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How do I explain to my father that short-term Zero Carb isn't dangerous for my health?

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created September 27, 2011 at 5:17 PM

When I told my father I wasn't eating vegetables, he wasn't happy. Now, this guy says he's healthy (had cholesterol issues, lots of mood swings, far from lean, ...) and he tells me I'm not gonna reach 50 if I eat like this. His only argument is : ask your doctor, he'll tell you what's right.

The same doctor told me to "eat starch because that's slowly absorbed in the body", "don't eat 300g meat a day because that's horrible for your health", "take a bowl of fruit and eat it slowly during the whole day to slow down sugar absorption", ... Yeah, I'm really gonna tell him I'm doing zero carb.

I'm not doing zero carb for weight loss btw (I'm already thin enough). I'm doing it to see if it helps against constipation, as a simple experiment. I think it's important to try it out. I'm currently eating only eggs, muscle meat, fish, coconut oil and olive oil, I take vitamin C to be sure and I'm gonna be introducing offal this friday. After that I'm gonna try shellfish.

But how do I explain to my father that this won't destroy my health?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on November 30, 2011
at 10:54 AM

For some reason, my constipation suddenly disappeared. It could've been the salt, it could've been the fact that I stopped eating eggs 2 months ago and it finally helped, it could've been the added spices (I eat lots of turmeric), it could've been the now foods super enzymes, it could've been so many things :D.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on October 29, 2011
at 07:10 PM

I fear my problem was lack of carbs. Still gotta find my carb level :(

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 04:12 AM

I guess since I eat eggs and liver, I don't need to worry about folate in particular, but thank you for pointing that one out. I do take vitamin C, even though I'm not 100% certain I need to. I also have found that I tolerate a wide variety of herbal teas, which probably have some good things I might otherwise miss. Dulse is a recent food item I've tolerated well, too, and is full of minerals. I think once such an experiment goes long term, it's good to be as flexible as you can without losing the therapeutic results, but I wouldn't worry too much about those things when just testing it out.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I'm beyond grateful that I tried the ZC experiment, because I have gotten so many unexpected benefits. It may not be the ideal diet, and I'm certainly open to finding improvements to make my health even better. But I'm also not going to worry about trying to eat more plants for some theoretical reasons when my health is so much better now than it was.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 03:57 AM

For me, it's not a question of whether I am re-enacting something out of nature. I have to do what's supporting my health the best. I don't and can't know the long term risks of eating almost no plant matter, but the short term effects of eating more are very acute for me. I'm not above supplementing, if that's what it takes to make up the difference. In an ideal world I could get everything I needed from food, but as it is I have to make trade-offs.

7b11ed525ffa23bc7257684e27488a6a

(366)

on October 03, 2011
at 01:11 AM

Evidence for deficiency does exist in zcers. Vitamin C and folate deficiency were reported in long term zcers. Not only that, most people who try it give it up eventually for many different reasons. And yes, I agree that we have no evidence in history of tribes that shun all plant foods. Burden of proof is on those suggesting such a plan is sustainable long term. Many people on zc have no intention of adding back plant foods.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 29, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Citrusfire, I don't recommend ZC for most people either. To me, it's a diet of last resort. In fact, in a couple of places on PH, I've said plainly that barring poisons, people should eat as broadly as possible within the restrictions they discover their body places on them. For some of us, we're painted into a corner by metabolic derangement, or whatever the current favored term is. But as Melissa says above, starting from ZC and challenging different foods is a viable strategy, and unlikely to damage anyone, especially in the short term.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 03:28 PM

(3) Should people strive toward an ideal diet that seems to improve their health, or is this just orthorexia/fanatacism/badge-seeking. (Valid question.) (4) Isn't Rose a fraud! She ate *macadamia nuts* and claims to be ZC. What could her motivation be? Let's be amused. (Brilliant.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 03:24 PM

Actually, I think there are some good questions buried in here. (1) Is ZC really sustainable from a nutrient point of view? It seems even strict ZCers sometimes eat some plant matter now and then. Maybe this points to a deficiency? (Great question!) (2) Is a person really Paleo/ZC/vegetarian if they have eaten something off their ideal diet, or should we ask people not to claim to follow a diet if they have ever deviated from it? (Valid question.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Of course not. The reason you are trying to discredit Rose is because you had a personal dispute with her recently. You have never expressed interest in Paleohacks before now, in fact you've openly expressed disdain for it. It gives one the impression you've come here to air dirty laundry.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:16 PM

Of course not. The reason you are trying to discredit Rose is because you had a personal dispute with her recently. You have never expressed interest in the forum before now, in fact you've openly expressed disdain for it. It gives one the impression you've come here to air dirty laundry.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Satya, so if someone here claimed to have been on a Paleo diet for 2 years, would you try to discredit them because you found out that they had a beer one time during that period?

Af005ec9a8e028f2b04bf5367b64e0d6

(2797)

on September 28, 2011
at 02:30 PM

veganism can be a good experiment to feel what not eating animal products does to the body. what's the difference? I'm not radically opposed to either, especially an experiment with 0 carb, but if it's an experiment you should acknowledge that it might make you less healthy.

