Super High Fat Ketogenic Diets v. Paleolithic/Ancestral Nutrition

As the trend towards even higher fat diets continues in a faction of the community, it should become ever the more clear to those not engulfed in dogma that this is not consistent with our evolution.  There is no way, repeat NO way, that our ancestors could have eaten a diet of the 80-10-10 variety -- as in 80% fat, and 10% protein, 10% carbs ... or any of the various higher fat lower carb ratios, perhaps allowing for an extra couple few percent of protein.  

One would have to believe that humans evolved in an environment of such abundance where killing was accomplished with such ease, that they would kill another animal to eat just its fatty parts before consuming the meat.  Does that sound plausible to you?  Or that humans foraged for only fatty plant stuffs like nuts and fatty fruits like avocados and left the sugary and starchy stuff they may have happened upon in the process alone.  Sounds right, eh?  We're to believe that cultivation of plants has altered their sugar and starch content vs. the days of old, but domestication of animals and even "wild life" existing on the fringes of human developments has not altered the composition of said same ... even if fed a "natural diet" (e.g. grass fed beef).  Your fatty fish are mostly around 60% fat or less.  Are all these paleo lipophiles having seal oil and whale blubber shipped in from the Arctic?  

The reality of the matter is that those consuming an 80+% fat diet are eating a diet that is unnatural for humans in every way.  Paleolithic man did not have access to coconut oil by the spoonful, or time to argue the differences between coconut oil and coconut butter.  And just as sugary fruits are seasonal, so too are fatty ones ... not to mention other reproductive forms of fats like eggs which you can be damned sure of they didn't toss the whites.  There's no such thing as paleo mayo.  Few if any of these nutritionally ketotic folks are getting fat scraps from the butcher to gnaw on for the mammoth's share of their energy.  Most are eating a ton of dairy fat, be it cream, high fat cheese, cream cheese or butter (clarified or ghee of course) to supplement refined coconut fats.  There are paleos who make allowances for the very real fact that large populations of humans are well adapted to dairy, but this is merely an allowance -- some would say a rationalization for convenience to optimize buy-in/accessibility/sustainability of the diet that would otherwise be too austere for widespread adoption.  Still, dairy ain't a paleolithic era food.  There isn't even a case to be made for dairy  being a natural food for any adult mammals.  You don't see it in nature, and it would have been the true odd "luck" for our prehistoric ancestors to have killed a lactating female animal ... though yeah, they probably would have eaten the mammary glands.  Then they would have had milk.  Not cream, not butter ... milk.  Not kefir, not yogurt, not cheese...  milk.  Whatever was in the slain animal and none more.  

It's so very odd to me this disconnect between what has transpired since last year's AHS and the one upcoming in a couple of days, with its ultimate make-up of the presenters.  There is a decided trend in the community towards either eating or acknowledging having eaten all along, diets what could be described as anywhere from moderate carb to high carb amongst those claiming paleo roots.  Meanwhile the Taubes-inspired low carb wing has suffered set back upon crippling set back to all but the most blinded by dogma.  Yet despite this, when one looks at the final speaker lists and the panel makeups, you could swear it was a program for AHS09 or something.  Not even the Kruse Missile Crisis seems to have stemmed the tide of the low carb hijacking of the greater ancestral community.  The low carbers continue down this path of the less of anything associated with the term carbohydrate the better, despite the fact that there's not only scant scientific support for this lifestyle, there aren't even human cultures to witness the long term effects of such diets on.  

Meanwhile we have billions of long-lived healthy cultures eating closer to the 80-10-10 carb-protein-fat proportions espoused by those derided routinely in this community.  I'm not a vegan, or a vegetarian, never have been, and don't see any reason ever to become one unless I contract that mysterious tick born meat allergy I heard about on the news a few months back.  But my dietary preferences for animal proteins and dairy do not stop me from acknowledging the abundant scientific literature on ancestral human diets.   Diets, I might add, that have been observed and quantified, not just guessed at and, in many cases, conjured up out of thin air.  Sure, the quality of the carbs was different, but they were carbs -- digested and metabolized in  glycolytic and related pathways, not the medium-to-long chain fatty acid beta oxidation pathway.  Just don't remind the movers and shakers of such inconvenient facts.  And just to make sure the "antagonistic" facts don't get in their way, expect to hear a goodly dose of that word "addiction" thrown around in the coming days as well -- though the butter addicts get absolution, it's only you carbaholics who are rationalizing bad nutritional advice.  Don't expect to hear the truth about the ancestral diets of some well-known cultures in the community, especially those known to be ravaged by metabolic disease in the modern environment.  Like the Pima in Arizona who used to eat far less fat and more carbohydrates before having a Western SAD diet foisted upon them.  You probably won't get that at AHS12 ... it just doesn't fit in with the Taubes-inspired version of things this symposium seems designed to exhume and defend to the end.    Sadly ...  


Sue said…
There is a Low Carb Down Under event happening in Australia around November and Jimmy and wife being flown over. I was a bit surprised by that.
Lesley Scott said…
yeah, this crazy eat-fat-uber-alles angle is lunacy. I know I seem Kraken-obsessed but his advice makes sense to me: eat meat, vegetables & tubers.

He doesn't advise eat mostly fat & maybe some fat to pour on that. Also, he embraces vegetarians and their beliefs and rather than laughing at them, just advises them to eat more of the sat-fat from coconut & avocado & that way they can enjoy the health benefits of this way of eating without sacrificing what they're committed to.

