This archived forum used to be called 'Peatarian' (in reference to Ray Peat).

This blog keeps me awake at night

I've been reading Edwards blog for a while now (I know he is a member here)

I'm still trying to figure out what to make of it all... Has anyone else read this blog? If so, what are your thoughts? I find it pretty interesting. I will never go low carb again though...

asked Jun 26, 2014 by holl
edited Jun 26, 2014 by holl

Doesn't he want to avoid white sugar due to digestive issues? The lowest of the low...

I read a few posts and quickly lost faith...there may have been some good points but he never gets into details. He just cites a few hand selected studies on a topic and gives his opnion and his word in a kind of opinionated but not well incorporated or backed up idea. He recommends no starch or sugar, and all the vegetables that are known irritants, and a high meat diet. It says at the top of the page hes like a weightlifter training for the Olympics or something. His points of view are pretty clearly body builder paleo type caveman manly man skewed, where harsh spices a lot of meat, no carbs and all the fermented stuff

its whatever, it might work for him, I dunno...but its pretty much just a guy and his opinions, its not really scaled out to anything significant that I can see

That criticism is pretty random and applies to everyone, including Peat.

I guess your right. The above's blog is more of just scientific speculation and trading opinions...theres no real tangible personal experience with any sort of data or rigor behind it and discussion that would benefit peoples actual lives. Nothing wrong with that, its pretty interesting...just not where id go to look to relay back and forth with people or find info about his personal tried and tested over time diverse self experiences. But then again, its hard to find that anywhere

9 Answers

I'm so into this. next big thing

answered Jun 26, 2014 by Kasra

brb, reading all articles

Is that going to be a furniture line?



@Kiran The avoidance of sugar/carbs is wrong imo, but eating more saturated fat (tried low-fat for a while) has helped me a lot.

@holl that's not unreasonable at all.

answered Oct 19, 2014 by holl

There has to be some cosmic significance to the fact that about the time you posted this, I had just started thinking about ketogenic diets again.

I think his stuff makes so much sense when I read it, but it has never worked for me in practice...

Have you ever tried just cutting sugar?

I only ask because I'm starting to remember a number of times where my mood suddenly tanked immediately after eating ice cream or drinking coke, but I can't remember a similar incident with any starchy foods.

I have had fantastic success recently eating a good amount of high fat dairy - but I still eat cane sugar and fruit (OJ, grapes & apples, as of late). Not a lot of table sugar, but enough to make things like custard and coffee with milk tasty. Can't do starch right now.

I have never tried just cutting sugar. I usually feel better eating sugar instead of starch. I've had success eating like Lindsay recently. Both low carb and low fat makes me feel unwell.

And Kasra, sorry for not answering your PM, I just saw it...

@holl: I think a lot of people misunderstand RP and think they can eat tons of sugar all the time. He really only advocates the use of sugar for therapeutic purposes and would prefer fruit or good quality juice. I think his emphasis is not on eating tons of sugar, but eating enough for good thyroid function - and that varies from person to person and is always best to go by cravings, I think.

Yes, fruit and juice is definitely better but I use a lot of white sugar. I have a hard time finding good fruit and it's very expensive. I don't like spending money on food!

@holl: can you buy apples? they are in season right now (at least here in the US) and are usually available year round. they are tough to digest raw, but cooked without the skin (a.k.a. "Apple Sauce") and add a little sugar and they are a great fruit source that is relative cheap. I think adding sugar to fruit sources is more helpful than eating it on it's own because RP always talks about how the nutrients in fruits (like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, etc.) help the body manage the sugars better. Spending money on good food isn't such a bad thing because nutrition is what sustains you - but if you can get good food for cheap, than that's a bonus!

Yeah, I have access to quality apples. I've actually been thinking about buying apples in bulk and make applesauce, maybe I should do that. I drink a lot of milk and eat cheese so I get a lot of nutrients from that, I also use instant coffee for extra minerals and caffeine of course. I drink commercial orange juice too. I'm a young male so I need a lot of calories, refined sugar is an easy and cheap way to bump up my calorie intake, I like it and it makes me feel good.

