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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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January 12, 2011

Why Can Some People Eat Anything They Want and Never Gain a Pound?

By Mark Sisson
233 Comments

The following are both actual and paraphrased versions of questions I regularly get from readers:

If grains are so bad how can you explain the leanness and good health of Clarence Bass?

How is it that this guy can eat 30 bananas a day and not gain weight, or this guy can eat nothing but potatoes for 60 days and lose 20 pounds?

How do the Kitavans or Okinawans maintain good body composition despite a higher carb diet?

Mark, how were you able to maintain a low body fat percentage despite eating a half gallon of ice cream a day?

Why can my brother eat anything he wants and never gain a pound?

All of these examples seem contrary to what we say in the Primal Blueprint. How can they be explained? Are they anomalies? Tails of the bell curve? Is something else at work?

These questions all bring to mind one of the main principles underlying the Primal Blueprint, which is that ultimately there are no right or wrong answers in life, just choices we make based on what we think we know or what we believe to be in our best interest. I happen to think we here at Mark’s Daily Apple have hit upon a range of choices within the Primal Blueprint – based on what we know about evolution and epigenetics – that can bring out the best in our health, fitness and energy. We seek to optimize our individual genetic potential using these principals and to literally influence gene signaling. Of course, there are other ways and other choices to get lean, some of which might even get you close to healthy if you do everything right. Me, I want the option that gets me the fittest and healthiest with the least amount of pain, suffering, sacrifice, discipline and calorie-counting possible.

The truth is, if you never undertook to live a Primal lifestyle, the chances are still pretty good that you might enjoy a “relatively comfortable” existence for a substantial part of your life – until the wheels inevitably started to fall off. Millions of people around the world “get by” just fine in their obliviousness on the SAD (Standard American Diet), only 10 or 30 pounds overweight, a little arthritic, maybe some GERD for which they gladly take a pill. Some people even appear to thrive for a while on less-than-ideal diet and exercise programs. Even I did “adequately” on the Conventional Wisdom plan for a long time, and I’m pretty sure I’d still be doing reasonably well today had I not adopted this PB strategy myself. Of course, I’d be a little more decrepit and arthritic, less energetic, a little weaker and sick more often, and I’d probably still have IBS. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d think all that was normal for a 57-year-old man, so I might even label myself “content.”

Of course, genetics has a lot to do with it. I got away with dietary murder when I was an endurance athlete because I was “genetically gifted” to be able to run long and hard enough to burn off a half gallon of ice cream (and a loaf of bread and a bowl of pasta and a six-pack of beer…) every night – as long as I ran long and hard the next day, too. But sometimes a guy can look lean, and not be healthy. And that was me. There’s a lot going on under the hood. Your 30 bananas guy above does the same things I did, but with a higher sugar – high mileage program that he advocates for everyone. In his case, he looks skinny because doesn’t get enough protein and he cycles endless miles in a valiant-yet-doomed effort to burn off all that sugar. He also takes in paltry amounts of protein, and it shows in the lack of muscle typical of a high-carb endurance athlete. His inability to gain weight while eating lots of carbs is actually a bad thing, since he’s constantly losing muscle mass and enduring all manner of glycation inside. I can’t comment on the 20 potatoes guy except to say that if the 19th century Irish lived on potatoes for decades and couldn’t gain much muscle, it makes sense that he couldn’t either in 60 days. The Kitavans and the Okinawans thrive partly because they typically don’t overeat (see: Calorie Restriction) and partly because they expend a fair amount of energy not sitting at their desk all day long (Primal Blueprint Law #3: Move Frequently at a Slow Pace). I suspect that their reliance on real food and low intakes of processed and high omega-6 PUFA seed oils also contribute to their metabolic efficiency.

Clarence Bass can look so great at 73 on a grain-based diet because he has spent his life focused on staying in shape, mostly as a body-builder. He understood very early in his career that lean mass was the main driver of health, and he orchestrated a workout and diet plan contemplated to keep him fit. He’s never really been out of shape and, from what I gather, he’s pretty strict with his diet in terms of macronutrient breakdown, calorie count and meal timing. That takes a lot of discipline. If you do it right, you can get pretty decent results. The fact that he includes grains in his diet and apparently suffers no ill effects puts him among a select minority who may not be as susceptible to their antinutrient effects as most of us are. Again, maybe he’s genetically “gifted” that way.

We’ve talked a little about genetic ranges before, but let me remind you of this point. Each of us has the recipe for a lean, fit, strong, healthy human contained within our DNA. Biological processes don’t really differ from one person to another (except in rare occasions). We all make proteins the same way, we all digest and process nutrients the same way, etc. But it’s the individual variations in our specific familial DNA (those pesky single nucleotide polymorphisms or SNPs) that often account for the differences in the degree to which we tend to build muscle, or burn or store fat. From there it comes down to the signals (those diet and exercise choices) we send our genes that maximize our ultimate potential or not. The truth is, some of us are just lucky enough to be able to “get away” with eating certain foods that aren’t exactly Primal, not gaining much weight and not experiencing noticeable inflammation. Others among us who may have genetic red flags really need to pay attention or we easily gain weight or develop health issues if we stray at all. There is for each of us a predetermined “range of genetic outcomes” that we do inherit from our parents. My job is to help you discover how to optimize your potential – if that’s what you choose to do.

Humans are among the most adaptive (short-term anyway) animals on the planet when it comes to diet. We can survive on just about anything, as witnessed by the plethora of obese Americans surviving on fast food and soft drinks. Over half the world stays “slim and trim” on a low-calorie, grain-based diet simply because there are paltry few food choices and they just can’t take in enough calories to gain much weight (store fat). But let’s not always confuse their leanness with good health.

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233 Comments on "Why Can Some People Eat Anything They Want and Never Gain a Pound?"

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Uncephalized
Uncephalized
5 years 8 months ago

This is a good reminder; it’s not about how the rare exceptions react to food, or how the 0.01% of superathletes manage their health. It’s about how everyday people could be so much stronger, healthier and happier if they applied good science and rational evolutionary principles to their lifestyles.

Kelly
Kelly
2 years 2 months ago
It’s more about sweating. If you’re sweating enough, it means you’re burning calories and your body is in the mode to efficiently process food and expel toxins instead of holding onto them longer. Note: The following is meant only as a suggestion after speaking with a doctor or other health professional. AVOID eating pears, peaches, and nuts, as all those foods with HELP you HOLD ONTO weight. If you eat those things, all the exercise in the world won’t shed pounds on the trouble spots That facial and neck fat that won’t go away no matter what? Yes, stop eating… Read more »
Tom S
Tom S
2 years 24 days ago
Intermittent Fasting (IF) isn’t a bad thing. It helps me to be much more alert and in-tune to hunger. Skip a meal when it’s inconvenient to eat, and when I’m hungry, I eat. Sometimes I finish off my food, my wife’s and our kids’ food, yet my BMI is 18. I stopped counting glasses of water. I found that a study was mis-interpreted (1 ml of water for each dry calorie consumed.) The science made me dizzy, so I just keep a cup full of water handy, and when it looks inviting, I drink. I fill it a couple times… Read more »
rlee
rlee
6 months 19 days ago

Just don’t agree with avoiding nuts. Raw nuts are healthy especially walnuts. Obviously it is necessary to limit it to a couple tablespoons daily.

Garrett
Garrett
5 years 8 months ago

Your point about looking lean but not necessarily being healthy is big for me. I came to that same conclusion and it allows me to stay focused on my own health.

Andy
Andy
5 years 8 months ago

Good article. I also think people shouldn’t be so quick to feel jealous of those of us that don’t gain weight easily. Mark’s talked before about so-called hard gainers. Some of us have just as difficult a time gaining weight to reach our desired goals as many overweight people have in losing it. It’s just that one side is a bit more common in our society.

