Keto Mongols

The Chinese noted with surprise and disgust the ability of the Mongol warriors to survive on little food and water for long periods; according to one, the entire army could camp without a single puff of smoke since they needed no fires to cook. Compared to the Jurched soldiers, the Mongols were much healthier and stronger. The Mongols consumed a steady diet of meat, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products, and they fought men who lived on gruel made from various grains. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth, and left them weak and prone to disease. In contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones. Unlike the Jurched soldiers, who were dependent on a heavy carbohydrate diet, the Mongols could more easily go a day or two without food.

From Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World by Jack Weatherford.

I am certainly not claiming that the ketogenic diet explained Mongol military success. But this would have given them a plain physical advantage over the rice-eating bugman conscript peasants.

In addition to their other advantages, both physical (e.g. probably greater genotypic strength, a life spent hunting) and organizational (e.g. strategic depth, mobile logistics base, massive mobilization capacity).

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. They were probably evolutionarily better adapted for a ketogenic diet, though. I think ketogenic diets are better on an on and off basis (like at most a few months per year) than constantly. For most people of European origin, at least. Natural ectomorphs need more carbs, while endomorphs are more likely to be well adapted for a ketogenic diet. But maybe even they need to occasionally abandon it.

  2. Thulean Friend says


    TIL. How solid is the science behind this?

  3. Daniel Chieh says

    Food For Thought: Meat-Based Diet Made Us Smarter

    This is why vegans are so dumb.

  4. If we are talking land usage, then there’s the problem of climate, of course, but let’s assume the Chinese, at least, could have chosen horse pasturage.

    I imagine Southern rice Chinese might be like 500 half-starved Chinese to one well-fed Mongol and his 6 horses. What about Northern wheat Chinese? Maybe 100?

  5. Not and expert on old battle tactics, but for arguments sake assume that the Mongols did not fight their battles on horseback, would they have still been able to win against superior Chinese numbers? I assume they would not, so it seems their main advantage was their ability to to hit and run their enemies with their bows and their horses, and advantage similar to one side having guns and the other not.

  6. A diet devoid of good carbohydrates, mostly fruit, vegetable and whole grains, leads to an increased probability of getting colon or rectal cancer. How about a balanced diet?

  7. Daniel Chieh says

    Its basically a logistical and strategic intelligence used with horse archers. The Xiongnu who had a similar military structure was decisively defeated by the Han dynastic armies, even when they outnumbered Chinese forces. We have at least one recorded example of why: they attempted a frontal charge against crossbowmen. Horse archers or not, pincushion kills you all the same.

    But being able to pick and choose one’s battles, and forcing slower foot-solders to do long marches to chase them, and only fighting at an advantage, Genghis was able to employ his soldiers to excellent effect. The physical advantage here is basically being able to operate with a much, much lighter logistical train. Eating food/drinking blood raw also meant that they could operate without campfires, increasing the difficulty in finding them and in assessing their numbers.

    It should also be noted that it really wasn’t as easy as imagined. It took sixty years and the Song had already been weakened/shattered by earlier by the Jin–Song Wars.

  8. The world would be better with smaller people. I am concerned by seeing people growing taller? What for? That people are taller, bigger and stronger it does not mean this is optimal. In what sense optimal? Pushing for the maximum genetic potential of height or strength certainly is not optimal.

    Look at Vietcong and NVA. They were half the size of Americans and could outwalk and outrun and outlive Americans in the jungle on mostly carb diet of rice and some root vegetables and occasional can of mackerel.

    Perhaps we should give everybody AK-47 and people would be less concerned with their size and physical strength and more likely would stick to a vegetarian diet.

  9. Bigger is always better.

    Something must fill the bottomless emptiness inside.

  10. Bigger is always better.

    Something must fill the bottomless emptiness inside.

    So say many women.

  11. Felix Keverich says

    If military strength is a “direct function of economic power”, then how come China couldn’t defend itself with its superior economy, IQ and numbers? And how does this reconcile with upcoming “Sinotriumph”?

  12. Daniel Chieh says

    As I noted before, China wasn’t very coherent anymore at that point.

    It had just endured a massive civil war that resulted in major territorial losses, with the north being controlled by Jurchens. Chinese often defected to the Mongols as a result, as they had no particular reason to be loyal to the Jin, and this provided the Mongols with the engineering knowledge they needed to take cities. But in short, you could see it as the Jin and the Song both being exhausted by the massive war, and then the Mongols come and finish everyone off.

  13. … pick and choose one’s battles… and only fight at an advantage

    That’s the key. I think the rest is less significant, wars are not fought based on individual prowess. Mongols were maybe healthier, happier, stronger, but that had minimal impact when actually fighting. Their mobility allowed them to fight when and where they chose – allowing for only fighting when they had an advantage. Other than that, fighting with cavalry against foot-soldiers has always been a fool’s errand. Unless the foot-soldiers panicked, all it does is make the horsemen into bigger targets. Cavalry is useless in a battle against a determined enemy, it is only good for mobility.

    There are similarities today: navy ships are like cavalry: good to move stuff around, but almost useless when a battle starts, they are too vulnerable. Personal courage only goes so far, the trick is to fight where and when you have an advantage. And as always, the key to winning a fight is the ability to sustain casualties. Western armies have been ‘cavalry-like‘ for a few decades, if not longer, and their ability to take casualties is almost zero. You can’t win a war that way, not in a place where local advantages are with the enemy. So West has been mostly losing. The solution to use local ‘allies’ to do the actual fighting has its own issues: they always focus on their own agendas, they are expensive to maintain, and their willingness to die ‘for the cause’ eventually mimics their masters. Or you have to work with complete psychos, that has been tried by the West, also with mixed success.

