Thursday, October 11, 2018


Gene mutations in gut linked to reduced type 2 diabetes risk and more... reports that gene mutations that result in lower glucose absorption from the gut provide protection against obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart failure and mortality.

Interestingly the article admits a link between high carbohydrate diets and putting on weight.  Absorption of less glucose results in less total calories absorbed, but also lower insulin response to meals and hence less fat storage.

In short, absorbing less glucose from the gut may result in lower risks of diseases.

Putting less glucose in your gut will certainly result in less absorption of glucose.  This should have the same effect of reducing obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and mortality.

Hmmm...what foods are the rich sources of glucose? 

Oh yeah, its the plants!

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

FRS Training Vlog #18 | Chin Ups +44 lbs and More

Power of Negative Visualization | Applied Stoicism

The Power of Negative Visualization | Practical Stoicism

Negative visualization is a Stoic method for improving your attitude and your wealth.
You can find many sources proclaiming the benefits of positive visualization and thinking, but you will find few extolling the benefits of the opposite.  
We all want good to come to us.  Why would we want to engage in negative imagination?  
Because proper application of negative imagination can elicit a positive attitude of motivation, gratitude and prosperity.
Continue reading here.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dr. Paul Mason - 'From fibre to the microbiome: low carb gut health'

Open Borders: A Tool of Tyrants

"Again, the evil practices of the last and worst form of democracy are all found in tyrannies. Such are the power given to women in their families in the hope that they will inform against their husbands, and the license which is allowed to slaves in order that they may betray their masters; for slaves and women do not conspire against tyrants; and they are of course friendly to tyrannies and also to democracies, since under them they have a good time. For the people too would fain be a monarch, and therefore by them, as well as by the tyrant, the flatterer is held in honor; in democracies he is the demagogue; and the tyrant also has those who associate with him in a humble spirit, which is a work of flattery.
"Hence tyrants are always fond of bad men, because they love to be flattered, but no man who has the spirit of a freeman in him will lower himself by flattery; good men love others, or at any rate do not flatter them. Moreover, the bad are useful for bad purposes; 'nail knocks out nail,' as the proverb says. It is characteristic of a tyrant to dislike every one who has dignity or independence; he wants to be alone in his glory, but any one who claims a like dignity or asserts his independence encroaches upon his prerogative, and is hated by him as an enemy to his power. Another mark of a tyrant is that he likes foreigners better than citizens, and lives with them and invites them to his table; for the one [citizens] are enemies, but the Others enter into no rivalry with him." 
Aristotle, Politics, Book 5, Part XI

Every living organism has, requires, and invests a large amount of energy in maintaining borders (aka skin) which is patrolled by guards (aka the immune system).  Yes, it takes a lot of energy to maintain those borders, but if an organism had no borders it would cease to exist.  If it just let anything in it would be a heap of disease and decay in a few hours.  It is impossible for an organism to maintain health without defending its borders.  This is Natural Law.

Freedom is based on property rights, which amount to the right to say no to intrusion upon or use of one's property.  One's body is property by Nature (birth), and objects acquired by one's own honest labor (not by theft) are also one's property.  An individual is free when s/he can say "No, you can't use my body or my property  without my consent."  In other words, freedom is about defending the borders of your property from invasion and theft by outsiders.  If you can't defend your borders and exclude others from your property, you are not free.

Those of you who believe in open borders, do you keep the doors of your home open to anyone who wants to enter?  Is keeping your doors open to anyone and everyone how you get freedom?  If your house was being invaded by uninvited guests (illegal immigrants) at any time of day and night, would you be more free in your own home than if you could exclude people you had not invited or permitted?  Would you be able to maintain the order and wealth of your home if just anyone could come in at any time, without a passport (i.e. your permission), and freely use any of the resources you worked so hard to accumulate?  This would be like an organism allowing parasites to enter and use resources the organism had worked hard to obtain. 

Defending borders is in fact exercise of freedom of association.  One defends borders in order to exercise the right to associate only with those whom you choose to associate.  If someone comes onto your property (body, land, home, community, etc) without your express invitation or permission, that is called trespassing, i.e. theft of privacy.  If someone can force you to associate with people you do not want to associate with, you are not free. 

A nation is composed of co-operative tribes or communities, which are composed of co-operative families and individuals, all of whom share common aims and values.  By Nature, that nation occupies space, a certain territory, which provides the resources (food, water, etc) that it needs to continue in existence.  The nation owns that territory the same way that an individual organism owns its body and acquired property, in the same way that a family owns its home and land (resource base).  The people of that nation are the collective owners of the property they inhabit.  They have not only the right but the duty to protect that property from uninvited invaders who want to take the resources on that property; the duty to defend that property from invaders and thieves is a duty to THE CHILDREN OF THE NATION who need and will inherit the resources for future generations. 

Survey Nature and you will see that all organisms defend acquired territory from invaders.  Nature gives every organism and tribe, such as a lion pride or wolf pack, the power and right to defend property/territory from invaders.  Therefore, human nations have by Natural Law every right to defend acquired property and exclude uninvited invaders from their territory. 

Anyone who thinks open borders is a gateway to freedom is ignorant of Natural Law and an opponent of private property (privacy) and freedom of association, therefore an opponent of freedom and an advocate of tyranny.  Ultimately the promoters of open borders want no borders, they want to be able to take whatever they want (including sexual privacy), whenever they want, from whomever they want to steal.  Taken to its logical conclusion, "no borders" means no property rights, which means any man can rape any woman or any child at any time because no one owns anything, not even his or her own body, because everything belongs to everyone at all times.  That's not Natural Law, that's Chaos (and the path to tyrannical communism).

