The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Personal Health]
Logging in or registering will improve your experience here
Main Navigation
Full-Text Search & Archives
Legal Disclaimer

The content on this site is provided without any warranty, express or implied. All opinions expressed on this site are those of the author and may contain errors or omissions. For investment, legal or other professional advice specific to your situation contact a licensed professional in your jurisdiction.

NO MATERIAL HERE CONSTITUTES "INVESTMENT ADVICE" NOR IS IT A RECOMMENDATION TO BUY OR SELL ANY FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO STOCKS, OPTIONS, BONDS OR FUTURES.

The author may have a position in any company or security mentioned herein. Actions you undertake as a consequence of any analysis, opinion or advertisement on this site are your sole responsibility.


Market charts, when present, used with permission of TD Ameritrade/ThinkOrSwim Inc. Neither TD Ameritrade or ThinkOrSwim have reviewed, approved or disapproved any content herein.

The Market Ticker content may be sent unmodified to lawmakers via print or electronic means or excerpted online for non-commercial purposes provided full attribution is given and the original article source is linked to. Please contact Karl Denninger for reprint permission in other media, to republish full articles, or for any commercial use (which includes any site where advertising is displayed.)

Submissions or tips on matters of economic or political interest may be sent "over the transom" to The Editor at any time. To be considered for publication your submission must include full and correct contact information and be related to an economic or political matter of the day. All submissions become the property of The Market Ticker.

Considering sending spam? Read this first.

2021-07-02 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 418 references
[Comments enabled]  

Folks, I've said this before but its been several years.

There is a biological fact that nobody wants to talk about in the medical world nor in the celebrity diet and news world either, yet it is a fact.  It's simply this:

There are approximately 3,500 calories required to either be consumed in excess or deficit to change your body mass by one pound.  Therefore to regulate your body mass within one pound per year, which I remind you at the outside edge would result in a 50lb gain or loss from age 20 to 70, requires you to regulate your intake within ten calories per day.

That is approximately one potato chip or one modest bite of steak, chicken or other food.

You cannot possibly do that consciously; it is simply not possible to be accurate enough.

Yet there are hundreds of body processes that are regulated far more tightly than that.  Blood pressure, respiration, oxygenation, electrolyte and fluid balance, glucose and more.  Indeed you breathe because of very tiny shifts in blood pH as a result of carbonic acid in the blood, which is what carbon dioxide forms when dissolved.  This regulatory mechanism is extremely sensitive and is why you can exercise; as soon as you exert yourself that tiny shift in pH results in a faster respiration rate and thus the carbonic acid is respired as CO2 and pH goes up a tiny bit.

There is a backup mechanism that comes into play with people that have severe respiratory illnesses such as COPD that is sensitive to direct oxygen levels in the blood but it is much inferior.  It's the last-ditch capacity of your body to remain alive.

The entire reason you get fat is that you've damaged that regulatory mechanism.  It fails to do what it's supposed to do, and as such you believe you require more food intake when in fact you do not.  Attempting to fight this consciously is a losing bet and is why most people who attempt to consciously lose weight through caloric restriction or counting calories fail, and of those who succeed they gain the weight right back as soon as they stop dieting since their regulatory mechanism is still damaged.

What causes that damage?

Pro-inflammatory things, specifically fast carbohydrates and seed oilsthe latter of which in particular do not exist in a form you can consume in any material quantity in nature.  Yes, there is corn oil in corn but you cannot consume any material amount of it by eating actual corn because there is only a tiny amount per unit of corn.  It is only by machine-extracting and concentrating it that you can consume any measurable amount of it.

If you attempt to exercise your way out of being fat while poisoning that regulatory mechanism you will likely fail.  When you exercise your body increases the "I'm hungry" signal; you deplete glycogen and that naturally makes you desire to consume food.  The problem is that you didn't need food in the first place, but your regulatory mechanism is all ****ed up.  So you eat after exercise and the 300 extra calories you burned by running three miles is replaced.  You lose no weight.  Yes, the exercise is good for your cardiac health and muscle mass but does nothing to reduce the size of your fat ass and belly.

If you stop eating fast carbohydrates and seed oils you will originally feel like you're undergoing withdrawals.  You are; fast carbs are addictive; the glucose spike results in a large insulin reaction and then the crash when glucose falls exactly as a junkie feels like crap when the high wears off.

