Mass Confusion And Conflicting Advice

I am very into reading about health, and trying to stay abreast of all the current research. I listen to wide scope of podcasts and gollow numerous blogs. In doing so one would expect to gain a plethora of valuable info and from that easily formulate a perfet diet and exercise plan. Instead the more I know the less I understand, and the more confused I find myself. I cant even image what its like for the poor saps who just hear didpits here and there from friends and co-workers.

For example, today I listened to 5 poscasts while at work. The message from the 5 was somewhat similar yet differnt enough to leave a person scratching their heads.

First was Daves with guest Nora Gedgaudas, she pretty such advocates a no carb diet. No carbs ever, dont need them at all.

Next was Robb Wolf with guest Paul Jaminet and Whitney Ross Gray. The speak of a more balanced approach, with about 30-40% carbs, fruits, nuts, and fat and protein being about equal.

Next was Keifer and Dr. Bruce Ames, moderacte carb, advocating fruit and much more raw plant based approach.

Fat burning man Abel james with gues Joel Furhman, all plants and nothing but plants.

Ans lastly, Mike Matthews, who believes its all about calories and hitting your macros, which in his opinion is 40% protein, 40-50 carb and the rest fat.

Now all of the guys and their guests and intelligent people. The are all very well versed on the data that is available, and all have clients/patients they see who follow their advice and get quantifible results. Yet all 5 spout a different, and in some cases extremely different mantra.

Is it any wonder people just give up?

So how do we know who is really right and who is wrong? One's own health is a dangerous thing to be on the wrong side of.

For me personally the last year has been packed with experimentation.

Bulletproof - great mental focus, great mood, lots of energy. Heart rate however was always high and my blood pressue was almost always elevated.

then came a low carb loads of greens diet, with a green smoothie for breakfast and a huge avocado salad for lunch, dinner was always a complex carb, a good meat, and a ton of veggies. Heart rate after 2 months was the lowest at rest its ever been, in the mornings it was the 40's, unheard of for me. Blood pressure was also fantastic. I had a lot of energy, but was a bit moody at times, slept great but noticed some strength depletion.

Higher carb, lots of protein, lower fat. By far the strongest I felt at the gym, but my mood swings were awful. Blood pressure and heart rate also went through the roof.

All this leaves me with the impression the all that really matters is what works for us as individuals. Now I know these are only two very small markers, but living in Canada I just cant get a full blood panel done without going to emergency clutching my chest.


  • I do not believe that there is a homeostatic "sweet spot."  Any of the philosophies that you mentioned could have problems over time.  Use Jason Miller's template to find your optimal macronutrient ratios, and keep monitoring yourself because they change over time.  Sometime you need more carbs, sometimes you do better without them, but if you are paying attention to your biomarkers and willing to make changes when needed, you will be within tolerable ranges nearly all of the time.

  • What if you dont have access to biomarkers other than blood pressure and heart rate?
  • You can look at things like digestion, HRV (there are some free apps out there), physical, and mental performance.  Keep a spreadsheet and if you start to notice a dip, make a change.

  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited July 2014

    Lyleg, not that it is a good option, but I don't see why it wouldn't be possible to drive into the US and get WellnessFX. You might need a US billing address or something? But I'm sure there's a way to hack this if you have the resources. Tim Ferriss has written about medical tourism, too... 


    It does seem to me that your answer to the confusion and conflicting advice is self-tracking/fine-tuning. You have quantitative and qualitative data on 4 separate protocols. I would suggest that when you listen to these podcasts, rather than listening to the exact prescriptions the guests are giving, listen to the reasons/logic behind what they're saying, and see if you can connect the dots as to why the high-plant diet lowered your resting heart rate, etc. And whether that would be permanent if you stayed with the diet for years. When listening to these podcasts, pick up little tidbits and apply it to your personal health world view, then experiment with hybrids of the previous 4 protocols that test your new assumptions. For example I would assume higher carbs help you in the gym, and hypothesize that the lower fats and likely blood sugar swings due to higher carbs were responsible for your mood swings on that protocol, then try to create a hybrid protocol with just enough carbs to give you energy in the gym, but that managed to keep blood sugar stable either through added fats or tricks like whey or creatine with carbs. If it works, my assumptions are right, but if not it's back to the drawing board. Don't forget spurious correlations, though. Maybe the high-plant diet didn't lower your resting heart rate, perhaps it was the season in which you experimented. Did you know middle-schoolers' IQ tests are nearly perfectly correlated with their shoe sizes? It's a spurious correlation: older middle schoolers are smarter because they're older, and also have bigger feet because kids grow as their age increases. There's zero causation between shoe size and IQ scores. 


