Get a free REAL FOOD INGREDIENT GUIDE with clear 'buy this, NOT that' advice in every food category:

Jimmy Moore’s Hyperinsulinemia and Weight Loss Struggles


Hyperinsulinemia and Weight Loss

As I said in my recent Amazon review for his newest book, 21 Life Lessons From Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb: How The Healthy Low-Carb Lifestyle Changed Everything I Thought I Knew, to know Jimmy is to love Jimmy. When he interviewed me a while back (it will post soon I believe), he put me so completely at ease that my nervousness went away and then I really did feel like I was just talking with a friend.

Read what I wrote in my Amazon book review:

Jimmy is so open and real about his life, you can’t help but love him.

What a nice, refreshing dose of the TRUTH for a change, in all of it’s political incorrectness! Cholesterol tests mean very little? Low-fat diets are at the root of the obesity crisis? Let’s keep shouting it from the rooftops!

Here are a few of the things I loved about this book:

—His light-hearted sense of humor in how he dealt with some of the nastiness out there cracked me up. Some people can be so cruel, even to someone as sweet as Jimmy! But he takes it in stride and keeps jokin’ around.

—While I knew that we all eat waaaaaay too many carbs, I was surprised to learn in lesson #16 that we have NO dietary need for carbohydrates at all.

—I loved the side story about his appearance in the movie, Leatherheads, I was intrigued.

—There were a few books mentioned that I’d never heard of, I thought the title of this one was perfect, in a sad but true kind of way: “GENOCIDE! How Your Doctor’s Dietary Ignorance Will Kill You.”

—One of my favorite parts is when he slams the phrase “just eat all things in moderation” – one of my pet peeves! What one calls “moderation” is “over the top” for another, it just doesn’t work.

Jimmy’s book was a great motivator for someone like me who believes that low-carb is where it’s at, yet I’m an on again-off again carb watcher. I needed this kick in the pants to go further in my health journey and even lose those nagging 10# that only stick around when I’m eating more carbs than I should.

Thanks, Jimmy!

So in true Jimmy fashion, he’s recently written a very real, open and to the point post about his latest weight struggles.

First, though, I’ll start with an email I received today from a reader:

“Don’t you find Jimmy’s recent “diet” just a bit odd? What about vitamins/minerals from veggies or meats, to say the least? And what of the three cans of diet soda a day he’s allowing himself?”

My reply:

“Hmmmmm, well I guess if he thinks he needs to do this egg diet for the short term it would be OK (he knows his body better than anyone!), but I wouldn’t think it would be good to do this for a long time due to the lack of variety, and don’t know how someone could without getting so unbelievably sick of eggs! I agree that for the long-term stickin’ with it way of eating, we need to eat a bigger variety of Real Foods. However, if you’re going to eat mostly one food, farm-fresh pastured eggs are a great choice! (I had three of them today myself…not anywhere near the number Jimmy eats every day, but still a respectable amount!)

Obviously the diet soda is a “vice” of his that he’s working on. We all have them! (Kind of like my coffee and chocolate – only I amaze myself at how much I DON’T crave chocolate anymore… If I have chocolate one day, and granted, I might pig out, then I don’t care if I have it again for a couple weeks or more. Thankfully it’s not an every day thing like it used to be!)”

Now check out Jimmy Moore’s latest post and let me know what you think. (When commenting, keep in mind that Jimmy is my friend. Be kind.)

My Severe Hyperinsulinemia Has Mandated I Go On A High-Fat, Low-Carb ‘Eggfest’


  1. love jimmy too! i havent read about his egg diet yet but from my non-professional opinion, id say eating very low carb is probably excellent for someone with as paleonu doctor kurt harris would say it “a broken metabolism”.

  2. Well, lets hope that jimmy gets his health back in line–but lets just say–he hasnt been reading micheal pollans food rules!

    No veggies, tons of vitamins, diet soda, he is definitely out of wack…wonder what a really good, balanced, whole food nutrition program would do for him.

    Though, i do wish him good luck!