But in a week or so that goes away and slowly your regulatory mechanism for caloric intake starts working again.

You wake up in the morning and..... you're not hungry.

You don't need to eat -- and you don't desire to eat.

So you don't eat.  There's no reason to.

You get part way through the day and you're a bit hungry.  You eat something.  You're not hungry anymore.  You stop.

In a relatively short period of time your belt or dress is loose.

You didn't "work" at it at all.

In addition when you get down to a body mass that doesn't have all that fat you'll stop losing weight all on your own.  You don't have to try, you don't have to count anything, you don't have to pay attention to it.  It will just happen because your regulatory mechanisms will very slightly ratchet up the amount of food you consume.

Assume you're losing one pound a week.  That's about 500 calories a day less consumption than you are burning.  As you get to where you should be you'll ratchet up your intake slowly, amounting to one more hamburger patty and couple slices of cheese per day.

But you won't think about any of it.  It'll just happen.

This isn't new.  It is exactly how every single animal on the planet has functioned for millions of years, including homo sapiens.  The outdoor, feral cat eats when its hungry.  The indoor cat gets fat not due to lack of exercise but because there are carbohydrates in its food which is not natural; the amount of carbohydrate in a bird, which said cat eats as a feral animal outdoors, approximates zero.  Said cat never becomes Garfield because its biological regulatory mechanism works.  Said bird does not become too fat to fly for the same reason.

Farmers put cattle on feed lots and cram them full of grains to make them fat on purpose.  They do not get fat like that when grazing for the same reason; even in a lush pasture they simply don't desire to eat themselves into a blob until you deliberately screw up their regulatory mechanisms.  For the same reason a deer does not get fat on its natural forage, nor does a beaver, nor a rabbit, raccoon or squirrel.  Nothing does -- until it starts eating things we shove in front of it that screw up said mechanisms and it is always the same thing -- fast carbohydrates and seed oils -- that do it.

Farmers have done this deliberately for over 100 years in the United States yet physicians and so-called "nutritionists" deny that which they themselves know damn well is the cause of you getting fat because it is done deliberately in animal husbandry to produce the very food you enjoy and consume!  They're lying and they know it.

Think about what all the various "nutrition" folks tell you.  They tell you to count calories and eat less meat, and especially eat less fat.  Yet what they're really saying is to displace all the things that make you feel satiated with things that rapidly spike your sugar and thus insulin levels and by doing so destroy your body's regulatory functions, then "guilt yourself" into not having another scoop of ice cream that you crave exactly like a heroin addict.

Every doctor on the planet knows damn well you can't consciously regulate your respiratory rate or blood pressure.

Why do they think you can successfully regulate through conscious effort how much, to a precision of less than ten calories a day, what goes down your gullet?

They're lying and they know it.

Want to learn how to stop the cycle?  Read here.

It might save your life.

If you do it.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2020-02-25 10:20 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 191 references
[Comments enabled]  

The left wants you to.

They tell us that "body positivity" includes being outrageously obese.

That criticizing, "shaming", or even mentioning that this is an entirely self-inflicted problem and can be fixed without a single medical intervention of any sort is within the reach of virtually every person so-affected constitutes "abuse" -- or worse.  Many if not most leftists even want to criminalize such commentary, First Amendment be damned.

It really is simple: Stop eating carbs.

Do you know why you need to fix this problem?

  • You are debilitated by being fat -- right now.  You can do less.  You can not run nearly as far, or as fast -- if you can run at all.  Your heart is working harder than it should be, since it is pumping blood through more tissue than it was designed for.  Your lungs are working harder.  Your kidneys are working harder.  Failure of any of those organs will kill you.  Then there are all the other parts of your body you are damaging (specifically your knees, hips and ankles) which won't kill you but can cripple you with age.  While joint replacement is possible with today's technology it's both expensive and the recovery is daunting -- just contemplate what has to be done in that bone must be sawed open and the artificial replacement put in place of the damaged parts.