Andrew Brooks
Andrew Brooks
5 years 8 months ago

You mention it quickly, but I think it’s your main point: Sustenance/survival is not thriving. This is a dietary philosophy focused on optimizing our body’s operating system. Accompanying the dietary philosophy is the exercise philosophy that makes it one coherent Primal lifestyle. People adopt this lifestyle for their own ends, but isn’t it ultimately about promoting health into longevity? Eating 30 bananas (or whatever) to fuel crazy cardio workouts is an end to itself. The diet and exercise mentality of Primal adherents is a means to something greater.

Dana
5 years 8 months ago

Yes, exactly! eating 30 bananas everyday to sustain such high intensity workouts is not sustainable for life. I suppose it’s different if someone is passionate about that kind of life. Maybe for the crazy cardio workout buffs, but for the average person it just doesn’t make sense. PB IS a lifestyle, a very satisifying easy to sustain lifestyle. I proved that to myself last week and am continuing to do so! Albeit a few bumps, but I’m passionate about it enough to keep going for life and that means so much to me!

pixel
pixel
5 years 8 months ago
80 / 10 / 10 is a healthy diet. The girl who founded that site has been doing it for 3+ years, she seems fine. her forum does have lots of loons though. I tried it for a few days while reading up on it. the youtube channel rawsynergytv is a better source of info. its much easier than paleo. food prep is optional, and usually involves nothing more than a pairing knife. clean up is easy. for most meals there is no clean up. You never wonder what you to eat. you already know. what to put in your… Read more »
pixel
pixel
5 years 8 months ago

i have a friend doing this, and one who tried it, but could not afford it. i also tried it for a few days, but it doesnt fit my goals.

Hannanne
Hannanne
5 years 8 months ago

LOL. Being skinny is a side effect? Where did you get that info? I’ve been doing it for 6 years and I’m very muscular and toned and weigh 130 lb being 5’3″ female.

I’m also friends with several long term 811-ers (5-8 years), and I’ve NEVER seen them skinny even once. What a joke.

I’ve also never come across an 811-er with low libido.

Cheopx
Cheopx
5 years 8 months ago

It’s healthy, if you enjoy fructose poisoning, your body eating itself for protein and nutrients, and all manners of deficiency symptoms: the boards are full of complaints about tiredness, poor health, skin problems, teeth problems, all after switching over to the loony diet.

The standard response: it’s “detox”, or eat MORE sugar. Fun for a laugh at the pure blind faith and naivity.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

Dana,

PLEASE don’t mention 3bad – we’ll get Mr Foetid Fruit and his pals back on the forum again! ;o)

jack black
jack black
5 years 8 months ago

you make a blog post specifically about one of the two people who runs 30bad.com website… and then you expect the commentators to never mention 30bad?
HILARIOUS CENSORSHIP LOL

Dana
5 years 8 months ago
This post really got me thinking about the premise behind the Blood Type diet, which is all about eating foods that are optimal for your blood type, and avoiding foods that cause inflamation for that same blood type. So in a way it might explain why some people do well on some foods and other’s do not. There are still anomalies though. I happen to be a blood type O, which according to Dr. D’Adamo, is the oldest blood type, and follows a vary similar plan as the Primal Blueprint, but some grains are neutral and are okay if one… Read more »
Kelda
5 years 8 months ago

Because it’s right!

Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago
I tried the type O food grouping too. Found, interestingly enough, that despite the starchiness of the allowed grains, I lost weight doing away with wheat and substituting quinoa and amaranth. I wouldn’t have gotten back down to a normal weight, but *something* got kicked over. I think D’Adamo’s arguments get misrepresented a lot and he gets ignored a lot even though parts of what he teaches are likely correct and scientific and would lend to a greater overall understanding of human metabolism and how we interact on a molecular level with the foods we eat. Then again, it really… Read more »
tim
5 years 8 months ago

You’re not the only one. I have to weigh and measure too, to lose weight. I’m only lean and unhealthy under all the fat. 🙂

Nicky
Nicky
1 year 5 months ago

It might also be the scales at fault. I’ve got the same scales and can weigh up to 12 lbs difference in a week. I’m feeling fit, my close feel looser on me but the scales show me 12lbs heavier. Hmmm – don’t think it’s me! I threw them away.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
All this “Oh I simply MUST eat vegan because I’m a type A” stuff REALLY annoys me! I’ve given up on the scales and the tape (I don’t even know where the latter is at the moment!) My mother’s scales are WW digi ones and one morning I can be around 112lb and the following 126lb. Something’s gone wrong with my bod at the moment as I’ve posted before, but I’m STILL eating Primal (as much as is practical) because I know you suddenly can’t expand like that for no reason (I have clothes – i.e. most of ’em that… Read more »
Claire
Claire
5 years 8 months ago

Sarah, get your thyroid checked! I’m hypo and sudden weight gain with no change of diet was my indicator.

Nicky
Nicky
1 year 5 months ago

It might also be the scales at fault. I’ve got the same scales and can weigh up to 12 lbs difference in a week. I’m feeling fit, my clothes feel looser on me but the scales show me 12lbs heavier. Hmmm – don’t think it’s me! I threw them away.

Doug
5 years 8 months ago
I also can’t help but wonder if the DNA references are in reality blood type related. I am also type O, and have been following the O Blood Type way of eating for about 8 years now. I noticed a huge difference in how I felt when I stopped eating “avoid” foods. In the last few months I have cut grain from my diet entirely, even if not on the “avoid” list, and I have again noticed an improvement in how I feel. My wife, who is also type O and as been following the Blood Type way of eating… Read more »
Kate
Kate
5 years 8 months ago
This could make some sense as I am O negative and so is my brother and we both have similar builds like my mum and gain weight from carbs easily, but when I give the carbs up (as I have now for good!) I feel great and lose weight easily. On the other hand my other brother and my sister have always been lean and slim like my father and seem to never have had any overeating issues, unlike my bro, mum and I. But I heard that the blood type diet has been scientifically disproved. Also O blood types… Read more »
SJ
SJ
5 years 8 months ago

O+ is the most common blood type in the US, followed closely by A+.

Don Matesz
5 years 8 months ago

D’Adamo is wrong about O type being the oldest, and about many other things. I wrote about it at my blog:

http://donmatesz.blogspot.com/2010/12/blood-type-diet-primal-perspective.html

Henry Miller
Henry Miller
5 years 8 months ago
mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago

Not this blood type crap again… this is based on some poorly constructed hypothesis some egomaniac researcher has. I’m type A supposedly a vegetarian-type that can’t stand meat, which is the complete opposite of how my body and my inflammatory disorder works.

If some people’s blood type would mean that they are less likely to die from a massive inflammatory response to bee venom, does that mean it’s okay for them to consume dietary bee venom?
I mean, in one of the blood types he actually tells people they’re perfectly adapted to eat grains/gluten…seriously?

primal tree top
primal tree top
5 years 8 months ago
Thanks Mark this post helps put the why are they lean on a high carb diet into focus. I think it is important to work with what you have and look further than the surface when it comes to health. My mother is one of those people who can stay thin on any diet but, her health has suffered over the years from a SAD. However, because she is thin and still very active I think it is harder for her to see the benefits of the primal way. I find this to be most common among people who are… Read more »
trackback

[…] Mark’s Daily Apple – The following are both actual and paraphrased versions of questions I regularly get from readers: If grains are so bad how can you explain the leanness and good health of Clarence Bass? How is it that this guy can eat 30 bananas a day and not gain weight, … […]

charlie
charlie
5 years 8 months ago
I’d say you almost need to dual track a lot of the “primal” discussions. For people who need to lose weight (I don’t think 30 pounds overweight is at all healthy, but 10 pounds is pretty harmless)) and then for people who are looking for something more. The real value of “primal” is we as Americans have a really really bad food culture and a pretty bad workout culture. Food is a nightmare for a lot of people because we just don’t know any better. Any small improvements there are great. Personally I just think adopting European sized proportions would… Read more »
Victoria Ferauge
5 years 8 months ago