I think a lot of people on RP diet have problems with sugars. It caused fatty liver for many people. Edward was on a sort of Peat diet before, eating something like 4000-6000kcal per day and being lean despite eating starch and fruits in addition to lots of meat and fat. He probably tweaked his diet like us and found that both starch and fruit sugars gave him fogginess (glycemia problems). Despite dropping the milk (he is not against it, he simply didn't feel like drinking it), Edward still eat yogurt and doesn't think being in ketosis is important. These are important differences between him and other low carbers.

I have been low carbing for a few days and did not feel foggy at all (as I previously was not capable of focusing on anything), glycemia problems solved! And my nose is completely clear, which is amazing, so I am guessing that I had lots of irritant foods in my diet (I mostly only drink milk and cream now). My alkaline mineral balance seems to be normal again after some problems over the past few months. I have to understand what my carb limit is, but I am now pretty sure OJ irritates me, as well as most fruits. I don't tolerate honey. Too much protein is also a problem (too much ammonia). White sugar and starch will easily cause glycemia problems. In these conditions it's hard to eat even a moderate carb diet.

I still don't think sugar is bad, but tolerance is really different from person to person and a pain in the ass to be careful about. As opposed to a diet based on sat fat where people seem to adapt faster and more easily.
answered Apr 8, 2015 by nikotrope
Yeah I eat very similarly to Edward these days, probably for a couple of months now.  It has had a very big impact on my sustained energy and mood.  I never realized how easily aggravated I used to be until now.  

I didn't realize he doesn't drink milk anymore.  I think I remember reading a post of his on his site that he can drink up to 2L a night.
He says he used to drink milk but doesn't anymore. I emailed him to ask why, and he told me it was for no reason, he's just not hungry for milk.
Ah okay fair enough, thanks for clearing that up.
Somebody sent me an email asking about what I think makes people fat. I think this is the post that prompted the email so I thought it appropriate to post my response here:

At a basic level dysfunctional mitochondria i.e. an inability to burn saturated fatty acids at rest and when active and an over-reliance of the metabolism on glucose especially when at rest. What is the primary driver of obesity that makes it easy to understand: insulin. Especially given the fact that T3 degrades insulin which increases beta-oxidation which increases the structuring of water in the cell. If you are rest and you feel hypoglycemic that is a precursor to an overall stress response. You have two choices, eat more sugar which will calm the stress response, but once blood glucose drops again you must do the same thing. For a while this works but two things at this point work against you, sugar transiently works against you by shutting down efficient respiration i.e. the Crabtree effect which in turn transiently shuts down mitochondrial function though either excess superoxide formation through Complex I of the mitochondria which in turn damages the mitochondria, and by reducing the mitochondrial density of the cells and hyperinsulinemia. The problem with this is that the mitochondria play a big part in maintaining the structure of the cell. The charges on the mitochondria have a structuring effect on the water of the cell i.e. structured water which maintains the integrity of the cell, disrupting this causes de-structuring of cellular water which in essence is negative consequence. Saturated fat is hydrophillic, the way the molecule is structured invites better structuring of water in 3 dimensional space whereas the structuring of water around polyunsaturated fats and sugars which are also hydrophillic but less so then saturated fat, is more chaotic. The ability of a energy substrate to de-structure water depends on how the atoms are grouped together in the molecule and how water structures around the molecule in 3 dimensional space. The structure of the energy substrate also determines how much interference the energy substrate causes to the rest of the cell. My opinion is that saturated fat causes the least de-structuring of water in the cell in 3 dimensional space. The other choice is to prefer saturated fat as the main energy substrate as the fluxes in hormones as well as the symptoms are caused disruption in beta-oxidation/OXPHOS. This is why thyroid hormone can be helpful it stimulates beta-oxidation/OXPHOS which helps to restructure cells and promote organization in the organism.

That is the long story.

The short story is elevated insulin either from a thyroid deficiency or chronic stimulation of insulin caused by diet. I think carbohydrates and polyunsaturated fats and excess protein are responsible for causing obesity. There is usually and interplay there of give and take but for simplicity I'll keep it to that.

For thoughts on protein consider this:
answered Apr 11, 2015 by Edward
Edward, What about the difference between trunk fat and lower body fat? Visceral fat compared to lower body fat?

You may want to see the nuanced explanation for dangerous fat, as compared to other possibly healthy fat, that Andrew Kim has worked on here:
What about the cortisol issue with low carb? And the fall in thyroid hormones?
People are fat because they eat too much.

