Author Topic: The Zero Carb Myth: Why a zero carb diet is not optimal for human health  (Read 27655 times)

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Offline aem42290

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Initial conjectures related to life span on a ZC/VLC diet

By and large, carnivorous mammals across the world exhibit lower average lifespans than omnivorous creatures. This may be due to countless variables, but the fact that these creatures survive for smaller periods of time may indicate that mammalian bodies are not well-adapted to purely carnivorous diets, even when the carnivores have been consuming such diets for a very long time. Further, archaeological records have demonstrated that only about 25% of early humans and Neanderthals made it beyond 40 years of age. We should take into account the fact that Neanderthals and early humans were known to have consumed predominantly carnivorous diets, and that the ice age during the Neanderthal’s reign probably made the routine consumption of plant-based foods difficult. The following text critically questions the value of a ZC/VLC diet in relation to optimal human performance. If a ZC/VLC diet is not optimal for a human, then the lower life span (and increased brain size) of these ancient humans may be justified by their decreased access to abundant plant foods. Note: I will use VLC/ZC to refer to diets that consistently contain less than 30g carbohydrates on a daily basis.
***

For any intrigued readers, here is what I am doing at the moment to respond to heart issues following a fairly lengthy zero carb/very low carb diet. I have included the carefully thought-out conclusions that I arrived at to justify my actions.

After dealing with my problem, and reading up on a great deal of scientific studies and informal experiences, I've decided to cut the ZC (well, ZC insofar as there weren't any plant foods, for there were certainly a healthy amount of organs) experiment short, and start consuming a reasonable amount of carbs per day (50-100g).

Why?

The body is an intricate series of processes that are disjointed, collaborative, and oftentimes unpredictable. Historically, humans have adapted to our environments in curious manners. Any mono diet (even a near-perfectly calibrated mono meat diet) has the tendency to deal with corporal processes in a similar manner to the dreaded techniques of Western medicine: in a homogenizing, mechanical fashion. Let me unravel this bold assertion.

The following three dilemmas are fairly in alignment with the "old friends" theory that Paleophil has presented on these forums for quite some time. His call to challenge chronic ZC should intelligently be taken into consideration in light of the emergence of certain questionable physical circumstances for numerous offal-ingesting, carnivorous ZCers (myself included.) I will tie these three dilemmas into a cohesive argument at the end of this post.

First dilemma: Evolution, rapid brain expansion, and the historical transition to a predominantly carnivorous lifestyle

Having studied evolutionary anatomy, I can confidently say that the human body has not evolved in an absolutely unified manner throughout the last few millennia. If we believe the scientific disciplines (that most of us agree with on some points) in arguing that humans were primarily plant-eaters before carnivores, and that our brains became much larger during our carnivorous days, then we arrive at a conundrum: the expansion of the human brain's size occurred very rapidly, evolutionarily speaking. This initial expansion happened because a primarily herbivorous species (ancient humans equipped with a plant-oriented bacterial flora and bodily qualities prepared to metabolize plant-foods) chose to substantially increase their raw meat consumption, viz. hunting and scavenging. In response to--and in consequence of--heightened meat intake and anatomical specificities (opposable thumbs, etc.), the human brain became incredibly refined and potent. We are obviously still basking in the brain-expanding glory of this momentous carnivorous evolutionary trajectory; albeit, of course, we should question for how long we will be able to do this, collectively, considering the quality of the modern human's diet (namely, the absence of raw meats/fats/offal, as well as the presence of genetically modified, anti-nutrient-laden plant-foods.) The point here is that the enlargement of the human brain occurred, at least in an evolutionary time-scale, at an accelerated and atypical rate. Such an expansion of cognitive functions was atypical in that it did not reflect directly on our physical bodies; we did not grow massive fangs or claws to hunt down and slaughter large game; rather, we created tools, and used our newfound intellectual abilities to skillfully dispose of our subjects. Similarly, other attributes of our bodies did not evolve as quickly as our brains. Which brings me to the second dilemma.

Second dilemma: The divergent evolution hypothesis (similar to the ‘old friend’ theory)

Bacterial processes in the body account for much of the health of the human. The inhabitants of our gut flora, for one, provide us with the accoutrements necessary to digest nutrients, synthesize vitamins, neurotransmitters, and immune cells. Other bacterial-human symbiotic relationships offer what is a long list of relatively unexplored, distinctive benefits for organ systems (bacteria on the skin serve specific functions, and so on.) For the most part, the bacterial microbiome of the body is at the core of the animal’s ability to function properly. Without an optimally functioning microbiome, the human is exposed to dire environmental dangers that will rapidly deteriorate living systems. This truth has been demonstrated by numerous studies on the importance of a thriving microbiome, and the functionality of different gut floras is specifically being researched at the moment by the human microbiome project (which I urge all of us to look into, if even for the sole sake of criticism.)

Back to the brain. If we agree that the human brain indeed expanded in such a rapid manner—as is evidenced by the archaeological record—and that ancient humans decided to maximize meat intake at the potential expense of plant-foods, then what we must recognize is that the human microbiome (that is, the bacterial underpinnings of the body, such as the gut flora and other bacterial agents) of the ancestral, predominantly herbivorous humans, more likely than not failed to properly catch up to the accelerated evolution of cognitive structures—mainly because the microbiome had no need to catch up; ancient humans were still consuming at least some plant-foods. What occurred, in effect, was that the enduring plant-dependent (in that they had thrived on plant-foods for millennia) bacterial entities within the ancient human bodies were quickly, over the course of a few thousand years, forced to confront a vastly different set of digestive demands—those of predominantly carnivorous diets—in order to properly account for the newly-modified consumption practices of the rapidly changing humans. In response to such evolutionary stressors, the human microbiome, which was at one moment well-adapted to an optimal herbivorous functionality, cracked, adapted, and ceded to carnivorous demands.

