Am I too skinny?

LM posted this interesting dilemma:

I wonder if anyone has experienced TOO MUCH weight loss with the wheat free diet?

I have been eliminating obvious sources of wheat for roughly 4 months and have been steadily losing weight. By obvious, I mean that I don’t go out of my way to avoid things that contain trace amounts of wheat, soy sauce, or other sauces thickened with flour. I also don’t totally avoid beer, though I tend not to drink a lot of it. I have tested negative for celiac disease and don’t believe that I have a noticeable sensitivity to wheat.

In the first month or so, I started noticing a change of shape in the stomach, hips, rear, and thighs, as evidenced by my trousers becoming gradually baggier; but now the scale confirms that I’ve lost nearly 20 pounds, and I was not overweight to begin with. It was never my intent to lose weight, but I was initially happy with slimming effect of the new regimen. Now I’ve gone from being happy with the results to wondering if I should be concerned. I exercise and try to eat well, being mindful of minimizing carbohydrate intake/effects on blood sugar. I don’t think I have any other health issues going on. I also don’t think that I’m underweight for my height . . . yet, but am content with my present size and would like to stabilize here. A matter of practicality: Only about 2 pairs of pants still fit me and I’m reluctant to go shopping because I don’t know how much more I might shrink.

I look forward to comments or suggestions from anyone who has had a similar experience or just has some advice to impart.

First of all, let’s consider the broad perspective of LM’s dilemma: He is worried about losing too much weight . . . in the midst of the world’s worst epidemic of weight gain and obesity! There are literally tens of millions of people who would gladly experience this “problem.”

Remove the opiate appetite stimulant that derives from the gliadin protein of wheat and you lose this driver of incessant appetite and increased calorie intake. Appetite then reverts back to that required to provide sustenance: You eat what you require, nothing more, nothing less. Weight most frequently returns over time to your physiological ideal. It is not uncommon for people following this wheat-free lifestyle to plateau at a weight that was lower than anticipated.

However, there are issues to consider when the “Am I too skinny?” question arises:

Are you really too skinny?

Or are you normal but just look too skinny in a world of overweight and obese people? Take a look at an old movie from the 1950s, for instance, and notice that everyone is “skinny”–just like you. They are normal.

The Wheat Belly approach does not limit calories nor fat or protein.
If you feel you have lost too much weight, eat more avocados, more coconut oil, more fat on your meats or poultry, more raw nuts, etc.

Consider adding back muscle.
Weight loss is a combination of fat loss and muscle loss. If you lose, say, 30 pounds total weight, 10 pounds of that lost weight can be muscle. The muscle is easily regained through strength training.

So take comfort in the fact that, minus the appetite stimulant in modern wheat, you gravitate back towards a healthy weight. Modest adjustments in perception, diet, and exercise might be necessary, but you will not–provided you are eating real, single ingredient healthy foods–disappear into a dry pile of dust due to grain deprivation.

This entry was posted in Weight loss. Bookmark the permalink.

118 Responses to Am I too skinny?

  1. Nimbrethil says:

    I’ve known enough underweight people who actually DO struggle to gain weight that I’m not about to go asking stupid questions like “Are you REALLY too skinny?” Yes, we live in a society with epidemic levels of obesity. That does NOT mean it’s anyone’s place to go asking an individual whether their self-assessment is valid. Especially not when you’ve never actually been able to evaluate them in person.

    Personally, much as I respect Dr. Davis, I’m hugely disappointed that he is asking this question without the obvious and crucial bit of information missing from this story: age, height, skeletal-muscular frame, etc. There is no possible way for anyone to assess whether this person is underweight or not without that.

    • JillOz says:

      Love you, Dr D, but i had the same response.

      You didn’t ask/get enough detail from the OP to know what he meant by ‘too skinny”.

    • Lydia says:

      I agree. ALso, he is presuming that eating more fats will make him gain weight. when the whole premise of the science right now indicates that its not fats that make you fat, its the carbs. So suggesting he eats more overall..great..suggesting he eats more nuts and avo… um no.

      I think the weight training recommendation is the best thing he said.

      everything else came off dismissive.

