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  • The Swagger #26 — Tuesday Truth With Low-Carb Opening Acts

The Swagger #26 — Tuesday Truth With Low-Carb Opening Acts

Seeing Assumptions As Assumptions Reveals The Truth

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Good morning from a rainy day in Pattaya. It's about time. Stuff needed cooling down, plus a steam cleaning and rinse. And so it begins. The first real rain in months leading to what's unimaginatively called the rainy season...though in these particular parts, it's not so bad, hardly ever. Phuket, on the other hand? At about 7 degrees latitude closer to the equator, they know how to do rainy. It's the principal reason I left the more pristine island beaches for Asia's version of Sin City.

Three articles for you, today. The title piece is sponsored by premium subscribers, and I have two corporate sponsors for the opening acts. Thank your sponsors, and if you're a premium subscriber for the cost of a single Starbuck drip per month, give yourself a nice warm pat on the back. You have my thanks as well.

1. Why Do Low Carbohydrate Diet Advocates Single Out Blood Glucose As Toxic? It's a common theme in the LC world. Our bodies strictly regulate blood glucose levels. Why? It can't be just because that's the way it turned out to be for all us animals (not just humans) in the vast metabolic interplay between elements, compounds, hormones, and nutrients. There has to be a specific reason involving purpose and will! We'll see about that.

2. Does Eating Carbohydrates Signify Your Weakness? Since going way back, there have been many efforts to show that low-carb dieting—being in "fat burning mode"—is superior for athletic and sports training, performance, and competition. But what's the reality on the ground?

3. Seeing Assumptions As Assumptions Reveals The Truth. This is a broad topic that scales the mountains of religion, culture, politics, business, and economics. But we can illustrate it quite simply with the backdrop of today's two previous articles and expand from there. Stand by for a massive dot-connect, which is what we do best...revealing the common elements and themes for a more truthful picture overall. Careful, though. Toes are at risk, as are sacred cows.

1. Why Do Low Carbohydrate Diet Advocates Single Out Blood Glucose As Toxic?

Saw this little gem on a Facebook post by some someone.

"Carbs are NOT our preferred energy. Carbs ARE used 1st because HIGH blood sugar is TOXIC (diabetes, neuropathy, retinopathy, CVD). The body is maintaining homeostasis / avoiding death!"


Do you do science, ever? Oxidative priority is not about any "preference" whatsoever. You're anthropomorphizing metabolism when you use words like "preferred," as though there's a will making conscious choices based upon some kinda sin going on somewhere, like eating a donut, or, even worse, eating a donut after extra-marital sex. So that, when you eventually get fat and sick from doing it over and over, it's not that doing it over and over did you in. It's that you were sinful, refused to heed the many warnings and admonishments, and you're paying the wages of sin for going against The Way.

And saying "HIGH blood sugar is TOXIC[!!!]" is no more meaningful than saying "high lead and arsenic are toxic." Both exist in some measure, as do mercury and cadmium. Everything is limited. You can die from brain swelling by drinking excess water.

Here's a list of elements found in the body. Each one is regulated in some way and too far out of that regulation, you have problems.

  • Oxygen (O): Essential for cellular respiration

  • Carbon ©: Forms the backbone of organic molecules

  • Hydrogen (H): Part of water and many organic compounds

  • Nitrogen (N): Essential for proteins and nucleic acids

  • Calcium (Ca): Crucial for bone health and muscle function

  • Phosphorus (P): Important for energy transfer (ATP) and nucleic acids

  • Potassium (K): Maintains cell membrane potential

  • Sodium (Na): Regulates fluid balance and nerve impulses

  • Iron (Fe): Required for oxygen transport (hemoglobin)

Here's a list of essential trace elements, essential meaning we have to get them from intake, and trace meaning, in very small amounts. And again, too much results in problems of toxicity

  • Zinc (Zn)

  • Copper (Cu)

  • Selenium (Se)

  • Iodine (I)

  • Chromium (Cr)

  • Manganese (Mn)

Here's a list of stuff we have that we don't have any known need for, but typically exist in everyone in extremely trace amounts anyway.