The cracks and adaptations exhibited by a historically herbivorous human microbiome as it collides with a carnivorous ZC/VLC diet have appeared for different dieters in interesting forms (specifically on these forums.) Personally, I dealt with heart issues, constipation, diarrhea, and reduced bowel movements at different points throughout my VLC/ZC experiment. I followed the diet as properly as possible: minimized raw protein, increased fat, ate lots of raw offal, etc. The diarrhea and constipation were sparse, but the reduced bowel movements were constant. I attributed this, as many others have done, to the supposedly commonsensical reduction of bowel contents on a raw ZC/VLC diet. But soon I realized that even on a low fiber diet, feces is not constituted primarily by metabolic waste: feces is predominantly bacteria by mass. This made me seriously question the underlying implications of the assertion that excrement inevitably decreases when ZC/VLC. What seems to be decreasing on a ZC/VLC carnivorous diet is the actual mass of the bacterial entities in the gut. The livelihood of these organisms, which evolutionarily have remained dependent on the human’s consumption of plant-based foods, is put in peril by the absence of plant-based products.

Some will argue that the human gut flora—only a single aspect of the microbiome, but indubitably the most important—does not need plant-based foods to survive; these same people might argue that the herbivorous gut flora hypothesis is merely a myth: that humans on a ZC/VLC diet can simply reconstitute their gut floras, and create a purely carnivorous microbiome. There is no evidence to support the claim that the human gut flora, evolutionarily and historically nurtured by plant-based foods, thrives under carnivorous ZC/VLC conditions. In fact, there is a striking amount of evidence to the contrary.

According to recent research compiled by Dr. Jeff Leach, the gut flora of chronic LC dieters demonstrates fairly poor traits in relation to known optimal conditions. Truly, what we know about gut floras in rather limited compared to our general anatomical knowledge, but the fact remains that serious changes are occurring in our guts when we drastically reduce the intake of carbohydrates. These changes, taken in total and observed anecdotally and scientifically, seem to point toward a reduction in the total numbers of bacterial symbiotic agents in the guts of ZC/VLC subjects.

Third dilemma: ketosis, gluconeogenesis, brain glucose requirements, and the optimal human diet

There are numerous indicators and pieces of evidence that corroborate the above hypothesis concerning the fragmented evolution of the brain in relation to the rest of the body. In order to properly dispel the myth that ZC is the optimal human state, we will first need to consider a variety of arguments. To begin with, let’s analyze the main metabolic structures involved in the ZC diet--gluconeogenesis and ketosis--and their different properties in relation to the human brain.

A) On a very basic level, scientific studies of the brain demonstrate that it demands a certain amount of glucose each day. When in a deep ketogenic mode (as most ZC dieters are), the brain refuses to consume 100% glucose, and demands that the liver produce glucose for its minimum sustenance requirements viz. gluconeogenesis—a process which many of us are familiar with, and which involves the cleaving of amino acids to generate glucose. Gluconeogenesis is a liver-intensive process that is modulated by glucagon, cortisol, insulin, and various other interconnected hormonal pathways. The very fact that gluconeogenesis is associated to cortisol levels should send up some red flags: gluconeogenesis is tough work, and our bodies will avoid activating the metabolic pathway unless absolutely forced to do so. In fact, glucose is stored as glycogen in fairly high quantities (around 500-1000+ calories, depending on the person) in the liver, brain, and to a lesser extent, in muscles, to prevent the body from having to generate glucose via gluconeogenesis. It is evident from the body’s attempts at quarantining and preserving glucose that it does not want to have to turn water into wine (protein into glucose) constantly. Functionally, the body is far more interested in granting the brain its glucose requirements without overstressing the liver, which is already responsible for enough metabolic processes. This makes sense, because sugars aren’t too difficult to come by in most environments (arctic north excluded, but we’ll tackle that in a moment), and there’s no reason why the brain should be denied its 30g of glucose per day. Unless, of course, something has gone wrong.

B) In the deep ketogenic near-total absence of glucose, the body engages in gluconeogenesis and, to a lesser degree, the production of glucose from fatty acids, to supply the brain with its minimum glucose needs. Both are relatively tolling tasks compared to the simple absorption of free-floating blood glucose, or the consumption of glycogen for glucose. And what about the other organs? When in a deep ketogenic state, the heart will effectively utilize ketone bodies for energy, as will most other organs (although the heart itself prefers fatty acids, which haven’t been cleaved into ketones.) The functionality of the non-brain organs while in deep ketosis isn’t much of a surprise, considering that ketosis is an ancient metabolic state, and the body evolved to withstand ketogenic periods for a fair amount of time (in order to support the probable nomadic lifestyles and difficult environmental conditions of our predecessors.) Despite the capacity of the organs to utilize ketones effectively for extended periods, the brain will continue to refuse to convert entirely to a 100% ketone-driven mode. Of course, having to produce only 30g of glucose per day via gluconeogenesis is not a dire or critically exhaustive task. Carnivorous ZCers and very, very LCers will argue that this is not a stressful process at all; it is natural and beneficial. The specific stress of the generation of 30g of glucose via gluconeogenesis is not particularly relevant for my argument. Instead, the main issue here is that even when a body is in deep ketosis, the brain refuses to sacrifice its glucose requirements entirely, and it will call upon a strenuous metabolic pathway to make certain that its own needs are satisfied. The brain demands glucose—not ketone bodies. If ketosis were the default and optimal metabolic state of the human body, then why would the brain make such absurd demands?