  2. Peter Defty says:

    Hi Bill!
    Actually I tell all my athletes NOT to put too much faith in the scale because when they ditch the wheat and most other concentrated forms of carbohydrates and add in the fat (moderate protein) athletes actually GAIN lean body mass…..I am seeing some DEXASCAN numbers come in and it is really impressive how BIG the fat/water loss is and the net gain in lean muscle mass…. This turns heads….so, if done right, one does NOT lose muscle mass….just fat & water weight.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Interesting twist, Peter!

      You mean you see preservation of muscle mass if the diet is accompanied by strength-training efforts during the weight loss? If that is the case, yes, I see that, too.

      • Brian says:

        Even without resistance training (something I believe strongly in), studies have shown that low carb diets (and thus low glycemic) preserve muscle much better during weight loss than high carb/low fat. I gave a presentation related to this a couple weeks ago.

      • Peter Defty says:

        Hi Bill

        Not just preservation…..actually GAINS in lean body mass! Am seeing this consistently with the athletes I am working with but now that a couple are getting DEXA Scans the numbers are consistent with what I have been seeing for the past 3 years when athletes dump the wheat and the other concentrated carbs sources but, as you know, Wheat is by far the worst violator.
        The numbers don’t lie….here is something people can see online of someone who is not an elite endurance athlete who did some resistance training with the diet:
        In athletes I work with we are seeing 1-4 pounds of lean body mass gain but these are well-conditioned, not overweight individuals to start with….the change in body composition is amazing though even in well conditioned athletes…..

  3. Amanda says:

    I’m totally confused, why did LM go off the wheat?, he does not seem to have had any improvent in health since he is still eating lots of gluten in sauces, beer,etc. And in the other hand he was not overweight?

    • Nimbrethil says:

      You’re putting words in the story writer’s mouth. That they didn’t make the decision to go so totally wheat free that they’re watching labels and avoiding anything with wheat in it at all doesn’t mean that they’re still eating “lots” of gluten, and there’s no reason to assume they still are since by their own words they started losing significant amounts of weight.

      Many people “try” going off wheat just to see what might happen, without having the motivation to lose weight, it’s hardly unusual. It’s also true that many people go wheat-free in the sense of avoiding bread, pasta, etc. without also avoiding soy sauce or, say, licorice, and while still experiencing significant benefit. I’m someone who does go out her way to avoid gluten at any cost, but several people whom I’ve convinced to go wheat-free are not bothering with reading labels that closely, yet still are experiencing considerable benefit; it appears that trace amounts of gluten really aren’t too much of a problem for people who don’t have celiac and are otherwise quite conscientious about what they eat.

      • Boundless says:

        > … it appears that trace amounts of gluten really aren’t too much
        > of a problem for people who don’t have celiac and are otherwise
        > quite conscientious about what they eat.

        Not really. Another 5% of the population are just as reactive to “gluten” as celiacs, but don’t have the genetic marker. Even Big Grain admits this. Such individuals need to avoid both hidden wheat and trace amounts.

        The rest of us may not react immediately to minimal encounters, but unless we are also consistently low carb, we court any number of longer term ailments, all unnecessary.

  4. Alice says:

    I have been doing very well as a vegetarian who has been avoiding wheat for almost a year. I have lost fifty pounds. However I got awakened this past Sunday morning by a 7mm kidney stone for which I was hospitalized. I am home, I have not passed the stone, and I am told that I will be receiving advice on my diet when I finally get to see a urologist in three weeks. This is not a situation I would wish on anyone and I just don’t know yet if any aspect of my diet is to blame.

    • JillOz says:

      HI Alice,

      sometimes there are other conditions that, whether we eat wheat or not, affect our body. :(
      Or there could be leftover effects from the time you did eat wheat eat that resulted in a kidney stone.

      Just speculating.

    • Ardie says:

      Hi Alice,

      I sympathize! I, too, am a vegetarian–well, actually a pescetarian, have been on the Wheat Belly diet for almost a year and a half, and overall have been doing well on it. To my astonishment, I recently suffered a kidney stone, and you are right–it was a horrible experience, one I hope to never repeat. I hope your stone has now passed and that you are feeling better. They will analyze it to see what it’s made of, which will provide clues as to the cause, which may or may not be diet-related. Mine was a calcium oxalate stone, the most common type. This means I need to eat a diet lower in oxalates and drink a lot more water.

