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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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June 06 2012

Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond)

By Mark Sisson
517 Comments

A couple weeks back, I wrote about the top 8 most common reactions you get when people hear you don’t eat grains, and I offered up some concise responses to those reactions. It was well received, so I thought I’d do the same thing for “your high-fat diet.” If you thought having to explain your grain-free diet was tough, explaining a high-fat diet – in particular, a high-animal fat diet – may seem even harder. At least with a grain-free diet, you’re merely removing something that many hold near and dear to their hearts. It’s “healthy” and “delicious,” sure, but at least you’re not adding something that will actively kill you. Fat is that deadly thing, for many people. It’s “fat,” for crying out loud. It’s bad for you, practically a poison. Everyone knows it. I mean, have you seen what fat down the kitchen drain does to your plumbing?

Actually, like the grain-free diet, explaining the high-fat diet is not that hard. I’ll even promise you that there are ways to do it, explanations and answers that don’t make you seem like a crazy person who hates his heart (I make no such promises for those of you with a stick of butter with bite marks and a tub of coconut oil with a greasy spoon beside it on your office desk, however). Now let’s get right to their questions and responses you can use:

“Isn’t all that fat gonna glom onto your arteries?”

That isn’t how it works. Atherosclerosis is caused by oxidized LDL particles penetrating the arterial wall, inciting inflammation, and damaging the arterial tissue. It is not caused by fat mechanistically attaching itself to the surface of the arteries like fat in a kitchen pipe. Also, it’s not like you eat some butter and that butter gets directed straight into your bloodstream. Your blood doesn’t have oil slicks running through it, or congealed droplets of grease gumming up the passageways. You are the product of millions upon millions of years of evolution, and I think our bodies can do better than trying to ape modern plumbing.

Response: “My arteries are not pipes. Fat is not solidifying in my blood like it can in the plumbing. Atherosclerosis is a complex process with dozens of factors beyond what’s in your diet, let alone the fat content.”

“Isn’t all that cholesterol gonna raise your cholesterol?”

If I were a rabbit, sure. When you feed cholesterol to an herbivorous animal, like a rabbit, whose only encounters with dietary cholesterol occur in a lab setting, their blood lipids will increase and they will usually develop atherosclerosis. For many years, the “cholesterol-fed rabbit” was a popular model for studying heart disease and gave rise to the now-popular idea that dietary cholesterol also elevates blood lipids in humans (thus immediately condemning them to a heart attack, naturally). Except it isn’t the case. Save for a select few who are “hyper-responders,” the vast majority of people can eat cholesterol without it affecting their cholesterol levels. And even when dietary cholesterol affects blood lipids, it’s usually an improvement, increasing HDL and the HDL:TC ratio while leaving LDL mostly unchanged. As for where all that blood cholesterol comes from, we make pretty much all the cholesterol in our blood in-house, and dietary cholesterol tends to suppress endogenous cholesterol synthesis. Boy, between “staying local” and “only making as much as we need,” our livers are downright green. I bet our HDL is GMO-free and organic to boot (not so sure about those sneaky LDL particles, though).

Response: “Dietary cholesterol does not affect total blood cholesterol. In fact, when we do eat cholesterol, our bodies make less of it to keep our blood levels in balance.”

“Isn’t all that fat gonna make you fat?”

Fat doesn’t make you fat. While you can technically overeat enough fat calories to accumulate adipose tissue, thus getting fat, this is a difficult feat, for two primary reasons:

Fat is very satiating, especially when paired with low-carb eating. Grass-fed pot roast, ribbed with yellow fat, connective tissue, and ample protein is far more filling than some crusty bread spread with butter. You’ll eat a decent slice of the former and be done, but you could easily polish off half a loaf of the latter with half a stick of butter and still be hungry. It’s difficult to overeat on a high-fat, low-carb diet.

Dietary fat in the presence of large amounts of dietary carbohydrates can make it difficult to access fat for energy, while dietary fat in the presence of low levels of dietary carbohydrates makes it easier to access fat for energy. Couple that with the fact that fat and carbs are easier to overeat together, and you have your explanation. In fact, studies have shown that low-carb, high-fat diets not only reduce weight, they also retain or even increase lean mass. That means it’s fat that’s being lost (rather than the nebulous “weight”), which is what we’re ultimately after.

Response: “No. Eating a high-fat, low-carb diet is the easiest way to inadvertently eat less without sacrificing satiation or satisfaction. It also improves your ability to access stored body fat rather than lean mass, which is helpful for fat loss.”

“But Dean Ornish/my mom/Walter Willet/the AHA/my doctor said saturated fat will give you heart attacks.”

They all may say that, and sound pretty convincing as they say it, but the science says differently. I tend to listen to the science, rather than what I think the science is saying:

  • A 2011 study found that “reducing the intake of CHO with high glycaemic index is more effective in the prevention of CVD than reducing SAFA intake per se.”
  • From a 2010 study out of Japan, saturated fat intake “was inversely associated with mortality from total stroke.”
  • A 2010 meta-analysis found “that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.”

That looks pretty clear cut to me.

Response: “The most recent studies have concluded that saturated fat intake likely has no relation to heart disease, contrary to popular opinion.”

“Where do you get your energy?”

I get my energy from fat, both dietary and stored body fat. At 9 calories per gram, fat is the densest source of energy. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but humans tend to store it on their bodies. That’s not just for show, you know. We actually store it in our bodies as energy for later, for leaner times, for when food isn’t available. Fat is the ideal energy source for life’s daily activities; walking, working, even going for a hike or a light jog all access the oxidative, or fat-based energy pathway. Carbs only really come into play when you’re doing repeated bouts of intense exercise, like sprint intervals or high-intensity endurance training. But for just about everything else? Fat is king.

Response: “Fat is the body’s preferred and most reliable form of energy, which is why we store excess energy as fat on our bodies. Unless you think we accumulate body fat just to make pants fit tighter.”

“But isn’t fat totally free of nutrients? How do you get your vitamins if you’re eating all that fat?”

The richest source of natural tocotrienols (vitamin E), potent antioxidants, is red palm oil – a fat.

One of the richest sources of choline, a vital micronutrient for liver function, is egg yolk – a fat.

One of the better sources of vitamin K2, an oft-ignored nutrient involved in cancer prevention, arterial health, and bone metabolism, is grass-fed butter – a fat.

The best dietary source of vitamin D, a nutrient most people are deficient in, is cod liver oil – a fat.

See what I mean? Also, even when you’re cooking with a fat that doesn’t contain many vitamins, that fat is still going to improve the bioavailability of the fat-soluble vitamins (like A, D, E, K, K2) in the food you’re cooking.

Response: “Certain fats, like egg yolks, palm oil, extra virgin olive oil, cod liver oil, and grass-fed butter, are some of the most nutritious foods in existence. And without fat in your meals, you often won’t absorb all the nutrients that are present in other foods like leafy greens, since many of them require fat for full absorption.”

“Doesn’t the brain run on carbs, not fat?”

Yes, the brain requires glucose. That is true. However, the brain is more of a gas/diesel hybrid. It can run on both fat and glucose. Ketones, derived from fatty acids, can satisfy the majority of the brain’s energy needs, sparing the need for so much glucose. You’ll still need some glucose, as the brain can’t run purely on ketone bodies, but you won’t need nearly as much. And, best of all, your brain will run more efficiently on a combination of ketones and glucose than on glucose alone.

That improved efficiency means you can actually function without food. Since you have ample brain energy stores on your body (even the lean among us have enough body fat to last for weeks), and a high-fat diet allows you to access that body fat for brain energy, you’ll no longer suffer brain fog just because your afternoon meeting went a little long and you missed lunch. Instead, you’ll enjoy steadier, more even energy in mind and body.

Additionally, your body, through a process know as gluconeogenesis, can make up to 150 grams of glucose a day – more than the brain even needs (roughly 120 grams/day).

Response: “While it’s true that the brain requires some glucose for energy, using fat-derived ketones as well can make the brain run more efficiently and reduce its glucose requirements. On top of that, your body can probably create more glucose than your brain even requires.”

Compared to last week’s grains post, there were fewer entries today, the simple reason being that while grains are hyped beyond belief, people have but a few scant – albeit robustly defended – justifications for fearing dietary fat. The backlash almost always revolves around the visceral fear of “fat.” It’s a scary word, after all, but it shouldn’t be. No one should fear something so vital to life, so crucial for nutrient absorption and hormonal function, and so delicious with roasted vegetables.

Hopefully, these responses will help curb some of that fear.

So, what’d I miss? What else have you heard, and how did you respond? Let me and everyone know in the comments!

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517 thoughts on “Top 7 Most Common Reactions to Your High-Fat Diet (and How to Respond)”

  1. Yes Mark, thank you for tackling this topic! If I had a penny for every time someone has asked me one of these questions… well I’d have a couple of dollars

    1. My family will reject anything I say about nutrition just because I say it. Yet I have had the best physical shape due to a mostly paleo diet. And I’ve been hurt significantly in major MVA (2). Don’t waste energy appeasing anyone but u! ????

    2. Thanks Mark for explaining each of these difficult high-fat low-carb diet arguments.
      The saturated fat and cholesterol factoids of the last three decades is very deeply ingrained into popular believe. Once people understand that “fat doesn’t make you fat”, and dietary cholesterol doesn’t raise your internal cholesterol levels, they are more open to learning how to proper fuel their bodies. Great blog.

    3. fat makes fat, end of story. you need carbs for glycogen unless of course you want to burn amino acids to help oxidise fat.

      1. Really, Dennis?

        What studies, published in the past 5 years, can you cite to support that statement?

        1. Why the moderation? is it so you can cherry pick?
          Now don’t contact me again.

        2. Are you being serious. Just look in any modern medical physiology book. Bit like asking for research to prove that the sun comes up in the morning. Im sure youll find what you already know.

          1. BUT… the sun does NOT “come up” or “go down”! It’s all about the earth’s rotation.
            Are you positive you have a science degree?

  2. Will share this with vegan nurse who freaked out today. Told her I had 8 eggs and a pound of bacon for breakfast and she was practically jumping up and down.

    1. a pound of bacon? really?

      Thanks for the very useful article Mark! My husband had very high cholesterol and was put on a low-fat diet and statins of course. He gave all that up when we went Primal and he goes for blood work next week. Can’t wait to see the results!

      1. Would love to hear the results as I will be going for mine soon.

        Thanks,

        Rob

        1. My fasted blood results after going just gluten-free and doing intermittent fasting but not primal. I typically eat lot of rice (definitely more than the 150 gms limit)

          Date – 4/25
          Total cholesterol 129 <200 mg/dL
          Triglyceride 76 40 mg/dL
          LDL Calculated 73 0 – 160 mg/dL
          Cholesterol to HDL Ratio 3.1 1.0 – 4.0
          VLDL (Calculated) 15 5 – 40 mg/dL

          Compared with my results when I was in India (before starting intermittent fasting but was mostly gluten free)

          [LIPID PROFILE – 02-SEP-2011] (before I stopped eating wheat and started using some coconut oil) Cholesterol=180 Triglycerides=151 HDL=40 VLDL=30 LDL=109.8 Total-Cholesterol-to-HDL-Ratio=4.5%

          [LIPID PROFILE – 08-OCT-2011] (one month after eating more meat outside mostly at KFC, the results become worse) Cholesterol=222 Triglycerides=179 HDL=39 VLDL=35.8 LDL=147.2 Total-Cholesterol-to-HDL-Ratio=5.69%

          [LIPID PROFILE – 04-NOV-2011] (stopped eating at KFC and generally fried food outside – also reduce chicken and ate fish/mutton when eating outside – better results) Cholesterol=202 Triglycerides=152 HDL=39 VLDL=30.4 LDL=132.6 Total-Cholesterol-to-HDL-Ratio=5.18%

          [LIPID PROFILE – 20-DEC-2011] (continued the good work of eating more coconut oil but still consumed some gingely oil and sunflower oil while in chennai – better results) Cholesterol=187 Triglycerides=150 HDL=42 VLDL=30 LDL=115 Total-Cholesterol-to-HDL-Ratio=4.45%

          The bottom line is exercise, fasting and SAFA works, bigtime. I use only Ghee, coconut oil and red palm oil now.

        2. Just a word of caution about expectations of lipid panels after being Primal. Your values may be higher than a “normal range”, BUT this is not necessarily a bad thing. I have been primal for years now, but if a Conventional Wisdom Doc saw my cholesterol levels he would have his presription pad out for statins immediately. My total level is high (268), but so is my HDL (113), LDL is 144, and triglycerides are at 56. Take the time to go into the forum on this blog and read through some of the cholesterol posts (especially Griff’s primer). Primal eating won’t automatically give everyone lower numbers even though it can for some people. I wouldn’t consider going back to the SAD with grains, veggie oils, etc… I think I’m healthier now than ever and getting better every day.

        3. Agree with those who say not to put too much faith in the numbers. I have lived the SAD for 46 years. Most of you would run naked through the streets pulling your hair out if you knew my diet for most of my life. Yet, I have never had a cholesterol profile over 200. My numbers have always been “good” according to Dr’s. I just recently started MDA and trying to change my diet to improve my overall health and weight. And, I’m loving it! Thanks, Mark and all of you who share your experiences.

      2. Yes, please post the response. I’ve been on pravastatin for three years now due to “high cholesterol.” Just started going primal this week and quit taking the pills. Can’t wait to see what my blood work is like in October (next physical).

        1. You may want to visit a few threads/blog posts on http://www.waroninsulin.com related to some detail about Cholesterol if you have an inkling. I think you will be surprised. Unless you got an NMR test you probably don’t know your risk and neither does your doctor. As Mark can probably attest…most physicians know little truth about Cholesterol. especially around diet. Bottom line is that you need to know your LDL-P number to know for sure. So the theory goes. It was very eye opening.

        2. Yeah you might be alarmed at what you see… when I began primal my cholesterol shot up to over 400. Super super high, kinda freaked me out. I have genetically high cholesterol but 400 is crazy. I actually increased my carbs a little bit, up to around 150 a day, and it came down a full 100 points to just over 300. The HDL and Trig numbers were always great, just the LDL and total were super high

        3. As WS wrote: your results may vary and you should NOT put much stake in total cholesterol!

          The key numbers are Cholesterol:HDL ratio (ideally below 3.5:1) and, perhaps more importantly, Triglyceride:HDL ratio (less than 2 is ideal) since this is predictive of LDL pattern subtypes. This is reflected in the current literature and isn’t at all controversial (except with doctors who don’t keep up with the literature).

          In my case, the ratios were 3.3 and less than 1 on a primal diet with lots of saturated fat. Fortunately, my doctor was all on board – especially once I told him my mile time, bench and leg press weights. Then he was asking for details about the diet and training program!

          If you can get a more sophisticated blood test, you’ll want to look at LDL pattern A (large, fluffy LDL) and LDL pattern B (small, dense LDL – this is the key risk for CVD).

        4. You may want to check out the 3 part Podcast that Chris Kresser did with Chris Masterjohn on cholesterol. I think you get an honorary Master’s Degree if you listen to the whole thing, along with learning a ton about cholesterol, saturated fat, etc.

        5. i had mine done in march, 3 months going primal. triglycerides came out perfect, HDL increased, LDL increased. doc wanted to put me on statins, I said forget it, I won’t take them 🙂 I know I am fine. cholesterol is not an issue, the adulterated omega 6 fats ingested with improper diet binding to it and getting a free ride to the cells – that is the real disaster. my cholesterol level can shoot through the roof and I won’t stop smiling.

        6. It’s interesting to see all these folks posting their warnings about how the numbers won’t necessarily improve and to care about the particle size, etc. I got my numbers done last summer after almost 1 year of primal eating and my total cholesterol was 170ish. My HDL was 55 (I think) and my triglycerides were in the 40s. My LDL was 112 or 115. Anyway, my point being: It can end up pretty good too. Even if you have a history of heart disease and high cholesterol in your family (which I do, though I have never been diagnosed as such, largely because I was too afraid to be tested when I was heavy). My wife had been tested before however and though her cholesterol was never that ‘bad’ her triglycerides dropped off a cliff after the primal/paleo switch.

          -Tim

        1. I agree,
          My cholesterol numbers look pretty grim, and according to my doc, I have the worst numbers in the practice. We have agreed not to discuss it for a while, as I feel that my body is still adjusting to my new stlye of life, and she knows I will tear up any prescription that has a statin on it.
          I feel that taking cholesterol in isolation and not looking at all the positive changes in my health is simplistic and formulaic. I can’t test for particle size down here (Aus), so we will test again towards the end of the year. Great article, Mark.

      3. I was on statins and the ‘low fat’ whole grain diet’ . I became Primal and have stopped my statins and blood pressure tabs. my cholesterol is 5mg so I’m very pleased and thats eating all these ‘fats’!

        1. Caution, most doctors believe the biased drug company propaganda that the lower, the better. When I went to pharmacy school, 30 years ago, total cholesterol of 250 was considered normal. There was no “good” or “bad” cholesterol. That was in response to, some folks with high cholesterol being healthier than those who artificially lowered their cholesterol with statin drugs.
          If your doctor orders a lipid profile without a type A LDL, tell him NO. Better to be considered a difficult patient than to have “hyperlipodemia ” as a permanent diagnoses on your chart. New studies show that you will live longer with high cholesterol than with low and artificially lowered cholesterol is a free pass to living the rest of your life going to doctors. If your doctor ask what type A LDL is, or why would you want that test, you need to find a new doctor.
          Just because you are living primal, does not mean your cholesterol levels will be low enough for your doctor.
          men total between 200 and 250
          women between 250 and 300
          requirements will increase with age.
          Pharmacist whose life was ruined by lipitor

        2. I’m w/Greg – lipitor/statins will ruin your life. I’ve seen it again and again. Artificially lowering cholesterol numbers while drastically decreasing energy and overall quality of life at the same time. Misunderstanding of dietary fat/cholesterol is costing millions of lives and diminishing the quality of millions more. All while lots of money is being put into the pockets of pfizer et al. Shameful.

      4. Probably a pound before cooking… but still.. that is a lot of eggs and bacon 😛 I hope you did some sprints and push-ups later… Vegans… ugh.

        1. You’re not going to keep that stored unless you keep your insulin chronically high, as you would on carbs. I notice the “primal/Paleo” people making the most noise about counting calories seem to be the ones extolling the virtues of “safe starches.” Let the “safe starches” go and then see how much you gain from a pound of bacon. I would be surprised if you gain any at all. If you could finish it to begin with.

        2. Yes I’m sorry but I agree – just because you are allowed to eat bacon and eggs does not mean you have to eat most of the dozen pack of eggs or half of the pound of bacon. That’s just ludicrous… It is a bit like saying I will drink a bottle of whisky over an hour instead of over a week just because you said I could !!

