and excreted as they say. But we also have a limited capacity to excrete urea and excess protein leads to a build up of urea in the blood which is the mechanism by which we get protein toxicity aka rabbit starvation.

Why is the level of GNG important? Because it limits our ability to refuel glycogen when we don't eat carbs (or not enough). If our glycogen fuel tank becomes empty, doesn't matter what 'mode' we're in, then we will 'bonk out', 'hit the wall', call it what you want but it means you're not going to finish that race, if keto-adapted you may be able to struggle through it. Once the glycogen tank is empty, it can take a long time to refill it and during this time many of the common effects of low carb limbo are seen such as hypoglycaemia and increased risk of infection. Our ability to refill glycogen limits our exercise capacity, in animals such as dogs they can eat huge amounts of protein which undergoes GNG and refills that glycogen such that they can have more glycogen after 500 miles than before they started. In tests on humans running while consuming low-carb diets, we see that glycogen is depleted during exercise, and while it is depleted much slower than someone eating a high-carb diet, it needs to be refuelled between exercises. But because GNG is governed by our livers, and eating more protein doesn't increase it, this means that we can only refill so much of our glycogen tank before we have to exercise again. So while a sled dog can refill that glycogen tank completely say overnight, we need longer than that to get our glycogen back up.

So if one is only eating no/little carbs, they need to ensure that there is adequate time between heavy exercises such that our glycogen can be refilled sufficiently. Repeated heavy exercise too close together results not only in 'bonking out' but even illness. My good friend Danny Albers of Primal North has experienced this first hand, if he doesn't 'carb back-load  (to refill glycogen), consume 'superstarch' (more on that later), or wait long enough between exercising, he gets a cold or infection, sometimes very bad.

So then how do people like Jimmy Moore avoid this? Because Jimmy Moore measures his blood ketones, and Danny doesn't. Jimmy Moore reports that if his blood ketones are over 1.5mmol/L then he can exercise fine, if it's lower then he will bonk out (link) and instead chooses not to exercise that day. Your blood ketones need to reach a certain level for you to be in ketone mode, aka keto-adapted, below this level you are only in fat mode and will still be burning quite a lot of glycogen.Jimmy's diet is 85% fat, 30g carbs, the rest protein, but even he isn't in ketone mode all the time and must measure his blood ketones before exercising. If you aren't measuring your blood ketones before you exercise then you have no way of telling if you're keto-adapted or not, blood ketones mean nothing. Take the time to read Danny's brilliant post on what true keto-adaptation is (link). Everyone will have a different level of blood ketones at which they will switch to ketone mode though, so you will need to test each time and not at which level you don't bonk. Those who have never been obese, and have been on VLC/ZC diets for a very long time, will have a lower threshold for keto-adaptation, this applies to us and animals (in the zero carb community they actually stress not exercising for 6 months, likely in part to attain this ideal before you do). The wolf who has eaten a carnivorous diet his whole life will be able to access that ketone mode much easier than a previously morbidly obese person with metabolic syndrome, as evidenced that the sled dogs switched to ketone mode only after a couple days of running, while it can take somebody months and months to keto-adapt.

But even those who have been eating a zero carb diet for a very long time, and have never been obese will find there is a limit to how much they can exercise because of this lower GNG level compared to other carnivorous animals; a certain leader of a certain zero carb group only runs half marathons and finds he bonks out if he attempts to run a full marathon. But wait, I hear you cry, what about that guy who set a new world record in the Western States 100, wasn't he low carb? (link) Yes he was, but he consumed about 2,000 calories worth of glucose over the course of the race, AND he was taking a bee pollen supplement that enhances fatty acid oxidation. 2,000 calories of glucose may sound a lot, but compared to the roughly 10,000 calories needed to run the race it's actually quite small (the high-carb runners have to consume 10,000 calories of glucose over the race minus what they can carbo-load the night before), the rest of coming from fatty acids and ketones. So even he had to refill that glycogen or risk bonking, but he needed much much less as he was burning it at a slower rate and using mostly his own body fat for fuel (as a mix of fatty acids and ketones).

So why do we have a lower level of GNG, especially if we're meant to be pure carnivores as some claim? Well let's take a look at cats, cats have the highest level of GNG in the animal kingdom and thus the highest dietary protein requirements. What's really interesting is if you fast a house cat for more than a day or so, it can develop fatal fatty liver as it starts to burn it's own muscle tissue for GNG. So if you're an animal with a very high level of GNG, you can't fast even for a few days, but you can refill the glycogen that's used up in heavy exercise hunting down prey to ensure you're not fasting. But instead if you're a carnivore with a low level of GNG then you may not be able to run marathons every day such as to hunt prey, but you can happily survive those periods in between hunts, even if they're weeks apart, such as if they're not much prey.

Our lower level of GNG compared to other carnivorous animals is an adaptation to famine!

So we have an evolutionary trade-off, while other animals such as cats are adapted for hunting more frequently and faster (just look at a cheetah!), we humans selected for famine over fast.

So what do we do if you want/need to do heavy exercise more frequently than can be supplied by GNG? Here are the options:
  • Backload carbs: refill the glycogen after exercising.
  • Cycle carbs: eat high-carb on workout days and low-carb on rest days, or carb-up once a week.
But what if you don't want to or can't eat carbs for whatever reason? There may be a couple ways to 'cheat'...

Talking to many zero-carbers it seems that animal based carbs (such as from dairy or shellfish) don't raise their blood sugar as the same amount of carbs from plants would. Are animal carbs somehow different from plant carbs? They may well be, in chapter 9 of "How To Prevent Heart Attacks" by Ben Sandler (link) he talks about something called 'gamma-glucose'. The basic idea is that there is a third kind of glucose (normal glucose comes in two kinds, alpha and beta) which is different, it's unstable and made by the liver. When we eat carbs or otherwise increase insulin then we make less 'gamma-glucose', and increase our production of 'gamma-glucose' after a meal with only protein and/or fat. So carbs from animal sources may be in the form of this 'gamma-glucose' and so animal carbs may be good for refilling glycogen without triggering insulin production.

Another 'cheat' is super starch (said I'd get to it). Super starch is a special kind of carbohydrate that is designed to refill glycogen without increasing blood glucose or insulin. Many athletes use it because it's doesn't upset the stomach like other carbs (the main reason ultra-marathoners are turning to low-carb is because the frequent carb-ups over the course of the race upset the stomach to the point where it won't except any more and they simply throw everything up, then run out of glycogen and bonk). Volek, of The Art And Science Of Low-Carb Living/Performance has written several articles/papers on super starch (link). Peter Attia uses super starch to help him exercise efficiently (link and link). My good friend Danny Albers has personally tried out a similar product to super starch (again designed to refill glycogen without increasing glucose/insulin, just cheaper) with great results in his exercise (link).