      Here’s what I think caused my stone: Because I am naturally very thin (under 90 pounds, but only 5’1″), once I went on the Wheat Belly diet, I started to consume huge amounts of nuts in order to avoid losing weight. I love nuts, so I was in heaven. I was also drinking plenty of fluids–mostly in the form of unflavored fizzy water made with our Soda Stream machine, and very little plain water. Now I find out that nuts are very high in oxalates AND that carbonated water may be implicated in kidney stone formation. As you can imagine, I pretty much stopped drinking fizzy water, increased the regular water, and cut way back on the nuts. I am fighting not to lose weight, though. My husband has been on the WB diet as long as I have, needed to lose about 35 pounds, and after an initial 15-pound loss doesn’t seem to be able to lose a single pound more. What is he doing wrong?

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Given the many years required to form kidney stones, I would blame the years of diet, not the recent change, Alice.

      Nonetheless, it is worth discussing this with an informed nephrologist or kidney stone expert, based on the composition of your stones.

      • derp says:

        Do you have any pointers on the effects of wheat on kidney function? I know that insulin works like a functional aldosterone agonist, retaining sodium (/ excreting potassium) and therefore water and increasing the intravasal volume (in addition to inducing vasoconstriction in insulin-resistant patients), and that insulin also inhibits excretion of uric acid. But I haven’t found anything regarding calcium and other renally regulated substances.

  5. Sharon Pinilla says:

    It’s interesting that we feel we could be too skinny…but I think it is because we have forgotten what healthy people look like…I showed my children a holiday video from 1988 and the first thing they said was “Wow weren’t people slimmer then”. When I look around today even in advertising we are using larger people, so we start to think that is the normal…yes there are people who are quite thin for whatever reason and can’t seem to put on weight…being thin (and it also depends on our perception of this) doesn’t mean you are healthy either. As so many seem to miss the point…that the benefit of being wheat free is what is or or isn’t going on inside our bodies. What is making us sicker no matter what our size…but let’s not fool ourselves either…being overweight is never a good thing for our bodies…inside and out!

    • Darlene says:

      So true; one does not need to be obese or have major health issues to benefit from being wheat-free!

      • Sheen says:

        So true! We have no idea what’s going on inside even seemingly healthy, slim bodies.

        Also, if you are able to measure Body Fat, that’s a way better measure than weight. I might look slim but my body fat is fairly high despite working out and staying active. Gifts of a carb rich diet!

        So if quitting wheat and grains makes it effortless to lose body fat and get healthier almost effortlessly while gorging on delicious whole foods, that’s enough of a reason for me! Don’t need to be overweight or gluten sensitive.

        2 months into it, I also feel happier……. a mildly elated feeling. Anyone else feel that?

        • Elaine says:

          Yes, have been wheat free and off and on the rice since second week of January – have lost 14 lbs. and sleep better, no sinus problems and am much calmer too. Now I am STUDYING the Wheat Belly book on my second rereading so it really sinks in!! The Wheat Belly Cookbook is a treasure and have been on the soap box about the WB with friends. Have an appointment with my doctor tomorrow and want to compare numbers even though a non-fasting test would shoot those numbers. I am going to request that I be taken off statins. Let’s see what he says!

  6. Geoffrey says:

    I have struggled a bit with the same question. I have been totally off all wheat and sugar products now for over 3 months. I eat meats/poultry, eggs, veggies, nuts, and some fruits. I am 45 and 5’10″ and for years my weight hovered around 165, which felt okay. I have never been any heavier than that but when I was more fit and was a serious athlete, I had been done around 153. Now I’m around 140 lbs, which feels really light, however, I have not lost any muscle, and from the looks of things I have actually gained muscle while losing fat. Body fat percentage on my scale comes in anywhere between 3 and 5%. I walk about 3-4 miles per day and do a simple low weight free-weight exercise routine 1-2 x per week. To be honest, I hardly recognize my body. And not because it’s too skinny but because of its muscular definition without much hardcore exercise. So on this diet, I appear to have lost no muscle, may have gained it, and have lost the fat. My waist size keeps dropping. I have been a 32 for years and now my new 30 in. waist pants I bought two months ago are too baggy in the waist. I may need a 28 or 29 in. waist pant.