Lalonde, like the rest of the smartypants wing of the "paleo" (or whatever you call it) movement (ie. Stephan G., KGH, Chris Kresser, Chris Masterjohn et al) in fact eschew this micro-focus on macro nutrients, especially given the wide variation in the macronutrient ratios of the various traditional diets - apologies in advance for dragging them out yet again, but the Inuit to the Kitavan. In fact, Lalonde said in one interesting interview with Evolution/This View of Life mag that attempting to replicate the Inuit diet - of whale blubber, which is from the sea, so very high in Omega 3s & iodine - with modern beef, is a joke. Sadly, a fattening joke. I wouldn't be surprised to see something pop up on Science Daily or pubmed one of these days correlating a loss of brain cells & the ability to think critically with getting more than 60% or 80% of your daily calories from fat.
Unknown said…
"Nevertheless, using these contemporary hunter-gatherer societies (living mainly inland and in semi-tropical climates), Eaton and Konner saw that anywhere from 20-50% of their diet was obtained from meat and anywhere from 50-80% of their diet came from vegetation. However, populations in artic regions – like that of the Eskimos – derive as little as 10% of their diet from plant-based sources. Therefore, if my calculations serve me right, the ranges of nutrients potentially run anywhere from 20-90% meat-based and anywhere from 10-80% plant-based. To me it seems as though there was not one single hunter-gatherer-type diet."
"John Gowlett argues that in no way there could have been only one “Stone-Age diet.” This is due to various geographical limitations, such as food variety and climactic changes, which would require various nutritional adaptations to be undertaken in order to survive in a given region. Therefore it can be determined that humans did not evolve eating any one type of diet, but rather an all-encompassing and extremely varied diet that would allow for adaptive survival given their geographic location/conditions. This is exactly what was seen in our more recent hunter-gatherer proxies. But does that stop the Paleo zealots from prescribing strict nutritional guidelines?"

Then we have the traditional Okinawan Diet which is 85% carb, 9% protein and 6% fat

The Kitavan Diet which is appx 69% carb, 21% fat and 10% protein

There is NO EVIDENCE AT ALL THAT ANY HUNTER GATHERER SOCIETY ate a low carb diet because they chose to - the Inuits ate between 6-15% carb because there were NOT MANY CARBS available
Puddleg said…
So what do you think happened to the Mammoth, the American Rhino, the Moa, the Elephant Bird of Madagascar and so on?
Everywhere early humans went they met huge, fat creatures with absolutely no fear of man and wiped them out. There probably was a great deal of waste - these were not environmentalists.
Inuit are not the only people living on all-animal high fat diets. Reindeer herders, yak herders, and so on have no time to stop and grow turnips or pick fruit in the snow. Herding animals is the other arm of the neolithic revolution and allowed persistence of paleolithic eating habits.
Sure, people will eat anything. They will even eat each other when big game becomes extinct, which tells you something about their natural preferences.
dangph said…
I saw a really interesting TV show a little while ago, Origins of Us, from the BBC. In one episode they were covering a hunter-gatherer tribe, the Hadza, in Tanzania.

The women would forage for tubers and whatnot, and the men would go out hunting. The show claimed that this was evolutionarily typical. They also claimed that the women on average brought in more calories than the men.

That show left a strong impression in my mind. It's different actually seeing something rather than just reading about it.

I feel pretty good about eating tubers and fruit now.
Geoff 99 said…
I'm hanging out for the official cookbook, "Fat for Life".

I hear the smoothie section is 'to die for'.
Will Hui said…
The community spends a lot of effort insisting that saturated fat is not harmful. But is there any good reason (aside from its likelihood to go rancid) to believe it is beneficial? I haven't really heard about any potential pitfalls related to insufficient saturated fat intake... which is odd, given the community obsession with saturated fat.
Unknown said…
Eating a varied, omnivorous "real food" diet, it seems a lot of work and very difficult to eat 80-10-10 in either direction. That should probably tell us something...?
Jeff Consiglio said…
I tend to agree that HG's ate a varied diet, some of which were carb-centric. Humans produce salivary amylase, a clear indication we are equipped for some carbs. And I think if we lived in more primitive conditions, a higher carb diet of whole foods would be just dandy. But I don't feel a high carb diet translates well to us moderns. We are at a disadvantage compared to ancients in terms of glucose/fructose handling ability.

- Most of us are vitamin d deficient...even kids
- Poor magnesium status (Vanadium, chromium, etc.)
- We live by light bulbs rather than natural rhythms of the sun
- Sleep deprived
- Stressed
- Exposure to endocrine disruptive
- Modern dwarf wheat?
- Formula fed rather than breast fed
- Couch potato lifestyles
- etc.

It seems to me that a lot of thing have to be "just right" for a high carb diet to work. I don't see those factors being in place for us these days.

Not saying all of us need to be on keto-diet....but perhaps 20% to 30% carbs would be a good starting place for most. Especially us somewhat older folks who don't handle carbs as well as we did in younger days.
CarbSane said…
Maybe we need an Ancestral Smartypants Symposium ... oh wait ... that acronym is unfortunate!
Anonymous said…
We also scavenged the kills of other animals for the marrow and brains they couldn't get to. This would have been an easy source of pure fat.
CarbSane said…
One thing to consider, I think Don Matesz made this point -- If humans hunted huge fat creatures to extinction in short order, one could hardly call such a timeframe significant for evolution. If food was scarce, they wouldn't be leaving anything behind. As to the rest, I dunno George. Lots of romanticizing and speculation, and eating each other out of desperation tells us nothing about preferences.
CarbSane said…
Welcome dangph! Maybe I can find that on YouTube.
CarbSane said…
Bwaaaah hahahahaaaaaaah!
CarbSane said…
Hey Will, I did a (somewhat!) tongue-in-cheek post about this:
I think the "eat lots of healthy saturated fat" is overblown and a huge unknown. For example (as Lesley points out) adapting an Inuit diet to a beef fat diet is pretty whacked. I compared the fatty acid content of seal oil to beef here:
At least in this study,, F/P/C averaged 47/45/8.
CarbSane said…
I agree, but if one gets most animal protein from fish and leaner cuts like chicken breasts, one can eat a varied diet and achieve 80-10-10 for 80% carbs far more easily than for 80% fat which is next to impossible eating whole foods.
CarbSane said…
Hi Jeff, in many of the studies I've seen, the prevalence of VitD deficiency seems to be over stated and there's evidence it's an effect of obesity and related metabolic havoc, rather than cause. I dunno about older folks being less able to handle carbs per se. The goal should be to improve sensitivity rather than minimize the macro, IMO.
Unknown said…
Did Cooking Make Us Human - BBC documentary

Origins Of Us 1/3 Bones (BBC Documentary)

Origins Of Us 2/3 Guts (BBC Documentary)

Origins Of Us 3/3 Brains (BBC Documentary)

"Great Apes and the Evolution of Human Diet" by Craig Stanford, PhD

Paleo Diet | Doug McGuff MD | Biochemistry of the Paleo Diet
Unknown said…
I think the question of whether something is beneficial or detrimental tends to be a red herring, the real question is whether it is beneficial or detrimental to me.

