Only One Mammal Survives On Low Fat Nutrition


 “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools” – Romans 1:22

 When hyper-education overrides instinctual drives and common sense, I can’t help but think of this passage. Humans have wasted the last fifty years attempting to make a science of the benefits of a low-fat diet. Though it is counterintuitive to all dietary traditions, by using enough smoke and mirrors, accompanied by plenty of “soundbite recital”, it was packaged and sold to an otherwise intelligent people. Sometimes we can over-think ourselves into stupidity.

The influence of the low-fat theory has even found its way into many diets that claim to be of paleolithic design.  Loren Cordain and Arthur DeVany promote meat-eating, but still stay within the arena of political correctness by advocating the trimming of fat and using only the leanest cuts of meat.  Lipophobia has become a religion of its own. The fear of fat has been so indoctrinated into our culture that even in the face of millenniums of safe consumption and tons of scientific evidence to the contrary, we still cling to it, even when advocating meat-eating.  It has to be the largest brain-washing ever perpetrated on the human race.

But what if I were to tell you that human beings are the only mammal on earth that have adopted low-fat nutrition?  All other animals enjoy nutrition that is rich in fat — and not just any fat, but saturated fat.  I learned the hard way how saturated fat production in the colon is very important in maintaining the health of the colonic walls. This saturated fat is created from plant fiber and not from ingested animal products.

Though all but around ten inches of my small intestines were removed, about two feet of colon had been spared.  I was left with the rectum, sigmoid and a few inches of descending colon.  The illustration below displays all of the intestines I had left before my transplant.

 Because of the nervous complexities of the rectum, doctors are unable to transplant that section of the colon.  Individuals that lose their rectum due to Crohn’s, UC or cancer cannot have a colon transplanted and must live out the remainder of their lives with an ileostomy or “J” pouch”.  So it was important that the doctors save my native rectum, so I could receive a colon with the rest of the transplanted intestines. This was no small task.  The existing colon parts were no longer connected, so there was no material passing through them anymore.  Everything I ate passed out through a stoma made from the jejunum.  Because the colon was not being used, it became inflamed and started to bleed.  I was suffering from an affliction called “Diversion Colitis” and was losing so much blood as a result, that I required a transfusion every two weeks.  It was very painful.

Indigestible fiber within the stool is devoured by the bacteria of the colon, who then produce a short chain fatty acid (SCFA) called “butyrate” (butyric acid) as a by-product.  In the human colon, the butyrate is absorbed by the cells of the colon lining and used for food.   Butyrate is very important for colon health, and without it, the colon becomes inflamed and ultimately ulcerated.

So, how is all of this relevant to the fact that all mammals maintain health via a high fat diet?  First, let us take a look at a non-ruminant vegetarian mammal like the western lowland gorilla.  Their diet is made up mostly of leafy green vegetables, some fruit and small amount of insects.  Their food is low in fat and available carbohydrates with varied protein, but very high in indigestible fiber.  The gorilla’s macro nutrient per 100 grams of dry matter intake would look something like this:

This puts the caloric intake of available macronutrients at about:

From this we would conclude that the gorilla enjoys a high protein, moderate carbohydrate, and low fat diet.  But remember what we learned from the diversion colitis and how the colonic bacteria convert dietary fiber to butyrate; a saturated fat.  Because the gorilla has a much larger ratio of colon than does the human, fiber is converted to SCFA, changing the macronutrient absorption to an energy ratio of:

Giving the gorilla a total intake of:

The gorilla has six times the absorption available from the colon than does the human, which also means they have many times the amount of bacteria available for digestion of plant cellulose.  The high fiber in the gorilla diet is fermented by the colonic bacteria, yielding short chained fatty acids (SCFA).  In other words, the indigestible carbohydrates are converted to saturated fat and absorbed into the blood.  A human eating a similar diet would just end up crapping most of it out, receiving little benefit.