    Over time, West will lose the ability to fight a war. First offensively, but eventually also defensively. That mirrors historical experience of most mature empire-like states. Causing enormous pain to one’s enemies is not winning a war – the fact that those two are confused is another sign of growing infantilism in the West.

  14. I have personally been told by women that some things can be too big.

    Let us listen to feminine wisdom, a lost skill in this unbalanced age.

    1. China was divided, as Daniel Chieh correctly says.
    2. It had vast grazing lands to support the Mongol tyumen. The only comparable grazing area in Europe west of the Carpathians was in modern day Hungary, and it would strain to feed a couple of tyumen.
    3. China had no extensive system of stone fortifications like Western Europe. This was a function of it being a centralized empire as opposed to a feudal monarchy, not backwardness.
    4. An obvious point, but Europe was much further away than China. Those siege engines weren’t going to tug themselves.
  15. Mongols and Japanese are the superior peoples of Asia. China and Korea are bugmen, just very numerous. China is geopolitically useful but they will need to be dealt with eventually.

  16. Both Chinese (especially North Chinese) and Koreans are much taller than the Japanese. Mongols trounce the Japs at their own sport (sumo).

    And Chinese and Koreans now dominate Japan in go.

    It is the Japs who are the real bugmen of Asia.

  17. Daniel Chieh says

    An interesting thing to consider – in MMA, they say that there is such a thing a “Fight IQ.” The ability to make useful, intelligent decisions while under pressure of facial realignment delivered by knuckle or shin.

    Maybe nations and populations have a fight IQ too, the Mongols definitely were described by various people(not just Chinese) they met as being unstintingly obsessed with fighting and willing to do various “disgusting” things in order to facilitate it: drinking blood, unbathed and possibly even smearing feces on themselves to intimidate in close range, and of course, brutal toward populations in a way that was notable even for the era they lived in.

    It might matter as much in today’s world of drones.

  18. But actually iffen, your remark is quite deep.

    Men who make a fuss about bigness – macho men – are at their core feminine, and seek to fill an inner feminine emptiness.

    You are wise, iffen .

  19. I agree with you on almost everything bar the sinophilia.

    I don’t just mean in terms of physical superiority, but psychological and cultural too.

    The Japanese, by all standards, are a far more creative and civilised people than the Chinese.

    Not to mention culturally the chinese are filth and anyone who works with them will back me up on this. It could be that they haven’t yet graduated from the peasant hivemind, but as things stand they are the inferior people.

  20. for-the-record says

    This is why vegans are so dumb.

    Vegetarians are more intelligent, says study

    Frequently dismissed as cranks, their fussy eating habits tend to make them unpopular with dinner party hosts and guests alike.

    But now it seems they may have the last laugh, with research showing vegetarians are more intelligent than their meat-eating friends.

    A study of thousands of men and women revealed that those who stick to a vegetarian diet have IQs that are around five points higher than those who regularly eat meat.

  21. Daniel Chieh says

    Not to mention culturally the chinese are filth and anyone who works with them will back me up on this.

    You have an very interesting definition of everyone.

  22. Daniel Chieh says

    However, vegans – vegetarians who also avoid dairy products – scored significantly lower, averaging an IQ score of 95 at the age of 10.

    Hah. The choline self-deprivation.

    There was no difference in IQ between strict vegetarians and those who classed themselves as veggie but still ate fish or chicken.

    “Vegetarian except for chicken and fish” I could do. Anyway, though, there’s probably decent evidence that poor health isn’t good for your brain, its the same blood system everything in your organ shares, and vegetarians as well as vegetarian except for chicken & fish probably have better health in many ways.

  23. I’m not saying all Chinese are bad, but one has to speak in generalities.

    I’ve worked with Chinese students and friends/family have worked in Chinese companies. Every one of them couldn’t stand it. The cultural differences are seriously noticeable and often highly problematic.

  24. Both Chinese (especially North Chinese) and Koreans are much taller than the Japanese

    According to Wikipedia the Japanese are actually the tallest.

  25. Felix Keverich says

    But what about the economy? Big economy means you can field a really big army. Why does a country like China even need fortifications, when they have by far the most people? Just build a huge army, then go annex Mongolia – that’s what Russians would have done 🙂

  26. Daniel Chieh says

    I’m glad that you have been able to more accurately limit it to you and your kin. The reification of names is very important.

  27. The term for that pollo-pescetarianism, and it is indeed perfectly defensible, since red meat probably really is somewhat worse for you than white meat.

  28. Ha ha, makes total sense. China is the aggressive macho country now so it’s the new darling of the alt-right.

    Japan has had left its macho posturing period behind, so it’s no longer admired.

    I could probably draw a complete psychohistory of the alt-right based on one word – macho.

    Meanwhile, poor serrice thinks the obnoxious trashiness of todays Chinese is an objection to the alt-right 🙂

    This site is pure comedy gold – easily most entertaining site on the web.

  29. Daniel Chieh says

    This is a modern map, but relevant.

    Mongolian land is landlocked and riverless. Its basically worthless unless you want to practice pastoralism. China indeed did regularly launch punitive expeditions into the steppes, but nomads will just leave and come back when you’re gone. There aren’t any cities to plunder or farms to salt, and China didn’t go on slaving raids.

    Its just an endless, expensive goose chase.