Friday, 7 December 2012

Homocysteine and Glutathione Nutrients

Folate, choline, B6, and B12

All these nutrients are part of the homocysteine cycle. High blood levels of homocysteine are dangerous and greatly increase your risk of heart disease. Homocysteine can be recycled to methionine by several routes: by choline; or folate. It can also be excreted as uria after being converted to cysteine by vitamin B6.

Here are a couple of pictures of the homocysteine cycle, showing how the nutrients interact (choline is listed as it's active form 'betaine'):

Elevated homocysteine is usually treated with a low-methionine diet with limited results, just like a low cholesterol diet doesn't reduce cholesterol levels. Also as methionine is found in many nutritious foods, such as eggs and other animal foods, restricting it can lead to an unbalanced diet. Increasing choline, folate, vitamins B6 and B12 is much more effective at reducing homocysteine levels, though some are more effective than others, as we will see...

Folate versus choline: Spina Bifida

Many women eating carnivorous diets, low in folate as little to no chicken liver was eaten, have produced healthy babies free of Spina Bifida. Normally women are given folic acid supplements in early pregnancy to prevent this disease, ignoring the folate versus folic acid issue for now, if folate/folic acid is so important for preventing Spina bifida, how can healthy babies be born to a mother eating a diet very low in folate? My thoery is that choline replaces most if not all of folate's duties, as it's not folate itself but high homocysteine and low glutathione that is the real cause behind folate deficiency problems such as spina bifida.

Seems others agree: "Anomalies in homocysteine metabolism have been implicated in disorders ranging from vascular disease to neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida." (link)

Homocysteine is an amino acid derivative in the blood, high levels are associated with heart disease. The usual method for reducing it is restricting methionine as it's made from that, but this doesn't really work just like restricting cholesterol intake doesn't help blood cholesterol levels. Folate can be used to reduce homocysteine blood levels by recycling it back into methionine, and so can choline.

Folate needs B12 in order to recycle homocysteine, a normal mixed diet has very little B12 compared to a carnivore one which is why such large amounts of folate are used in supplements to prevent Spina Bifida, as much as 5mg (5,000ug) or more. The increased B12 on a carnivore diet means less folate is needed to effectively recycle homocysteine.

Similarly choline needs zinc. My menu provides ~23mg zinc, while the USDA RDA is 11mg, so it's likely less choline is needed also. Choline has many other functions though, making phospholipids and other things vital for brain development, and helps in metabolising fats so it's unlikely a lot less is needed on a carnivore diet.

Another Way Out

Apart from recycling homocysteine back into methionine, we can exit this cycle using B6, and it turns into cysteine. Add some glycine (gelatin), and glutamate (any protein) along with selenium, and they make glutathione, the body's most potent antioxidant.

In trials with homocysteinuria, a genetic disease which presents with very high levels of homocysteine and heart disease, homocysteine is successfully lowered with folate but the heart disease rate stays the same, but giving vitamin B6 instead does help the heart disease! This shows that recycling homocysteine back to methionine is of little value, to proper thing to do is turn it to cysteine, then glutathione.

I think it's not the high homocysteine itself causing the problems but the low glutathione levels. Low glutathione levels are the reason why the low protein rats in Colin T Campbell's studies just all died instead of getting cancer (link).

The WAPF reports that 3.4mg of B6 daily is needed to fully saturate B6 levels in breast milk (link), so for pregnancy I will assume a similar level is needed, and less while not pregnant. Using the ol' 'eating for two' would mean 1.7mg B6 is needed; the USDA RDA is 1.3mg normally, 1.9mg for pregnant, and 2mg for breastfeeding, proportionally if breastfeeding really needs 3.4 then normal means ~2.2mg is needed. Vitamin B6 recommendations used to be based of protein, to the tune of 0.016mg per gram of protein intake, so 1.6mg per 100g of protein. I would err on the side of caution and say that more B6 is likely better, but if there is sufficient cysteine, glycine, glutamate, and selenium in one's diet to make glutathione without needing B6/homocysteine then glutathione levels will still be high, and B6 is not as critical.

Thus I will no longer be recommending chicken liver specifically for it's folate content, and am happy that the amount of folate provided by the other liver and egg yolks is plenty (1 egg has as much folate as 2000 calories of rib eye), these foods also provide choline for alternative recycling of homocysteine.

The carnivore RDA will have a lower recommendation for folate than the USDA RDA, choline will be same or greater than USDA RDA, zinc will remain at 12x copper but likely more copper will be recommended than the USDA RDA, and B6 will be based on protein intake. There will also be emphasise on getting plenty of vitamin B12, selenium, methionine, cysteine, and glycine.

- - - - - - - - - -

Side Note: Folic acid versus Folate

Folic acid is the artificial form of folate, found only in supplements and added to foods such as flour. Folate is the natural form found in food. An enzyme called dihydrofolate reductase is needed to convert folic acid to folate, this enzyme is also needed to convert folate to it's active form tetrahydrofolate (THF); too much folic acid slows the synthesis of THF and can actually cause deficiency.

Conversion of folic acid to folate is low but variable (link), and excess unconverted folic acid is dangerous (link). Two genes that effect dihydrofolate reductase are: C677T and A1298C. Having these mutations decreases your ability to convert folic acid to folate.

Too much folic acid is also associated with caner, high serum levels are associated with epigenetic changes linked to bowel cancer (link), and cell grown in cultures with high levels of folic acid induces these changes. Selenium and vitamin D3 levels decreased these changes, all the more reason to eat your kidney or pork and soak up the sun. But it seems natural folate is anti-cancer: "daily supplementation of 1 mg of folic acid increased the risk of prostate cancer, while dietary and plasma folate levels among vitamin nonusers actually decreased the risk of prostate cancer" (link). Anti-folate drugs are used as a treatment for cancer (link). More info.

For these reasons I recommend getting natural folate from food rather than supplements as folic acid.

If you must take supplements, seek out one of the following, as these are true folate rather than folic acid: 5-MTHF, 5-methyltetrahydrofolic acid, l-methylfolate, levomefolic acid, folinic acid, 'Metafolin', 'Deplin', 'Quatrafolic'.

