How Low Carb Paleo Can Fool You - Critical MAS

How Low Carb Paleo Can Fool You - Critical MAS

Yesterday I listened to an excellent podcast between Justin Manning and Richard Nikoley (language
NSFW). It might have been the single best hour of any health podcast I
have heard. Unlike most health podcasts today which promote neurotic
food obsessions or unsafe fitness practices, this was the story of
Richard Nikoley of FreeTheAnimal.com and what happened on his journey into low carb Paleo.

His story is important because he has been doing this for years. He
is also over 50 years old. Hearing about how some 25 year old got ripped
doing 6 months of Paleo and CrossFit tells me nothing. You’re suppose
to be fit and healthy at 25. And unlike Art De Vany and Mark Sisson,
Richard was never a professional athlete.

Richard and I share a lot of similarities. Both of us came into Paleo
via the writings of Art De Vany. We both lowered the carbs. We both
lost weight. We both had issues after our weight loss. We both
questioned and eventually rejected the anti-carb dogma. Along the way we
experimented with intermittent fasting and cold exposure.

Early in the interview, Richard mentioned how influential the book Fooled By Randomness by
Taleb was to him. This was the same book I was reading at the time I
first was exposed to Paleo. I believe that book along with our
backgrounds in investing
helped us think differently about the various health claims during our
journey. Richard saw it faster than I did in nutrition. I was focusing
more on the survivorship bias rampant in the fitness community. I even put out a post calling Taleb to task for being fooled by randomness on his own fitness routine.


Caveman by Jason Schleifer

Richard’s Low Carb Paleo Journey

Although the entire show is good, I want to highlight the portion that starts around 21:20. Here are the notes I took.

  • Low carb Paleo fools you because the weight loss is so easy at first.
  • Removing the grains, veggie oils and processed foods creates a caloric deficit.
  • Richard lost 60-70 pounds following Low Carb Paleo. He got down to 175 at 5 ’10.
  • At his low, his hands and feet hurt from being very cold. This is a common side effect of low carb diets.
  • During this period of chronic discomfort, he got “off his game” and gained 10 pounds.
  • After gaining 10 pounds, he felt great, which is what caused him to question the low carb dogma.
  • It frustrates him when LC zealots advise further reduction in carbs
    to those with stalled weight loss that experiencing side effects and
    symptoms associated with LC diets.
  • Richard acknowledges that LC/Ketogenic diets can be good for initial
    weight loss, diabetes, cancer, neurological diseases and epilepsy.
  • Believes LC/Ketogenic are best used as an intervention, not a lifestyle.
  • Most people that have walked this planet did not follow a LC diet.
  • People under 35 seem to do well on LC. That is a result of being young.
  • Being Paleo and showing off your abs at 20 doesn’t prove anything.
  • LC Paleo leads to one to believe that restricting carbs not restricting calories caused the fat loss. This is false.
  • On calories: “You don’t need to count them, but they count.”
  • Weight loss stall is caused by a reduction in mass. When you lose
    mass, your energy requirements drop. To further lose weight, you must
    either further reduce calories or increase activity.
The book Fooled By Randomness discusses attribution bias.
We try to find the reasons that explain a result and sometimes we get
it wrong. Richard got it wrong. I got it wrong. Unlike several of the
charlatans in the Paleo community, we are willing to admit it. Paleo is a
wonderful narrative. It really is a shame that it got hijacked by the
low carb cult.