B3e7d1ab5aeb329fe24cca1de1a0b09c

(5242)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:50 PM

You could double that magnesium amount. Definitely be sure to include the offal, especially liver.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:47 PM

As to the women eating high carb, if you look at those links, that seems to be only in recent years, and as to the honey, it is only consumed as mead and only by elders. Still, I agree that by carb count, it was likely more of a PHD kind of macronutrient composition, and higher than VLC.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:45 PM

I agree, VLC and ZC can be very different. A lot of people define ZC as no plants. (That's not exactly how I eat: I eat CO, and I don't drink milk; my ZC is a bit more literal.) The OP's antagonists didn't seem to be worried about lack of carbs, per se, though, but lack of plant matter and too much meat. So even if the Masai diet isn't ZC, it's still an excellent example of a healthy diet that doesn't fit the paradigm the OP's father is advocating.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:33 PM

Rapid weight gain in my midsection without any changes to diet was my first clue. I also noticed the feeling of rapid heart in the evening. I also took a saliva cortisol test to confirm it. I had to take 3 weeks off of training and upped my carbs to 100-150. Things went back to normal after that.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Thank you Travis! Milk and honey (and perhaps blood but I'm not sure) contain carbohydrate. In fact, I'd wager you'd net more carbs from milk and honey in some sort of masai-inspired diet than many who eat what they'd call a VLC diet. It seems so straight forward to me that eating VLC and eating ZC are probably pretty different experiences.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:05 PM

I would wholly agree that ZC for short durations like a couple of months here and there is is no way harmful I don't think there would be many societies that made eating only animal products a usual practice. I think the plains tribes, mongol crews, etc ate only animals for durations here and there because that was all they had and they knew they'd be OK. Just as I think the OP will. But I doubt they'd pass up the chance for a good bit of tuber or some other non-animal food if they had the chance.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:00 PM

I too never understood why almost every ZCer I come across will list the plants they eat. Isn't that merely VLC? I mean, it doesn't matter what you call it, does it? I just find it odd to say zerocarb when you eat carbohydrates. Pretty straight forward I'd've thought.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:36 PM

Never went high-protein ... I'm around 200g fat a day. I tried up to 600mg magnesium citrate. If ZC doesn't work out as planned, I'm gonna reintroduce plants and will try cutting out eggs again.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:20 PM

So if you ate nothing but trout and small amounts of liver you just barley get enough nutrients, if that's what you want to do go for it...

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:15 PM

CM has a new series on the masai check out his blog. His should be noted masaii only do this during the murran period and woman never do it, they eat a lot of carbs.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:14 PM

milk has carbs, so does blood to an extent I would imagine. They also ate whatever they could find a lot of the time which included honey, tubers, fruit plus the bark and herbs. ZC is just that "zero carb" not no plant foods....

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:09 PM

I got a vitamin A deficiency, tooth decay and I was the skinniest I've ever been which I'm still trying to recover from. I learned that diets that restrict whole macro-nutrients can possibly have long term consequences.

03fa485bfd54734522755f47a5e6597e

(3944)

on September 28, 2011
at 11:46 AM

I've never had a problem with constipation on low-carb unless I went too high on protein. As long as I get plenty of fat, it's never an issue. Surprising that magnesium wouldn't help, though, since it's a pretty sure laxative. How much did you take?

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 28, 2011
at 11:21 AM

@citrusfire: I don't agree that it is like veganism. And it is not that much extreme, either. I see it as a good experiment to "feel" how what not eating carbs does to the body.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 28, 2011
at 07:13 AM

I never ate chicken for 3 months, and I stopped eating eggs to see if it helped. It clearly did not. I've yet to try eating more starch, and I'm gonna do that after going ZC. Thanks a lot for the info, if ZC doesn't help, I'll do what you do.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 28, 2011
at 07:08 AM

I tried removing the eggs, didn't help. Tried magnesium, didn't help. Drinking more water didn't help. Probiotics didn't help. I'm just trying out, that's all.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 28, 2011
at 05:39 AM

But you are correct that ZC is a misnomer, even for people who eat only meat with spices, or organ meats. It's just the term most commonly in use, it seems, for diets averaging less than 5g or so of carbs per day. Perhaps "XLC" is a better term; more accurate, and less likely to drive people into hissy fits, lol.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 28, 2011
at 05:00 AM

I don't see why Paul Jaminet would approve. In another thread around here somewhere he says 50g/day is the minimum he recommends.