  30. Male Japanese figures from that source: 172, 172, 171
    Gay Korea figures: 171, 174, 173, 173 (higher)
    Best Korea figures (defectors): 166 but doesn’t count for obv reasons
    China: 167, 172

    I must have misremembered, I seem to recall seeing Japan’s average male height as ~165 but evidently I was wrong.

    Still, Koreans are slightly taller. Chinese may be marginally shorter, but they probably still haven’t maxed out yet.
    And as I said, northern China are tall.

  31. What’s with the need to proclaim some group of Asians as bugmen?

    Recently I was thinking how similar the Sino-Japanese conflict in WW2 was to the German-Russian one. In both cases you have a smaller country attack a larger one from the same race while believing themselves to be racially superior because they industrialized earlier and had a better political system.

  32. Yes, the fact that virtually every global conflict since c.1600 (when continental level conflicts became possible) was won by the side with the greater fiscal and munitioning potential must be a figment of my imagination.

  33. Felix Keverich says

    I dunno about that, but I’m pretty sure winners were white.

  34. Daniel Chieh says

    Japanese height is decreasing, actually.

    There’s an issue with low birthweight babies.

  35. Thorfinnsson says

    This is nonsense. The ectomorph/endomorph concept is unscientific.

    Nobody, in fact, needs carbohydrates. Carbohydrates can be beneficial for certain training regimens, and they may be beneficial for properties unrelated to their energy content (micronutrients, antioxidants, impact on gut flora, etc.).

    A diet free in carbohydrates is also, strictly speaking, not ketogenic. Protein is insulinogenic. Full-fledged keto dweebs who are constantly pissing on keto sticks and terrified of insulin actually deliberately restrict protein intake and increase fat intake.

    Insulin is required for many physiological processes so the strict ketogenic diet is not a good idea other than for diabetics (or bodybuilders/models in a cutting phase).

  36. Thorfinnsson says

    Fake news.

  37. …red meat probably really is somewhat worse for you than white meat

    Chickens are nervous animals. The nervousness seeps into people eating chicken meat, you can observe it. Red meat is superior: steady, tasty, fulfilling…

  38. Thorfinnsson says

    Are you gay dude?

  39. Thorfinnsson says

    Almost certainly untrue. Red meat is more nutrient dense than white meat, is lower in omega 6 fats (tends to be quite high in chicken and pork, esp of the “industrial” variety), has higher biological value protein, has higher quality fat, and because ruminants ferment their food take fewer negative byproducts from their food source end up in the meat.

    Fatty cold water seafood is also extremely nutritious, but unlike red meat there’s a problem with parasites.

  40. On the contrary. I love women – I do not fear them, like the macho man does 🙂

    Try it sometime it will make you happy.

  41. Not according to an acquaintance of mine and the information posted within his internist’s office.
    He had most of colon removed after a lifetime of eating meat & potatoes (German from Wisconsin diet).

    Besides, how is one to obtain vitamins and anti-oxidants without eating fruits and vegetable?

    And beisdes that, how are you to take a good thick dump without the bindings of fruits, vegetable and seeds. Flax seed is a wonderful binder!! 🙂

  42. Thorfinnsson says

    It’s a widespread meme in medicine at the moment. It’s based on longitudinal studies. Trouble with these studies is a lot, probably most, of red meat consumption happens to be paired with white bread, potatoes french fried in industrial seed oil, and soda containing sugar (HFCS in America). What we ought to do instead is controlled, double-blind experiments on prisoners. Or better yet…”refugees”. 😀

    You said it yourself…meat and potatoes.

    Have you ever heard of colorectal cancer epidemics in the Masai or other hunter-gatherers?

    Meat is very dense in nutrients. Have a look for yourself:

    The one nutrient not commonly found in meat is Vitamin C. Yet populations that only consume meat do not develop scurvy. There are two hypotheses here:

    1 – Organ meat has vitamin C (but we now have people eating nothing but ribeye for 20 years in a row)

    2 – An all meat (or high in meat) diet perhaps reduces the body’s need for vitamin C, maybe because vitamin C and glucose have similar molecular structures

    True enough on the antioxidants, so I don’t counsel foregoing all plant foods. I don’t eat plants on a daily basis (I enjoy them when going out or entertaining), but I do consume plant products every day in the form of coffee and tea–high in antioxidants.

    The good thick dump thing is true but ridiculous when you stop to think about it. So a sign of good health is taking more and bigger shits? Whaat?? There’s actually a vegan doctor who says everyone should take three to six shits a day. That said if you are consuming carbohydrates for energy then intaking them with soluble fiber is essential for good health.

  43. Hippopotamusdrome says

    China had no extensive system of stone fortifications like Western Europe. This was a function of it being a centralized empire as opposed to a feudal monarchy, not backwardness.

    Yeah … that’s the ticket.

  44. Re 3 Yes but the Germans that the Mongols encountered had the good sense to stay in their high walled and heavily fortified cities, despite the Mongols trying to lure and taunt them into coming out and fighting.

    Re 4 If the Mongols had the time, siege artillery could have been made on the spot (although they did not have the German counterweight trebuchet). They were called back because the Khan died, and that is all that saved Western Europe.