Side Note: Alternatives

The folate cycle also turns a serine into a glycine, serine is an amino acid found in egg yolks, pork liver, turkey, and to a lesser degree other livers and muscle meat, so if a large amount of folate is eaten then less glycine from gelatin is needed; so the choice is between eating gelatin or poultry liver. One or the other is needed, as glycine is a critical component of glutathione.

I don't know if high amounts of choline mean that folate isn't used to recycle homocysteine, and thus less glycine is made, so I do feel it's much less risky to eat gelatin for the glycine directly.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

ZC community Versus Evidence: Who Can We Trust More?

My biggest disagreement with the zero carb community, or rather specifically with it's leader, who say that we are somehow different from all other carnivorousness animals that get very ill if not fed the whole animal (including organs such as liver, and the bones, skin, etc) and are just fed fatty muscle meat instead, and somehow different from our ancestors who went as far as to call organs sacred and sometimes went to extreme lengths to ensure a proper supply of organs, shellfish, and other foods rich in the fat-soluble vitamins, especially for pregnant/lactating women and growing children. Although we are not strictly true carnivores and can survive on an omnivorous diet, we can also survive on a carnivorous one too, but not a herbivore/vegan diet; our ability to adapt in regards to diet is a big reason why we've managed to become the dominant species on planet. But for the sake of this post we will be taking about humans as though we were true carnivores, as this is what zero carb states.

The zero carb philosophy is based on the words of Vilhjalmur Stefansson during his time staying with the Inuit people, his subsequent year-long all meat diet study at Bellevue Hospital, and the words of Owsley Stanley aka 'theBear'; and states that a diet of just fatty muscle meat is not only healthy but optimal, and that organs meats and other animal foods are completely unnecessary. In this post I will show that this is utter fantasy.

The main issue of eating just fatty muscle meat and no other animal foods is the deficiency this will cause. While muscle meat is rich in many vital nutrients it is completely lacking in retinol (vitamin A) which is the biggest concern; but muscle meat is also very low in copper, calcium, magnesium, and sodium, and low in potassium, selenium, vitamins B1 and B5, and the amino acids glycine and proline. These nutrients are easily found in other animal food: Egg yolks, dairy, and liver are rich in vitamin A; liver (except pork liver), kidneys, heart for copper; bone broth for calcium and magnesium (though supplementing magnesium is also advisable due to water filtration); unrefined salt for sodium; potassium salt for potassium; kidneys for selenium; liver, and pork for vitamin B1; liver, kidneys, and eggs for vitamin B5; and gelatin for glycine and proline. In essence, you need to eat the whole animal (or at least liver, and gelatin-rich bone broths in addition to fatty muscle meat, and to a lesser extent kidneys and the other organs) for complete balanced nutrition.

If you read the Bellevue Study, you'll quickly see that Stefansson ate many different organs: "The meat used included beef, lamb, veal, pork, and chicken. The parts used were muscle, liver, kidney, brain, bone marrow, bacon, and fat. While on lecture trips V. S. occasionally ate a few eggs and a little butter when meat was not readily obtainable". When he was recovering from the high-protein experiment, which only lasted two days (where the scientists conducting the experiment wanted to see what would happen if lean instead of fatty meat was eaten (protein was eaten at 45% of total calories, rather than the usual 20%), his food of choice for the recovery was brains fried in bacon grease! You can read the study for yourself here. As Stefansson ate organs and bone marrow and therefore he can't be used as proof that just fatty muscle meat is enough.

When Stefansson lived with the Inuit he did rightly point out that the Inuit did not eat the liver of the animals they killed. Weston Price also stayed with the Inuit, and as he actually tested the foods they ate to see what nutrients they were getting and from where: he remarks that blubber, of which the Inuit eat a great deal, was extremely rich in vitamin, so they didn't need liver as well!  Further-more the liver of their prey would be toxic, as it is too rich in vitamin A, many people know that polar bear and dog liver's are toxic too us, all carnivorous animal's live are. Seals, the main food of the Inuit, eat a lot of fish, including the fish's liver, so have a large amount of retinol in their diet; cod liver oil is very rich in vitamin A but not at a toxic levels, the Inuit eat fish livers. The Inuit did NOT avoid eating liver because it is 'too carby' as theBear claims, which is insane as an ounce of liver adds a measly __g of carbs.   This means the Inuit have to use other sources for vitamin A than their prey's liver to avoid toxicity, so they go for blubber instead.

Here's a couple of videos showing Inuit people eating every part of the animal they can: here ("I can't wait to eat the brain", ) and here. So Stefansson's claims that the Inuit do not eat any organs and instead feed them to their dogs is clearly not representative.

theBear was the main creator of the modern day ZC idea by posting on the Active Low-Carber forums, about his experience on the zero carb diet. He reports that his diet for the last nearly half century was made up of fatty muscle meat, eggs, butter, cheese, coffee, with occasional protein powders and other animal foods. So even theBear can't be used as an example of the modern day claimes by the zero carb community that all you need is fatty muscle meat and water, as he regularly ate eggs and dairy. My 'beef', as it were, is with pure fatty muscle meat diets.

theBear repeatedly shows that he has limitied knowledge of nutrition and frequently gets things wrong:
"Vitamins. that is easy, there are virtually no sources of any vitamins to be in vegetation (which is why all vitamin supplements are synthetic), but all are found in abundance in meat. For example no source of A other than animal liver exists."Vegetables do contain vitamins, you can get supplements made from plants instead of synthetically, but he's right that vitamins are more concentrated in animal foods, they're also more bio-available due to lack of anti-nutrients such as fibre or phytic acid. There are other sources of vitamin A, even restricting to just sources of retinol, which is preformed vitamin A rather than beta-carotene, liver is not the only source: egg yolks and dairy (butter, cream, cheese, etc) are two such examples. But when looking at meat as in a dead animal rather than all animal foods, yes liver is the best source; grass-fed animal fats though will have beta-carotene in them which is what makes grass-fed animal fats yellow, but conversion of beta-carotene to retinol is non-exist in 45% of the population and extremely poor in the rest of the population even when highly deficient in retinol.
"The one meat that needs to be eaten sparingly is liver, which contains a lot of starch (glycogen) and vit. A which is toxic in excess. Excess may be as little as one ounce of the liver of an animal feeding on fish."100g of beef liver contains 3.9g of carbohydrates, 100g lamb liver  1.8g, this is hardly a lot when all you need for vitamin A requirement is one or two ounces a day. Vitamin A is only toxic if you're deficient in vitamin D. Animals feeding on fish will be getting lots of vitamin A in their diets (fish livers are very rich sources of vitamin A, cod liver oil is one of the most concentrated sources per gram) so their livers will be extremely rich in it, we know that the livers of polar bears and dogs have too much vitamin A for us to eat, but the livers of herbivores are perfectly safe to eat.
"'Excess' dietary protein is broken down and discarded, never converted to glucose except in an emergency- such as under heavy and extensive fasting- and then only after all the stored glycogen in liver and muscle has been converted first. The liver under these circumstances only produces from protein the exact amount necessary to maintain the normal level. Only dietary intake can drive the blood glucose level above your baseline."Protein is converted to glucose (via gluconeogenesis) all the time, even on a high carb diet and there's plenty of glycogen. The liver can and sometimes does make too much glucose from protein and raises your blood glucose level, many people low/zero carb experience elevated blood glucose levels after eating too much protein. Diabetics have it even worse, as their liver is less sensitive to insulin (or insulin is lacking) and so makes a huge amount of glucose via gluconeogenesis, sometimes such that it uses up all dietary protein and thus leads to muscle wasting. Phinney and Volek's research shows that plenty of glucose can be made from gluconeogenesis, which along with using glycerol from triglycerides (fats) to make glucose, can provide up to 200 grams per day. Those with diabetes can't turn down this production of glucose down, which is why they can experience severe hyperglycaemia even while fasting.