If you want to talk about why people aren't at, like, 9% bodyfat as a matter of course like they are in many "primitive" societies then it's complicated. But considering the question: Why are so many Americans and Europeans huge lard-asses? The answer is they eat too much.

R.I.P Clariece

answered Oct 3, 2014 by Nicholas

I'm enjoying the logic and writing style, what a great thing to share! There are two personal experiences that nag me, though:

  1. Why do I fare so much better on skim milk rather than full fat? Anyone have an idea? The milk is sourced from the same cows, however the skim is pasteurized.

  2. I've yet to find a way to consume coffee without simple sugars. Blood sugar tanks if I balance it with protein and fat. Fat helps a lot more than protein, but without added simple sugars it just doesn't work for me. Honey, sucrose, fruit juice, whole fruit, it all balances it fine if done correctly. Is my one quart of milk just not providing enough milk sugars? This goes for whole, skim, raw, pasteurized, whatever.

If anyone has ideas I'd love to hear them. It could also be that with full fat products, I just can't eat enough food due to extreme satiation.

answered Oct 2, 2014 by NooMoahk

I've tried following some of his stuff, I definitely think he is wrong about sugar. Personally, I feel better on skim milk too, don't know why though. I don't think the sugar in one quart of milk is enough, at least it's not enough for me.

lol I just read the top couple articles and front page...don't even know what to say. Just because a person doesn't know how to use sugar they make generalizations. It would be funny if I had a conversation with him in real life and got to spend the day...his opinion would surely change. Also...he claims the only way to have better than a 1:2 ratio of calcium phosphorus is do be a dairy herding tribe, and the front page has an alcohol recipe. Claims that we need 143 - 333% RDA iron each day! Dunno man, he should just keep consuming what he likes but not try to make it seems like he knows what hes talking about...or give advice to others...anyone can find those studies and come to their own conclusions...he simply posts quotes, gives personal opinion based on no evidence and kinda leaves it at that. Its fine, but its really...I guess it is just a blog so its all good

I cant wait until the day people only speak of what they know from real tangible personal experience with long term recordings and data...its all rat studies and speculation and imaginative romantic ideas these days! Even most 'scientists' have not even spent one day trying to get intimate with their own body

Simplistic romanticized ideas sure are appealing. I can really dig the idea of a cow diet but personal experience is king. I abstained from any significant iron sources for a a long time and still had high levels of iron, so it would be tough to convince me there.

really? that's a bit of a consolation...ive been eating low iron for a while, I tried a supplement a while back and it messed up GI bad, all day the next day near cramps and black I didn't take it again. Im sticking with low iron and haven't noticed anemia symptoms (I don't eat liver or really any meat)

For quite awhile, I was limiting my fat intake and favoring carbs - I usually tallied 30 or 35 grams of fat at the end of the day. Then I started gaining weight (and not just muscle either). So I lowered my fat intake even more. No real change in weight. Then I got appendicitis and that caused me to drop about ten lbs. over the course of two weeks, as I was on antibiotics and had lost my appetite entirely. After that episode, I just said screw it and have been eating what I gravitated towards - which was full fat milk (I don't like the added vitamins to reduced fat milk) and hard cheeses. Also some mozzarella and ricotta in the mix. And lots of eggs - usually at least one or two per day.

I've kept the weight I lost off and seem to be developing better muscle tone as I regain strength post surgery. I wouldn't say I've lowered my carb count on purpose, but I've found a point of moderation - basically, I eat sugar to taste (starch is a no go right now, it just creates yeast or bacterial issues for me). I eat fruit, juice, put sugar in my coffee and custard (and cheese pie) and if I need more, I usually wake in the early morning hours needing juice. So, I'm not trying to pound myself full of sugar and carbs like before.

Unlike most people on here, I don't try to eat tons of food - I don't want to stress my system like that and I don't think it's necessary. I feel okay (considering I just had another surgery) and I think this positive shift back towards higher fat dairy and food, in general, has been beneficial. Especially since the high fat foods I crave are protein & nutrient sources - I think this makes a difference.

Rather than drinking just plain milk, maybe try some tasty cheddar or gouda, or make some custard with full fat milk (nothing like a good custard). Or the cheese pie recipe I posted to Nicholas's thread (made with full fat ricotta, eggs, and sugar). I use simple sugars regularly - I do fine with them and find nothing wrong with organic cane sugars, but that's just me. My blood sugar seems to be much more stable these days and I think the addition of more protein/saturated fat to my diet has been the difference.