    1. Citing the Mongols for the Keto diet is very scientific. NOT. It’s the same as citing the British and Japanese as support for a seafood-based diet. Imagine that, small island people dominated the world, what’s the odd? – it has to be the fish & chip and the sushi that did it, Right? In fact, I would think there are more scientific evidences to support a seafood-based diet than a Keto diet. And as pointed out by Daniel et al., it’s not Keto that leads to Mongol domination. There’s no Mongol domination when China is unified. Not during the Han earlier or the Ming later. The Mongols are still there, they still have logistic and tactical advantages but after repeated attempts they just can’t take down a unified China in the Ming.
    2. It’s more important to know where your food come from. Not all meat are created equal and today’s industrialized meat isn’t the same as the past. The Mongols weren’t eating those garbage to begin with.
    3. Diversity of food is important if you don’t trust your food sources. If you limit yourself to a small subset of food, you better be pretty damn sure that you can trust that source. It’s like picking stocks, if you put all your money in 1 stock, you better hope that you didn’t select Enron.
    4. It’s dumb to switch away from a diet that your ancestors have been successfully on for generations. Based on evolutionary theory, your digestive system (from your teeth to your saliva to the bacteria in your intestine) is finely tune to that particular diet. If you switch to something new, you better be sure that your digestive system can handle it for the long term. If not, it’s like feeding meat to elephants. Or milk to lactose intolerance people, or peanut to people with allergy. You will have lots of medical issues. With food and medicine, what works for others don’t necessarily mean that it will work for you (it’s genetics).
  45. The Mongols would have needed to become an infantry army in the dense forests and mountains of Western Europe, annulling their major military advantage. To the west of Hungary, no region of Europe cannot support horses for a single tyumen (each warrior needs 20).

  46. Saying that keto led to Mongol domination would indeed be a rather silly thing to say. Good thing I didn’t do anything of the sort.

  47. AaronB and if den, two moronic idiots

  48. Thorfinnsson says

    2. It’s more important to know where your food come from. Not all meat are created equal and today’s industrialized meat isn’t the same as the past. The Mongols weren’t eating those garbage to begin with.

    This is true, but the degree to which it matters also depends on the type of food. It’s highly important with, say, sprouts (the ideal food for pathogen accumulation). It’s less important with ruminant meat owing to their fermentation based digestion.

    3. Diversity of food is important if you don’t trust your food sources. If you limit yourself to a small subset of food, you better be pretty damn sure that you can trust that source. It’s like picking stocks, if you put all your money in 1 stock, you better hope that you didn’t select Enron.

    There is also a concept in finance known as “diworsification”. If your portfolio consists of only Coca Cola and Treasury bonds, you don’t reduce your risk by diversifying into penny stocks and Turkish corporate bonds.

    Likewise if you’re currently eating nothing but beef and eggs, diversifying into Skittles is unlikely to reduce your risk.

    4. It’s dumb to switch away from a diet that your ancestors have been successfully on for generations. Based on evolutionary theory, your digestive system (from your teeth to your saliva to the bacteria in your intestine) is finely tune to that particular diet. If you switch to something new, you better be sure that your digestive system can handle it for the long term. If not, it’s like feeding meat to elephants. Or milk to lactose intolerance people, or peanut to people with allergy. You will have lots of medical issues. With food and medicine, what works for others don’t necessarily mean that it will work for you (it’s genetics).

    I’ve never even heard of a human population that has issues with digesting meat (though Indians invent many amusing excuses). And Weston A Price’s research suggests people’s teeth didn’t adapt well at all to agriculture.

    But sure, many populations shouldn’t consume milk. Populations differ in their ability to withstand food-borne pathogens. Amerindians can’t handle fire water.

  49. Mongols in Mongolia today are taller, more heavily muscled and better looking than Sinoized Mongols in Inner Mongolia. Possibly the healthiest looking population I’ve seen, this despite a pervasive vodka problem. They eat a meat heavy diet to this day. Lots of butter too.

  50. I do not fear them, like the macho man does 🙂

    Primary-school teacher tier takes

  51. Yeah but you implied it. Why didn’t you cite cannibalistic (Amazon, Papua new guinea, etc…) societies for the Keto diet? Aren’t eating human Keto?

  52. Cultures with high-starch diets evolved extra genes to cope, study finds

    People who grew up in a high-starch diets, their digestive system is evolved to adapt to it making the processing of starch more efficient.
    This is just one example.
    I bet there are more.
    All, I’m trying to say is that it’s not a given that Keto will be good for everyone especially people that have a history of not eating too much meat.

  53. So, what’s wrong with a god balanced diet including a little bit of everything?

    I like a good hunk of leanish meat, be it beef, chicken, pork or turkey with just a mixed salad, including lettuce, spinach, onions, peppers, and dill or parsley* or cilantro (some green herbs), and perhaps a little tomato. I try to go easy on the grains and starches.

    *Italian parsley is considered a Ukrainian aphrodisiac of sorts. Well, what I mean is that it doesn’t explicitly make you horny, but it does make things work properly in an upright manner^ The fresher and more organic the parsley, the better. It works! 🙂

    Don’t ever say that I didn’t give you some good, original Ukrainian advice!

  54. Hippopotamusdrome says

    Assuming, of course, the Mongol Empire actually existed. They kind of petered out once the era of modern historiography came about.

  55. Reverse Fomenko-ism

  56. High protein/or keto diets like the mongols had may have made them better warriors, better looking, and had straighter teeth. But that doesn’t mean that diet is good for us today.

    If you want to live a long life the best diet is probably a pesco-vegan diet as Victor Longo recommends.

    Also, the people who do high protein diets are almost always doing it wrong. You are supposed to eat nose to tail and eat the skin and organs along with muscle meat. When you just eat muscle meat, it is a very unhealthy diet due to excess methionine.

  57. Question, why are so many Indians so fat and pot bellied? I would think their diet should be pretty healthy.

  58. Everything I’ve read so far, the best strategy for a healthy life is not some silly new diet fad of the month but intermittent fasting (IF). Eat a diverse diet – (my preference is heavy in seafood: tuna, salmon, etc…) Periodic fasting to clean out your entire digestive system.

