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Video: What If Obesity Has Nothing To Do With Eating Too Much?

Published on July 1, 2013,

What if obesity has nothing to do with eating too much? Peter Attia, MD, President and co-Founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, says we don’t know enough about the science of weight gain, and that clinicians — and society — should stop blaming the victims…

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In this TEDMED talk, Peter Attia discusses the blame many attach to people who are overweight and suffer illnesses.

He describes his own experience of becoming insulin resistant despite exercising several hours a day and eating strictly according the recommended food pyramid.

Then he describes how he changed his diet and how it made him aware that conventional wisdom concerning obesity and its relationship with insulin resistance could be completely the wrong way round. In other words, insulin resistance may actually cause obesity, not the other way round.

He presents some statistics suggesting a closer link between insulin resistance and risk of illness than there is between obesity and risk of illnes illness (obese people who are not insulin resistance do not have higher risk, lean people who are insulin resistance do have higher risk).

He speculates that the driver behind the epidemic may be the increased consumption of sugars and refined carbohydrates, but through the mechanism of insulin resistance rather than just because they are eaten too much.

He says the answers can be found by science and discusses the activity at the Nutrition Science Initiative.

Video: Gary Taubes and Peter Attia debunk food myths

Published on December 5, 2012,

Low carb diet advocates Gary Taubes and Peter Attia appeared on Fox News last week to debunk some food myths, starting with the high carb-based food pyramid that has dominated conventional thinking for the past few decades whilst obesity and diabetes has exploded…


The video is an extract released from Fox News and runs for about 8 minutes

Leading Low Carb Diet Advocate Adds Intermittent Fasting To His Regime

Published on October 2, 2012,

Peter Attia, the co-founder of, has a new post on his blog, The Eating Academy, which explains how he has started to incorporate intermittent fasting into his low carb diet. It is a follow up to a post last year called “What I actually eat”. He calls his new approach IFIK – Intermittent Fasting, Intermittent Ketosis – and it follows up a number of articles we have seen recently on the possible benefits of intermittent fasting, especially in conjunction with a low carb diet…

Peter Attia courtesy of

For reasons I don’t fully understand the most read post on this blog is one I wrote very quickly and with very little thought.  I wrote it in response to a question I’m asked all the time, “What do youactually eat?”  The post, aptly titled, What I actually eat, has more than twice the traffic of the next three most read posts combined. Go figure.

After a full year in “strict” (i.e., no “cheat” days) nutritional ketosis I wanted to experiment with other eating patterns.  I had been reading about intermittent fasting (IF), and had a few discussions and exchanges with Mark Sisson and Robb Wolf about it.  Though I don’t know Brad Pilon or Martin Berkhan personally, I’d also read a few interesting things they had written.

Why the change?

My curiosity was sufficiently piqued to break a golden rule – if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

I was very happy after a year of nutritional ketosis, but I did wonder if I could improve on a few things.  For starters, as my cycling season was about to ramp up, I wondered what it would be like to weigh 75 kg (165 pounds) instead of my steady-state weight of about 78 kg (172 pounds).  I know 3 kg does not sound like a lot, but it can make a huge difference when riding up Mount Palomar, assuming one can preserve power output. I also liked the idea of not spending so much time eating.  As you probably know, I’m pretty obsessive about how I utilize the 168 hours in each week and resent anything that takes me away from my family, my work, and my training.  (This includes sleep, which I wish I could figure out a way to thrive without.)

In the end, I think Mark Sisson finally just egged me on enough to agree to at least give it try – even just one day per week.  And with that, I embarked on the next phase of my nutritional odyssey.

I decided, in early May, to start with the following protocol: one meal per 24 hours, twice a week.  On the other 5 days I consumed my usual keto-diet.  On the two IF days I would just eat one meal at around dinner time.  I still consumed normal amounts of liquids (water, coffee, tea) and supplements (see list below), with one exception – on fasting days I doubled the amount of sodium I supplemented via bouillon from 2 gm per day to 4 gm per day.

Like all nutritional changes, this one took some getting used to.  Because I exercise in the mornings, on fasting days I would get pretty hungry by about 10 or 11 am.  Interestingly, though, by about 2 pm, as my blood glucose levels would be between 60 and 70 gm/dL, I would start to feel completely fine.  In fact, by about 5 or 6 pm, just before eating my meal, I found I wasn’t really hungry.  This may have been due to the fact that my B-OHB levels were usually above 3 mM by this time of day.

Why do I call it “IFIK?”

Not surprisingly, after eating 100 gm of protein and 40 gm of carbohydrates in one sitting, my B-OHB levels would fall, often below 0.5 mM, the practical threshold of nutritional ketosis.  Usually within 24 hours I’d be back to my normal levels, generally between about 1 and 2 mM. But, the cycling in and out of ketosis was new to me, hence the phrase “intermittent fasting, intermittent ketosis,” or “IFIK.”  I guess you can see why I didn’t end up in marketing – “if-ik” doesn’t really have a nice ring to it…

More at: What I actually eat, part II – “IFIK”

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