Large study of low-carb eating finds weight-loss, muscle-gain, better cholesterol

8 to 9 billion is our likely max world population… That is… Thats where we will likely end up, and stabilize.

Fats are more stable and transportable than grains. Way cheaper to move and ship fats and oils rather than grains.

Protein distribution is unaffected.

Low carb, high fat foods are extremely palatable.

People change their habits all the time. 70 years ago bananas were an exotic food. Everyone made things from scratch, or bought from local bakers, butchers, etc.

Prepared foods are new.


Someone had to do it.


What leads you to believe we’ll stabilize there? Our population’s doubling time is staggeringly small, and keeps getting smaller. What do you think is going to counter our reproductive momentum? Aside from natural self correction?

The population balance -will- self correct if we exceed our food production capacity, but self correction is a terrible option. Deer populations self correct, and they do so in the form of mass starvation and a boom in the predator population. Markets self correct, in the form of crashes, which hit the poorest and the most vulnerable hardest.

If our population self corrects, it will the single biggest disaster in human history. Billions will die, horribly. If we’re going to stabilize before then, we need to actively work to achieve that result. Because people can, and will, breed themselves to death.

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Define “disaster.” (And not as “bad star.”) Self-correction would be the best thing that’s ever happened to our species, or our planet. Yeah, it’s going to suck for a lot of people, but at least the survivors will not envy the dead, assuming we do it right.

I bet Soylent Green is high-fat, high-protein, and low-carb.

Having lost over 150lbs in the last 2 years doing a strict (<20g carbs/day) ketogenic diet, this is not surprising news. Switching from carbs to fat works. Sure, simple calorie restriction works too, but it’s fucking miserable to be hungry all the time. The reason keto worked for me when nothing else did is that it’s something I can actually do without quitting. It’s nice to see some legit research backing up what I already knew instead of repeating the 50+ year old lie “fat=bad, grains=good”.

And for the record, my blood work shows I’m actually healthier, not just thinner. Fasting glucose went from “diabetic” to “normal”, and cholesterol went down. It didn’t go down a lot, but it didn’t shoot through the roof like every armchair nutritionist predicted when I started the diet either.


There’s something to be said here for cultural agricultural capacity.

First, the price of grain crops in the U.S. are kept artificially low, so that must be taken into account. Grains have a wonderfully high caloric density, but can quickly move into the high-calorie, low-nutrition category.

Second, a low-carb diet does not necessarily mean that meat should become the primary source of nutrition. From what I’ve seen, the most beneficial diets start on a bedrock of vegetables. Now the problem becomes logistics and stability of vegetables.

Something else worth considering is that vegetables are, largely, some of the easiest food to produce locally. I actually predict that vegetable gardening will become an increasingly popular means of supplementation.

Either you have no clue what you’re talking about, or you need professional psychiatric help.

When population levels outstrip our capacity to feed them, you will see society rapidly go to pieces. Nothing, absolutely NOTHING motivates people like the threat of starvation.

We will tear the earth apart trying to survive. We will eat anything we can to stay alive. We will kill and loot and pillage and conquer to feed ourselves. The damage will be catastrophic to all life on earth - because we will start eatting whatever we can.

The domesticated species will go early on - the dogs and cats and other pets, the beasts of burden and the creatures we keep for meat and milk and whatnot. We will fish the seas empty, destroy entire ecosystems to sate our hunger. When we run out, we’ll hunt down wolves and coyotes, vermin and songbirds. Cannibalism will become widespread, tabboos be damned.

How do I know? Where do I get these “crazy notions” from?

History. The recent past tells us what happens when people go hungry. Pick any war, and odds are good you can find plenty of accounts of food shortages that would make your skin crawl.

In the Franco-Prussian War, during the seige of Paris, the locals resorted to eating rats and pigeons, and the Paris Zoo was broken open and all the exotic animals butchered for food.

Countless cities through Europe and Asia, destroyed by bombing and artillery shelling during the Second World War, saw the desperation of hungry populations - people dying of hunger in the streets, people robbing and even killing to get enough to eat, refugees fleeing entire regions in search of food.

Or if those example are too foreign, take our own American Civil War, with the famously brutal burning and salting of crops carried out by Sherman on his “March To The Sea”.

These are all just local shortages - there was always the option of finding at least -some- food elsewhere outside the affected region. I cannot possibly imagine the devastation of food shortage on a global scale.