  3. Oh boy,

    I’m sure Jimmy Moore is a very kind person, and I mean no personal disrespect or ill-will toward him, but the man’s diet is severely misguided. He’s just trying to cover up a larger problem by digging himself deeper into metabolic ruin. Diana Schwarzbein would have a field day with this! (My review of her amazing book here:

    We need to once again tweak our paradigms here. Low-carb (and ESPECIALLY near-zero-carb) diets are just that — DIETS. They may temporarily create weight loss, but they don’t solve the real problem — a damaged metabolism — and over time can do more harm due to their thyroid-suppressing effects. Poor Jimmy is in a particularly bizarre predicament because he has built his whole livelyhood on this low-carb paradigm. It’s really sad!

    Here’s Matt Stone’s appropriately recent post about the issue:

    I’m gonna ask Matt to post some thoughts here as well.

    Gina A.

    • OK, tell that to the indigenous cultures of this world which consume barely any carbohydrate at all–traditional Inuit, traditional Maasai, and at least one group of Siberian indigenous people who subsist mainly on frozen meat and fish. I mean, they must regularly walk around with goiters or extreme overweight, right?


      There is no dietary need for carbohydrate, period. Our bodies are perfectly capable of making the little bit of glucose that we need from the protein we eat. That’s how you can have a fasting glucose level after twelve hours with no food.

      Dr. Schwarzbein’s a step in the right direction, and someone who doesn’t have a broken metabolism can get away with eating as she recommends, but she’s immersed too far in orthodox medical thinking even so. Not as far as most docs, but still too far for my taste.

  4. I also highly suggest that he read Julia Ross’ The Diet Cure, if he hasn’t already. Her protocol can help recover from dieting and addiction to diet sodas (though her specific food recommendations are a bit outdated).

    • I wasn’t targeting Jimmy. I was trying to save both him and others that have been brainwashed by low-carbism to avoid metabolic destruction. I had to fight off tears when I read about Jimmy’s eggfest. Like Diana Schwarzbein once said, “It’s very hard to watch people do things that I know are going to harm them.”

      • I’ll say the same thing to you that I said to Gina: go talk to the Maasai, Inuit, and Siberian tribes who are still eating traditionally and tell them how “brainwashed” they are. While they’re running circles around you, because they’re healthier than you’ve ever been or will be.

        Healthy human beings don’t *have* to avoid all carbohydrate, but if we had to *eat* it, we never would have survived the Ice Age and we wouldn’t have done so hot during the winter in colder latitudes, either, before the advent of long-term plant-food storage. Animals, of course, don’t have to be stored. You just let them run around and shoot one when you’re ready.

        • You’re not getting my point at all – nor do you understand the breadth of my work. There is an epidemic of hypothermia in the modern world – or a low metabolism. It is a result of leptin resistance in the vast majority of cases, and forced dietary restriction of any kind, on both a physical and psychological level, is counterproductive to fixing most people’s core problem.

          There is nothing wrong with carbohydrate, and humans are designed to live in a warm climate where carbohydrates generally flourish. Our mental capabilities may have allowed us to extend that to more Northern climates, or allowed us to become herdsmen or agriculturalists, but the human body prefers carbohydrate. Nowhere on earth is there a place where carbohdyrates are prevalent and humans intentionally did not eat them in preference to an all-meat diet. And human milk is higher in carbohydrate than the milk of most mammals. Please explain to me how this is a sign that carbohydrate, which comprises 50% of human milk or more (even in Arctic women, who convert your beloved fat and protein to carbohdyrate), is inherently toxic and a sign that humans thrive best on a carbohydrate-free diet.

          And my health is just fine for someone who’s mom smoked cigarrettes, drank nothing but coca-cola, and raised me on soy formula. Not bad for someone who would have died several times before puberty from various health problems. I haven’t seen a doctor or dentist in a decade.

  5. Such diets, and diets too low in carbohydrates (or fats, or calories, or animal protein, or whatever) and not the solution to a broken metabolism. They are a primary contributor to a broken metabolism. There is a lot of low-carb infatuation out there that has very little basis in reality. But at least one low-carber understood that. I think his name was Bobby Atkins or something like that:

  6. Reading about Jimmy eating so many eggs got me thinking about buying more eggs. Should farm-fresh pastured eggs be refrigerated? Some blogger I read last week (can’t remember which one) mentioned that she doesn’t refrigerate her eggs. I was surprised at this, but when I was trying to find some info about this online I came across a few things that say eggs shouldn’t be refrigerated, but I couldn’t find any good info.

    So just wondering, do you refrigerate your farm-fresh eggs? And how long would they keep at room temp?