The gorilla can obtain about 65% of their energy from their hind-gut, whereas the human only receives about 10% from the colon.  The butyrate created in the human colon is mostly used locally by the cells of the intestinal lining and only a very insignificant amount is absorbed.  This is why a human can live without a colon and an ape can’t. (see my post “The Planet That Went Ape!” for more on ape vs. human gut ratio)

Much like carnivorous and other omnivorous animals, humans must receive fatty acids through diet.  When we eat a low-fat diet, we are not simulating the gorilla or chimpanzee diet, we are receiving a diet low in fat and very high in available carbohydrates.  The chimp and gorilla are receiving many times the dietary fat from their gut bacteria than we do on the same diet.  This is most likely the reason why gorillas fed meat in captivity suffer from hypercholesterolemia and die.  Because they can convert fiber to high amounts of saturated fat, any extra fat in their diet creates an overload of serum lipids.  (Chimpanzees are more omnivorous than gorillas and do better than gorillas when fed meat in captivity).

But what about the other herbivores?  Besides having multiple chambered stomachs, ruminants have one very large stomach chamber reserved for plant fermentation.  This stomach is called the rumen, hence the name ruminant.

Ruminant’s stomachs house bacteria only found in the colon of a human.   These bacteria readily convert indigestible carbohydrates into short chained fatty acids, which are absorbed into the bloodstream of the ruminant animal (goats, sheep, cattle, deer, etc.).  At the blood serum level, these animals are receiving a butt-load of saturated fat.  If ruminant animals did not require high amounts of saturated fat, we would not find so much of it in their milk.  Their offspring does not have the bacteria necessary for the fiber conversion to SCFA when born, so like us, they need it from their diet.  Once they have eaten grass for a period, they plant and begin to culture the bacteria necessary to make their own fat from fiber.  (The human stomach remain sterile because of the high acidity.  Ruminant animals have little to no acid in their stomachs)

Once the young ruminant animal has established a healthy bacterial culture, they no longer need dietary fat, but are still receiving the same high level of fat as they were when nursing.  Where do you think all that saturated fat found in their milk and meat comes from?  Because they can manufacture such a large portion of fat from the fiber in their diet, any dietary fat would create a fat overload.  This is probably why a ruminant animal shows no interest in meat or other fatty foods even when available.

Ever notice the way people tend to begin to salivate with one whiff of a pot roast or the smell of steaks on the grill?  You don’t see the same Pavlov’s dog  reaction to broccoli boiling from a human and cabbage cooking smells like the bathroom at a Taco Bell.  Though they are completely healthy foods they are hardly as appetite stimulating.  No herbivore would react in such a manner to the smell of meat cooking, but do show the same level of excitement towards fresh grass.

We are constantly being told that the food that doesn’t excite us is what’s best for us.  Anything that tastes good must be bad for us.  If we were an herbivorous species, we wouldn’t have to threaten children to eat their vegetables.  I raise cattle and have yet to see a mother cow threaten to withhold her calf’s dessert until he finishes that acre of grass.  Their offspring immediately have a strong urge to eat grass on their own.  Telling us that our vegetables are the healthiest thing on our plate begins as a mental reinforcement to get children to eat the one thing on their plate they desire least.  The conditioning becomes so strong, many cannot let go of it  even into adulthood.  This has even created a major bias in nutritional research.

Everyone wants to debate the issue based on questionable studies and theories of  biochemical reactions of macronurients and human hormones and it all becomes complicated and sounds very impressive.  History has taught us that if you want to sell a bogus idea, make it sound real complex.  It would seem logical that our ancestors knew nothing of biochemistry.  Just like the ruminant calf, they sought after whatever tasted good and was available.  We evolved to get the most out of the foods our ancestors ate.

Our fore-bearers began eating meat, maybe because they noticed that carnivores had more free time on their hands, whereas herbivores spent their entire existence eating and taking a dump.  Maybe they were just drawn more to the smell and taste of meat.  Maybe herbivores just pissed them off, (as vegans usually do)  so they wanted to kill and eat them.  Either way, this adaptation allowed their brains to grow, their colons to shorten and made them less dependent on digestive bacterium.