39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

(682)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:58 AM

Good point about the eggs Travis. Korion, I would try cutting out the eggs. It worked well for me.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 28, 2011
at 01:50 AM

Guys, it's an elimination diet. I'm a bonifide carbowhore and I recommend people with severe digestive issues try zero carb and gradually introduce other foods back.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:20 AM

I ate solely animal products for over three months. Zero plant matter. Most ZC folk eat some kind of plants. I did not. I had decent energy throughout the day but no pep in my step, never felt ready to jump explosively kind of. Other than that I suppose I was fine. I would not recommend it but it didn't kill me. I find that I function much better with about 250 grams of carb from starch daily. Have fun. (def try and get that offal, you get different stuff than you do from most muscle meat)

Af005ec9a8e028f2b04bf5367b64e0d6

(2797)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:14 AM

I would say the burden of proof is on an extreme diet to prove that its healthy, not the other way around. The guy who ate nothing but potatoes for 6 months? He was healthier than when he started. Great. But why put yourself through a restrictive, extreme diet if it's not optimal? Look, I don't think ZC is terrible.. but I would not recommend doing it for most people, and if he is just doing it to "experiment" then yeah. It's extreme. And pointless. Not better than a normal "paleo" type diet, unless MAYBE you are trying to lose a lot of weight or are very sedentary or have some other issues.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:06 AM

Are you supplementing magnesium? That would be more helpful.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Link two above says 10 days of milk, and "several days" of meat in between.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Ah, well, good point -- that's a definition problem. Some define ZC as negligible plant matter. On a day of consuming only milk, if they have 1000 non-fat calories, that's about 500 carb calories. Jaminet would approve! If I'm understanding correctly, they did some kind of alternation between only milk, and only meat, but I don't know how long each period lasted.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:55 AM

But the point isn't did it turn out to be your optimal diet, but did you learn from it, and did it cause you long term harm.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:10 AM

Do the carbohydrates in milk not count?

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:05 AM

Why would zero carb help with constipation? If anything, it's the eggs binding you up.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 28, 2011
at 12:01 AM

OK, Rose.. you've convinced me! I am going to read Phinney and Volek! The creds are impressive. Even after many years of being a LC, there's always more to learn...

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:23 PM

Cold water fishes are a good source of potassium and magnesium, and freshwater fishes have a decent amount of manganese, as do smelts. If one is going to try to eat to a chart, that is.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:15 PM

potassium, magnesium,maganese, possibly other stuff.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Yea a dumb expirement..... Just like zc imo

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:29 PM

But you don't know that it's *not* healthy, either. Everyone weighing in against zero carb is using "common sense" and "moderation" as their unspoken guides. Nobody -- *nobody* -- has solid data for long-term ZC eating. And the assumption that you must supplement like crazy is just that: an assumption. I supplement D3 and occasional magnesium, and that's all. I won't even touch the "neurotic" charge; that's just plain dumb, especially in a forum full of questions from non-ZC eaters about the minutest of dietary adjustments and the silliest of health "issues."

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:15 PM

Short term, right? Have him read this: http://inhumanexperiment.blogspot.com/2009/09/two-brave-men-who-ate-nothing-but-meat.html

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:01 PM

And just one more, from Guyenet: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/06/masai-and-atherosclerosis.html "At approximately 14 years old, Masai men are inducted into the warrior class, and are called Muran. For the next 15-20 years, tradition dictates that they eat a diet composed exclusively of cow's milk, meat and blood. Milk is the primary food. Masai cows are not like wimpy American cows, however. Their milk contains almost twice the fat of American cows, more protein, more cholesterol and less lactose. Thus, Muran eat an estimated 3,000 calories per day, 2/3 of which comes from fat."

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:53 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people#Diet "Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of meat, milk, and blood from cattle. An ILCA study (Nestel 1989) states: “Today, the staple diet of the Maasai consists of cow's milk and maize-meal."

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:52 PM

http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Tajikistan-to-Zimbabwe/Maasai.html "The traditional Maasai diet consists of six basic foods: meat, blood, milk, fat, honey, and tree bark... People of delicate health and babies eat liquid sheep's fat to gain strength. Honey is obtained from the Torrobo tribe and is a prime ingredient in mead, a fermented beverage that only elders may drink... For warriors, however, the sole source of true nourishment is cattle."

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:49 PM

http://www.maasai-association.org/maasai.html "Traditionally, the Maasai rely on meat, milk and blood from cattle for protein and caloric needs... More recently... the Maasai are forced to farm. Our people traditionally frown upon this. Maasai believe that tilizing the land for crop farming is a crime against nature. Once you cultivate the land, it is no longer suitable for grazing.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:48 PM

Cliff, I feel a bit silly arguing about this, because I really don't want to increase the rift between us. But I'm curious where you are getting info on Masai diet. The first 3 sites I found when searching for Masai diet claim that until very recently, when corn, rice, potatoes, etc were added to their diets, they basically subsisted completely on meat, milk, and blood, with bark "soup" (sounds like tea to me -- surely it contributes no calories) and elders were allowed to drink a mead made from honey. Here are the links:

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:32 PM

When you do an experiment such as this, you aren't necessarily trying to find the optimal diet, but rather to isolate some variables. This is ZC as an elimination diet. No one objects to experimenting with short-term elimination diets, AFAICT. Doesn't it make sense to eliminate a slew of things that could be causing a problem, and if you find improvement, then experiment some more? I don't think Korion is claiming any theoretical commitment at all, other than that this is a safe short-term experiment.