Oxidative priority is simply inversely proportional to the body's ability to store the nutrient. That's why alcohol is priority #1. No storage. Then comes protein, carbohydrates, and fat, in that order...because fat is the easiest and most readily storable, it goes last. The problem with eating a lot of carbs has nothing to do with elevated BG (until you store so much fat you break your metabolism) and has everything to do with eating them together with a lot of fat...because the fat gets stored while the carbs are being oxidized...and then because we're all rich now, we eat again at the first sign of hunger, and add yet more fat rinse wash repeat.

Here. Science.

Oxidative Priority, Meal Frequency, and the Energy Economy of Food and Activity: Implications for Longevity, Obesity, and Cardiometabolic Disease


In most modern societies, the relationship that many individuals have with food has fundamentally changed from previous generations. People have shifted away from viewing food as primarily sustenance, and rather now seek out foods based on pure palatability or specific nutrition. However, it is far from clear what optimal nutrition is for the general population or specific individuals. We previously described the Food Triangle as a way to organize food based on an increasing energy density paradigm, and now expand on this model to predict the impact of oxidative priority and both nutrient and fiber density in relation to caloric load. When combined with meal frequency, integrated energy expenditure, macronutrient oxidative priority, and fuel partitioning expressed by the respiratory quotient, our model also offers a novel explanation for chronic overnutrition and the cause of excess body fat accumulation. Herein, we not only review how metabolism is a dynamic process subject to many regulators that mediate the fate of ingested calories but also discuss how the Food Triangle predicts the oxidative priority of ingested foods and provides a conceptual paradigm for healthy eating supported by health and longevity research.

No, I'm not a "Food Triangle" guy. I'm a whole foods guy, in the context of omnivory because that's what we are. Omnivores. We're not frugivores, vegetarians, vegans, fattyvores, or carnivores.



While it may appear that certain calories dominate fat loss and gain, the discrepancy is generally attributed to an oversimplification of energy accounting. With an exception of rare genetic disorders, obesity is largely caused by excessive food intake, with a lesser contribution from physical inactivity due to the tendency to increase calorie consumption during exercise.4 11 However, the phenomenon of an acquired appetite that dominates instinctual eating cues has been recognized since the time of Hippocrates12 and the mechanisms involved in leading some people to overeat while leading others to reach a natural balance between hunger and weight remain unresolved.13 14 Obesity is not common in the animal kingdom, with the exception of animals (e.g., pets) we overfeed or when excess calories are unnaturally readily available. Moreover, in a calorically scarce environment, a desire to overconsume is not a trait of negative selection and may in fact assert positive benefits. As we describe below, the tendency to store the most energy dense portion of a meal (i.e., fat) may also be explained in terms of an adaptive advantage. [...]

Early calorimeter experiments carefully measured the heat emitted from a thermally isolated room yielding direct calorimetry measurements over hours and even days.16 Later, in part, for practical purposes, most researchers turned to measuring carbon dioxide (CO2) produced and oxygen (O2) consumed to give an indirect calorimetry measurement of the heat evolved from respiration. The first systematic investigation of the gross energy content of food is credited to Rubner in Germany and Atwater in the United States.7 By comparing indirect calorimetry of subjects with a growing database of direct bomb calorimetry of more than 4000 analyses of 1360 different food items, Atwater improved on Rubner's earlier work and created a range of factors and coefficients representing energy availability and digestibility of foodstuffs to delineate their useful calorie content.17 However, the oversimplified and generalized notion of energy storage being a consequence of “calories in and calories out,” often interpreted as diet and exercise, fails to capture the more subtle thermodynamics of energy storage and disposal, particularly waste heat. Moreover, the human body is not a perfect engine and it is known that the energy liberated from the combustion of food is not identical to the energy available to the body from the consumption of food.18 This concept, known as “metabolizable energy,” is the difference between the gross energy of consumed food measured by bomb calorimetry and the energy contained in the feces and urine.19 [...]