For more on gluconeogenesis:, and
Gluconeogenesis in diabetes: "The rate of gluconeogenesis was three times higher in the diabetic subjects than in the control subjects
"So long as your body has retained any level of glycogen (the liver usually is about 40% glycogen, plus some is stored in muscles) you will not tear apart proteins for glucose"So how is the body keeping glycogen level from being completely depleted after years and years? Gluconeogenesis, aka making glucose from proteins, see above point.

We never stop using glucose completely even when fully keto-adapted, parts of the body always need glucose, this is why blood sugar levels are maintained at a stable level even when no carbohydrates are eaten, and why we have a way of making glucose from protein. If you give a drug to reduce blood sugar down too low, we would soon faint and then die. Glucose is vital for life, the question is whether it's better to eat it or make it ourselves (this is of course a topic for another day but the above links discussing the rate of gluconeogenesis on a high/low carb diet points very heavily to it being making it ourselves).
"If the body was able to create glucose on demand from ripping the core out of protein, then why is 100% protein so deadly it can kill you in about a week to ten days? Adding dietary fat or carbs prevents this poisoning. The fact is gluconeogenesis is rare except under two conditions, severe fasting and recovery from starvation-induced bodyfat depletion on a zero carb diet. Then the adipose tissues are re-built by diverting a small amount of blood sugar which stimulates mild gluconeogenesis."Protein toxicity, or rabbit starvation, is when too much protein is eaten. The toxicity is not from the protein itself but the breakdown products of the protein which accumulate faster than they can be removed from the body. Stefansson experienced this after only too days on a high-protein low-fat carnivore diet.

The last bits makes no sense at all. Adipose (fat cells) would be rebuilt from dietary fat. After every meal the fat you eat is stored in your fat cells (but they can freely leave to supply fuel/energy between meals and overnight as insulin is kept low all the time), too much fat in the blood is also harmful to the body just like too high blood sugar. Blood sugar doesn't stimulate gluconeogenesis, a lack of it does (as in low blood sugar stimulates gluconeogenesis in order to raise blood sugar to a safe level).

The idea that fat tissue, an active regulatory tissue in the body, is simply destroyed and rebuilt on demand is fallacy. This is easily verified in any medical text book since the invention of the microscope.

Also this point is a void anyway, any diet made of 100% of just one nutrient would be fatal, not just protein.
"Glycogen is not depleted by exercise, period. The muscles ONLY use free fatty acids complexed with n-acetylcarnitine to provide the energy to reverse ADP to ATP, no carbs are consumed in this process, either as glucose or as glycogen.

The famous 'wall' hit by runners etc., indicates a problem in mobilising bodyfat in a carb-loading individual once dietary circulating fat is consumed. It does not occur in a keto-adapted meat eater."
Glycogen is depleted in exercise, though when keto-adapted it is used up at a much slower speed and can be refilled by gluconeogenesis easily such that it never appears to decrease. Glucose is used to generate ATP, it enters the Krebs cycle via pyruvate.

The 'wall' is caused by depleted glycogen and has been studied extensively, but he's quite right that that you also need an ability to access your fat stores too. The winner of the last Western States 100, a 100 mile ultra-marathon, was described as low-carb but when actually questioned as to what he ate while running it was revealed that he was some carbs to refill glycogen albeit a fraction compared to the high-carb runners.

Exercise when keto-adapted meaning being able to burn both glycogen/glucose and fats/ketones for fuel at the same time.

Anaerobic exercise always uses glycose/glycogen for fuel, as without oxygen fat/ketones can't be oxidised, the glucose/glycogen is metabolised to lactate aka lactic acid, which will build up in the muscle until the exercise is reduced enough or stopped such that oxygen can being used to metabolise the lactate back into glucose.
And so on...

In a way the whole animal versus just fatty muscle meat argument could be boiled down to a these comparisons:
ZC communityWeston A Price
Based on one group, the Inuit; and the experience of a few people, mostly theBearTravelled the globe looking at many different cultures and what that had in common
Based on conjecture, no real scientific basis for only fatty muscle meatAll cultures went to great lengths to ensure supply of foods which contained the fat soluble vitamins A, D, and K2, animal protein, and the long chain omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA
Says no harm with come to you eating nothing but fatty meatPhotographed results of fat soluble vitamins deficiencies, such as lack of eyes in pigs born to vitamin A deficient mothers
"If it's not in fatty meat, then you don't need it"Actually tested the foods different people ate to see what nutrients they were getting and from where they got them
Based on the experience of a few decades at most, by a handful of peopleBased on the accumulated knowledge of many thousands of years of knowledge by people from all over the world
theBear: no scientific background, frequently gets things wrongAccomplished scientist who was knowledgeable far beyond his time

If organs (or other animal foods like egg/dairy) aren't needed and just fatty muscle meat is not only sufficient but actually optimal, then why do other carnivorous animals get very sick on just fatty muscle meat, why did primitive cultures put so much importance on organs and other sacred foods even sometimes going to extreme lengths to obtain them.

In nature, the predators who eat first (the alpha wolves, the lion) will go for the abdominal cavity, and organs at once and even fight to defend their choice cuts.  Betas will eat the peripheral organs and muscle meat, both will eat fat.  Bones will be broken and contents eaten by all.  As well scavengers quite often will work the smaller bones the top level predators missed, as well as eat things like the eyes (carnivorous birds especially).  The whole animal in nature is essentially picked clean of anything edible by a series of carnivores.