      5. My cholesterol numbers went crazy after I went primal. I was recommended statins three times by two different doctors. I had no lifestyle factors to tweak – I exercise, am 125lbs at 5’6″ and am under no stress beyond dealing with the school parking lot at pickup time. I insisted on a heart scan.

        It was absolutely free of any sign of trouble and the idea of statins was completely dropped for at least 5 years. Numbers can be misleading. Very misleading.

    2. Thats hilarious. My doc told me last year to eat more eggs and bacon as my cholesterol was “too low”. This was after being paleo for three months… HA HA lovin it.

    3. Yay! I had 2 eggs and 4 slices of bacon, but I’m trying to lose a few pounds. Put the rest of the bacon in my lunch bag and will snack on it later today.

    4. That made me smile, too. Sounds like something I would do. When I have eggs I usually throw about 6 in the pan at a time.

      1. Yeah, I was wondering if it was the amounts rather than WHAT he ate that freaked out the vegan nurse. Even my enormous (not fat) husband couldn’t eat a pound of bacon if you paid him and that man can EAT.

        1. Yea, there’s like a ton of other stuff you can eat in the paleo diet… why a whole pound of bacon…?
          Is it really necessary to eat that many eggs in a day?

    5. Really freak out your vegan nurse, I eat 8 raw organic eggs a day. I do eat bacon, but not a pound a day … LOL.

      1. There was a question posed on these forums a while ago that I never found answered and this reminded me of it. I started primal about a month ago and for the past couple of weeks I’ve had 3 eggs and a few strips of bacon most mornings. I’m feeling great, I’ve dropped a significant amount of weight already, but I still hear that nagging voice of “That’s an awful lot of eggs” in my head from time to time.
        Are eggs good in any amount or is there a limit to how many should be consumed on a daily/weekly/or monthly basis?

        1. Hey, I went through the same thing and actually have lowered my egg consumption, but only due to injury and lack of exercise. If your truly working out correctly, its really not that bad. I have guys I went to crossfit with eating a DOZEN EGGS A DAY!!! I would never advise that, but I was eating three a day, and then as a snack once or twice a day a couple more. This was when i was very active though. Two kids later, I get around but not as much=). I do one yolk with cheese and ham or whatever I feel like, and then once or twice a week i’ll pop a few over easy or a full omelette. Hope that makes you feel a little better because I remember that “I’m gonna drop dead of a Heart Attack” feeling as I gulped two dozen eggs a week when your all knowing doctor tells you to eat three…three…can you believe that? My grandfather in the service used to eat 7-8 eggs, a day!!! He is now 89 and healthy as an ox so go figure.

          Best regards

        2. Some people are sensitive to the egg whites, however if you feel fine eating eggs every day, then keep eating them. Listen to your body. Eggs are wholesome, nutritious, and if you’re getting a really good dozen from a trusted local farm, all the better.

          There is no “set amount” of how many eggs a person should eat every day. Just eat to be full and be sure to include plenty of greens in your day. You’ll be just fine. Congrats on your recent primal switch. Welcome to how things are supposed to be. 🙂

        3. This is just anecdotal, but I’ve heard about traditional people who encourage their TTC/pregnant/nursing women to eat 2 dozen eggs a day…

        4. When it comes to anything you eat, think like Grok. Everything is seasonal except at the grocery store. When I lived on a farm in NE Texas my hens laid eggs in the cooler temps. Some laid through the heat and cold, but most stopped during the extreme temps. Try to eat seasonally – I’ve been reading that for decades now. When the food is available, fill up on it, but lay off the rest of the year (or at least not in high quantity). Grok probably ate all the eggs he could when the birds were laying in the spring, but later in the year there were none to eat.

        5. Phoenix B,

          My strategy is to just eat as many eggs as I want as often as I want and not analyze it. But that’s just me.;)

        6. Saw a programme on the BBC only a few weeks ago (Cant remember what it was called) and it was about dispelling myths. The girl on the programme ate 7 eggs a day for about 6 weeks and her numbers improved. Apart from possibly getting bunged up (Not even sure if this applies) and risk of too much Amonia in your system if a massive amount of protein is consumed you can probably eat a fair few. The key is not to use protein for calories. Protein is for building/repairing the body.

        7. Eggs are good in any amount as long as you’re not allergic to them. Especially the yolks. I can take or leave the whites but the yolks are nutritional gold.

      2. That seems kinda silly. It’s harder to absorb protein from raw eggs, and the albumin in the egg white can mess with the permeability of the gut when it’s uncooked.

        1. You’re only half right.. Although the whites do need to be cooked, the yolks are completely absorbable being raw (albeit getting pasture raised eggs are probably the only eggs I’d eat raw).

        2. I saw the programme on the BBC too. She had eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner for two weeks and her cholesterol levels were virtually unchanged at the end of it. I think it was a programme about the British diet and what was good in it and what was bad. The conclusion about eggs is that you can eat as many as you want and they will do you no harm and are in fact very good for you.

        3. Raw whites will interfere with you absorbing biotin from the yolk, also. You can have raw yolks without consequence (assuming no bacteria present–but statistically you are more likely to fall down the stairs), but having raw whites with them will reduce the amount of nutrition you get.

    6. thanks for the visual image and the chuckle in the middle of the work day!

        1. Both of these links are biased, and the one from junk food science blog is a well known debunker Sandy Szwarc, BSN, RN, CCP, whose first link is for quackewatch! She would no doubt debunk this Paleo diet as nonsence she is main stream aka the MSM. And the 1st link is by mainstreamer Michael R.Eades. M.D. Who advocates Sous Vide that is cooking in plastic immersed in water. Not a word about gender bending BPA, escaping from heated plastic! Nitrates are dangerous because they have been heated once in processing and usually again just prior to consuming making them carcinogenic!

        2. Thank you, I had no idea. I simply figured nitrates were not optimal since they were something relatively new. No idea that we generated far more than ingested.

          FWIW, my 77-year-old father-in-law is from England. He eats fried eggs and sausage for breakfast most days. He also eats fried fish for dinner at least once per week. His fat level is around 10% and he still helps us in coaching soccer.

          Now, if only he’d stop eating those salmon and beets buttys.

        3. Woah woah woah, Roger… remove the tin-foiled hat!

          If BPA were really that severly estrogenic they’d use it as cheap birth control. It would also have to make so much artificial estrogen that the excess estrogen produced from fat people’s fat cells would have to be relatively insignificant. Even then, because of Sex-Hormone Binding Protein all it would achieve is lowered testosterone in men and cyclical disruption in women. It would mess up your estrogen ratio but I bet most manboobs are caused more by soy and, especially, excess fat + genetic variance than by this stuff.

          But, for people just tuning in some of the estrogen-like compounds in some leechy plastics ARE a problem…. just not that overblown.

          You need to get better critical thinking skills and think less emotionally or else you’ll soon be considered a crackpot.

          Besides, tooo much sodium, while not good for the sodium:potassium ratio balance, doesn’t raise blood pressure. The only confirmed thing that is known to raise blood pressure is elevated insulin in your blood from eating too many carbs. And those nitrates are annoying but can still be detoxed unless your liver is FUBAR.

          Besides, the whole carcinogenic thing almost always only affects populations that are already genetically vulnerable to getting cancer from those toxins plus we already know how to kill malignant cancer cells easily by exploiting the warburg effect (zero-carb ketogenic diet + chemo = starved, dead cancers).
          Animals don’t get cancer unless they eat carby foods they’re not supposed to and cancers are basically by nature too retarded to gather & burn anything but glucose efficiently so they die when you eat evolutionarily appropriate amounts of carbs…

          Also for the record, that “all-natural” celery-bacteria preservative on bacon *IS* nitrates, only they legally don’t have to say it is because it’s “natural” (produced by the bacteria… gee I hope my gut bacteria don’t make too much of those!) so people shouldn’t bother getting those due to the dishonesty

      1. Check out Chris Kresser’s articles or podcast on nitrates. Many vegetables naturally have high amounts of nitrates. Human saliva has really high levels of nitrates. Remember to think for yourself and always take in the context and sources validity into account.

        1. interesting perspective, are you suggesting that perhaps nitrates are not as bad as they’ve been portrayed? I’ve never heard this, and though I have not read the article, this is great news because I’ve avoided excess salami, bacon, red wine, and all sorts of favorites to reduce nitrate intake. Thanks for sharing the link!

      2. Please research salt too. Not the boogeyman commonly portrayed. Chris Kresser has a great post on that one.

        1. Not all salts are equal just like not all foods are equal. Most salt that is consumed and served up on tables and processed foods, is made for industry we get the left overs,it has been stripped clean of the micro minerals such as Magnesium, so it does not contaminate Industrial uses! We get this rubbish back with a bit of Iodine mixed back in! Now pure sea salt with its minerals intact and unrefined is a different matter altogether.

        2. sea salt is not some magical substance that will magically make things all good. It has almost no magnesium, it isn’t fortified with iodine, and it doesn’t really have anything that you can’t get anywhere else. i.e. the pitiful amount of magnesium can be had from eating a few veggies.

          People usually talk about sodium chloride when they mean salt. Sodium chloride is what allows your body to absorb and toss out water, more than any other salt.

          But another useful salt is potassium salt since most people probably don’t get enough potassium. Too bad eating too much potassium all at once on an empty stomach can kill you.

          Some “reduced salt” bacon use potassium and have a good sodium:potassium ratio.

          Worst case scenario if you eat too much salt, just make sure you’re not dehydrated and let your kidneys filter it out

      3. I get nitrate-free/uncured bacon. It is so good, it has actually ruined me for some diner’s bacon (too salty).

      4. If you’re scared of nitrates, stop eating vegetables.

        Dianne Sanfilippo (Balanced Bites/ Practical Paleo) has written about the nitrate issue. You know what they do in your body? They turn into nitrous oxide. Your body uses that. Among other things, it lowers blood pressure.

        If you keep your carbs low enough that your insulin can actually drop to normal levels between meals, you don’t have to be afraid of salt either. Your kidneys are supposed to dump any excess you eat. The reason it looks like salt increases blood pressure in people on the Standard American Diet is they often have hyperinsulinism and the excess insulin stimulates their kidneys to retain sodium rather than dump it.

        Yet another reason to not go crazy on “safe starches” or “natural sugars.”

    7. My nutrition professor told me that she was concerned for my life after I submitted my daily dietary intake. Priceless.

    8. “She was practically jumping up and down.”

      Your eight eggs and pound of bacon weren’t just healthy for you. They were healthy for her too. They gave her a nice workout!

      There is simply no end to the benefits of a high fat paleo diet.

    9. I told my son’s teachers that he eats four eggs scrambled in ghee for breakfast–you could hear their jaws hit the table!!!

      1. LOL…Beware that some of these people may consider this to be child abuse. Let’s hope they just forget about it.

    10. I’m on board with most of these ideas, but it’s important to still think critically, right? My understanding is that creating ketones for brain energy is sort of a last resort for your body, and the production of ketones has byproducts that can be damaging. So while I fully agree that low-fat orthodoxy is ridiculous, that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to do the opposite extreme.

      1. If ketones were that bad we wouldn’t have survived the ice ages, nor the fasting period between bedtime and first meal.

        Oddly enough ketones seem to enhance things. Dr. Eades, I believe, pointed out that is makes your heart run more efficiently and it is known to make your brain run more efficiently as well.

        Plus, ketones = low carb = less carby insulin spikes = less excitotoxic glutamate spikes.

        1. Where on earth are you getting your information on excitotoxic glutamate spikes?
          What research have you found that has found that a low carb diet leads to less excitotoxic glutatamate spikes?
          What research has established a connection between excitotoxicity from glutamate (which is usually associated with neural disorders, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.Lou Gehrigs disease)?
          Do you know anything about excitatory tissue and how it reacts/works?
          I’d love to see some of the research that you are (hopefully) deriving your information from.

      2. Your understanding is incorrect. We’d have never survived the Ice Age.

        I have more energy and think a lot better, with better moods, when I’m in a state of ketosis. Nutritional ketosis is even better–a certain level of blood ketones which shows up on a glucose meter that measures them. Google it if you’re curious. I don’t remember the numbers off the top of my head.

        Your body can make what glucose it needs through gluconeogenesis. Vegetables, fruits, and nuts can have their place from a nutritional and hormetic standpoint but you won’t die without them.

        Your body dumps any ketones it doesn’t “burn” and, as for the risk of acidosis, if you don’t have high blood sugar and you’re not an alcoholic, you’re at little to no risk of that. Your body is very good at regulating its own pH.

    11. Very funny! I too am a nurse and advocate a paleo diet for my diabetics! I was almost burned at the stake or steak! Yum….

      1. Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s book is useful in that situation. Just slap people over the head with that oldest-living, self-treated type-1 diabetic’s book. I mean that literally – the hardcover is thick and thumpy

    12. Nice to know I am not the only one chowing down that for breakfast. Seeing people just FREAK OUT when you tell them, is kind of fun though?

    13. 8 eggs and a pound of bacon does seem a little outrageous. Not because it’s bad but because thats a ton of food! Did you eat anything else during the day?!

    14. A pound of bacon?? Lol, hope you are *really* active 😉
      Thanks,Mark for the full details and succinct follow ups.

    15. Fat thickens blood, prevents oxygen and nutrients from getting into cells. Fat hinders the sugars in your cells from passing in and out of your blood therefore raising your blood sugar/insulin.

      Our bodies and brains run on glucose…our brains cannot be compared to a hybrid!?

      HIGH CARB LOW FAT = lean vibrancy
      fat is missing most of the micro nutrients and antioxidants found in fruit and vegetables.

    16. Hey, at least one nurse is very much pro-high fat Paleo. I’m a cardiovascular ICU nurse who happily eats a high fat/moderate protein/low carb diet…with great results in terms of weigh loss, energy levels, and decreased hunger. Its a “yummy” and satisfying way to eat.

      The science behind all this is starting to finally emerge (“mainstream” scientists can ignore data only so long). Unlike the whole “low fat/high carb” dietary push, the science behind high “fat/low carb” is very solid. It matches with both what we know about human physiology and about the foods our pre-agricultural ancestors ate.

      I predict that in ten years and the food pyramid will look VERY different!

      1. I know I am a bit late in my response, but I am hoping you might see this. I was diagnosed type 2 diabetic in May, and my triglycerides are 485. I was told to see the nutritionist (which I did) and she put me on 60 carbs per meal with a 15-20 carb snack if I really required it. She says 2 oz of lean protein per meal and around 6-8 grams of fat per day. I have not followed her recommendations one bit. I have lost 90 lbs since the middle of March. I lowered fat, removed all starches and grains, and upped my vegetable intake. I might get 15-20 of fat per day and no more than 60 carbs per day. I eat fruits such ad blueberries, melon, and sometimes a banana or two drink water and unsweetened tea.

        After hearing all of this, my nutritionist went berzerk and told me I couldn’t do that. She nearly beat me over the head with the food pyramid. Even when I was eating like a “normal” person, I couldn’t fit 60 carbs per meal. I am now so frustrated and confused about food I don’t know what to do. I need some direction but I feel like she is pointing me the wrong way.

        What should I look for when I go out-of-town for a new nutritionist? I live in Oregon, and I feel like OHSU would be a good place to start, even if it is a long drive. I just don’t know what to ask to find out if I am wasting the drive.

        Is there any advise out there for me? I am trying really hard to figure this out and all I find online is contradictory advise. Every web site cancels the last site’s advise out!

        I was also pretty terrified to learn about ketosis and how bad it is for diabetics. I can’t figure it out. I feel like an idiot!

        Please be gentle. I am very frustrated and am trying so hard it hurts.

        1. MichelIe,

          I see no one responded yet to you. Have you read KETO CLARITY? This is an excellent resource!!!

          It would seem you are getting confusing Nutritional Ketosis with another similiar sounding one (diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)) these are not the same.

          I am not a nurse but there are drs and others out there that are not brainwashed by big pharma and SAD diet, etc.

    17. Love it!!! I’m surprised she had the strength to be angry, let alone jump. Lol

  3. Good stuff!
    I enjoyed raspberries with cream as an afternoon snack, not bad at all 🙂
    And I don’t need to add sugar anymore, like I would have in the past.

      1. I would love to try full fat yogurt. I’ve given up trying to find it in my area, everything is low/non-fat. Which is fine, give me all your fat, i’ll take it!

        1. I make my own full fat yogurt and ferment it for 24 yours. This takes care of all the lactose and is a great source of probiotics. I also strain it and make greek yogurt as well. It is so easy and you control the ingredients.

        2. Jared, learn to make your own full fat yogurt. Easy and cheap. the methods can easily be found online.

        3. If only they took the fat they skimmed off of the fat-free varieties and released an “extra fat” greek yogurt. mmmmm

      2. Ahh, but strawberries with home made, grass-fed, raw kefir cheese (super easy)is the absolute BOMB!

      3. Haven’t actually tried that, but sounds like it’s worth a try.
        One thing that cream is good for, is if you mash the berries and then the cream mixes with the juices 😀

        1. I usually eat 2.5% goat’s milk yogurt. Goat’s milk/yogurt proteins are easier to digest than cow’s milk. Even people that are normally lactose intolerant have no problem with it. I used to eat Greek yogurt everyday but found I started to suffer from a lot of mucus congestion…not sure if that was culprit but I think it was a factor. Actually, I think it was mostly because I just ate so much of it. Probably a cup a couple times a time. Now I eat Goat’s yogurt every couple of days in smaller portions with berries or in a smoothie and it doesn’t seem to bother as much.

  4. What’s the reference for: the brain needs “roughly 120 grams/day”?

    What’s the range? What if you’re got a big brain? Seriously.

    1. brain needs 120g carb per day when you consume more than 120g carbs per day. Otherwise it will make ketones and once brain gets used to eating ketones you only need about 36g glucose/day… which can be produced by the liver, mostly from protein. So technically you don’t need any carbs… unless you don’t feel like eating that extra protein to compensate…. and also heavy, anaerobic exercise that would deplete muscle glycogen will someone that eats very low/zero carb and doesn’t do a carb refeed physically weaker in anything intense enough to require the use of exclusively anaerobic muscle fibers… obviously…

  5. I like the post, especially the idea of a bare bones concise response.

    Unfortunately these conversations always end up feeling like I’m in quicksand…the more information I give, the more I need to provide.

    Typically these discussions (for me) happen with two types of people:

    1. Those who haven’t a clue about real nutrition, real exercise, etc etc and who blindly follow very general health advice about 40% of the time, the other 60% they do whatever they want.

    2. Health enthusiasts.

    The first group causes problems because they either don’t listen at all because I’m going against Dr. Oz…or they take it as a free pass to eat fried foods, conventionally raised and/or processed meats, margarine (not butter) etc. Then you have to go through all the caveats. “well it’s not that easy, you have to have quality food…actually cage-free doesn’t mean much in terms of chicken or eggs…actually raw milk is the only milk you should drink…no you can’t buy it in stores in many states”

    The health enthusiasts like the protein aspect…but scoff at the fat and stop listening. The thought that you don’t track your macro ratios and count calories doesn’t jive. You can’t just omit cardio. You can’t skip breakfast, you can’t skip meals, etc etc.

