Eating, and eating well

By Razib Khan | November 25, 2010 12:33 am

Credit: tuchodi

Happy Thanksgiving Day to all the Americans out there. This is a day to loosen the belt a bit, but after the Holidays you probably want to think about slimming back. So, ScienceDaily, Obesity Riddle Finally ‘Solved’, and, Diets with High or Low Protein Content and Glycemic Index for Weight-Loss Maintenance. The upshot seems to be that a high protein-low (refined) carb diet worked best in a large sample of Europeans.

Myself, I was in the 155-165 pound range between 2000 and 2007. 2008-2010 I’ve been in the 140-150 range, and usually closer to the low end than the high. I went from a waist size in the 31-33 inch range to 28-30 range (I wear 28s regularly now). I’m moderately active in that I walk a lot, but I have totally turned away from refined carbs. I am not a religious ‘Paleo’, but I do track glycemic indices and glycemic loads for various foods rather closely. That being said, different people have different biologies. I think that’s important to remember. As a South Asian I have a higher risk for type 2 diabetes, so I’m particularly vigilant about sugar and other variables which increase my probabilities for chronic diseases. If I was a Northern European I might have different priorities, and chill out a little bit about dessert. Life is about trade-offs, and pleasures do often have costs. I am not much of a sweet-tooth, and I’m genetically predisposed to type 2, so my aversion toward sweets is a rather simple calculation. Others may have different outcomes performing the same operations because of different inputs. The answer to a riddle may vary depending on who is asking.


Comments (11)

  1. TheDude

    Is it conceivable that the the selective sweeps associated with agriculture have made a return to a purely ‘Paleo’ diet non-viable? The (red meat) protein consumption of palaeolithic Europeans was, by today’s medical recommendations, frightful; though I doubt that there was the same rectal cancer hazard that concerns us today, although that may very well be moot in light of the lower life expectancy of the ancients.

  2. gcochran

    A population approaching 7 billion makes widespread application of a paleo diet non-viable.

  3. bioIgnoramus

    In short, it’s not a bad idea idea to start the day with bacon-and-egg or a kipper. If you eat porridge, don’t pour sugar on it. But these truths were well known to my late mother; why has it taken so long for the medical profession to start to give up its crackpot theories?

    Put otherwise: what exactly were their incentives to lie to us all?

  4. Haha, interesting that you’ve chosen this sort of diet. I’ve been reading this blog since I was in high school 6 years ago and I’ve also find this is the diet for me.

  5. dan

    i eat absolutely anything i want and as much as i want at any time and i’m skinny as can be and slightly muscular. thanks, genetics!

  6. I have tried an all meat and nearly all-meat diet. Loved it. It horrified my Japanese wife, but while she was working and I cooking there wasn’t much she could do. Now I work and she cooks, so I eat lots more carbs. Oh well. Life is trade-offs, like Razib said. Peace at the dinner table is worth a lot.

  7. Eklart

    “Put otherwise: what exactly were their incentives to lie to us all?”

    Don’t say it like that, it makes you sound crazy.

    It’s helpful to phrase it as a journal article title. So, you end up with: Health, contested knowledge-claims and the politics of diet.

  8. dan

    wait, just to be clear, we’re all aware that diabetes is caused by obesity and not by sugar, right?

  9. @dan said,
    “i eat absolutely anything i want and as much as i want at any time and i’m skinny as can be and slightly muscular. thanks, genetics!”

    Sounds like you are an ectomorph?

    In a nutshell, you can eat as much as you want but not get fat, but no matter how much you weight lift you can never put on any real muscular bulk.

  10. Violet in Twilight


    Type 2 Diabetes risk increase is associated with percentage of fat (more precisely visceral fat)* and not just obesity. That’s why even skinny people can become diabetic.

    *Ref: Obesity Panacea, Nov 16 2009 post.

  11. Roy

    Obesity paradox: not being overweight is associated with mortality from cardiovascular disease, cancers, various chronic diseases (including kidney disease), and surgery.

    The Obesity Paradox: Perception vs Knowledge
    suggests improving cardiorespiratory fitness might reduce the risks associated with not being fat.


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at


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