  • You are insulin-compromised.  Over time this has a very high probability of causing Type II diabetes.  If you aren't diabetic now you will be.  If you stop eating carbs if you are headed for diabetes you will likely halt that entirely.  If you are Type II diabetic now and stop eating carbs you may in fact reverse your high blood sugar entirely, along with ceasing the accumulation of damage that high blood sugar causes.  In some cases your body may be able to repair that damage over time.  If you wait too long and the damage gets too advanced then there's nothing, literally, you can do about it.  The damage path for diabetes includes gangrene, amputations, blindness and ultimately kidney failure and death.  It is a very unpleasant way to die.

  • Eating tasty animals is not only good for you it tastes good.  Not being hungry when you wake up until noon or later makes maintenance trivially simple since you will only want to eat once a day.  You will stop being a slave to the refrigerator and all the crap you formerly had in it.

  • You will get more fiber, not less, by changing what you eat.  Green vegetables, especially cruciferous ones such as broccoli, kale, brussels sprouts, collard greens and similar are very rich in both vitamin C and fiber.  Their balance between usable nutrients your body can absorb per calorie of content is extraordinarily favorable.  It's trivially easy to get many times your Vitamin C requirement from these while consuming only a couple hundred calories.  As just one example Broccoli contains just 30 calories in one cup of florets, yet it contains 135% of your Vitamin C requirement and 116% of Vitamin K needs and close to 10% of your daily fiber recommendation, yet it has only 3.5 net (digestible) carbohydrates.

  • Your immune system will improve.  Do you think that might be important given Coronavirus?  I presume you'd rather be alive than dead, yes?

About four years ago I wrote what may be my seminal piece on this called Demolishing Lies on Low Carb Eating.  Instead of subscribing to the left's virtue signalling on being fat choose to tell them to go **** a goat.  Let's be blunt about this: The Left's virtue-signalling about "beautiful at any size" and similar claptrap in fact is a recipe for disease, disability and death and those on the left pushing this bull**** know it.

They'd rather see you six feet under, eaten by snakes and worms, than be truthful not only with but with themselves as well.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2019-02-20 09:45 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 225 references
[Comments enabled]  

This sort of crap needs to be shouted down -- loudly.

In 1985 my mother was exposed to German Measles due to a failure in herd immunity. Herd immunity is created when the "herd" is vaccinated to the point where the disease, infection, or bacteria has nowhere to go, and no hosts to hide in.

This is a lie and those who "edit" these media outlets have a responsibility to correct it before publication.

Herd immunity does not prevent individual infections.  To do so you'd need 100% effective coverage and you never obtain that.  Among other things there are people who do not get vaccinated; some for personal reasons, some for medical reasons.  To obtain 100% coverage you'd have to force all of those people to be vaccinated including those who were at serious risk of being killed by the vaccine itself, such as those who have severely-compromised immune systems, and even doing that would not achieve it, since immunity failure even if you do take a given vaccine does happen.

Herd immunity is the goal of reducing the transmission rate of a given infection to below 1.0.  That is, for a given person who is already infected for the disease to spread it must infect at least one more person.  If it does, it spreads exponentially.  If it does not, that particular group of infections eventually dies out.  If an particular infection has a transmission of 0.9 then if there are 100 infected people in a population they infect 90, who infect 81 and so on -- until it reaches zero.

HERD IMMUNITY DOES NOT PREVENT TRANSMISSION.  THAT IS A COMMON AND DAMNABLE LIE AND ANYONE WHO SPEAKS THAT LIE DESERVES TO BURN IN HELL.  IT'S DAMNABLE BECAUSE THOSE WHO ARE VACCINATED BUT FAIL THE IMMUNITY BUILD, WHICH TYPICALLY CANNOT BE DETECTED UNTIL EXPOSED (AT WHICH POINT IT'S TOO LATE, AS WAS THE CASE WITH THIS WOMAN'S MOTHER) OR WHO CANNOT TAKE THE VACCINE FOR MEDICAL REASONS ARE LED TO BELIEVE THEY ARE SAFE WHEN THEY ARE NOT.

My mother remembers getting a rash all over her body on Valentine's Day and being sick for a week. She didn't know what it was. She didn't know she needed her MMR vaccine booster, as they weren't standard at the time (as they are now). The other thing that she didn't know? She was pregnant at the time. With me.