There is a simple explanation for this: deep ketosis is not the human’s default and optimal metabolic state. We arrive at this conclusion by determining that the human’s dominant organ, the brain, refuses to survive on ketones alone, and the body will go to great extents to quarantine and protect glucose reserves, as well as produce its own glucose when no other sources are available. Instead of conceiving of deep ketosis as a default optimal state, I encourage you to understand that ketosis is a metabolic state which is mobilized to deal with the sustained absence of an organ system’s minimum nutritional/glucose requirements, and which serves to heighten certain physical processes to facilitate the procurement of the nutritional agents needed for the production of said glucose needs. Nutritional agents come in one of four forms:

1) Through the consumption of a large protein-heavy meal (not favorable, because then the body will need to switch on gluconeogenesis to make glucose from the protein that remains after feeding core skeletomuscular processes, and the excess protein will need to be excreted via the kidneys to prevent toxicity, which may place a large stress on the urinary system.) Note that various ZCers and very LCers have dealt with kidney stones in the past, and that the carnivorous ZC/ultra VLC diet typically calls for abhorrent amounts of daily fluid intake (wholly against what would be expected in a non-domesticated environment.)

As an added note, in the absence of glucose, the body calls on the kidneys to flush out stored water and electrolytes from cells (the reasons for this are various. My personal perspective is that, on a fundamental level, the body releases water because it wishes to be lighter so as to make long distance traveling while in a deep ketogenic state easier.)

2) Through the activation of the TCA cycle, and the marshaling of the acetyl-COA metabolic chain, following the consumption of a large fat-heavy meal without protein (not favorable for similar reasons as above, and in fact rather unnatural, considering that fat is almost always found with some protein.)

3) Through the ingestion of carbohydrates. (Simple, basic, and clean. Breakdown of glucose occurs in the animal cells themselves in a direct and rapid process which involves commonly discussed hormones.) Water is the end result of the burning of carbohydrates. The ingestion of carbohydrates to meet the brain’s minimum requirements is favorable because the liver does not need to actively reconfigure amino acids to produce sugar, and it is involved in this process only marginally through the storage of excess glucose, the secretion of hormones, etc.

4) Through the breakdown of body fat and lean protein tissues. (Not optimal for obvious reasons. The body does not want to consume itself. This is a desperation measure.)

Summary of dilemma #3: The human brain can only utilize ketones to a certain extent, and it requires approximately 30g of glucose daily to survive. ZC/V-VLC dieters typically stay in deep ketosis, thereby forcing their bodies to generate glucose via gluconeogenesis. In the absence of glucose, the human body activates a series of metabolic pathways that are in no way optimal or efficient from a thermodynamics perspective (the reconfiguration of amino acids to create glucose, for one, requires a substantial amount of energy). The livers and excretory systems of ZC/VLCers bear the burden of having to deal with the production of glucose from proteins (a non-optimal process), as well as shouldering the significant electrolyte changes that occur during deep ketosis, the latter of which evolutionarily may exist to simply facilitate the acquisition of glucose during difficult nutritional periods.

But what about the Inuit, whose consumption of a ZC/VLC diet has been stressed by advocates of deep ketosis constantly?

The Inuit, in those old days before the arrival of the European colonials, were able to thrive in the coldest parts of the north by making full use of their livers in the absence of glucose. In studies conducted in the 1930s, the Inuit were shown to consume large amounts of protein (250g+ per day) which exceeded their daily skeletomuscular requirements. Whether in ketosis or not (this has been a point of contention for some scholars), the large consumption of dietary protein kept the Inuit out of a fully ketogenic state, even though this metabolic reality came with an increased burden on their livers. Over the course of numerous generations and in response to the demands of a high level of protein consumption, the livers of the Inuits grew larger than those of most modern humans. Such an enlargement of the liver evidences the heightened level of stress on this particular organ due to a high protein diet. From an anatomically logical standpoint, the body will not aggrandize any component that it can use efficiently unless there is a need to augment its size in order to preserve homeostasis. In the case of the Inuit, elevated and prolonged states of gluconeogenesis made serious demands on livers, and this resulted in the general expansion of the organ. The Inuit express specific physical adaptations to a high protein, VLC/ZC diet that most followers do not possess. Even if a VLC/ZC subject consumes a low protein, high fat diet, this would still not represent an optimal metabolic state as per the basic principles which I have already discussed. The example of the Inuit is critical to emphasize because it represents the extent to which the ZC/VLC carnivorous diet is anti-optimal for most subjects; the Inuit were not in deep ketosis (in that their protein intake allowed for gluconeogenesis), and they certainly had larger livers to cope with the added metabolic stressors. One of the pitfalls of the ZC/VLC diet is that if a subject consumes too little protein, i.e., not enough to meet core daily skeletomuscular requirements, then it doesn’t matter if they eat large amounts of fat—the brain will demand its glucose, and it will pull the glucose from the very tissues of the body if it must.

Summaries and Conclusions: Making sense of the three dilemmas in concert

The first dilemma presented us with the disjointed evolution of the human body throughout the different historical moments that have led to the emergence of large and powerful brains. According to rigorous and respectable scientific studies, humans began as predominantly herbivorous mammals, and later acquired the desire to pursue predominantly animal proteins for subsistence. Beginning with the Middle Pleistocene, the brains of our ancestors increased in size substantially and swiftly, thereby reflecting the acquisition of carnivorous habits. This accelerated evolutionary increase in brain mass occurred over a period of several thousand years (documented by Ruff, Trinkaus et al. 1997), and likely was not accompanied by an accelerated evolution of the human microbiome. However, explicit symptoms of such a disjointed evolution did not emerge within ancient human populations because many of these groups consumed appreciable (30-100g+ carbohydrates) amounts of plant-based foods in addition to raw high-fat/meat/offal carnivorous diets (this is what I consider an optimal diet, for it keeps the body out of deep ketosis, in a fat-adapted state, and allows for the critically important microbiome/gut flora to subsist, and, indeed, thrive.) Alarmingly, though, within recent ZC/VLC experiments, evidence for disjointed evolution of the gut/brain systems is revealed by numerous symptoms which are both anecdotally and formally recorded. These symptoms include, for many dieters, the apparent overall reduction of bowel movements, which seems to reflect on the decrease of total bacterial biomass within otherwise healthy subjects. Purposefully limiting daily carbohydrate intake is an unheard of practice in extant and historical hunter-gatherer populations. The symptoms and evidence presented by the bodily problems of chronic ZC/VLC illuminates a particularly troubling—and at the same time scientifically fascinating—reality: while the human brain thrives on diets high in meats and fats (particularly raw meats and fats), the microbiome of our bodies does not fare particularly well under deep ketogenic/ZC/VLC conditions. Following arguments made in the second and third dilemmas, I feel that it is safe to conclude that deep ketogenic diets are not only anti-optimal for long-term subsistence (in regards to the efficiency and stress-levels placed on basic and emergency metabolic pathways, i.e., stress on the liver, kidney, etc.), but are also rather harmful to the overall health of the human subject (namely, by considerably altering the structures of a gut flora that evolved divergently in regards to other bodily organs such as the brain, and which remains nearly-exclusively dependent on nutrients derived from certain plant-based foods.)