In Politics Book 5 Part 3 Aristotle observed that "the reception of strangers [immigrants] in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution" because strangers to a land do not have the same values as those of the established inhabitants.
"Another cause of revolution is difference of races which do not at once acquire a common spirit; for a state is not the growth of a day, any more than it grows out of a multitude brought together by accident. Hence the reception of strangers in colonies, either at the time of their foundation or afterwards, has generally produced revolution; for example, the Achaeans who joined the Troezenians in the foundation of Sybaris, becoming later the more numerous, expelled them; hence the curse fell upon Sybaris. At Thurii the Sybarites quarreled with their fellow-colonists; thinking that the land belonged to them, they wanted too much of it and were driven out. At Byzantium the new colonists were detected in a conspiracy, and were expelled by force of arms; the people of Antissa, who had received the Chian exiles, fought with them, and drove them out; and the Zancleans, after having received the Samians, were driven by them out of their own city. The citizens of Apollonia on the Euxine, after the introduction of a fresh body of colonists, had a revolution; the Syracusans, after the expulsion of their tyrants, having admitted strangers and mercenaries to the rights of citizenship, quarreled and came to blows; the people of Amphipolis, having received Chalcidian colonists, were nearly all expelled by them. "
In Book VIII of The Republic, Socrates (S) explained to Glaucon (G) why tyrants who face opposition from the established citizens of a nation will import immigrants – "more drones, of every sort and from every land" – in order to gain support for their tyranny:

S- "And the tyrant, if he means to rule, must get rid of them; he cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything.

G- "He cannot.
S- "And therefore he must look about him and see who is valiant, who is high-minded, who is wise, who is wealthy; happy man, he is the enemy of them all, and must seek occasion against them whether he will or no, until he has made a purgation of the State.

G- "Yes, he said, and a rare purgation.
S- "Yes, I said, not the sort of purgation which the physicians make of the body; for they take away the worse and leave the better part, but he does the reverse.

G- "If he is to rule, I suppose that he cannot help himself.
S- "What a blessed alternative, I said: --to be compelled to dwell only with the many bad, and to be by them hated, or not to live at all!

G- "Yes, that is the alternative.
S- "And the more detestable his actions are to the citizens the more satellites and the greater devotion in them will he require?

G- "Certainly.
S- "And who are the devoted band, and where will he procure them?
G- "They will flock to him, he said, of their own accord, if lie pays them.

S- "By the dog! I said, here are more drones, of every sort and from every land.

G- "Yes, he said, there are.
S- "But will he not desire to get them on the spot?
G- "How do you mean?
S- "He will rob the citizens of their slaves; he will then set them free and enroll them in his bodyguard.

G- "To be sure, he said; and he will be able to trust them best of all.
S- "What a blessed creature, I said, must this tyrant be; he has put to death the others and has these for his trusted friends.

G- "Yes, he said; they are quite of his sort.
S- " Yes, I said, and these are the new citizens whom he has called into existence, who admire him and are his companions, while the good hate and avoid him."

The talking heads keep trying to convince us that "diversity is our strength," but the U.N. reports that all of the top 10 happiest nations are ethnically homogenous with strong social support networks.

The Boston Globe reports Ethnic diversity destroys social cohesion and support networks:
"IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.
"But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam -- famous for "Bowling Alone," his 2000 book on declining civic engagement -- has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings."
This is not really news.  As I showed above, Aristotle knew this 2300 years ago.  All tyrants have known this dictum:  "divide and conquer."  Ethnic diversity is ethnic division, which makes a nation non-cohesive and weak.  This is evolved biology and psychology, not ideology.  Birds of a feather flock together.  Like attracts like.  People who have markedly different values, diets, lifestyles, religions, etc. just don't get along as well as people who share values, diets, lifestyles etc..  Its not rocket science.  We understand that two individuals can be incompatible due to their differences; why do we deny that two cultures can be incompatible due to their differences?

"Diversity is our strength."  Repeating a lie over and over will not make it true, but it might deceive people long enough to get them to accept something they should reject.

Unfortunately, common people advocating open borders do not realize that they are the useful idiots and pawns serving the interests of a particular ethnic group that has infiltrated Europe and the U.S.A., accumulated cultural, political and economic power and leverage, and taken control of immigration policy because this tribe desperately wants to divide and conquer Europe and the U.S.A. for its own benefit.

Many members of this ethnic group consider their tribe very special  – divinely chosen – and on the whole they are very loyal to the tribe and homeland; they are generally more loyal to their homeland than to the U.S.A.

This tribe evolved in markedly different natural and cultural circumstances from those in which Europeans evolved.  Consequently they have very different mentality and values from Europeans.

The interactions between this tribe and Europeans in both the U.S. and Europe confirm Aristotle's observation that ethnic diversity – multiculturalism – generally leads to inter-ethnic conflict.



Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Why Paleo Diet Excludes Wheat

I found two well-written articles on the hazards of wheat by Sayer Ji:

The Dark Side of Wheat-New Perspectives on Celiac Disease & Wheat Intolerance

An excerpt:

Our modern belief that grains make for good food, is simply not supported by the facts. The cereal grasses are within an entirely different family: monocotyledonous (one leaf) than that from which our body sustained itself for millions of years: dicotyledonous (two-leaf). The preponderance of scientific evidence points to a human origin in the tropical rainforests of Africa where dicotyledonous fruits would have been available for year round consumption. It would not have been monocotyledonous plants, but the flesh of hunted animals that would have allowed for the migration out of Africa 60,000 years ago into the northern latitudes where vegetation would have been sparse or non-existent during winter months. Collecting and cooking grains would have been improbable given the low nutrient and caloric content of grains and the inadequate development of pyrotechnology and associated cooking utensils necessary to consume them with any efficiency. It was not until the end of the last Ice Age 20,000 years ago that our human ancestors would have slowly transitioned to a cereal grass based diet coterminous with emergence of civilization.   20,000 years is probably not enough time to fully adapt to the consumption of grains. Even animals like cows with a head start of thousands of years, having evolved to graze on monocotyledons and equipped as ruminants with the four-chambered fore-stomach enabling the breakdown of cellulose and anti-nutrient rich plants, are not designed to consume grains. Cows are designed to consume the sprouted mature form of the grasses and not their seed storage form. Grains are so acidic/toxic in reaction that exclusively grain-fed cattle are prone to developing severe acidosis and subsequent liver abscesses and infections, etc. Feeding wheat to cattle provides an even greater challenge:
“Beef:  Feeding wheat to ruminants requires some caution as it tends to be more apt than other cereal grains to cause acute indigestion in animals which are unadapted to it. The primary problem appears to be the high gluten content of which wheat in the rumen can result in a "pasty" consistency to the rumen contents and reduced rumen motility.”
Seeds, after all, are the "babies" of these plants, and are invested with not only the entire hope for continuance of its species, but a vast armory of anti-nutrients to help it accomplish this task: toxic lectins, phytates and oxalates, alpha-amalyase and trypsin inhibitors, and endocrine disrupters. These not so appetizing phytochemicals enable plants to resist predation of their seeds, or at least preventing them from "going out without a punch." 