    • They don’t have to be refrigerated, but it’s best to keep them at relatively constant (cooler, not warm) temperatures rather than letting them fluctuate. So if you buy eggs from the store, they’ve already been chilled, so keep them in the fridge. If you get eggs from a local farmer, a neighbor’s hens, or your own chicken coop, then you can leave them on the counter (or in a cool pantry). Apparently temperature fluctuations damage the integrity of the yolk, something like that.

  7. I gotta say — I have to side with Matt on this one — the fact that dieters (no matter what kind of extremem it is: vegan, low-carb, low-fat) often find they are required to move into a progressive succession of restricting more and more foods … this is not a sign of purity, but a low digestive fire and metabolic issues. We need balance, balance! Tricking our body into ketosis and other methods are good for short term trials perhaps, but your body will eventually start doing its job as best it can: This is backed up with ayurvedic science as well.

  8. I don’t know whether Jimmy’s eggfest is good for him or not (I told him I get sick of eggs after one meal!), but this is not a fad diet for him. Under a doctor’s advice he is restricting his carbs to try to repair his damaged metabolism. His main point, it seems to me, was that just losing the extra weight (down from 410 pounds) didn’t fix everything. He can’t just go on Weight Watchers or something, he is ultra-sensitive to carbs. That said, I do hope he looks into the thyroid issue. All the body’s systems are interrelated, of course!

    When I got his e-mail last night, I was alarmed about the diet soda part so I wrote right back to him and told him about a stevia-sweetened soda, Zevia, that he might try. I also suggested that he contact his local Weston A. Price Foundation chapter to get help making or buying lacto-fermented sodas. (I had success with kefir soda for awhile but gave it up because it was too much to keep that going plus my kombucha.) I told him how I often do a secondary fermentation of kombucha with fruit juice and then dilute the finished product with bubbly mineral water to get a very low-carb, refreshing soda with the advantages of the beneficial micro-organisms. Since I usually let my kombucha culture for too long, it gets too sour to drink straight, so I do the second fermentation with added fruit juice then dilute. Works for us! I hope it can help Jimmy overcome his diet soda addiction, which can apparently be a barrier to weight loss.

    Back on the ketosis issue, I’d read what Nora Gedgaudas (Primal Body, Primal Mind) and Mark Sisson (The Primal Blueprint) have to say about it. They both maintain that it is not only *not* a dangerous metabolic state for most people, it may be preferable. Ketosis is often confused with keto-acidosis, a dangerous condition in diabetes, I believe, but not what happens when you cut out carbs. Ketone bodies are fine food for the brain, which uses either glucose or ketone bodies for fuel, nothing else. At least that’s what I’ve read, and the above books have the scientific citations to back it up. Still, this is for Jimmy and his doctors to figure out.

  9. I’d love to figure out where the truth lies in all this. While extreme diets can’t be good for us, still, I totally believe that we could all do well to go to a much lower carb diet than we are used to in our grain-dependent society. I think Drs. Eades know what they’re talking about, and I also think Jimmy is smart enough to be consulting with other great low-carb docs on this so he doesn’t harm himself.

    My sister is diabetic and doing great right now on a low-carb diet. She’s confident her blood sugar will regulate itself and she already sees a dramatic improvement in her psoriasis of all things. Matt, if you don’t agree with low-carb diets (even to heal diabetes?), I’m curious what you would suggest instead? When she does low-carb she loses weight, her blood sugar comes down, and she’s hoping to get off insulin soon.

    This is all a great reminder of why avoiding insulin issues and the whole metabolic syndrome in the first place and eating Real Food NOW is so important!

    • In my diabetes eBook I cover several different strategies.

      Of course lowering carbohydrate will lower blood sugars, because you are consuming less sugar. But that doesn’t improve her ability to metabolize carbohyrates correctly. It is catering to the problem with no attempt at healing the malfunction. Low-carbohydrate diets tend to intensify insulin resistance, not overcome insulin resistance. They can be counterproductive to the core condition. That’s why in my eBook I lay out several options for overcoming insulin resistance. When those have been exhausted, a low-carbohydrate can be pursued to “control” but not overcome the problem. In other words, it is more of a last resort.

      Going on a low-carb diet because you have diabetes is like sitting around all day because you have weak legs that get sore when you use them. I lowered my blood sugar dramatically by force-feeding myself on a nutrtionally superabundant, mixed diet. By the end of 1 month my blood sugar was spiking at just 75 mg/dl after eating 2 large baked potatoes. My fasting levels were below 70.