Offline van

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I appreciate the thought put into this 'thesis'.   May I suggest that you post this to Ron Rosedale, he has a blog, and see if he'd care to respond to your conclusions.   I for one would love to see his response.  I think it would add value as I'm sure, if he did respond, he would include some science to ponder over. 
    One of the difficulties of using say the Inuit as a barometer is that they didn't eat for longevity, except you might call it longevity of the moment, or simply to survive the day.     Another way to say this is, I wouldn't use a wine drinking alcoholic to study the health benefits of wine.
    There may never have been any group of peoples who knew how to use diet to maximize longevity.    For sure we know of no strictly raw eating peoples..    That is why I say one has to dig deeper, or be willing to experiment with one's self.    But please, blog Ron, see if he'll respond.   thanks

Offline aem42290

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I appreciate the thought put into this 'thesis'.   May I suggest that you post this to Ron Rosedale, he has a blog, and see if he'd care to respond to your conclusions.   I for one would love to see his response.  I think it would add value as I'm sure, if he did respond, he would include some science to ponder over. 
    One of the difficulties of using say the Inuit as a barometer is that they didn't eat for longevity, except you might call it longevity of the moment, or simply to survive the day.     Another way to say this is, I wouldn't use a wine drinking alcoholic to study the health benefits of wine.
    There may never have been any group of peoples who knew how to use diet to maximize longevity.    For sure we know of no strictly raw eating peoples..    That is why I say one has to dig deeper, or be willing to experiment with one's self.    But please, blog Ron, see if he'll respond.   thanks

Hey, Van. Thanks for your response and for your (earlier) reply to my PM. Really appreciate it.

I agree, we do need to continue experimenting. I wrote this thesis to dispel the notion that ZC diets are optimal/healthy long term. I feel strongly about this, considering that the diet eventually took a silent and fairly insidious toll on my body. Hence why I thought it'd be meaningful to share my knowledge with this excellent community.

How would I go about posting this to his blog? Should I leave it as a comment to any specific threads?


Offline TylerDurden

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This post is wholly inappropriate for the ZC forum. I will put it in the hot topics forum instead.
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" Ron Paul.

Offline aem42290

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This post is wholly inappropriate for the ZC forum. I will put it in the hot topics forum instead.

Tyler,
With all due respect, I believe that putting this post in the "hot topics" section is unjust. Inappropriate in what sense? What I have written is a reflexively critical piece that deals with ZC diets directly. Is there no place for intellectual criticism on these forums? I do believe that those on a ZC diet have the right to be exposed to what is on the other side of the fence. Moving this post to "hot topics" seems almost punitive.

Offline Alive

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aem42290,
I am wondering if you gained  benefits initially from VLC that were worthwhile, and if you had started to very slowly increase carbs early on that might have worked well?

I have been interested in reading the research of Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet (The Perfect Health Diet book). In regards to carbs their findings are that the ideal is 30% of energy from carbs (Typically ~600 calories), from 'safe starches' like potatoes, rice and bananas, to provide for the bodies glucose needs, and the rest from fat.

Here is Paul's investigation of ideal glucose levels for longevity and dialog with Ron Rosedale:
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/11/safe-starches-symposium-dr-ron-rosedale/

Offline Eric

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Is there no place for intellectual criticism on these forums?

From the standpoint of most of the moderators, the answer to this question is unfortunately "NO". It doesn't surprise me at all that this thread was banished to the 'Hot Topics' section, although I personally think it was fine in the ZC section.
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Offline goodsamaritan

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Is there no place for intellectual criticism on these forums?

Yes, there is room for criticism, this thread was not deleted not censored, this is why this raw paleo diet forum exists and Tyler and the other mods try to keep a balance.

There are those who really follow the zero carb thing and it works for them and just to respect what is working for them, criticisms are placed in the hot topics section.

I am not a zero carber, but I respect this zero carb section.

I whole heartedly agree with many points of the very very nicely written piece.  Thank you. 

And I would have to agree with Tyler it still belongs to the hot topics section.

« Last Edit: May 20, 2014, 10:38:31 pm by goodsamaritan »
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Offline aem42290

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Yes, there is room for criticism, this thread was not deleted not censored, this is why this raw paleo diet forum exists and Tyler and the other mods try to keep a balance.

There are those who really follow the zero carb thing and it works for them and just to respect what is working for them, criticisms are placed in the hot topics section.

I am not a zero carber, but I respect this zero carb section.

I whole heartedly agree with many points of the very very nicely written piece.  Thank you. 

And I would have to agree with Tyler it still belongs to the hot topics section.

Thank you for your kind response, GS. For the many years that I've been lurking these forums, I have consistently found your nutritional suggestions to be highly useful and well-balanced.

My point of contention remains that I believe ZCers (and ex-ZCers, such as myself) should be exposed to critical arguments directly--out of respect, even. What is respect if not the desire to take someone's actions seriously enough to critique them?

aem42290,
I am wondering if you gained  benefits initially from VLC that were worthwhile, and if you had started to very slowly increase carbs early on that might have worked well?