As a result, I was born with Congenital Rubella Syndrome. I had cataracts in both eyes, a heart defect and hearing loss, plus a handful of other weird symptoms that I would find out later are classically CRS related but didn't seem so at the time.

Reality is that if you either (1) can't take the vaccine or (2) have immunity failure and did take the vaccine if exposed you will still likely contract the disease.  Herd immunity just decreases the number of additional people who, when exposed, will contract it to less than 1.0 for each person who becomes sick.

There are other ways to obtain herd immunity than vaccination.  For example if you can detect exposure before contagion occurs in a given person you can isolate them until the disease has run its course and produced natural immunity, which is superior to vaccination in that it has much closer to 100% odds of producing lifetime immunity in a given person.  (Of course this assumes you survive the disease itself!)  If you are successful in quarantining people in this fashion you also produce herd immunity and you do so without vaccines.  The problem is that it requires a level of medical surveillance that is completely impractical to obtain for highly-contagious diseases such as measles, which have natural transmissions efficiencies in non-immune populations that boggle the mind.

The cruel hoax run by places like CNN and other media and medical outlets, and which has a political bent to it, is that due to the lack of 100% coverage from vaccines -- a level of coverage that is scientifically impossible to obtain -- with or without vaccination you must still make a maximum effort to prevent disease carriers from entering the population in order to avoid those without immunity from becoming severely ill.

That means you must police those who enter your nation and that means that unregulated entry of any sort is a severe threat to public health and must be prohibited.

In short unregulated entry -- illegal immigration -- kills people.

Of course that is contrary to the "narrative" that walls are immoral and that people like the "Dreamers" are "just looking for a better life."

Uh, no.  Every person who comes into this nation through other than a regulated, screened point of entry is a potential disease carrier and some percentage of them are carrying active infections.

We regulate the transport of agricultural goods and demand inspection at points of entry to attempt preventing this risk among livestock and plant species.  One of the primary purposes of limiting crossing into the United States (or any other nation) at controlled points staffed by persons who can inspect those who enter is to apply said controls to humans and the infectious diseases they may carry with them.

Such surveillance is never perfect and never can be but intentionally aiding and abetting the destruction of said surveillance by advocating for or permitting in any form illegal immigration that by its nature evades such surveillance is not only insane it's a criminal act of intentionally exposing people to infectious diseases -- and must be stopped.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2018-02-27 15:35 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 411 references
[Comments enabled]  

I get asked this a lot, so here are my thoughts.

First, two disclaimers -- I'm not a doctor.  Second, I've got a lot of data, but it's all mine so it's all anecdote.  All I can back it up with is a few friends who have similar or identical gear to what I use.

So with that said, here we go.

First, alcohol (drinking alcohol now, not the non-potable versions!) are ethanol.  They are a form of carbohydrate.

But alcohol is a special carbohydrate.  Unlike the common sort in foods ethanol is preferentially metabolized -- that is, it is burned first before other carbohydrates. This is why you get drunk (instead of it "mixing" with all the other carbs and being taken up slowly, which would mean you'd have to drink on an empty stomach to get drunk at all) but at about one drink per hour, you also burn it off at the same rate no matter how much food you eat.

Like all other carbohydrates, however, ethanol also produces the same sort of boost/crash response that you get from other fast carbs, and in fact since it burns first it's arguably the fastest carb.  This is why when you're drinking you often want food and is why "bar food" is inevitably high in carb content (e.g. french fries, etc); the bar owners are not stupid and they sell what people want to buy.

There are two basic problems with drinking alcohol in any amount as it relates to a keto lifestyle.  The first is that booze inherently is anti-ketogenic, although if you keep it to one drink in a day you can remain in a ketogenic state and have that one drink, provided you are performing some amount of exercise (so as to keep glycogen stores very low.)  The problem is that the second drink, and any non-keto food you might consume due to the cravings that alcohol does produce, is almost-certainly enough to knock you out of a ketogenic state.

There used to be a book out there from the early 1900s called "The Drinking Man's Diet."  Unsurprisingly, it called for consumption of essentially zero carbohydrate; the reason is that alcohol consumption greatly potentiates weight gain if you eat carbohydrates.  Why?  Because it's metabolized first and thus the rest of the carbs you take in wind up being stored as glycogen and, if your glycogen stores fill it goes directly on your body as fat.