      The real test is seeing how a diabetic responds to a set meal. Let’s say 2 slices of pizza send blood sugars to 250. If after a month of trying a certain strategy you eat the same 2 slices and your blood sugar goes to 150, you’ve achieved dramatic healing. That’s what I seek to help people achieve.

      • Hi Matt,
        I have been low-carbing for several years. I knew that my goal was to heal the insulin resistance eventually. It is only when I got sick with pneumonia in the fall, I started taking large doses of raw garlic on bread. I surprisingly did not gain weight from this bread. Garlic apparently is great at lowering insulin levels. As are probiotics and cinnamon.

        Since becoming well from pneumonia I have not gone back to strict low carbing or continued the garlic feast. I do want to heal this insulin resistance and will check out your book.

  10. kelly,

    how did you get rid of you chocolate cravings without cutting it out completely? i can related to having to have it every day.

  11. That’s a good question. I honestly think it’s because I eat more fat than ever and more Real Food all around, so it cuts on the cravings. The other thing is that I’m too busy for cravings! I notice that when I used to have a non-rushed day now and then I’d have too much time to think about what might sound good. The last thing is that I don’t tell myself I can never have it again, or then I’d want it all the more, that’s how my brain is. If I just eat it now and then when it sounds good, I don’t think about it so much or want it that often.

    • Cravings for chocolate means you are low in one (or more) of the following:

      Magnesium (found in Raw nuts and seeds, legumes, fruits)
      Chromium (found in Broccoli, grapes, cheese, dried beans, calves liver, chicken)
      Carbon (found in organic Fresh fruits)
      Phosphorus (found in Chicken, beef, liver, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, nuts, legumes, grains)
      Sulfur (found in Cranberries, horseradish, cruciferous vegetables like kale, cabbage)
      Tryptophan (found in Cheese, liver, lamb, raisins, sweet potato, spinach)

      So, as Kelly said: by eating more real foods as listed above, you might find that the more you supply your body’s needs for the minerals/vitamins, you may find that you won’t crave the chocolate. Raw chocolate is an option as well. Very high in magnesium and chromium.

      • Nuts and seeds don’t have to be raw to provide magnesium; minerals are better absorbed, in fact, if the nuts or seeds are soaked (and possibly sprouted), and they taste a lot better and last longer if dehydrated after a good long soak in salt water. Tryptophan is not found in large amounts except in animal foods, and it is the amino acid in shortest supply in all foods, and it competes with other amino acids for receptors.
        Cravings for “carbon”? All organic life is based on carbon molecules, it’s hard to imagine it’s possible to be short on it.

        • you said : “minerals are better absorbed, in fact, if the nuts or seeds are soaked (and possibly sprouted), and they taste a lot better and last longer if dehydrated after a good long soak in salt water.”

          All of these are processes that allow the nut/seed to remain RAW, as I said. I all meant was, eating the seeds/nuts in such a way (untreated by heat or toasting) so that the natural oils will not be denatured. So all you did was prove my point.

          The first three sources of tryptophan I list are chicken, liver and lamb (tada) animal sources! So perhaps *read* the comment?

          As for the cravings for “carbon” — this is most often assumed when someone consistently craves BBQ or grilled food, desiring the char — and best way to get remedy that in particular is through fruits , thereby avoiding the carcinogenic effect of the burn.

          My comment stands.

        • I did read your comment, Lindsay, and I wasn’t attacking you.
          Raw to me is not the same as soaked and dehydrated. My point was, the minerals in nuts aren’t only available in raw nuts.
          I know you listed chicken, liver and lamb as sources of tryptophan. What I pointed out was that the other sources you also listed, the plants, are not really great sources of tryptophan. Since the discussion was about low carb or not, I’m saying animal foods really are the most important sources of tryptophan as well as other nutrients. Plant foods definitely can contribute nutrients to the diet but are more expendable than animal foods, if one had to choose.

    • April,
      She loves to read, especially right now as she’s so READY for some real answers, so I’ll make sure she sees this. Thank you! :)

  12. I get so angry when I see people get down on any way of eating that restricts a class of foods, because it’s a “diet” or because it’s “unbalanced” or what have you.