Humans began making this trade-off over a million years ago.  We surrendered the herbivore’s energy gobbling hind gut that house the bacteria which manufacture the much-needed SCFA from plant fiber, so we could have a larger brain and be adaptable to different environments.  The only drawback was, we were forever committed to receive our fat from external sources.  Now that our brains have grown to an intellect that can jump to erroneous conclusions based on complex, confusing and contradictory scientific observations, our health as a species has deteriorated ever since.

We are the only species trying to live healthy on a low-fat diet.  Our ancestors taught us how to eat healthy.  Our instincts tell us what to eat.  Your grandmother knew what to eat.  But we have become so much smarter than them that our intellect overrides our sense of smell and taste, and we scoff at our predecessor’s lean, robust bodies and healthy hearts.  We brag at how much healthier our low-fat diets are than the high fat affair of our idiot grandparents and ignore the fact that we have become morbidly obese as a result of the much higher intake of carbohydrates.  In other words, “Professing ourselves to be wise, we became fools”.

26 Responses to Only One Mammal Survives On Low Fat Nutrition
  1. Krystal Williams
    January 4, 2012 | 9:41 pm

    That’s one of the things that turned me off to Loren Cordain when I read his book The Paleo Diet. Like you said, he puts so much emphasis on eating LEAN cuts of meat. I almost couldn’t believe the level of fat-phobia that exuded from that book. I didn’t like that about the book at all.

    I guess that’s why I gravitate more towards Primal and Mark Sisson, who absolutely adores fat! I find that my body does very well on a lot of healthy fat, and I’m very content to eat that way, thankyouverymuch! =)

    • Wolverine
      January 4, 2012 | 10:58 pm

      Cordain and DeVaney claim that wild game is lean and therefore primitive man was eating lean meat. They tend to forget that they highly prized the organ meat, which was extremely fatty. Native americans hunted buffalo in the fall to get the large fat deposit on their back when it was full for the winter.

      I also like Dr. Kurt Harris’ position on this. Here is one of his posts on grass finished meat here and one with a picture of grass fed buffalo here. Thanks again for your input Krystal.

    • Steve
      May 2, 2012 | 5:58 am

      To be fair to Cordain, he has modified his stance on sat. fat somewhat in his recent book, ‘Paleo Answer’.


      • Wolverine
        May 2, 2012 | 2:23 pm

        Thanks Steve,

        It appears that a few people took offense at my mention of Cordain. My purpose was not to criticize Cordain, most of his research was groundbreaking. My purpose was to illustrate how the low fat dogma was pounded into the American society so efficiently that even the pioneers of the “caveman” or “Paleo” diets had a difficult time completely letting go of it – which is why I also mentioned DeVany.

        I understand that Cordain has expanded his position on the matter of fat consumption, but in his first book he was having a difficult time completely separating himself from the zeitgeist that we had all been brainwashed to follow. It was very hard for me and many others to let go and increase our fat intake, because fat phobia had been pounded into us since the 1970s. So it was not intended to demean Cordain, but to show just how the USDA, AHA, ADA and others had effectively convinced an entire nation that fat was a poison and most people still refuse to let go of that idea.

        Remember, we are not just up against powerful government agencies, scientific associations and billions of dollars in advertising by food manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, but also over four decades of false teaching and data manipulation. You can see why it was hard for the pioneers of prehistoric diets to readily jump on the high fat bandwagon.

        Of course, I am speaking in defense of my article and not speaking for Krystal, who you addressed this to. Krystal is a super-intelligent woman and can articulate her own reply. (sorry Krystal, I didn’t realize this was addressed to you before I blindly leaped in)

        Thanks again for participating.

  2. Gavin Morrice
    May 1, 2012 | 1:39 pm

    Great post! Bookmarked!

    The low-fat thing bothered me about Cordain too.

    Eskimos were known to give lean cuts of meat to their dogs and keep the blubber for themselves.

    The men in this experiment (, who ate meat for over a year, would experience health problems if they ate meat that was too lean. The problems were resolved when fatty cuts were introduced!

    • Wolverine
      May 1, 2012 | 5:26 pm

      Thanks, Gavin. You are right about the Inuits. There were many other Native Americans that were known to discard the leaner cuts of meat for the large fatty pieces and the organ meats (where most of the fat is stored). Buffalo hunting tribes would would kill large herds of buffalo in the fall, just to get the large fat deposit on their front shoulders to render into pemmican and leave the lean cuts to the scavengers. They had learned that eating lean cuts of meat led to disease and ill health throughout the winter.