    I don’t know of any religion or culture that’s against fasting.
    Fasting cost you nothing – it actually saves you money.
    Also IF is very close to caloric-restriction diet which has proven to work to prolong life in many animal studies.

    Of course, this works for me but I won’t guarantee that it will work for everyone.

    hmm… actually IF works with every diet from Keto to pesco to whoknow. IF doesn’t care.

  59. Thorfinnsson says

    I’m skeptical of the idea of a LCHF diet being bad for anyone given its very deep evolutionary roots relative to agricultural populations. That said I am open to the idea.

    There’s something known as the “low-carb flu” in adapting to an LCHF diet. Lasts around three weeks apparently. I never suffered from it at all. But a Filipino friend of mine did (though he did well on the diet afterwards).

    And, strictly speaking, it’s not like anyone needs to go LCHF to maintain a healthy bodyweight or be in good shape. You can follow, say, a low-fat high-fiber diet that restricts sugars and industrial seed oils and be quite healthy, particularly if you don’t snack.

  60. Thank you. That is how I define my role here.

  61. Thorfinnsson says

    The “good balanced diet including a little bit of everything” is an ideological construction. You yourself of course know not to “balance” your diet with Skittles for instance (because they’re bad…but why?).

    Likewise, note how you focused on leanish meat. Nothing wrong at all with fatty meat…but you don’t want to consume lots of fats in combination with carbohydrates (particularly the combination of saturated fat and sugar).

    I don’t see anything wrong with any of the ingredients you listed and enjoy all of them myself. Part of the reason I stick to meat (as well as eggs, butter, and cheese) when I don’t have company is simply efficiency. Simplifies shopping, cooking, and cleaning.

    And I suppose I fibbed about not eating plants daily. I eat a one pound ribeye steak just about every night (sometimes I have a side of salmon instead or hit up Macca’s for four double cheeseburgers sans buns) I don’t have company. And what do I have on it? Compound butter which has garlic, shallots, spices (plant products), and herbs in it. 😀

    Take a look at this lady:

    In particular note that she’s 44 and looks like that. Doesn’t work out either. She and her husband have eaten literally nothing but ribeye for 20 years now, and their two healthy sons are on the same diet.

    For the record unlike her I never had any health problems. Ate the same “balanced” diet as a kid (lean protein, whole grains, lots of fruit and veggies, etc.) since my mother dutifully followed the advice of all the health authorities and cooked meals for my brother and me until we left the home.

    The LCHF approach doesn’t have to be carnivore of course either. The “paleo” movement predates carnivores. You can have a look at Mark Sisson for that for instance:

    I was normal paleo for years (so lots of vegetables along with my meat, some fruit and nuts) which also worked very well. I got intrigued about carnivore after doing some research on the topic, then Dr. Shawn Baker came along and announced a three month all-meat dietary trial.

    I decided to sign up and ate nothing but meat for three months. In fact I modeled after Baker and ate only ribeye (though I did rub my ribeyes with butter–not compound this time). There was zero deterioration in my health or bloodwork. Unlike others in the trial I didn’t see improvements either (probably because I’m healthy to begin with and was already LCHF), but the successful trial convinced me to live as an 80% carnivore on grounds of efficiency and trolling.

    If you want things to “work” in an upright manner I suggest l-citrulline, which enhances bloodflow. Good pre-workout as well, and dirt cheap.

  62. 2 principles (based on evolution) that I think make a lot of sense:
    1. Don’t eat things that are close to you genetically. The risk for disease is higher the closer it is. The barrier for the transmission of virus and other bacteria is lower the more similar the environment of the hosts.

    This means eating beef is better than eating humans (one more reason why cannibalism is a really really terrible idea, not just ethics alone) or monkeys.
    Eating tuna, salmon, and shrimps are better than eating beef, pork, and other mammals (or birds).
    At least there’s the mad cow disease, H1N1 swine flu, bird flu, etc… but so far no mad tuna disease or shrimp flu.

    Even if there’s no immediate effect eating the wrong food, I suspect that you roll the dice to lower your life expectancy a bit. And this adds up over time. If this theory is correct then we should observe that people that live along the coast who have a more seafood-based diet to have a longer lifespan than people in landlocked areas who feasts on nothing but cows, sheep, pigs, and goats. And this is generally true everywhere especially the Sardinians and Okinawans.

    Who would be the land-locked people with the longest lifespan? Not the Mongols that’s for sure. They are on a Keto diet with lots and lots of daily exercise compare to a seafood diet of the sedentary Okinawans, they should be healthier and live longer but they don’t.

    1. feast/famine
      There’s no 3 meals a day anywhere in nature. We should feast when hungry and not eat anything until we’re really hungry. This is what we observed everywhere in nature. This makes a lot of evolutionary sense.
  63. Was the German counterweight trebuchet much better than the Iranian, which the Mongols did obtain?

    (Also, were early cannons worse against walls than trebuchets?)

  64. Just like anglos in India..

  65. Thulean Friend says

    Don’t eat things that are close to you genetically. The risk for disease is higher the closer it is

    “Here in the North we’ve been told for years that our diet isn’t healthy enough,” says Anja Olsen, a researcher at the Danish Cancer Society.

    Instead of focusing on the parts of the Nordic diet they knew was unhealthy, Olsen and her colleagues singled out six food groups that they assumed were healthy. And it appears that a high intake of these foods can be just as healthy as the Mediterranean diet.