    Not saying I’m giving up the fight…I guess I’m just hopeful for a time when one line answers will at least be enough to incite their own research instead of writing off foreign ideas.

    1. Hey Danny…

      Here is my and my husband’s response…quick and simple…”It’s not a competition…it’s just a different way.” And in that different way, we feel like rock stars at just shy of 50. My husband just took second in seniors at a figure 8 barefoot waterskiing tournament. Woohoo!

    2. I don’t try to explain my eating choices to people. After all, few of them listened when I tried to point out the benefits of vitamin D, so why should they listen to a long-winded monologue on the benefits of a paleo diet?

      People do take note of the fact that I look significantly younger than my age, however, and that I’m trim and healthy with good bones and muscle tone. When they say, “What’s your secret”, I just smile and say, “Good genes, a healthy diet, and plenty of exercise.” All of which is true.

      At some point, they might think about it and say, “Hmmm…” The results speak for themselves, so I guess you could say I explain my food choices without much explanation.

      1. I used to be hard-core and preach the gospel of low-carb, and even had people jumping on the bandwagon. Then they decided they missed their bread and “all that fat CAN’T be good for you,” gave up low-carb/primal/paleo eating, gained all the weight back and then proclaimed, “See? It doesn’t work!” I’m done preaching.

        I, too, am often told I look 10 to 15 years younger than I am. I’m 57 and most people say I look like I”m in my early 40s.

        When asked my secret, I say good genes (and jeans!) and eating right.

        When they ask what I eat and I tell them, they get wide-eyed and then regurgitate all the stupid notions about this way of eating. That’s when I just look at them and say, “Yup. That’s what they say. Turns out it’s not true. I’ll match all my numbers (cholesterol, HDL, LDL, triglycerides) against yours and you’ll see who’s in the Ideal category and who’s not.”

        1. Yes, I used to try to chat people up and explain the method to my madness but then I ran into several hard core self appointed healthy gurus who took it upon themselves to shame me out of my foolish notions about nutrition. Unlike some, I really don’t enjoy arguing very much. So now when people ask me how I lost all that weight (and kept it off for more than two years now) I say it’s because of Gertrude, my seventeen and a half foot tape worm.

          -Tim

        2. why not tell them you discovered an excellent, science-based way of eating but don’t like to talk about it since people won’t understand? This will also shut them up but will open their minds slightly/get them thinking and if they’re really genuinely curious they’ll ask and persist. If they object/start to argue just send them on their way… then if they really want to learn, they’ll feel dumb for arguing with someone who was trying to teach them

        3. I hate people like that. “I went on this diet and lost all this weight and got off the diet and gained it back so DIETS DON’T WORK!”

          These days I answer with, “Let me guess. When you get home from work and park your car in the driveway, you think it’s broken down.”

          Of *course* a proper change in diet to permit weight loss “works”. It’s going back to the way of eating that made you fat to begin with that’s not working!

          But yeah… you can’t *make* someone think. Sigh.

  6. Under “Starvation response” on Wikipedia it says “the production of ketone bodies cuts the brain’s glucose requirement from 120 g per day to about 30 g per day. Of the remaining 30 g requirement, 20 g per day can be produced by the liver from glycerol (itself a product of fat breakdown). But this still leaves a deficit of about 10 g of glucose per day that must be supplied from some other source. This other source will be the body’s own proteins.”

    1. This wikipedia entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starvation_response is about the response of the human body to starvation and how it keeps alive.

      Starvation is a major stress on the health of a body, so can rarely be advised. The closest anyone on a paleo diet should get is occasional (intermittent) fasting for a lot less than 24 hours. I imagine that the normal muscle breakdown as a side-effect of exercise would contribute to the protein requirement.

      Anyone doing significant quantities of exercise should be consuming sufficient complex carbs to maintain glucose levels. Anyone trying to loose a significant amount of weight would be well advised to consume a low-calorie high-protein muscle sparing diet.

      1. herp derp…

        people have been eating too many carbs for so long and it’s considered so normal scientists consider the normal effects of your body switching from burning sugar as primary fuel to fat as primary fuel as a form of “starvation response” because for most people that’s the only time they go anywhere near low-carb

        it takes about 72 hours for your body to really start burning muscle tissue until then it just takes protein from your amino acid pool, as long as you replace all lost protein after fasting for more than a day you’ll be fine. More than fine ; your cells got a great opportunity to get rid of damaged and malfunctioning organelles and now they can rebuild brand new ones!

        you don’t need carbs to do exercises unless 1) you’re a carb-a-holic and your muscles don’t know how to burn anything else, or 2) you went anaerobic and are using type IIb and type IIab muscle fibers from lifting very heavy or sprinting hard.

      2. Fat is a fuel. Most of your body can run on it. You can either be glucose-adapted and suffer the consequences of overeating something that destroys your tissues or you can do the work to become fat-adapted and quit worrying about it.

        Most “fitness enthusiasts” do not want to do that work, including many Paleo athletes. That’s their problem, too bad they have to make it everyone else’s with their misinformation as well.

  7. Sigh. I get this *all* the time.

    My favorite: “the brain is a gas/diesel hybrid.” Nicely put!

  8. This will go over much better than my usual “cause that’s what Mark said” 🙂

    1. That is my “go-to” whenever my wife asks what in the world I’m doing in her kitchen.

    2. lol! At times when my patience for explaining this stuff has run out I have given up and said this exact thing. along with, just go read MDA and then we can talk.

  9. So, I’m not supposed to have a stick of butter and a tub of coconut oil with me at my desk?

    I’m being facetious, but I really do like to occasionally (once every couple days) just eat about 1 tbsp worth of pure butter. I’m assuming that’s not bad.

    1. I subscribed to the newsletter 2 days ago, and as I write this I am eating strawberries with coconut oil, the oil from the jar I keep at my desk. Guess this means I’m one of you. 🙂

      1. I too have a jar of coconut oil at my desk. 🙂 Just had some with strawberries too for a snack. Such a delicious combination!

        1. Ooh! I’m going to have to try this. I only have blueberries left, but I’m sure it’ll be just as yummy.

    2. I do! (Well, not the butter, that’s inside my lunch.) I also have a bottle of good olive oil, tabasco sauce, and vinegar. Makes it easier to bring big ass salads from home without having the dressing leak out, or wilt the leaves.

    3. Well I have coconut oil at my desk as well as grass fed butter for my coffee, oops. I love to put a tablespoon of each in a mug of coffee (whirr it up in a blender first) and mmmmmm, no sugar needed. Hope I’m not eating “too much fat” with two of those in the morning instead of food.

    4. My daughter occasionally asks me for a pat of butter, just to eat straight. I never refuse her. She’s normal weight, has a normal level of energy (better than that of many kids, I notice–I don’t understand this whole “how do I get my kid to exercise” thing, it’s not a problem at my house!), and I think I might have even healed a cavity of hers by not refusing her animal fat.

      Seriously. Dentist saw a small cavity at one visit, then six months later didn’t mention it and hasn’t since.

  10. And, then there are these:

    Too much fat causes diarrhea and stomach ache.

    Too much fat, and therefore not enough carbs, reduces body temperature causing one to feel cold.

    Too much fat causes insulin resistance and therefore makes individuals more susceptible to diabetes.

    1. “Too much fat causes insulin resistance and therefore makes individuals more susceptible to diabetes.”

      Anyone who says that must have NO idea what insulin does.

      Purely anecdotal evidence, but a high-protein, high-fat diet has improved my body temperature AND stopped my reactive hypoglycemia altogether.

      1. Yes, yes, yes! My temp regulator in my brain is so happy with me eating primal. No more hot flashes! I can actually feel the temp of the ambient air without hyper-responding with a hot flash or shivering. A little known happy side effect of primal.

      2. Funny you mention the body temperature,

        the whole time I was growing up a ate a diet high in grains as well as refined food, and I was ALWAYS cold. My feet and toes especially were always freezing, and wearing any amount of socks etc would do nothing to solve the problem.

        Switched to eating much less carbs, alot more nuts, low density carbs like veg etc and now my body temperature is actually always quite high, people are always telling me how warm I am to the touch lol : )

      3. Ava, I was merely stating what others state. They are not my beliefs. Just as the myths stated by Mark are not his beliefs.

    2. There are carbs, and then there are carbs. Sweets and grains are the carbs that should be avoided; vegetables and a little fresh whole fruit are GOOD carbs.

      I eat a lot of fatty meat because I like it and I feel better on it than that tasteless super-lean stuff. It also keeps me from getting hungry. As for too much fat causing diarrhea, stomach aches, and feeling cold, too much of anything can make a person sick, so I guess the salient point is what you consider too much–and more likely, what the fat is combined with.

      With regard to fat causing insulin resistance, no it does not. On the other hand, if you combine fat with flour and sugar (as in cakes, pies, cookies, etc.), then that’s definitely a horse of another color.

      1. Good explanation, I love a piece of fatty brisket. And it takes only a little to be satisfied. I never got any of those side effects (stomach aches etc) from it.

    3. I used to feel cold all the time on a low-fat diet, I would even have to sleep with socks on in the middle of summer but not anymore…

      as for fat causing insulin resistance {which I heard a lot of when Paula Deen admitted to having diabetes} I just point out that she doesn’t check her blood fat levels, she checks her blood sugar levels.

      1. I can also attest to this. I was on a low-fat mid-range carb diet for a long time, as I was vegan and vegetarian for years. I was always cold. Then one year I started to eat meat and stopped eating sugar. Eventually I went Primal and stopped eating grains, a year ago. I’m always warm. Even throughout the winter I hardly needed more than a sheet to cover myself while sleeping. But what’s even better, is my body regulates my temperature more efficiently and I find that even hot temperature is less difficult to cope with. Something good is goin’ on.

      2. OOoh… I love that little sound bite there about checking one’s blood fat levels. Very slick. I’ll have to use that myself. The corollary being that not eating sugars (of all kinds, grains included) lowers your blood fat levels (triglycerides) too.

        -Tim

      3. When I used to eat a lot of carbohydrates, I would wake in the night sweating. My body was burning all those carbs, and I had to sleep with no covers. After the carb burning was done, I would get cold and pull the covers back over me.

    4. You forgot about gout. That’s a common misconception.

      Yeah, I love how diabetes is blamed on fat … the only macronutrient that does not the affect insulin response in any way.

    5. Oh, so that’s why I’m the coldest person in any room! Thanks! I’ll just tell people that it’s my diet!

    6. heh… actually you can get diarrhea from too much fat but that happens because you caught your gut off-guard with your high-fat antics and it didn’t make enough fat-digesting enzymes

    7. You’d have to eat an astonishing amount of fat to get diarrhea, and this is easily prevented by eating a certain amount of soluble fiber, which slows down gut transit time. You can get that from fruits and vegetables. I find squashes are an excellent lower-carb choice for the purpose. (Pumpkin smoothie is one of my favorite treats.)

      You’re not actually getting insulin resistance when you eat a lot of fat and not a lot of carb, not in the way you get it when you eat a high-carb diet (regardless of fat intake). What’s happening is your body has shifted over to being accustomed to burning less sugar and more fat, and then if you shock your system with a much higher than normal amount of glucose, your body is not yet ready to handle it. This is why they tell you to eat at least 150g of carb daily for several days before a glucose tolerance test. It gives your body time to adjust.

  11. STEAK SLAP! NA NA TAKE THAT!
    Butter is good too, but doesn’t make as satisfying of a noise when you smack people.

  12. What about the purported connection between high fat diets and cancer?

    1. Good point, I would like to see Mark comment on supposed finds from sources like The China Study, if he has not already.

      1. hi tasha –

        check out the full take-down and grind-out of “THe China Study” by denise minger at raw-food SOS –

        in a nutshell – the china study book is a cherry-picked bundle of nonsense – but please don’t take my word for it – go read and learn – denise is both brilliant and adorable (2nd asset not relevant to this discussion)

    2. Well, for starters, we know that the heart primarily uses fat for energy and there is no such as thing heart cancer, not to mention fats helps heal the liver.

      1. “there is no such as thing heart cancer” American’s are quite innovative. Give us enough time and I’m sure we can develop heart cancer. I need a funnel and some GMO Soybean & Canola oil.

        1. Don’t forget the cellulose (wood pulp, and I’ve just seen it on a box of coconut milk in the supermarket as an ingredient), and the ubiquitous “natural flavor”.

          Let’s put corporations in charge of our food. After all, publicly held ones have a singular goal: to increase profit year over year, so their stock price goes up.

          They do this by spending as little as possible on the product they make, making that product such as it has a very long shelf life, which means sterility, and no chance for it to go rancid (no oils), with the least expensive, but addictive ingredients. What could go wrong?

        2. raydawg: Cellulose is in all plants. It’s the material making up their cell walls. It just so happens our cheap-a$$ food industry wants to cut corners, hence the wood pulp.

      2. This is just plain wrong. Heart cancer is very rare, but does exist, and as far as I know fat does not “heal” the liver. If you have a mechanism, or even a suspected mechanism from literature that demonstrates how exactly fat heals the liver I would love to see it, as I have never even heard this assertion made before.

        1. Tim, the Drs Eades actually wrote in detail in their book about the middle age gut how fats can help heal a damaged liver.

          As for heart disease being a cancer, yes heart disease does exist by is very, very rare. Perhaps i should have made that clearer. But it is so rare to also be non-existent.

        2. I haven’t read the Eades thing mentioned elsewhere but I do know that cutting carb means cutting fructose, which is the driver for fatty liver disease. And high-animal-fat foods also tend to contain a lot of choline, which definitely heals the liver.

    3. I think that has been covered. (My MIL died from colon cancer.)

      If you cook fats at high temperatures, they mutate (aflatoxin? i forget) into something nasty. Also this happens with rancid fats and your typical vegetable oils. (I’ve yet to see any vegetables that actually have oils.)

      Also, there are stale/rancid oils that simply have been around too long and then converted over to something nasty.

      My MIL, who was Cuban, used to fry everything. I’m sure she did not use higher-quality coconut or red palm oils.

      1. the less saturated a fat is, the more it will oxidize and go rancid. saturated fat is pretty much invulnerable until around the point at which it catches fire. Omega-3 is the most vulnerable and that is why it is removed from canned foods, to increase the shelf life

  13. Ash – I have at least 1 T of grass-fed butter every day in my morning “bulletproof” coffee. Along with about the same amount of coconut oil. Add a dash of cinnamon, hit it up in the Ninja blender, and enjoy!

    Eating grass-fed butter right out of the foil package is a real treat…something I say we should enjoy daily!

    1. I like that coffee idea. I do enjoy my coffee nowadays with some coconut milk in it, but a little cinnamon, butter and coconut oil to go with it might just put it over the top. Thanks for an excellent idea.

      1. Just so you know, ground cinnamon in hot beverages acts as a thickener. I usually steep the stick in the liquid (hot chocolate is my beverage of choice) which does not thicken it. Know it thickens milk, not sure about water.

  14. OMG…..everyone is all of a sudden concerned with my arteries! I just don’t discuss it any more. ‘yes I’ve lost a little weight, why thank you.’ If they are really interested, I refer them to MDA. You guys do a better job of convincing, after all, I’m living it now and feeling better then I ever thought I would.

    1. I do the same thing…I always tell them to make sure and check out the success stories. You want a true freek out…tell them you do CT.

  15. Thanks! I need to stop by the market after today’s workout, I am out of avocado and almonds. Also, could use some coconut oil.

  16. I love these responses almost as much as I love a nice big bite of grass-fed butter. I’m past the arteries and cholesterol questions from most people by now. Although my grandparents still don’t get it, partially due to my grandpa’s past heart attacks and his very low fat diet. The only “are you crazy?” questions I get anymore are when I don’t eat every meal. Occasionally I will fast intentionally, but more often than not I’m not hungry for awhile. My mom thinks I’m starving myself to lose weight despite gaining weight(muscle) and eating like crazy when the fast is over.

  17. I may take issue from one point (later) but I loved the article. I currently get about 66% of my calories from different sources of animal fat and oils. 8% from CHOs and never felt better at 18 lbs and 10% less body fat later. I have many of these conversations with laymen. very interesting. I also have these conversations with doctors I come across which is even more interesting. I had a very thorough physical a month or so ago and talked with a nutritionist for an hour. she assumed my percentages of protein, carb, and fat were a mistake. I assured her I could go down several decimal places. (I use carb manager on my iPad to track my food though I don’t count calories.) she told me I should be on statins and I was going to die (I’m paraphrasing but capturing the essence of her missives). I asked if I should eat all fruit instead and she said I would be better off with sugar…

    Now the part I may take issue with. I don’t believe the statement of thermodynamics is correct. i.e. calories in versus calories out. there is too much going on in the body when one consumers different fuels to react the same way. I don’t continue to lose weight but my body fat does continue to drop slightly even though my caloric intake is about 1,000 kCals a day more than before my high fat diet. And no, my exercise has not increased. I think this is a slightly more complex theory that I am sure Mark understands.

    Great blog and great info. Keep up the good work.

    1. Hey…the next time someone tells you to go on a statin…send them off to http://www.askapatient.com. Plug in the med (give Lipitor, Crestor, Boniva, or Fosamax a whirl) and read some of these truly sad sad stories. Will blow your mind. I got a dear friend of ours (83 yrs young…still waterskis with us) to read the site for a while. After reading some of the posts he got enraged. It’s hard to change the mind of an 83 yr old, but I told him to stay away from the sugar and grains and it would do him a world of good. BTW…his cholesterol wasn’t even high…not in my book anyway.

    2. Judging by other posts, he definitely understands it. But the response he drafted above is a good way to cut people off without adding the “wait, what now??” factor of claiming that calories only matter in certain circumstances.

    3. The thing about CICO is everybody keeps forgetting food is not just a fuel. It’s also spare parts. You can eat more calories than you burn and gain muscle mass if the extra calories you’re eating are protein and you do a lot of bodybuilding exercise. I mean, bodybuilders know that. But for some reason most of the rest of us have not caught on.

      Likewise we often use protein and fats to make other things, like hormones and blood and so on. That’s still calories we haven’t burned, but it doesn’t necessarily turn into bodyfat.

  18. One more thing, If/When I see a co-worker eating a candy bar or cookie, would it be wrong of me to grab a stick of butter and eat it while staring them down?

    1. it’s gonna really depend on how you’re eating the stick and the look in your eye when you’re “staring them down”. but yeah, i’d say giv’er

  19. I am dealing with this on a daily basis. My new doctor gave me the eat-less-animal lecture too. I’m currently looking for a new one.