    I didn’t do this diet for weight loss, but chonic IBS related symptoms, which have all disappeared. It has made me nervous to have my weight this low, but I am getting used to it and accepting it as normal. I’d rather not go any lower, but I don’t know. I know I eat well and my body is going through changes, and I just need to let it settle in where it wants/needs to settle. I know I won’t keep dropping indefinitely, and I’m not sure if this is the stopping point. I also get comments from others that can produce anxiety about my skinniness, which always has the underlying question about are you healthy. So I do feel self concsious at times, especially what it means to look like me in a world full of fat people.

  7. Sara Fournier says:

    Dr. Davis,
    Dr. Davis,

    Your BASIC BREAD– I must be doing something wrong with the recipe bc the bread I made was inedible! It really tasted THAT bad. Any tips for the bread? I know it’s not going to taste the same or even bake the same but there has to be something I’m doing wrong for it to taste that bad.

    Is it ok to buy EINKORN WHEAT flour and bake bread that way? Or is it still not a good idea?

    Is it ok to buy jelly that has white grape jiuce concentrate? There is no added sugar in the ingredients but I’m afraid that the sugar lies within the juice concentrate. What are your thoughts?

    Thanks for your help. LOVING being wheat free. Thank you!!!!!!!!
    (I’m new to this blog thing even though blogs have been around for forever. How can I post a question other than what I’m doing right now? I don’t see a place on your website to be able to ask a question.)

    Sara Fournier

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Hi, Sara-

      Here is a discussion of ways to improve the bread and/or avoid some common pitfalls:

      Einkorn and other ancients, while better, are not ideal. They still pose some problems. You will find discussion of this in the blog, as well as in upcoming posts.

      I would also not advise commercially prepared jellies: Much too high in sugar.

      • Sara Fournier says:

        Thanks for your prompt response. Much appreciated.
        Sara F

      • Sara Fournier says:

        Dr. Davis,

        I’m not seeing the discussion on the bread in this particular blog…?

        Sara Fournier

        • Boundless says:

          > I’m not seeing the discussion on the bread in this particular blog…?

          For example:

          Heirloom wheats (assuming they really are, a serious question), are an expensive distraction on the road to low-carb grain-free. They contain gluten (some more than modern wheat). They are high glycemic. They may or may not contain the other toxic threats of modern wheat. If you consume ancients at the same caloric rate as moderns, you can expect health issue to improve only mildly.

      • Sara Fournier says:

        Can you recommend a company that makes a WB approved jelly/jam that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners? I looked at Walden Farms (suggested in your cookbook for syrup) but they use Splenda :(

        Sara F

        • Boundless says:

          > Can you recommend a company that makes a WB approved
          > jelly/jam that doesn’t use artificial sweeteners?

          I would take a look at
          We use their fake maple syrup. We haven’t tried the jams, but the NF panels look surprisingly reasonable, carb-wise. NH products are offered by some Amazon sellers, and are carried by Natural Grocers (formerly Vitamin Cottage).

    • Jan says:

      Have you tried the herbed focaccia? We love it and sometimes make it without the olives and sun-dried tomatoes…..then use it with a variety of spreads and/or as an open faced sandwich. I’m anxious to try it with caraway seeds or maybe with Parmesan cheese on top…..lots of possibilities with this recipe. We took the flaxseed crackers to a small gathering and someone asked me where I bought them! Of course, that caused an engaging Wheatbelly conversation and maybe some converts!

  8. Lily Rose says:

    18 pounds lost, down to 115, 5’4″, 70 years old….elimination diet for 30 days 10/1/12, then minimal wheat, sugar, no alcohol. Lots of vegies and fruit, brown rice, quinoa, a little fish and chicken. Feel light and very well. Will keep weight below 120, but looks kinda skinny for an old lady. No worries, I think it is a good thing as long as we eat enough nourishing food and ample fat and protein, and get enough fresh air and exercise.

  9. Darlene says:

    Dr Davis, you always begin your articles with “so and so posted” etc etc. WHERE, exactly, are these being posted?

    • Boundless says:

      They are originally posted as Replies on existing threads. Sometimes they can be found, 24-48 hours later, using an external search engine restricted to

      • Darlene says:

        Thanks for the info. Are you an assistant to Dr. Dr? I frequently see your replies on the blog, just wondering.