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on September 27, 2011
at 08:25 PM

how do you know that you developed cortisol issues? I've heard people say that before, and I'm just not sure how it manifests itself.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Deficient in what, exactly?

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Well, if it's deficient you can't prove it by me. Four years VLC, two years ZC, and I'm in the best health of my entire life, including childhood. I think it's very presumptuous to make pronouncements either for or against, or to call it "deficient" or, for that matter, "sufficient." There's not a good data set, period. And as someone named "Richard" pointed out on...er, one of the blogs, we have only seen cultures transition from health to illness. We have zero examples of entire cultures that have done the reverse. Experiment and observation are our only recourse.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Thanks Ambimorph, freaking love the description of how pemmican was made!

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Paul Jaminet's series didn't really look at zero-carb, although he titled it that. For one of his examples he used the Kwasniewski Optimal Diet, which includes, of all things, daily bread. And his own "ZC" experiment was nowhere close to ZC. I'd look at Phinney & Volek's Complete Guide to Low-Carbohydrate Living. So far it's the most comprehensive resource I've seen, and Phinney knows his way around ultra-ketogenic diets, having been a primary researcher of them for decades.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:51 PM

This is a funny answer from someone who considered it safe to do an 8 month experiment eating nothing but dates.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:49 PM

" Why are you so adamantly against this possibility?" Because there is no evidence for the diet and it is deficient

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:48 PM

http://www.ergo-log.com/meatonly.html "The men lost large amounts of calcium – about 400 mg per day. Meat contains little calcium, but the calcium metabolism cycle continued in the men’s bodies." "In the spring of 1929 the polar explorer developed "pain in the right chest, a severe chill, and rapidly rising temperature. The next day the sputum was rusty in color, the temperature was 40 degrees", the researchers wrote. [J. Biol. Chem. 1930 87: 651-668.] Sounds like a heart attack. Not that strange when you consider that the subjects’ cholesterol level rose to 800. "

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Cliff, it can't be proven with certainty one way or the other, but it seems pretty likely that there were at least long seasonal periods in which some cultures ate nothing but meat. Why are you so adamantly against this possibility?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Haha :), I remember when I woke up : went to the butcher and bought a big batch of meat.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Unfortunately magnesium did nothing :(. I never read Paul Jaminet's blog, but he's probably a good resource while I'm on this diet.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:40 PM

t here is zero evidence for ZC cultures, who knows what plant foods these people might have exploited

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Good point! I don't have to tell him, it's just that we live in a small house and it's hard to remain calm when people always say my diet is unhealthy. I so hope my digestion is gonna improve now too, that'd be awesome.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:38 PM

masai don't eat anything close to ZC

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Oh, and how could I forget: You could cite the Bellevue study. http://www.jbc.org/content/87/3/651.full.pdf

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:37 PM

+1 interesting link!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:36 PM

It's only deficient if you don't do it right. I'm supplementing some vitamins to be certain, and will eat offal, maybe even shellfish. I will eat lamb & pork to add some change too. And try out all kinds of fish. I'm doing this as a test, hoping to get the same result as sophie had. Thanks for your answer!

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11 Answers

5
100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:30 PM

Some people will never be convinced. Although I feel and look better than I have in many years, there are still some people in my life who urge me to eat vegetables at every chance they get. Ironically, even my doctor is on board with me, based on observation of my health and the risk-benefit analysis of this and alternatives. But that doesn't have much weight with the above-mentioned people.

Really, it depends on how open-minded your father is. You could get him to read Steve Phinney on Pemmican and Indigenous Diets. Here's just one relevant excerpt:

[Q.] People of course lived on this with vegetables and salad supplemented, to get their vitamin C, their carbohydrates. Surely they added other things to this diet?

[A.] That has always been the tacit assumption that ???hunter gatherers??? did that. But the accounts of Catlin and others is that different groups of indigenous people had different dietary practices. But some of these indigenous people existed essentially as pure hunters. The Lakota, Dakota and Nakota nations were nomadic peoples who did not farm, they lived on the prairie, and they had very little fruit and vegetables available for most of the annual cycle of the year, and the warrior group of males in particular prided themselves in not eating ???women???s food???, by which might be meant gathered plants.

And surely it stands to reason that short-term dietary practices are much less risky than long-term ones? People have gone for days eating nothing at all and haven't ruined their health.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:20 PM

So if you ate nothing but trout and small amounts of liver you just barley get enough nutrients, if that's what you want to do go for it...