    1. My doctor told me to cut cholesterol by avoiding avocados! Yikes. Wait until he sees my blood work. Trig down from over 300 to 60. HDL at 60 etc, etc.

      1. My aunt brings this up EVERY TIME I EAT AN AVOCADO. For goodness’ sake, woman, your doctor told you that 30 years ago! Things have changed! Even he doesn’t give that advice any more.

  20. Mmmmm, fat.

    I ate a bacon and avocado sammie (a’la nom nom paleo) for lunch and a few co-workers expressed their concern. My favorite interaction was when a co-worker said he avoids bacon due to high sodium levels; as he was microwaving ramen noodles.

    Irony, thou are palpable.

    1. Yeah, and how come WE would be considered rude if WE were to say something to THEM about their chemical-filled processed foods with all that sugar and crap?

      1. Hey, don’t knock the ramen. There’s almost no better way to destroy your health at that price level… if that’s part of your cow-orker’s life goal. 🙂

    2. Talk about irony: I remember when I worked in a fast food restaurant when I was younger, a guy came in and ordered the low-carb burger (wrapped in lettuce), with a large fries and a large soda. I was torn whether to laugh or cry. This was before I even discovered paleo/primal, and I knew that was crazy!

      1. Dr. Davis, avoid wheat first? Then he has to say, “avoid the gluten free foods”. Meat, for example, is a gluten free food.

  21. Good post but more importantly…

    That butter in the picture looks SOOOO good. Yum, butter 🙂

  22. I purchased Primal Blueprint a month ago.
    The information – so OPPOSITE of everything I’d ever heard before – really made sense to me.
    I need to sometimes remind myself WHY eating fat is good for us. Trying to explain it to others has not been easy.
    BUT, losing eight pounds (so far) and having no more carb cravings, is plenty of evidence for me to share! I’m jazzed!
    Thanks Mark!

  23. “Isn’t all that fat gonna make you fat?”

    My answer: You are right! I wouldn’t want to gain back the 30 pounds I lost this way.

  24. I wish I could make my family read this and have them believe it!! My Dad in particular frustrates me beyond belief. I really think he thinks I am gonna die for real because of the way I eat!

  25. *looks to the left, at her jar of coconut oil on the desk with a greasy spoon next to it. Looks to the right, at the office fridge with a stick of butter in the freezer with bite marks in it.*

    Crap.

  26. Thanks Mark- I am fascinated with the science about the brain running better on a combination of glucose and ketones. I’ve noticed that since I went Paleo 7 months ago my thinking is clearer and more focused. (and that is a major plus for a doctoral student who does a lot of research!)
    Really enjoy that you share the science behind the philosophy because I can truly explain it better to people.

      1. Dr. Attia is doing an incredible job explaining cholesterol. It’s all so very interesting….

    1. Reid, I’m interested in what you were eating before you went Paleo. I went foodie-variant of SAD and noticed a similar clarity of thought.

  27. On Weight of the Nation, one of the nutritionists claimed more than once that our bodies are programmed to overeat fat because when our ancestors managed to make a kill they needed to eat as much fat as possible to store it for leaner times. Huh???

    Just try to overeat fat–it doesn’t happen. But it’s dead easy to overeat sugar and carb rich foods !! Somebody needs to send that nutritionist a stick of grass fed butter to munch on! She’s obviously unaware of the satiety factor.

    1. No kidding. She said that there’s no switch to tell the body to, “…step away from the carcass.” I just growled in exasperation.

    2. If you are eating carbs with the fat or worse sugar there is no off switch. Ice cream is my canonical example, but meat and potatoes works very well too.

      I used to routinely finish a half gallon of ice cream is two or three hours.

      These people are eating high carb diets (an likely metabolic syndrome) and, for them dietary fat goes to body fat.

  28. Here’s another blog idea: Aren’t hurting yourself by not eating 3-6 meals/snacks a day. I.e., skipping dinner (or breakfast). Scheduled eating. Eating window.

    That would be a good set of responses to have.

    1. Yes, please blog this one…because not only do others pressure me to eat three-six meals/snacks a day, but I still have an inner voice that says,”Well you might not get to eat for several hours…so shouldn’t you just eat something now? In this eating window?” I should note that I am a professional dancer…and having a history of an eating disorder, there are many ways in which I’m trying to retrain the way my brain thinks about food. I LOVE the primal blueprint! But dancer CW likes to fight with me sometimes.

      1. I’m happy to notice that I’m rarely hungry! I don’t need multiple meals and snacks and I love it! I’ll be working or driving or otherwise doing something, and I’ll notice that it has been many, many hours since I ate — and I just giggle with delight! No, stress, no strain, no ravening hunger driving me to “find food this instant or die!” And when I DO get hungry, I can address it or — if it’s not convenient — just keep going and suffer no ill effects! Being able to say, “thanks, no, not hungry,” is wonderful!

  29. I like the ones that think vegetable oils are good and animal fats are bad.

    I just tell them that your body was never designed to eat that stuff. Man made fats. fake foods (vegetable oils) are actually highly processed, colored and deodorized because they smell so bad, who wants to eat something like that?? YUCK!

    I am sure telling them that doesn’t change there mind but it does make them think about how there “healthy” oils are being processed and maybe gives them some insight that it is not what they think it is.

    Who knows.

  30. Some good news…my husband’s cardiologist friend recommends DH find ways to get more grass-fed butter in his diet — because it’s good for his brain, and not bad for his heart.

  31. I love the idea of this but I am the 52 yo guy with good cholesterol #s low triglycerides, good blood pressure, reasonable shape who had a heart attack 2 weeks ago! Now what? I am disheartened and confused as to where to go especially since I have a young family and really dont want to take a dirt nap

    1. What you’ve been doing hasn’t been the right answer, has it? Maybe that’s as good a reason as any to try something radically different!
      It is frustrating that paleo/primal theories fly in the face of conventional wisdom, because we’ve been trained to look to physicians and nutritionists for correct answers. But CW made me fat, and now my eyes have been opened to eating good, real food that supports my health and leaves me satisfied (and 40 pounds thinner).

    2. My advice is to follow your cardiologist’s recommendations until your situation stabilizes. They are good at acute care. Meanwhile, visit the Track Your Plaque website. You can probably find someone on the forums who has had the same experience as you. Read up on the TYP protocol for supplements (vitamin D3, K2, iodine, fish oil, etc). Your doctors shouldn’t object to this. Eventually, you can start to implement the TYP diet, which you might have more confidence in.

      Best of luck!

    3. Are you writing this as someone who has been trying a primal/paleo lifestyle and then had a heart attack, or from the point of view from someone who had a heart attack and is now looking for answers?

      1. Im writing as guy who is around 50 primal in my eating habits (more weston price) but this has only been for the last yr

        I still have 15 lbs of belly fat which is why I thinks I need to go >50 g carbs per day

    4. Should be proof that the CW on the importance of those measurements is wrong. Lots of information here and on mercola.com (among other places) about what cholesterol and saturated fat are and what they do. Tom Naughton has some very interesting and humorous videos on Youtube describing the issues as well.

  32. Great post. I appreciate the succinct answers-it’s just a shame that most people I would discuss this with substitute emotion and herd thinking for logic 🙂

  33. Hi Mark,

    I absolutely love reading your newsletters; they are always full of the scientific details I crave that other nutrition experts and enthusiasts fail to mention!

    However, I need some advice/commentary on this one. I’m not so sure this is a one-size-fits-all kind of lifestyle, b/c it seems to fail to take into account differences in metabolic type. While I enjoy eating a high-fat, low-carb, Paleo diet, I’ve found that I actually can’t get to my leanest and most energetic *without* the dreaded grains! If I eat 1/3 to 1/2 a cup of gluten-free, organic oats each morning, and then grain-free and low-carb through the rest of the day, I experience a real surge of physical energy, it stokes my hunger which I interpret as a boost in metabolism – and, it’s the only way I can shed stubborn water weight and break through the weight loss plateau on which I frequently find myself. I think this is because pure Paleo doesn’t fully address the needs of my specific metabolic type. Since I’ve gone pure Paleo without the grains, and upped my fat intake somewhat to compensate, I’ve actually gained a little weight and feel more sluggish.

    Will you give me special permission to eat the oats?

    1. Try a more benign source of carbs, such as white rice or quinoa.

    2. You don’t need ‘special permission;’ eat what makes you feel good!! I think you’re confusing paleo with a low carb diet though. You can get plenty of carbs on paleo/primal that are typically better for you than grains, such as potatoes, fruit, and possibly white rice. It’s definitely true that some people do better on more carbs, but I would recommend experimenting with ‘safer’ starches.

  34. You mention connective tissue in the meal mix when saying fat is very satisfying. I’m interested on your thoughts on connective and its nutritional value. And if this stuff is related to the “pink slime”.

    1. The various tissues considered “connective” are indeed nutritious – read up a bit on the benefits of bone broth made with joint cuts for a run-down. Collagen, glucosamine, glycene, proline…
      Pink Slime is just off-cuts (connective bits and skin especially, because they’re not marketable) ground up really fine. That’s not the problem. The problem is that this is a product coming from mega-farm chickens, mass-processing plants, and as such must be hosed down with horrendous chemicals to make it safe to consume. Oh, and then it’s turned into highly-processed breaded and seed-oil deep fried junk.

  35. I usually just tell people that humans have eaten saturated fat for 200,000 years. We only started replacing them with factory made vegetable oils for the last 75 years. Look at the results!

  36. Bacon cooked in coconut oil for Breakfast…hmmmmmmmm!!
    Every morning!

    A Well oiled mind/brain tissue can conquer everyday stressors in a superior way, leaving the physical, emotional, mental pathways/requirements easier to navigate!
    Elke at ANJ

  37. I resent the calorie deficit position. After reading Taubes, I just can’t accept the notion that the weight control mechanism in humans is as simple as that. I know that when I was high-carb, I had to meticulously count calories in order to lose any kind of weight and THAT didn’t even work half the time (I was the typical chick – 1500 kcal/day) but when I went Primal and decided to see how many calories I was eating (old habits, yea), I discovered that I could eat in a huge range of calories and lose lots of fat mass. The difference was that I could be sated on far fewer calories once I was eating high fat though this didn’t necessarily mean I was suddenly eating fewer calories everyday. An interesting point though, about once a week I would feel like maybe my body was a bit too “full” and I would desire a quick 16-24 hour fast and my equilibrium was restored again for another week.
    TLDR: I think that there are many mechanisms involved in human weight control (the primary being insulin) and that calories are, at best, a secondary factor. Reference Taubes.

    1. Also, good article 🙂 The girls at work are interested in the Primal life because they come to me with health questions and my answers always contain some sort of Primal element. These quick responses will be easier for them to remember than a 10 minute long anatomy & physiology lesson lol!

  38. QUESTION PEOPLE ALWAYS ASK ME :YES but,what about people (like me) who are not working out ?

    please,give me the answer ,tank you !

    1. I don’t work out on a regular basis, and yet I’ve lost 35 pounds over the past year. I can’t tell you the scientific reason, per se. Exercise is great for well-being, not so great for losing weight.

    2. I went from 220 to 185 without working out regularly and I work behind a desk for hours and hours at a time.

    3. For the first few months I wanted to see what diet alone could do. As a 6’3″ man I went from 195 to 175 (which happens to be ideal BMI). I’m 33 years old.

      Since I’ve started working out and putting on muscle mass, I’m up to 185. My plan is to get back to 195 again, but with this much lower body fat percentage.

  39. I can’t find my last comment in your list. Just want to tell you I am continuing to eat Primal, fats and all, and I am feeling lighter and healthier than u have in years!

  40. I knew there was a reason I cook my greens in bacon grease… They taste great AND increase nutrient absorption!

    Thanks for the affirmation Mark!

  41. The idea of heart disease being caused by dietary cholesterol still gets to me. I can’t really blame anyone though as that’s what they’ve been told their whole lives.

    Given the numerous factors that go into heart disease like Mark pointed out, it has always seemed strange that people blame something naturally produced in our bodies like cholesterol which is vital to life as being “bad” (whether produced in the body or ingested) rather than looking at WHY the cholesterol is causing problems.(Oxidation, often from numerous factors and vitamin C deficiency resulting in arterial damage)

    Even though most people have wised up to the different forms of cholesterol, LDL levels is still is looked at as a problem rather than a symptom.

  42. I’ve been eating coconut oil daily for about two weeks and I’ve noticed three very important benefits. Benefits that I normally heard associated with fish oil capsules. My skin feels healthier and even after I drink a shake with coc. oil my lips feel so healthy and smooth. Also, I’m working out harder than ever and not having the slightest tweaks or pulls in muscles like I use to have. And third, my brain functions at a high level through the entire day. Im definitely diggin the effects of fat

  43. My daughter said to me today that she had heard at school that fat has lots of calories and eating fat makes you fat. I had just finished explaining to her about how fat makes you feel full so you don’t eat too much of it and that if you don’t eat too many carbohydrates then your body uses fat for energy and so you don’t put on weight, when you posted this!!!

    Sad what they are learning in school though. Yesterday they had a party at school to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. I was shocked when I saw the photos from the event – tables filled with nothing but iced cupcakes, sweet muffins and chocolate brownies and nothing savoury or healthy on offer whatsoever!

    1. Sooo much crappy food out there. And such a prevalence of the notion that a sugared up kid is a happy kid. You have to be a warrior parent to fight all the sugary treats that masquerade as ‘healthy’ snacks.

    2. My son (he’s 10) talks about how they lie at school about grains being good for you. He takes the handouts showing a “balanced” diet and blacks out the portion that says grains.

      I swear, I don’t harp on him all the time about this stuff, I think he just hears me talking to my wife and to others. I think it is hilarious that he has this perspective at this age.

    3. my daughter is five, and in preschool. her teacher is a vegan. you can imagine the amount of “reteaching” that goes on in our house after they have their “nutrition” lessons at school…

      1. … exactly why we are homeschooling –

        and BTW – why are vegans (the most notorious modern elitist eating disorder neurotics) being allowed to teach children? (no – i am not being sarcastic or ironic – i’m serious!)

        1. My daughter is very confused at the moment. She gets taught stuff at school and she sees adverts on the TV promoting grains, sugary breakfast cereals, low fat spreads etc as being healthy. She reads the dietary guidelines of food packets and then she asks me how come I am doing things differently and how come I am saying all this stuff she’s seeing and hearing is wrong. I say at the moment she doesn’t know what to believe – her mum or the mainstream.

  44. How about “High Fat diets cause kidney stones and gall stones.”

    1. I think those are caused by diets “high in fat and sugar.” Remember, they are basically cholesterol misguided.

      Take out the sugar and ensure plenty of liquid, and they shouldn’t occur.

  45. I think we could use a compilation of the smaller, less sweeping food groups like dairy and legumes. My mom is convinced that we MUST have dairy for calcium and probiotics, and my dad typically goes for beans when fiber is a problem. I tried to tell my mother that our doctor wouldn’t have told her to cut out dairy if it was vitally necessary, but she doesn’t believe me.

    1. I have searched this site for bcl10, and found nothing, googled it and still dont understand, can anyone explain it simply?

  46. The fact that the US government pushes (and subsidizes) carbs and grains and promotes the fear of fat is reason enough to embrace fat!

    Fat is my friend, for sure, and I’m one of those few with a jar of coconut oil and a greasy spoon at my desk at all times. Reaching for that when I get a sugar craving has really helped me cut back on the sweets.

  47. I had my gallbladder removed when I was 22 and have had trouble with digestion ever since. Is not having a gall bladder an issue with eating a high fat diet?

    1. Get thee some digestive enzymes. Start off slowly with fat amounts. Your body will adjust.

      I had my gallbladder out a few years back. Enzymes helped a lot! Now I rarely need them.

  48. One last thing from me.

    I just love when vegans rail against this way of eating by saying it’s not a balanced diet if you cut out an entire food group.

    For one thing, no one is cutting out an entire food group. Low-carb does not have to mean no-carb.

    Also, isn’t that what they’re doing when they cut out all fat?!?!?!

    1. simply respond that you eat human-appropriate foods and grains are not human food.

      but it’s pointless to even start such a discussion with a vegan …and i’ve tried b’cause i have seen malnourished, underweight, frail and failing-to-thrive children being fed vegan diets by middle – upper middle class [brain dead] political vegan parents who cannot see they are literally starving their own children.

  49. Hey Mark, loved your posts about grains and fats. I also understand the importance of sourcing one’s food. Maybe I missed a something previously, but I would love to see you write an entire article about the best ways to prepare dishes. Have to admit that I often like cooked foods.

    Thanks.

    1. Amazon prime has free streaming of Julia Child’s cooking series “The French Chef”. She cooks using lots of butter, olive oils, eggs, heavy cream, etc. Heck even her desserts are amazing and one can use gluten free flour and other paleo friendly substitutes. There are no commercials too! Julia’s techniques and cookware are practical and her delivery is very colloquial. IMO, this series trumps all of today’s cooking shows and the black and white adds to show.

  50. Great article! What drives me crazy is that the low-fat BS has so permeated our culture that sometimes it’s difficult to find full-fat items at the typical grocery store. When I went low-carb and all the fat I wanted I started drinking and cooking with buttermilk. I went to the nearest grocery store and absentmindedly picked up a carton. When I got home I realized it was fat free buttermilk! Can you imagine? I went back to the store and to my horror there was not a single brand of buttermilk that was not in some way altered to be fat free or reduced fat. Our culture is so brainwashed that low-fat equals healthy that we can’t even get good fats anymore.

    When was the last time you saw the beautiful blue Snowcapped lard bucket that our grandmas always had near their stove?

    1. I had the same reaction during my search for the perfect buttermilk – I believe it’s actually because during the butter making process, the buttermilk is what’s left behind after the milkfat clumps together. Somebody in marketing noticed this, and started putting “Low Fat” on the cartons. That’s my theory, anyway.

      1. You are correct that true buttermilk is the liquid remaining after separating the butterfat out of cream… but the buttermilk sold in stores is a cultured product similar to yogurt, and as such, it could easily be made full-fat. A nice substitute is half whole milk, half whole-milk yogurt (both raw if you can get it!)

    2. Oh my, I thought it was just me! As I gazed across the chilled dairy isle I frightenly discovered there was only low fat buttermilk. So I asked a worker bee if there was more buttermilk options that I might have over looked.

      “No” was the answer.

      Prior to checkout I went to the customer service desk to see if they can carry regular buttermilk, or better yet, an extra fat buttermilk. After all, I stated, the fat taken out of the buttermilk had to go somewhere.

      Along with some chuckles I was informed that low fat buttemilk was the only type the store carried. I did not get the fat is not healthy speech, to which I was thankful.

  51. A friend sent me a recipe from a “low fat vegan” website. I almost cried. That is the saddest three words ever put togeter.