        • Boundless says:

          > Are you an assistant to Dr. Dr?
          > I frequently see your replies on the blog, just wondering.

          Nope. I’m just an ordinary blog reader like you, although somewhat more active. I tend to contribute what I can to forums and blogs from which I get value. I’ve been visiting here since shortly after the original book was published, and noticed that whatever blogware this is seems to be horribly inefficient, and is probably wasting a lot of the Doc’s valuable time. If I see something I can answer, I answer it.

          What I know about how the blog works is entirely based on type-and-observe. Search is such a problem, for example, that I keep folders of bookmarks for everything I’ve ever posted here.

          I’m expecting it some point that Dr. D. will stand up a real forum, with real search (and a wiki would be nice). Perhaps then the common questions will have single-source easy-to-find answers. Perhaps then we can build a knowledgebase on all the food/ingredient items that arise as issues.> Are you an assistant to Dr. Dr?
          > I frequently see your replies on the blog, just wondering.

          Nope. I’m just an ordinary blog reader like you, although somewhat more active. I tend to contribute what I can to forums and blogs from which I get value. I’ve been visiting here since shortly after the original book was published, and noticed that whatever blogware this is seems to be horribly inefficient, and is probably wasting a lot of the Doc’s valuable time. If I see something I can answer, I answer it.

          What I know about how the blog works is entirely based on type-and-observe. Search is such a problem, for example, that I keep folders of bookmarks for everything I’ve ever posted here.

          I’m expecting it some point that Dr. D. will stand up a real forum, with real search (and a wiki would be nice). Perhaps then the common questions will have single-source easy-to-find answers. Perhaps then we can build a knowledgebase on all the food/ingredient items that arise as issues.

          • Dr. Davis says:

            Yes, Boundless is a gem and fountain of wheat-free wisdom, and a gentleman to boot!

            Such changes to the blog/website are indeed in the works. What started as just a blog to accompany a book launch has exploded into a resource to serve a booming worldwide movement. A great problem to have!

  10. Rebecca says:

    Hey Sara,
    I have added spices to bread to change the taste and experimented with flours. I cut out chickpea in my last batch used walnuts ground into flour and used food processor to cut up garlic to add into bread. I found by adding the walnut flour it was a more whole wheat tasting bread, the garlic spiced it up my husband went mad for it. I have also used nutmeg and allspice to make sweeter French toast bread types and dill and onion to make more home cooking meal breads . I would suggest play around with flour types and amounts make different styles I am sure you will find something you like.

  11. Darlene says:

    Dr. Davis, while on the subject of “am I too skinny”, I’d like to ask you, is there any pattern to what part of your body loses weight? Or is it always anyone’s guess? I’ve lost weight from my fingers, face, butt, and some stomach bloat, but still have some menopausal fat in my midsection. That seems strange to me, as I didn’t really need to lose it in the other places,( except for the stomach bloat). I had thought maybe “last on, first to come off”, but I guess not? Thanks for any feedback.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      It may mean that, despite the weight loss, you may still have excessive tendency to provoke insulin.

      This might be due to a dairy effect or just to greater-than-most sensitivity to carbohydrates, all of which contribute to excessive insulin provocation.

    • derp says:

      I guess you are referring to that last little stubborn fat inside your belly. I know it, it bugs me too – it’s maybe less than 5 pounds, but looks and feels awful. My plans are to use Dr. Kruses “leptin reset protocol” and see how it works out. And try to keep the other evil offenders of metabolic regulation out of your diet: vegetable oils, trans-fats, BPA.

  12. Mary says:

    Hello Dr Davis;
    I started eliminating wheat last Sept and have so far lost almost 20 pounds (was 124 lb) without having breathe hard and feel energetic and emotionally steady. I’m 5 ft, and reasonably fit and strong. I am currently eating “primal/paleo” except without eggs or dairy due to allergies.

    My cholesterol ratio (?) last Sept was 5.99 and was told to make some dietary changes. I’ve had high readings in the past and stress seems to be a factor as I ate better than most already. My blood test last week came back with a ratio of 6.96 and I’m pretty sure my Dr will want me to start taking a statin.

    I don’t want to take drugs and I question whether my continued weight (fat) loss from eliminating wheat could be a reason my readings are high? Any insights you have would be appreciated!