I have been interested in reading the research of Paul and Shou-Ching Jaminet (The Perfect Health Diet book). In regards to carbs their findings are that the ideal is 30% of energy from carbs (Typically ~600 calories), from 'safe starches' like potatoes, rice and bananas, to provide for the bodies glucose needs, and the rest from fat.

Here is Paul's investigation of ideal glucose levels for longevity and dialog with Ron Rosedale:
http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2011/11/safe-starches-symposium-dr-ron-rosedale/


Thank you for this information. I will be looking into the research shortly. At a quick glance, it seems that this website offers some very intelligent pieces of advice, and that, generally, arguments are grounded in rigorous scientific studies.

As for the viability of a ZC diet, I do believe that the temporary elimination of plant-foods offers a therapeutic value for many people, specifically those who are metabolically deranged (GS has stated this before as well.) The body in deep ketosis will choose to keep only the strongest of cells. This culling  process has obvious benefits. However, for the long-term subsistence of a human, the ZC diet comes attached to some critical and alarming factors.


Offline van

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Hey, Van. Thanks for your response and for your (earlier) reply to my PM. Really appreciate it.

I agree, we do need to continue experimenting. I wrote this thesis to dispel the notion that ZC diets are optimal/healthy long term. I feel strongly about this, considering that the diet eventually took a silent and fairly insidious toll on my body. Hence why I thought it'd be meaningful to share my knowledge with this excellent community.

How would I go about posting this to his blog? Should I leave it as a comment to any specific threads?


  I don't know,, I have never entered a post there.  Why not just give it a try in whatever way you think might get to him.    And for the record,  I wouldn't move this to hot topics.    You've entered something quite valuable for all of us to ponder.    The zero carb diet is a man made phenomena.   I do well on a diet very very low in carbs, but better with the inclusion of foods that apparently add fiber, minerals, and prebiotics to my gut.  I'm a big fan of seaweeds, garlic, leeks,  radishes,  pumpkin seeds, lemons (very ripe meyers for bit C)  kale when it's not unappetizingly bitter, and wild greens.   I will also eat in the summer a few figs, cherries, apples....  but with those, I can feel that they really detract from my energy or feeling stable throughout the day.     I added this last part here to remind some here that one can still go close to zero carb and still feed one's intestines bacteria producing food, and include outside sources of trace minerals.  All of which a hunter gather most likely would have included with his primary meat and fat meals.   

Offline Sorentus

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If Raw zero carb was the optimal human diet then it would make sense that you could feed the same diet for any human and have them thrive just like if you feed any cattle grass then it will heal from its grain based diet, rather its a young cattle, female or male and regardless of the specie. So if raw zero carb doesn't work for everyone, then one is allowed to question if this is truly our "optimal" diet. We human are no different, a diet that works for one should work for everyone be it that it is in line with human natural diet. Eating "safe" starches such as potato and rice make no evolutionary sense. Would you eat raw rice? of course not, birds do that.

Offline TylerDurden

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Tyler,
With all due respect, I believe that putting this post in the "hot topics" section is unjust. Inappropriate in what sense? What I have written is a reflexively critical piece that deals with ZC diets directly. Is there no place for intellectual criticism on these forums? I do believe that those on a ZC diet have the right to be exposed to what is on the other side of the fence. Moving this post to "hot topics" seems almost punitive.
We have to be fair to all. Most followers of specific diets like RZC would far prefer to read positive threads on how to pursue an RZC diet  or whatever than to read posts on how supposedly "dangerous" that diet is, especially when their own long-term experience re RZC is very positive. There is nothing wrong with posting controversial topics in the Hot Topics forum, where this thread is now,  as that is a suitable place for that sort of thing. I have therefore not censored anything, just moved it to the right place.

We used to allow critical posts for specific dietary forums like the primal diet one, but it always led to the swamping of a particular forum by others who had found that a different raw, dietary path had worked for them. We have to acknowledge, therefore, that some people do fine on RZC diets, others on the Primal Diet or the RVLC diet,  and so on...
"During the last campaign I knew what was happening. You know, they mocked me for my foreign policy and they laughed at my monetary policy. No more. No more.
" Ron Paul.

Offline Inger

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Why is it so hard to eat following the seasons? To add seasonal carbs in the summer / fall... and eat zero carb in winter..... I do not see why no one speaks of this as of yet, except of Dr Kruse.
That said, I do believe it has its benefits for many of us to eat ketogenic year round. Because we now live in a different world because of all the man made EMF

THIS is what we need to hear.. and let go of all those unnatural dogmas one way or another. Everyone could see it is unnatural to eat fruit in winter when they are not growing!
And somewhere grows not much carbs at all.... not all year long. But to abandon wild mushrooms, herbs, wild fruit, seaweeds, flowers and berries because "you have to eat raw zero carb" is very stupid IMO!

This is actually so easy... just watch the nature, she shows it all! We are just too tied to our dogmas and wrong thinking and are making it way too complicated

+ it is not only food. Actually food is just a small part of it all

Offline Alive

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It seems that quite often there are people saying that eating zero carbs initially provided benefits, but over time 'ruined' their health.
If the moderators keep moving the evidence of these issues to a place where they won't be noticed then how are newbies looking at ZC to know ?
If keeping the critical posts in the topic cannot be tolerated, then how about a sticky post providing some warning of this, plus a reminder that there is a lot of room to be low carb without being zero carb.

Looking at the description for this topic it says "Not literally zero carb but eating only from the animal kingdom: muscle meats, organs, and fat of sea, sky, and land animals alike -- the raw meat diet for humans."

Eveheart is the moderator and she says that she eats low carb plant food, as does Van.
Inger likes to post here, but for her it is more about eating with the seasons and nature, and being low carb temporarily.

So this is a carnivorous / zero carb diet title seems misleading, as it is rather a low or very low carb diet.

 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2014, 08:57:15 pm by alive »

Offline Inger

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Alive, I am zero carb and low carb year round..  ;)

I live in Finland and here are not much carbs at any season...