I like some saturated fat in my diet because I think it helps in recovery from exercise and helps maintain testosterone levels but I don't have a peer reviewed study to back that up, I mostly go on my personal experience cause I'm a selfish person who doesn't really care about anyone else.

Could be that consuming other types of fat would have the same effect but I enjoy eating beef.
log said…
I don't know if you guys have seen this paper before, but it's pretty fascinating. The central thesis is that the food foraged by the women in Paleo-Indian groups (which would have been mostly carbohydrates) was much more important and reliable as a food source than the meat that the men brought in from hunting. They point out that from an effort to calorie ratio, the whole tribe would be better off if everyone foraged, and ultimately come to the conclusion that hunting for the men was done more for social and political reasons, rather than for providing food.

It definitely dispels some of the more romantic notions of hunter gatherers. It's like, basically the men hunt because it gives them an opportunity to bro out together. :)
Unknown said…

It’s long been believed that a hunter-gatherer lifestyle involves considerable physical activity and therefore burns many calories, far more than are incinerated by your average American office worker each day. And it was true, the scientists determined, that the Hadza people in general moved more than many Americans do, with the men walking about seven miles a day and the women about three.

But it was not true that they were burning far more calories. In fact, the scientists calculated, the Hadza’s average metabolic rate, or the number of calories that they were burning over the course of a day, was about the same as the average metabolic rate for Westerners.

The implication, the scientists concluded, is that “active, ‘traditional’ lifestyles may not protect against obesity if diets change to promote increased caloric consumption.” That is, even active people will pack on pounds if they eat like most of us in the West.

The underlying and rather disheartening message of that finding, of course, is that physical activity by itself is not going to make and keep you thin. (It’s worth noting that the Hadza people were almost uniformly slight.)

The overarching conclusion of that study, which was published last week in the journal PLoS One, is not really new or surprising, says Dr. Timothy Church, who holds the John S. McIlhenny Endowed Chair in Health Wisdom at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Louisiana and who has long studied exercise and weight control. “It’s been known for some time that, calorie for calorie, it’s easier to lose weight by dieting than by exercise,” he says.

People stick with low-calorie diets more readily than they continue with exercise to drop pounds.

Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity

Why do individuals not lose more weight from an exercise intervention at a defined dose? An energy balance analysis
Woodey said…
Common sense says the idea we ate brains and and marrow because other animals couldn't is incorrect. Give your dog a bone what does he do? He eats the whole damn thing. So why wouldn't a ravenous animal that can chew up bone not be able to eat marrow and brains?

The paleo gurus are putting a certain time period on a pedestal and glamorizing it, it's pathetic. If we really want to get to our roots then we should be eating bugs, leftover rotting animal carcasses and whatever we stumbled across and found we could eat. Any takers?

Your first part is correct in that we scavenged the kills from other animals, but the twist you add is a typical trend that diet gurus like to do.
Unknown said…
6x Bananas a Day!? Meta-Analysis: Lower Glucose, Insulin and HbA1c Levels From 'Catalytic' Dose of 36g Fructose

As long as your only significant fructose source are whole fruits and the few vegetables that contain more than trace amounts of fructose, you can answer this question by taking a look at the data in figure 3. The small figures on top of the bars will tell you how many 100g servings of apples, dates, pears or tomatoes you can consume until you hit the catalytic limit*uhuhhh...*: 3.9x 100g servings, of apples, for examples, or 5x 100g servings of bananas, or a whopping 32.7x 100g servings of lemons... sounds plenty?

Notwithstanding, this ≤36g/day limit does certainly appears more or less arbitrary. This is all the more true in face of previous results by Livesey & Taylor, who could not find evidence that such a thing as a "threshold dosage" for the Hb1AC improving effects of fructose even exists (Livesey. 2008) or the fact that a "low-GI fruit intake [and not the number of servings of fiber-laden cereals!] was the strongest independent predictor of [lowered] HbA1c" in a 2011 6-months low-GI diet experiment by Jenkins et al. who compared Kellog's... ah, pardon me, I meant the medical orthodoxy's gold standard, the high-cereal fiber diet in 152 participants with type 2 diabetes with a simple low-GI diet (Jenkins. 2011).
Carbohydrate Shortage in Paleo Land: New Data for A Scientific Outlook at the Low-to-No Carb Paleo Confusion. Will More Than 125g of Carbs Make You Fat?