      Lean meat, without either fat or carbohydrate, is toxic and leads to “rabbit starvation“, which is deadly. Native Americans that attempted to survive on strictly rabbits in the winter died faster than those who simply starved. Because rabbits are very lean, you must be willing to eat the organs and brains, to get enough fat to digest the protein properly.

      Thanks for the link. That was a very interesting study. The low fat group were most likely suffering from protein toxicity without the fat. So many people forget that vitamins A, D, E and K are fat soluble vitamins and that we cannot absorb them properly without dietary fat to dissolve them into solution. This is probably one of the biggest problems with a low fat diet and all of the health problems that have arisen as a result (besides the higher intake of carbohydrates used in low fat food products.).

      Thanks for your comment.

  3. Aaron H.
    May 1, 2012 | 2:51 pm

    Brilliant article.

    As a huge proponent of high fat diets and avid reader on the subject, I’ve never seen this information on ruminant digestion discussed. In my experience, the digestive tract is inexplicably brought up as some form evidence by someone espousing vegetarianism. I’m eternally thankful to finally have at least a little more understanding of my own – not to mention information to wield.

    Thanks again. RSS subscribed.

    • Wolverine
      May 1, 2012 | 5:05 pm

      Thanks Aaron,

      I’ve never understood why someone would use the digestive systems of ruminants to espouse vegetarianism, because if anything, it shows a clear evolutionary difference from the human digestive tract. Even the great apes have a very dissimilar digestive tract than a human (and lack the ApoE gene which protects us from the negative effects of dietary saturated fat). Although apes have a similar overall length of intestines, it is distributed differently. They have much shorter small intestines and larger colons and cecum. I cover this in more detail in my article “The Planet That Went Ape”. There is also a graph on that page that illustrates the differences in gut length between humans and a variety of great apes.

      Another notorious vegetarian myth is the claim that humans cannot digest meat. Being one of the few people in the world to see the contents that empty directly from their stomach, I shed some indisputable evidence on the subject in my post, “Can Humans Digest Meat”, as well as more information on human digestion that I learned as an intestinal transplant recipient. These articles should give you a few more pieces of information in your arsenal to wield when necessary.

      Hope you’ve gotten a chance to read those articles and I thank you again for your comments. I always welcome any feedback you may have.

      • Aaron H.
        May 1, 2012 | 5:15 pm

        I did go back and read a few of those posts after Dr. Eades pointed me here earlier today. I had missed the Planet of the Apes one, but will be sure to read it now.

  4. Lynney
    May 1, 2012 | 7:59 pm

    Wow! This is a fantastic post! (I found my way here from a link on Dr. Eades’s Twitter page.)

    How right you are about the conventional dietary advice being so contrary to our natural instincts. But we bought into it so readily, sneering at the eating habits of earlier generations and throwing away whatever food wisdom may have once survived in our culture. I remember my grandfather telling me that he ate bacon and eggs every day as a kid. That seemed impossibly naïve to me at the time, and I totally failed to grasp the significance of the fact that he was 95 years old and living independently in his own apartment when we had this conversation!

    I also love the discussion of ruminant vs. human digestion. I’ve never seen the idea expressed that the evolutionary changes in our digestive system – at least partly due to eating meat – made it necessary for us to get our fat intake directly from the diet, basically pre-formed by another animal. It never occurred to me to wonder how the cow – ideally eating nothing but grass – made cream!

    Absolutely fascinating! Thanks!

    • Wolverine
      May 3, 2012 | 1:43 am

      Thanks, Lynney. Wow! Living independently at the age of 95 is a true testament to what a healthy breakfast can achieve. Especially when started at an early age, when the bones and brain are developing. Your grandfather obviously did not suffer from the dementia that so many seniors suffer today.

      I doubt that many children born today will see the age of 95. There were six people I know who died in their 50s of natural causes just last year and another woman I know is fighting for her life from leukemia (at 51). I think we are going to see life spans shorten as those raised on processed food begin to reach their 50s and 60s.