    The six Nordic food groups that have a positive effect on our health and our lifespan are rye bread, fish, cabbage, oatmeal, root vegetables and fruits such as apples and pears.

    A high intake of these foods results in a longer life, according to the study, which followed 50,290 middle-aged Danish men and women over a twelve-year period.

    There was another study, can’t seem to find it now, that also showed (among Dutch) that those who ate a traditional Dutch diet lived longer than those who were on the med, LCHF or other fad diets. It seems our biology works best to the foods that our ancestors ate (shocker!). Therefore, the advice should probably be to eat what is in fact quite close to you in a geographical/culinary sense.

    I have tried the fancy LCHF and med diets and the results were just poor, was constantly hungry. I Went all in on a Nordic diet a few years ago and I haven’t looked back. My energy levels are much better and I am sated for far longer. I don’t think there is a single ‘catch-all’ diet but one must experiment and probably take cues from your biological and ancestral background. LCHF is not a sham, though. I have seen it work for others. Point is to experiement and understand there is no one single diet for everyone.

  66. During the time of the Mongol conquests, there was no “China” as the unified polity we know today. The territory of China was divided into several kingdoms such as the Jin, Western Xia, Dali, and Song. The Mongols invaded each kingdom separately, and they would be in alliance with other kingdoms while invading another, and would fight with defecting factions from the kingdoms they were attacking, etc. When they defeated one of the kingdoms, they would absorb the defeated kingdom and use them to attack the next kingdom, etc.

    The Mongols didn’t defeat a unified, single China. They defeated several different kingdoms on Chinese territory and unified them into a single polity.

  67. The Japanese, like the Chinese, constructed mainly with wood, but during their feudal period ended up with more stone fortifications and castles.

  68. anonymous coward says

    Lots of methodological problems with that statement.

    a) If a side without fiscal and munitions potential wins, you’d just declare this conflict “not global enough”.

    b) Besides fiscal and munitions potential, lots of other correlated factors. Like, the winners also spoke English and had overseas colonies.

  69. anonymous coward says

    Nobody, in fact, needs carbohydrates.

    Not true. If little kids don’t eat enough carbs they get ketonemia (also called ketotic hypoglycemia on Wikipedia), a very ugly condition that looks like food poisoning.

    Americans don’t know about this, probably because they think it’s cute to stuff their kids with inhuman amounts of sugar.

  70. Frederic Bastiat says

    Flax seed is a wonderful binder!!

    I would avoid Soy, Flax Seeds and Sesame Seeds, but especially Soy, for their phytoestrogens; unless you want to become gay or transsexual (maybe the US is so gay because of soy?). This is also why vegan soy based diets are literally gay.

    Here is a more detailed overview:

  71. Thorfinnsson says

    Indeed this is the first time I’ve heard of it. Like every other American boy breakfast was cereal with 2% milk and a glass of orange juice. No shortage of carbohydrates there.

    What’s the deal here though? Gluconeogenesis inadequate for growing brains? If so what did hunter-gatherer children do? More gathering with mom?

  72. The grain diet of the peasant warriors stunted their bones, rotted their teeth, and left them weak and prone to disease. In contrast, the poorest Mongol soldier ate mostly protein, thereby giving him strong teeth and bones.

    one aspect of this is there’s a vitamin K2 created by grass-eating bacteria (and some forms of fermentation) which is important in transporting calcium from the blood stream into the bones and teeth which people in the West may now be deficient in cos grain-fed cattle -> weaker bones and teeth.

    also, a side effect of the calcium not going into the bones and teeth is calcification of the arteries which is apparently the best predictor of heart disease.

    i don’t know if this effects the meat but it seems likely you want to be getting grass-fed dairy products where possible (or other foods like Japanese natto of French cheese which involve the same bacteria by other means).

  73. Felix Keverich says

    I feel that you guys are making excuses for the Chinese. Similar excuses will be made when China fails to rise up to superpowerdom.

  74. If so what did hunter-gatherer children do? More gathering with mom?

    The typical patient with ketotic hypoglycemia is a young child between the ages of 10 months and 4 years. Episodes nearly always occur in the morning after an overnight fast, often one that is longer than usual.

    my guess

    An early incorporation of supplementary solid food between 0.75 and 2 years of age and a late cessation of breastfeeding at about 5-6 years of age were inferred. This suggests that among this Patagonian hunter-gatherer population weaning was a gradual and lengthy process. These results are consistent with the patterns observed in cross-cultural studies and archaeological samples of hunter-gatherer groups.



    late weaning and something in breast milk prevents the problem

  75. red meat probably really is somewhat worse for you than white meat

    i wonder about this – apparently the digestive systems gets less efficient as you age (weaker stomach acid) so if red meat is harder to digest then maybe it’s more a question of red meat + middle age than red meat on its own.

    (subject to change on further evidence) if i was giving advice to my younger self i’d say eat lots of fatty red meat but after c. age 40 either tone it down a little or at least eat it in a more easily digestible form (or even better figure out what causes weak stomach acid and prevent/reverse it).

    (that latter point would probably be a good idea for everyone)

  76. not sure that was clear enough – late weaning is generally a thing with hunter gatherers as it helps to space out pregnancies which provides a buffer between them and the Malthusian limit.

  77. Thanks for the intro to l-citrulline. Currently if I feel I need an elixir for good blood flow, I’ll take a magnesium supplement or 6 or more Wobenzyme tablets. Being a Germanophile, you’re aware of the benefits of Wobenzyme?…

  78. China was a large landmass without roads. The Emperor was unable to mobilize in time a large force to oppose the highly mobile nomads. The large population of China meant nothing in terms of defense against Mongols. Or the English.