From personal experiences and observations, I think neither extremes - low carb and low fat - are advisable diets. I think both 'can' work for us humans, as we are used to 'take what we can', but I think in optimal times, by that I mean in times where basically everything is available, and we are living in that time, everyone prefers to eat all kind of foods - carbohydrates, fats and proteins. No one likes to only eat fruits for example. Ratios aren't that important, or at least we cannot speak of 'optimal' ratios, as it varies from person to person, time to time, circumstance to circumstance, but the extremes, such as 80-10-10 or something are very self-limiting and I can't believe someone actually likes it that way. I think at least 30% of the calories should be from carbohydrates, while fats and proteins should probably at least amount to 15-20%. Personally I eat high carb (at least 60% of my calorie intake I think), but also a lot of fats and proteins.

Lindsay, I'm not surprised saturated fats and proteins helped you a lot, (I'm happy for you btw, hope it stays that way) considering you only ate like 25g of proteins a day at some point if I remember correctly. As soon as I read that, I suggested to increase the intake. Same goes for fats. I personally felt terrible eating only ~40g of fats a day when I did it for like 1 week. I never did low-protein, but usually crave foods rich in protein pretty fast if I eat less protein than normally (for example if I only eat like 20g of proteins until dinner).

^ yes that it true - it IS very individual. as a former vegetarian (who ate practically vegan, but without much grains), I've felt the difference that protein makes. it has actually led to me being a sane individual. even if it's only 60 grams per day (which I'd like to add more protein), I feel much better.

His thoughts on Lactic acid are interesting. Personally, I can't think something that is responsible for the product that is cheese could really be that bad, but I guess context is important.

answered Oct 19, 2014 by Lindsay

Unfortunately, ketogenic diets are old news: Barry Groves, The Bear, Gary Taubes, et cetera. I followed a ketogenic diet for two years, Danny Roddy tried a ketogenic diet; I think many people interested in Peat came from a low carb background.

What makes one think that trying it again will be any different?

Ketogenic diets are only useful if you're interested in becoming a balding fat ass.

answered Oct 19, 2014 by Shredder

Keto might make people bald, but I doubt it's making anyone fat.

I doubt those authors recommend drinking liters of milk, which btw contains a fair amount of sugar (from lactose).

Edward seems to be moving away from even milk. His latest "What I Eat" only listed milk as a food that he would eat "rarely."

I gained 40 lbs of fat on an ultra low carb diet jogging 2-4 days a week, In only 8 months by which point I had to stop because I was losing my damn mind.

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating ketogenic diets.

I missed it completely: no sugar. What a turn around.

I'm not convinced anymore that low carb caused my health issues.  I'm starting to wonder now if sunlight avoidance, saturated fats, omega-6 PUFAs, cholesterol, and vitamins A & D were the real causes.
Raintree, Supplemental vitamin a and d?
And all of this while low carbing?
I don't know about sugar.  I was low carb during most of the 2000s and actually felt fine most of the time.  I'm thinking I'll probably cycle it according to season, since I have consistently gained weight the last 3 winters of high carb Peating.  I did not take the 4x more thyroid though, so who knows.

Edward says:
"Your cells prefer to burn saturated fat. End of story. They are happy that way. Every cell in the body that has mitochondria can and does prefer to burn saturated fat. End of story."

Saturated fat is the big shift I've made since finding Peat.  As much as I complain about milk, I'll probably never stop drinking it.  

Like so many Peat followers, he says he doesn't use coconut oil.  I wonder why.
answered Apr 8, 2015 by raintree
I don't understand what "prefer" is supposed to mean there. I'm pretty sure that word has no clear definition in cell biology so that quote really has no significance to saturated fat.
@ms, I am guessing "Edward" means the metabolism pathways for short chain fatty acids, or perhaps keto acids.

@raintree, Peat thinks that there isn't enough known yet to say what the right balance might be between short chain fatty acids, keto acids and sugars, as fuel sources. But Peat thinks for now (given the stress associated with ketosis and the PUFA content of most fat, and how little is known about keto acids), fruit sugars are safest.
I'm not sure I agree that sugars and fruits are safe all year round.  They may be safe in spring in summer when they're readily available, and bad in fall in winter unless you tweak yourself with supps.