Sayer has another on wheat lectin:

Opening Pandora's Bread Box: The Critical Role of Wheat Lectin in Human Disease

An excerpt:

It may strike some readers as highly suspect that wheat - the “staff of life” - which has garnered a reputation for “wholesome goodness” the world over, could contain a powerful health-disrupting anti-nutrient, which is only now coming to public attention. WGA [wheat germ agglutinin] has been overshadowed by the other proteins in wheat. Humans – not Nature – have spent thousands of years cultivating and selecting for larger and larger quantities of these proteins. These pharmacologically active, opiate-like proteins in gluten are known as gluten exorphins (A5, B4, B5, C) and gliadorphins. They may effectively anesthetize us, in the short term, to the long term, adverse effects of WGA. Gluten also contains exceptionally high levels of the excitotoxic l-aspartic and l-glutamic amino acids, which can also be highly addictive, not unlike their synthetic shadow molecules aspartame and monosodium glutamate.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Dave Feldman - 'Cholesterol is a Passenger, Not a Driver'

Dave Feldman explains why your cholesterol may go up when you adopt a low carbohydrate diet, especially after you lose body fat or if you are already a lean, muscular and physically active individual.

Feldman also discusses remnant cholesterol, which some studies have shown to be more strongly linked to cardiovascular disease risk than LDL.  Increased remnant cholesterol is also linked to increased all-cause mortality, whereas increased LDL is not linked to all-cause mortality.

Source:  Varbo et al.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Critical Review of the Science Cited in Body By Science

I have completed a critical review of some of the research cited by Doug McGuff and John Little in Body By Science as support for their protocol.  I was disappointed and frankly a bit miffed to find that the research they cited does not provide evidence to support the claim that the Body By Science protocol of 1-2 sets per muscle group, to concentric failure, once weekly or less frequently produces strength and mass gains at least equal to training 2-3 times weekly with higher set volumes (at least 3 weekly per muscle group).  In fact they grossly misrepresented one of the studies they cited, and overall, the studies they cited contradict some of their key claims.  Moreover, I discuss recent research that explains why training with a higher frequency and volume than prescribed in Body By Science is likely to produce greater gains in strength and muscle mass for many people.  Read my review here.

Full Body Training Vlog #3 | Part 2 Torso and Arms

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Study: 25% of Elite Male Athletes Have Low Testosterone Levels

I came across an interesting study of the endocrine profiles of elite Olympic athletes that may shed some light on the apparent paradox presented by Shawn Baker reporting testosterone levels lower than normal, discussed in my last post.  This study:

The authors of this study found low testosterone levels in about 25% of elite male athletes they tested:


1)  Low testosterone levels appear to be fairly common in hard training elite male athletes.
2)  This may occur due to hard training itself, or to steroid use, or some other factor related to specific events.  It is of interest that these researchers found no low values in basketball, canoeing, cross-country and alpine skiing and Olympic weightlifting athletes, but did find low values in powerlifters, soccer, swimming, rowing, judo, bandy, ice hockey, handball, and track and field. 
3)  "A very low testosterone level does not prevent an elite male athlete from competing in top events" and some researchers have "found no correlation between serum testosterone and performance in either men or women." 

These latter observations are consistent with the observation by Carruthers that there appears to be no strong relationship between testosterone levels and symptoms of low androgen function:

Carruthers argues that the well-demonstrated disconnect between measured T levels and symptoms of T deficiency and the well-documented large individual variation in levels of T required to prevent deficiency symptoms provide evidence that men vary greatly in their tissue sensitivity to testosterone, such that those with high sensitivity have a lower apparent T requirement and those with low sensitivity have a higher apparent T requirement. 

This combined with the finding of low testosterone in 25% of elite athletes suggests the possibility that some elite athletes may be elite in part because they have higher than normal sensitivity to testosterone.  These men may get far more bang for each testosterone buck compared to the genetically typical male. 

Carruthers concludes his paper with:

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Shawn Baker's Carnivore Diet Blood Tests

In an interview with Robb Wolf, Shawn Baker has released some results of his blood tests after more than a year eating only meat and water [transcript]. 

Several vegans, none of whom have any medical education and therefore no competence or business making medical diagnoses, have nevertheless diagnosed Baker as a T2 diabetic because his fasting blood sugar was found to be 127 and his Hb(a)1c was 6.3.   Here's an example:

To start, I would like to point out that these "happy healthy" vegans may have committed a crime in all 50 states:  practicing medicine without a license.  For example, the "happy healthy vegan" who made the video above lives in California.  According to California Penal Code 2052, it is a crime for any person to practice, attempt to practice, or advertise practicing, any treatment of the sick including diagnosis, operation, or prescription for an ailment, blemish, deformity, disease, disfigurement, disorder, injury, or any other physical or mental condition without a valid certificate or authorization for doing so.

Yes, just rendering a biomedical diagnosis is by law considered practice of medicine.  You don't have to offer treatment as well.  I know because I am bound by this law in my profession.

Medical diagnosis is not a simple-minded game of matching blood test results to values given by organizations such as the American Diabetes Association.  If it was then there would be no need to give physicians years of training.  You could practice medicine without any training by just ordering blood tests and then checking to see if any were "out of range' and matched any official guidelines.  Anyone who could read would be able to "practice medicine" if that's all it entailed. 

As expected, having no medical education, this vegan does not understand the concept of differential diagnosis using data from both lab tests and the clinical presentation of the patient.  If he did, he would realize that his diagnosis of Baker is probably unwarranted by the clinical presentation as well as the blood test evidence. 


Differential diagnosis is the process a trained physician uses to determine which of various conditions or diseases is the correct diagnosis (explanation) for a particular symptom or sign presented by a patient.   Symptoms, signs and lab values are collected to either confirm or rule out possible diagnoses (explanations) for an individual's presentation.