    1. Arguing with vegans is akin to bullying. Their brains are smaller, it is science.

  52. Thank you. I keep trying to go Paleo and today is day 16 for me-I feel great but while at some parties this weekend-I literally felt beat up by people I actually love. I went home and cried and woke up with new resolve to continue for my 30 days and let them see the results. I am letting their negativity empower me!

  53. This is a good one, and I just went through this over the past few days. i find that after explaining, just teach em’ by example.
    I went out for my birthday last week, rather a friend took me out for my birthday. Anyway he has been asking me about dieting and all for the last few months, I keep telling him to read Mark’s book and even check out the Paleo diet (minus all the no dairy crap) just to get ideas on what he is doing wrong. Anyway, bottom line is i ordered what conventional wisdom states is a heartstopper, minus the bread. Then I had some wings, and even divulged into a bunch of light beers and calamari.

    The bottom line, is this guy knows I lost 30+ pounds, my Triglycerides dropped down to under 200 (From 500+) and cholesterol is even better, and all I do is lay off the grains, rice and I almost use NO sugar whatsoever…except a few scoops of Ben & Jerry’s every couple of nights I keep in the freezer).

    Bottom line is responses are great and you need them, especially good ones as above to peak peoples interest, but I find that it is very hard to convince people that eating eggs and meat every day is healthy after they have been brainwashed for 30 years to think the exact opposite. Just take em out for a fat steak dinner with all the dripping’s!!!

    Thanks for your continued work Mark.

  54. I guess if your’re gonna be bothered by what other people think, maybe this is good info. After giving up dairy products years ago, and going very primal these past few years, I have gotten tired of trying to explain things to people who are to brainwashed – and basically malnourished at that – to get it. I’m not a kid who has to eat what he’s told to. When in a crowd at a restaurant I just pick and choose. If the subject comes up I just deflect it. Now and then somebody asks like they’re really interested in learning, not denigrating what they don’t understand. I don’t mind having a discussion with them, but I do not defend my way of life. Life is too short to waste the breath on them. Why get tensed up over it?

    1. well said. in my mind, what i eat is no one else’s business. if they are genuinely interested in learning about what i do and why, i am more than happy to talk about it, but i feel no need to defend my eating habits, any more than i should have to defend any other personal habits. i actually find that it hasn’t come up that often. if i don’t make a big deal about it, no one really notices…

  55. Helpful, but still missing the one I hear a lot: I don’t know how you do it, but I cannot eat that much saturated fat.

    1. How does one eat an elephant?

      Simple. One bite at a time.

      1. Invite all your friends and neighbors in and fire up the barbie.

    2. Tell them they don’t have to. They just have to eat enough to keep them full after they give up grains.

  56. My husband was having gout attacks at 2 week intervals, nothing OTC or RX was working, they put him on allopurinol, which in my opinion is poison, and it did nothing he kept having attck after attack in different joints liek clockwork. We had been eating “healthy” microwave meals for weight loss ( and not seeing much of that!). I started researching the cause of high uric acid in the body and it is caused by out of balance PH. Guess what can cause your PH to be out of whack?? Anyone?? No, not the meat and fat they told us to avoid, but….you guessed it….grains. So, I put him on a strict chicken, vegetable and fruit diet. He had been hospitalized for HBP (we thought he was having a heart attack) in February, after we changed his diet, my 22 year old son told me about Mark, he used the primal plan to fight his ADHD (and it works for that, by the way) I have started adding pork and beef and now, 4 months later, not a single gout attack, he is trimming down and his BP is 112/58. What I cant figure out is why the government tries to shove that D$%n food pyramid down our throats??!! “wholesome whole grains”? what a bunch of crap.

  57. I loved the posting – but I tend to respond a bit more simply:

    I’m 50-years-old, I can knock out a hundred pushups without breaking a sweat — and my EKG, Labs, and vital signs are better than most 23-year-old’s — and oh yeah, my neurons seem to still be firing at full capacity, because I’m a PhD researcher doing cutting-edge work – all despite the standard excuses of being chained to a computer screen 12 hours a day before donning my cape at night to become SuperGrandpa.

    Want some of this? Eat right, exercise right, and stop letting Oprah and Dr. Phil tell you what’s good for you.

    Science …. mmmmm gooooood.

  58. Was just arguing some of these points yesterday to a dietician! Wish I had read this before, but will forward her the link.

    1. I wish her luck. If she is an “educated” dietician she will probably cling to her programming. Nice of you to give it a shot, though.

  59. I’ve had about a dozen conversations with friends and family about this. When I tell people I routinely get 40-50% of my calories from various fats, the reactions range from frozen stare to something that looks like the precursor to one’s head exploding.

    Friends: You’ve lost a lot of weight! How?

    Me: I eat lots and lots of meat. Oh, and I don’t eat bread any more (or eat it very rarely). Basically I do the opposite of what everyone’s ever told you to do to eat healthily.

    Friends: … …What?

    Me: Yeah.

  60. Dear Mark,

    I can’t begin to thank you for the life-saving information you are providing.

    Personal History: I live in L.A. (a neighbor), and back in the late 70s early 80s, I was caught up in the Macrobiotic Craze, after an entire lifetime of just eating what regular people from Virginia ate…

    Of course, I THOUGHT, I was taking the “enlightened” path here in ole CA, but after 7 conscientious years of Macro, I had a HUGE brain event that nearly killed me!

    I won’t go into all the details, but the critical high points were:

    i. My f…ing BRAIN stopped working:

    ii. I couldn’t see– double vision, later worse.

    iii. I couldn’t walk because my capacity to balance and move went.

    iv. I went to S.M. hospital, where the
    intern in the Emergency Room didn’t EVER know WHAT was going on with me.

    v. I had MRI, etc. etc. and NO IRREGULARITIES were found– WHAT DID I HAVE??? Nobody knew…

    vi. FORTUNATELY– 8 hours later, my brain started working, a little at a time… In three days, I could walk to enough to get the hell outta there.

    vii. I’m 5’8″ tall, and I weighed 119 when I went into hospital. I weighed 115 when I left. (Dead man walking…)

    viii. The doctors GUESSED that I had spinal meningitis, and they wanted to do a spinal tap. (I told em NO f#@%ING WAY… And they got pissed at me and stop speaking to me…)

    ix. I left hospital, wobbling out, and went STRAIGHT to a restaurant and ate all the meat and fat and “shit food” I was taught NEVER to eat.

    x. Immediately I felt better.
    It took me three months for my vision to coalesce into one image, but it finally got there…

    BOTTOM LINE:
    I was killing myself with an ALL CARBOHYDRATE (rice & veggie & NO MEAT OR FISH) diet– I was a “true believer”; how foolish…

    NOW:
    I DO eat largely meat and omega-3 fish oil and coconut oil and good quality meats and all the veggies I want but NO WHEAT OR breads/pastas/cakes/cookies/ etc. I DO eat some corn tortillas (like maybe two a day or fewer…),
    and perhaps one scoop of rice every now and then…

    I’m sorry. I’m NOT going back to an ALL CARBO, or ALL FAT, or ALL ANY ONE THING… What if YOU are even a little bit wrong? I’m f#@%ed AGAIN!!!!
    No hard feelings: “once burnt, twice leery”– or SOMETHING like that??

    But my own dietary experience motivates me to read everything you write, and I’ve found more than a little life-nurturing support.

    Thanks,

    Pete McDonald
    PS: I’m 72 today.
    I was in my mid 30s when I was MACRO.
    I was 44 when I went to hospital.
    I’m very, very, very healthy: my blood sugar is REGULARLY 70-85 with 90s when I eat… Blood pressure is 115/78.
    I have no arthritis or other such disorder. I DO observe a lot of other health ‘rules’: I exercise moderately (walk & weights); I take vit c daily… You know, the ‘usual’ Health Nut stuff.

    Again… Thanks for your sanity
    (Hope it’s 100% sanity…)

  61. my standard response is simply, “I”M GOING TO EAT IT… I’M GOING TO EAT IT WITH A SMILE. HAVE A NICE DAY.”

  62. I eat alot of animal fat and it hasn’t affected my cholesterol negatively at all. Whole eggs, red meat, butter…I eat it all in moderation and my cholesterol is fine. I find that my testosterone levels increase when i eat red meat and eggs because i notice more aggression in my workouts and an increased sex drive too

  63. Thanks for this post! Love you site, and these “Answers for life’s persistent questions” posts really help me.

  64. Great post. When you asked how to make the site better, the “how to respond to primal questions” and “how to easily spread the primal knowledge” came to mind. These recent post are exactly what I was looking for.

    Now get out of my brain and stop reading my mind.

  65. I bought your book several months ago. I’m not sure I’m ready to give up carbs. Pizza, pasta, and fries are my weaknesses. Plus having a 7 yr old son that likes the above and when he can’t finish I’m inclined to help out. My wife’s on board with it though. I guess it depends on what my goals are.

    1. Once you are on it for a few weeks you won’t even care about those things! The way you FEEL overpowers the cravings.

  66. Dip your crispy cooked bacon into some almond butter…..yum!!!!!

  67. I about cried when I found out that my grandma had taken my free range eggs that came from our place, and was throwing away the yolks. Even when making scrambled eggs for my diabetic/ bad heart, grandpa. She’d use 1 yolk to every 2 eggs. 🙁 She just can’t understand after a lifetime of brainwashing that eggs, fat, red meat is good for health.

    I’ve done primal off and on for several years, and even though I’ve fallen off the ‘bandwagon’ at times it is the only way of eating that makes me feel healthy. And I always come back to it. When I eat a grain filled diet I end up with migraines, dizzy spells, shakiness.

    1. ACK! And here I always end up with a bowl of egg WHITES hanging around in my fridge with nothing useful to do!

  68. I agree how frustrating it can be to deal with the constant pinging back of basic conventional wisdom. What is even more frustrating is that for some reason people who do zero health-related research can still be so entrenched in what they “know.” Some of them I refer to MDA, even giving them specific articles to read, and they skim through then immediately revert back to their unfounded CW.

    I think one thing that makes the primal community so great is that it is inherently made up of open-minded individuals or people who have come to learn that what they were doing before clearly wasn’t working and were willing to make a change.

    It is funny getting told by out-of-shape people that my 7&7’s (7 eggs, 7 bacon) are going to give me heart disease. All the while they eat bagels with low-fat cream cheese to stay “healthy.” And don’t even get me started about what people say about my fasting, though I was thrilled Mark came out with the fasting series.

    I think the key is targeting people who are willing to listen. Otherwise, when someone extols their commitment to health from their recent switch to whole grains and five mile runs, the best way to react is simply to smile and nod.

  69. Great article! My only comment is that it is not only recent data that shows dietary fat is not related to heart disease. Back in 1984, the MRFIT trial showed that a low-fat diet decreased serum total cholesterol, but DID NOT lower incidence of coronary artery disease! Anyways, keep up the good work!

  70. There are 2 more areas I think should be addressed – fiber, and a variety of antioxidants. I think both are important, and you should know how to include them in a high fat/ketogenic diet. Fiber is easy. Most people look to whole grains for their fiber, but that’s loading up on carbs and calories for no reason. Fibrous vegetables are an excellent sorce of fiber, low in carbs, and very low glycemic. Including some in a high fat diet shouldn’t take you out of ketosis.

    Fibrous vegetable will also supply some antioxidants, but inorder to get a full spectrum of phytonutrients, I recommend a concentrated supplement which includes fruit extracts. That’s just my 2 cents, of course. Thanks for the great info!

  71. Well this actually goes back to a regurgitate-able bit about how low-fat cookies tend to be worse for you than real cookies. I can’t remember the whole spiel, but part of it pointed to how you could feel good about having 2 servings worth of low-fat because they were supposed to be healthy and tasted that way, where a half serving of butter-filled cookies would probably have been more satisfying for less calories.

    I think that more recent versions of this argument address how you need to label-check gluten-free products because they tend to have many unhealthy ingredients to make up for the lost texture.

    1. I’m reminded of the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon where Boris (as the Knave of Hearts) steals some cookies and is caught.

      He gives them back and vows to steal no more.

      But Rocky makes him eat the cookies. “There health food cookies, you stole’em you eat’em.”

      I cringe when I go out to eat with friends and they order gluten or tofu entrees.

  72. I absolutely LOVE telling people I eat a high fat diet (I’m 41 and a muscular size 2) and see their reactions. They don’t believe me at first. But I then explain that I eat grass-fed, organic, non-processed foods and they start to get a little more interested. I’m spreading the word and plugging your book!

  73. Usually I say my family has “wheat issues” or that I have to be very careful with my carb intake. When pressed, I explain how I had high cholesterol on a low-fat vegetarian diet, but now it’s great. “Turns out for me, it’s the carbs, not the fat” goes a long way. People say “huh” and I shrug. Yes, it’s the damnedest thing, isn’t it? 😉

  74. Since I have been on the primal diet for 3 months now. I am feeling better, but recently saw the Doc for another issue and she told me I had ketones in my urine. Anyone else have this issue? Could it be the diet changes? Thanks for any input.

    1. It means you’re burning fat for energy. There are three main reasons you burn fat for energy: 1) because you are eating fat (vs carbs) for energy. 2) Because you are starving. 3) because you are diabetic and you can’t use carbs for energy (despite eating them).

      Unless you are actually starving yourself or you also have sugar in urine (which would indicate diabetes — the word diabetes actually means “sweet urine”), this isn’t actually an issue. Doctors just tend to freak about it because they’re trained to look for diabetes.

  75. haha… i have a big jug of coconut oil with a greasy spoon next to it on my office desk here.

    1. I keep hearing people saying they have coconut oil at their office. Do you guys just eat it right from the jug? I usually put it in my coffee or as a cooking oil, but the times i have tried to eat it by itself haven’t made me feel that great.

      1. can’t do the straight coconut oil, but i do love some coconut butter!

    2. I have a pint jar of coconut oil and coconut butter on my desk next to my silverware. I have a teaspoon of each after lunch or whenever I get hungry. No one has ever questioned me on what they are or why they are on my desk.

  76. I’m brand new at this, need to read more of it but I want to give it a shot…

    I’m never sick nor under any medication, have not seen a doctor in over two years, I exercise several times a week but have 15-20 lbs I don’t need and won’t go away, although my weight is stable. I eat organic cereals with organic soy milk every morning, eat organic fruits and vegetables with organic olive oil every day, I make my own bread with a mix of whole and white flour but don’t eat a ton of it, I have very little red meat, a little more of white meat and fresh fish once a week. I use (organic) butter mostly for cooking but do like it on bread once a week. I very rarely drink soda, I never buy any food containing corn syrup and avoid any corn content unless it’s organic or non-gmo, I have cheese in small amounts and rarely any sweet food besides fruits, not even juices.

    I’m just not a big fan of meat so increasing intake will be the hardest part for me. I can have a couple slices of bacon once or twice a year with an egg when I’m traveling and stop at Cracker Barrel for breakfast but not more. To nutritional standards my diet seems right, yet my blood work is not right. LDL is right on but HDL is way too low, my glucose has increased to pre-diabetes stage and my blood pressure increased significantly as well, isn’t that ironic?

    So, I’ll give a shot to this diet/lifestyle (ordered the book today) and will check my blood work again in 6 months. If it has not improved or gotten worst I’ll try the vegan juicer diet instead. Either way will try to post a comment here again.

  77. Hi! Not sure where to post this, can someone help? I tried eating primal, (for 6 months) I lost 10 pounds and NEVER felt better.I lowly started putting bad things in my mouth and here I am 6 months later, back up 10 lbs. I have bought ( and read) Marks books and recipe books, but I can’t seem to make it last for more than a few months. I really need some inspiration. My problem: I’m a 47 year old female flight attendant and can’t always make food to bring with me, so I am stuck with eating on the road. Anyone have suggestions to help me, inspire me? I know there are alot of you out there who do business on the road, I think we are living parallel lives, as I am at a hotel with a restaurant by the end of the day, and usually have access to a groc store/deli. So given these options, but without an oven or microwave (but usually a refrigerator) what can my daily intake be…. If anyone has a menu for me for a week, I will try it! I’m a very simple eating person, don’t need alot of diversity, or complicated foods. In fact the more simple the better! Hard boiled eggs, LOVE THEM!! 24/7? Ok, if I have to… LOL THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!!!

    1. One way may be knowing the better fast food or eat-out restaurants to eat at. I can’t remember the full list, but Subway, Wendy’s, Chick-fil-A, Panda Express, and Romano’s Macaroni Grill are some of the better ones according to Men’s Health Magazine. Obviously, when ordering at Subway, you can easily have the meal as a salad rather than as a sub. You can also add avocado to it! Maybe check where those places are relative to your hotel in advance of your flight.

      CostCo has already-boiled and packaged hard-boiled eggs for quick breakfasts. If at a grocery store and your hotel has a fridge, just try to buy leaner lunch meats or any that you can find without preservatives (if you can find that in the store), perhaps buy a head of lettuce that you can use to make a wrap (and rip the rest apart and store for a salad). You can probably get a steak knife for room service to cut up some veggies for the salad too!

      1. One can use the in-room coffee maker to cook eggs… or crystal meth. Whatever floats your boat.

    2. or buy an avocado, slice it, spoon in some salsa (from a small tub at the store), and voila! The fats in the avocado also help the nutrient uptake of the veggies in the salsa, so you have good, filling snack and get the most bang for your buck!

    3. When having access to a grocery store, just impulse-buy what you can find in the produce section, then tackle the deli counter. Maybe get a roast chicken or part or it, maybe settle for tinned fish.

      If you end up at a restaurant, ask for a salad with protein. (You’ll eventually learn which dishes typically mean that the ingredients are available.) Cheese, roasted chicken, liver, and some form of egg are usually doable, otherwise just go veggie for the night. Also see if they can do up some hard-boiled eggs for you and just immerse them in ice overnight.

  78. Sitting here at my desk after doing some lunchtime sprints in perfect weather and reading this made me hungry for eggs cooked in butter and coconut oil–my morning favorite.

    The people around me are on low fat diets and high carb (grains) and I’m the only slim one in the lab!

    1. The only slim one in the lab huh, you are doing great my friend, you will be lonely when you are the only original member of the lab left standing, perhaps you could pass your wisdom on to the young as they certainly need guidance and inspiration in matters of dietary constraints cheers terry . . . .

  79. Fatty acids.

    On the section of the vitamins, why not talk about fatty acids? Just take coconut oil and MCTs along with the anti-microbial nature of coconut oil is enough to say there is more to fat than just energy.

  80. so how do I get enough fat in my diet when the thought of eating more meat is abhorrent.

    1. “so how do I get enough fat in my diet when the thought of eating more meat is abhorrent.”

      coconut oil, coconut milk, olive oil, salmon, avocadoes, nuts…

      butter, cream, full-fat yogurt and cheese (if you eat dairy)

  81. I’m with the folks that have tired of trying to explain things to people. I’m amazed at the questions people will ask about someone else’s diet or consumption. I usually don’t entertain the questions, but I appreciate the information laid out in this post. Perhaps when I’m up to exhibiting more grace about being asked, seemingly, inane questions, I’ll be more prepared to provide a cogent response.