      Thanks for the kind words.

  5. Ryan
    May 2, 2012 | 12:45 am

    The other reason they talk about limiting fat from grain fed meat is to limit omega 6 content in the diet. Cordains emphasis has changed to allow a significant amount more fat in the diet now.

    • Wolverine
      May 2, 2012 | 2:12 am

      Thanks for the comment. I agree that the n6 fatty acids are extremely high in grain fed cattle, but grass finished cattle have a much better n6 to n3 ratio. If I were to eat feedlot cattle, I’d trim away the fat also. I eat grass finished beef from cattle I raise myself on my own farm and their omega 3 fatty acid levels are nearly as high as cold water fish.

      Of course, the fat in factory farmed cattle also contain high amounts of pesticides that were sprayed on the grains they are fed. These toxins are stored in the animal’s fat. I don’t spray my pastures and my cattle require no antibiotics, so their fat is very healthy, much like wild game.

      So, I do agree with Cordain that if you must eat factory farmed animals, that trimming away the fat is a good idea. Omega 6 is the least of the problems. It’s the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, hormones and antibiotics stored in the fat that are going to be more problematic than the n6 fatty acids in the short term. Though the omega 6 fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, are highly inflammatory and can lead to atherosclerosis. When combined with sugar and other toxins sprayed on the grains it reeks havoc on the arterial walls.

      Thanks again

      • Lisa
        January 28, 2014 | 5:41 am

        I believe there are also greater numbers of e-coli bacteria in the guts of cows fed a high grain diet, so yet another reason to avoid improperly fed animals. There’s some interesting information on hours of sunlight and how it affects the balance omega 3/omega 6’s produced in the animal or plant and it can vary dramatically depending on the region in which the organism lives. Animals who depend on external sources for these fatty acids, like us, would probably do well to eat as locally as they could. I understand that the correct balance of fatty acids enables us to make use of reduced daylight hours in winter. If my knowledge of veggie growing is anything to go by the plants raised in a given location will, over time, adapt best to the toxins, levels of radiation, hours of daylight, soil deficiencies, pests etc that are peculiar to that region. Eating of these local plants and animals, as a higher, more dependent organism, would likely provide us with what we need to do well in that place.

        • Wolverine
          January 29, 2014 | 4:14 am

          You are right. We once had a perfectly young and healthy bull die, just because he was moved from my field to a different field in another county. Cattle adjust to their home field and all of the bacteria and toxins which are in it. They also pass these immunities on to their young, not just genetically, but also through their milk.

          This is why it would be better to drink the milk from a local cow, because her milk will have all of the antibodies and such for the things in that area, which will be passed on to you. Of course, this is only if the milk is raw. Once milk is pasteurized, all of the living organisms within are destroyed and even the proteins are denatured.

  6. Bas Leijdekkers
    June 1, 2012 | 5:51 am

    Our instincts tell us what to eat, I agree. Unfortunately people have invented all sorts of desirable non-foods which seem to trick those instincts. My 3 year old son would probably only eat candy and cookies if it where up to him. We must teach him what are real foods.

    • Wolverine
      June 1, 2012 | 11:38 am

      You are so right. The fact is that there are research facilities strictly dedicated to creating flavor enhancers and have been successful at making these chemical cocktails make the food excite the pallet and brain far more than any natural food flavors. And even though these enhancers are made in a laboratory, they are allowed to be listed in the ingredients as “natural flavoring”. It’s quite diabolical.

      The creators of these excitotoxins are not shy about their accomplishments and like to brag that they have even been able to design these flavors to leave no lingering aftertaste, so that you will have to eat more to keep the sensation going.

      Thanks for the input. You have hit the nail square on the head concerning one of the leading problems are in our food supply – and it will get much worse as more advancements are made in the art of tricking the brain with these so-called flavor enhancers, which are more accurately drugs.