    Thanks so much for your tireless fight! You are helping so many of us.

    • Dr. Davis says:

      Yes, continued weight loss is a major disrupter of cholesterol values.

      And you must be in the UK where the incredible situation in which cholesterol ratios and total cholesterol values are used to justify statin drug therapy, a practice I would liken to bleeding with leeches–woefully outdated, despite its widespread practice.

      Is there any chance you can see a smarter doctor?

      • Mary says:

        Thank you for confirming that. I feel relieved! Turns out the number I listed above were total cholesterol values, whereas my ratios were 4.4 and 4.7 respectively.

        I have located a private clinic who may be more up on the current understanding. It’s worth it to be linked with the right practitioners.

        I appreciate your help immensely. Take care!

  13. Dan Cotton says:

    Dr. Davis,
    I am a 43 year old male, who has been eating a fairly healthy and varied diet. I also exercise regularly with a personal trainer. Although I consider myself ‘fit’ for my age, each year I have been gaining a pound or two. I also have noticed my energy level gradually decreasing from my ‘peak’ 10 or 15 years ago. I hadn’t been making the fitness progress that I would expect with my commitment level. Increasing my exercise level helped a little, reducing my caloric intake helped a little, but I couldn’t seem to find the right balance.

    A month ago, while at the airport about to depart on a two week holiday, I spotted your book and decided to read it. I began to follow its recommendations that day. Two weeks later, when I returned home, I had lost 7 lbs….without any exercise, while on holiday, enjoying the occasional ‘indulgence’, and never being hungry! After following your recommendations for 1 month, I have lost 10lbs (which was my goal), my energy level is high, and my sleep quality is better. For the first time in many years I feel truly in charge of my health. I never would have believed the benefits of going ‘wheat free’ without trying it myself.

    Thank you for your informative and educational book.

    Dan Cotton

  14. Since returning north this summer, I’ve heard several comments referring to “how skinny you are”! We started going WB January of 2013…..I was not overweight at the time, so my focus was on the overall health benefits. I’m maybe 5 lbs. lighter now so that’s not that significant a reduction to cause that kind of reaction. I think we’re so used to seeing an overweight population that someone in the normal range, looks skinny!!

    Last week we went to a local ballet recital…..ages ranging from 3 – 18 yr. olds. Normal size seemed to be the exception, rather than the norm…..the majority being larger in size in all age brackets! A few days later, I rooted through my old photos of our ballet recitals (50′s & 60′s) and we all looked like STICK figures compared to kids nowadays.

    • Boundless says:

      > I think we’re so used to seeing an overweight population that
      > someone in the normal range, looks skinny!!

      If the movie Wall-E had been made in 1955, they would only have needed to make the far future space pudgies look as puffy as the average person is today.

    • Boundless says:

      > I’ve heard several comments referring to “how skinny you are”!

      But let me guess … almost none are asking how you did it.

      They’ve either given up on being slender, or they expect to hear what they’ve heard before and don’t want to hear again: that you need to starve and strive (a’la Biggest Loser).

      You can tell them that the Food Pyramid is upside down, and that wheat and fructose are utter disasters, and they won’t even comprehend.

      • As usual Boundless….you are always right on target! And many of these overweight girls were on the homecoming court, so that tells you that this is now the “norm”. My 16 yr. old step granddaughter wears 4 sizes larger than me and I’m 61! Sheesh!

        And, of course……I ALWAYS reference WB….Have lots of notches on my belt to date! :_)

        • PLUS…..I even had a rather “nosy” person ask me if I’d had a facelift!!!!! (I haven’t!)

          • June says:

            I have had the same experience. I keep losing even though, by today’s standards, I wasn’t overweight to begin with.

            Many friends that I haven’t seen in a while have commented on how much healthier I look, but then they will say something like, “but you’re so thin”! I am five foot seven and in high school I weighed 118 pounds. After six months of wheat belly, I weigh 121 pounds-at 61 years old. I think my body is just finding its natural weight.

            A few weeks ago I went on a trip with a dear friend who I only see a couple times a year. Last time was before I changed my diet, and I was in pain, sick, and very tired. This trip, she kept saying that she couldn’t believe how fast I was walking! She was so impressed with the change in me that she is asking for all my recipes and going on this diet as well!