    This paradigm is a big part of the biohacker mentality, and why I pay so much attention to Dave. Not because he told me certain foods were moldy, though that was nice of him. 


    That said, does anyone believe Abel James is on-board with nothing but plants? And Dave has clearly stated he thinks we do need some carbs. I think both think those guests had some valuable information for discerning listeners, and past that Dave and Abel didn't want to really hammer home their points of disagreement. If they come off as anything near gotcha-journalism, they won't be able to get good guests in the future. 


    I don't think that's their fault, or that they could have a successful podcast with constant disagreement, but it's a damn shame. I was involved with debate in high school and college, and I'm hugely disappointed that polite disagreement and debate has become a niche skill. (Not that I've always been 100% polite here :???: ) The average person's attention span has gotten so short that it's impossible to get complex points across in most media, and by definition politely disagreeing with a portion of someone else's argument is a complex point. Even if the audience had the attention span, most guests would be deer in the headlights, since no one gets practice building their points back up after they've been refuted. In the world of debate, what I want is called "clash." What we get in most political debates is called "two ships passing in the night." And what we get in a lot of health-related podcasts is... consistent failure to refute? (There are, of course, occasional notable exceptions.) 


    So, the answer to all this confusion and conflicting advice has to be: listen and read critically, test, track, and re-test. 

  • Taking in all the information out there tends to leave me with the conclusion that there is no conclusion when it comes to what food you put in against a million outcomes none of which being death.  It would seem that the more towards performance we go, we have to deal with markers that could suggest health problems later on, then the opposite, when we put all out health markers in the safe range our performances tend to suffer.  But these markers

    are  based on current science which may or may not be proven false someday. 


    It would make you think that we have a live fast die young situation.  But then again, even within all of those diets and lifestyles there are another million variations within each of them.. I think its important to realise which of these diets do what for you and then how they may be seen to have a detrimental effect if any on ones health.. Then, use the diets on an as and when needed basis to achieve what needs to be done.


    Again its not so clear cut..


    Its like there's all that food out there and we have to make choices, if we choose a balanced approach of 40% c 40% p 20% f then we look at foods like lean meat, then you look at where the meat has come from, then you have to think well how will this react with the other foods I eat with it.  You can go deep into a rabbit hole of mastication.  We will all have different results, based on our gut, our intolerances, our exercise level, our genetics, our anatomical makeup, how much we chew... this alone with the sheer spectrum of the quality of the food, but most will say yeah do this eat this and this will happen.. It may, it may not but you will all drop dead from something along the line... That could be the diet you were on, a genetic predisposition, a biological incident, inflammation or a million other things..  


    Nobody can be 100% wrong and nobody can be 100% right, there is anecdotal evidence for every diet and then when some old person who lives till 120 smokes and drinks every day that just goes to show that we haven't really got a clue..


    I will most of the time eat for performance, but will have periods where I will eat ultra clean and veggie.. I don't know if im doing right 100% but markers seem to drop and rise with the changing of the diets and my shape does too.. I guess that is what its all about when you biohack! We are mavericks and none of us will care very much for being fat and lazy, we are the ones who succeed because we refuse to say there isn't a way, we will always find a way to do what we need to succeed.. Surely that is the goal.. get to where you need to go, looking and feeling great.  You may die on the way tho..

     \m/(>.<)\m/ - my rockband!! \m/(>.<)\m/

  • What if you dont have access to biomarkers other than blood pressure and heart rate?




    Why don't you?  Is it cost or just access?


    If it's cost here are some pretty cheap ways of getting more metrics on yourself:


    - Blood Sugar Monitor - less than $15

    - Blood Pressure Monitor - less than $60

    - 23 & Me Testing - $99


    Also - some places have kits.  Like the Vitamin D3 Council - they have a home kit for testing levels.  There might be more stuff like that - 

  • Canada, very hard to get anything done without a doc involved. I dont even think u can buy a glucose monitor without a prescription
  • RekaReka ✭✭✭

    I think the macro ratio differences approaches you mention depend on your goals. Jaminet sums it up in an article, their point basically is that for optimal longevity you want to eat low carb, for optimal fertility higher carb, and for optimal athleticism even higher carb. I don't remember whether they mention exact numbers.

    It doesn't get easier... It's you who gets better.


    Is your social worker in that horse?


    Success has a price, not a secret.

Sign In or Register to comment.