The simple truth is there has never been any carnivorous animal of meat-eating human population who didn't eat the whole animal until very recently. Practically everyone even included a serving of liver a week until the last few decades or so.

Is there some magical difference between modern day zero carbers and every single other carnivorous animal and every single primitive culture? Because unless there is some magical difference then eating a diet of purely fatty muscle meat is highly dangerous? Are zero carbers that arrogant in the status or 'truthiness' of their leaders' a priori proclamations that they are willing to risk serious deficiencies will possibly permanent damage? How arrogant do you have to be to do that?!

In my mind these people are no better than fruitarians who also claim their diet is perfect, that any nutrient not found in fruit/veg is not needed (replace fruit/veg with steak), etc. In fact just go to the table above and replace every instance of 'fatty muscle meat' with 'fruit/veg' and you'll have 90% of what comes out of a fruitarian's ass.

At least the fruitarians have admitted that you need vitamin B12 injections on their diet after people have gotten permanent nerve damage or had their babies die from B12 deficiencies. How long do we have to wait for ZCers or their unfortunate children to go blind from retinol deficiency or even die, before they realise the stupidity of ignoring that fact that certain substances are vital for health, or even just life itself?!

Do you really want to be part of an experiment of which the results are at best unknown and at worst extremely dangerous? No... Then eat your liver and drink your gelatin-rich bone broth, or eat eggs, dairy, or other animal foods.

If you follow a zero carb diet which includes eggs or dairy, but think I'm wrong, don't complain to me, this is about people eating only fatty muscle and no other food, your diet includes nutrients not found in muscle meat so your lack of deficiency doesn't prove just muscle meat is healthy.

Main nutrients low in a
muscle meat only diet
RetinolCod liver oil, liver, egg yolks, dairy
B1Liver, pork
FolatePoultry Liver, less so mammal liver
CholineEgg yolks, liver
CalciumBone broth, bones in fish, egg shells
MagnesiumSoils are depleted so supplements advised
PotassiumPotassium salt
CopperBeef/lamb liver
SeleniumKidneys, pork
ManganeseSpices, tea
Glycine & prolineGelatin (skin, feet/hooves, cartilage, heads,
tails, ears, powder/sheets)

I am still looking at how much of each nutrient is needed on a ketogenic carnivore/near-carnivore diet, but the result is highly likely to still include liver, gelatin, bone broth (or other calcium sources), and possibly other organs, eggs, and other animal foods; NOT just muscle meat.

Blocking People With Whom You Disagree Is More Than Pathetic

Today on facebook a member of the zero carb community posted to their wall a video (link), saying that the wolves didn't eat the organs, just the meat and fat. When my good friend Danny Albers and I commented to say that the organs clearly had been eaten, even the guts, and that even the filmer mentions that the carcass is "mostly eaten empty", what should happen but our comments removed and both of us banned from his facebook.

This is more than pathetic, it is pure cowardice!

Seriously, this isn't even about what the wolf did or did not eat, this is about freedom of speech and freedom of opinion.

In this day and age of modern communications, we are always going to find people with whom we disagree, but that's no reason to block them. Sure if they're being a menace or trolling you, then fine, but a couple of comments saying you don't agree is nothing!

Do you know who else deletes comments and blocks peoples for posting differing views? DurianRider, fruitarian and leader of the heavily censored site (check out for more on that). This is why I place in my mind many zero carbers and fruitarians in the same category, they both are deluded and can't take criticism, well not even criticism, a couple of comments!

Is it any wonder I have no respect for the zero carb community when they pull stunts like this?

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Nutrient Needs On A Carnivorous Diet

To create my last carnivorous diet, I used the USDA RDA as targets for the nutrients. The USDA RDA is based on the nutrient requirements on a high-carb, grain-based diet, and the nutrient requirements on a carnivorous diet are almost certainly different:
  • Several nutrients are used directly in carbohydrate metabolism, and so these nutrients will have a lower requirement on a carnivorous diet
  • Some are used in protein and fat metabolism, and more will be needed on a carnivorous diet
  • Most nutrients interact with each other such that the altered levels for proper carb/fat/protein metabolism means less or more is needed of other nutrients
  • Phytochemicals such as phytic acid effect the abosrption/ultilisation of nutrients

I will be discussing each nutrient in the context of a carnivorous diet, what they are needed for, what other nutrients effect their absorption and excretion, how much is needed on a carnivorous diet (as best I can calculate), their best sources, and anything else note-worthy.

Some nutrients even without specifically eating foods for that nutrient will have an intake well over the USDA RDA and thus I see little point in examining them as closely as the likelyhood that you will become deficient in these nutrirents is unlikely. I'm more interested in looking at what nutrients we need less of than the USDA RDA, but there are several nutrients which through my research I have discovered good evidence that the USDA RDA is too low and of which we actually need a lot more. Some nutrients I will not give a cRDA (carnivore RDA), as the amount needed is happily supplied from all the other foods in the diet in order to fulfil the other cRDA, such that no real attention/worry is needed for that specific nutrient.

Stay turned for some fun science.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Detox, Antioxidants, and Scurvy: Protein Beats Plants

This blog post is an updated and slightly edited version of on of my 'facebook essays', which were comments  written as normal comments in facebook but ended up being really long and more like essays. I saved the links to their original posting and plan to go through them all and update and neaten up, etc, them then post them here. This one has been done first as a friend requested a copy to sent to someone else.

I'm stick and tired of people telling me the body can't detox without 'fruit and vegetables'. So I guess that's why water fasting doesn't work? :P

The body has many systems for detoxing and even makes it's own anti-oxidants which are many many fold more efficient that any from food. One thing the body does need though, for detoxing, is quality protein. The liver is the main detoxifier of the body and requires protein to do so. A good example is Campbell's rat studies, the high-protein rats got PRE-cancerous lesions, but the low-protein rats ALL DIED!

The body's biggest anti-oxidant is glutathione.

Some foods have it but dietary absorption is very poor, we have to make our own. Glutathione is made from cysteine, glutamate, and glycine, and needs the mineral selenium. Cysteine is best found in animal foods, especially organs, and is practically always deficient on a vegetarian/vegan diet. Glycine is the major amino-acid of gelatin (along with proline), and most other proteins are low in glycine. Gelatin's best sources are feet/hooves, skin, heads of animals, made into broth. Glutamate is non-essential and readily available as long as you're eating enough protein, additionally most protein sources are rich in glutamate. Selenium's best animal food source is kidneys, and best plant food source is brazil nuts. Most people don't get enough selenium, additionally the USDA RDA is 55ug, but studies show that 200ug is a much more appropriate intake. Studies on vegetarians/vegans show very low glutathione levels, as the two out of the three amino-acids required to make it are found in animal foods.