Over the last years, the "Paleo lifestyle", once some sort of esoteric "back to the roots" movement, has attracted more and more followers and has long become a multi-million dollar business. Somewhere in the course of this process, however, the original idea, which was to look at the nutritional history of humanity to identify those nutritional strategies that have been working for humanoids for ten-thousands of years, got lost. Mainstream paleo has turned into an obscure cult the members of which add food item after food item to their lists of "bad foods", the consumption or rather non-consumption of which distinguishes the "real" from the 99% paleo-eaters. Yet, while eating gluten-containing (the paleos would probably say "contaminated") foods has, probably not without reason, been considered a deadly sin, all along, carbohydrates in general have only recently moved up in the ranks of the worst offenders of a neolithic paleo-lifestyle. Being infiltrated by renegades from the low-fat and low-carb camps the Paleo diet is misinterpreted by more and more of its followers (mostly children of the fat-phobic 1980s) as a high protein, low-fat, no-carb diet. Looking at this unfortunate trend one could certainly go nuts, if, yes if nuts had not been added to the paleo-food-ban-list, lately, as well...
Anonymous said…
What is the macro breakdown of a typical whole game animal (ie a deer)?
Karen said…
I dont know the exact breakdown but Im sure no carbs! Very little fat as experienced by the deer we have harvested over the years. As a matter of fact wild game is considered low-fat in the high-fat to low-fat hierarchy.
CarbSane said…
I was thinking about this whole notion that arctic prehistoric humans wallowed in the fat of mammoths. They had to eat more animals due to less vegetation, but AFAIK, mammoths were herbivores. Grass-fed beef is notably leaner on the whole than grain fed, so I'd imagine these mammoths weren't quite as super fatty as they are being made out to be either. I don't have time to look for the study, but even deer killed in remote areas vs. deer killed near human populations (with groomed lawns and other tasty plants) are considerably different. Clearly there's more to a deer than the meat, but the stuff I've eaten has been rather lean.

BTW Woodey thanks for that point. Wild carnivores have extremely powerful jaws and are not likely to leave behind fatty parts because they couldn't get to them!
CarbSane said…
In addition to my comment below, if the carnivore left any of the fatty parts behind for the humans, perhaps they weren't so dumb after all. Lure the human with a few sucks of marrow ... pounce the easy human prey that was too preoccupied using his intelligence and dexterity to crack open bones to notice that tiger preening behind the rock ;)
CarbSane said…
Not surprised by much of anything these days!
Anonymous said…
"We're to believe that cultivation of plants has altered their sugar and starch content vs. the days of old"

According to this paper wild fruits contain just as much if not more sugar then domestic fruits

along with this book Lost Crops of Africa
CarbSane said…
This is a good point. My mother doesn't eat red meats. Not for any moral reason or such, but because her memories of consuming them as a child are not fond ones. She does eat poultry and seafood. Fatty meats are often too heavy for me, but under the right circumstances a fatty prime rib is just the ticket! One thing I don't get is cooking fatty meats in more fat. Even granny's traditional ways involved saving rendered fats to cook other things in.
Galina L. said…
During discussions about primitive life-style there are some details that usually get left out, like seasonal availability of tubers and fruits even in hot regions, the fact that substantial part of what gatherers brought home often consisted of insects and other small creatures, also unintentional IF (Kitovans is a good example). Overeating day in and day out of any food is not a part of any ancestral life style, periodical fasting makes macro-nutrient content of a diet to be less important.

For many people who didn't grow-up in a tribe (and are more carbohydrate sensitive then somebody like Dr.Oz) it is easier to make a transition close to an ancestral diet from a modern one while consuming mostly highly satisfying protein and fat + some veggies while not overeating and practicing IF. It is more difficult to overeat on LC, but there are a lot of people who are up to the challenge, so just eating LC is not an imitation of a paleo-style eating.
Anonymous said…
'The underlying and rather disheartening message of that finding, of course, is that physical activity by itself is not going to make and keep you thin.'

I try to imagine a world in which 'physical activity by itself' had any meaning at all. There's caloric intake, necessary to live. Can you do 'physical activity by itself'? Ah, if that were only an option! So, overconsumption of calories without a deficit resulting from physical activity = a fat body.... yep.
Unknown said…

Twinkie diet helps nutrition professor lose 27 pounds

Nutrition professor's "convenience store diet" helped him shed 27 pounds
Haub limited himself to 1,800 calories and two-thirds come from junk food

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds.

But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so.
Haub's "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent.

"That's where the head scratching comes," Haub said. "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?"

Haub's sample day
Espresso, Double: 6 calories; 0 grams of fat

Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat

Centrum Advanced Formula From A To Zinc: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat

Little Debbie Star Crunch: 150 calories; 6 grams of fat

Hostess Twinkies Golden Sponge Cake: 150 calories; 5 grams of fat

Diet Mountain Dew: 0 calories; 0 grams of fat

Doritos Cool Ranch: 75 calories; 4 grams of fat

Kellogg's Corn Pops: 220 calories; 0 grams of fat

whole milk: 150 calories; 8 grams of fat

baby carrots: 18 calories; 0 grams of fat

Duncan Hines Family Style Brownie Chewy Fudge: 270 calories; 14 grams of fat

Little Debbie Zebra Cake: 160 calories; 8 grams of fat

Muscle Milk Protein Shake: 240 calories; 9 grams of fat

Totals: 1,589 calories and 59 grams of fat
MM said…
I agree that no one ate 80-10-10 (F-C-P). I've read quite a bit of Vilhjalmur Stefansson who lived with the Eskimo. I've found someone who has a PDF of one of his books.

Stefansson writes about how rabbit starvation was a real problem and they would always dip their lean meat in some kind of oil. However, I really doubt even doing this they were hitting 80% fat. Although the Eskimo weren't big veggie eaters, they did like berries. He also explains that no one drank oil straight, which a lot of the serious high-fatters seem to.

I guess my point is the Eskimo would come the closest to the keto diet, but they really don't seem to have hit it. Maybe during a famine when all they had to eat was oil and moss. How's that for salad? :)
Unknown said…
I've been testing Vit D a lot more recently, and I would say that 1/3 of the patients I test are truly what the IOM would consider deficient, meaning <20. People less than 15 even have a certain look, kind of hypothyroid (pale, bloated, tired, under eye circles). They just look sick, like something is off. I know that sounds woo as hell, but anyone who has spent enough time in hospitals and ERs will know what I mean. I live in the far northeast so we are much more likely to have deficiency, but still, I wouldn't underestimate it. Weirdly, I've unmasked four cases of hyperparathyroidism in the last 2 years with D supplementation for those who are <20.
Unknown said…