For example, an man may complain of difficulty urinating (dysuria).   This single symptom occurs in multiple conditions, including: benign prostate hypertrophy, prostate cancer, bladder infection, bladder stones, kidney infections, kidney stones, sexually transmitted diseases, drug side-effects, and lower back pain, to name a few.  Differential diagnosis is the process by which a physician determines which of these conditions most likely accounts for the single symptom in this case.

Pathological fasting high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) can for another example be caused not only by diabetes T2, but also by diabetes T1, certain medications, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer,  Cushing's syndrome, and some hormone-secreting tumors.

Hyperglycemia also occurs in response to intense glycogen-depeleting exercise and "It could be argued that a hyperglycemic-hyperinsulinemic response after glycogen-depleting exercise creates the appropriate milieu for at least partial restoration of muscle glycogen."  It is well known that the release of catecholamines (e.g. epinephrine, nor-epinephrine) during intense exercise will increase blood sugar levels. 

In intense exercise, these catecholamines increase 14-18 fold to levels seen in pheochromocytoma, an adrenal gland tumor.  This induces a seven- to eightfold increase in glucose production (glucogenesis), which is the largest increase seen under any physiological or pathophysiological condition.  Hence, both intense exercise and the process of recovery from such exercise produce blood levels of substances that would in a sedentary person indicate a probable disease process.

To distinguish the correct diagnosis, the physician must take into account all clinical symptoms and signs, as well as laboratory results if applicable.  Laboratory results are only part of the picture.  One's diagnosis must be consistent with the total clinical picture.

Differential diagnosis is necessary to choose the correct treatment course.  Incorrect diagnosis can lead to rendering a treatment that is at best ineffective, and at worst harmful or even deadly to the patient.

Now let's imagine that Baker actually has pancreatic cancer, but the "happy healthy vegan" was in charge of Baker's treatment.  Since the vegan "knows" that Baker has diabetes, he prescribes a treatment for diabetes.  How would that work out?

This is why non-physicians are warned not to self-diagnose, or to diagnose others. 


Normal blood substance ranges are defined by what is normal – i.e. the norm – in the general population. It is a simple logical fallacy to suggest that what is the norm (normal) is what is desirable or optimal.  If a population is sick, then it is likely that the normal blood values in this population correlate with or represent what happens in a person with underlying disease, not health.

The general population eats a mixed, high carbohydrate diet and has high risks for chronic diseases.  In the present U.S. population, it is normal to be overweight and prediabetic.  Therefore, the normal ranges defined by laboratories probably tell you what levels you will find in normal i.e. sick or borderline sick people who eat a mixed, high carbohydrate diet.

While it is normal (the norm) to be unhealthy, it is presently abnormal to be healthy.  It is even more abnormal to be a world-class athlete who has broken world records and is in the  process of training to break more world records.  Therefore, abnormal blood tests do not necessarily indicate disease, and may in fact indicate health or unique conditions induced by intense physical training of an elite athlete, which are abnormal conditions in the U.S. population. 

Some blood values are responsive to what you eat.  If you dramatically change your  diet, so that you no longer eat a "normal" diet, some of your substance levels will likely no longer be “normal.”  A high protein, high fat, low carbohydrate diet will produce lab values different from a low protein, low fat, high carbohydrate diet.  Since the general population eats a high carbohydrate plant-based diet, anyone who adopts a low carbohydrate, animal-based diet can expect to have abnormal blood values.  That might be a good thing, since, as noted, normal blood values are what we find in the population that normally gets heart disease, diabetes, cancer, dementia, and so on.

Finding abnormal blood values in someone who is displaying excellent health and function is a reason to question whether the normal values are actually desirable in all circumstances.

Shawn Baker is abnormal.  He eats an abnormal diet, and he is a world class athlete engaged in an abnormal amount and intensity of physical activity.  Therefore, I would be surprised if none of his lab values were abnormal. 


Vegans who have criticized Baker's blood values seem to think that you can diagnose a disease based on one or two lab values. 

As already noted, high fasting blood sugar could indicate several other disease processes, as well as physiological responses to low carbohydrate intake or exhaustive exercise.  To determine which of these fits the Baker case requires critical thinking, problem-solving skills and training in differential diagnosis.

Diabetes mellitus is a disease process, not a lab value, not a glucose level.  The Merck Manual states:  "Diabetes mellitus is indicated by typical symptoms and signs and confirmed by measurement of plasma glucose."  Thus, symptoms and signs are the primary indications; blood glucose measurement is for confirmation. 

Again, according to the Merck Manual, clinical symptoms of diabetes include "glycosuria and thus an osmotic diuresis, leading to urinary frequency, polyuria, and polydipsia that may progress to orthostatic hypotension and dehydration. Severe dehydration causes weakness, fatigue, and mental status changes. Symptoms may come and go as plasma glucose levels fluctuate. Polyphagia may accompany symptoms of hyperglycemia but is not typically a primary patient concern. Hyperglycemia can also cause weight loss, nausea and vomiting, and blurred vision, and it may predispose to bacterial or fungal infections."

Frequent urination, excessive thirst, weakness, fatigue, weight loss...these do not appear to be part of the clinical picture presented by Shawn Baker.  Absence of these symptoms weakens a case for a diagnosis of diabetes.

Regarding T2 diabetes, this is typically characterized by at least two metabolic conditions: high fasting glucose and high fasting insulin, both due to the underlying condition of insulin resistance.  Baker’s insulin level was found very low (2.6; normal range is 2-19.6), indicating high insulin sensitivity.  His triglycerides were also very low (54), consistent with high insulin sensitivity.  This evidence rules against a diagnosis of T2 diabetes.

It also means that Baker's glucose level is not caused by insulin resistance as it is in T2 diabetes.  We have to find another explanation for his glucose levels.

Nor does Baker present a clinical picture warranting a type 1 diabetes diagnosis.  An unmedicated type 1 diabetic would not have enough insulin to maintain Baker’s level of lean mass nor the vitality to be breaking world records in Master’s rowing.

Therefore his blood values probably do not warrant a diagnosis of diabetes nor even borderline diabetes.