    Hate to start a fight, and this doesn’t have to become one, but all you people who said something like this in this conversation, tell me this: Would you say something like that to a person who was keeping kosher or halaal?

    Halaal eating prohibits pork, carnivorous animals, and alcohol. I’ve seen Islamic scholars say that rabbit should not be eaten because rabbits have claws, even though the obvious meaning of the Qur’anic passage conveys carnivorous claws, not herbivorous digging claws. Kosher is even more strict. Some schools of kosher prohibit the eating of plant foods that are too intricate, such as corn and raspberries, because they might have bugs in them! There are nutrients in all these forbidden foods that benefit human health. Yet no one gets on these people’s cases for avoiding these foods.

    My one grievance with veganism is that vegans try to make it into an ideology to make everyone else eat as they do. I have yet to see a low-carber, a Muslim, or a Jew try to make everyone else eat as they do, with the possible exception of a bare handful of Muslim-governed countries forbidding the sale of alcohol or maybe pork (although in Egypt, they still let Christians raise pigs and eat them!). Aside from the cultural and legislative issues, I don’t oppose the right of a vegan to eat that way, just don’t drag me or any innocent parties into your obsession, thanks anyway.

    But the fact remains that human beings always have cultural rules that differentiate between “edible” and “food,” and part of being an adult and respecting other people’s human rights is letting them follow the rules that they feel work for them personally.

    As far as I’m concerned, if your way of eating gets you all the nutrients you need to be healthy, it IS a balanced diet. If you can get all your vitamins, minerals, and fats from eating animals alone, or an egg-heavy diet, then knock yourself out!

    And if you’re going to object to a diet… well, you better be prepared to show the class that the person following that diet isn’t getting everything they need. That’s what the word “essential” means in nutritional parlance. The two questions we need to address here are:

    1. Does your body need it?

    2. Can your body make it?

    If the answer to both questions is Yes or No, you don’t need to eat it. If the answer to 1 is Yes and the answer to 2 is No, you need to eat it. Pretty simple.

    Fiber doesn’t pass that test, believe it or not. Glucose doesn’t either. What other possible reason do we have to ever NEED to eat plant foods?

    If you WANT to eat them… go ahead! They taste good, and they contain compounds that benefit us. But if we COULD NOT live without them, there wouldn’t be any people in this world who were doing exactly that, and thriving as well.

    I don’t agree with everything Jimmy ever says. But I’ll defend his right to do what he’s doing now, because there’s no reason he shouldn’t do it.

  13. Hm, the one substance I can think of besides fiber or glucose that we get more from plant foods is vitamin C. But that is also in some animal foods. And if you aren’t getting scads and scads of glucose from your diet, it turns out you don’t need as much vitamin C. Apparently, they utilize the same cellular receptors, and a diet high in glucose sources increases your dietary need for vitamin C. This is why sailors used to get scurvy so often. The rank and file used to eat lots of bread. The aforementioned meat-eating human tribes I listed in some of my other comments here had virtually no plant sources of C in their diets… yet they would not get scurvy.

    A white man (I believe it was Weston Price, but don’t remember for sure) once asked an American Indian why his people never got scurvy, and after some persuasion learned that they would eat the adrenal glands of the animals they hunted, and that was their secret. Turns out those glands contain vitamin C. Go figure.

  14. Since being diagnosed gluten sensitive/celiac the beginning of 2010, I basically have removed all grains, including corn, except for rice from my diet. My carb intake is usually around 50-100g/day. My sugar cravings are gone. My calories eaten daily are way down, but I am not hungry. I have never felt better, and as an avid exerciser, I am now exercising longer and better than I ever have. I am 5ft 4in, and was 124 pounds in January, and I now weigh 112. I look and feel like superwoman!!

    I am now an avid fan of Mark Sisson and his website I stumbled upon his website a month or two into my new eating phase. I was searching for working out etc on lower carb diets. He really shows you the way. Eating carbs are nothing but junk and we are definitely programed as humans to not eat much carbohydrates on a daily basis, or ever! Nor Diet Coke for that matter!

    Stick to whole foods from the earth. Nothing processed and you will feel whole and pure!

    • Amy, you may feel good now, but you’ve only been low-carb for a few months. I would suggest reading Schwarzbein’s second book, at least for some perspective. You do feel good at the beginning, but it’s because you’re breaking down and using up your adrenal hormones. Feeling good now may lead to feeling far worse later.