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:49 PM

" Why are you so adamantly against this possibility?" Because there is no evidence for the diet and it is deficient

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:48 PM

http://www.ergo-log.com/meatonly.html "The men lost large amounts of calcium – about 400 mg per day. Meat contains little calcium, but the calcium metabolism cycle continued in the men’s bodies." "In the spring of 1929 the polar explorer developed "pain in the right chest, a severe chill, and rapidly rising temperature. The next day the sputum was rusty in color, the temperature was 40 degrees", the researchers wrote. [J. Biol. Chem. 1930 87: 651-668.] Sounds like a heart attack. Not that strange when you consider that the subjects’ cholesterol level rose to 800. "

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:37 PM

Oh, and how could I forget: You could cite the Bellevue study. http://www.jbc.org/content/87/3/651.full.pdf

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Thanks Ambimorph, freaking love the description of how pemmican was made!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:44 PM

Cliff, it can't be proven with certainty one way or the other, but it seems pretty likely that there were at least long seasonal periods in which some cultures ate nothing but meat. Why are you so adamantly against this possibility?

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 07:43 PM

Deficient in what, exactly?

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:40 PM

t here is zero evidence for ZC cultures, who knows what plant foods these people might have exploited

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:15 PM

potassium, magnesium,maganese, possibly other stuff.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 07:00 PM

Well, if it's deficient you can't prove it by me. Four years VLC, two years ZC, and I'm in the best health of my entire life, including childhood. I think it's very presumptuous to make pronouncements either for or against, or to call it "deficient" or, for that matter, "sufficient." There's not a good data set, period. And as someone named "Richard" pointed out on...er, one of the blogs, we have only seen cultures transition from health to illness. We have zero examples of entire cultures that have done the reverse. Experiment and observation are our only recourse.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:23 PM

Cold water fishes are a good source of potassium and magnesium, and freshwater fishes have a decent amount of manganese, as do smelts. If one is going to try to eat to a chart, that is.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:05 PM

I would wholly agree that ZC for short durations like a couple of months here and there is is no way harmful I don't think there would be many societies that made eating only animal products a usual practice. I think the plains tribes, mongol crews, etc ate only animals for durations here and there because that was all they had and they knew they'd be OK. Just as I think the OP will. But I doubt they'd pass up the chance for a good bit of tuber or some other non-animal food if they had the chance.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 03:57 AM

For me, it's not a question of whether I am re-enacting something out of nature. I have to do what's supporting my health the best. I don't and can't know the long term risks of eating almost no plant matter, but the short term effects of eating more are very acute for me. I'm not above supplementing, if that's what it takes to make up the difference. In an ideal world I could get everything I needed from food, but as it is I have to make trade-offs.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 04:02 AM

I'm beyond grateful that I tried the ZC experiment, because I have gotten so many unexpected benefits. It may not be the ideal diet, and I'm certainly open to finding improvements to make my health even better. But I'm also not going to worry about trying to eat more plants for some theoretical reasons when my health is so much better now than it was.

7b11ed525ffa23bc7257684e27488a6a

(366)

on October 03, 2011
at 01:11 AM

Evidence for deficiency does exist in zcers. Vitamin C and folate deficiency were reported in long term zcers. Not only that, most people who try it give it up eventually for many different reasons. And yes, I agree that we have no evidence in history of tribes that shun all plant foods. Burden of proof is on those suggesting such a plan is sustainable long term. Many people on zc have no intention of adding back plant foods.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on October 03, 2011
at 04:12 AM

I guess since I eat eggs and liver, I don't need to worry about folate in particular, but thank you for pointing that one out. I do take vitamin C, even though I'm not 100% certain I need to. I also have found that I tolerate a wide variety of herbal teas, which probably have some good things I might otherwise miss. Dulse is a recent food item I've tolerated well, too, and is full of minerals. I think once such an experiment goes long term, it's good to be as flexible as you can without losing the therapeutic results, but I wouldn't worry too much about those things when just testing it out.

3
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on September 27, 2011
at 05:58 PM

Well, I suppose you could fight with wolframalpha, which will give you nutritional data on most foods. Comparing meat products head to head to fruits and vegetables usually puts this insanity to rest. Internet searches seem biased towards plant foods, but they seldom win in direct comparisons, and there is enough almost no-carb vegetation out there to make up for any outlying vitamins.

Other than that, I am still wondering myself how I woke up from the SAD fairy tale.

B4e1fa6a8cf43d2b69d97a99dfca262c

(10255)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:37 PM

+1 interesting link!

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:43 PM

Haha :), I remember when I woke up : went to the butcher and bought a big batch of meat.

2
39ccdc07ecb843b6399e0df9c1a6aa1a

on September 27, 2011
at 07:46 PM

I hope the experiment with ZC helps with constipation. Keep us updated.

I however was LC for a while and it did not help me with constipation. Recently I have been eating ruminants (less chicken and eggs) and good amounts of starch. This combination has really been working for me. If your ZC experiment falls through I would reccomend a diet high in fat and grass-fed red meats with starches such as sweet potatoes, pumpkins and other squashes. I have cut back on vegetables a lot as well. My day consists of 2 large meals, either both all meat/fat or one meat/fat and one starch. It has been great for my digestion. I usually have a BM half an hour after eating my large starch meal.I feel full all day as well and have not lost muscle mass. (I think my situation is similar to yours. I am 21 year old male looking to maintain weight.)