I do great with ZC in summer too, but I am crazy about everything wild!!! I love wild herbs, berries, mushrooms and flowers... but those have almost no carbs where I live.

I really believe in seasonal eating. When you do not get plenty of sunlight, carbs are going to hurt you in the long run.

And for people in high man made EMF areas around the globe, ketogenic year round....

Offline aem42290

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It seems that quite often there are people saying that eating zero carbs initially provided benefits, but over time 'ruined' their health.
If the moderators keep moving the evidence of these issues to a place where they won't be noticed then how are newbies looking at ZC to know ?
If keeping the critical posts in the topic cannot be tolerated, then how about a sticky post providing some warning of this, plus a reminder that there is a lot of room to be low carb without being zero carb.

Looking at the description for this topic it says "Not literally zero carb but eating only from the animal kingdom: muscle meats, organs, and fat of sea, sky, and land animals alike -- the raw meat diet for humans."

Eveheart is the moderator and she says that she eats low carb plant food, as does Van.
Inger likes to post here, but for her it is more about eating with the seasons and nature, and being low carb temporarily.

So this is a carnivorous / zero carb diet title seems misleading, as it is rather a low or very low carb diet.

I would like to echo sentiments expressed by Van, Alive, and Eric in pleading for the moderators to either move this post back to the ZC section, or add in a warning sticky to the ZC section directly that addresses nuanced critiques of the diet. Critical resources are necessary for people starting a ZC diet. I would have benefited greatly from reading critical topics when I first learned of ZC from these forums. I certainly didn't think to look in "Hot topics."

Offline van

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I tend to agree.  I think the most unnecessary statements made that should be put into 'Hot topics' are those like the ones the Phil makes declaring zc outright dangerous for all because everyone additionally need this or that.   I'd  rather the tone  be more of,,  this is my experience, and or if you experience this symptom then you might want to experiment with this.   Outright declarative  blanket statements should be moved though. 

Offline eveheart

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So this is a carnivorous / zero carb diet title seems misleading, as it is rather a low or very low carb diet.

The forum title "Carnivorous / Zero Carb Approach: Not literally zero carb but eating only from the animal kingdom: muscle meats, organs, and fat of sea, sky, and land animals alike -- the raw meat diet for humans" has been discussed before. If there were some rigid dogma about what a correct carnivorous RPD stood for, you would be absolutely correct, but there is no right and wrong here, just a very general grouping of a style that has a much lower carbohydrate content. "Lower" might mean zero, and it might mean not-zero; in either case, a lot of similarities between zero carb and VLC make the grouping useful. If opposing viewpoints were necessary each topic, then every topic should be required to post vegetarian, vegan, and cooked-food information.

For comparison of forum purity, look at the forum title "Omnivorous Raw Paleo Diet: Animal products with some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix." On that forum, you might find discussion of domesticated plant foods as well as threads that could also appear under other versions of Other Paleo Diets to Suit You.

Classifying a topic does not mean that the topic has been banished or censored. Many (or most?) of us read all posts, so moving a thread to a different forum does not reduce its availability. This topic has a useful point-of-view and valid information. I hope we don't lose its focus with tangential discussions.
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Offline PaleoPhil

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I would like to echo sentiments expressed by Van, Alive, and Eric in pleading for the moderators to either move this post back to the ZC section, or add in a warning sticky to the ZC section directly that addresses nuanced critiques of the diet. Critical resources are necessary for people starting a ZC diet. I would have benefited greatly from reading critical topics when I first learned of ZC from these forums. I certainly didn't think to look in "Hot topics."
Yup. I wish I had seen more warnings about the risks of chronic ZC/VLC. When I experimented with it, I thought it was a relatively harmless thing to try for a month or more. I hadn't heard of the Old Friends Hypothesis at the time. To hide away the negative reports and information by moving it into other vague subforums gives a misleadingly positive picture. More people may suffer unnecessarily as a result. It's also rather telling about ZC, indicating that it is so weak an approach that it cannot stand up to direct critical scrutiny.

On the plus side, it appears that the see-no-evil approach of shunting away negative reports and comments about ZC/VLC has had the unintended consequence of stifling that subforum. It has been rather moribund, thank goodness.

I do great with ZC in summer too, but I am crazy about everything wild!!! I love wild herbs, berries, mushrooms and flowers... but those have almost no carbs where I live.

I really believe in seasonal eating. When you do not get plenty of sunlight, carbs are going to hurt you in the long run.

And for people in high man made EMF areas around the globe, ketogenic year round....
This is one thing that's so confusing about supposed "ZC". I've seen it defined so many different ways. Since when are berries and mushrooms and "seasonal eating" included in it? Berries contain significant carbs. Here's just one example of raspberries (15g of carbs in 1 cup--82% of the calories as carbs): http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/2053/2

What next, is honey going to be classified as ZC if you keep it limited to 15g/day? ;)

When I asked at the ZIOH ZC forum (http://forum.zeroinginonhealth.com) about the documented Eskimo practice of eating berries, I was told to not discuss them. They were utterly verboten. When another member there mentioned that she was eating salad greens, which are very close to zero in carbs, and that they cured the muscle cramps that she developed on fully ZC, she was banned, as was anyone else who reported eating any carbs, or was too positive about any plant foods, or reported negative results on ZC.

The forum title "Carnivorous / Zero Carb Approach: Not literally zero carb
If it's "Not literally zero carb," then why call it zero carb? For most people in the world, zero still means zero. Why not just call it "Carnivorous"?

Chronic truly zero carb (as in zero or as close to zero as possible) really is a myth-based approach that has no precedent in all of human history and is thus a novel experiment which makes guinea pigs of human beings. No one can say for sure that they know that chronic ZC is safe for anyone in the long run because it's never been tried before by any human society. To pretend otherwise is unconscionable.