So that's the keto-related bad news, basically.  But unfortunately the bad news doesn't end there and it's not ketogenic-specific.

I own a Fenix 5x, which I wear basically all the time (except when doing some sort of work that might damage it, such as working on my car, and when it needs to be charged) including overnights.  It's an incredible piece of equipment which I bought mostly for its performance tracking under exercise and its mapping functionality, which is a safety feature when I am hiking in the backcountry ("never lost" as long as it can see the sky and has power.)  No, it's not a substitute for a map, compass and knowing how to do land nav, but it's convenient and, in my opinion, was well-worth the investment.

It also gives me a hell of a lot of data across my entire day.  One of the things it allows me to do is track the quality of sleep, heart-rate variation (which maps to your stress level) and resting heart rate.  And this is where the second piece piece of bad news comes from.

I can tell you from looking at that RHR and HRV (stress) level during my time sleeping on which days I have had zero alcohol intake, on which days I had one drink, on which days I had two, and on which days I had more.  The "more" doesn't matter; once you pass the second one in a day from a stress point of view you may as well get hammered.  My accuracy rate just looking at this piece of information alone is astoundingly high -- and when it's wrong, it's never wrong on the low side (that is, indicating less stress than my booze intake indicates.)

The first drink will raise my resting heart rate by a point or two and delay my systemic stress level from dropping into the lowest category by a couple of hours.  The second by two to four points and costs me half the night in terms of getting into that "resting" state from a stress point of view.  Third and beyond?  You're screwed in terms of actually getting anything that's called "rest" when you sleep.

This has profound implications if you are interested in athletic performance as well.  There's simply no way you will be well-rested and able to perform at peak capacity if you've had anything to drink for two to three days prior to the event.

This is utterly repeatable, every time, has been since I've owned this unit from the first day forward and anyone that has access to that data is going to be able to figure it out without knowing anything else about you.  A couple of friends of mine who have similar units have told me that they have identical results, and I've confirmed this as they've let me look at their data briefly and told them which days they went out to the bar.  I was right -- every time.

For this reason putting such data in the "cloud" and allowing anyone else access to it is a profoundly bad idea.  You don't need an AI to process this, just a pair of eyeballs!

It would be utterly trivial to determine your consumption of booze and "box" you from which it would then be trivial to do things like charge you more for insurance.

The above, by the way, assumes your alcohol is liquor and there are no sugars in whatever you mix it with, if anything.  Straight-up Scotch, vodka-and-(diet) tonic, etc.  Beer and wine also contains carbs that are not from the alcohol; those have to be counted too and it's almost-impossible to know what the non-booze carb content is with the exception of a handful of "light" beers that advertise it -- because unlike actual food the manufacturers don't have to tell you, and they typically don't.  When it comes to craft beer you may get away with one pint glass (or 10oz for high-gravity) of beer but you won't get away with the second in terms of ketosis.  The same issue presents itself when it comes to wine.

So if you're asking whether drinking alcohol is compatible with living a ketogenic lifestyle, the answer is "maybe."  The maybe is that if you are actively trying to lose weight then no, it isn't, and by the way, it doesn't matter what form of food intake you're using in that case because alcohol will poison all of them in terms of weight loss.  The old saying that "he has a beer belly" is not bull****, in short.  One of the worst ways to sabotage your metabolic systems is to screw with your hunger regulation -- while it's possible to ignore that it takes an amount of willpower few possess.

If you are very studious about avoiding any sort of other carbs, except for nutrient-dense green vegetables, then you can probably remain in a ketogenic diet with one drink a day, assuming you are an average-height male.  Women have it tougher simply because on average they're smaller and alcohol is typically not "sized" in terms of the size of the drink to match body size and mass.  This means that for most women that first drink is going to be borderline.  Your odds of remaining in a ketogenic state improve if you are engaged in a material amount of vigorous exercise daily (defined as at least 15 minutes of effort in heart rate zone 4 or 5) as well.

But beyond one drink it doesn't matter if you're trying to live a keto lifestyle.  You will get knocked out of a ketogenic state with the second beer or mixed drink essentially every single time and it is likely to require 48 hours or even more to return to it.