  79. Thorfinnsson says

    This article was quite interesting, though far too dismissive of America’s own problems.

    In recent years, the World Bank and the United Nations have taken up this task and published rough estimates of countries’ net stocks of resources. Their analyses focus on three areas: produced capital (man-made items such as machines, buildings, fighter aircraft, and software), human capital (the population’s education, skills, and working life span), and natural capital (water, energy resources, and arable land). In addition, the investment bank Credit Suisse has published data on countries’ net stocks of privately held wealth. Although these three databases use different data and methods, they largely paint the same picture: the United States’ net stocks of resources are several times the size of China’s, and its lead is growing each year, possibly by trillions of dollars.

  80. Their analyses focus on three areas: produced capital (man-made items such as machines, buildings, fighter aircraft, and software), human capital (the population’s education, skills, and working life span), and natural capital (water, energy resources, and arable land)

    This actually sounds interesting.

  81. Thorfinnsson says

    There are 17g of sugar per cup of breastmilk. Hunter-gatherers nurse children until they’re 4. Incidentally nursing is also contraceptive, which is one reason why nobles and royals in the past hired wet nurses.

    There’s a movement now for “extended breastfeeding”.

  82. Felix Keverich says

    Personally, I’m equal opportunity sceptic: China will be bigger South Korea, US – bigger Brazil. Assuming Russia doesn’t get infected with liberalism.txt by midcentury, it will inherit Eastern Europe by default.

    PS: “private wealth” is fleeting. When dollar devalues, most of this “wealth” will evaporate.

  83. Daniel Chieh says

    There’s a movement now for “extended breastfeeding”.

    My wife is practicing that now.

    On the random note, I wasn’t weaned myself until I was 4 and I wonder sometimes if that helped me avoid the mental issues that plagued my brother. He is, in many ways, an actual genius but severely dysfunctional(e.g. he was a self-made millionaire before twenty, and he lived literally in a room with rotting tuna cans).

    I’m nowhere as intelligent as he is, but much more capable of basic awareness. I often wonder if the weaning had something to do with it.

  84. China is in a communist party/debt trap. The US is in a diversity/debt trap.

    I think we all know which is preferable.

  85. Thorfinnsson says

    If your wealth consists of Dollar-denominated bonds or actual Dollars, then sure.

    But if your wealth consists of actual productive assets, then no.

    Did you see the Wall Street Journal article I posted about the resurgence of Russian agriculture?

    Russian farmland costs five times less than prime American farmland in Iowa. But it produces just as much profit, perhaps even more owing to the lower cost base.

    Of course Dollar-denominated assets will be cheaper in the event of devaluation on the market, but this is irrelevant to a long-term investor focused on income streams rather than what the market is offering today.

  86. I’m not a US basher.

    But this seems weak. Natural capital isn’t that important these days. Americans are duller than Chinese, though admittedly this is more than mitigated by their NAMs, large smart fraction, and Chinese conformism – still, China has 4x more people; and America’s large produced capital would surely mostly just be a function of its prior lead in productive capacity.

    E.g., the US still has 4x as many industrial robots per capita as China. But with China buying about 40% the world’s new industrial robots, this won’t be the case for long. It will converge with the US even in terms of robots per worker by the late 2020s:

  87. Thorfinnsson says

    I haven’t examined the data series and thus am not in a position to comment.

    Certainly it is true that China appears to be converging on American levels of capital.

    On the other hand Chinese productivity growth began deteriorating around one decade ago, with no signs of recovery (Japan was still experiencing fast productivity growth even in the late ’70s, with catastrophic consequences for America’s machine tool industry).

    I’m not a China bear or skeptic, but it appears that China actually has some formidable problems which it isn’t willing to confront at this time.

    Of course, America and Europe have far worse problems–namely the colored tide.

  88. I suspect you just weren’t very familiar with Chinese history. I’m not that well read in it either, but I was aware from the little reading I’ve done that there have frequently been multiple competing kingdoms on Chinese territory. I think most people imagine that there has always been one China on Chinese territory.

    Russia was also conquered by the Mongols. Russia at the time was divided into several cities and tribes which were in a loose federation.

    I don’t think the Mongol conquests of Russia or China tell us much about the potential prospects of large centralized polities like the Russia and China of today. If a territory is divided into multiple polities or sovereigns, then there’s no centralized state in the first place, let alone one that can or can’t become a superpower.

  89. There are 17g of sugar per cup of breastmilk.

    yes – maybe it takes a few years for gluconeogenesis to fully kick in for little kids and breat milk contains the stop gap?

  90. Frederic Bastiat says

    Natural capital isn’t that important these days.

    As long as China sources its natural capital (directly or indirectly through the supply chain) from the outside, China will be vulnerable to any power, which can disrupt this supply chain (currently the US).

    Sovereign power is fundamentally based on the control of strategic natural ressources (which includes food, energy and metals) and advanced weapons systems (in closed production cycles, as Martyanov likes to emphasize). These weapons are used to protect and expand this control by threatening and actually projecting force on competing powers; thus containing and diminishing them resp..
    (Note that technical capital is essentially a derivative of natural capital and human capital; it is not a primary ressource).

    All powers that depend for their weapons or their strategic ressources on a foreign power cannot truly be called sovereign. Also, powers which have an abundance of natural ressources and weapons production capabilities can make others physically and politically dependent on themselves by exporting these ressources to them.