Glycogen storage capacity and de novo lipogenesis during
massive carbohydrate overfeeding in man
CarbSane said…
Hi Emily, As a psychiatrist, though, would you not say that perhaps you are seeing a segment of the population in which VitD deficiency might be more prevalent? I was looking into this once and for kids in a northern Canadian province tested in the ER it was something like 5%. That's from memory, I'll see if I can verify, but I do think it is sometimes overstated. That is not to say it's not VERY real. There's also quite a bit of evidence that with obesity, fat sequesters the VitD leading to deficiency not the other way around. Sigh. So many tangents ... so little time!
CarbSane said…
Thanks for those links. Perhaps I'll make a post in the upcoming Ancestral Healtydietsofrealpopulationswecanddocument (online) Symposium (of one) this weekend :D:D
CarbSane said…
Oil & Moss Diet ... LOL!
Alex said…
Venison isn't marbled like beef. I've watched a guy butchering deer in SE Iowa, and there are thick slabs of fat underneath the skin that were discarded because it's gamey tasting. A common practice when putting venison through a meat grinder is to add beef suet because it tastes better than deer fat, but that's a modern cultural value. Do you really think primitive hunter-gatherers threw away huge slabs of fat and ate only the lean muscle?
Galina L. said…
Oil and moss would look like 100% fat on a I checked my own fitday records, it is not difficult to get around 70% of fat even without avoiding completely carbs for me (here is an example - fat 135,5 gram, 85,5 grams of protein,42.3 grams of carbs. During that day besides eggs, butter, meat, salami and cream in my coffee, I also ate a tomato salad, a cabbage roll with meat and rice and a half of banana), for an Eskimo without assess to fruits and tubers it would be even easier to get close to 80% of fat in the diet. The season when they could get berries was really short.
CarbSane said…
Nope ... I think they ate it all, and in doing so the net percent content was well under 80% fat calories. One of the other points I've been trying to make -- dunno about SE Iowa, but here in the NorthEast -- is that "wild game" is probably a good deal fattier than in the true wild. For example, the deer used to bed in the open field, former farmland, behind our previous home. And here in relatively more built up suburbia I've seen some of the most magnificent bucks strut right through people's yards.
CarbSane said…
Hey Galina, Pretty sure the oil and moss salad was a (funny!) joke there ... but your menu makes my point. Butter, salami and cream -- none whole foods. The Eskimo ate mostly meat and the associated fat, but they ate the meat too.
Galina L. said…
I don't completely exclude modern foods, salami or prosciutto are like candies for me eaten occasionally for fun, I am not a bacon or cheese fan (I think prosciutto is better than a chocolate), but eggs, meat, olive oil and a butter I eat pretty much every day and out of such foods Eskimos probably had an assess to meat only, but they had a wheal and seal blabber, and a cold water fish is very fatty. When I gut and clean a salt herring (sold whole with head, skin and guts in Russian stores) there are a lot of globs of fat in the cavity and under skin. As I noticed, when I try to go into deep ketosis during days when migraines are most possible, and eat more fat intentionally, I eat spontaneously less meat. It is just a guess, but probably on the days when Eskimos ate more blabber, they went easier on meat.
I know a moss salad was a joke, it just I want to tell I noticed while playing with a Fitday that eating a lot of green salads or broccoli or sauerkraut (I put an olive oil into it) mostly adds fat as a nutrition agent. Probably, lettuce with olive oil is an almost nutritional tween of the moss with blabber.
Is is all just mine speculations, of course.
Dracil said…
I'm confused, where exactly are you seeing these paleo/ancestral people advocating 80-10-10 fat from? Or were those numbers just made up to match DR's 80-10-10 fruit diet?

If anything, over the months I've seen a general trend towards more carb intake in the paleo/ancestral community.
CarbSane said…
That's the point Dracil -- It's the low carbers mostly who are doing this "nutritional ketosis" thing lately, but it's just an extension of the "up the fat" trend. If cutting carbs to a minimum doesn't work, it must be that evil protein causing the problems (which goes against all of the science on satiety and insulin-sensitizing properties of protein, but who cares about that). Led by Jimmy Moore who self-identifies with Paleo since last year's AHS, low carbers are playing off the popularity of the paleo tag while not really walking the walk. Meanwhile, as you say, the paleo/ancestral community has been increasingly more carb tolerant and even promoting. The only paleo person I can think of who has been high fat, vlc, limited protein all along is Nora Gedgaudas.

This is exactly what I was talking about when I wrote in this post:

It's so very odd to me this disconnect between what has transpired since last year's AHS and the one upcoming in a couple of days, with its ultimate make-up of the presenters. There is a decided trend in the community towards either eating or acknowledging having eaten all along, diets what could be described as anywhere from moderate carb to high carb amongst those claiming paleo roots. Meanwhile the Taubes-inspired low carb wing has suffered set back upon crippling set back to all but the most blinded by dogma. Yet despite this, when one looks at the final speaker lists and the panel makeups, you could swear it was a program for AHS09 or something.

Or did you miss that?

The 80-10-10 was a "match" for the 80-10-10 of McDougall, but that's actually rather kind. Most doing the nutritional ketosis thing are doing something more akin to 85-10-5 or allocating an extra percent or two of carbs to protein. CANNOT be done with whole real foods.
CarbSane said…
Galina -- you are not eating an ancestral/paleo diet. Which is fine, I don't either. There are those who claim the mantle of doing so, however, and are also espousing nutritional ketosis requiring protein restriction on top of carb restriction and 80+ percent fat. If these people are gutting whole cold water fish and eating all the parts, and eating whole seals and such, then fine, but that's not what they are doing. It's butter, coconut oil, prime rib and pork bellies and such. Not paleo/ancestral whole foods.
MM said…
Well, honestly it's not entirely a joke. This is from Not By Bread Alone by Stephansson.

"Nobody drinks large swigs of oil, or at least this habit is not known among Eskimos." "...during one famine period where there were six Eskimos with me, five of whom ate oil soaked up with feathers or caribou hair, moss or tea leaves, to make a kind of salad."

