I’ve been trying to follow some of the diet recommendations cobbled together by followers of Ray Peat. Dr. Peat has a Ph.D. in Biology and has written lengthy and seemingly well-researched articles outlining his theories on nutrition and health. Although he hasn’t come out and written a diet protocol (and appears happy to share his knowledge with the world for free), he has a lot of devoted followers around the web. I was intrigued by his thoughts because they are Just. So. Different. from what everyone else thinks. I mean, there’s mainstream (eat less exercise more), and then there’s counterculture (low carb/high fat/paleo) and then there’s Ray Peat. Ray Peat makes low carb/high fat look mainstream. If he was a planet, he’d be Pluto. If he was an animal he’d be a bongo. If he was an astrophysical concept, he’d be dark matter.
Intriguing, yet obscure.
Those who follow his teachings advocate increasing metabolic rate by eating lots and lots of sugar – preferably orange juice for it’s micronutrient properties – up to hundreds of grams of sugar per day, and drinking lots of and lots of milk – up to 2 quarts per day – for the calcium. They recommend adding salt and/or sugar to milk or OJ, again to boost metabolism. Protein should be eaten in moderation (about 100g/day). Vegetables and exercise are a waste of time at best and harmful at worst. Shellfish and liver should be consumed around once per week. It’s all very well thought out, and as I mentioned, very well annotated and documented. I would have to spend a LOT more time combing through his writings to really understand where these conclusions come from. I haven’t devoted that much time. But just for kicks I decided to try out eating this way for a few days, just to see how I feel.
I was concerned about eating all that sugar. One of my main problems is my struggle to lower my fasting blood sugar (and probably my post-prandial blood sugar, but I haven’t been testing that). I was sure this would tip me over the end to full on hyperglycemia, so I haven’t been eating HUNDREDS of grams of sugar, but I’ve been drinking about 3 16-oz servings of OJ per day for a few days, each of which contains 44g of sugar – around 132g right there. I’ve eaten some starch also – I’ve had rice one day (in the evening) and some gluten-free bread here and there. I’ve also eaten some gluten-free cookies (one each day for the last few days). (Note: Peat does not appear to advocate much starch intake, so my experiment is not without confounding variables.)
Well, the last few days my blood sugar has hovered between 95 and 110 – lower than it was when I was eating low-carb. Interesting…eating more fruit sugar does not make blood sugar higher…not within 3 days, anyway.
How do I feel? Well, I initially felt alright. It was kind of nice tasting something sweet after so long not doing so. It’s been literally YEARS since I’ve had more than 10-20 grams of sugar in one day. I didn’t seem to have the hypoglycemia when I got hungry anymore…I just got gradually hungry instead of having my blood sugar bottom out several times a day.
What I didn’t love so much – heartburn…from all the OJ? I had to raid the 2-year old jar of antacids in the back of the linen closet. I haven’t needed them since I was pregnant 4 years ago, but I’ve needed them several times over the last few days. Also lots of napping. I seem to be taking a 2-hour nap every day. That could be from adjusting to the T3 – maybe I’m not sleeping as soundly at night as I was before? Or it could be Reactive Hypoglycemia from the sugar? I haven’t needed naps during the day since the last time I ate lots of carbs, over 2 years ago. Also I feel like I’m retaining water from eating lots of salt.
In any case, I’ve decided to table the Ray Peat diet for a while and just see how my body responds to T3. Later on I may try this again.