slow food, self-regulating diets

EDIT: There’s sort of a better thing, see the last update at the end.

[From this twitter thread:

I’m always messing with my diet, and, previously, weird diets I’ve tried led to fatigue, insomnia, cravings, etc. But, I think I’ve found the perfect diet, or, rather, the right conceptual distinctions. Research bears it out, though I don’t have references on hand.*

Some people will be like, “duh,” thought it’s taken me a weirdly long time to settle on this. There is a adaption period, depending on what you’ve been eating. It’s ok to cheat while adapting.

So this borrows the phrase “slow X,” and it’s basically the same thing.

The idea is that foods that absorb more slowly just cause a lot of things to right, in terms of energy metabolism and regulation. It’s not a new idea, and, as I said, there’s literature or maybe ok quality, to back it up.

So, we’ll go through each one:

  • 1. Slow fruit
  • 2. Slow vegetables
  • 3. Slow carbs
  • 4. Slow fat
  • 5. Slow protein

1. Slow fruit

You can eat unlimited amounts of fruit, yes fresh or frozen, but NOT juice or blended smoothies. (I choose organic or low-pesticide fruits, but that’s a secondary consideration.)

2. Slow vegetables

It’s ok to cook the shit of the them and add as much salt as you want, but you can’t use oils or dressings (see below). If you pair vegetables w slow fats (see below), you’ll likely find you don’t miss dressing/oils. High folate vegetables are important.

3. Slow carbs

No flour, pasta, bread, chips, sugar. Yes whole grains, inc. brown rice. No white rice. Yes cold-soaked rolled oats but not cooked oats (magnesium). Sweet potato (microwaved/roasted) for vitamin A. Legumes for folate. White potato (non-fried) ok unless sensitive.

3a. It’s important that sweet potato and white potato aren’t cooked at high heat and that they’re not cooked with oils. Microwaved is ok. Baked at 350F is probably ok. But not fried or baked at like 450-500F. No chips, no fries.

4. Slow fats

Yes whole or loosely ground nuts, seeds, olives, avocado, coconut.

No nut butters.

No nut, fruit, seed oils–no olive oil / no coconut oil!**

Meat can be untrimmed if drained (because rendered/liquified fat is no longer a part of the intercellular matrix, and so it absorbs too fast).

(Omega-3 source individualized by conversion/taste-some ppl will need fish, etc., some just nuts or flax seed)

5. Slow protein

Protein seems to mostly take care of itself. Drain away fat but it doesn’t have to be scrupulous. [So, to be clear, fatty meat is fine if the fat attached to the protein is “solid.”** And, again, as above, drained ground beef/lamb/bison/etc. is ok.] If you don’t eat meat, no problem, just make sure you’re getting meaty micronutrients [in whole food form, as much as possible!] that aren’t too mixed with antinutrients (e.g. phytic acid). (Plant antinutrients are almost negligible if one *is* eating meat, and can’t be fully ignored/discounted if one *isn’t* eating meat.)


And that’s it! Note the mention of vitamin A, magnesium, and folate. I’ve found I’m personally most likely to get deficiencies in these. Every so often I crack open a capsule and sprinkle some calcium or magnesium powder on food, to see if it tastes sweet.

If you’re eventually strict about all the above, you don’t have to count calories at all. Unlimited eating (and quick satiation.) Everything becomes extremely self-regulating. Again, eat as much as you want of anything in the slow categories. Effortless weight loss, YMMV.

If you’ve been eating fast carbs and fast fat, there will be an adaptation period of days or weeks. You might feel like your cells are screaming for energy. I am not a doctor; this isn’t medical advice. It’s ok to cheat in the beginning.

Sometimes, some people might have one or two in the above that isn’t self-regulating, you truly can’t stop eating it. If so, just leave that out. If it’s something marked with a vitamin, find a way to replace it.

If you have a weird craving, try to find a slow option that satisfies the craving.

I can’t emphasize enough how much things take care of themselves when you get in the groove. No calorie counting, smooth energy/sleep, etc.

I am not a doctor, this is not medical advice, YMMV.

Ok, that’s it (unless I think of more things or I realize I left something out).

Oh–brown rice has inorganic arsenic issues, & if USA, shld be aromatic & from california, not texas. Internationally, some countries better than others. Always: cook in much excess water and drain.

And get enough sunlight, like on your arms and legs if not your face.

Oh, and dairy protein is insulinogenic. A little butter might be self-regulating, for some people. Definitely no yogurt with sugar. Very strong caution: yogurt and cheese and milk.

Ok, that might be it.

Oh, another thing–you have to exercise or at least walk like forty minutes each day. Otherwise, the insulin system gets out of whack and that leads to craving “fast” foods.