Prentice and colleagues addressed the issue of fuel partitioning with their model of oxidative priority, or oxidative hierarchy, based on individual macronutrient storage (Fig. 5).37–44 Conceptually, to better understand the fate of the molecular components of food as they begin to leave the digestive tract, it may be useful to put aside the popular food labeling and macronutrient organization scheme of protein, carbohydrate, and fat, and recognize that whole foods, especially entire meals, are mixtures. Complex carbohydrates and simple sugars are broken down to monosaccharides, proteins into constituent amino acids, and lipids mobilized through chylomicron transport. Eating thus results in a postprandial rise in monosaccharide (glucose), amino acid, and lipid blood levels, during which the body attempts to normalize their concentrations by one of the three strategies: utilization, storage, or elimination. Importantly, when storage is limited or impossible, then two choices remain: utilize or eliminate.

Oxidative priority of macronutrient disposal. An oxidative prioritization of macronutrients predicts the partitioning hierarchy based on the inverse relationship of storage capacity. Not all macronutrients can be stored at the same level. For example, alcohol has no long-term storage capacity, while fat has a relatively unlimited capacity. While the postprandial DIT rise is highest for protein and lowest for fat, these metabolic increases do not necessarily reflect utilization of stored energy reserves and are rather better explained by the need to mitigate postprandial rises in blood nutrient levels. In nearly all cases, postprandial blood analyte levels that increase due to meals normalize within 4–6 hr as the postabsorptive state is reached. ALC, alcohol; CHO, carbohydrate; DIT, diet-induced thermogenesis; FAT, fat; PRO, protein

For example, following the ingestion of a protein-rich meal, a relatively larger increase in DIT is observed in the postprandial state compared to a carbohydrate-rich meal since amino acids have no significant inherent storage depot; the body essentially transforms excess energy into waste heat. Although the postprandial rise in metabolism following a protein-rich meal may be considered advantageous and a way to mitigate weight gain or even lose weight, little if any of this excess energy is sourced from stored adipose tissue. As demonstrated with the increase in metabolic rate with physical activity, it is possible and even expected that increases in metabolism to dispose of excess calories ingested with a protein-rich meal may actually cause a decrease in stored adipose tissue utilization. An equally important consideration is the following: not only may dietary fat be stored at a higher rate in the presence of macronutrients with a higher oxidative priority but also overall fat oxidation rates may be decreased by shifts in fuel partitioning.45

Conversely, a greater thermogenic response to food may not always cause excess stored energy reserves to be burned. This concept is demonstrated by data showing the effects of glucose and ethanol administration directly through intravenous infusion.45 Whereas ethanol and glucose infusions have no significant impact on overall RMR, ethanol alone suppresses fat oxidation by 87%. Importantly, a glucose infusion following ethanol predictably increases carbohydrate oxidation by 249% and further suppresses fat oxidation to almost nil for 90 min, with only a slow rise in fat oxidation thereafter; in fact, the total 4-hr integrated oxidation of fat following an ethanol-then-glucose infusion is suppressed by 79%.

Returning to the concept of meal frequency and mixed-meal oxidative priority, one can translate these results to what occurs when an individual consumes a wine, cheese, and cracker hors d'oeuvre. The post-hors d'oeuvre rise in alcohol and glucose concentrations actually suppresses fat oxidation and promotes storage of the dietary fat from the meal. As such, one can easily understand how body fat increases over time; the homeostatic drive to normalize postprandial rises in blood nutrient levels offers a novel conceptual framework that predicts fat accumulation.

Now, can someone get a memo to my old friend Gary Taubes, because that brief section above better explains "Why We [actually] Get Fat" far better than all the volumes he's written. Respectfully. You'd think he'd have just stumbled on it, by now. Why me, then?

Well, the paper's lead author, Ray Cronise, happened to take a liking to me way back...gotta be a dozen years, by now. We've maintained contact all these years and really, the only point of consternation if you get right down to it is that he thinks more plant-based is the way to go (carb dominant) and I think animal-based is the way to go (protein dominant). But neither of us think you should be adding a lot of fat to anything. We'd both agree that when you pick animals to eat, prefer the leaner stuff. And by all means, don't eat a lot of stuff together with a lot of fat...because it's going to your ass no matter it's beer, whiskey, meat, or veggies you're ingesting in big amounts along with the fat. We get fat because we're designed to store fat, and modern society has developed into an easy-fat-storage marketing machine.

