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 benefit. 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.
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 cheese. This applies to nuts, not nut butters. See my post Food Reward Test: Almonds vs Almond Butter for that explanation. Kevin Richardson’s article covers how almonds can help you lose weight.
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 every 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 take away advice is to restore metabolism first and then decide if you want to consume nuts in “moderation”. I will continue restricting them for now.