      • Why would eating low carb cause you to use up your adrenal hormones? Sugar puts a stress on the adrenals, and anything that causes insulin spikes does — which would be carbohydrates, not fat or protein (unless too much protein is eaten at once). Sugar, caffeine, staying up too late/working too long hours, I know those stress the adrenals, but I don’t get why low carb would, if you care to explain. I read several Schwarzbein books when they first came out but don’t remember whether “The Transition” was one of them. Thanks.

        • Well, you kinda answered your own question with “unless too much protein is eaten at once.” Yes, eating too much protein in relation to carbohydrate will stress the adrenals. Insulin and cortisol are not mutually exclusive, rather, they are a “feedback loop.” When too much insulin has poured and thus caused blood sugar to drop too low, cortisol is raised in response to this in order to mobilize more blood sugar (because the brain needs glucose all the time). Likewise, when too much cortisol or adrenaline has been released, mobilizing too much glucose (which will kill your brain cells), insulin steps in to put that glucose away into your cells. Thus, it is possible for a low-carb diet to actually cause insulin resistance over time. This is why balancing blood sugar and hormones is so crucial. Again, this is all in Diana Schwarzbein’s book “The Transition” in much greater detail.

        • It’s not too much protein in relation to carbohydrates, as far as I can tell from my extensive reading on the subject, it’s that protein can also provoke an insulin reaction, but that’s only when a really excessive amount is eaten that the body can’t handle at once. Only fat doesn’t provoke an insulin reaction.

          The brain uses only glucose or ketone bodies for fuel, but that doesn’t mean glucose — or any carbohydrates — have to be eaten, because the process of gluconeogenesis makes glucose from protein (incidentally, cats rely on gluconeogenesis almost exclusively).

          I’m not advocating zero carbs, believe me, even though ketone bodies and glucose from gluconeogenesis could fuel the brain just fine. Carbohydrates add variety, texture, interest and additional nutrients to the diet. Various people are more or less adapted to eating them, whether it’s genetic or depends on one’s diet history, I think no one knows exactly for everyone. So many people seem certain they know exactly how Jimmy Moore should heal his metabolism, but I’m not one of them. I hope he finds the answers for him, whether it’s his eggfest, going on a fat fast (as Dr. Atkins used to advise for extreme cases), or the High Everything Diet espoused by Matt Stone, or anyone else. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what any of us think.

          Your explanation accounts for how excess carbohydrates, not protein, cause insulin resistance over time, but a low-carb diet is not necessarily high in protein, nor should the day’s protein be consumed all in one sitting. Ample fat in the diet cushions the blood glucose/insulin effects of protein and carbohydrate. (Unless you’re chowing down ultra lean meat or fat-free protein shakes or something, it shouldn’t be a problem. In my philosophy, you can always add more butter!) And Mark Sisson, Nora Gedgaudas, and Gary Taubes (as far as I can tell), to name just three, advocate more of a high-fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. Of course, there’s a lot of wiggle room in there for everybody to figure out what level of any given macronutrient works for them.

          I believe the main thing, as Kelly has said, is to eat real foods first and foremost, and then tinker with the macronutrient ratios if necessary. Just about everyone agrees that cutting out sugar and excessive starch is a good idea; the evidence for this seems pretty solid. And you can eat an awfully lot of vegetables and some fruit, even at a limit of 100 or 75 or even 50 grams of carbohydrate a day.

          I read the Schwarzbein books when they first came out, before I even read Weston A. Price. She’s definitely got at least part of the puzzle right. Julia Ross is good, too (I went to her clinic for awhile).

  15. I’m afraid many of you still don’t get it at all. I know all about the Masai, Siberians, and Inuits — I’m as much of a “WAPF-er” as you guys. But if we only look at those groups and ignore the other 12 or so that Price studied (as well as others he didn’t) who ate a varied diet that included plenty of carbs, even grain (gasp!), then are we really learning anything? If we only seek out information that corresponds with our current beliefs, isn’t that just fundamentalism? I don’t know about you all, but I’m interested in progress and finding solutions to problems like Jimmy Moore’s, but we’re not going to do that by doing more of the same. Just like that old saying about insanity = doing more of the same and expecting different results.