I agree 100% that everyone could do much better with a little less on the plate. A small steak with salad followed by a cafe gourmand (an espresso with little sample desserts on the side) is really tasty and very filling. If you eat slow (take that hour for lunch) with good friends or colleagues, you really enjoy your meal and you walk out of the restaurant satiated and happy.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
You SO don’t get the point, Victoria! Bet you’re still hung up on CW, aren’t you, counting every single calorie you put in you mouth… If you’re Primal, why do you even WANT those “little desserts”? If they’re cheesecakes, for example, not only do they contain grains (in the biscuit base) but sugar, too! Oh but you’re thinking “they can’t be more than 100kcals each!” Yeah, so what…?! 100kcals is about an egg’s worth – and I know what I’d rather eat – most desserts are nutritionally devoid – an egg is the most nutritious foodstuff on Earth. Yep, you… Read more »
Victoria Ferauge
5 years 8 months ago
Hi Sarah, Don’t know about the CW. Whose wisdom? I eat like the people around me and they all look pretty good and are very healthy (I live in France). The key, I think is that we enjoy our food and when we eat the “bad” stuff we eat a little bit (just enough to make us happy) and that’s enough. I read Mark’s book and really liked it. But doesn’t he say that striving for Primal perfection is not the point? My takeaway was shoot for small steps. Continuous improvement and eat a little better every day. I think… Read more »
Malika
5 years 8 months ago
Hey Charlie, I was curious to if you’ve ever attempted to go grain free for 30days or so. This is because I didn’t have a “grain problem” either until I clean out my GI tract eating mostly soaked beans, meats and veggies for 60 days and then tried to eat pizza as a “cheat” and spent the wee hours of the night in the bathroom! My friend, also named Charles funny enough, just had the same experience last night after Chinese food. Sometimes removing it and then trying to add it back highlights that the sensitivity was there just unnoticed… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
5 years 8 months ago

Malika, I have had the exact same experience as you and your boyfriend! I never thought I had gluten sensitivity until I cut it completely out of my diet (along with all other grains) and then tried to cheat….it wasn’t pretty!! Quite miserable, actually. What drives me nuts is that people don’t believe me when I tell them…they look at me like I am making it up :-/

Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago

Or, it could be that you selected against helpful bacteria… and now you don’t have them (hence, gas).

Foti
Foti
5 years 8 months ago

Adopt smaller portions? Are you serious? Do you know anything about the primal lifestyle?

I want the largest portions I can get. My DNA encodes a lazy overeating highly active hunter gatherer.

You have totally missed the point if you think everyone should just “eat less”. Getting fat is not your body ‘doing the right thing’ and building a survival buffer. It is your body f@#king up from food it is not evolved to eat, and the feedback mechanisms that regulate hunger and appetite going awry.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
I disagree with this; I believe that the ‘grainy’ issue applies to EVERYONE – it’s in our genes; we only domesticated grains 10,000 years ago, so how can we POSSIBLY be able to digest them? Charlie, you’re missing the whole evolutionary aspect here (which is, essentially, the whole point of Primalism) – eating grains is bad for EVERYBODY’S body – be they 6′ and 170lb or, like my mate, 5′ 6″ and 308lb. Have you not read the articles on grains…? There are NO EXCEPTIONS; grains are bad for us, period. You didn’t evolve differently from the rest of the… Read more »
Evolutedpeople
Evolutedpeople
5 years 8 months ago

We all evolved a little different from each other. Each of us with some tiny difference that makes us react a little different sometimes. That is the base for evolution based on natural selection.

mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago
It would make sense that some of us are more adapted to eat grains than other. Except that in 5 out of 6 people, intestinal macrophages will turn themselves into hunter-killer cells to destroy gluten proteins from grains whenever they see it. Considering that gluten is designed to trick your body to attack itself if it ever gets a chance to enter your bloodstream, this actually makes sense. That’s not even looking at the other anti-nutrients like lectins & phytates… Humans evolve for survival, but so do the plants we are killing. Grains and soybeans have a huge evolutionary advantage… Read more »
NathanS
NathanS
5 years 8 months ago

I disagree with this. What about the people of Holland and milk? Clearly genetics dictated that if you could not consume milk on a daily basis you died out. Evolution worked surprisingly fast.

Paleo’s like to claim people can’t evolve in 10,000 years, or 500 generations, but what is the number we need? 1000 generations? 10,000?

I feel like this area has not be sufficiently addressed. Maybe we can’t evolve enough to consume grain, but this begs the questions How far did we evolve in 500 generations consuming grain?

Another Halocene Human
Another Halocene Human
5 years 7 months ago

The human race can and does evolve over timescales of less than 10000 years. Just google lactose tolerance or evolution of blue eyes.

That said, a large number of people of Italo-Celtic ancestry have gluten problems, including celiac disease. Why this problem is getting worse is a good question. Celiac sprue leads to (meaningful) infertility in human females so it is VERY relevant from an evolutionary standpoint!

Sofie
Sofie
5 years 4 months ago

I’d say it depends on the type of change. All humans are lactose tolerant at birth; but the genes for that can get turned off when you get older. Not turning them off is a pretty small change. Gluten tolerance is probably more complex than that, so it doesn’t happen as easily. Like fixing a typo compared to rewriting a paragraph.

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FitnessDoc. FitnessDoc said: Why Can Some People Eat Anything They Want and Never Gain a Pound? [Mark's Daily Apple] http://bit.ly/ftFTfa […]

Kelda
5 years 8 months ago

I enjoyed this article. It’s about the bigger picture. The whole lifestyle and most importantly it’s about what’s under the bonnet not just how great the paintwork looks.

Sonia
5 years 8 months ago

Well said, Mark!

rob
rob
5 years 8 months ago

I ate wheat last night (pizza with quite a bit of crust) and have been paying the intestinal price, for me it’s not a weight problem now that I am burning calories like a madman, it’s a “feeling like crap” problem. Never had a problem with it when I was younger but in middle age eating like that just isn’t an option anymore, regardless of how much I weigh.

If other people get good results from eating grains then God bless them but it doesn’t work for me.

Dana
Dana
5 years 8 months ago
Not everyone who survives in a developing country stays thin. There are quite a few fat and poor people in Africa. Gary Taubes included a couple photos of them in Good Calories, Bad Calories. The amount of hatred lobbed at the obese in this country for, well, any reason at all really, is appalling. Near the top of the list of attitudes-about-the-fat that really suck is the notion that American obese are spoiled and overfed and not suffering from malnutrition. That’s a vicious lie. Unless people really believe suckin’ down a dozen cans of soda a day and overdoing the… Read more »
Malika
5 years 8 months ago

^5 Dana! Maybe that’s what we’ll do with our can food drives here… some good canned wild salmon, sardines and tuna word be wonderful… Has anyone found grassfed corned beef?

Nancy
Nancy
5 years 8 months ago

Our local food pantry lets you inclose a “shopping list” with your monetary donation. On the list I can mark off that I want our donation spent on meat, poultry, eggs and canned tuna!

Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago
“There’s a special place in hell for people taking on low-carb healthy diets who donate all their carbs to a food pantry when they’re making over their food supplies. Throw that crap away, it helps no one. Food pantries are always short on meat and healthy fats–donate those instead!” Being an avid PB-er AND volunteer in local soup kitchens, I think this is a an extreme view. Sure, that carby food might not be optimal for the poor (or anyone), but somehow I doubt the hungry really care as long as they have SOMETHING to eat. If you are struggling… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

Yes, and if you’d read the book properly, you’d have seen he states they’re NOT FAT (as we know it) they’re MALNOURISHED!! There’s a HUGE difference!