Cysteine is a double-edged sword, it's very good for us, but bacteria also use it. Glutathione locks cysteine up so bacteria can't get it it, but our cells can easily unlock it. This is why supplementing cysteine can be dangerous, unless it's as N-acetyl-cysteine which is another 'locked up' form that greatly increases glutathione levels. Other things that boost glutathione levels are raw whey (not powdered), alpha lipoic acid, and milk thistle. Vitamin D also increases brain glutathione levels.

Glutathione is needed to excrete many toxins through bile, to form leukotrienes (which are fatty based signalling molecules formed from arachidonic acid (also only found in animal foods)), it prevents oxidative damage by being a co-factor for glutathione peroxidase AND detoxing methylglyoxal, a by-product of glycolysis (burning glucose for fuel) and lipid peroxidation (from excess PUFAs). Methylglyoxal is linked to arterial atherogenesis and it oxidises LDL.

Low glutathione levels are also strongly implicated in muscle wasting, as seen in cancer, AIDS, sepsis, trauma, burns and even athletic over-training. Supplementing glutathione in AIDS increases survival rates. Disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar also feature low glutathione levels and data suggests oxidative damage (from lack of glutathione to protect against oxidation) can be the cause of these.

The second biggest anti-oxidant is uric acid.

Yes, too much causes gout, but the slightly increased levels on a meat heavy diet are good for us. It seems that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and uric acid have the same functions and are possibly opposed to each other. Those on an all meat diet don't get scurvy and uric acid is likely why, as it has huge anti-oxidant capacity and is increased when you eat a lot of meat. It seems you need a lack of both uric acid and ascorbic acid to get scurvy.

Natural plant food sources of vitamin C have phytochemicals called 'xanthine oxidase inhibitors' that lower uric acid production (as xanthine oxidase produces uric acid from protein), and it seems that the body prefers to use either ascorbic acid or uric acid. This may be why refined fructose is so dangerous, as fructose itself greatly increases uric acid to gout-causing levels. Natural fructose as found in fruit though, has lots of vitamin C and xanthine oxidase inhibitors which will counter-act the uric acid increasing properties of the fructose, but excessive consumption of even natural fructose, not just refined sucrose and HFCS, can lead to gout as the uric acid raising properties of fructose is slightly higher than the uric acid lowering properties from the xanthine oxidise inhibitors in the fruit. The uric acid increase from meat though is not enough on it's own to cause gout though.

[Update: In fact the genetic mutation that means we can't synthesise ascorbic acid makes fructose more fattening and dangerous to us, some scientists theorise that this is done so that we could use fruit to fatten ourselves for cold winters more efficiently; this is bollocks, it's much more likely caused by a lack of dietary fructose rather than abundance. Why on earth (or any other planet with life :P  ) would evolution favour a mutation that makes an animal's food dangerous to it? Indeed getting fat before winter can be seen as an advantage for survival but the mutation also means that fructose is more efficient at causing insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity, cancer, gout, etc, none of which would give a survival advantage. A diet high in fruit/fructose for the purpose of getting fat for the winter, when you have this mutation, gives a very high risk of gout, which can be crippling! As our diet changed from a frugivore to a near-carnivore one we lost our ability to handle fructose as well, while finding another substance with which to replace the ascorbic acid. Ascorbic acid is made from glucose, uric acid is made from protein; you can clearly see why we changed out antioxidant as we changed our diet.]

Taking isolated or synthetic ascorbic acid, which lacks the inhibitors, will result in high uric acid and high ascorbic acid levels. The uric acid will not be lowered (as it's not the ascorbic acid that does that), and so gout will still occur. Some vitamin c supplements have added 'bioflavonoids' or 'quercetin', both of which are xanthine oxidase inhibitors and with thus lower uric acid levels. I'm not aware of any problems caused by having high uric and ascorbic acid levels at the same time though, just that plain vitamin c will not help lower uric acid levels in of itself.

This really emphasises why foods sweetened with HFCS (or even sugar) are so dangerous. It seems nature supplies to antidote with the poison in regard to fruit. But then that begs the question of why eat the poison in the first place? It seems uric acid is a safer option over ascorbic acid as it doesn't come with so much 'baggage'.

Uric acid is a HUGE reason why Arctic explorers eating just meat did not get scurvy but those sneaking biscuits got it (and recovered when the biscuits where thrown away), also sailors (whose diet was mostly biscuits, rum, and salt beef)... Phytic acid is a xanthine oxidase inhibitor! Thus they got scurvy due to the lack of uric and ascorbic acid. With sailors the scurvy was remedied through fresh fruit (or sauerkraut in the case of the Germans), supplying vitamin C. But they would've got equally good results by removing the biscuits from their diet (and possibly also the rum as alcohol and fructose are metabolised the same way by the liver, but the sailors would never allow that!).

Thus scurvy is not a disease of lack of vitamin c but a combined lack of ascorbic acid and insufficient uric acid. Supply either will cure scurvy, thus gout suffers are highly unlikely to suffer from scurvy as well. Removing xanthine oxidase inhibitors from a diet rich in fresh protein will cure and prevent scurvy. Adding fresh fruit or vegetables to a sailors diet did not always cure scurvy though, it's quite likely there needs to be a combined effort between uric and ascorbic acid. The fruits and vegetables would supply some ascorbic acid but also xanthine oxidase inhibitors, in addition to those from their biscuit rations, such that the addition ascorbic acid is not sufficient to counter-act the simultaneous decrease in uric acid.

Because natural plant sources of vitamin C often have xanthine oxidase inhibitors, this means that they are poor at preventing scurvy, as they lower uric acid more than they increase ascorbic acid in terms of anti-scorbic potential. Animal sources of vitamin c, including raw liver, spleen, adrenal glands, and blubber, do not have xanthine oxidase inhibitors and so will not reduce uric acid levels; this means they are safe to include when eating a carnivore or meat-heavy diet. Additionally pure synthetic ascorbic acid, without 'bioflavonoids' or 'quercetin' is also safe to take.