Vegans also seem to have ignored Baker's report that his blood sugar drops into the 80s as the day goes on.  In Baker's words: 
"I use to wake up around 115 most days. This day was 127. But what I'll see is that will drop down throughout the day and it'll get down in the afternoon. I'll becoming down into the 80s. And then I'll eat a meal and it may either not go up at all. I've seen it go down afer meals. I've seen it rise at most, maybe ten, 15 points, which again points to very good insulin sensitivity."
Therefore, it seems Baker only has this high blood glucose reading in the morning, but not later in the day nor after meals.  If so, that also rules against a diabetes diagnosis. 

Many people – especially the vegans – evaluating Baker's numbers are very worried about his blood sugar level being high a large part of the day.  I think it is important to note that not-yet diabetic people eating normal diets have increases of blood sugar up to 140 mg/dL after every meal.
"In nondiabetic individuals, plasma glucose concentrations peak ∼60 min after the start of a meal, rarely exceed 140 mg/dl, and return to preprandial levels within 2–3 h."
 Thus, a normal person who eats 3 carbohydrate-rich meals daily has blood sugar levels as high or higher than Baker's for some part of each day, up to several hours.  Thus it is even possible that Baker spends no more or perhaps even less total time with a blood sugar level above 100 than the typical person who eats three carbohydrate-rich meals daily. 

Baker’s unusual fasting blood sugar probably needs another explanation.  To make an educated evaluation of what is going on you need to understand human metabolism and biochemistry, particularly how human metabolism adapts to a very low carbohydrate intake and a high volume of intense, glycogen-depleting exercise.

A likely explanation is: fasting gluconeogenesis.

As I have already noted, it is well established that hyperglycemia also occurs in response to intense glycogen-depeleting exercise and "It could be argued that a hyperglycemic-hyperinsulinemic response after glycogen-depleting exercise creates the appropriate milieu for at least partial restoration of muscle glycogen."  Exercise-induced hyperglycemia is stimulated by catecholamines, which cause hepatic glucose production, evidently to supply working muscles with fuel during exercise, and to replenish glycogen after exercise. 

Glucose production from either amino acids or the glycerol backbone of triglycerides (fats) is called gluconeogenesis.  Muscular athletes who eat little or no dietary carbohydrate but engage in sports demanding glycolysis – such as Baker's sport of rowing, as well as resistance training – depend on their livers to supply blood sugar to the brain, red blood cells, and muscles, via gluconeogenesis.

It is reasonable to postulate that Baker’s liver has upregulated gluconeogenesis to support his brain, blood cells, and very high activity levels in events that require glycogen stores, in the absence of dietary carbohydrate.  His fasting blood sugar is particularly high because after a long fast – required for the blood test – his liver has to be actively generating glucose, but since his insulin level is at a minimum, more of this glucose remains in the blood than in a normal individual who has a higher fasting insulin level.

A doctor named Kraft first identified that 75% of people with “normal” or equivocal glucose tolerance tests had borderline or abnormal insulin response patterns indicating ‘diabetes in-situ’ or ‘occult diabetes.  Later, another team headed by Crofts, and working with Kraft, found that about 75% of people with normal glucose tolerance had hyperinsulinemia.

This leads to the reasonable hypothesis that normal blood sugar levels represent the levels of a population that has some degree of hyperinsulinemia.  In these normal people, a normal elevated insulin level is keeping their glucose level in the normal range.

Since insulin reduces blood sugar levels by stimulating fat cells to extract glucose from blood and convert it to fat, the normal blood sugar level probably also indicates a normal gradual gain of body fat over time.  These normal people may also experience chronic fatigue, because the carbohydrates and fats they are consuming are being preferentially stored via the action of insulin.  

In these normal people the fasting blood sugar level does not rise above 100 until their fat storage capacity is maxed out and their fat cells become insulin-resistant. Then their blood sugar rises to the levels considered to represent diabetes.

A person who eats a high carbohydrate diet might slow down this process by engaging in adequate physical activity, which disposes of excess carbohydrate energy and reduces insulin levels.  However,
a study of blood glucose (BG) levels in athletes consuming high carbohydrate diets (250-450 g per day) found:
"4/10 athletes studied spent more than 70% of the total monitoring time above 6.0 mmol/L [106 mg] even with the 2-hour period after meals is excluded. Fasting BG was also in the ADA defined prediabetes range for 3/10 athletes."
Thirty percent of these athletes had fasting glucose levels that were by ADA standards "prediabetic."  The authors concluded that  "a diet rich in carbohydrates may not be beneficial in some athletes, especially as low BG is unlikely to be of concern to an athlete consuming adequate calorie intake."

Some physically active people, such as Professor Timothy Noakes develop diabetes after years of eating high carbohydrate diets.

In people eating like Baker,  the very low fasting insulin level probably also contributes to a higher fasting glucose.  When fasting insulin is very low,  blood glucose is only very slowly being converted to stored glycogen or body fat, if at all.  Instead that glucose remains in the blood available to fuel the brain, blood cells, and glycolytic activities.  This high glucose availability (due to a low insulin level) may be one reason Baker is an abnormal person, stronger than 99.999% of his peers and capable of breaking world records. 

The point is, we already know that normal people are metabolically unhealthy. Forty percent of them will develop full-blown T2 diabetes. Seventy-five percent of them have elevated insulin which is responsible for their normal blood sugar.  Therefore, their normal fasting blood sugar levels may not represent a standard for all people to meet, regardless of background diet or activity level.

In short, in the absence of diabetes symptoms and elevated insulin, Baker's high glucose and Hb(a)1c levels may only tell us that after 12 plus hours of fasting, in the absence of dietary carbohydrate, his liver is efficiently generating glucose and exporting it to meet the glucose demands of his brain and to replenish his glycogen stores, and, because he has a very low insulin level, little or none of this blood glucose is becoming adipose tissue. 

What effect may this have on Baker's long term health?  I don't really know, and I don't think anyone else knows either.  Although high fasting blood sugar appears to increase risks of disease in the general population, these risks are in that population also associated with higher insulin levels, higher body fat, and lipid levels that Baker does not exhibit.  