I think I'd choose moss over caribou hair, but maybe it's an acquired taste. :)
CarbSane said…
Interesting and thanks for that MM. I can't tell you how many times on Jimmy's forum folks would invoke the Inuit and claim they carried flasks of seal oil to swig from on a regular basis. Eeeeewwww ... caribou hair?
Dracil said…
No, I saw that paragraph, but I didn't make the connection I guess. :)

I will say aside from the cost, I was turned off to going to AHS12 because I felt like I wouldn't agree with half the speakers there anyway.
CarbSane said…
Sorry if I snipped. I've got a post elaborating on some of the reasons I'm glad my husband's situation forced my hand to not attending, but I'm conflicted over whether or not it's worth posting. I'm darned if I do darned if I don't anyway. I would just like to see more talks and discussions applying known ancestral lifestyles to modern problems ... but heck, it's not my symposium.
Galina L. said…
Probably, my diet could be called a LC variation of grand-grandma diet, because in modern society not many people now eat organ meats, prepare fermented veggies (not a typical Neanderthal dish as well) and cook meat jellies (you need a pot, just a fire is not enough). May be I naturally belong to the Western Price Foundation society without joining them officially. I think, as a compromise, people who want to eat close to ancestral diet could be satisfied with the macro-nutrient composition they believe is appropriate. There are many healthy ancestral diets. It is if they are after health benefits and not playing some reenactment game. Probably for thous who are interested in the close imitation of Eskimo diet, I may recommend fat foods as a cod liver in a liver oil (sorry,it is in a can), whole salted herring, whole smoked cold water mackrel, salmon eggs. Eskimos didn't eat salt, but there is no time machine. All such foods are sold in most Eastern European stores.
The LC blogs I read do not advocate a deep ketosis all the time, and I do not think it is reasonable to aim for it without a good reason (we discussed it many times before). However, I think that eating close to ketosis may benefit more people than just epileptics, people who are diagnosed with Parkinson, or attempting a quick weight loss.
ItsTheWooo said…
It might be that mental patients with mental illnesses do not sleep normally or see sunlight or eat properly, therefore look like corpses, and also have low vit D levels. It may be that abnormal living patterns secondary to psych illnesses and poor social support systems cause sunlight deficiency (which leads to pallor) and also vitamin d deficiency.

Or, it may be that people who are severely vitamin D deficient eat very poor diets (again, due to the poor self care of mentally ill people) and are also anemic with insufficient b12 folate and iron and so are pale from that. I work with medical patients and typically that sort of sickly tired pallor look is related to anemia or blood loss from a bleed somewhere.

I would expect hyperparathyroidism to lead to vitamin D deficiency eventually due increased need for calcium absorption, so it may be that vitamin d insufficiency is pretty specific for hyperparathyroidism. The sad thing is you are catching it and not the GP, but then again most GPs don't run nutritional labs on patients even though they should, although most doctors where I work have started running vitamin D levels on patients due to all the press and hype surrounding it.
ItsTheWooo said…
Paleo is a ridiculous stupid concept with no validity.

It's pretty much the same, but opposite, as those online spats between vegetarians, piscearians, lacto-ovo-arians, vegans, frutarians, raw vegetarians, etc.

It's like a bunch of nutjobs sat around making shit up and writing it down electronically & disseminating it on blogs and forums, like a manic penning a religious manifesto. Then momentum builds and you have TEH ONLINE WARZ and factions and drama.

Same thing here. Ultimately it's all rooted in bee ess.

I eat low carb because it is theraputic. I could give a flying crap less if me eating raw almonds and flax seeds is paleo or not, or if sucralose is teh evil. All I know is when I eat "normally", and yes this includes moderate carb, stuff stops working, most notably my brain. My brain mostly works in ketosis though so thumbs up for that.

No one argues whether or not any other medical treatment is good or bad based on its "traditional" origin, so why the hell do we apply that standard to dietary therapies for illnesses? This just in, antibiotics aren't natural or paleo. Go die of a tooth abscess now GTFO.
OMG. Did you hear Nora's latest interview with jimmy moore. That was painful to listen to. Apparently we MIGHT not be harmed by the OCCASIONAL BITE of sweet potato, but she wasn't too certain. It seems anyone who eats more than this is some kind of glucose addict who's putting their life in jeopardy.
CarbSane said…
Welcome snr! Yes, I suffered through it. This glucose addict nonsense is getting more than just a bit annoying, it's downright offensive. I was wondering if she's always been like that (over the top) and went back and listened to her first podcast with Jimmy. She's mellowed a bit if anything.
It's truly unfortunate so many consider her any sort of authoritative voice. She was supposed to speak on starches @AHS12 but the title of her talk has changed in recent weeks -- but high fat or VLC is same side of the coin, eh?
CarbSane said…
@Charles: Great last 6/11 piece by Prof. Andro ... and here we are over a year later.

@Wooo: Whether you will actually listen to me when I say this or not, I'm saying it anyway -- I am supportive of the use of ketogenic diets for therapeutic purposes. I do however think that many (not necessarily you) attribute certain benefits to ketosis when they likely are not in ketosis. What I'm not supportive of is using such diets when not required. One way to look at this is let's say there's some supplement or drug shown effective in treating some condition, and a ketogenic diet is shown effective for same. But if a person doesn't have that condition, it makes no more sense to adopt a ketogenic diet than to take the supplement or drug.

Ketogenic diets are effective (in some) treatments for epilepsy. Should non-epileptics eat one to avoid becoming epileptic?

People can harp on me for "picking on" Jimmy Moore, but the fact remains that he is still very influential and is expanding that reach by selecting the experts he has on that new podcast. LC has been co-opting the paleo brand and this post was about that faction of militant low carbers who have done so (though some came from paleo) attempting to define the ancestral/paleo diet as increasingly low carb. But 80+% fat is incongruent with the supposed basis of paleo/ancestral.