DaiaRavi
5 years 8 months ago
I will never forget my favorite science teacher’s pet phrase “a skinny rat is a healthy rat” (and i’ve had a few years to do the forgetting…) a broad generalization of course – but as Mark mentions “The Kitavans and the Okinawans thrive partly because they typically don’t overeat”. I believe the body goes into a distinctly different selective processing mode when caloric intake is higher-than-adequate for long periods of time – even if that is not manifesting in obesity. It clearly signals a “period of abundance” in our still-primitive’s genes and probably causes the body to get more selective… Read more »
mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago
I think the Okis and especially Kitavans are that way because their mothers who carried them and fed them never ate unnatural foods nor did they completely screw up their bodies like we do. Think about it: by the time the average westerners/North Americans are adults we’ve already by caveman standards seriously messed up our bodies. It is already known that formerly obese and T2 diabetics in remission can’t handle carbs as well as others and must remain low-carb. Well, the same could be said to everyone else, relative to hunter-gatherers… Also, based on my knowledge of biochemistry and nutrition,… Read more »
Katherine
Katherine
5 years 8 months ago

I say what’s weight got to do with it? I’ve long since ceased to regard weight as a measure of health. here is some anecdotal evidence- my husband is one of those who doesn’t gain weight, in fact officially speaking he is serious underweight at 115lbs at 5ft 9in tall, and remains exactly the same no matter what he eats (never gains over the holidays despite copious mince pies etc). That doesn’t mean he is healthy. His mum is the same, naturally very thin, but now age 70 she has high BP, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.

Dana
5 years 8 months ago
My boyfriend is similar. He eats copius amounts of grains and pasta, and remains at 165lbs with a lean build,but he prefers to be around 145-155lbs and he’s 5ft 11in tall. (I’ve always hated that I weigh more than him; looking forward to changing that with PB). He’s always said when he was in the Navy it was very difficult for him to eat enough for his ferocious metabolism. It’s slowed a bit, as well as his activity level so he put on 10-15 lbs since I’ve known him. In HS he was a long distance runner and did a… Read more »
Dana
5 years 8 months ago

I should add that if I were to eat like he eats in the portions he eats, I would not doubt that I’d be 300lbs right now.

cathyx
cathyx
5 years 8 months ago

You should add the “if carbs are so bad and make you fat, why aren’t all the people who live in Asia eating rice fat”.

Primal_Joe
5 years 8 months ago
There is however an epidemic of type 2 diabetes in asian women, which I believe is being attributed to teh rice and noodles. As a side note, my wife is chinese and we hardly ever eat rice. I went to China for two weeks in October and none of teh Chinese I eat with ever had rice. They asked me, and American, if I wanted some rice. …. Most Chinese I know eat rice only with certain high salt or very spicy meals as a way to cut the salt and spice. As aside note I did see a lot… Read more »
Frank
Frank
5 years 8 months ago

Asians have a very long history of being much more physically active. Agriculture,for example, is heavily dependent on human and animal power. Not so in the west.

Even the late Dr. Atkins said if you are an endurance athlete you need the carbs for energy and will use them to your advantage. Maybe it could be said that Asians are the endurance athletes of their cultures. Urban Asians who adopt a western style diet also get fat and unhealthy.

Kevin's Paleo Recipes
5 years 8 months ago

Excellent post Mark! I hear questions like this asked ALL the time. I “know” the answer, but sometimes it’s hard to explain or convince someone who’s asking. Now I’ve got this post bookmarked so I can show them & they can see for themselves. Thanks!

Caitlin
Caitlin
5 years 8 months ago

Same here Kevin!

I actually really want to go back to school so I can get a nutrition degree and then I’ll have the letters (B. Nutrtion) to back me up.

Aaron Curl
5 years 8 months ago

Yah, but the curriculum you learn will all be wrong, so whats the point?

Caitlin
Caitlin
5 years 8 months ago

Some of it yes, some of it no. I was just talking to my friend who is close to achieving her masters in nutrition. She is now of the opinion that no one should eat soy.

My nay-sayers only see me as an amateur, so my opinion is worthless. If I can still be a Grokette and have a nutrition degree? That’s what I’ll change minds.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

There’s a problem with that, Caitlin – the “nutrition” you’ll be taught will be CW BS (unless Mark wants to start his own Primal College of Health and Nutrition… Now THERE’S a thought…) Mark…? There’ll have to be a branch over here, too, though…

Caitlin
Caitlin
5 years 8 months ago
To Aaron and Sarah: Some of it yes, some of it no. I was just talking to my friend who is close to achieving her masters in nutrition. She is now of the opinion that no one should eat soy. The thing is, all these students have the same access to all the articles Mark is talking about, and so will I. Why can’t I also try to change minds on the inside as well? My nay-sayers only see me as an amateur, so my opinion is worthless. If I can still be a Grokette and have a nutrition degree?… Read more »
Caitlin
Caitlin
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks so much for this one Mark! Now I have something to say to all my nay-sayers. I will practice responding:
“Leanness doesn’t mean healthy” and
“I want to thrive, not just survive and get by”

Alright! Every time you post an article, I get better at debating and hopefully more able to convert my nay-sayers into future Grok’s!

(I realize that future Grok’s may be a bit of an oxymoron.)

Yum Yam Run Ram
Yum Yam Run Ram
5 years 8 months ago

I’m one of these people!

I eat like a football player, but i’m 5’6″ and 140lbs. I don’t gain a whole lot of weight, all of the males in my family are this way. But, the problematic foods bring other consequences: acne, depression, headaches, swelling, etc…

Jana
Jana
5 years 8 months ago
My mother’s side of the family ate traditional Japanese/ Okinawa diet, especially my grandparents. My grandfather is now 98 and aside from cataracts, is still mentally/ physically in good health. His motto for health and diet is “always eat until you are almost full but not quite full”, and “don’t eat too much sweets but if you do just do it in moderation”. That’s a very Okinawan way of approaching meals. Of course he also drank green tea throughout the day as well. My grandfather ate lots of Japanese yams, rice, huge amounts of vegetable and fruits which he grew… Read more »
Sara
Sara
5 years 8 months ago
Thanks for this post, Mark. I think the most important support to go Primal lies in what you proclaim as your job- to help us maximize our potential. EXACTLY!!! I don’t think people realize the potential they have to get healthy and feel good— or even great! I have a lot of friends who have lost massive amounts of weight on conventional diets filled with processed “health” bars and shakes (the ingredients would make you vomit). Yet these same people continue to complaint about being tired, their indigestion/constipation, arthritis, general pain, and a whole array of ailments. The potential that… Read more »
Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago

More emphasis needs to be placed on calories within the ‘primal bluepring.’ This site seems to love promoting bacon as if it’s some healthy great food, when in fact it’s one of the easiest things to overeat on. Same goes for alot of high fat foods. They are high calorie and easy to overeat on. Consistent overeating will not allow a person to lose weight/body fat. That’s the bottom line.

DThalman
DThalman
5 years 8 months ago

It’s hard to overeat meat. Nuts and fruit, yes, and there have been warnings on the site about that.

jack black
jack black
5 years 8 months ago

I know people who have eaten 3500 calories from fruit every day for the past 5 years… and they seem fine…

i’ve never met anyone who ate 3,500 calories from meat/ animal flesh every single day for even two years and survived to tell the tale…

and if I ever do meet them… they will smell SO BADLY… I will have to cover my nose and sprint away from them ASAP!

jack black
jack black
5 years 8 months ago
You’re trying to appeal your diet to the common man – who can’t afford grass fed meat, organic, etc… so… you tell them to buy trash meat at the store… for 50-99c a pound instead… each pound of this trash meat has absorbed all the fluoride in 50,000 gallons of drinking water. This trash meat has absorbed thousands of different pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, like round up – so basically you’re asking people to make monsanto rich by doing your diet, correct? 99.9% of the animals grow in this country are fed at least 18 pounds of genetically modified corn +… Read more »
mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago

Jack you make absolutely no sense whatsoever, in a spambot sort of way.