So yeah, if you have one night a week you have a few beers and such you basically took a 7-day ketogenic state and turned it into a 3-4 day one. That's half.  If you're already where you want to be in terms of body mass and metabolic state you can get away with that once a week and probably not harm yourself all that much.

But if you do that twice in a week you can forget it.

The worse news, however, is that ketogenic or not that second drink costs you substantially in terms of impacting your overall body stress level and quality of sleep.  The third one destroys both and it will require 48-72 hours of abstinence before things are back to normal.

This, incidentally, is wildly out of kilter with what the so-called medical "experts" will tell you.  They all say that one drink a day is not harmful and may even be protective; that the second one is probably "neutral" and real serious harm starts with the third (and gets rapidly worse with increasing quantity.)

Nope.

The trivially documented disruption starts with the first drink, the second does very material damage to the quality of your rest and beyond that you may as well get rip-roaring trashed in terms of cardio and overall systemic stress.

I'm sure a far more-strict analysis is almost directly dose-dependent -- for example, the damage done to your liver.  But here I'm not focusing on the long-term chronic effects from drinking too much -- those are both well-known and basically impossible to argue with.

This is simply looking at the data in the context of consumption of "routine" amounts of alcohol if you are trying to live a healthier metabolic lifestyle.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)
 

2016-06-18 05:00 by Karl Denninger
in Personal Health , 1406 references
[Comments enabled]  

The often-heard comments when someone says they're eating HFLC include "your kidneys will explode", "Atkins was really bad for him (Mr. Atkins)", "You'll have a heart attack", "You can't be athletic doing that; you need carbs" and more.

I would like to put some perspective on this.  Yes, this is anecdote; it's a sample size of one with no double-blind, of course -- that is, my personal experience.

Some background: Somewhat over five years ago I essentially went hard-core Atkins-induction coupled with "Couch-to-5k."  At the time I was unable to run one half mile without stopping, climbing a few sets of stairs was work, even summer lawn mowing was a strenuous exercise -- while the heat was certainly not helpful, neither was exercise tolerance.  I was "nominally healthy" in that I was not diabetic, but my body mass had risen from about 155 in High School to right around 210, plus or minus a couple.  I had several times undertaken fairly severe exercise regimes, including hour-long daily stints on a stationary recumbent bike I purchased, in an attempt to lose weight, along with a low-fat, "eat plants" diet -- without success.  I could drop 10lbs without much trouble, but no more, I was ravenously hungry all the time, and as soon as I cut back on the exercise the weight came right back on and stayed.

I'm absolutely certain that I was insulin resistant even though my blood glucose was normal -- I'd get the "hangries" if I attempted to not eat in the morning immediately on waking, and was often hungry for something by mid-afternoon after eating a carb-laden (and low-fat) lunch.  If there was a bag full of M&Ms in front of me and I had one, the entire bag would be gone within a couple of hours.  The same for a tin full of cookies.  A loaf of home-made bread (I have a bread-maker) would be lucky to make two days; the first big, thick slice would get consumed and I'd want two more an hour later.

In short despite my outward metabolic signs being ok, but being overweight (not obese) I know exactly where I was headed -- for both obesity and diabetes.  I'm sure of it.

So in early 2011 I decided I'd had enough -- that the conventional wisdom was either wrong or I was simply going to be consigned due to bad genetics to get older, fatter, and sicker.  The latter is what we have all been sold and I was determined to not simply give up.

Since that was the consensus, I saw no harm in trying something else -- after all, the odds were that I would not make it worse, at least not quickly, and when it comes to things like heart attacks and strokes they take years to develop, weeks or months.

So I went full-on, zero-carb Atkins induction, bought a pair of Nike running shoes and a Garmin 305 with a heart rate strap to track my exercise.

I'm not going to tell you that this was an easy path, at least at first.  I modified the Couch-to-5k thing (you can look it up online) in only one way -- the very last segment of each work-out I ran as hard and fast I could.  At the start this was maybe an eighth to a quarter of a mile, but it would grow to a half-mile later.  Other than that I pretty-much followed the program.

I could not run a half-mile when I started.  Not even close.

I felt like I'd been hit by a bus every.... single... day.

But I kept with it, both on the food and running.  After the first two weeks I added back green vegetables, but otherwise ate zero carbohydrate -- and that included alcohol.  Instead of three times a week I tried for five, and got up at 0500 every day to do it because living in Florida it's hot, even in May.

