I’m ready to provide a status update on the “Turn Up the Heat” experiment I started last year. The goal was to see if I could increase my body temperature using some of the ideas found in Matt Stone’s Diet Recovery 2 and Eat For Heat books. I provided a one-month status report in April that showed zero benefits. By June I had lost patience that I wasn’t seeing any benefit, so I decided to shelf the experiment and focus on other things.
But I mostly continued the ideas I listed from the experiment with one exception. I didn’t worry about eating carbs upon waking. That is unnatural for me. I eat right before I go to sleep. Eating right when I wake up widened my eating window too much.
Diet Recovery 2: Restoring Mind and Metabolism from Dieting, Weight Loss, Exercise, and Healthy Food by Matt Stone
My #1 health focus in the second half of 2013 was to become militant about reducing PUFA. For me, this meant adopting a zero nut policy. I had already eliminated vegetable oils years ago. The last source of significant PUFA left in my diet was almonds. In December, I did a 3 part series on PUFA, which made the case that the standard Paleo advice of “nuts in moderation” might be flawed and could slow down the process of reducing PUFA levels in the body.
- The Common Enemy in Nutrition
- The Problem With PUFA
- Quantifying PUFA, Expert Opinion and My Conclusion
No Nuts + More Cheese
For me, evening food satiety comes from nuts or cheese. By giving up the nuts, I was making a conscious choice to consume more cheese. The good news is Diet Recovery 2 lists cheese as the #1 warming food. The bad news is fat loss is much easier with almonds than with cheese. This applies to nuts, not nut butter. See my post Food Reward Test: Almonds vs Almond Butter for that explanation.
I knew that it could take several months and possibly years of eating a super low PUFA diet before I could tell if it had a metabolically stimulating effect. But since PUFA was my interest, I proceeded with the experiment.
It only took a few more months before I began to notice improvements. My cold fingers began to warm up. I donate blood every 8 weeks and I saw a steady increase in body temperature with a slight increase in pulse. My body temperature went from 97.0 to 98.4! This is the first winter I can ever recall not having cold hands and feet.
It should be noted that prior to removing nuts, I was already consuming a higher-carb diet. I regularly had sugar and never restricted salt. Sleep quality was also consistent. Going back to the list of ideas from the experiment, the only major change I made was removing nuts.
“But Nuts Are Healthy!”
When I was first exposed to the idea that nuts might be bad for metabolism, I dismissed it as nonsense. Then I ran the numbers and came to the conclusion that although moderation makes sense for many things in nutrition when it comes to undoing years of excess PUFA damage, adopting a strict low-PUFA diet is mathematically the best course of action.
My takeaway advice is to restore metabolism first and then decide if you want to consume nuts in “moderation”. I will continue restricting them for now.
Jan 22, 2014 — 10:24 am
SO – what’s an average day look like food wise?
Jan 22, 2014 — 10:27 am
@Charles – meat, fruit, veggies, rice, potatoes, ice cream, seafood, stock, kefir, eggs.
Jan 22, 2014 — 12:40 pm
“meat, fruit, veggies, rice, potatoes, ice cream, seafood, stock, kefir, eggs.”
What kinds, how much – can you provide a little more detail?
Jan 22, 2014 — 1:58 pm
@Charles – I think I need to update my May 2012 list. Future post.
Jan 23, 2014 — 9:47 am
That is so exciting! What time of day are you at that temperature?
Jan 23, 2014 — 1:01 pm
@Kathy – When I first started this experiment, I took my temperature upon waking for a few weeks. Got no results, so I stopped taking temps, except once every 8 weeks when I donate blood. That is when I noticed a steady increase. That and my hands/feet were warmer than before.
Jan 23, 2014 — 6:08 pm
So the almonds only help you lose weight when compared to eating almond butter? Meaning over all it is still better to just eliminate them all together for more long term weight loss via metabolism boosting?
Also- just to make sure I understand, you didn’t really experience the metabolism boost from following eat for hear until you cut out PUFA for good?
Jan 24, 2014 — 10:56 am
@Sarah – Yes. Almonds by themselves are good for fat loss. Almond butter isn’t. However, my goal was boost metabolism not go for quicker fat loss. If my body temperature was 98.6, I might resume almonds if I needed to lose weight.
The other strategies in Eat For Heat, I was mostly following already. I do believe they are powerful, but powerful to those that aren’t doing them. For me removing the almonds was the last powerful move I could attempt.
Jan 25, 2014 — 6:55 pm
Sounds like your kidneys are weak at least weaker than it should be. I would personally ditch coffee and chocolate since those things can weaken the kidney at least in the long term.
Jan 25, 2014 — 8:49 pm
@MikeK – This article disputes the coffee causes kidney issues.
I rarely have chocolate.
Feb 14, 2014 — 5:21 pm
I recently drastically cut my PUFA w a very similar approach. However, I take 3-4 Brazil nuts per day from rec’s of Tim Ferriss, Paul Jaminet, and Chris Kresser.
Do you believe the health benefits from Se/Brazil nuts are well founded?
Do you believe the O-6 content from these 3-4 nuts/ day are too high?
I’m convinced the Se and other qualities from Brazil nuts are very important for thyroid health and preventing prostate cancer. Brazil nuts have both high Se and high O-6.
Feb 14, 2014 — 5:43 pm
@Henry – I looked at Selenium too based off Ferriss and PHD recommendations. However, I decided to go with a supplement. Brazil nuts go rancid very easily.
Feb 15, 2014 — 11:26 am
Right, I place my Brazil nuts in the freezer (although prob rancid in the grocery store). I’ve thought about supplementing, but I go back and forth between supplementing and whole foods approach. TF writes in 4HB and in the vid about his whole foods approach for micro nutrients due to other potential co-factors or nutrients which have not been discovered.
Been following your blog for a while. Look me up if you’re in Oakland CA. I’ll def be at AHS 14′ this year. I attended AHS 11′ and real excited for this year.
Feb 16, 2014 — 11:07 am
@Henry – Although I agree with the whole foods over supplements for unknown or under appreciated nutrients, I make an exception when a known toxin is present. And right now I consider the damage from excess PUFA to be greater than the potential benefits from nuts. I might change my mind next month or next year, but now my focus is on PUFA.
Mar 8, 2014 — 7:57 pm
How wonderful! I am on the ‘raise your temp’ journey as well.
Have you increased your calorie intake like Matt Stone says? If so, by how much? If not, have you only raised your temperature by eating the same amount but switching it out for these foods instead?
Mar 8, 2014 — 10:16 pm
@Celi – I do not track my calories, so I can’t answer that question. considering my weight gain post knee injury it is likely that I increased calories (or decreased calorie burn).
I do think my benefit came from removing nuts, but it took a few months to see the effects. I also continue to slightly improve my sleep, which also helps.
Sep 16, 2014 — 1:42 pm
do you check your temps orally or under-arm?
Sep 16, 2014 — 1:44 pm
@Steve – Orally.
Feb 16, 2015 — 9:58 am
You body is heating up by fatty acids only. Primarly by saturated fatty acids. So it is the effect of changing your diaet from carbonhydrates to fatty acids. Almonds are always healthy as a little snack. Shugar is always toxic like alcohol.
If you eat to much cheese, you will get to much leucin and isoleucin, which will drive your IGF-1 and mTORC1 to cancerfriendly levels.
Feb 16, 2015 — 10:03 am
@Mr. Schulze – Disagree. I have increased my body temps via higher carbs. Many others have as well. And sugar is not toxic.