I've said many times that I prefer ancestral, but the term isn't as catchy, but this sort of very high fat diet not a traditional human diet. It's not a natural diet for a rat either, and we see what it does to them. Personally I think looking to paleolithic humans for answers to this very recent epidemic is a little silly ... especially when there are so many examples of populations who go from traditional diets to the SAD and develop these problems. Blaming just the carbs served at McD's -- be it the sugary soda or the bun and potatoes in the fries -- for the obesity epidemic is even more silly. So, too, is blaming the EPIDEMIC (not all obesity, the EPIDEMIC) on some endocrinological fat cells gone wild theory.

That said, there are reasons to eat differently anyway. I would point out that keto diets were often dominated by O6 PUFA (corn oil) which has always been stuck in the back of my mind with the PUFA amount and ratio concerns.
bentleyj74 said…
So you more than anyone are offended by the BS/religious/inaccurate/insert fallacy here that distracts away from the therapeutic aspect.

I agree about paleo etc but a person would have to be willfully blind not to recognize all of those elements in LC.
Sanjeev said…
did anyone NOT see this coming?

or click here

and another time we touched on what's happening ... or click here

It's Jimmy's story writ large. well ... larGER. [0][1]

I personally wonder if there have been some political "nights of the long knives", purges and putches at some of the paleo organizations.

[0] yes it's a cheap shot ... sue me
[1] rim shot, laugh track
bentleyj74 said…

Loads of farmers complain about the deer nosing around in their crops. What crops you ask? Soy and So those who hunt deer for sport probably know what their getting already...those who hunt out of misguided belief that those deer are somehow pristine [let's not forget about nosing through the trash and befouled water as well] well...they are getting their just deserts so to speak.
Unknown said…

Jimmy Moore ‏@livinlowcarbman
If you get the health lab data, then you've got to educate. #AHS12 ~ I'm writing a consumer's guide to reading cholesterol tests.

Jimmy Moore ‏@livinlowcarbman
Attia: Atheroschlerosis is brought on by the presence of a sterol inside an arterial wall taken over by a macrophage. Nothing more. #AHS12
Woodey said…
I wonder what their reaction will be when they see him waddle off the plane. "I have arrived people. I am the savior to overweight people, because I know the secret to living a healthy skinny lifestyle."
Woodey said…
Great the retard is going to write a guide that is going to help people...."An Idiot's Idiot Guide to Good Health" would be an appropriate title. No doubt it will be endorsed as sound science by Tom "S**thead" Naughton.
CarbSane said…
Perhaps we could avoid the "retard" stuff? Nobody, it seems, is surprised by Jimmy's weight any more, and many/most have chosen to decline public comment in exchange for what he can do for them in the community. Private snickering -- or not so private at times -- however is rampant, and unsettling to say the least.

Now to the meat of these comments which is what sort of book Jimmy Moore is going to write on cholesterol. He has repeatedly exclaimed how his excessive LDL is the "protective" fluffy kind. It is interesting he tweeted about particle number that Attia apparently spent some time on in his talk. Jimmy's LDL-P was quite through the roof back in 2009 ... over 2000. Yet he was hanging his hat on having fluffy LDL. While large LDL pattern may be less associated with risk -- as in "less atherogenic" -- I've yet to see it described as "protective" in the way that higher HDL is often described.

Miss Cleo dons her hat and speculates: Moore approaches Attia to write a forward to his book. Attia agrees. Win-win except for those who buy the book.
CarbSane said…
BTW, his LDL-P was 2130 when his TC was 351 ... it's likely higher now as his latest reported TC was like 385.
ItsTheWooo said…
I was speaking of the different paleo factions, which includes low carb diets. Generally those who assume everyone needs to eat a low carb diet believe this because they are convinced it is the true human diet, i.e. they are paleo. People who low carb to lose weight quickly generally could care less whether or not other people follow low carb.

I do not at all believe everyone needs to follow a low carb diet. I do, however, believe a lot of us who need to follow low carb diets are not following them.
Woodey said…
Yes I will refrain from using that word. Good perspective on people using Jimmy as a means to an end. I overlooked that aspect of it and thought the people he had on his show took him seriously.
Unknown said…
My last NMR blood test was on 5/10/12

TC - 254
LDL-C 188

LDL-P 1500
Small LDL-P 127

HDL-P 28.5

HDL-C 59
Trig 36

Insulin Resistance Score (LP-IR) 6 S/B <=45
Unknown said…
so - Jimmy has taken statin drugs in the past - this I did not know

Jimmy Moore

Posts: 7,592
Joined: Apr 2008
Post: #6RE: Got my NMR LipoProfile Results
Mark, thanks for your input and welcome to my forum! However, I refuse to go on a statin drug because it has caused real harm to my body in the past. Sure, the drugs were Crestor and Lipitor and not this "low-dose" version, but I'm not interested in that. I disagree that people HAVE to take a statin to improve their lipids. I've discussed my own personal numbers with a noted low-carb researcher and practitioner at Duke University in Durham, NC named Dr. Eric Westman. While he noted the LDL-P is higher than normal, the small LDL-P being a minuscule 30 along with HDL over 50 and triglycerides under 100 said there is nothing to be alarmed about at all.

Several other of the world's best health experts I have interviewed on my podcast show agreed with this analysis, including Dr. William Davis, Dr. Jim LaValle, Dr. John Salerno, and Dr. Mary C. Vernon, among many others. While there are plenty of medical professionals who would agree with your analysis of my situation as well as berserkertooth, like Dr. Dean Ornish and my upcoming podcast interview guest Dr. Michael Ozner, I don't think telling people they have to resort to taking a statin drug with their low-carb lifestyle is the answer. I'd be happy to talk to you today, so feel free to e-mail me at so we can arrange a time to chat.
perishedcore said…
Catching up, Evelyn, after a day of volunteering and gawking at AHS. I am doing my best to channel you as I "offer" suggestions for future symposia to the conference honchos. But 1st impressions:
Demographics: Overwhelmingly of child bearing age, white, wealthy, college educated, insular, libertarian, dismissive of government, not public health or community oriented. They are like Shakers and are practicing a celibacy of sorts.

