I ignore the US food guidelines. If a food has a heart tick, I avoid it.
Numbers? My glucose is within normal limits, my HBA1c is so low that the GP and I have cut medications, and my cholesterol is lower than when I was 20, and running 100 -120 miles a week. When I slide out of ketosis — and i have, due to stress, in the last two weeks — I feel awful, get sick, or both.
And in one cycle of moderate ketosis we averaged a 10 kg (20 plus pound) weight loss — in ten weeks.
But the activists for the current system are there. They don’t want high fat food. They want high carb. Mark Sisson is correct: it has made us the size of elephants.
The USDA dietary guidelines are designed for professionals who administer and recommend diets to their patients.They’re used to develop federal food programs and health policies. State and local governments, schools, businesses, charities, and dozens of other organizations with the power to shape the food and food-related information we consume all use USDA dietary guidelines as, well, guidelines.
You may have a good grasp on the science of food and the diet that works for you—but millions of people do not. Millions rely on the experts and the medical professionals and bureaucrats to make their decisions for them. If those authorities are operating with bad information, what do you think happens?
The obesity epidemic happens. The type 2 diabetes epidemic happens. Low-fat chocolate milk in the lunch line happens. Statins for toddlers happens. Fat acceptance (not the same as self-acceptance) happens. An exploding mobility scooter market happens.
This isn’t a magic fix. This information—the right stuff, the helpful stuff I and other folks in the community have been doling out for years—is readily available, and not everyone wants to listen or buy in. That isn’t going to transform just because the USDA changes their tune. And the tune isn’t going to change dramatically no matter what happens. You won’t see the USDA recommending bone marrow and keto anytime soon. But it will start shifting things in the right direction. And it’ll expose a large number of people who’d never heard anything but the official line about low-carb diets and saturated fat to a radically new position that could really improve their health and make eating both more enjoyable and more effective.
And there’s an even bigger reason to get involved and submit a comment: Vegetarian activists and passionate defenders of the status quo (yes, they exist) are out in full force submitting comments arguing against low-carb diets and the relaxation of limits on saturated fat consumption. They already wield a home court advantage—everyone “knows” vegetarians are healthier and holier—so we need to push back.
If you are American, you can submit a comment to the USDA here. If you are not an American: ignore them. Look at the people in that nation. Everything Mark says applies to NZ and Canada and Australia — and we have the same recommendations. It is clearly not working.
It is better to get a good keto based programme to lose the weight.
In short, don’t do what the others are doing. Live in balance. I’m a few years older than the author of this post, but I can confirm that when you are doing a job you despise, your training and diet will not compensate. You need to account for the job as a tool to do things you need or want, or change.
And looking, as the author suggests, at people 20 to 30 years older — it is the ones hurrying up the hill to take photos at sunrise that I want to emulate.
When I first started writing this article, I thought I’d end up promoting high-intensity exercise and revealing how I structure my training. I do believe that high intensity is particularly important as we age, as there’s plenty of data to show that it’s our ability to perform explosively that wanes earliest and quickest. Many people struggle to sustain high-intensity training, yet I seem to thrive on it even at high frequency and volume. Why? Am I doing something differently from them?
Yes I am, but it’s not because of reps, sets, and weight. I believe I’m better able to cope with intensity and volume because I’ve greatly reduced the stress in my life. Our bodies can’t tell the difference between psychological stress and physical stress; it’s all the same. If you’re burning through your monthly stress capacity outside of the gym, you’ll have less to throw at your workouts.
The key to my stress management was to reduce the negative influences in my life by radically changing my lifestyle. Fifteen years ago I lived in the city in a house with a tiny garden and neighbors far too close for comfort. I spent 2-3 hours a day sitting in rush hour traffic and working in a well-paid job that I hated, and spent the money I earned trying to make it more tolerable. I trained extremely hard in karate for a couple of hours most evenings but spent the rest of my time stuck behind a desk or behind the wheel of a car.
Fast forward to today, and my life is far less stressful, and my work, training, and downtime are gradually moving closer and closer together. I’ve switched from the high earning job to running my own business from home; I don’t earn anything like what I did before, but being your own boss brings its own rewards. My box-like house in the city has been swapped for a home in a country village, and I count horses and cows among my neighbors. I’m a very regular gym goer, interested in calisthenics, bodybuilding, and strength training, but when the weather is good I can get my exercise outdoors. Never underestimate the training value of hammering up a mountain in the dark with a heavy pack on your back while racing to view the sunrise from the summit.
And do what you can. Since I managed to bork my left shoulder (just starting to heal with a lot of physio and exercises) I have to concentrate on cardio. I miss the weights. But I also miss long distance running. And the only way to do these things… again… is to scale like crazy, and not go extreme.
And that has to start with stress management and diet.