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 28, 2011
at 07:13 AM

I never ate chicken for 3 months, and I stopped eating eggs to see if it helped. It clearly did not. I've yet to try eating more starch, and I'm gonna do that after going ZC. Thanks a lot for the info, if ZC doesn't help, I'll do what you do.

2
7dc950fc76a046048e683d2a27dced37

on September 27, 2011
at 05:54 PM

I think it's useful to separate the questions re whether something is healthy and what you should tell your dad. Going zero-carb may not be "dangerous" given your supplementing vitamin C, but I wouldn't say it's clear that it's necessarily healthy. Maybe it is, but the series on zero carbing over on Paul Jaminet's blog would give me pause before going zero carb for life.

But it certainly is unlikely to cause harm for a short-term experiment to see how you respond to it. That said, if your big issue was constipation, I would have probably just recommend adding some magnesium citrate to your diet.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:55 PM

Paul Jaminet's series didn't really look at zero-carb, although he titled it that. For one of his examples he used the Kwasniewski Optimal Diet, which includes, of all things, daily bread. And his own "ZC" experiment was nowhere close to ZC. I'd look at Phinney & Volek's Complete Guide to Low-Carbohydrate Living. So far it's the most comprehensive resource I've seen, and Phinney knows his way around ultra-ketogenic diets, having been a primary researcher of them for decades.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:42 PM

Unfortunately magnesium did nothing :(. I never read Paul Jaminet's blog, but he's probably a good resource while I'm on this diet.

Cbb1134f8e93067d1271c97bb2e15ef6

on September 28, 2011
at 12:01 AM

OK, Rose.. you've convinced me! I am going to read Phinney and Volek! The creds are impressive. Even after many years of being a LC, there's always more to learn...

1
3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 28, 2011
at 11:30 AM

What helped me with constipation was eating more fruits like pears.

In ZC diet, be sure to eat enough sodium (salt), since your kidneys will release a lot of it, otherwise your body will flush also other minerals as well and you can have electrolytes deficiency. I just had it a week ago (on LC). ;-) But you will know when you have it, the typical indication is that when you suddenly stand up, you will feel your head is light, almost like you are going to faint.

I just read "The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living", and those authors make their clients at their clinic to eat 5g at sodium daily + supplemented minerals (potassium, magnesium if I remember), and also vitamins. On ZC diet I mean. Also, they recommended to eat broth when you know you will do an activity where you will sweet a lot.

Other than that, you should be safe.

1
7b11ed525ffa23bc7257684e27488a6a

(366)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:30 AM

It cracks me up that those who claim to be zero carb for 2 years are eating things like macadamia nuts 3 months ago. Paul Jaminet would approve. The point is: Why claim zero carb if you aren't even doing it? For a special badge of honor? I don't know of anyone who has gone zero carb for any serious length of time, like 2 years (excluding nuts, chocolate and other plant foods) without developing deficiencies like Danny Roddy and Mel at ZIOH.

http://forum.dirtycarnivore.com/index.php/topic,31.msg89115.html#msg89115

It's an ideal like veganism, imhe.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 28, 2011
at 05:39 AM

But you are correct that ZC is a misnomer, even for people who eat only meat with spices, or organ meats. It's just the term most commonly in use, it seems, for diets averaging less than 5g or so of carbs per day. Perhaps "XLC" is a better term; more accurate, and less likely to drive people into hissy fits, lol.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:14 PM

Satya, so if someone here claimed to have been on a Paleo diet for 2 years, would you try to discredit them because you found out that they had a beer one time during that period?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:00 PM

I too never understood why almost every ZCer I come across will list the plants they eat. Isn't that merely VLC? I mean, it doesn't matter what you call it, does it? I just find it odd to say zerocarb when you eat carbohydrates. Pretty straight forward I'd've thought.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:16 PM

Of course not. The reason you are trying to discredit Rose is because you had a personal dispute with her recently. You have never expressed interest in the forum before now, in fact you've openly expressed disdain for it. It gives one the impression you've come here to air dirty laundry.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 28, 2011
at 05:00 AM

I don't see why Paul Jaminet would approve. In another thread around here somewhere he says 50g/day is the minimum he recommends.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 03:28 PM

(3) Should people strive toward an ideal diet that seems to improve their health, or is this just orthorexia/fanatacism/badge-seeking. (Valid question.) (4) Isn't Rose a fraud! She ate *macadamia nuts* and claims to be ZC. What could her motivation be? Let's be amused. (Brilliant.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 03:24 PM

Actually, I think there are some good questions buried in here. (1) Is ZC really sustainable from a nutrient point of view? It seems even strict ZCers sometimes eat some plant matter now and then. Maybe this points to a deficiency? (Great question!) (2) Is a person really Paleo/ZC/vegetarian if they have eaten something off their ideal diet, or should we ask people not to claim to follow a diet if they have ever deviated from it? (Valid question.)

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 29, 2011
at 02:20 PM

Of course not. The reason you are trying to discredit Rose is because you had a personal dispute with her recently. You have never expressed interest in Paleohacks before now, in fact you've openly expressed disdain for it. It gives one the impression you've come here to air dirty laundry.