    With that said, I think that I have, at times brought these questions on my self by either making a production about changing my diet, or not being discrete enough about adding or excluding things from my plate. I have been writing on my blog about my struggles with weight, fitness, and nutrition. So, I have, in effect, invited the questions. However, I still see there being a difference about sharing my experiences and feeling like I have to justify myself. In short, I will happily discuss my eating habits and intake with people asking in earnest. My patience only grows short when I feel people are asking merely as a gateway to lecturing me.

  82. So how does dr oz and his fat burning weight loss antioxiddant tea factor into our primal plan?

  83. This is such a great post! I like it even better than the similar grains one. People lose their collective shit when they hear about high-fat diets. They really have no clue. But they tend to
    lecture and talk the loudest.

    I came home starving from a Crossfit WOD, and ate probably close to a pound of ground beef I cooked in lard last night, with half an avocado, diced on top, and a couple of tomatoes. Then, I grilled (yes, GRILLED!) some calves liver and ate some of that too.

    Oh, and a tablespoon of coconut oil before I started eating.

    BAM.

    There *is* no other way to eat!

  84. Great post, as was the one on responses to dropping grains from the diet! I missed that one until you referenced it here, and I’m glad you did Mark!

    Reading a couple of posts also gave me a thought…is there a way (would it be possible, that is) to put a call into the MDA community for medical doctors (or students) to send you their contact info so that you may begin compiling a list of such doctors who believe in and understand the value of the paleo diet so that we may consider seeing them as a primary care physician? (Obviously, creating such a list would not be an endorsement of any one of them, merely a tool for the community).

    Thanks for all you do, Mark!

  85. I have some concerns of VEGANS that want to go Primal! What are the best sources for protein and are there any references I can give to them??? Any other issues to be worried about here?
    Jay

  86. Too bad most humans suffer from cognitive dissonance and wont be able to accept the truth, but great post Mark keep fighting the good fight against nutrition and healthy living misinformation

  87. Great post Mark,I remember having to answer these exact same questions when I was doing a Ketosis diet. Quickest way I ever lost body fat.

  88. I’m thinking of trying to go primal, but don’t know the best way to start. should I just jump in full bore or ease into it?? I just want to be healthy, so I can be here for my 2 small children.. I’m currently 415 pounds, and desperately searching for answers…….

    1. Hi Chris 🙂
      How you start depends on you. Do you get overwhelmed easily? Then go one step at a time. Pick one thing, change it, feel good about it, then pick the next thing to change. Enjoy the journey.
      Or maybe you need to go cold turkey to stay true and make progress. Clear out the cupboards and don’t look back!

      Be honest with yourself, and then just start. If you go cold turkey you likely won’t feel good for a week or month (low carb flu), but stick with it.

      Mark had a post that dealt with some of the issues starting out here: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-ken-korg-got-the-ball-rolling/#axzz1x3czWIUo
      Most of the helpful links are about halfway down the posting. And here’s a good post about the low carb flu: https://www.marksdailyapple.com/low-carb-flu/#axzz1x3dWtlGx

      Good luck! You can do it!!

  89. Nice timing. Happened to be a chol/glucose screening in the grocery store where I was picking up my usual veggies and meat for lunch.

    Not a complete profile, but (non-fasted):

    total chol: 255 mg/dL
    HDL: 57
    glucose: 89

    Total was higher than optimal, but I guess not entirely problematic (or unexpected).

  90. Here’s what I need answered:

    I’ve adjusted my fats to healthier ones, but I’m naturally not a meat eater – I love starches, especially the Italian type. I’m trying to ween myself off those to a degree, but wheat products and sugar products keep sneaking back. Now that I’m eating so much butter AND these starches, isn’t that combo setting me up for health problems? Like sludge going through the arteries? I usually test high for cholesterol.

    1. If you’re still eating large amounts of wheat and sugar, then you’re still going to have an abnormal hormonal environment with abnormally high levels of insulin secretion. You’re body will still be in sugar-burning mode, so extra butter on top of wheat and sugar is probably not a good idea. Sounds like a perfect recipe for metabolic syndrome years down the road. (Not to mention the gut irritation and nutrient malabsorption from the wheat).

      But if you’re continuing to eat substantial amounts of wheat and sugar, then in a way, you’re already kinda saying “to heck with my health,” so why not enjoy some butter while you’re at it, right?

      Don’t get me wrong, I know from personal experience that its no easy task cutting out wheat and sugar. I grew up on pop-tarts, lucky charms, fruit roll-ups, and mountain dew. But it can be done! It took me about 3 months to get through the sugar withdrawals. But since then, I feel amazing, and the release from my sugar addiction has given me a huge sense of freedom. I can skip meals with ease.

      If you could learn to like animal foods more, then I think the transition would be a lot easier. Take it from a former addict. You’ve got to approach this like you are quitting cigarettes. Clean out the pantry of any temptations.

      Another tip: let fruit be your only sugar source if you’re going to eat sugar. Its much harder to overeat

  91. You could technically be fit off of a high carb diet, if your body can handle it (perhaps genetics and ancestral tradition play a role?), but I doubt you are going to make gains unless you are eating real foods (e.g. Kitavans, New Guineans, and Polynesians in general).

  92. Question: That’s the first I’ve heard Cod Liver Oil as a source for vitamin D, especially when everyone is urging D3, and other fish oils (like krill).

    …wondering if Cod Liver Oil is better than Krill for D?

  93. I went Primal and now I have anal leakage and soil my underwear.

    1. Maybe too much coconut oil too soon? Back off a little and let your body get used to the changes, perhaps.

  94. Hey everyone,

    I have been tracking my caloric intake the past couple of days and am consuming about 180-190 grams of fat, about 150 grams of primal carbs (expect 2-4 glasses of whole, grass-fed organic milk), and 150 grams of protein. I am trying to stick to the paleo/primal lifestyle as much as possible while trying to gain a good amount of lean mass. I am currently 6’1″ and weigh around #145. I am wondering if this amount of fat is a little too much? I am not sure how to keep my carbs low and still consume enough calories to add weight.

    1. Okay, I’m not an expert, but I eat around 60-70% fat, 10-12% carbs and the rest protein. Hope that helps.

    2. I’d say your fat is not enough. I’m typically at about 70% fat calories. Carbs won’t help you gain lean mass, they’re just fuel to burn on long runs/bikes/swims. I’d add more fat and vary your protein more too. Don’t just eat beef/pork/chicken. Add turkey, liver, cold water fish (for a month I ate sardines every day for lunch) and cook it all in some delicious grass fed butter or coconut oil. You’ll see some bulk =) I honestly can’t believe the muscle I’ve put on since going primal.. and with no changes in my weight routine (although lately I’ve been planning some more odd exercise activities involving tires and ropes)

      -Tim

  95. This is a great post! I’m pregnant and have been getting a lot of comments about the way I eat. (Mostly from my Mom.) She’s worried I don’t get enough fiber (without the grains). And now, that I don’t get enough nutrients and energy relying so heavily on fat. Even some of the discussion boards I’ve been reading have people talking about how fat calories are empty and you should just go back to eating all kinds of stuff, like cakes and store-bought ice cream. It’s a tragedy, really, that more people don’t get it!

    1. Sarah, the concern over lack of fiber is interesting. Beans seem to be what fixes my stomach, but pureed apple peels are what I think of when someone recommends high fiber.

      It also seems obvious that nutrients come from naturally colorful food. (Maybe I’ve been reading the Japanese perspective too much.)

  96. I think the time has come to do away with the word “fat” to describe the nutritional macronutrient. At this point, those 3 ominous letters simply bring up too many unconscious associations with obesity, heart disease, and death. People instinctively cringe when they hear the word! Its a psychosocial reflex built into all Americans. It seems like a hopeless cause to attempt to rescue the word “fat” from its island of social exile.

    The word used to condescendingly describe fellow humans with excess adipose tissue should not be the same word that describes the Magnificent Molecules of Metabolic energy that we get from the flesh of a fresh coconut, a succulent avocado, or a juicy ribeye.

    Mark, I think you should start a petition to rename the biomolecules we currently refer to as “FAT.” That would be epic! After all, its just a bunch of strings of carbons and hydrogens bound to a glycerol backbone. Who said we HAD to call it fat? Hey, “Primal Fuel” has a nice ring to it 😉

    What? That’s already copyrighted?! Damn..

  97. Hey guys,

    Could someone take a look at my post above and offer some primal wisdom? Any suggestions/advice will be very much appreciated.

    1. Doug,

      If you’re trying to gain lean mass you should:
      A. Read up on this site first. On the most popular posts, there’s one called “How to gain weight and build muscle.”
      B. Right below that, check out the carbohydrate curve.
      C. Go to http://www.leangains.com/, which pretty much backs up what’s said here.

      I’ve recently started to lift heavier for shorter periods of time, added sprinting this year, haven’t lost a pound but went down two pant sizes and have gotten lots of positive comments on my muscles. All this without changing diet and adding any additional carbs.

      Remember, you asked how to build lean muscle and not get pumped up like a body builder. You have the right goal.

  98. Mark, you are my hero! Thank you for understanding what we primal eaters face every day, such as nay-sayers with questions like these.

  99. “My arteries are not pipes. Fat is not solidifying in my blood like it can in the plumbing.”

    Geez. QUICK! Somebody tell Dr Oz, fer cryin’ out loud!!

    1. How can anyone even believe that fat hardens in the arteries? Have they never let any fat melt on their finger? Opps, I forgot the inside of my body is cold like a pipe lol

  100. “You’ll still need some glucose, as the brain can’t run purely on ketone bodies, but you won’t need nearly as much. And, best of all, your brain will run more efficiently on a combination of ketones and glucose than on glucose alone.”

    Could this be why I have “fog brain” on VLC ?? I would love to learn more about the amount of carbs the brain needs – can you point me to a source? Thanks.

    1. Even if you don’t eat a single ounce of carbs in your diet, you’re liver will produce the necessary amount of glucose for your brain.

      The dogma that the brain relies exclusively on glucose as its main fuel source has been a hotly debated issue recently. Many researchers hypothesize that the brain may rely on lactate as a major fuel source:

      http://www.nature.com/jcbfm/webfocus/brainmet_lactate/index.html

      http://www.fasebj.org/content/22/10/3443.abstract

      http://www.jneurosci.org/content/31/13/4768.full

      By the way, here is a direct quote from my Textbook of Medical Physiology by Guyton and Hall, the most widely used medical textbook:

      Adaptation to a High-Fat Diet:

      “When changing slowly from a carbohydrate diet to an almost completely fat diet, a person’s body adapts to use far more acetoacetic acid than usual, and in this instance, ketosis normally does not occur. For instance, the Inuit (Eskimos), who sometimes live mainly on a fat diet, do not develop ketosis. Undoubtedly, several factors, none of which is clear, enhance the rate of acetoacetic acid metabolism by the cells. After a few weeks, even the brain cells, which normally derive almost all their energy from glucose, can derive 50 to 75 percent of their energy from fats.”

      So the other 25% of the brain cells’ energy in an keto-adapted Eskimo must come from the glucose produced in the liver by gluconeogenesis ( and possibly from lactate as well), and not the diet.

      I think a lot of people (my college Biochemistry professor included), use the “brain relies exclusively on glucose” dogma as an excuse to justify eating lots of sugar, bread, and other starches. My Biochemistry professor said “If I don’t get at least 150 grams of sugar to my brain per day, then my brain goes into starvation mode.” Sounds more like a carb addiction to me. My biochem professor and many other people are completely oblivious to the fact that many humans like Eskimos (and myself) run our brains just fine on extremely high-fat diets with little or no carbs. I can prove it too. I just earned a 4.0 GPA last semester while taking 18 credit hours of intensive biomedical science courses at a university with a difficult curriculum. And my brain was in “starvation mode”??? I don’t think so. It seems to be functioning just fine if not better.

  101. I had to laugh…! Just finished a spoonful of coconut oil straight from the container (plus a couple more drizzled on some frozen strawberries)when I began to read today’s post. Mark, you really know your readers!

  102. I am eating primal mostly but in 5 weeks I didn’t lose much wt only 1.5 lbs …..so am I doing something wrong ….eat two eggs in breakfast with CO lunch if hungry some veges and fish an apple or orange here n there not daily 5-6 almonds …use stevia to sweeten coffee eating butter not much yogurt I don’t seem to get any wt or fat off should I do more fats ?

    1. Are you getting enough protein? It sounds like you’re starving! Like your body is not getting anywhere near enough protein and fat to keep going.

      What’s your weight, and have you tried checking to see how much food you’re actually eating?

      1. I am eating till am full am 131 lbs , 5-2″ ,39 yrs old female…I eat 4-5 oz of fish or meat for lunch and dinner 4-5 oz each time …sometimes do three eggs can’t eat more than that…..occasional cheats but really mostly primal foods ,fruits and veges

  103. I’d like to email this to EVERYONE I know. They all think I am whacked out…cept the three who are now feeling better and reading Marks Daily Apple

  104. Went to doctor this past Monday and after complimenting me on my 13 pound weight loss which I attributed to having gone Paleo in February,(and the most progress I’ve had since discovering that I have a thyroid issue) he proceded to say that while the Paleo diet is okay, meat is really inflammatory and I need to worry about too high of a caloric intake. It would seem that the carbs might be the cause of the inflammation, but I opted not to argue.

  105. Mark,

    I am 61, soon to be 62. My dad was a health nut but more so than me. But over the years I have come to the conclusion that you can eat the fat, just don’t eat it with starchy carbs like bread, pasta, corn or any of that stuff. I eat bacon and eggs all the time but never with bread. I eat meat but never with bread or any starchy food. It is the constant mix of fat and starchy carbs like bread or any flours, sugar and salt along with the meats that get one in trouble. To me breads or starch or any kinds of flours act as a sponge to fat, and they bind up in your arteries. I have a 42 year old son in law who ate a large cheese pizza daily almost 7 days a week for maybe 15 to 20 years and just guess what happened a few years ago? Bang! A heart attack. Pizza dough and fatty cheese. It was the fat and dough that got him in serious trouble, but he turned it around and at 42 is now a trim 6′ and a lifeguard. It is that mixture of flour and fat in my opinion. If he had instead ate some good fat and veggies and some meat he likely would never have had that heart attack. Of course I could be all wrong in my assesment, but I doubt it. I have a case of Psorasis I have been fighting and I think it is either grains (gluten) or Caesin in dairy that is the problem. I am not sure which. I like coffee like you do, and I have for a long time added Coffeemate’s liquid Hazelnut creamer. But now everytime I do the skin rashes appear and go wild. A few days with no creamer and it quiets down. Half & half doesn’t bother me that much. Sure wish I had the answer to this. Anyone out there have any ideas? Thanks for a great blog. Alan

    1. Looks like you answered your own question. Look at the ingredients of coffeemate. they say if you can’t pronounce it, you shouldn’t put it in your body!

    2. This is some nasty stuff!! I’ve never understood why someone would use this instead of cream, but, not being a coffee drinker, I don’t understand how people MUST HAVE coffee either…

      COFFEE-MATE, SUGAR FREE HAZELNUT LIQUID NON DAIRY CREAMER
      INGREDIENTS: Water, Corn Syrup, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, and/or Cottonseed Oil, Less than 2% of Sodium Caseinate, (Milk Derivative), Maltodextrin, Dipotassium Phosphate, Color Added, Sodium Stearoyl Lactylate, Natural Flavors, & Artificial Flavors, Polysorbate 60, Carrageenan, Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium, Betacarotene. Color.

      1. Caffeine is addictive and a hard addiction to shake for many people. If you’re a sugar burner then you may well need extra stimulation to stay awake.

        The artificial flavors may be less unhealthy than the natural flavors. Aren’t sucralose and Acesulfame Potassium artificial flavors?

  106. Hi Everyone.

    Thanks for the interesting article and comments.

    I am in the process of cutting down on grains and was just wondering what people tend to eat for breakfast? I usually alternate between eggs with beans and oat based cereal. Obviously I would like to drop the cereal and I’m looking for replacement suggestions that are relatively quick and easy to prepare in the morning.

    Thanks!

    1. Eggs: scrambled, fried, omelets. Make a big frittata or quiche at the beginning of the week and then cut a slice every morning. Breakfast sausage. Smoothies made with coconut milk or kefir, plus greens, fruit, almond butter, eggs, whatever.

      Plain Greek yogurt is great with this decadent grain-free granola: http://heartlandrenaissance.com/2009/07/breakfast-of-champions-grain-free-granola.

      And I’m a naughty Primalist, so I like bananas with peanut butter (!) and oatmeal pancakes (!!) every once in a while…

    2. Omelets are pretty easy and versatile. Eggs, bacon, veggies, mushrooms, cheese..Hard to go wrong! Just use whatever you’ve got on hand.

      If you do dairy, a little yogurt with fruit and nuts is fantastic. I like to sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.

      This stuff is ridiculously good:
      http://stevesoriginal.com/cart/Cinnamon-Krunch/
      Paleo Krunch Cinnamon:
      blend of coconut, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pecans, almonds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and honey can be eaten as a cereal or a snack, sprinkled on applesauce or tossed with almond milk, fruit or coconut milk.

      A little on the expensive side, and maybe slightly addictive bc of the honey..I don’t eat this too often.

    3. Breakfast doesn’t have to mean traditional breakfast food. I don’t eat cereal at all. I eat a lot of eggs fixed different ways and accompanied by different types of meat (bacon, ham, porkchop, hamburger patty, etc.–use your imagination). I often alternate the eggs with cottage cheese and fruit, or a chef’s salad. Try a bowl of hearty meat and veggie or seafood and veggie soup. I usually make a big pot that I can eat for breakfast or lunch for several days. Soup can be varied dozens of ways and is particularly nice on a cool morning. Other possibilities are whatever you had left over from the previous night’s dinner.

      1. Thank you all for your replies. Eggs are a great breakfast food and I probably go through about a dozen+ a week. I think I will use some of these suggestions for sure.

        Cheers

  107. I find the defenses made by vegans rather amusing. Such as, “Didn’t you know that eating fat isn’t natural to our species and harms our bodies?” My reply, “Where are you getting that information? Yes, I have no clue what we really ate, besides a few guesses, in paleolithic eras. Also, knowing that we literally evolved from cooking, I know that are brains appreciated the quick energy given by fat. So, vegans, maybe, possibly we originally ate a vegan diet, but I sure to hell don’t want to live as a chimpanzee! I’m glad we evolved to make tools and art and everything we have today, I just hope people don’t mess that up.