In the first week, five pounds disappeared.  I knew this would happen and probably be (mostly) water.  The next week and pretty-much every week thereafter, however, another one or two came off.

About two months later I ran a full 3.1 miles for the first time, without slowing to a walk or stopping.  It was not easy, but I did it, and by now it was the middle of June.

Eight months later, roughly that Thanksgiving, I was down to about 160.

I looked at the Garmin stats.  I had lost 50 lbs, which is about 175,000 calories. Running is about 120 calories a mile, according to a heart-rate adjusted GPS machine, and I had run roughly 500 miles at that point, or 60,000 calories worth.

Only one third of the body mass I lost was due to exercise.  That's a numerical fact; the rest was lost due to changing what I ate.

I slowly lost about another 5 lbs; my body weight now fluctuates around 155, +/- 5, assuming I'm reasonably good.

And there it has stayed for the last five years -- whether I'm training for a half-marathon, the Wicked Triple (three races in two days of close to a marathon distance in total), hiking part of the AT, sitting on my ass enjoying a vacation or whatever else I might be doing.  My exertion levels have literally been all over the map, yet my body mass has not.

What has remained constant, more or less, is my adherence to the consumption of food things (and not consuming others!) that I have laid out many times -- you can read that list right here.

Now here's what's changed long-term when it comes to my person and my health that I haven't talked about much:

  • Since I was a child I have had horrid problems with seasonal allergies to the point of being nearly useless twice a year for a month or so.  No amount of medication, OTC or prescription, has ever successfully controlled this completely.  Benedryl works but knocks me flat on my ass, and anything containing pseudoephedrine makes me feel extremely uncomfortable -- I'm one of the people who just can't use any decongestant containing that substance.  I was basically forced to remain indoors, in an air-conditioned space, for two months out of the year and maintain a high-quality pollen filter in my car's airhandler -- or else.  I also avoided travel to woodsy and other flowery areas during the times they were in bloom for obvious reasons.  Slowly, over the last couple of years, my seasonal allergies irrespective of where I am in the country have almost completely disappeared.  They're not completely gone; I still suffer from some congestion for short periods of time, but it's much better than it was.  Last spring I hiked a piece of the AT through the spring bloom, complete with thousands of bees pollinating the flowers, and had exactly zero trouble.  Five years ago that would have been unthinkable.  This appears to be correlated with....

  • My general inflammation level has, I believe, dropped quite a bit.  I had always had "on and off" acne problems, even as an adult.  As a teen it was bad, but it never went completely away -- until I got rid of the carbs.  The same is true of skin issues; I always had them on and off, especially in the winter when the air is dry.  Again, completely gone the first winter and they have stayed gone since.  Gee, I wonder what's going on in my coronary arteries?  Betcha it's not bad things but no, I'm not paying a couple of grand to get CT+contrast scanned to find out for sure.  (The one exception: perfumes in laundry detergents will still "get" me, so I have to watch out for that.)
     
  • I have no adverse blood glucose reaction to sugar intake.  I have, a couple of times in the last year, "challenged" my body with heavy sugar intake just to see what happens; typically with a large dose of milk chocolate or heavily sugar-laden confections like donuts.  I've not been able to drive my blood glucose over 110 with such a challenge despite intentionally trying.  I don't know if I could actually drive my blood sugar to anywhere near 140 today (the upper boundary of what they call the "normal" reaction to such a test) if I literally sat and ate a bag of sugar.  Note that while I was never diabetic I'm very sure my metabolism was compromised.  For those who wonder if your metabolic systems can heal over time if you stop insulting them, the answer appears to be "Yes."

  • I don't like sugar any more.  Things with a lot of sugar in them taste like crap.  Raw white sugar now has a smell to it that I associate with being "medicinal" and is not at all pleasant.  It sort of smells like poison, in fact -- hmmmm.... maybe it is?

  • I have no "hangries" -- ever -- or carb-cravings.  I often have no desire to eat anything before roughly lunchtime; I'll get up in the morning and am simply not hungry.  This means that if I eat something around lunch, and then around dinner, I'm effectively fasting 18 hours out of every day.  It's not because I'm trying, it's because I'm not hungry.