  7. Jan B
    August 1, 2012 | 10:30 pm

    I’ve been doing the “juicing” these past two weeks. Not fasting on juice, but getting a lot of fruit and veggies, eating whole grains and soy. Skipping on processed foods and meat, no dairy, butter or cheese. Today I was downright sick. They say it’s my body detoxing. But what I want is to eat MEAT. I would kill for cheese.

    I’m full, but so unsatisfied, so rumbly inside.I have IBS-d, from former crash dieting with Merida for two years, which precipitated the removal of my gall bladder. I was sick for six months, escaped with my heart intact and vowed not to be stupid again. I gained back all I had lost and then some.

    I don’t want to screw up the rest of my digestive system. How would you instruct a 48 year old overweight woman to lose weight that will actually work.

    I feel pretty sick now, I’ve lost ten and a half pounds, but I know this isn’t right.

    • Wolverine
      August 2, 2012 | 1:48 am

      The diet that you are following is the exact diet pushed by the USDA and the medical system in general, which I personally believe is at the heart of the rising diabetes epidemic – along with heart disease, cancer and all the other growing “diseases of civilization”. We’ve all been taken-in by the large agribusiness, like Monsanto, who virtually own the USDA.

      The advice touted by the USDA is based strictly on what is best for the agribusiness and not for the health of the american people. You crave meat, because that’s what your body needs. Only through animal products (meat, fish, eggs, dairy) can you obtain many essential minerals and certain vitamins, like B12, which can be found in no plant on earth and the essential omega 3 fatty acids to offset the highly inflammable omega 6 fatty acids from seed oils and grains. There are some people who can fare alright on a vegan or vegetarian diet, but most people cannot.

      The ill health you are experiencing is not simply a detox. That is what many health food advocates will attempt to stall you from changing your diet with. Vegans especially love to use that BS while their poor followers fall deeper and deeper into anemia. You will not feel better until you give your body what it is asking for.

      The IBS could well be the result of a very high fiber diet. There is no study EVER that has proven any of the claims attributed to insoluble dietary fiber. (more on that here) High fiber reeked havoc on my intestines and I have had no problems, even after my transplant, since dropping grain fiber from my diet. As a matter of fact, I dropped all grains from my diet. I have never been overweight, no matter what crap I ate (I have a crazy fast metabolism), but my wife lost all the extra weight she gained during the 14 months I was in the hospital after adopting a low carb diet.

      The diet that you are presently eating is very high in carbohydrates – especially the grains. Wheat has a higher glycemic load than table sugar. Table sugar’s glycemic index is 64, whereas wheat has a GI exceeding 72!

      I do not consume soy at all. If you read my post entitled “The Truth About Soy”, you will see what I learned about soy while on TPN. Soy is not a health food. It is high in phytic acid, which binds to minerals and causes deficiencies In calcium, iron and zinc. Soy is also loaded with plant-based estrogen and trypsin inhibitors, which interrupt the absorption of many proteins. The Asians only consumed soy that was fermented (which reduces some of these problematic chemicals in soy). In the US, no soy products are fermented (except soy sauce).

      I believe you will do well to eat meat, eggs, fish, lots of vegetables and some fruits. Cut down on grains and totally eliminate soy from your diet. The high estrogen can cause thyroid problems and place you at higher risk for cancer, especially breast cancer. You can read a lot more about the problems with soy here. But also read my article “The Truth About Soy”. I saw the damage that the soy based lipids infused to TPN patients did to the patients, many of them were children.

      I know that it is hard to go against all that you’ve been taught. We were all told that saturated fat makes us fat and causes heart disease – that couldn’t be further from the truth. The people that I know who have lost the most weight and kept it off for years, did so on a low carbohydrate diet. One of the women that my wife made friends with while I was recovering in the hospital from my transplant had gained a lot of weight while her husband was hospitalized. She is around 51 years old and has lost over 57 pounds since her husband passed last year – and she did so on a low carbohydrate diet – and did so without skipping any meals.

      If you drop the breads, cereals, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods and eat plenty of vegetables, meat, eggs and fruit (watch for the fruits high in sugar, they can put weight on you) – you will lose weight quickly. One of the best things to do is to get one of those blood glucose meters and test your blood sugar shortly after meals. Then you can see what foods spike your blood sugar the most and avoid them. Excess sugar in the blood raises insulin, which then drives fat into your fat cells. The excess sugar is converted to fat in the form of triglycerides and then stored in fat cells. Controlling your blood sugar is the answer.