    So yes, there have been cultures of people that thrive with very little carbohydrate. But the thing is, are we those people? What if OUR ancestors adapted to eating more carbohydrate because our LIFESTYLE demanded it? I don’t think anyone can argue with the fact that we just plain live in a different world now, with cars, pollution, malnourishment, wireless technology, gmo’s, 9-5 jobs, lack of sleep, etc. All of these things are incredibly stressful to the human body and therefore many, if not most, people need to eat accordingly to strike a balance between what they are using up more of (stress hormones and other biochemicals) and what they are giving back to their bodies. Thus, there’s more to the picture than just micro- and macro-nutrient requirements.

    To address Dana’s concerns:
    To ask only “does your body need it?” and “can your body make it?” is vastly oversimplified. You can probably get by on the minimums that your body provides for quite a while. But is that really optimal? Is that true, long-term health?
    And clearly you have not read one iota of Schwarzbein’s “The Transition” to say “someone who doesn

    • Thanks for your comment about fundamentalism. I try to refrain from 100% embracing any particular ideology because I want to stay open to new ideas. If I wasn’t, I’d still be vegan. Or if you want to go further back, I’d still be eating the SAD. I don’t think the answer to a failing restrictive diet should be further restriction. That’s what I see as a problem with Moore’s approach. I’m not intentionally “low-carb” or “WAPF” or anything else – I’m “real food” and “follow my changing needs” and just trying to stay flexible within those two qualifiers. I know from personal experience how destructive it is to be rigidly ideological – fundamentalist, as you say. Again, thanks for your thoughts.

  16. I thought the WAPF way of eating included raw milk and soaked, sprouted grains? The balanced approach includes all three sets of macronutrients, protein, carbs and fats, yes?

  17. Jeanmarie:
    To put it in more basic terms, cortisol is catabolic (breaks you down) while insulin is anabolic (rebuilds you). Most people have high levels of cortisol to begin with due to modern life. You have to have balance among these hormones (and others, of course) or else too much cortisol will cannibalize your body and then make you “skinny-fat” and “hyperinsulinemic”, while too much insulin causes obesity. So, just as exercise creates the same effect as eating less, not eating enough carbohydrate IN RELATION to protein/stress creates the same stress response in the body as too much cortisol being unchecked by insulin. Dietary fat has little to do with this. At first this feels really good, because using up biochemicals feels good. But is it healthy?

    I found some apt quotes from

    “The major catabolic effects of cortisol involve its facilitating the conversion of protein in muscles and connective tissue into glucose and glycogen (cortisol may increase liver glycogen). Gluconeogenesis involves both the increased degradation of protein already formed and the decreased synthesis of new protein. [So why would gluconeogenesis be a good thing?] Cortisol can also decrease the utilization of glucose by cells by directly inhibiting glucose transport into the cells (1). A cortisol excess can also lead to a decrease in insulin sensitivity. Cortisol also reduces the utilization of amino acids for protein formation in muscle cells. A cortisol excess can lead to a progressive loss of protein, muscle weakness and atrophy, and loss of bone mass through increased calcium excretion and less calcium absorption. That is one of the reasons long-distance runners tend to have skinny physiques. With the amount of stress that runners place on their bodies, they have high levels of free radicals as well as cortisol. Excess cortisol can also adversely affect tendon health. Cortisol causes a redistribution of bodyfat to occur through an unknown mechanism. Basically, the extremities lose fat and muscle while the trunk and face become fatter.”
    “Another one of cortisol’s undesirable effects is it causes insulin resistance by decreasing the rate at which insulin activates the glucose uptake system, likely because of a post-insulin receptor block (2). Any type of stress that occurs to the body signals the nervous system to relay this to the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus then responds by initiating the stress-hormone cascade starting with CRF (corticotrophin releasing hormone) followed by ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) release, and finally glucocorticoid production. Stress to the human body can include trauma, anxiety, infections, surgery, and even resistance training and aerobics.”
    “Cortisol has other hormone-modifying effects. It may also suppress an enzyme known as 5′ deiodinase, which converts the relatively inactive thyroid hormone T4 to the active one known as T3 or triiodothyronine. This can decrease metabolic rate and make it harder to lose bodyfat.”