  • If I do work out a lot my appetite goes up.  If I don't it goes down.  I don't have to think about it, count calories, make efforts to restrict my consumption of food or anything like that.  It's simply this: If I'm hungry I eat.  If I'm not I don't.  Oh, and since I'm not gorging myself on hangries my capacity for food has shrunk.  Yes, it appears my stomach is smaller, in that I get full faster -- and it empties slower too.  An interesting observation that I cannot correlate with fact, but I sure can with how I feel if I try to stuff myself for some reason.

  • My exercise tolerance has gone up massively.  The other day I worked on wrecking out part of my gazebo floor (it needs replaced) which involved using a Wonder Bar, saw and moving sand (via shovel and yard cart) that had accumulated under them and then mowed most of the back yard -- in 90ish degree weather with 85%+ humidity.  It was hotter than Hell, but other than needing to stop and get a drink a couple of times it wasn't all that bad.  I would have heat-stroked out trying this a few years ago -- literally.  Likewise I might go run a 5k tonight, and while the sun will be down it won't be any cooler.  Yes, it will be hotter than hell, but I'm not concerned about not being able to do it.  This I attribute to the exercise, not the diet.  But, with an extra 50lbs I suspect I wouldn't be able to move my additional mass irrespective of my cardio condition anywhere near as well as I can today.

  • I am far faster running now than I ever was -- including in High School!  I was never able to break the 9 minute mile barrier on a 3 mile run, with my "typical" time being around 30 minutes.  My PR now is 7:00 flat on a timed 5k race and 7:49 on a half-marathon.  This isn't a singular result either; my kid, who ran one season with the HS cross-country team, has half-way adopted my way of eating over the last six months -- and not only has her appearance improved she has also taken more than two minutes a mile from her time, breaking the 10 minute/mile threshold for the first time in the last couple of weeks.  Don't tell me you can't perform athletically on a low-carb diet -- that's a damned lie.

I'm not going to tell you this was all easy, because it wasn't up front.  Yes, carb-cravings are real.  A week or so back while in a group having a conversation that turned to food I remarked that I do not, as a rule, eat carbs -- my carb intake is for the most part beer, and only a couple a day maximum.  A nurse who was there proceeded to say that "Atkins causes kidney disease" and further that she "has cravings for carbs and thus needs them."  Both are false; first, Atkins is high fat, not high protein.  It is true that high protein diets can cause kidney problems but that's not Atkins; that's doing it wrong!  Second, meth causes cravings too, but that doesn't mean you need meth -- it means you're addicted to it!  Carbs are the same deal; when challenged as to the specific nutrients that you need that are in carbs, of course, she had no answer.  That would be because there aren't any; the amount of carbohydrate you actually require in your diet is zero.  I gave up; oh, she was complaining about having big snoring problems too (gee, I wondered, if you lost some weight what might happen to that........) This, however, is illustrative of the attitude of many in the so-called "health business"; their 4 hours of class at some point was not only insufficient most of what was in there is flat out wrong and even when taking this path might help alleviate a person problem they're experiencing they won't try it!

Here's my view, more than five years into this: I've seen exactly zero bad effects from adopting this lifestyle, and multiple good ones.  My indicators of metabolic health have improved, my exercise tolerance is up massively, I am more able to perform athletically today than I was when I was 17 despite being three times as old, I have zero glucose tolerance trouble evident when challenged, I am never "hangry", I do not crave carbs and in fact find things with sugar in them "too" sweet yet I count no calories or make other conscious attempt to control my food intake and my body mass is approximately what it was 35 years ago and hasn't moved more than a few pounds in either direction for the last five years.  The only exception was when I was in a relationship, eating far too many carbs (and knew it) and five more pounds went on -- literally as soon as I cut that crap out they disappeared within a couple of weeks.

Why would I change what I'm doing now, when for the last five years it has worked -- effortlessly -- to not only halt what was an obvious and visible (albeit slow) decrease my personal vitality and health that many would simply attribute to old age, but almost-completely reversed it -- and in many cases my health and physical abilities now exceed those of my teen years!

Yes, I'm a data set of one.

Now tell me why would you not run your own experiment.

I'm all ears.

View this entry with comments (opens new window)