Baker's lipoprotein (a) was measured at 2 nmol/L.  That is very, very low (anything below 75 is considered low normal).  Elevated lip (a) is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.   Baker’s very low Lip (a) indicates very very low risk of heart disease.

His total cholesterol was only 205, just 5 points above the accepted “normal” range.  Here it bears noting that the idea that cholesterol “should” be no more than 200 was put forward by a panel of physicians who were compromised by financial interest in cholesterol-reducing medications.  There is a lack of evidence that total cholesterol below 200 is more protective against cardiovascular disease than one above 200.

In 2009, UCLA researchers reported that "75% of patients hospitalized for heart attacks had cholesterol levels that would indicate they were not at high risk for a cardiovascular event, based on current national cholesterol guidelines."  It should be noted that this study (full text here) was supported by an unrestricted education grant from Merck Schering Plough Partnership.  The authors themselves received grants from AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Sanofi-Aventis, Schering Plough, and Pfizer.

All of these companies are making billions of dollars annually on sales of lipid-reducing drugs.  The paper itself in some paragraphs reads like a promotional brochure for “lipid-lowering therapy.”  The authors claim that LDL contributes to atherosclerosis and that on the basis of their findings physicians should be more aggressive in pharmaceutical reduction of LDL and TC.  But I am sure that their motives, claims and recommendations are all pure as the driven snow.  They wouldn’t be promoting lipid-lowering because they have a financial interest in drugs for lipid lowering would they?

Back to Baker's blood.  A total cholesterol test 5 points above “normal” is also within the range of error expected from lab tests.  In other words, his total cholesterol is just at the high end of the accepted range, and there is a lack of evidence that his cardiovascular risk would be lower if this value was lower.

Moreover, unlike his vegan critics, Baker is aware of the evidence that a serum cholesterol below 200 mg/dL probably has adverse effects on quality of cognitive ability, emotional stability, and thus quality of life. 

The Framingham Study found a significant positive linear association between total cholesterols and measures of verbal fluency, attention/concentration, abstract reasoning, and a composite score measuring multiple cognitive domains.   Subjects with "desirable" TC levels (200 mg/dL) performed less well than participants with borderline-high TC levels (200-239 mg/dL) and participants with high TC levels (>240 mg/dL).  The authors concluded that "lower naturally occurring TC levels are associated with poorer performance on cognitive measures, which place high demands on abstract reasoning, attention/concentration, word fluency, and executive functioning." 

In addition, several studies have linked low cholesterol to increased risk of suicide, suicide again, parasuicide, propensity to violence ("data on this association conform to Hill's criteria for a causal association"),  and antisocial personality (sociopathy or psychopathy).  Apparently cholesterol deprivation has a harmful affect on not only cognition, but also emotion, in at least some people.  Given the importance of cholesterol to the structure and function of the nervous system, this is not a surprising finding.

Perhaps, like me, Baker has had a TC below 200 in the past and from that experience learned that he prefers high cognitive functioning and emotional stability achieved through a meat-based high cholesterol diet to achieving a low LDL of dubious value.

His HDL was 44, which falls into the "borderline low" range (41-59).   However, this level is still above the cut-off for low.  Moreover, Baker reports that low HDL runs in his family, and according to his report his HDL was even lower before adopting the carnivore diet.  This is possible because two very effective ways to raise your HDL levels include to eat a carbohydrate-restricted diet including 3 eggs daily1, 2,3 and to increase your intake of saturated fats.4, 5  In contrast, eating the low fat diet commonly recommended for cardio metabolic health actually decreases HDL.I nearly doubled my HDL in just 30 days by switching from a low fat vegan diet to a VLCHF diet containing more than 6 eggs and plenty of saturated fat daily.

Baker's LDL looks “high” to the untrained eye, but is not concerning to someone who understands the functions and relationships of blood lipids.  As engineer Dave Feldman explains in the following video, the primary role of LDL is to deliver fatty acids to peripheral tissues needing energy.

Baker’s high muscle mass and activity levels means his peripheral tissues have a high demand for energy.  He engages in a large volume of resistance and sprint training which demands large amounts of energy for muscle recovery.  Resting (recovering) muscles obtain 85% of their energy from fatty acids.  Baker has very low adipose levels, so local fat stores can't supply his muscles with much energy.  Therefore, to meet the energy needs of his muscles, his liver has to package a lot of fatty acids in LDLs and export them out to the muscles.  Hence, “high” LDL in his case is probably functional.

His triglycerides were very low (54).  A triglyceride:HDL ratio is a risk factor for “extensive coronary disease.”  In fact, in some studies this ratio shows the strongest relationship with extent of coronary disease, stronger than LDL-C.  Baker’s ratio is 1.2, a very low ratio (below 2.0 is good).  Again, indicating a very low risk for coronary disease

Baker's low triglycerides and trig:HDL ratio suggest it is most likely that his LDL is the large, fluffy type that has a low atherogenicity

Remnant cholesterol is an independent risk factor of cardiovascular disease.  Baker’s Remnant Cholesterol is very low (11 mg/dL) indicating extremely low cardiovascular risk.

If Baker had diabetes, he would have a lipid profile strongly indicating a high risk of cardiovascular disease, because diabetes greatly increases one's cardiovascular disease risk.  The fact that several of Baker's lipid values – Lip(a), trigs, HDL, trig:HDL ratio, and remnant cholesterol – indicate a low or very low risk for cardiovascular disease therefore also probably serves as evidence against a differential diagnosis of diabetes.  


His BUN (blood urea nitrogen) was only 2 points above the normal range.  This could be measurement error.  However, it is also normal for people who eat high protein diets to have higher BUN.  This does not indicate any disease state.  The National Library of Medicine Medline page on BUN states:

Yes, if your BUN is slightly elevated, talk to your trained health care provider, not the vegan music producer who has a political agenda but no medical training.  If a person is eating a high protein diet, this explains an slightly elevated BUN and rules out the possibility that it represents a disease process. 

Baker's C-reactive protein was 0.6 mg/L.  A level below 1.0 indicates a low level of inflammation. 

His liver function tests were in the normal range.