It must be noted that there seems to be a difference between fresh and dry meat/protein, as diets of only fresh meat/protein will never produce scurvy, but there have been two cases of scurvy associated with calorie-restricted pemmican-only diets. Pemmican is made of ground dried lean meat mixed with equal amounts of rendered fat. Both these pemmican-only diets that resulted in scurvy though were highly restricted in calories/amount. One case had someone eating only very small amounts of pemmican as their sole diet, while also dry fasting daily (not drinking during the day); the other features chronic diarrhoea from before a carnivore diet was started that continued no matter what the person ate (that is, it wasn't dietary related), although the person was eating plenty of pemmican the diarrhoea meant very little was absorbed and thus yielded again a restricted diet. The presentation of these cases of scurvy were unusual as they did not experience many of the usual symptoms such as loose teeth, the most prominent symptom in both cases were extensive bruising of the legs from damaged/burst capillaries under the skin. Pemmican itself is not the problem though as there is evidence from one family, consisting of a man, woman, and two young boys, who have eaten nothing but pemmican for many years without problems; the two boys were weaned from breast milk straight onto pemmican and ate no other foods. This family though ate large amounts of pemmican, equivalent to 3-4 pounds of fresh meat daily. The difference is amount or calories, the drying process may damage some of the anti-scorbic properties compared to fresh meat, such that larger than expected amounts of pemmican are needed on a dry:fresh weight or calorie basis. Pemmican was traditionally used as a travel food and thus only for short periods of up to a couple of months, and those doing heavy physical work, such as building railways, thus they would have consumed large amounts which would have been sufficient to prevent scurvy. If one is going to eat a pemmican-only diet for a longer period than a couple of months, make sure you eat plenty and drink enough water; under two months doesn't pose a risk, as does eating a mixed pemmican and fresh meat diet.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Mucous not glucose deficiency

I mentioned briefly in my first post on principles of a healthy carnivore diet that mucin is important and which amino acids are needed to ensure proper production, but I didn't go into a lot of detail at the time as to why mucin is important and the full implications of a imbalanced amino acid profile.

I haven't posted on this blog in a long time for various reasons, one of which is that I have been helping my good friend Danny Albers with his facebook page Primal North. Primal North and Mostly Meat Is What I Eat have a very similar view on nutrition, and the two of us have improved each others diets and dietary views through the many conversations I've had with Danny over the last several months. One change I've made is cutting out starches and vegetables, making 'Meat Is Almost All I Eat' as it were, and Danny has started putting gelatin in his coffee.

One topic we discussed was my theory about the truth behind Paul Jaminet's 'glucose deficiency'. Jaminet says that when we was eating a zero carb diet (except he wasn't as he doesn't consider vegetables as calories sources and thus counts what everyone else would call a low-carb diet a zero-carb one), that he experienced several problems including dry eyes, constipation, and a dry cough. Jaminet even claims that people die of starvation because of the dry cough they develop: "A clue is the fact that starving people develop a hacking cough in their final weeks of life. Despite blood glucose levels in the normal range, they cease producing mucus and their airways become dry and irritated." This is contrary to the well known general cause of death in starvation, which is heart failure. Everyone knows during prolonged starvation your muscle start to waste away, but it's not just your biceps that get eaten, eventually your body starts using the heart (which is a muscle) as well, ultimately the heart becomes so weakened it can't pump blood and you die of heart failure.

Danny rightly points out that a dry cough may be a cause of death in starving people due to a lack of mucous, but that that is in starving people, nutritional ketosis and starvation are vastly different. Yes, both have increased blood ketones and a lack of dietary carbohydrates but that is where the similarities end. A low/zero-carb diet producing nutritional ketosis includes protein, plenty of fat for fuel, vitamins, and minerals. We don't know if this 'dry cough = death' thing is from lack of carbohydrates, protein in general or specific amino acid(s), calories, a vitamin, or mineral. Unless properly tested we may never know, but it's unlikely such studies will ever occur in humans due the the 'death' factor, and animal testing may not be applicable.

Jaminet's answer, which is has stuck heavily too even to the point of declaring ketogenic diets outright dangerous, is lack of carbohydrates. But he even posts this picture showing the glycogen is fully depleted after just 3 days of fasting/starvation. If a lack of carbohydrates where the cause, then one would expect the problems to occur much much sooner, not the final few days of life.

My theory, which I'm fully stating that I do not know to be true but from talking with other people and seeing the difference after they add gelatin to their diet (which is the exact same level of evidence Jaminet has for his 'glucose deficiency' theory, except he states it as outright truth not as a theory, which it is), is that is it not a glucose deficiency but a mucous (or more specifically mucin) deficiency caused by an imbalanced amino acid profile.

Mucin is a glycoprotein, this means it's part carbohydrate ('glyco' as in glucose), and part protein. Jaminet has focused in on the 'glyco' part, I have explored the 'protein' side of things. In my research I discovered that mucin production is highly sensitive the the availability of certain amino acids: cysteine, proline, serine, and threonine. Cysteine is an essential sulphur-containing amino acid, which meat and eggs are very rich in. Proline is a conditionally essential amino acid, which along with glycine makes up most of gelatin. Serine is a non-essential amino acid which is made from glycine. Glycine and proline are very low in meat, fish, organs, dairy, eggs, and vegetarian protein sources; the only decent source is gelatin. Threonine is an essential amino acid, and meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are good sources. On a diet where the protein only comes from meat, fish, eggs, or dairy, there is plenty of cysteine and threonine, but very little glycine and proline.

Gelatin can be found in many foods, not just powdered gelatine like for making jelly/jell-o, in fact about half (update: 25-35%) of the protein in an animal is made of gelatin. But if this is the case, why is meat low in gelatin? Muscle meat certainly is, the gelatin is found in the 'odd bits' as Danny calls them: skin, feet/hooves, cartilage, heads, hair, and nails/claws. Traditionally the whole animal was eaten, not just the meat and even organs, but the 'odd bits' where simmered for days covered with water with some acid such as vinegar or lemon juice added. The acid would breakdown the 'odd bits' and a delicious gelatin-rich broth/stock was created which would turn into a solid jelly/jell-o if put in a fridge. This broth would then be used as the base for soups, stews, sauces, and even drunk straight in times of illness when no other food would stay down. Gelatin is a truly wonderful food, and incredibly healing to the gut as enterocytes (intestine cells that do the absorbing) can feed off glycine directly. Gelatin is also very good for joints, as cartilage is made from gelatin, and in the same way it helps keep the skin smooth and wrinkle-free (could abandoning gelatin-rich broth be the reason for all these 'anti-ageing' creams?), and help your hair grow thick and shiny and your nails strong.