Wars would be waged purely to take control of arable land. Massacres would be carried out against minorities purely to reduce the number of mouths to feed. The entire world would be engulfed in chaos and suffering.

If you don’t see how that’s a “disaster”, and if you think it’s in any way a remotely acceptable future for humanity, you are a sociopath.


Whenever I see a report like this, along with its rebuttals, I tend to think “just order the sandwich and call it even.”

It’s too bad the study in question doesn’t focus more on what they did eat than what they didn’t. I’m not impugning their results, but I do seriously question the significance people seem to be attaching to their findings. Especially since so many in our culture seem to hear “low carb” as “all the motherfucking bacon” and “low fat” as “Lean Cuisine”.

So my stir-fry (which is amazing, thank you) might be considered high-carb relative to Purina Bachelor Chow, but I think most people would agree that bok choi is associated with better long-term outcomes than artisanally extruded chicken substitute.

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Sadly (?), it ends up tasting like murder.

Funny story, a guy I know from a tabletop gaming community once ran the numbers for subsistence via cannibalism and how feasible it would be. (The game setting is a world in which a virulent disease exists which can turn people into “Ghouls” which are biologically required to consume 5% of their own body weight in human flesh per week to survive.)

Based on that 5% body weight per week figure, it turns out given our current global Crude Death Rates, and assuming 100% corpse consumption efficiency (meaning every bit of the body is consumed, bones and all, with zero loss from spoilage/damage/disease, and perfect logistical distribution), we could only feed something like 0.25% of the global population using every single human corpse humanity produces in a single year.

So subsistance purely via cannibalism can’t work without “harvesting” hundreds of times more bodies than we already produce via all causes in the world put together (already including wars and violence and whatnot).

An African swallow maybe, but not a European.

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What I want to see is a study that compares low carb diets with low sugar diets.

My personal experience is that cutting the sugar (specifically fructose), and still eating all the non-sugar whole grain carbs you want, works great for returning to a normal healthy weight and size. So I’m personally convinced that Robert Lustig is right about that – fructose is poison. Keep it to under 24g a day excluding raw fruit.


The co-op where I buy most of my food tracks the local-ness of my food purchases and the % local went up enormously when I switched from being a vegetarian to a meat eater. Also, the amount of processed food went way down. The meat, dairy (butter, cream, and cheese mostly,) and vegetables that are the bulk of my calories now are sustainable, local, seasonal, and use considerably less fossil fuels to produce or ship. The veggie burgers, tofu, even the organic tempeh, as well as the grain based sides, and all the fruit I ate as a vegetarian were more processed, shipped from further away, and less seasonal. For instance, if you are trying to get calcium from greens, you have to have greens year round, even though that means spinach from California. Local cheese is available year round.

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Though, I have to wonder why there aren’t local soy-dairies in more big metro areas. We grow lots of soybeans here in Minnesota, why can you only buy Tofu and Tempeh that are shipped from California? Fresh homemade soy milk is really delicious, as is really fresh tofu. I would open one myself, artisanal soy products, except I avoid soy now, and somehow that would seem weird.

Fortunately your arguments are invalid.

Modern farms producing wheat and corn are unsustainable. They rely on massive government subsidies, fossil fuels, petroleum derived fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, fresh water irrigation from limited and diminishing resources, and much more.

Pastured livestock, smartly herded, feeding on native grasses watered by rain, readily convert useless cellulose into useful and tasty protein and fat, sustainably.

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Almost all projections of world population growth project stabilization between 8 and 12 billion in the next ~40 years.

It’s a continuation of ongoing trends - the current boom is caused by the several-generation lag time between improved survivability and reduced family sizes in developing countries, which is what the US and Europe were not too long ago.


Just piping in that I too lost a ton of weight (1/4 original body mass) and more importantly, have kept it off for almost two years. My “pre-diabetes” diagnosis went away, all my numbers were/are great, and I feel good. I’m not hungry much, my one weakness is gorging on nuts occasionally when old habits sneak in.

It drives my wife crazy because I am eating a ton of fat, but it works.

Yes, I get that everyone can’t do it, but as long as everyone doesn’t, it will be ok. And I don’t see the super yummy doughnuts and ice cream and sugary snacks going away anytime soon. People that have a taste for that stuff will keep on eating it.

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And when they say “fats” I don’t think they mean fried foods.

I know that when I was toughing out the last bit of grad school I lost an absurd amount of weight and was mostly living on beans and oatmeal. Despite an extremely low fat diet, my cholesterol numbers were fairly mediocre.