... As a quick aside, bacon may just be the ideal high-fat food. Zero carbs, low in protein, no alcohol either. Nothing much to get in the way of metabolizing that fat...but eat your pile of it all by itself.

... American, W Euro, and other Western culture LCers live is the most hilarious bubble of talk-only-to-each-other confirmation I've ever observed. I live in a country where people eat 400g easy of carbs every day in white rice and fruit, primarily (some sugar), along with vegetables and a huge array of varied proteins compared to the West.

Those who don't eat too much too often stay incredibly lean and are long lived.

Because I've had my own BP issues, I have a monitor. I've measured hundreds of curious Thais. Not one single one elevated above 120/80, our average normal. Most women are under 110/70. 105/65 is very common for women I've tested.

So many people so full of shit about carbohydrates.

It's eating too much, too often (of ANYTHING, along with appreciable amounts of fat).

And remember one last tidbit: about the only whole food in nature that has both appreciable carbohydrate and appreciable fat is mammal's milk. And what, exactly, is that "designed," specifically, to do? It's designed to make you pour on mass, both lean and fat.

Derivative to that, I prefer a protein dominant diet over a plant dominant one because, in nature, protein comes with some fat, so evolutionarily, that suggests to me that we're far better at handling fat with lots of protein than fat with lots of carbs.

So, meat & potatoes for the win, skip the added fat (and there are plenty of ways to make potatoes delicious without adding a lot of fat, so just get off your ass and figure it out).

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2. Does Eating Carbohydrates Signify Your Weakness?

By the same some somebody on Facebook.

"CARB-ivores think they're strong, but if you have to load up on carbs before lifting that's not strength! That's vulnerability! Lifting even when 36hr fasted & killing it is real strength."

Amusingly, that's my tune...only from 15-17 years ago. This some somebody often posts stuff like this as though he discovered it, and it's new as of yesterday. It's kinda like a teen talking about having his first beer, and he forgets others have been drinking the stuff for years already.

That's all documented exhaustively here at FreeTheAnimal, beginning in about 2007. My principal means of losing the initial 25Kg in a year or so was...you guessed it...30hr fasted workouts. Because I was strong! and not weak! and not vulnerable!

... The theme repeats over and over. This touches peripherally on the third sponsored article today, but by way of tangential preview, I'm often amused when I stumble into somewhere and observe creationists talking to each other, or arguing with evolutionists. It has been over 40 years since I was steeped in the arguments counter evolution (because there are none for creation except faith that there was creation from without form, and void) so you'd think that in that time they'd have become more sophisticated and complete.

No. They haven't. Word for word, and I know them all...I could still rattle them off.

Similarly, I deleted my Facebook back in 2021 or something like that and was off for about 3 years. I come back and what do I find? The very same little LCer slogans and bromides that are either wrong, or incomplete at best. Also with the same exclamation points. LC is like this revolving door where eventually people figure out that damn, it really is about eating too much too often, nothing magical, maybe LC's higher protein helps curb appetite and that's why it's a good choice for many...it helps them eat less, less often. No magic. Damn!

But soon as they move on and start watching not just one kinda thing they eat, but everything they eat, the vacuum and void is filled with people like some somedoby and his EXCLAMATION POINTS!!! to tell everyone how easy and magical it is, all over again.

As far as facts go, if anyone is interested, all normal humans have the capacity to perform adequately to greatly deep into fasted states (ketosis). That's what fat storage is all about. That need arose in nature, and it could arise again.

But compared to being fed, it sucks. Going hungry sucks. It's supposed to. It doesn't matter how fat adapted (a rather bullshit and unscientific word...we begin accessing fat immediately) one is, being hungry sucks. Having to work when you're hungry sucks even badder. But, physiologically, every normal human can do it. It's bullshit to suggest that people who eat a lot of carbs can't perform adequately or that doing so is weak, as though they have something to prove on a quotidian basis.