The paleo community has made many improvements over the years, from lean meat to fatty, and more decently the addition of organs such as liver, but is still lacking in the encouragement of making and using home-made gelatinous broth. This is one thing Ray Peat gets right (see here), but both Danny and I very much disagree with his promotion of eating large amounts of refined white sugar.

Please note: all store-bought 'broth', 'stock', and bouillon cubes are nothing like real home-made broth, they are made from flours, salt, MSG, and many other chemicals. There is no substitute for the real home-made stuff.

I also encouragement the inclusion of egg shells along with bones and gelatin sources in broth, as egg shells help boost the calcium content and the membrane includes chondroitin which is also very good for joints.

Lastly, I will point out that there are many factors other than a proper amino acid profile in maintaining moist mucous membranes, such as vitamin A (retinol), saturated fats, choline, cholesterol, and many others. Retinol (true vitamin A) deficiency results in mucous-secreting cells mutating into keratin-secreting cells which results in lesions being formed, in the eye this leads to xerophthalmia and eventually keratomalacia and blindness. Saturated fats are need to form surfactants in the lungs which reduce surface tension so gas exchange can happen, the most common surfactant is dipalmitoylphosphatidylcholine, made from choline and two palmitic acids (a saturated fat); cholesterol also makes up part of the surfactants.

You'll notice that all the nutrients listed for maintaining mucous membranes are only found in animal foods (there is some palmitic acid in palm oil though) so it is highly unlikely that a problem involving mucous membranes results from a lack of plant foods in your diet. Much more likely is that it results from an imbalanced intake of certain animal foods over others, that is too much meat and not enough gelatin.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Posts I'm Planning

I haven't posted in a while due to both my PC and laptop breaking. My laptop now works and some of the posts I was writing have been retrieved from my portable hard-drive, but most are stuck on my PC hard-drive which I can't remove from the case (stupid screws). Anyways here are some posts I'm planning:
  • The Abnormal Ape:  How we're different from other apes and what that means for our dietary and nutritional needs, looking at everything from our heads to our toes, from genes to the gut.
  • Nutrient series: I based my nutritionally complete carnivorous menu on the USDA RDA, but do we really need the RDA when not eating anti-nutrients from grains, legumes, and other plants and instead eating a rich meat-based diet? I'll be looking at how nutrients interact with each other, how the foods you eat determine how much you need, and their best sources based on these.
  • Diets: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The pro's and con's and in's and out's of various diets, why they work, where they fail, and what we can learn for their results.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Nutritionally Perfect Carnivorous Diet

Average Daily Amounts:
15oz lamb/beef, ~17% fat
+ 3tbsp tallow (or 465g 24% fat beef/lamb)
3oz mackerel (or 4oz salmon)
55g lean pork
3 large eggs (save the shells for broth)
2oz chicken liver
2oz pork kidney
15g pork liver
1/7 of home-made broth (link at bottom of post)

6g potassium chloride salt
7g sea salt
1 litre water

Technically plant foods:
2tsp tea

300mg magnesium citrate

2021 calories, 162g protein (34% of calories), 3g carbohydrates (1%), 144g fat (65%).

Vitamins & Minerals:
>15x RDA: B12!!
>4x RDA: Vitamin A, B2, selenium.
>3x RDA: B3/niacin, vitamin D, calcium.
>2x RDA: B5, B6, copper, phosphorus, zinc.
>1x RDA: Fotate, B1, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium.
Below RDA: Vitamin C 41.3mg 55%, vitamin E 4.5mg 30%, vitamin K1 23.2ug 26%.

Vitamin C: Very little is needed on a carnivore diet, just don't overcooked your meat.
Vitamin E: Little is needed as you're not eating putrid vegetable oils, grass-fed meat has plenty.
Vitamin K1: Only found in plants, but K2 which isn't measured, found in grass-fed meat and liver does everything K1 does as well as helping bones.

Ratios, etc.:
Calcium:Phosphorus = 1.95 (ideal ~2)
Zinc:Copper = 10.9 (ideal >10)
Potassium:Sodium = 2.4 (ideal >2)
Omega-6:omega-3 = 1.6 (ideal <2)
Saturated:Mono-unsaturated = 1.1 (ideal ~1)
Poly-unsaturated = 4% of calories (ideal ≤4%)

Link to weekly shopping list and how to make broth.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

How To Do A Zero-Carb (Carnivorous) Diet Correctly, Part 2: An Example Menu And Why Steak & Water Is Not Enough

I have created an example menu following the principles laid out in the previous post to show that the nutrition is sound as compared to the ‘steak and water’ diet of which zero-carbers seem to be becoming more and more fond. We’ll use the standard 150lb person for comparison.

Menu 1:
16oz beef, 18% fat
2 eggs
1.5oz chicken liver
1.5oz pork liver
1/2oz beef liver
3tbsp gelatine (or equivalent)
1/4cup broth (~400mg calcium)
1 eggshell (~1g calcium)
Supplements: 3/4tsp potassium chloride, 1tsp normal salt, 1/2tsp magnesium chloride, 1 drop Lugol’s solution.

Menu 2:
21oz beef, 18% fat

Menu 1
Menu 2




Grams/lb   (>0.7g/lb)
Threonine (>15mg/kg)
Gelatine equiv


Vitamins & Minerals:

(Iodine not compared as it’s not measured in CRONometer)

As you can see eating just muscle meat to the same calories is very poor nutritionally compared to eating ‘whole animal’ style, ie including livers, kidney, gelatine, broth, and supplemental minerals.

Unless one is drinking mineral rich water, they may develop several mineral deficiencies; even so, they will lack folate (which increases the risk of birth defects), retinol (risking eyesight), and selenium (risking poor thyroid).

Advising some-one that they can live on nothing but ‘steak and water’ is dangerous at best. Just as an omnivorous diet includes plants for balanced nutrition, so too a carnivorous diet should include more than just muscle meat.

Carnivorous animals, like lions and wolves consume all the organs bar the digestive system, eat the skin, and gnaw on the bones. Humans do not produce enough stomach acid to be able to digest bones directly, and so broth should be used instead for optimum nutrition.

A side note on calories:
You may notice the menus are only ~1400 calories; this should be a minimum, such as for someone trying to lose weight or a small female. Protein should not be increased too high (1g/lb ideal weight maximum): extra calories should come from fat, use a higher percentage of fat in your meat or add fats such as tallow, butter/ghee, or coconut oil. Coconut oil is very good for use during exercising as it provides fast energy.