Where are people still getting the idea to do "ZC"? Francois asked this question before, but I don't remember if there was an answer. Lex isn't very active anymore and even he isn't truly ZC. Does any significant guru outside of Charles Washington of the ZIOH forum (which was rather moribund the last I saw) still advocate true ZC? The guru who got it going on the Internet and inspired the ZIOH forum, Bear Stanley, is dead and not very well known, so it doesn't seem likely that people are still getting the idea from him.

The one bright side of raw ZC is that there are reportedly some carbs in fresh, frozen and fermented raw meats (see http://freetheanimal.com/2014/03/disrupting-carbs-prebiotics.html), so "raw ZC" is technically an oxymoron and truly ZC is actually anti-raw (to get truly ZC you would have to cook everything or at least thoroughly age all raw meats without allowing them to ferment at all, if that's even possible). Unfortunately, based on the negative experiences I've seen reported and experienced from even raw ZC, it doesn't seem like rawness fully offsets the negatives of ZC.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 10:48:20 am by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline van

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Phil I think you're missing the point here.  I don't think most of the members here care about Charles or the Bear, or even Lex for that matter as some kind of guru.  What they are interested in is asking the question  and experimenting with keeping carbs at a minimum and testing what healing happens within.  At least this has been my agenda, of which I can report great results, and have none of the disastrous outcomes you tend to site over and over.  Now granted this maybe totally because I eat seaweed on a regular basis and garlic and a few other prebiotics and have been for many many years,, even when I was on a high fruit diet.   And I don't 'insist' upon my body to be able to 'handle' honey or fruit or any other form of sugar, nor am I interested in how to convert my body somehow to be able to eat sugar.  I simply keep low low carbs and add non sugar foods as desired.     So, can we agree to give up the hype about ZC and simply call it low, or low low carb and not worry about what Charles does or doesn't do?   Then I think it would be more helpful to share what additional foods help out either with a healthy gut, or mineral balance or anything else one finds and wants to share.   

Offline eveheart

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If it's "Not literally zero carb," then why call it zero carb? For most people in the world, zero still means zero. Why not just call it "Carnivorous"?

Chronic truly zero carb (as in zero or as close to zero as possible) really is a myth-based approach that has no precedent in all of human history and is thus a novel experiment which makes guinea pigs of human beings. No one can say for sure that they know that chronic ZC is safe for anyone in the long run because it's never been tried before by any human society. To pretend otherwise is unconscionable.

Where are people still getting the idea to do "ZC"?

There has been speculation about a name. Since there are people who eat Carnivorous/Zero Carb Approach, I don't think that forum needs a new name.

How about another forum in the Raw Paleo Diet To Suit You section? Call it Low-Carb Approach.

There is already an Omnivorous Raw Paleo Diet: Animal products with some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix. The topics on that thread do not reflect the idea of "some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix."

"Some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix"  sounds more like a Low-Carb Approach, but honestly, only some of us can source "non-domesticated" wild fruits."
"I intend to live forever; so far, so good." -Steven Wright, comedian

Offline PaleoPhil

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Now granted this maybe totally because I eat seaweed on a regular basis and garlic and a few other prebiotics and have been for many many years,, even when I was on a high fruit diet.
Thanks for sharing this. I do indeed suspect that the carby foods that you, Inger and Lex eat (Lex's pet food mix that contains carb-containing raw organs is another example) may help explain why you folks seem to have fared better than most people who have tried diets that were closer to truly "ZC." Even with your diets, there may be risks. Lex's results have been less than 100% positive, for example, and no one knows what will happen in the longer term, as there is no historical precedent for even Lex's approach that contains some carbs. The evidence I pointed to before indicates that even the Eskimos ate more carbs than had previously been assumed.

Phil I think you're missing the point here.  I don't think most of the members here care about Charles or the Bear, or even Lex for that matter as some kind of guru.
I didn't say they did. I asked where people are getting the notion from to do ZC, and I'm particularly interested in hearing from the newer folks who haven't already shared why they're doing it/tried it. If it wasn't from Lex or Charles or the Bear, then where did they get it from, especially given all the information that's been coming out that contradicts the notion of ZC? It seems like there's more scientific evidence contradicting ZC and more reports from ex-ZCers and ex-VLCers who reported improving when they added carbs or prebiotics coming out on the Internet nearly every day now. I've only shared a fraction of it and I wouldn't have time to gather, compile and share it all. Of course, most of it involves people cooking most of their animal foods, which is the worst sort of ZC that I doubt you'd be much interested in anyway.

Also, like it or not, diet gurus do tend to be influential. Ironically, another LC guru, Dr. Rosedale, was mentioned in this very thread multiple times, including by you. Interestingly, my understanding is that even he recommends 20% of calories as carbs, which is only 5 points below Paul Jaminet's recommended avg intake and Paul Jaminet was ruthlessly criticized in LC forums as being too pro carbs (especially too pro starches)!!!  l) Doesn't it seem strange that so many people got so riled up when there was just a 5 point difference?

Quote
Now granted this maybe totally because I eat seaweed on a regular basis and garlic and a few other prebiotics and have been for many many years,, even when I was on a high fruit diet.
There's another example. Seaweed is forbidden on ZC, as kelp is reported as 79% of calories as carbs: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2617/2 So why defend ZC at all or take umbrage when people write less than thrilling results from it or critiques about it, given that you yourself are eating carby food? It's strange to see people who would be ridiculed on the ZIOH forum defending ZC or taking issue with critical posts about it.

Doesn't it make sense to remove ZC from the subforum title (or alternatively, to remove the contradiction from the subtitle, I suppose, if it's at least to be consistent)?

Quote
And I don't 'insist' upon my body to be able to 'handle' honey or fruit or any other form of sugar, nor am I interested in how to convert my body somehow to be able to eat sugar.
Where did anyone 'insist' that you do anything or talk about insisting that your body do something it's not ready for?

Quote
So, can we agree to give up the hype about ZC and simply call it low, or low low carb
Of course, that's what I've been asking for quite a long time, and I suggested that the "ZC" be taken out of the forum title, which was dismissed without a good explanation for the contradiction in the subtitle.