      Keep me appraised of how it goes if you decide to try it for a while. You’ll be surprised at the results and probably pissed off at the fact that our government has been lying to us and increasing our illnesses for the sake of corporate profits. Soy and grains are pushed so heavily because they are government subsidized, and therefor cheaper for the food manufacturers to use.

      Also, check out Tom Naughton’s very entertaining movie entitled “Fat Head”. It is available on DVD and on Netflicks and well worth watching. Great information on metabolism and how carbohydrates cause obesity – it’s also very funny. Here’s a link to his website with more information on the movie. There are also some clips from his movie on YouTube.

      • claire
        December 6, 2014 | 2:21 am

        Wheat bread has a glycemic load of about 9, even though its glycemic index is about 71. It’s important to distinguish those two for every food, not just wheat. Carrots and watermelon are another example of foods having a high GI but a very low GL. GL takes into account the entire mass of the foods, whereas GI doesn’t. People assume that a high GI food will cause a surge in blood glucose and insulin, but that isn’t necessarily the case. Numerous healthy foods will be foregone when using GI as a litmus test of whether or not they should be eaten. Also, GI and GL are measured after a fasted state and when the food is eaten only by itself. A food with a high GI or GL may not spike blood sugar and insulin when the food is eaten as part of a mixed meal.

        • cypher
          March 2, 2018 | 4:20 pm

          “…may not spike blood sugar and insulin… as part of a mixed meal”.
          That kind of means that it’s not the high GI or GL foods that suddenly become healthy when mixed, but rather that their effects may be neutralized when served in small doses alongside other foods. so that makes your point moot.

  8. Andrea
    July 12, 2013 | 6:12 pm

    We do have the ability to make fatty acids in our lower gut through fermentation of plant fiber as discussed below in a NY Times article. Also, we may not have the gut of a gorilla or a cow- but we certainly do not have the short intestines or PH balance of a carnivore either!

    “The big problem with the Western diet,” Stephen O’Keefe said, “is that it doesn’t feed the gut, only the upper G I. All the food has been processed to be readily absorbed, leaving nothing for the lower G I. But it turns out that one of the keys to health is fermentation in the large intestine.” And the key to feeding the fermentation in the large intestine is giving it lots of plants with their various types of fiber, including resistant starch (found in bananas, oats, beans); soluble fiber (in onions and other root vegetables, nuts); and insoluble fiber (in whole grains, especially bran, and avocados).
    With our diet of swiftly absorbed sugars and fats, we’re eating for one and depriving the trillion of the food they (bacteria) like best: complex carbohydrates and fermentable plant fibers. The byproduct of fermentation is the short-chain fatty acids that nourish the gut barrier and help prevent inflammation. And there are studies suggesting that simply adding plants to a fast-food diet will mitigate its inflammatory effect.”

    • Wolverine
      July 31, 2013 | 2:47 am

      Though it is true that the human colon does house bacteria that ferment indigestable carbohydrates, our rate of absorption is very low, so little of those fatty acids make it to the blood stream. In my post entitled “The Planet That Went Ape”, I not only cover this in greater detail, but I have also included a chart which illustrates the difference in gut distribution between humans and other primates, including the great apes and the difference is actually quite astounding.

      Only about 10% of the what passes through the human colon is absorbed. Most of the fatty acids cerated in the colon are used locally by the cells that line the large intestines, which is why the large intestines can become necrotic when the colon is disconnected, as in diversion colitis. All apes, including chimpanzees (our closets relative) will die if their colon is removed – a human will not. Many people are living fine and healthy without a colon. I myself have less than two feet of colon and have to get regular monitoring of my nutritional blood panel because I am a bowel transplant recipient, yet every test has shown that my nutrition is fine.

      Humans did not begin to consume grains until only about 10,000 years ago, so I find it hard to believe that we have become so dependent on them in such a short period of our existence. How did humans survive for nearly two million years before they began to process and consume grains, beans and legumes, which would have been too toxic for a human to eat prior to the advent of roasting and pottery?