  15. Gail says:

    On June 30, 2013 I posted my concerns about my being underweight on the thread titled “You are BETTER than your bowel flora.” I realized later that I should have posted it here, along with the discussion about low body weight.

    I have been doing a lot of reading about low carb diets and various reactions of the human body to what it is being consumed. I can see there is a lot of controversy out there! From Dr. Atkins, to Body Ecology, to Paleo, to Gluten-Free, to Wheat Belly….what is a person to believe?? On one website I saw a book called “The Starch Solution!” That seems about as opposite from the low carb approach as one can get.

    I am coming to the conclusion that there is no “right” answer for any one person. Gather information, try different foods and combinations of foods, work with your doctor, pay close attention to how you’re feeling, consider the mind/body connection as very valid, exercise and be happy! Find what works for you.

    For as long as I’ve been interested in nutrition, 40+ years now, there has been controversy and opposite poles of thought in the field. Some approaches overlap e.g. Paleo, Body Ecology and Wheat Belly, and the proponents of each consider their approaches to be the best on an absolute scale. I believe that economic factors motivate much of the controversy, as is pointed out by Sally Fallon, author of “Nourishing Traditions,” in her piece on the “Oiling of America.” The pendulum swings this way and that, depending on “who gets the money.”

    Meanwhile, I will continue in my efforts to put on a few pounds, eating as much additional fat as I can, but possibly indulging in some carbs occasionally based on how I feel and see how it goes.

    • Boundless says:

      > I will continue in my efforts to put on a few pounds …

      The only recommended way to do it that I’ve so far seen on this blog is strength training, i.e. add muscle mass. If you’re gaining weight but not adding muscle mass, you’re almost certainly adding fat. It’s not clear to me that this is without hazards.

      Modern humans are superbly adapted to adding fat when carbs are available, currently acutely aggravated by the properties of modern wheat and the pervasive use of fructose (HFCS). See “The Fat Switch” (Johnson) for the bio chemistry, and a discussion of the two lacking genetic attributes (uricase and vitamin C synth) that give rise to it.

      Prior to agriculture, we’d probably pack on the pounds in summer, then burn it off in unplanned keto in the winter. Does a modern planning to gain weight need also to plan periodic fastings? Dunno.

      We may have had ancestors who could not do the bulk & burn trick (either didn’t have the uric acid switch, couldn’t do keto, or both). They might have been slender all year. They didn’t survive one or more major climate, ecological or migratory challenges.

      This sort of cyclic metabolism may not have been otherwise advantageous beyond simple survival. Did an the annual carb/keto cycle contribute to the short 40-year pre-ag lifespan? Dunno. But I’m very reluctant to add weight by any means other than strength training until more is known.

      • Brian says:

        Boundless you brought up a suggested age for our paleo ancestors and this is something I’m constantly confronted with when I preach the wheat belly way. I start out with our hunter gatherer ancestor didn’t have cancers, cardio vascular disease etc etc because they didn’t consume grains and they interject with they never lived long enough to get those diseases. So being a history buff I thought I could get a good idea of their lifespan using the population argument. Simply you need to average over 3 children per family for a population to grow and all these children would have to survive. Using my limited logic I calculated that starting at age 18 and having a child every 3rd year and supporting that child until it is capable of surviving in a hunting society. Keep in mind there will be children who don’t survive and famine years and I come up with 50 years as a probable lifespan. Then there is this unique thing we humans have called menopause. What possible benefit can a post menopausal women provide? Any grandparent knows their ability to support their children’s family gives that family a tremendous advantage. As I write this I’m minding 2 grandsons while both parents work 14 hour days in their business and I’m sure it was much the same in early times when a big kill had to be processed.
        Personally I think 50 years was the minimum average with early 60′s not uncommon.

  16. Boundless says:

    My company changed logos this year, and has been selling off apparel with the old logo for some time. This week they were down to the last few items. Sizes L, XL, XXL, XXXL and XXXXL were sold out, but I picked up some size M at quite attractive pricing.

    The representative said the larger sizes had been sold out for some time. I said that was due to what the company tells people to eat.

    Size “Medium” used to actually be “medium”.
    “L” (Large) is the new small.