Baker's testosterone levels were “low” compared to normal values.  Yet he is obviously not suffering from testosterone deficiency (he has high muscle mass, great strength, deep voice, high spirits, strong drive and motivation, etc.). There are no obvious clinical signs of testosterone deficiency. Once again, testosterone deficiency is indicated by symptoms and signs, not by lab values.

Let us keep in mind here that elevated testosterone in older males has been suggested to be a risk factor for prostate hypertrophy and prostate cancer.  Also, increasing testosterone levels can lead to increased aromatization, resulting in elevated estrogen effects such as gynecomastia.

Further, recent research also suggests that high testosterone in older men may increase the risk of heart disease.  Men in the two highest quintiles of testosterone level had a 2.2 times risk of heart disease compared to those in the lowest. [More here.] That's not a small increase in risk. 

Hence, Baker's maintenance of a low testosterone level without signs of low testosterone function may be more evidence that he has a low risk for heart disease. 

Testosterone is a powerful hormone and the idea that "more is better" has no empirical basis; in fact there is some very good evidence that excess is harmful.  If one can get its maximum secondary sex benefits with a very low dose, this would be biologically wise.

Baker himself believes his numbers may indicate improved testosterone sensitivity.  This is an interesting idea which I believe has merit.  In fact, testosterone or androgen resistance appears to account for the fact that there is a poor correlation between blood testosterone levels and the characteristic symptoms of testosterone deficiency.  Some men have high testosterone levels yet still have symptoms of testosterone deficiency; others have so-called low testosterone levels by have no symptoms of testosterone deficiency.

Testosterone action can be reduced by increased androgen binding, reduced tissue responsiveness, and decreased androgen receptor activity.  Resistance to sex hormones is age-related and may account for the paradox that high levels of testosterone in youth are not associated with prostate disease, but have in some studies have been found linked to prostate cancer and heart disease in elders. 

Youth have high sex hormone levels and high sensitivity to those hormones, resulting in the positive effects of testosterone and estrogen found in young men and women.  If high testosterone itself caused prostate cancer, then young males should have the highest risk of prostate cancer.  They don’t. 

Once secondary sex characteristics are established by the high hormone levels of youth, a fully mature adult should require less of these hormones to maintain those characteristics.  It is natural for testosterone levels to gradually decline with age.  Hence, if testosterone levels either do not decline or rise with age, this may indicate growing resistance to the action of the hormones.

We know that raising T levels artificially (steroids) in a man with health gonads will down-regulate androgen receptors, as expected.  We thus should also expect that increased testosterone sensitivity would result in a decrease of testosterone levels, just as increased insulin sensitivity decreases insulin levels.

Some elders may have high levels of sex hormones because of a low sensitivity to those hormones, just as T2 diabetics have high insulin because of resistance to insulin.  Under these circumstances of sex hormone resistance, tissues dependent on those hormones (breast, prostate, heart, arteries) may become diseased and it may look like high levels are the cause of the disease, when in fact they are a symptom of the underlying hormone resistance.

As discussed above, Kraft has shown that about 80% of the general population has elevated insulin and insulin resistance.  Thus, the normal insulin level for the general population reflects incipient T2 diabetes.  This suggests the possibility that so-called normal testosterone levels in the general population that is known to have high risks of apparently hormone-related cancers (breast cancer, prostate cancer) may actually be too high, reflecting underlying hormone resistance which increases the risk of those hormone-related disorders.  

If this is so, an individual who adopted a lifestyle that eliminates the hormone resistance – whether insulin, testosterone or estrogen resistance – may have a lower than normal level of sex hormones, yet no symptoms of hormone deficiency.  This would represent physiological economy: the body will only produce the amount of testosterone required to produce the secondary sex characteristics.

Just as insulin resistance will by negative feedback cause the pancreas to increase insulin levels in order to overcome the resistance, androgen resistance should by negative feedback induce the body to produce more androgen to attempt to overcome the resistance.  Just as a T2 diabetic has symptoms and signs of insulin deficiency in spite of having too much insulin, a person with testosterone resistance may symptoms of deficiency of testosterone, in spite of having high or excess testosterone.

Conversely, if you have good testosterone sensitivity, you can get the requisite jobs done with much less testosterone, and therefore less chance of adverse effects from high amounts of testosterone.

Also, a high protein, low carbohydrate diet decreases sex hormone binding globlulin (SHBG) synthesis and sex steroid binding.  Conversely, a low fat, low protein high fiber diet (most vegan iterations) increases SHBG  synthesis and sex steroid binding.

Baker is on a very low carbohydrate, very high protein diet.  Therefore, his SHBG levels are likely at a minimum, which means that very likely very little of his testosterone is bound by SHBG.  In other words, he likely has very high free testosterone despite low total testosterone.  Once again, if he has high testosterone sensitivity AND most of his testosterone is free, then he doesn’t need a high (potentially pathological) testosterone level to maintain healthy secondary sex characteristics.

Resistance exercise increases androgen receptor sensitivity in older men,  and Baker engages in heavy resistance training, so this could contribute to a reduced testosterone level.  Increased receptor sensitivity will feedback to the gonads, resulting in lower testosterone output because the more sensitive testosterone receptors are, the less testosterone is required. 

A meat-based diet rich in L- carnitine may also improve testosterone sensitivity and androgen function. In this study, both carnitine ingestion and exogenous testosterone improved androgen function in older males, but testosterone increased prostate volume – a negative effect of increasing testosterone concentrations – whereas carnitine did not.  According to the authors,
"Testosterone and carnitines significantly improved the peak systolic velocity, end-diastolic velocity,resistive index, nocturnal penile tumescence [NPT], International Index of Erectile Function [IIEF-15] score, Depression, Melancholia Scale score, and fatigue scale score.  Carnitines proved significantly more active than testosterone in improving nocturnal penile tumescence and International Index of Erectile Function score.  Testosterone significantly increased the prostate volume and free and total testosterone levels and significantly lowered serum luteinizing hormone; carnitines did not." [Italics added]

The authors concluded:

To repeat: Carnitine supplementation had more positive effects on male function than testosterone supplementation, without increasing hormone levels or causing prostate enlargement, whereas testosterone supplementation promoted prostate enlargement.  Baker eats a lot of red meat, and thereby takes in a large daily dose of carnitine.  This may explain his ability to maintain healthy male function, muscle mass and strength with little testosterone and thus, presumably, little risk of prostate disease.