  108. I find that most people don’t understand words like ketones, bioavailable, and a whole bunch of other technical terms that you use. So when I explain my low-carb high-fat diet to people, I don’t just throw facts at them and talk over their head, I try to get them to think through the process of why fat isn’t bad using things they already know. It usually goes something like this:

    Me: Whenever there’s more energy available than what you use, it gets stored as fat for use later. Right?
    Them: Yea, everybody knows that.
    Me: Well by eating more fat and fewer carbs, I’m effectively training my body to use fat as its primary energy source. So my body gets more used to burning fat and it uses its natural fat stores more readily so I don’t need to eat as much or as frequently.
    Them: Oh, yea, I can see how that makes sense.
    Me: And have you ever had a full meal full of carbs and then you’re hungry again in like 2 or 3 hours?
    Them: Yea, I know that feeling.
    Me: Well that’s no coincidence. When we eat high-carb and sugary foods, our body produces insulin to get us to use the sugar first. The insulin also makes it difficult to use the fat stores for energy, so you end up feeling hungry again sooner. So not only do I not get fat by eating fat, I actually eat less and am more energized.
    Them: Oh, interesting. I don’t think I could do it, though. I love carbs too much.
    Me: It was hard for me, too. I love(d) bread and pasta, and my family is Italian. I find myself slipping every now and then, but I usually feel crappy after having bread or pizza, so that helps to keep me straight.

  109. Random question… but does anyone else get nauseous after coconut oil? I’ve tried it a few times and every time it brings on serious headaches and a rather nasty bilious feeling that takes several hours to go away.

    I can eat mounds of bacon and gnaw on a stick of butter with ease, so it’s not the fat content, and the brand is recommended by someone else who loves it and has no problems. Could it be that some people simply cannot tolerate coconut oil?

    Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Mia, the first time I ate a whole tablespoon full and it upset my stomach. I don’t remember a headache. The next day I took only a teaspoonful and added just a little more each day. I’m up to two or three tablespoons now.

      I have heard of someone who was allergic to coconut and coconut oil. It may even have been on this site.

    2. This happened to me too. I switched brands and the problem went away.

    3. it seems i get a sore throat. too bad because i love coconut oil.

  110. High animal fat will kill you. Combined with low fiber, it will kill you faster. This primal diet makes no sense. Americans eat way too much protein and way too much animal food and our health statistics show it. That is why no culture in the world eats like this primal cult.

    Do you think in tribal times they could eat huge hunks of meat all the time? That had to go out and hunt and then share it with the tribe. I doubt they ate more than few pieces and probably not even everyday.

    1. High animal fat can kill you! No way, your wrong Jeremy. What about all the cultures that eat high fat and low fiber they live longer than us! Mediterranean, Indigenous peoples, even the Japanese eat those kind of diets. I hate how people compare the Paleo Diet to the western diet. How? In what way is it even similar. “They both eat to much meat!” Well I’m sure caveman didn’t chomp on BigMacs and french fries for dinner everyday. What people think of a western diet is horrible fats(Soy, peanut, sunflower), crappy hormone-induced protein, and loads of what we call vegetables. Maybe you should look more into Primal, instead of reading one article and saying that this diets bad. One more thinking, stop listening to your doctors!

  111. I am not vegetarian and I do eat meat. But do you think a vegan would have high cholesterol and high triglycerides? Take 100 vegans and give them blood tests. Wouldn’t most have extremely low cholesterol and triglycerides? So diet obviously affects cholesterol levels.
    What is all this nonsense that eating eggs everyday won’t raise your cholesterol?

    1. You obviously are talking out your ass, vegans and vegs have some of the highest recorded triglycerides, some in the 900’s. If they have low inflammation, and have cut out sugars, then they are usually okay. But not all vegans or vegs cut sugar since its “not an animal”.

    2. I ate a low-fat nearly vegan diet for 15 years. I developed high cholesterol, low HDL, high LDL, and high triglycerides. I also became insulin resistant, gained 100lbs and stopped menstruating.

      After switching to a high-fat meatful diet (including at least two eggs a day), I have normal total cholesterol, high HDL, 100% Pattern A LDL, good triglycerides, good hA1c, and two beautiful sons.

      Diet obviously does effect cholesterol levels, but not the way you think.

  112. thanks alot
    that was helpful.
    im a newbie with all of this and i am very glad for this information, maybe now, people will stop trying to convince me i cant survive without rice and bread.

  113. Hi all – my girlfriend and I have been eating primal since the beginning of 2012. She has lost 23kg’s and has no more joint pain or spastic colon problems. I have lost 11kg and am feeling fitter, leaner, faster and more motivated than i ever did in my 20’s. Thanks to all for your help!

  114. Are all high fat foods good for u? i.e. full fat double cream, and what about processed smokey bacon? full fat cheese? I read in the atkins diet book to eat high fat dairy products in moderation, but u can eat as much as u like of high fat animal foods? Does Mark Sisson and other primal supporters agree with all Dr. Atkins advice? was he right all along?

  115. No, he wasn’t. He also advocated finding junky substitutions for high carb meals and eating those crappy things. He wasn’t exactly a proponents of eating leafy greens and other veggies.

    Mark says dairy is ok if you tolerate it and not that often.

  116. Hello
    How you exlain to fat accumulated at my tummy as if ? 9 months pregnant women after ? obey to my friends advice? how can ? clean start to eat right while ? melt down this fat without any health problem?

  117. primal pat, i am just reading the atkins book and he does advocate eating green vegetables and other veggies, i agree his own brand of atkins bars etc were not good, but i do think his book was spot on.

  118. Excellent article on fat. Make sure your get your animal fat from farmers who base their activities on building and preserving soil fertility, without the use of chemicals. The free-range-animals they raise, if raised organically, will have that healthy fat. CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation) fat, of your typical conventional grocery store animal fat, is poison. Find out how to find those farmers who will provide that good fat here: http://www.nu-gen.net/securing-best-food-sources/

    Also, guide yourself to use of the principles of glycemic index and glycemic load, with healthy food choices, here: http://www.nu-gen.net/glycemic-index-glycemic-load/

  119. On red palm oil:

    I read a lot of comments about folks consuming red palm oil. Palm oil should be BANNED as it is the major cause for deforestation in Indonesia and the endangerment of orangutan and other wildlife. Just use something else please.

    Also, it might be the richest known source of Vitamin E, it also contains a very high level of saturated fats and therefore should be consumed with much moderation if at all IMO.

    1. The fact that it contains a high level of saturated fat is exactly it’s selling point here. That’s what makes it incredibly stable and why it resists oxidation. Keep reading the site; eventually the fat is bad disinformation will get cleared away if you are sincere. Even if I granted you that the production causes ecological devastation, if I have a choice between replacing one tree with a palm tree and losing some orangutans on one hand and improving the lives of thousands of people, I pick the people. Regardless, the ecological ramifications are from the industrial processors, not the organic raw producers that we are buying from.

      1. Disregarding ecological impact for your own egocentric comfort is a wrong approach to life balance and typical of human greed. While it may be a good source of some lipids, there is absolutely no need whatsoever to consume palm oil to have a healthy diet and live a good life. It is not the only source of vitamine E and our primal ancestors where certainly not deforesting and processing palm trees to extract it’s nutrients. It goes against the principals of eating “primal food” versus processed food, which palm oil is.

  120. I have several problems with high fat diet as described on this blog:

    1) humans are poor hunters. our primal ancestors were eating very little meat as it was difficult to hunt. Most of our diet consisted of fruits, roots, nuts and green leafs and that’s why we have molars in the mouth. Meat was the exception, except during the glacial age as humans had to develop weapons to kill animals in order to survive as non animal food was more difficult to find during the cold months.

    2) wild meat is virtually fat free. Bacon from sedentary farm raised pigs is obviously fat loaded, wild boars are lean and difficult to catch.

    3) butter, cream, cheese and eggs were not part of our ancestor’s diet at all until humans became sedentary and started farming. While some might have gotten lucky to poach an ostrich egg once in a while without being killed by the nesting mother, our ancestors were certainly not gobbling 5 or 8 eggs a day and even less red palm and coconut oil .

    4) grains also became part of human diet once sedentary yet has always been a much larger part of our diet for thousand of years. However, coronary diseases have exploded in the industrial era with the increased consumption of sedentary meat and animal sub-products. Obesity and diabetes has exploded more recently and particularly in the USA because of over consumption of processed sugars, cookies, soda drinks and corn syrup found in about every industrially manufactured food.

    So, while I do agree 100% that we need lipids from multiple sources in our diet, I do not agree that we need a high percentage of it. We are omnivorous, it’s all about balance and common sense but consuming 8 eggs and a pound of bacon for breakfast as I have read in comments here is madness.

    1. Let me take stab here at some of the stuff in this one.

      1) Tell that to the Inuit, Not being able to spear a seal and/or pull some fish out of the ice was life or death for them. Further, they purposely over-consumed animal fatt to avoid rabbit starvation (look that up, it’s nasty). Sure we’re pretty crummy hunters with out bare hands but give us sharp sticks, sharp rocks, snares, fishing lines and nets, and we become something fierce that even the nastiest predators have to respect. (take a look at J Stanton’s excellent blog for far more info).

      2) Wild MEAT has much less fat, it’s true. To get fatty meat you have to feed the animal in very odd ways, and often confine them, it’s not right, or good for us. However, most of the fat in a wilds animal is stored viscerally, not subcutaneously, i.e. around the internal organs. Even grass fed roaming cows have mounds of HPK fat as do deer and elk (though obviously the amounts vary by season for the wild animals). Sadly, most modern hunters dump the guts and take the meat, but there’s a lot of nutrition there, fat included.

      3) This is partly true. I tend to consider pastoralism as somewhat different and slightly older than true agricultural ‘farming’. Pastoralists often roamed up and down mountains and through valleys in seasonal patterns to get the best grazing for their animals. That said, we’re talking about paleolithic man, so yes.. daily eggs is unlikely to have been something he/she had access to. I’ll grant that.

      4) Ok, I see what you’re thinking. You believe that Coronaries are caused by meat/fat and that diabesity is caused by sugar. You’ll find that the people here and in the paleo community at large believe that both of them are attributable primarily to sugar/grains and that fat has been unjustly accused, in part because it’s much cheaper (read more profitable) for large companies to produce fats from vegetable sources industrially, than it is to produce it from living animal sources. Modern companies love the factory farm, don’t get me wrong, but it can’t hold a candle to the margins on soy oil and cottonseed oil. Hence Crisco (check out the Crisco history, fascinating, almost as good as Kellog). So around here we don’t think all fats are good fat.. we think that those naturally produced from humanely/naturally raised animals are good… and the rest is cheap glop, human feed, designed for its profitability without any other concerns. So yes… We’ll eat grass fed butter by the boatload, heaped upon our grass fed steaks and our fatty cold water fish and our fresh greens, and we’ll love every minute of it.

      -Tim

      1. Tim you make some interesting points and yes grain giants like Kellog and others like Monsanto are criminals in my eye’s. While I do plan on eating more fats as I need to increases my HDL level and reduce gains as I need to decrease my glucose, I just cannot believe that a 40-50% fat diet is the right way to do it. Inuits need(ed) to fight bitter cold all day and night, we don’t and they also had (still have) a much lower life expectancy than we do, even in comparison to the obese sugar fed North American population.

        If you look at the Mediterranean diets, known for long life expectancy, fat is present from dairy, nuts and olives mostly but their meat intake is rather low, at least was before they got hit by the industrial crap like everybody else.

        1. You should read “The Perfect Health Diet” which advocates 65% of calories coming from fat. Practically every sentence in that book is backed up by solid research.

          Along with that every single review/feedback/story I have read from anyone going onto a Paleo/Perfect health diet eating pattern has been massively positive – Getting to ideal weight, more energy, a reduction or getting rid of a whole plethora of medical issues etc.

        2. This book The Perfect Health Diet sounds interesting. I will check it out. My diet for the last 2 years consists of around 65% fat every day and I have never felt better in my life.

          On the subject of eggs, the St Kildan people (very remote Scottish island – now uninhabited)existed on a diet of mainly eggs and wild birds with a few seasonal plants for many hundreds of years and were strong, lean and physically fit.

        3. Check out the paper “Sunlight, Cholesterol and Coronary Heart Disease”.

          The authors offer an interesting hypothesis in the paper and state that the Mediterranean diet may not be cardioprotective per se, but rather the latitude of the Mediterranean itself that is cardioprotective.

          From the paper:

          “It is well-known that death rates from coronary heart disease are much lower in the Mediterranean countries of southern Europe than in the Atlantic fringes of north-west Europe, and it usually assumed that this is due to different dietary patterns reflecting local agriculture. Hence we in north-west England are advised to drink red wine and to add garlic and olive oil to our diets and at the same time to stop eating ‘fish and chips’. But whereas migration has an effect on mortality risk, the individual adopting the risk of the place to which he has migrated, people who migrate tend to take their dietary patterns with them.

          Furthermore, the dietary manipulation that has been part of prevention trials of coronary heart disease has been very disappointing, and overviews of the many dietary primary prevention trials have shown that there is no overall benefit.  These observations suggest that agricultural production and local diet might not be the explanation of susceptibility to coronary heart disease in a given country, and we suggest that local agriculture is a reflection of local climate, sun exposure in particular, and that this is directly cardioprotective.”

    2. @Geo – you have a few misconceptions here.

      First, quoting from “Plant-animal subsistence ratios and macronutrient energy estimations in worldwide hunter-gatherer diets” by Cordain, et. al. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 3/2000):

      “Our analysis showed that whenever and wherever it was ecologically possible, hunter-gatherers consumed high amounts (45–65% of energy) of animal food. Most (73%) of the worldwide hunter-gatherer societies derived >50% (?56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from animal foods, whereas only 14% of these societies derived >50% (?56–65% of energy) of their subsistence from gathered plant foods. This high reliance on animal-based foods coupled with the relatively low carbohydrate content of wild plant foods produces universally characteristic macronutrient consumption ratios in which protein is elevated (19–35% of energy) at the expense of carbohydrates (22–40% of energy).”

      Second, wild meat is not “virtually fat free” – it depends on the season. In the fall, as they fatten up for the winter, they accumulate substantial fat. The northern hunters, in fact, would hunt them most aggressively at this time in order to create stores of pemmican (essentially strips of meat in bulbous sacks of fat).

      Plus, paleo hunters preferentially ate organs like brain and liver that are fat-laden in even the leanest herbivores. Thus, even if the “meat” was relatively lean, that doesn’t change the observation that hunters sought – and found – fat in their kills even if you would consider them “lean.”

      With respect to eggs: you are confusing farming with foraging. Do you really believe humans were too stupid to raid the nests of wild birds?

      With respect to CHD: coronary heart disease exploded with the advent of smoking and the first introduction of industrially esterified fats. When smoking declined and the ills of trans fats were identified, heart disease began to fall. In any event, cholesterol is a predictor of heart disease – only – it is not a cause. Worse for your point, dangerous lipid subfractions tend to fall as the diet shifts in the direction of healthy fats and HDL (a predictor of good heart health) rises as sugar/carb consumption falls. This relationships is so strong that HDL can be used as an estimate of the total carb consumption.

      Consuming 8 eggs and a pound of bacon is not a balanced meal – I agree. However, it is not madness; when compared to the massive consumption of fats in the Inuit diet, it is reasonably within our genetic heritage (still – I wouldn’t do it…)

      1. That’s a fun discussion and here’s an interesting article here about the Inuit diet

        http://www.theiflife.com/the-inuit-paradox-high-fat-lower-heart-disease-and-cancer/

        Here are a few key comments going against the bacon diet:

        The solution to the paradox may lie in the fact that not all fat is created equal. “[The Inuit] ate a lot of marine animals, like walruses and seals, whales and so forth, and the blubber of these animals is a very high source of monounsaturated fat ,”says Cordain. “So if you contrast the Inuit diet to the Western diet, it actually turns out to be lower in saturated fat- very high in fat, but high in healthful fat, monounsaturates and polyunsaturates , high in a specific type of polyunsaturates called omega-3 fatty acids that come from the marine food chain.”

        and

        more than 50 percent of the calories in Inuit native foods come from fats. Much more important, the fats come from wild animals. Wild-animal fats are different from both farm-animal fats and processed fats […] Farm animals, cooped up and stuffed with agricultural grains (carbohydrates) typically have lots of solid, highly saturated fat.

        So I’m wondering, are you all eating exclusively $25 a pound grass fed beef and pig? I doubt it. I can’t afford eating grass fed beef more than once in a while personally. Also, I have yet to find grass fed pork, the vast majority of farm raised pork eat Monsanto’s GMO corn and soy, vitamin supplements and antibiotics. Yum. Personally I’ll take cage-free (which does not mean anything as it’s not regulated other than having a small access door to outside)organic eggs and organic peanut butter (not the Skippy stuff which contains hydrogenated palm oil) over high sodium, nitrates loaded corn fed bacon. Grass fed beef yes but bacon is a very bad idea IMO.

  121. My daughter is a type one diabetic and she has eaten a high fat low/no grain diet since she was 10 years old. At every diabetes doctor appointment the doctors and nurses were always oohing and aahing at her a1c since it was pretty much the best in the practice. They were always impressed with her compliance, though they did get irked with me for not brining her every 3 months and handling her care so well on our own. When we told them that all this good news was caused by not eating grain and pigging out on sat fats daily, they told us at one visit that we were strange and must have something wrong genetically that caused us to tolerate our weirdo diet. At another visit they made me meet with a social worker so I could explain to her that my daughter was safe. And yet another visit resulted in us having to talk to the dumbest nutritionist ever who told me that without wheat Anna would become vitamin deficient. Finally they made me take her to a gastroenterologist because we eat funny and they wanted to be sure it wouldn’t kill Anna to eat the all that fat. It just went on and on. The best diabetic in their practice was treated like a freak because of her life threatening diet. At 16 I moved her to an adult endo and learned to just not talk about the specifics of what she eats.

    1. Geez, they had you running all over the place! I lucked out with my doctor. He’s always been into this way of eating, before it was even had a name. Maybe not all the specifics years ago, but the general tenets. I wish I could refer everyone to this guy, but his wait times are long enough. 😉

  122. Loved this post – my strength is sadly not in science, so I appreciate your intelligent breakdown!

    I’d also add a tiny bit of history into the mix. I find that when I mention the lipid hypothesis and how it was forced into popularity without due scientific process people often realize that there is history to current medical dogma and that some new fad didn’t come along to break it down (and sell books) over night. The China study is usually what people sight to refute whatever I say, so I’m doing my best to familiarize my “non-science brain” with the solid info that both you and Rob Wolf have offered up.

    One other thing I’d mention. It’s KEY to distinguish high quality from poor quality fats when giving these explanations. We don’t want to inadvertently encourage folks to go wolf down a big mac, thinking that it’s good for them! And on a comprehension level, I’ve seen it turn on some serious light bulbs for folks when they realize that fresh, unprocessed, and responsibly produced fats are what we love. Otherwise some people think we’re referring to some pretty nasty stuff, including margarine and crisco!