1
Af005ec9a8e028f2b04bf5367b64e0d6

on September 27, 2011
at 09:46 PM

What on earth makes you think zero carb is going to make you healthier? Especially if you're a normally healthy, active individual? all you're doing is experimenting. And it's like veganism: sure, you might be okay on that diet, especially if you supplement, but that doesn't mean its long-term healthy, let alone optimal, unless you're ready to supplement like crazy and be neurotic about your food.

Af005ec9a8e028f2b04bf5367b64e0d6

(2797)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:14 AM

I would say the burden of proof is on an extreme diet to prove that its healthy, not the other way around. The guy who ate nothing but potatoes for 6 months? He was healthier than when he started. Great. But why put yourself through a restrictive, extreme diet if it's not optimal? Look, I don't think ZC is terrible.. but I would not recommend doing it for most people, and if he is just doing it to "experiment" then yeah. It's extreme. And pointless. Not better than a normal "paleo" type diet, unless MAYBE you are trying to lose a lot of weight or are very sedentary or have some other issues.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on September 28, 2011
at 01:50 AM

Guys, it's an elimination diet. I'm a bonifide carbowhore and I recommend people with severe digestive issues try zero carb and gradually introduce other foods back.

3432683fc74c2d2a40efe1e8f16ac1f6

(1130)

on September 28, 2011
at 11:21 AM

@citrusfire: I don't agree that it is like veganism. And it is not that much extreme, either. I see it as a good experiment to "feel" how what not eating carbs does to the body.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:29 PM

But you don't know that it's *not* healthy, either. Everyone weighing in against zero carb is using "common sense" and "moderation" as their unspoken guides. Nobody -- *nobody* -- has solid data for long-term ZC eating. And the assumption that you must supplement like crazy is just that: an assumption. I supplement D3 and occasional magnesium, and that's all. I won't even touch the "neurotic" charge; that's just plain dumb, especially in a forum full of questions from non-ZC eaters about the minutest of dietary adjustments and the silliest of health "issues."

Af005ec9a8e028f2b04bf5367b64e0d6

(2797)

on September 28, 2011
at 02:30 PM

veganism can be a good experiment to feel what not eating animal products does to the body. what's the difference? I'm not radically opposed to either, especially an experiment with 0 carb, but if it's an experiment you should acknowledge that it might make you less healthy.

3aea514b680d01bfd7573d74517946a7

(11996)

on September 29, 2011
at 05:29 PM

Citrusfire, I don't recommend ZC for most people either. To me, it's a diet of last resort. In fact, in a couple of places on PH, I've said plainly that barring poisons, people should eat as broadly as possible within the restrictions they discover their body places on them. For some of us, we're painted into a corner by metabolic derangement, or whatever the current favored term is. But as Melissa says above, starting from ZC and challenging different foods is a viable strategy, and unlikely to damage anyone, especially in the short term.

1
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on September 27, 2011
at 07:59 PM

Being able to survive on zero-carb doesn't necessarily mean you're thriving on zero-carb. You're experimenting on yourself, but it sounds like you've already convinced yourself that your theory is correct. Be critical.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:32 PM

When you do an experiment such as this, you aren't necessarily trying to find the optimal diet, but rather to isolate some variables. This is ZC as an elimination diet. No one objects to experimenting with short-term elimination diets, AFAICT. Doesn't it make sense to eliminate a slew of things that could be causing a problem, and if you find improvement, then experiment some more? I don't think Korion is claiming any theoretical commitment at all, other than that this is a safe short-term experiment.

1
22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:40 PM

Maybe you should also ask the question how is it good for your health? I know you are experimenting to aid constipation, but it may create other issues based on your current lifestyle. I know I developed some pretty serious cortisol issues due to lack of carbs since I work out with some intensity.

76c885d7d27e6c83542ea493ca866dcd

(2178)

on September 27, 2011
at 08:25 PM

how do you know that you developed cortisol issues? I've heard people say that before, and I'm just not sure how it manifests itself.

22212e9ba2a041e6da6c963d4d41615a

(5773)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:33 PM

Rapid weight gain in my midsection without any changes to diet was my first clue. I also noticed the feeling of rapid heart in the evening. I also took a saliva cortisol test to confirm it. I had to take 3 weeks off of training and upped my carbs to 100-150. Things went back to normal after that.

1
166f449979d83186bd876e8f466d0a69

(1317)

on September 27, 2011
at 05:33 PM

Show him a picture of the Maasai?

I'm trying out zero carb myself and my digestion is LOVING it. Cured my long term constipation and gut issues. Not sure if it's good long term but for the moment it's working miracles.

Do you have to convince your father? Why is it so important to?