Finally, we are all different genetically within certain ranges.  Some individuals have large feet, some small feet.  Neither is a disorder.  Similarly, men differ in their blood levels of testosterone and testosterone sensitivity. What works well for one man may not work well for others.  More hormone is not better if it exceeds actual needs.

All that said, hard training can immediately reduce T levels, and overtraining can also reduce T levels.  From what I have seen on his Instagram, Baker might engage in an excessive volume of training, at least at some times.  His testosterone level might be higher if he was not training as much as he does.  This observation also reveals how, again, a physician must use differential diagnosis to determine why any individual's blood values are what they are.  Vegans want Baker's lab values to all be caused exclusively by his carnivorous diet, but his T level is certainly also influenced by his training status.

The bottom line is that testosterone deficiency is a clinical condition, not a lab value.  If there exist no symptoms or signs of testosterone deficiency, then you aren't testosterone deficient, no matter what your blood level.

4/25/18 Update:  I found a study reporting that 25% of elite male athletes had low testosterone levels, which may further support my points here. 


Some people have claimed that Baker is vitamin D deficient.  In fact, his vitamin D level was 30 ng/mL, and the normal range is 30-100.  Vegans who have claimed Baker is vitamin D deficient might be interested to learn that John McDougall, M.D. reported in 2011 that his wife Mary McDougall had a vitamin D blood test run in August of 2010.  In McDougall’s words: “She failed, based on commonly reported standards, with a value of 29.6 ng/mL.  Many well-meaning doctors would have told her she was not in good health and in need of supplementation with vitamin D pills, perhaps for a lifetime.”

McDougall goes on to write:
“Mary is not an unusual example of well-sunned people failing this commonly prescribed test. Similar results were found during a study of active young people living in Hawaii with an average sun exposure of 29 hours a week. Even with all that vitamin D-promoting solar radiation, 51 percent of the group failed to meet sufficiency levels of 30 ng/mL.6  The highest reported level was 62 ng/mL and several people had values below 20 ng/mL. Another study of 495 women with an average age of 74 years, living in Hawaii, a geographical area with high environmental UV irradiance, found 44 percent of subjects had vitamin D values of less than 30 ng/mL, but none were below 10 ng/mL; and there was little evidence of seasonal variation of vitamin D levels.7
Any vegans who claim that Baker is vitamin D deficient must then also conclude that Mary McDougall was also found to be vitamin D deficient, by the standards they are uncritically accepting.

I on the other hand think that the studies cited by McDougall provide evidence that the normal vitamin D range (30-100) is inflated, perhaps to encourage doctors to prescribe vitamin D supplements to patients, for the profit of the pharmaceutical companies that make those supplements.

The first study McDougall cited in the above paragraph shows clearly that 51 percent of young people getting abundant sun exposure – 22.4 hours without sunscreen – in Hawaii do not reach blood D levels above 30 ng/mL.  Since none of these people had any signs of vitamin D deficiency, their levels must have been adequate.  This provides good evidence that Baker’s level of 30 ng/mL is quite good, exactly in the mid-range found in a population getting vitamin D from sun exposure.  The authors of this study noted:
“Although the presence of “low” 25(OH)D concentration in this population seems counterintuitive, this might be anticipated from an evolutionary standpoint because the high calcium intake of early humans (27) may have allowed maintenance of calcium homeostasis despite low vitamin D status. Moreover, it is certainly plausible that genetic differences exist in the amount of vitamin D necessary to maintain optimal physiological function. “
The second study found a mean vitamin D level of 32 ng/mL and a lowest of 10 ng/mL in Japanese women who regularly ate vitamin D-rich fish.  Despite the lowest level being 10 ng/mL, the researchers found no evidence of vitamin D deficiency in the population studied.  There was no association between vitamin D status and risk of vertebral fracture in the primary analysis, but “there was a statistically significant increase in risk of vertebral fracture with increasing levels of 25-OHD3 in the secondary analyses adjusted for age, height, weight, and BMD.” Read that again:  Increasing vitamin D levels were associated with an increased risk of vertebral fracture!  Perhaps these were women taking vitamin D supplements; data on their sun exposure, vitamin D and calcium intake were not available..

McDougall points out that there is a lack of evidence for a need for levels higher than 30 ng/mL.  The Institute of Medicine report on vitamin D states: 
"For vitamin D, the 2011 DRIs are based primarily on the integration of bone health outcomes with evidence concerning 25OHD levels, which suggest that levels of 16 ng/ml (40 nmol/liter) meet the needs of approximately half the population (median population requirement, or EAR), and levels of at least 20 ng/ml (50 nmol/liter) meet the needs of at least 97.5% of the population (akin to the RDA)."
Repeat:  Vitamin D levels of at least 20 ng/ml meet the needs of at least 97.5% of the population.  Therefore, unless Shawn Baker is an extreme outlier in vitamin D requirements, his vitamin D status is probably sufficient if not excellent.  I don’t believe there is good evidence to support any contention that his vitamin D status is deficient or harmful. 


In summary, vegans who have rendered their probably illegal diagnoses of Shawn Baker have no business doing so and have probably only shown their ignorance of human metabolism, biochemistry, and clinical medicine, as well as their uncritical acceptance of normal as healthy, and inability to see what is right in front of their faces (the clinical picture), in their evaluations of Baker's condition.

From the information I obtained from Robb Wolf's interview of Baker in which they revealed some of the results of Baker's blood tests, I find no warrant for the diagnoses I have so far seen vegans passing around. I can't be 100% sure Baker has no underlying pathology, but from what I can see, the chances are that his abnormal blood values simply reflect his efficient metabolic adaptation to an abnormal diet, along with his abnormal muscle mass, strength, and training volume and intensity.  


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8.  Pramyothin P, Techasurungkul S, Lin J, Wang H, Shah A, Ross PD, Puapong R, Wasnich RD. Vitamin D status and falls, frailty, and fractures among postmenopausal Japanese women living in Hawaii. Osteoporos Int. 2009 Nov;20(11):1955-62.