      A lot of propaganda is misleading, because it only considers the total gut length between differing animals and never consider the gut distribution. That bad science falls apart when the amount of small intestines, large intestines and cecum are compared.

      Humans are not hind-gut digesters and have a very short colon and nearly a non-existent cecum. Ruminant animals have a much greater amount of large intestines and relatively short small intestines (they have more absorption from their colon than their small intestines, humans are the opposite). These animals also have extremely large and developed cecum and appendix, whereas these organs have little to no function in humans, so much so, that a human can live fine without them, whereas ruminants will die if either are removed.

      Digestive system pH is also very deceiving. Even among carnivores, the acidity of the digestive organs can vary greatly depending on what they eat. Humans have been selective hunters, eating only the freshest and softest cuts of meat. Humans also began cooking meat a long time ago. Both of these attributes led to needing less acid to get the job done. A cat is certainly a carnivore, but even a cat has a much weaker stomach acid than an alligator.

      Alligators cannot chew their food, so they swallow their food whole and often bury it underwater until it rots to a degree that would kill a lion. Vultures have very strong stomach acid for the same reason – it is the first line of defense against pathogens. Cats eat fresh meat and leave the bones for scavengers, so they need less stomach acid. Gators are also able to digest bone, hoofs, antlers and hair – something many other carnivores cannot.

      Ruminants have NO acid in their stomachs. Because they rely on bacteria and Protozoa to do most of their digesting, stomach acid would sterilize their gut and they would die as they are completely dependent on micro-organisms for their digestion and nutrition – humans are not – proof is in the fact that we can live without a colon.

      This brings me to the complex system for acquiring vitamin B12 that humans have evolved. Because B12 would be destroyed by the acidity of the human stomach, a very complicated process had to be created where Intrinsic Factor must first be bound to the B12 to protect it and then is later removed in the duodenum and jejunum so the B12 can be absorbed later in the Ileum. It also involves many other enzymes, but I will not explain it all for sake of space.

      Why does this matter? Because the bacteria in the human colon create tons of vitamin B12, yet humans have created a system to get it dietarily and must get it that way or we suffer anemia and nerve damage. If the colon was a good organ for nutrient absorption, there would be no reason for this system to be in place and many people would not suffer when that system begins to fail, as we see in elderly people, people who take PPIs for a long time and many vegans who do not supplement B12.

      The only result I have seen from large consumption of grains, beans and legumes is obesity. The people I know who eat a lot of these food tend to be overweight and many become diabetic, because they also contain a lot of digestible carbohydrates in the form of starch, which are absorbed far before reaching the colon. Long strings of glucose are broken down to simple glucose monosaccharides starting in the mouth.

      The amylase in human saliva breaks these bonds on contact, then more amylase will be secreted in the duodenum. This is absorbed quickly into the blood stream, elevating blood sugar and stimulating the increase in insulin secretion. Insulin causes fat to be held within the fat cells until all of the sugar in the blood is used up – which is not going to happen when someone eats starches with every meal. They will continue to store fat and secrete more and more insulin until their cells become insulin resistant from the endless deluge of insulin.

      The suggestion for massive grain and bean consumption is more a product of the agribusiness industry than based on any kind of nutritional science. These same grains and beans are used to fatten livestock, so why would they have any different effect on humans? They don’t, which is why we see epidemic numbers of obesity and diabetes – all of which began when the U.S. Government started subsidizing grains and soy, bring the prices down in the market, which made them a very inexpensive filler for all manners of processed foods. If someone wants to become fat and diabetic, then by all means, gorge yourself on these foods.

    • Tom
      August 9, 2017 | 3:06 pm

      Andrea FOR THE WIN! Great comment. Too bad it probably fell on deaf ears…

  9. KaD
    June 28, 2017 | 3:16 pm

    The gorilla also has the smallest brain per body size of any primate.

  10. Vic T.
    August 28, 2019 | 5:01 am

    Nice blog! I so enjoyed reading this. Thanks a lot for posting and looking forward on your future posts!

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