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:09 PM

Thank you Travis! Milk and honey (and perhaps blood but I'm not sure) contain carbohydrate. In fact, I'd wager you'd net more carbs from milk and honey in some sort of masai-inspired diet than many who eat what they'd call a VLC diet. It seems so straight forward to me that eating VLC and eating ZC are probably pretty different experiences.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:45 PM

I agree, VLC and ZC can be very different. A lot of people define ZC as no plants. (That's not exactly how I eat: I eat CO, and I don't drink milk; my ZC is a bit more literal.) The OP's antagonists didn't seem to be worried about lack of carbs, per se, though, but lack of plant matter and too much meat. So even if the Masai diet isn't ZC, it's still an excellent example of a healthy diet that doesn't fit the paradigm the OP's father is advocating.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:52 PM

http://www.everyculture.com/wc/Tajikistan-to-Zimbabwe/Maasai.html "The traditional Maasai diet consists of six basic foods: meat, blood, milk, fat, honey, and tree bark... People of delicate health and babies eat liquid sheep's fat to gain strength. Honey is obtained from the Torrobo tribe and is a prime ingredient in mead, a fermented beverage that only elders may drink... For warriors, however, the sole source of true nourishment is cattle."

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 10:01 PM

And just one more, from Guyenet: http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/06/masai-and-atherosclerosis.html "At approximately 14 years old, Masai men are inducted into the warrior class, and are called Muran. For the next 15-20 years, tradition dictates that they eat a diet composed exclusively of cow's milk, meat and blood. Milk is the primary food. Masai cows are not like wimpy American cows, however. Their milk contains almost twice the fat of American cows, more protein, more cholesterol and less lactose. Thus, Muran eat an estimated 3,000 calories per day, 2/3 of which comes from fat."

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:38 PM

masai don't eat anything close to ZC

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:48 PM

Cliff, I feel a bit silly arguing about this, because I really don't want to increase the rift between us. But I'm curious where you are getting info on Masai diet. The first 3 sites I found when searching for Masai diet claim that until very recently, when corn, rice, potatoes, etc were added to their diets, they basically subsisted completely on meat, milk, and blood, with bark "soup" (sounds like tea to me -- surely it contributes no calories) and elders were allowed to drink a mead made from honey. Here are the links:

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:39 PM

Good point! I don't have to tell him, it's just that we live in a small house and it's hard to remain calm when people always say my diet is unhealthy. I so hope my digestion is gonna improve now too, that'd be awesome.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:53 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maasai_people#Diet "Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of meat, milk, and blood from cattle. An ILCA study (Nestel 1989) states: “Today, the staple diet of the Maasai consists of cow's milk and maize-meal."

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:47 PM

As to the women eating high carb, if you look at those links, that seems to be only in recent years, and as to the honey, it is only consumed as mead and only by elders. Still, I agree that by carb count, it was likely more of a PHD kind of macronutrient composition, and higher than VLC.

Medium avatar

(39831)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:10 AM

Do the carbohydrates in milk not count?

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 09:49 PM

http://www.maasai-association.org/maasai.html "Traditionally, the Maasai rely on meat, milk and blood from cattle for protein and caloric needs... More recently... the Maasai are forced to farm. Our people traditionally frown upon this. Maasai believe that tilizing the land for crop farming is a crime against nature. Once you cultivate the land, it is no longer suitable for grazing.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:00 AM

Ah, well, good point -- that's a definition problem. Some define ZC as negligible plant matter. On a day of consuming only milk, if they have 1000 non-fat calories, that's about 500 carb calories. Jaminet would approve! If I'm understanding correctly, they did some kind of alternation between only milk, and only meat, but I don't know how long each period lasted.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:15 PM

CM has a new series on the masai check out his blog. His should be noted masaii only do this during the murran period and woman never do it, they eat a lot of carbs.

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 01:02 AM

Link two above says 10 days of milk, and "several days" of meat in between.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:14 PM

milk has carbs, so does blood to an extent I would imagine. They also ate whatever they could find a lot of the time which included honey, tubers, fruit plus the bark and herbs. ZC is just that "zero carb" not no plant foods....

1
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 05:32 PM

i f you have no weight to lose maybe he is right? Not a whole lot of evidence that zero carb is healthy and its pretty deficient.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 27, 2011
at 11:14 PM

Yea a dumb expirement..... Just like zc imo

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:55 AM

But the point isn't did it turn out to be your optimal diet, but did you learn from it, and did it cause you long term harm.

B0fe7b5a9a197cd293978150cbd9055f

(8938)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:36 PM

It's only deficient if you don't do it right. I'm supplementing some vitamins to be certain, and will eat offal, maybe even shellfish. I will eat lamb & pork to add some change too. And try out all kinds of fish. I'm doing this as a test, hoping to get the same result as sophie had. Thanks for your answer!

100fd85230060e754fc13394eee6d6f1

(18696)

on September 27, 2011
at 06:51 PM

This is a funny answer from someone who considered it safe to do an 8 month experiment eating nothing but dates.

E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on September 28, 2011
at 12:09 PM

I got a vitamin A deficiency, tooth decay and I was the skinniest I've ever been which I'm still trying to recover from. I learned that diets that restrict whole macro-nutrients can possibly have long term consequences.

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