Still, it is kind of funny to hear you say that Mark wants us to eat non-organic meat…

Luke in Oz
Luke in Oz
5 years 8 months ago
Sam, what evidence do you have that the people eating bacon are gaining weight? The principle is that when eating fats and proteins, with fewer carbs (by eliminating grains), the metabolic process shifts from predominately carb burning for energy, to lipid (fat) burning as the primary source. When this happens, and you have excessive fat stores, these fat stores are accessible (due to the reduced insulin response biochemically allowing the release of fats from the fat cells – which is impossible in the presence of elevated insulin levels). Due to the fact you have this energy available now and the… Read more »
Luke in Oz
Luke in Oz
5 years 8 months ago

Oops ‘shitting down’ should be shutting down – sorry!!!

Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago
I agree with everything you said. However, all that doesn’t counter the fact it is still VERY easy to overeat on high fat foods such as bacon. I’m an elite level athlete and ‘gym rat’ and I still find myself overeating on high fat foods. I bring this up because the vast majority of people who are reading this site are ‘average joes’ looking for solutions to lose weight and likey have a literal addiction to food. They read these articles and condense it to “fat it okay, carbs are bad” and then go on their way overeating on a… Read more »
Scandinavian
Scandinavian
5 years 8 months ago

A few years back I cut ALL my carbs, restricting intake to about 5-6 grams a day!

I had a lot of bacon and eggs for breakfast everyday. I lost 14 pounds in 4 weeks. Sorry, but ketosis is a fact. You loose weight in bacon, but it wont turn you healthy 😉

Griff
Griff
5 years 8 months ago

A) We all have an addiction to food. The alternative is death by starvation. It’s called anorexia.

B) It’s next to impossible to overeat meat and fat. They satiate, and you stop wanting to eat.

C) I smell a CW troll.

Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago
To be fair, while Mark’s Daily Apple DOES make liberal use of bacon as an example of an appealing Primal food…it spends much more time discussing natural, whole foods, with a huge emphasis on vegetables (and, to a lesser degree, fruits). I agree that people in this country are addicted to food and overeating, but if all they take away from the website is “Eat lots of bacon,” well…they didn’t read much, or aren’t very smart. Neither is Mark’s fault, it’s that particular reader’s. As Luke in Oz wrote, it’s hard to eat say, 3,000 calories (or however much would… Read more »
Robin
5 years 8 months ago

Carbs are the addiction! they are the cause of that insatiable hunger food addicts feel! Cut the carbs you kill the addiction!

Herbwifemama
5 years 8 months ago

Omg, I’m addicted to food, I can’t stop eating it!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8dm5VpYGH4&feature=related

mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago
Once you adapt to burning fats/ketones, I think it could be theoretically possible to takei n too many calories. I also think it would be quite difficult, without the help of carbs, to do it consistently enough to override the body’s own overeating mechanisms. But it is possible, and that’s why I like to get a general idea of the calorie content of what I eat (actually, I mostly do that so I don’t accidentally starve myself) However, I actually am/was psychologically addicted to food, to relieve stress. Sorry, it doesn’t work that way unless the bacon is glazed with… Read more »
Dana
5 years 8 months ago
“(if you eats fats with foods that illicit a major insulin response you will end up storing that fat and eating in excess)” This makes me think of Suzanne Somers and her “Somersize” diet plan which promotes eating proteins and fats SEPARATE from carbs (though veggies and protein/fat are okay) and avoiding foods that are a combination of the two, while eating fruit on its own as as separate snack or meal. My mom did very well on it for a short spell, but it’s one of those things that takes a lot of planning to do right and to… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
We have a woman here in the UK who promotes exactly the same thing (Google Zoe Harcombe/The Harcombe Diet). She doesn’t eschew grains (on her ‘induction’ programme, you’re allowed 50g rice OR oats per day (150g if you’re veggie/vegan, though her approach is nigh on impossible to follow if you are vegan).. It’s just another approach, similar to the Hay Diet – and I agree, I couldn’t sustain it for very long, eiither. Zoe’s reasoning was that the reason we gain fat/weight is we have intolerances/disorders and, by eliminating the majority of carbs, we rebalance our systems (the 3 she… Read more »
Michelle
5 years 8 months ago

Actually, I (and I’m sure many others will attest) that it’s quite difficult to overeat high fat foods. You get ill before you can consume too much… fat is very satiating. Which probably explains why most people spontaneously reduce caloric intake following a low carb diet. Now carbs/sugars on the other hand… those are very easy to consume too much of. Besides, it’s not all about calories. Read Taubes’ Good Calories Bad Calories.

Another great post, Mark! Thanks!

Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago

I’m not trying to be rude, but you aren’t lean and the bottom line IS calories. Any bodybuilder/person with an ELITE low-level of bodyfat will attest to this.

Nancy
Nancy
5 years 8 months ago

The best thing about the Primal Blueprint is that you don’t have to be an “elite” anything/anybody to follow it and have success. It works really well for us average folks that need a plan we can live with, eating normal whole foods, and not spending hours in a gym. I don’t need to be “lean”. Slim and healthy are just fine!

Kris
Kris
5 years 8 months ago
Have you ever thought that maybe the fact that you are an “elite level athlete” is what gives you the ability to “overeat” on fat? That either because you have more mass to fuel and you burn a lot of calories you eat more, or conversely, that your genetics allow you to eat much more than the average person which allows you to put on and maintain muscle mass that most people cannot? I think if you polled most people on this site you will find that the experiences that I and the others here have is a LOT more… Read more »
DC
DC
5 years 8 months ago

It looks like MDA is forming its own version of CW. Over-eating fatty, high-calorie foods like bacon is actually pretty easy in my experience. Like high-carb foods, high fat foods (especially processed junk like bacon) are like candy — you start and the next thing you know you’ve eaten 800 calories that you didn’t need.

Don’t waste you time counting macronutrient grams. Just eat real food, not processed garbage.

Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago
I’m really not trying to come across like a jerk. However, my whole point is to make sure people who are really wanting to take control of their lives and their bodies get the CORRECT information. Obviously I don’t believe consuming fat makes you fat. However, consuming too much of ANYTHING WILL and DOES make you fat. If you’re trying to say that you can eat all the calories you want as long as long as most don’t come from carbs, you’re dead wrong and going to be in a losing battle (as far as arguing the science and also… Read more »
Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago

ps. what is cw?

Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago
CW is “conventional wisdom.” For what it’s worth, I mostly agree with you. People in the US, with all the food and “food” available to them, are mostly pigs. Our gargantuan proportions, disgusting Frankenfoods, and rising obesity levels attest to that. Yes…calories do matter. Of course they do. Especially when you are trying to lose that last 10 lbs and get to what I guess you would refer to as an ‘elite’ level of low body fat. But…I think the point you miss is that A, most people doing the Primal Blueprint do not have that goal, which is Mark… Read more »
Bailey
Bailey
5 years 8 months ago
I also meant to add that people who are severely obese or overweight did not get there eating only bacon, meat and natural vegetables, they did it with crappy refined carbs and junk food. If you have a significant amount of weight to lose, I would say for 99% of those people that they would lose weight, without counting calories, by simply substituting those junky carbs for real, whole foods. Until, of course, they reached a point counting calories is necessary. Sadly, most get so intimidated with immediately being confronted with food logs, tortuous workout regimes and what regard as… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
I’m not trying to be rude, but you aren’t lean No, you’re not TRYING to be rude, you ARE being rude! How do you know I’m not lean – have you ever met me…?! and the bottom line IS calories. Any bodybuilder/person with an ELITE low-level of bodyfat will attest to this. REALLY…?! Let me introduce you to Martin Berkhan and his clients (www.leangains.com) you can argue that with him. See that photo? He’s 5% there. Regularly stuffs his face with cheesecake he does. What most bodybuilders know, as Martin will tell you, is bull. Now do go and disembowel… Read more »
Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago

haha. You obviously have no clue about Martin’s intermittent fasting program.

Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago
I wasn’t referring to you when I said you weren’t lean. I was referring to another person that claimed calorie restriction isn’t the bottom line for weight loss. I checked out her website and that’s how I know she’s not lean (pictures). I don’t know you, and don’t know if you have results or not. Trust me, I get it. I don’t know everything and would never claim to, but I’ve studied nutrition for years and applied it on myself. I’m not the one posting anonymously. I’m more than willing to show you RESULTS, instead of talk theory. I actually… Read more »
Olivia
Olivia
5 years 8 months ago
Dear Mr. Elite. This is a funny statement and one that I’ve witnessed again and again. People who are genetically adapted to being very lean are the ones who profess the most to “KNOW” how to be thin…and of course think everyone is the same as they are. It’s the equivalent of having a full head of hair and telling bald men you KNOW how to have hair. I can lose weight eating 2200 calories, or be stalled working with a trainer and eating 1000…it all depends on what’s happening with HORMONES. People with weight problems who work with physical… Read more »
Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago

Oh really?

Why don’t you go ahead and check these out (make sure to zoom in):

Wow. I’m definitely ‘genetically skinny.’ Except I’m not….This is when I was doing it wrong. I thought there was a substitute for the cold hard bottom line: overcoming OVEREATING (doesn’t matter if it’s fat, protein, or carbs).

Vs.

Macronutrient composition MATTERS. But the bottom line is calories.

mm
mm
5 years 8 months ago

” Any bodybuilder/person with an ELITE low-level of bodyfat will attest to this.”

You’ve got to be joking me… those guys figured it out before everyone else did

Michelle
4 years 9 months ago
Your comment was rude. I don’t need to be lean to tell you that I get quite ill if I eat too much fat. (Keep swallowing big spoonfuls of coconut oil and see if you feel nauseated.) Nor do I need to be lean to know that calories are not the whole picture. I’ve lost and regained and re-lost weight and probably have more experience dieting than you – and counting calories. I dieted on and off for years. I kept track of my calories in fit day for years before I finally cured myself of that obsession. I never… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
Sam – you REALLY don’t get this, do you…?! Have you even bought the book (never mind READ it)…?! Methinks you’re confusing “high fat” with “high carb”. Let me give you an example: there are 1,875kcals in a pat of British butter (a pat being 250g or around 10oz). There are the same number of calories in 6 Buds, 1 standard bag of Doritos, 2 jars Doritos Hot & Spicy and 200g Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Which would you be able to eat in one go…? I rest my case. Now, would you like to run the “eat fat… Read more »
Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago

The “bottom line” is that being overweight/obese is symptomatic of hormonal dysregulation, NOT how much you eat, but how what you eat affects your hormones.

Einstein once stated that “one should make things as simple as possible, BUT NOT SIMPLER” (my emphasis added). The “calories in vs. calories out” pardigm for body fat is WAY too simple.

Richard Nikoley
5 years 8 months ago

Hey Mark, and what about boozing it up (which I do just about every day) and actually cut my adverse liver enzymes in half in the process.

http://freetheanimal.com/2011/01/yikes-look-what-all-that-starch-did-to-my-triglycerides-and-alcohol-to-my-liver-new-lipid-panel-and-alt-test.html

Indeed: choices, choices. Perhaps a Real Food, primal diet is even more powerful than adverse effects from alcohol. Good thing I like my scotch far better than sugar.

Get a craving for chocolate or a Twinkie, reach for the McCallan’s. That’s what i always say. 🙂

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago

Those are impressive blood lipid values Richard.

Congrats!

Just curious. Were those taken after a normal 12-hour fasting period or after a longer IF period?

mark king
mark king
5 years 8 months ago

excellent points Mark, I was that “Brother”, I used to believe that as long as I worked out consistently every day, it didn’t matter what I ate, and it worked, until I turned 40, that is why I have educated myself on matters of health and not just fitness and now feel better then ever.

Tamara
Tamara
5 years 8 months ago

Mark I’m new to the DA and I agree with what you say, but I am having a difficult time giving up the grains. I really enjoy eating them, I miss them and crave them. Any advice?

Kelda
5 years 8 months ago

Once I’d read Taubes, then Blueprint, I realised what grains/sugar were doing to my body so I told myself they are poison to me. Once I got that in my head I’ve never been tempted again. For me becoming free of bipolar is a huge incentive to stay ‘on the wagon’.

Terri
Terri
5 years 8 months ago

Wow! Free of bipolar? Wow!

Kelda
5 years 8 months ago
Yes. And I’m beginning to uncover the science behind why this unexpected (and very welcome) consequence came about once I switched to a PB diet. Cutting edge science is looking at the insulin IG pathway and how inter-connected it is with all the other hormonal pathways we depend upon. Over-stimulated insulin response has effects on up and down regulating other hormones such as dopamine and seratonin to name but a few, both afore-mentioned are highly correlated in mood disorders. I think it’s fair to say the science is just beginning to reveal just how little we truly understand about the… Read more »
Seadanes
Seadanes
5 years 8 months ago

Tamara, it took me 4 months to entirely give up the grains. That’s how long I kept craving them. Then one week I ate a brownie that tasted overly sweet and like chemicals to me. I felt like I needed a nap in a really bad way after eating it and that’s when I never looked back. You might try what I did, which was to only allow them for one meal a week. But, once I stopped them entirely, my cravings for grains went away. And so did my constant hunger.

Vicky
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the info Kelda. That is what is happening to me right now. If I eat something carby I become very tired and sluggish.

Vicky
5 years 8 months ago

Sorry, just saw it was Seadanes who wrote the post I was replying to.

Tamara
Tamara
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks for the advice. I know I need to make choices and stick to it.

Griff
Griff
5 years 8 months ago

It’s called the low-carb flu. I recommend you join the MDA forums, and search for it. It’s a temporary thing and you will get past it – IF you are serious about cutting out the carbs and grains. But you have to cut them out completely for a while so your body gets the point: we’re running on fat now, not on sugar anymore.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

Tamara,

You’re experiencing the “carb flu”. Search this site for “low carb flu” and join the forum – plenty of excellent advice there.

Of COURSE you’re craving them! You were an addict – now you’ve stopped and your body’s searching for that next fix.

It passes. It may take a fortnight or so, but it passes… Trust me on this…

Tamara
Tamara
5 years 8 months ago

I know I have to just keep doing it, especially since my body doesn’t need it with all the extra fruit and veggies that I’m eating.

Furan
Furan
5 years 8 months ago

Is this post not closely related to the Skinny-fat one ?

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/skinny-fat/

=D
I thought I would just mention it 🙂

Thanks for saying it again. I couldn’t agree more with the author of the first comment 🙂

MamaGrok
MamaGrok
5 years 8 months ago
The simple reason a lot of people seem like they can eat anything they want and never gain is because the observer either a) doesn’t realize that the person’s diet is a healthy one or b) doesn’t realize how much he is actually eating compared to the observed person. A personal example: I had this gripe about my lean husband for years, till I learned that lowfat, high-whole-grain diets make you crave grains & sugar night and day. I learned that the higher fat, naturally low in grains diet he naturally gravitated to meant that he never craved grains or… Read more »
Peter
Peter
5 years 8 months ago

Clarence is one hell of a positive role model and has inspired thousands to attain better health.

Note, however, that he has had hip replacement and prostate surgery. Just bad luck, or something else?