    China simply does not fit these basic criteria for sovereign power. It lacks food and energy security to be a sovereign power, let alone real world power. It is a hype.

    On Chinas food security:
    China Key Energy Stats (see esp. p. 47 and following; energy is essentially a limiting factor to Chinese power):

  91. actually this might make perfect sense

    if protein is used for growing the body and surplus protein is used for gluceoneogenesis then fast growing kids might not have a surplus?

  92. The Russia and China of today are the Belgiums or Portuguese Empires of 1913, not actually very relevant. Vastly overrated.

    The battle is for the control of the United States, which has been unfolding before our eyes.

  93. At best Russia is a bigger Saudi Arabia.
    At worse, it’s a bigger Venezuela.
    The best way to track this is to see where Russians with means (to go and live anywhere in the world) will congregate.
    If they congregate in London, Paris, and the US, then Russia is a bigger Venezuela.
    If they increasingly congregate in Moscow and St. Petersburg then it’s a bigger Saudi Arabia.
    This is why this blog is fascinating to monitor.

    At the height of the Cold War, Russia got all of Eastern Europe (Warsaw Pact) and they did diddly squat with it. They lost all of it and now NATO is right up to its throat, but of course, there’s always the hope that they will “inherit it back in midcentury by default”. And then do what with it? Loses it again?

    Remember this fact: Russia has a much smaller population than China and a bigger arable land than China but it has to import a lot of food from other countries. Why is it even necessary for Jimmy Carter to enact a grain embargo? That’s amazing to think about. China and India importing grain is a given, but Russia? What gives? We’re supposed to believe that they’re a smarter people? Yeah, smarter than Americans for sure. But why do smarter Russia let dumber America sanction them left-and-right while sitting there whining like an abused little child? Shouldn’t Russia sanction America instead of the other way around?

    People nowadays nitpick on “liberalism.txt” reminding me of past criticisms about Capitalism. The problem they often forget is that in an open society, today’s Capitalism is not the same as yesterday’s Capitalism and tomorrow’s Capitalism is guaranteed to be different again.

    Again, at the time, Communism looks very attractive because there are plenty of real grievances against the existing system (sounds similar to today?). To combat rising Communism worldwide, the US and the Western World co-opted their platform with the legalization of union, minimum wage, 40 work hours, child labor laws, environmental protection, social security, welfare, health care, etc. Today’s Capitalism is not yesterday’s Capitalism. And because of that, Communism fails in America. Learn anything about this failed prediction of inevitable triumph of Communism in America (We will bury you!)?

    People can easily criticize America because it’s an open society with all its defects open for everyone to see. Other societies like Russia and China look very peaceful and stable but that’s because they don’t openly address their problems and let them fester.

    Don’t be shocked one day if version 3 of “liberalism.txt” turns out to be the best ever and all your worse predictions didn’t pan out.

  94. So, you’re saying that Russia has a peak grain production when Carter has the grain embargo?
    Why did Russia need to import grain at all at that time?

    Something didn’t add up.

    I think you misread the phrasing, it was to meant that Russia shouldn’t be a grain importer ever. So, clearly, that’s shocking. Not that Russia is today a grain importer. That’s 2 very different things.

  95. You need to work on your tenses.

  96. Daniel Chieh says

    Do you seriously believe that present-day Russia practices Communism?

  97. What do you think?
    It was meant as an example to the main thesis: an open society keeps constantly updating its operating codes making newer version more robust.

    You could say it’s an analogy to open-source software and proprietary software.

  98. Daniel Chieh says

    Does Linux look like it is in a good position at the moment with new code of conduct? What happened to Atari games after 1983 when they opened it to everyone without quality control? We probably wouldn’t even have video games as a concept if it wasn’t for Nintendo taking over everything.

    The downside of total openness is that it gets hijacked by parasites and crashes.

  99. Dude, you exaggerate every little new thing as if it’s the end of the world. That’s the problem of paying too much attention to every little news item you see and not able to judge their relevancy properly. So, on a scale of 1 to 10 where 10 is total destruction of society, where would you rank this new code of conduct thing? What’s its impact on Linux, open source software, culture, society? Will we still talked about this in 3 months, a year, 10 years from now? My feeling is that it’s a 1 or a 2 at best so I’m not going to waste my time with it. I’m with Linus in term of calling out people with “dumb ideas” or being an idiot. So what, it gets the point across faster. Smart people can have dumb ideas too, nothing wrong with that. It’s that they might not have the same info as you do or they might have different relevancy-weighting on facts. Now, if it makes some “more sensitive” people happy if we do away with that kind of language, I don’t see how that’s the end of the world. As far back as I can remember, we have religious people being “sensitive” all the time (insisting people not curse in their presence, calling the lord’s name in vain, watch your language around kids, etc…). They want their own little bubble, a safe space, and I didn’t see society collapsing around us.

    Remember, when you’re comparing 2 things, you don’t just look at the defects in one side but the other side also. It’s like “China Exposed” is very good is citing Chinese “defects” and yet everything is glorious with India. Same with Felix. They sound too repetitive with the one-sided analysis. Always the same mantra.

  100. Daniel Chieh says

    Jack Thompsons of the world never really accomplished anything, and never got anyone fired. This, on the other hand, has real consequences; I’ve also been pretty involved with open source and I can tell you that this isn’t an isolated occurence. Just be active on Github and you’d see tons of projects that get pwnt in this way, with attendant consequences to quality. This is not even considering the bloat that has been going on for years.

    I return to my original sentence: the downside of total openness is that it gets hijacked by parasites and crashes.

    In this, it is not far different from any other biological system. There’s a balance.