    • Gina, I’m well aware that cortisol is catabolic and of the dangers of chronically elevated cortisol levels, which I have experienced myself. (And no, I’m not an ultra-low-carb dieter, never have been, nor one to eat tons of meat. I have struggled with eating excess starch and especially sugar and have felt it’s effects on cortisol.) Your assertion here: “So, just as exercise creates the same effect as eating less, not eating enough carbohydrate IN RELATION to protein/stress creates the same stress response in the body as too much cortisol being unchecked by insulin” is still unsupported, and this flies in the face of a lot of research by respected nutritionists and doctors of the Real Food persuasion. I’d love to see some references for this assertion. Protein requires fat for digestion and assimilation, but not carbohydrate, to my knowledge.

      I don’t know of any greater expert on adrenal stress and blood sugar imbalance than Julia Ross. In The Diet Cure, in the chapter on Balancing Your Blood Sugar, under the heading Addressing Stress Long-term, she writes: “Anything that will rest and calm you can help restore your adrenals. Cutting out refined carbohydrates, which tax your adrenals, is crucial. So is eliminating any hidden stressors, like food allergies, yeasts, and parasites.” Under dietary advice in the same chapter, she says “Don’t skip meals. Avoid sweets and white flour products forever. Eat at least three solid meals per day. Don’t let more than four hours go by without food. Whole-food (low-carb) snacks may be needed in midmorning, midafternoon, and at bedtime. Eat a substantial (at least 25 percent of the day’s food intake), protein-rich breakfast. Stay away from refined sweets, starches, alcohol, caffeine, and NutraSweet.” Her general dietary advice includes plenty of protein, good fats, vegetables, and cutting out sweets and starch. Nowhere do I read any warning that carbohydrates are needed to balance out protein. She advises individual amino acids for a variety of metabolic imbalances in addition to plenty of protein and fat in the diet.

      I understand what you’re claiming, I just don’t know where you get your information or what science it’s based on. You seem to think insulin is something we want more of. It performs a necessary role, as does cortisol, but neither one is desirable to have chronically elevated, and both are elevated by the same thing: excess sugars (and other stressors like caffeine). While excess protein *can* at some point provoke an insulin response, that’s much less likely than with excess carbohydrate, and the insulin response of either one is moderated by dietary fat. I’ve never heard of protein provoking a cortisol spike, so if there is some science behind that, I’d really love to know where this is referenced.

  18. @Jeanmarie, it sounds from what you’ve said that Julia Ross is opposed to refined carbs, which are very different from tubers and soaked whole grains (not sure, though, I haven’t read her). I think Schwarzben provides references in her book on the science behind the adrenal issues if you’re interested. From my understanding, it’s not the protein that’s the issue, it’s the specific lack of carb , which causes insulin and blood sugar to be too low. Without insulin you can’t rebuild your tissues. The cortisol is released to bring blood sugar up, and that’s what causes the issues. It’s better to bring the blood sugar up with food than by having your body release cortisol. Obviously you believe in low carb, and many do, but I think it’s pretty telling that most cultures eat plenty of carbs, and Price even said a nearby tribe eating more carbs than the masai were in better shape. Plus, unless you’re eating blood like the masai or all body parts like the inuit, it can’t be compared (for example, the inuit ate adrenal glands, maybe it helped restore adrenal hormones used up because of their low-carb diet. Who knows). I think it’s pretty risky to cut out, or significantly reduce, a macronutrient that most of our ancestors have eaten for thousands of years, even if some experts say it’s okay. Do they really know?

    • Ahh, thank you Anna for getting me back on track! I apologize for going on a “cortisol tangent”. That’s certainly not the WHOLE issue, of course. I’d hate to oversimplify the issue and risk doing exactly what Gedgaudas and Taubes do. And there are probably factors involved that we don’t even know about yet.

      No, we don’t want “more” insulin, just as we don’t want more cortisol. Again, the key is balance. Our modern lives use up too much of our adrenal hormones as it is, which breaks us down. And yes, insulin rebuilds us. If we continually have an imbalance between the rate at which we break down vs. rebuild, this can lead to serious metabolic consequences over time. That is the essence of Schwarzbein’s message. Now, the question is, how long can the body maintain this imbalance without noticeable damage? I’m sure the answer is different for each individual, as some people may have naturally stronger adrenal glands (and the whole HPA axis, likely).

      Julia Ross never says lower your carb intake, but indeed to cut out refined foods and sweets. In fact, at one point she says if you feel like you need more food, go ahead and raise ALL the macronutrients in your meals, not just protein or fat for instance.

Leave a Reply