Tenny
Tenny
5 years 8 months ago

Thanks for this post, Mark. I really appreciate how passionate you are about Primal living, yet you work with real life, with its imperfections and inconsistencies. Some “diet” websites are like religions, and I find myself reading them, feeling alternately convinced and scared, and then having to sort out fact, fiction, and religion afterward.

fred
fred
5 years 8 months ago

So nice to hear you are a year younger than me.
I became 59( almost 60!) yesterday. God bless you Mark for your work. I have always been a primalist and even got through to my Pa about the evils of sugar having read Yudkins @pure white and deadly@ in te early 70″s.
I will stop now but you are 100% right.
If any fellow Paleo wish to go on my third 200 mile Cambrian Migration this May email on isfa@live.com

Scandinavian
Scandinavian
5 years 8 months ago
All but one of my grandparents died of different sorts of cancer in their 60s and my mother died of a severe, arrhythmia/tachycardia heart decease in her 40s. My dad is obese, manly through a thyroid anomaly which makes his body store pretty much any energy he eats. Then there is his intermittently lack of self-discipline. My mothers dad, my granddad is however 76 years old and in really good shape. He’s one of those that can eat pretty much anything and he also lives a very active life for his age, always busy going long walks, meeting friends, plays… Read more »
Scandinavian
Scandinavian
5 years 8 months ago

Oh I forgot, my dad also has a pacemaker 😛

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

Eating more of WHAT, though…?!

Richard
Richard
5 years 8 months ago

The issue seems to be one of balance. Okinawans (and other Asian groups) can eat a high starch diet (rice) without ill effects as long as it is balanced with restricted calories and physical activity. It is the sum total of what you do that makes the difference.

Dr. Rob D'Aquila
5 years 8 months ago

Another thing to consider is that people who eat anything they want (the SAD, and even “all” fruit or grain) without gaining weight on the “outside” will most likely end up having a fatty liver, whether or not it is bad enough to diagnose as NAFLD – non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Stephan
Stephan
5 years 8 months ago
The stuff about burning more fat when you eat less carbs or reducing insulin is just nonsense, the evidence is there that insulin is more complex than that and that increased lipolysis doesn’t mean increase fat burning. The idea that since eating less carbs means burning more fat and therefore burning more body fat doesn’t make any sense. If your body is burning more fat because there’s less carbs to burn, it is mostly burning dietary fat since the lack of carbs makes fat more predominant in the diet. Insulin has absolutely no role in weight gain or weight loss… Read more »
Von Allen
Von Allen
5 years 8 months ago
I have a genetic predisposition to diabetes so learning about insulin is very important to me. I’m 46 and starting a healthy program of diet and exercise. People think I’m healthy because I’m thin and ride my bike and can eat lots of food. However, I’m malnourished from lack of adequate amounts of protein and weight training exercise. I’ve shifted my diet to improve the quality of food, the quantity of food, and to support my exercise program. Everything comes into play for me. To be a healthy person, I have to consume enormous amounts of proteins, fats, and carbs… Read more »
Dr. Ive By
Dr. Ive By
5 years 8 months ago

Stephan (ignorantly) says: “Insulin has absolutely no role in weight gain or weight loss as no hormone can create fat out of nothing.”

Not even the worst of the supporters of SAD and FDA food pyramids would make this claim.

So it’s just a coincidence that Type I diabetics get thin, Stephan?

Stephan
Stephan
5 years 8 months ago
Normal levels of insulin have not role in weight gain or weight loss. If you check the studies you will see that even zero-carbers have absolutely normal levels of insulin, not much different than those of SAD eaters or high-carb eaters. Type 1 diabetics lack insulin. Just because insulin is needed to transport nutrients to the cells (including fat to the cells) it doesn’t mean that it is responsible for how much fat is transported into the cell. Lacking the hormone that transports nutrients to the cells indeed means wasting away but this has nothing to do with the fact… Read more »
Scandinavian
Scandinavian
5 years 8 months ago
I completely agree. Insulin matters, anyone diabetic can attest to that. Energy intake and body mass can not be calculated the same way during kitosis. I ate more calories on Atkins diet, A LOT OF FAT, A LOT OF PROTEIN. Around 3000 calories/day. I LOST 25 pounds in 30 days. Then I got to a certain limit when I didn’t loose much. I got slim and not lean, like 14% body fat. Somewhere on the weight/intake curve I gained stability and started to eat carbs again. ENERGY INTAKE always matters (I stopped loosing weight, didn’t I), but not in the… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

Stephan’s a troll (either that or EXTREMELY ignorant of basic human physiology). There’s no other explanation for it.

I have PCOS (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome). One of its characteristics/symptoms is insulin insensitivity. I know that, if I eat a high-carb diet, I can easily get very fat indeed; if I eat a high-fat, low-carb diet, I stay lean (well, lean-ish).

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago
‘scuse me whilst I get a cloth to wipe the coffee off my monitor! Say, you don’t subscribe to 30BAD, do ya…?! The idea that since eating less carbs means burning more fat and therefore burning more body fat doesn’t make any sense. Why? If you’re not burning carbs for energy, then you gotta burn something – or you’ll die, y’know…?! If your body is burning more fat because there’s less carbs to burn, it is mostly burning dietary fat since the lack of carbs makes fat more predominant in the diet. You REALLY don’t have the first clue about… Read more »
Sam Lloyd
5 years 8 months ago
Gayle
Gayle
5 years 8 months ago

Great post! of course we have all wondered this. I was watching listening to a Gary Taubes video and he talked about how in populations eating the same poor diet (high in carbs) there will be many obese but at the same time some under weight individuals.
Also sometimes people can eat a certain way for a while but later on it catches up with them and maybe not in the form of obesity but some other health problem

Don Matesz
5 years 8 months ago

Clarence Bass reported in 1998:

“EBCT [electron beam computed tomography] detected enough calcium in my left anterior descending (LAD) artery to warrant a thallium stress test to determine if there is any narrowing or damage to the heart.”

http://cbass.com/CoronaryCal.htm

A follow up found a 20% blockage of the coronary artery with calcification. Art DeVany has similar age but I believe no calcification.

Bass works hard to counter the effects of his diet. If he didn’t eat neolithic foods he wouldn’t have to work so hard.

Don Matesz
5 years 8 months ago

I forgot a link…on this page Bass talks about the follow-up:

http://cbass.com/CTAHEART.htm

Don Matesz
5 years 8 months ago

Bass also reported taking Lipitor to control cholesterol:

http://www.cbass.com/CoronaryCal.htm

He stays lean but a healthy person doesn’t need drugs to control blood values.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago
Having evolved in a period of extreme environmental variability and climate change, our species is well adapted for surviving a variety of diets and lifestyles. However this evolutionary advantage for our adaptability supposedly comes with a price, a price that manifests itself later in life through the process of aging. Michael Rose has an interesting hypothesis on antagonistic pleiotropy, how our genetic adaptability is correlated to aging. It may explain why we are able to maintain relatively good health with a less than optimal diet and lifestyle when we are young and then later in life, we find that what… Read more »
LeonRover
LeonRover
5 years 8 months ago
Mark The potato was to pre-Famine Ireland what the yam is to to-day’s Kitava – comprising about 68% of average daily nutrition. Where Kitava has fish supplying their protein and coconut supplying fats, the Irish cottier class kept hens, a pig or cow, and thus consumed milk, eggs, and cured pig, as well as rabbit, fish, eels as opportunity offered. In general, there was sufficient protein to produce “sturdy and handsome labourers”. While it is clear that an ALL-potato diet is deficient in protein; potato as a starch source, with sufficient protein and fat, an apple-a-day and cabbage is an… Read more »
trackback
5 years 8 months ago

[…] Don’t forget to check out Mark’s Daily Apple and today’s posting on: “Why Some People Can Eat Anything They Want and Not Gain a Pound.” […]

Dawn
Dawn
5 years 8 months ago

“Don’t confuse leanness with good health” – I love this!! An example is eating disorders – an anorexic is not at all fat, but healthy? Heart murmurs, organ failure, digestive problems, etc. etc. Definitely not healthy.