Of the things available to eat, carb sources are the most readily accessible for strenuous activity. This is not in dispute among humanoids in possession of human-like brains. Of those carbohydrate sources, there's a range of choices from rapidly accessible (sugar, glucose, etc.) to more slowly accessible like oats and grains.

Recently, I made available a download (free) about a brand new revolutionary energy drink. Previously, I tested out fruit; fruit and LF yogurt; fruit, LF yogurt, and honey; and just fruit and honey and the latter worked best for me. I recently "discovered" the "revolutionary" energy drink and have been doing a pint pre- and pint post- workout and that has been great for me, amazingly so. Most recently, I added plain corn flakes. Yea. I put my new and revolutionary energy drink all over plan, Unfrosted corn flakes and They're Great! Very similar feel in the weight room to when I used to go on very long hikes (10Km+ with ascents and descents) with water only, eating nothing but a big-ass bowl of oat groats with a litle milk and maple syrup before heading out. I've never found better sustained energy than a big bowl of oats.

Anyway... the point is that it's not that you can't work out fasted. I've done it a million times, even fasted 72 hours, so on that basis alone, the some somebody poster is a pussy wimp with his 36 hours. Oh, and after fasted workouts, what else to prove my caveman prowess? I soaked in a 45F (7.2C) cold plunge for 15 minutes (also documented, even video). Can't be too weak! and vulnerable! out there.

Also, it must be noted that if your goals are strength and hypertrophy, then you've got to work out well fed, including carbohydrates. Because you perform better and the better you perform, the more gains from your sessions.

If ANY of the fat burning/fasted methods of training and performance actually worked better than eating like a human (which includes omnivorously consuming carbohydrates as evolved to do), then the top money-makers in competitive sports and athletics would all eat that way.

They don't. Obviously. They'd all go broke (and I don't need any of the bright-eyed bullshit Volek and Phiney keep trying to come up with in that regard...it's all bullshit).

But continue to obfuscate and hide your own weakness in being unable to handle a simple food like carbohydrates without going off the rails into fat accumulation because you're too weak to stop eating too much too often when carbs are on the plate along with your weak obsession: dietary fat.

This is as ridiculous and poking fun of top-fuel drag racers that they're really weak and SLOW because they have to use top fuel to win the race (by definition).

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3. Seeing Assumptions As Assumptions Reveals The Truth


In the contemporary maelstrom of human interaction, we find ourselves ensnared within the confines of what can aptly be termed a monological mind. The essence of this predicament lies in our singular approach to logic and paradigm—each individual trapped within their own unique worldview, interpreting the vast tapestry of human experience through a solitary, often unyielding lens. This is not merely an idle observation, but the root of a deep-seated conflict that permeates global society.

Consider the religious or cultural conflicts that saturate our world. Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus—groups of people segmented by profound ideological divides that are rarely, if ever, truly understood by one another. Each group interprets the other through their own monological filter, a process that results not in dialogue but in parallel monologues, where mutual understanding is as rare as it is fleeting.

The crux of the issue is our inherent attachment to these paradigms, constructed from a bedrock of unexamined assumptions. It's akin to wearing tinted glasses and forgetting they're on—everything you see is colored by them, yet you perceive your vision as clear and unaltered. It can take years to honestly and thoroughly scrutinize the assumptions you hold dear (I'm still working on it, 34 years in). This is no mere academic exercise; it's a transformative journey that distances you from ingrained paradigms, allowing you to recognize your assumptions for what they are—mere possibilities, not certainties.

Achieving what can be called a trans-paradigmatic mind, coupled with a dialogical approach, marks a significant leap in human thought evolution. This isn't about discarding your worldview but understanding its boundaries and limitations. It's about gaining the mental and spiritual freedom to step into another's paradigm, to see through their eyes without the distortion of your own biases. This is true understanding. This is the path to resolving the conflicts that plague our interactions and our planet.

Such freedom is not merely an intellectual luxury, but a necessity for those who seek to navigate the world authentically and effectively. It challenges us to question not just what we think, but why we think it, and to recognize that our most cherished truths are often less solid than we believe. It's a daunting task, but it is only by undertaking this journey that we can hope to foster genuine dialogue in a world dominated by monologues.

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