Quote
and not worry about what Charles does or doesn't do?
Huh? I said his forum is moribund. What are you talking about? All I asked is where people are getting this strange idea to do ZC. I thought Francois' question about where people are getting the notion to try a frankly bizarre and extreme dietary approach was a good one. And I'm also curious as to why some folks keep writing about doing ZC, or taking umbrage with critical posts about it, and then say that they're eating foods that contain carbs, like berries, seaweed, etc.? It's rather confusing, and it's strange to see some people still writing positively about it and some still claiming to follow this risky approach that hasn't been tested over the long run by any human society when it seems to be dying a well deserved death, though there will likely be stubborn holdouts for a long time to come, just as there are with the most extreme vegan diets.

Call it Low-Carb Approach
That sounds like another good idea, and since the subtitle says it's not literally ZC, I don't see why anyone would have a problem with removing the "ZC" contradiction from the title. Either low carb or carnivorous seems fine to me. It doesn't seem like that big of a deal to make that small change and it's strange how negative the response was about it in the past.

Quote
There is already an Omnivorous Raw Paleo Diet: Animal products with some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix. The topics on that thread do not reflect the idea of "some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix."
Yeah, and it's strange to see those foods discussed in diets that are referred to as "ZC" or in the context of ZC.

Quote
"Some veggies, berries, and non-domesticated, wild fruits added to the mix"  sounds more like a Low-Carb Approach, but honestly, only some of us can source "non-domesticated" wild fruits."
Yeah, that's another oddity in the titles that I noticed before. It makes it sound like there's no room for higher carb approaches in even the omnivorous section. However, given the uproar that suggesting a more consistent Carnivorous section title caused, I figured it was hopeless to request that title be also improved into one that makes more sense.

It seems that quite often there are people saying that eating zero carbs initially provided benefits, but over time 'ruined' their health.
If the moderators keep moving the evidence of these issues to a place where they won't be noticed then how are newbies looking at ZC to know ?
Indeed, and based on aem42290's feedback, it seems like more warnings about ZC are needed, rather than less:

I would have benefited greatly from reading critical topics when I first learned of ZC from these forums. I certainly didn't think to look in "Hot topics."
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 01:04:51 pm by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

Offline van

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In short, I'm not interested in the ongoing debates.   I am interested in learning from my body what happens when I don't spike insulin and what happens from maintaining fat as a primary fuel for my body, not sugar.    When I used the word 'insist' I was referring  to you and your attempts at eating any form of carbs and believing you needed to find a way to eat them.    I should have been more direct.   I also think some get misguided when they are able to put on weight with carbs (believing that they are too thin) and thus are pleased and then believe that those carbs are beneficial.   Now if the majority of that added gained weight is muscle, I might agree with them.  Or if they were able to keep the weight on without continual insulin spikes and didn't reduce their ability to efficiently use fat as fuel, again, all the better.  But, I think we believe what suits us in the moment.     So again, can we add information to this section that aids those in gaining health while eating low enough in carbs to stay primarily in ketosis, or using fat as a primary fuel source. 

Offline Iguana

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From the standpoint of most of the moderators, the answer to this question is unfortunately "NO". It doesn't surprise me at all that this thread was banished to the 'Hot Topics' section, although I personally think it was fine in the ZC section.
Hi guys,

Moderators don’t always agree between them. Myself had made PaleoPhil warning thread   
Zero Carb and VLC/Ketogenic - A Lethal Recipe for Disaster  STICKY in the ‘Zero Carb’ section. Another mod undid that and moved it in the ‘Hot topics’ section.

I fully agree with Eric, aem42290, PaleoPhil and Alive. Above, PaleoPhil mentioned twice that a fundamental question I asked was never answered. That’s it, and this one is far from being the only fundamental question I asked which was never answered.

People don’t and won’t change their mind, whatever evidence and facts are mentioned. Discussions go into endless loops, beat dead horses. I’m tired of this. I’ve even been accused of being dogmatic  :(  I’ve had enough and don’t feel like regularly contributing anymore. GS, please remove me from the moderators’ list. Thank you.

François
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 07:38:51 pm by Iguana »
Cause and effect are distant in time and space in complex systems, while at the same time there’s a tendency to look for causes near the events sought to be explained. Time delays in feedback in systems result in the condition where the long-run response of a system to an action is often different from its short-run response. — Ronald J. Ziegler

Offline PaleoPhil

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Above, PaleoPhil mentioned twice that a fundamental question I asked was never answered. That’s it, and this one is far from being the only fundamental question I asked which was never answered.
And it still remains unanswered, as do my other [above] questions.

Instead all I got was a change of subject with mischaracterizations of what I've said and think, for which I used to have something to point to in my signature about let's each speak for ourselves, but I unfortunately deleted it not long ago to make room for a warning about the more serious risks and highly negative results of chronic VLC/ZC that I learned about.  It figures that a need for it would arise soon after. ;D

Actions speak louder than words. Van, the fact that you don't eat ZC says much more about what you really think about it than your words. Given that we both include some carby and prebiotic foods in our diets, there seems to be more difference in rhetoric than in action. It's also good to see you cite Dr. Rosedale, who recommends 20% of calories as carbs. I think of VLC as being below that, roughly speaking. Perhaps there is more agreement than you first thought? As for differences, it does seem like Iguana is right that there are endless loops, so perhaps we can agree to disagree on them.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2014, 10:15:44 pm by PaleoPhil »
>"When some one eats an Epi paleo Rx template and follows the rules of circadian biology they get plenty of starches when they are available three out of the four seasons." -Jack Kruse, MD
>"I recommend 20 percent of calories from carbs, depending on the size of the person" -Ron Rosedale, MD (in other words, NOT zero carbs) http://preview.tinyurl.com/6ogtan
>Finding a diet you can tolerate is not the same as fixing what's wrong. -Tim Steele
Beware of problems from chronic Very Low Carb

 

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