I prefer to eat the most nutrient-rich food possible, which to me generally means lots of colors on my plate, thereby guaranteeing that I’m doing my part in helping my genes express themselves in the healthiest way possible. Thank you, Primal Blueprint!!

Stephan
Stephan
5 years 8 months ago

In a way an anorexic is actually fat.
She/he has wasted more muscles than fat (the emaciated look is due to lack of muscles not lack of fat) and because of this their body composition is mostly fat regardless of how little their weigh.

Amy
Amy
5 years 8 months ago

I’ve always been very thin and could eat whatever I wanted and not gain any weight. Then I found out I was prediabetic and on the road to IBS. I went primal over a year ago and feel amazing.

Gayle
Gayle
5 years 8 months ago

I agree with you about feeling great eating paleo style. I used to eat a low carb bread for a couple of years. However it seems that eating grains of any kind made me crave. I would go crazy on bread and cake samples in grocery stores. Now that i have dropped grains altogether the craving is gone.

Meagan
5 years 8 months ago

“But let’s not always confuse their leanness with good health” — wow, great idea’s Mark.

trackback

[…] Your best friend staying thin on oreos and chili dogs *Feel free to vent in the comments […]

hp
hp
5 years 8 months ago
I think how you grow up is huge. Especially your experiences from ages 4 through around 11. We grew up near the river where we swam and swam and swam, then ice skated in the winter. Baseball, basketball, football. Apple battle, tomato battle, snow ball battle. Hiking, running, romping, sparring, hunting, fishing, climbing trees and on and on. We ate wild game, garden grown fresh and home canned food and local farm eggs, milk and cheese. Nuts and berries abounded. Still do. We cleaned up our plates because it was required. Because we exerted ourselves and did it in an… Read more »
Matthew Myers
5 years 8 months ago
The key is finding what works for you. Do I believe that Paleo/Primal will be best for the widest range of people? Yes. Just because someone looks lean doesn`t mean they are optimizing their potential. Even within the Paleo/Primal realm, there are certainly individual variations. People who are already lean can usually tolerate a higher carbohydrate load, while those with a possible auto-immune disease will have to weed out what other trigger foods may hurt them (nightshades, eggs, etc.) The best thing to do is to start fresh, eat real foods, and see how you do. It may take some… Read more »
Eric R
Eric R
5 years 8 months ago

Nailed it, Mark. Leanness and health are so often confused – how often do you hear someone say something like, “Well, if you exercise enough you can eat whatever you want,” meaning that a massive energy output will usually result in a lean body? Body composition is a great indicator, but far from the only measure of health. PB attracted me in the first place because even though I was thin, something just felt “off” in my body.

Mr. Spock
Mr. Spock
5 years 8 months ago
Mark says, “based on what we know about evolution and epigenetics” and Uncephalized says, “if they applied good science and rational evolutionary principles.” Etc. I love the website, the diet, the information here about exercising, nutrition, etc. But there seems to be an obsession with evolution on this website. The fact is evolution has never happened, and as Dr. David Menton, Associate Professor Emeritus in Anatomy at Washington University School of Medicine says, “If evolution were thrown out of consideration, it would have no negative impact in medicine—it plays no necessary role in either the teaching or practice of medicine.”… Read more »
Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago

The fact is you don’t know what your talking about. The whole website is based on evolutionary principles.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago
My apologies to you Mr. Spock if I misinterpreted your post. To me, it sounded as though you were trying to say that genetics and/or evolution are not based on fact. If indeed that was the intent of your message, I am compelled to note that you are ignorantly mistaken. Primal in “Primal Blueprint” refers to our human evolution while the blueprint in “Primal Blueprint” refers to our genetic encoding. Some folks are ignorant about evolution and/or genetics because they do not have a sufficient knowledge background in science to understand the facts pertaining to these subjects. There is nothing… Read more »
Mr. Spock
Mr. Spock
5 years 8 months ago
Asturian: “The fact is you don’t know what your talking about. The whole website is based on evolutionary principles.” Really? So if I give you 5 pages I pick at random you can tell me how each of those pages is based on “evolutionary principles?” “To me, it sounded as though you were trying to say that genetics and/or evolution are not based on fact… for someone to say or imply that evolution and/or genetics are not based on fact because of their own religious “beliefs” is not only ignorant, but also wrong.” Well, since I said nothing about genetics… Read more »
Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago

Ummm. Errr. Uhhhh. Ok. Good luck with that.

I’ve heard that ignorance can be bliss.

Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago

Oh. And not worry. I don’t mind taking back my apology.

Happy Creations!

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

This site’s been around what – 3 years? – and only NOW are the creationists crawling out the woodwork…?!

What’s taken you so long…?!

Mr. Spock
Mr. Spock
5 years 8 months ago
Asturian has “heard that ignorance can be bliss.” Based on his reply, he must be one of the most blissful people I know. First he attacks me personally. He was “compelled” to tell me that I am ignorant, mistaken, ignorant again, I don’t have a sufficient knowledge background in science, am unable to understand facts, ignorant again, and not only that, I am also wrong. Five times he used the word fact. And then, when I challenged his religion of evolution, and asked about these “facts,” he ran away. Typical of these blissful people. I also noticed that there was… Read more »
Asturian
Asturian
5 years 8 months ago
First of all, I have no control over the reply link(s). The blog software seems only to allow for 3 levels of replies and then the reply button disappears. Bitch to Mark about it, I can’t help you with that. Second, FACT 6: YOU ARE A CREATIONIST! And I can’t help you with that problem either. Your creationist professor of systemic theology has no credibility in anthropology, evolution, or genetics, and though he may claim to specialize in historical geology, I’m quite certain his knowledge in that subject is found terribly lacking. Finally, as long as you are counting, FACT… Read more »
Griff
Griff
5 years 8 months ago

Wow, you’re really uninformed, aren’t you.

Mr. Spock
Mr. Spock
5 years 8 months ago
Asturian: “Your creationist professor of systemic theology…” First, I have no professor. Second, I assume you meant systematic theology. For one who claims to be so bright, you really aren’t, and as I mentioned before, see a lot of things that just aren’t there. “I’m sorry, but you are just too far gone to be saved by science.” Science can’t save anyone. But I think that is one of the mantras of your religion of evolutionism. Just like calling names when you don’t have an intelligent answer. It’s really funny how much emphasis there is on evolution here, and when… Read more »
Pauline
5 years 8 months ago

Wow. I’m just starting a long weight loss journey, and this post is really hitting me where I don’t yet want to be hit! Thanks for that. Lots to ponder.

kim
5 years 8 months ago

Great article. I’m reminded that as we age, I’m now 52, we definetly can’t eat as much as we want without putting on weight. I have always put weight on easily, however some of my friends from school, were really skinny into their early 40’s and could not put weight on however much they ate, now these same friends have ever growing waistlines which increase every year. And they keep complaining that despite gong to the gym and eating pasta (healthy lifestyle to them) they are still piling on the pounds.

erzebet
erzebet
5 years 8 months ago

speaking of gerd, mine got much worse when i tried paleo for 6 months, now i got back to eating pasta and biscuits and i feel just fine.

Sarah
Sarah
5 years 8 months ago

speaking of gerd, mine got much worse when i tried paleo for 6 months, now i got back to eating pasta and biscuits and i feel just fine.

Why are my ‘trolly’ senses tingling…?

Denise
Denise
5 years 8 months ago

Well it’s true! Same thing happened to me. Sorry some people’s stomachs cannot handle a lot of meat. Believe it!

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