  123. To Mark’s question about the questions we get and our comebacks:

    I had a well-meaning older friend suddenly say:

    “Are you serious about losing weight? Well, you know the diet you’re on is just like Adkins, which we’ve all tried at some point, and which doesn’t work. So if you really want to lose weight…”

    At which point she had to show me the online calorie counter she uses, and had to admonish me that “it doesn’t work to save it all up and enter it at the end of the day.”

    Gah. I didn’t know how to respond to the Adkins comparison and was kicking myself for skimming over what Mark has written about it.

    Thanks for this article. Will be printing and studying.

  124. Something doesn’t add up. You said in the post that Walter Willet, the Chair of Harvard’s Department of Nutrition, said that saturated fats will give you heart attacks. Then you referenced a meta-analysis by Frank Hu that disputes the connection between saturated fats and heart disease. Frank is also from Harvard’s Department of Nutrition. Frank and Walter have published papers together. I guess you could say Walter is Frank’s boss in an acedemic sense. So Frank disagrees with his boss?

    1. Kelly – Willet is a very interesting character (and brilliant, as well). He makes no bones about saying that our dietary ills can be traced to refined carbohydrates. But he is also the lead author on the 2012 epidemiological summary paper that said that red meat led to a 20% increase in all-cause mortality.

      1. I’m in agreement on refined carbs. But this post was about praising saturated fat. I’d love to see an interview with Frank and Walter addressing the saturated fat/heart health question.

  125. I love this article. I am a nurse and have tried to tell people how we are supposed to eat. So difficult to get this concept through their heads. My lipid panel was horrible. When I turned everything around started to exercise, drink Shakeology and continue to eat butter, venison, fish and veggies my total cholesterol went down but almost 100mg and my Triglycerides which were 404 in November of 2011 are now 138 and it is June of 2012. Yes I tell them, I eat REAL butter, I use olive oil, and sunflower oil. Real mayo. I am full all the time, I am losing weight and gaining muscle and I am 49 years old. Building bone is very important to me as well so the bone blasting workouts of weight lifting I can do outside with splitting wood by hand, working in the garden, lifting and hauling branches and other debris in my 40 acre paradise. I have not been able to totally do without something on my feet. I tried the aqua shoes but it is very challenging and I need to build up my ankles more but it is a start. I love these articles keep them coming.

  126. I have a friend of my mothers who is constantly telling my mom I am going to die of heart disease. She means well but when I try to explain her eyes just glaze over. The good thing is i actually am slowly converting my mom.

  127. Mark,

    Any insight on different apolipoprotien genotyping and responses to high fat diets?

  128. What I struggle with is the vegetarians and vegans who think they’re way of eating is the ultimate. I guess anybody can be a food snob (Paleo included)…but I really feel they are tops. I respect their decision to eat the way they do – so I wish they wouldn’t look at me like I’m awful for actually eating meat….

  129. A vegan can’t have high cholesterol. therefore, only by eating animal products can one have dangerous levels of cholesterol. Therefore, diet does affect blood cholesterol and anyone saying it doesn’t needs to leave their fantasy world and realize the truth: That too much animal fats and even animal protein can cause all types of diseases such as heart disease and colon cancer. Where this idea came from that diet does not affect cholesterol levels is beyond me, but my guess is probably the meat and dairy industry.
    Primal people didn’t even make it old enough to develop a lot of diseases. There is no way they could have eaten the amount of hunks of meat we do now, as you just couldn’t kill enough animals for the tribe and there were no refrigerators. You could not have a big chicken breast or massive steak everyday.
    Grass fed meat still has cholesterol and high saturated fat.

    I am not vegan or vegetarian. I think wheat is not healthy. I think restricting grains can have some value but it isn’t like you guys make it out to be. Large amount of animal foods and animal fat and cholesterol is not good and can lead to many diseases including cancer, kidney disease and heart disease.

    Keep grasping at straws Mark to save your business and your cult based on psueodscience and your twisted idea of evolution.

    1. Why can’t a vegan have high cholesterol?
      Explain please . . . .

    2. There are many ways a vegan could develop hypercholesterolemia. For example, hypothyroid vegans or those with familial hypercholesterolemia.

      Do you think that a vegan who ate only potato chips, tater tots and Coca Cola would have high cholesterol or low cholesterol?

      The article stated that eating cholesterol does not raise cholesterol levels in most people. This is true for 70% of the population. In the remaining 30%, cholesterol is raised but HDL and LDL are raised proportionately. Here is a link to one study:

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16340654?ordinalpos=1&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

      Yes, grassfed beef will have saturated fat, but there is weak to no evidence that saturated fat causes increased risk of CHD. See http://www.ajcn.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract.

    3. Whoo, are you sure you are on the right website? If you still believe saturated fat causes high cholesterol or that high cholesterol causes heart disease, you are not ready for this website. You might want to check mercola.com or naturalnews.com and skip the webmd. com.
      I am completely serious as it has taken me years to convince myself that “everything I know is Wrong”.
      pharmacist whose life was ruined by lipitor

  130. What would a healthy blood lab report look like?–what should I look and/request for a blood lab report that would indicate I’m healthy (and primal!)–thank-you

  131. I just love how you show there is nothing wise about conventional wisdom. Fat is good for you!

    1. I don’t think Mark was saying that all fat is good for you. I think he would agree with me in saying that neither trans fat nor excess PUFAs are desirable.

  132. g-d it. this is why i hate dieting. now, don’t get me wrong, i have 50 less pounds over 5 months to prove that a low carb diet, with no concern of fats, works.

    now, i come looking at this seemingly interesting article and what do i find? a bunch of anecdotes weak analogies and a gaggle of internet jockeys who apparently have bested modern science! im not trying to deny or belittle your accomplishments, but for gods sake. listen to your doctor, trust your lipid panels, and boil your damn eggs! whats the point of playing quickshits roulette?

    anyway, keep being awesome.

  133. Perfect! I’m going to dinner at SAD friends’ house tonight. I’ll commit these handy responses to memory, along with the “Why I don’t eat grains.”

  134. “I make no such promises for those of you with a stick of butter with bite marks and a tub of coconut oil with a greasy spoon beside it on your office desk, however”

    Mark What do you mean by this? I know everything in moderation BUT people like me who do a lot of physical activity consume a lot of fat just to keep up with the calorie requirements. I eat a lot of coconut oil for this purpose. I lose weight otherwise. Can you put my mind at ease please?

  135. Great article. I actually started using Udo’s Oil (local health food store exclusive) to get all my fats.. as it provides essential and non-essential fats.

    You really can’t say enough about the need for fats in a diet. All other variables the same and changing fat intake (both up or down), gives me results when I’m at a plateau.

    Thanks, Mark.

  136. Love the response to “Where do you get your energy?” The tight pants comment at the end had me cracking up. Will definately be using that one!

  137. Started going Paleo about three weeks ago. Feeling AMAZING! Looooving the food.
    Thank you Mark and all the team for sharing this info.

  138. I’m so glad the word is getting out, more people need to discuss this in the way that you have. I went to the Dr Oz and Food for your whole life seminar and it was the same old rhetoric on low fat low calorie. Dr Oz did try to impart that starving yourself to lose weigh is futile, but the other presenters were lame. I went to just day one, so maybe someone else was saying differently, but no one has yet to come out and say what you and a few other brave and scholar minds have been promoting.

    Keep the faith and keep informing.

  139. My family thinks its crazy that a girl takes protein shakes, ‘too much’ leafy vegs, loaded with high healthy fats but little carbs 🙁 I’m suffering becos no one understands what I’m really trying to do. I feel so helpless looking at their diet.

  140. I got told about this health/ fitness site by a friend and it really is very good. Keep up the good work. Training is my life so I love to read anything that relates to the fitness world

  141. Lately my mom’s been taking me grocery shopping and has been practically trying to force me to choose bread and granola bars. I used to love granola bars. Now I look at them with disdain. It’s kind of funny. We debate food in the store and I like to let other people hear.
    She seems to wonder how I can eat over a pound of steak for a meal and 200g of cheese for another.
    I showed her a letter from our family doctor stating that my drug test on May 20 at the local hospital was negative. (Really, it shouldn’t have been, according to convential wisdom).
    She says she will no longer take me grocery shopping because she thinks I need help: another psychiatric assessment and more counselling.

    1. My god she wants to control you so badly she’d place you in ther hands of Big Pharma Psychs – move out if you are old enough!

  142. You missed out on lard being high in Vit.D
    As with all this, the important thing is the purity of the food supply. Local, all natural, sustainably farmed foods are important, with store bought organic as the fall back position.
    I would not buy the lard from the store, I know what is in it, but render my own from pigs raised by a person I trust.

  143. Doctor Oz showed that a low protein intake with healthy diet reduced cholesterol and highblood pressure. It’s too much animal protein that causes high cholesterol. There is a good reason why someone has high cholesterol. When the blood is too acidic the body will increase cholesterol to protect the organs. If you lower your cholesterol with drugs you will damage your organ in the long run. Meat is very acidic that’s why a low animal protein is a must. Also it helps to drink a lot of clean water to flush out the toxins and incrase the blood PH.

    http://www.watercure.com/sci_myth.html

    1. you are incredibly misinformed. Eating is not a science you idiot. We eat when we’re hungry and drink when we’re thirsty. We eat natural foods that taste good. Meat and fat taste good. How could processed plants possibly be good for us?

  144. I’ve been eating a high-fat/low-carb diet since 2008, lost 50+ pounds and my last cholesterol test showed 116 total with only 46 triglycerides!

  145. Just had an ultrasound scan done for my carotid, femoral and aortic arteries. Has anyone else here had one or are you just relying on some numbers from a lab? I’ve been primal for a long time with tot chol 220 LDL 130 HDL 60 tri 85. Am a competitive 60 yr masters sprinter. Unfortunately I saw the plaque that is growing in my arteries which is a real mind blower when you think you are doing good numbers wise. Have switched to a Ornish low fat diet to see if I can reverse this.

  146. Ironic. I lowered my lipid numbers on a high carb low fat vegan diet eating copious amounts of grains, potatoes, rice, beans, fruit and vegetables. I lost 100lbs, reversed early onset CVD. Brought blood glucose levels down to healthy levels.
    I’m not unique. Millions of people have reclaimed their lost health and appearance on a diet and lifestyle which Mark Sisson and all you sycophants ridicule. Where is our metabolic resistance syndrome? I don’t eschew dietary fat, I just obtain it from plant sources. Tahini, Peanut Butter, Nut butters. No refined oils, no animal fats, limited saturated fats(only what is found naturally in Nuts and seeds), avocados.

  147. Maybe not the right place to ask, but I’m curious and Google isn’t helping.

    I’m currently on a diet of necessity (ie few dollars/week for food). I’ve been doing two servings steel-cut oats, tbsp butter, 2 tbsp oo/canola/soya oil blend, 2-4 oz real cocanut milk, 1 cup milk. Gets me through most of the day.

    What am I doing to my body? Specifically please, or point me in the right direction.

    Thanks in advance 🙂

  148. I was wondering what category you would put quinoa in? From what I’m given to understand quinoa is not a grain but a vegetable loaded with nutrition. The same for Amaranth.

  149. Ok, my roomate says you can’t drink alcohol on an Atkins-type diet, BECAUSE the high fat content of that diet is bad for your liver. And carbs, in contrast, are good for your liver because they help it to repair itself.

    WTF?!! So, I would really like to clarify this.

    Can anybody tell me, is a high-fat diet “bad” for your liver? And, are the so-called “good” carbs–sour fruits and lemons were her examples–good for the liver because they help it to repair itself?

    1. I can’t find any studies indicating/proving that fat damages liver. Nor any studies that they don’t.

      In order for our body to repair effectively we need protein, (amino-acids for cell production) a variety of vitamins and minerals and water.

      If you REALLY want your answer, you need to find out what fats/protein you’re eating. Then you need to identify what acids, amino-acids and other bits-and-bobs it breaks down into. Unfortunately, there’s not much about it on the internet. Here’s a good place to start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatty_acid

  150. Hi,
    Intrigued by this article, really well written.
    I am currently on day two of my restricted carb diet, which means for fat and protein to make up the remainder of my daily caloric intake. I have ulcerative colitis, a bowel disease and for the past 8 months been bodybuilding and running.
    I have been following the low FODMAP diet for 2/3 years but after a recent flare up I had to re-assess my diet as it seemed like the carbs was preventing me from getting better.
    I am on day two of my new diet, which is a hybrid of the SCD and low FODMAP diet. All restrictions from both diet are in place,so I will have to go through elimination process.

    Anyhow, back to the point. 41% of my calories come from fat, 41% from protein and 18% from carbs (99grams). My symptoms have improved in two days and I do feel more energetic, I also improved my lifting at the gym as I managed to dead lift 140kg for 4 reps when normally 2 reps was my limit (I weight 59kg).

    Looking forward to reading more of your articles.

  151. Have been doing paleo/primal now for about six weeks. The hardest thing for me is incorporating more animal fat into my diet, since – like many others – I was brainwashed with the ‘fat is bad’ notion. The idea of eating the fat on my steak or chops, chicken/ turkey skin makes me feel sick. How to get around this so that I can benefit fully from paleo/primal eating?

  152. Dear Mark, have you ever thought about eating fat alone. For example, sometimes when i am outside home, instead of eating for lunch the common, i go to the groceries and buy 100g of butter. What are your thoughts?

    1. Hey Stuart, it is very confusing because there are genetics and so many other variables. There is no one size fits all diet as these guys would like you to believe. Some people do better low fat, some low carb and some need a combo. The website trackyourplaque has info on these variables. You need to find out what works for you personally. Check your cholesterol to see how these diets affect you.

  153. IDK about this “diet”. what I do know is since being on it for over a year, my daughter has developed cancer and heart disease and now will need a pacemaker for the rest of her life! She’s not even 21 yet! What expertise do you really have?! none I suspect!

    1. Come on, man. Are you going to ignore all the heart disease associated with modern diets and ignore all the evidence presented? Ignore all the testimonies of people that have eliminated cardiovascular problems after making the switch to this natural diet?

      And you can’t associate cancer with the diet. Carcinogens in food are produced during cooking. Your daughter should have been eating high quality wild meat, uncooked. If that’s not feasible, if it’s not feasible to eat a natural diet, then society has failed you, and everyone else.

      Plus you don’t know how strictly your daughter followed this. She could have had no self control and binged every other day for all you know.

      Humans reached their evolutionary peak before society and agriculture. We are becoming an increasingly stupid animal, focusing on equality for everyone instead of letting the strong and smart excel. It’s not inhumane, it’s nature.

      Stop researching and turning everything into a science people. If eating required scientific research and structure, no animal would be healthy. Eat a natural diet when your hungry.

    2. What studies do you have to back up the claim that this diet induces cancer? I would be interested to read about it/them.

  154. I was reading the following at web md “Low-carb diets can cause the body to go into a dangerous metabolic state called ketosis since your body burns fat instead of glucose for energy. During ketosis, the body forms substances known as ketones, which can cause organs to fail and result in gout, kidney stones, or kidney failure. Ketones can also dull a person’s appetite, cause nausea and bad breath. Ketosis can be prevented by eating at least 100 grams of carbohydrates a day.” I just started eating a primal based diet this week and want to make sure I am not harming my body. I am also reading your book 21 day total body transformation. I am 47, play ice hockey 3 times a week and am in relatively good shape. I think I should have more energy overall though. That’s why I am trying your plan. Just want to get some feedback.

    Thanks,
    Brett

  155. Hi Brett,

    You will be fine, this is not only safe, but extremely healthy and effective. People get comfused about a problem type one diabetics get called keto acidosis. That is a medical problem. Going into ketosis is normal and completely different. Just take it easy for a few days as sometimes adjusting to your new fuel source can make you feel tired. Maybe search this site for “low carb flu” for some pointers and reassurance. Welcome!

  156. All you fat white chicks needs to stop eatin them oreos and get a “f”ing treadmile. no one asked you to be 400 Lbs. i mean come on, benn and jerry arent actulluy your friend

  157. Thank you for this article! I always battle with myself and my friends when I decide to drop carbs for 2 weeks and stick to protein and high fats. I always loose fat, and feel great but was worried that I was harming my body. I’m glad to know that fat/protein focused diet is not bad and actually extremely beneficial in loosing fat and not just weight.

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  159. I’m 50 & I went from 208 Lbs to 179 in 6 months on primal.
    This is the easiest “diet” that I could imagine.
    I eat like a king, feel totally satisfied & look much better as well.
    Anyone who tries the “low fat” nonsense & thinks they can maintain it is crazy.
    I shall never go back to what I ate.

  160. I’ve been on the 4 Hour Body slow-carb diet for a total of 4 weeks. It’s the same as Low-carb dets with high protein and fat, but you have a cheat day to spike metabolic rate. (I find it unnecessary)

    After my week of illness (rare for me) I felt fine. This week I’ve been feeling as energetic as ever. I can easily do an hour of push ups, pull ups and squats, and I am seeing great improvements in speed and endurance training.

    Also, just more evidence: http://www.colinmcnulty.com/blog/2011/11/22/a-calorie-is-not-a-calorie-is-not-a-calorie/

    50 years ago. We’ve known this for 50 years.

  161. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it only the English language that uses the same word “dietary fat” as referring to someone who is overweight. Other languages have different words for dietary fat and someone who is fat.

  162. Hi Mark,

    Fantastic post and something i’ll have to show my dubious family. I have a pressing question though as an 18 yr-old middle-long distance runner: am I still safe to consume fairly high amounts of these fats (coconut oil, butter, eggs) along with a moderately high carbohydrate diet to fuel intense training sessions? Ideally i’d prefer to be lower carbohydrate, but my body composition (9% BF) and weight doesn’t need to decrease any more. Also, with my blood test results having conveyed abnormally low testosterone levels, would more a diet with a higher % of carbohydrates be beneficial to improve that hormonal imbalance?

    Thanks a lot,
    Jonny.

    1. On days you are most active i don’t see any problem with your carbohydrates being above 100 but I wouldn’t go over 150. Keep your fat high and protein moderate, protein does break down into glucose if you need it. Also if you eliminate most grains and beans and get your carbs from sweet potatoes, some fruits and lots of dense veggies i think you’ll be fine. Maybe a little white rice, just a little wont hurt.

  163. Thanks for this article!
    I started off 2013 as a…. wait for it… vegan. I thought upping my nearly twenty year vegetarianism to vegan would be the solution to losing the 50 pounds of fat I gained on my body over the last 5 or 6 years. I was so wrong.

    Since introducing meat and healthy fats into my diet 6 months ago, I am stronger, healthier, I think more clearly and I have dropped 40 of those pesky pounds. I feel fuller now than I ever have before, and my body responds with energy.

    When people ask me how I co