Starting the diet, or taking a break of a few days, and going back on, can feel like “your cells are screaming for energy,” or no healthy (“slow”) food could possibly taste good or be satisfying, as insulin receptors rejigger over a few hours or days, and mitochondria multiply, over weeks. You might crave carbs, sugar, etc. To get through this, it can help to eat unlimited fruit (which is already allowed on the diet) or to just have lots of “allowed” food cooked and ready to eat (including especially brown rice and sweet potato). This does eventually pass, and it’s easier with the clean conceptual distinctions above, and it’s easier with a lot of easy (but still “slow”) food, on hand, of which you can eat as much as you want, as often as you want.


Reasoning scratch:

*One thing is that different receptors trade off along the length of the intestine, and if stuff gets absorbed too quickly, at the beginning, a lot of later signals (with respect to satiety and other things) don’t fire. Also insulin resistance and more

**These oils still aren’t contained in intracellularly, or as cell membranes, or in some kind of intercellular matrix, so they’re not “slow release,” and they absorb too fast. I think for some people this will be fine. “Fast fats” are way better than fast carbs. :shrug: Not everyone should bother with slow everything (or slow anything). But it seems to make a real difference, afaict, personally–I’m not sure about empirical studies, but I imagine there will be nearby studies of some quality (with search terms that /don’t/ use the word “slow”). 


Addendum: cycling

After adaptation, it’s not a big deal to eat in a more insulinogenic way for 1-7 days out of every 2-5 months. If exercise has been getting sluggish, or you’re recovering from an injury, or some tissue or a gland or organ is getting too lean, the body may tell you to eat faster carbs (and thus more protein and fat) for a while. And that’s ok! You probably will put on at least some water weight, but you’ll still be at a net loss (if you’re losing weight) over a longer time period. Over time, “cheating”/”binging”/etc. will become more and more spaced out (lifestyle dependently)–there are supercycles of adaptation beyond just the initial adaptation period.


Select comments and responses:

> Very interesting! I’d enjoy seeing some meal photos too, as examples. What’s your take on eggs? Don’t think I saw them mentioned in the thread.
Eggs are ok, a whole/“slow” food. No cheese or butter (well butter is borderline [because almost pure saturated fat is *almost-but-not-quite* a slow food], maybe a tiny bit). Salt/pepper ok. Meals just look like a big bowl of vegetables, protein, nuts, seeds, and sometimes brown rice
Notes and additional points: is great (even though the landing page is weird) because foods and nutrients are cross-linked, and you can click back and forth between them.
VERY IMPORTANT: If you can’t figure out a nutrient or you can’t figure out a palatable way to get it–or you have craving or binging, multivitamins, multiminerals, etc., are ok to mix in around the edges or ongoingly! It’s weirdly hard to get all the things all the time just through food.
UPDATE: (the below is modified and more complete than the original thread)
(n=1, ymmv) I was already at a pretty healthy weight, but I wanted a flatter stomach, w/o calorie restriction or extra exercise, and I seem to be on avg losing bt 0.1-0.4 lbs per week for a few months, now, even while “eating as much as I want” or even feeling like i’ve overeaten
there’s still smthg metabolically/physiologically unfolding. I can tell (it seems like) it’s still happening, like something hasn’t even begun to be fully tapped. some of very slow but inexorable hormonal/metabolic/lipid remodeling, w attendant changes in carb/protein metabolism.
1/4 no PUFA/nut/seed/lard/fruit oil (unless it’s either the end of the ingredient list or it’s just a couple grams, net). so no canola, palm, lard, olive, macadamia, sunflower, corn, avocado oils… (cheese/eggs ok, fatty meat ok, ground flax ok, whole corn ok)
2/4 no sugar (white flour ok)
sugar in the ingredients list is ok if it’s very far down → amounts to only a little bit, on net, taking into account portion size. but it shouldn’t be a major ingredient ofc.
3/4 sufficient micros and protein 4/4 Otherwise eat as much as you want of all the things. And it’s ok to cheat on PUFA and sugar, to some degree, once you get a sense of everything. (a small amount or even a full binge, somewhere between once a week and once per month. YMMV.)
If it doesn’t seem to be working, try cheating less and/or being more strict about net grams in prepared foods. Note, though, that we need some PUFAs, including omega-3, so do listen to cravings, whether mundane or weird. Craving/binging may be adaptive, while the body is metabolically sorting itself out.
butter and coconut oil seem ok? coconut especially. butter makes me feel overfull/fidgety and maybe(?) stalls weight loss but doesn’t increase weight, or it’s very temporary? seems mostly fine but something to keep an eye on. a little butter to taste may be adaptive.
I am not a doctor, this might stop working, maybe I’m in error about what I think I’m eating, getting all micros can be a hard tetris puzzle, this is not medical or nutritional advice, talk to your doctor, YMMV, there can be daily or weekly fluctuations as much as a few pounds.