The dichotomy between the scientists and the snake oilers (high fat, with added sweetness but no protein - all marketing/sales) is tremendous.

Seeing some of the non scientist bloggers in action is enlightening (but won't be lightening my wallet)

This crowd practices ageism and sexism (ask me how I know).

Unless the Ancestral Health Society gets its programming aligned with its mission, vision and values, it's going to flop.

The Harvard Food Law Society as a synposium co sponsor branded this symposium all over the place. But for those who are locals, Harvard's name signifies being highly marketed, and it does not refer to legitimacy or quality.

And BTW, Boston's mayor just announced a 5 million dollar pot RFPs for healthy communities demonstration projects. Think any of the honchos at this thing are interested? A million little excuses (with noses in the stratosphere and hands pristinely clean and uncontaminated with the nasties of "those" communities and their SAD residents...)

CarbSane said…
Jimmy is now blaming his predicament on getting too much expert advice ... I kid you not! Most people who just listen to his podcasts or read the occasional blog have NO clue what this guy is really all about. The true story was in the menus blog.

I'm NO fan of statins and will never take one. BUT, his doctors today would proclaim him no more metabolically healthy and/or in need of statins than back then ... and that is the issue.
Oh lord. Her tone of voice and certainty alone make me cringe. She also stated she has some kind of cult following in Australia. As an Australian I find that deeply disturbing. Although it's not surprising considering I've noticed an increase in the "I lost weight on low-carb so Gary taubes is the almighty nutritional demigod" folks taking over the comments sections of local news websites.
I'll have to look see for her book (presumably in the science fiction section judging by her interview) next time i'm at the library just for a giggle.
Love the blog btw. Have you done any blog posts on nora besides this one?
Unknown said…
another jimmy moore tweet

Jimmy Moore ‏@livinlowcarbman
Ede: There are some people who don't do well with vegetables. Many people may need to eat a more meat-based diet. Experiment! #AHS12
Galina L. said…
There are indeed some people who are better off without too much fiber. My husband is a good example. He is not a LC guy, but if he were, probably his diet would be meat and eggs-based.
Unknown said…
Jimmy Moore ‏@livinlowcarbman
@chriskresser Thank you for looking I to the testosterone cream/iron overload issue. I've cut red meat & give blood every 2 months already.
Greg said…
Evelyn: the grass fed beef I eat is not lean. As I understand it from the farmers that raise this meat, grass fed beef will be lean if the animals are slaughtered in their second year, which is almost always the case with grass finished beef (grain finished fatten quickly and can be slaughtered even earlier). If you give grass fed animals a third year (as Grazin' Angus in New York does), they can put on another 400 pounds. This is very expensive so hardly anyone does it, but much of the added weight is fat, including marbling in cuts like the rib eye. If you are ever in Union Square for the farmers market, you can take a look.

This farm is also raising Black Angus, bred for marbling, so genetics is a factor. Even still, the fattiest cuts like brisket are probably no where near 80% fat.
Christine said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
CarbSane said…
I removed a comment by Christine & Mike regarding the mean spirited nature of Woodey's comment and inquiring as to my weight. Not for content, but because 2.5 months have passed and I'm not sure the person who left the comment has the time to read at the moment. As to my weight's relevance? When I write a book with a subtitle "fantastically fat to sensationally skinny" ... it will be relevant.
Puddleg said…
i think storing fat was a mammoth adaptation to the cold, and some of the anatomical differences between mammoth and elephants were due to these fat stores, just from memory.
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Dave78 said…
I am doing an 80% fat diet to treat a neurological disorder & also insulin resistance. So far it has been amazing for me, and it has totally killed my appetite. I was previously so hungry, that I would eat until vomiting.
EnglishRose said…
Yes, same here. I can be as healthy though if I eat sweet potato more too but I want to lose weight. Fat is good. More and more research is showing that. It can stop epilepsy. It helps curb dementia. It is just full of what we need and yet we've demonised it for so long.
By the way we do nto all eat dairy. I eat a lot of fat but it's mostly animal fat, "pork belly" slices, beef with lots of fat on, bacon, eggs.
carbsane said…
Fat is not bad, fat is also not universally good. More and more research is showing that reasonable amounts of fats are basically neutral to health. It can stop epilepsy? Yes, in SOME. It can curb dementia? This is largely unproven at this point. Full of what we need? Many fats contain few nutrients.

Children with epilepsy on keto diets do not follow them forever, and they are not without side effects from growth retardation, to kidney stones, to menstrual irregularities and fertility issues for the girls, etc.

Pork belly is also not the same as seal oil which is another point about the uber high fat diets where they have been used. Unless you are living in a cold harsh environment and eating cold mammal fats, you are betting on the unsubstantiated health claims of profiteers. I'm pointing that out. Everyone is free to make their own informed decisions. I wish you well in yours.
StupidPolice said…
Ketosis is working for me in endurance sports - I no longer "hit the wall" if I don't eat and don't have to keep stuffing my face with sticky, expensive supplements until I'm sick. I get no energy dips - during or after exercise - even working as hard as possible for up to 8 hours. I can race for an hour with heart rate at over 95% maximum (average) and still carry on for another several hours afterwards - all on a very low carb diet. You don't have to eat high fat to stay in ketosis when exercising like this either - you can eat lots of pure sugar if you like after a couple of hours into the workout and you will remain in ketosis. Fasting also puts you into ketosis and our ancestors did a lot of that - constantly. Fat is less than half the weight of carbs or protein so our nomadic ancestors would surely have appreciated that fact - and it's durable! The body manufactures its own carbs so what's wrong with you! Carbs are just simply a non-essential macro nutrient. Get over it.
carbsane said…
You can go on about essentiality all you want. The anthropological record has been "evolving" so-to-speak to elucidate more and more evidence for starch consumption. Endurance sports aren't paleo :-)