How to get healthier and live longer by ignoring mainstream advice

Mainstream health advice gets so much wrong, it’s not funny. Both doctors and popular health writers advise some things that are far from optimal, like aerobic exercise, and plenty that’s even harmful, like advising overweight diabetics to eat carbs.

If you follow their advice, your odds of ending up sick, fat, and dead before your time are good. Here’s what I recommend doing instead.

If you follow these steps, your odds of living a long life in good health with lots of energy are much better. Not only that, but your odds of being a fine physical specimen, attractive to the opposite sex, are also way better.

Ditch the aerobics. Lift weights instead.

Aerobic exercise is sub-optimal. It does nothing to combat muscle loss with age, much less build muscle, and can lead to over-use injuries. Despite what people will tell you, it’s highly ineffective for fat loss.

Muscle is independently associated with better health and longer life. The reason has to do with insulin resistance: muscle is a highly metabolically active tissue, and the more you have of it, the better your metabolic health.

Fat is independently associated with worse health. Fat is not a neutral, passive storage system, but emits inflammatory cytokines that mess up metabolism, shorten life, and cause disease.

Aerobic exercise won’t help you build muscle or lose fat. Strength training will.

Ditch processed food. Eat whole, unprocessed food.

The processed food environment wreaks havoc on health and waistlines, as can be seen in ever-rising obesity rates. Death rates from obesity-related conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s, actually increased in 2015 compared to just the previous year.

Meanwhile, you have groups like the American Diabetes Association telling people they “don’t have to feel deprived”. Nope, just keep eating that garbage.

A paleo-style diet keeps you trim, healthy, and builds muscle.

I eat a fairly low-carb version of this diet, but that isn’t strictly necessary. What is necessary is to cut out the pasta, the donuts, the bagels, the soft drinks and candy, the caffeinated milkshakes at Starbucks, the pizza pockets, and all the rest of the obesity-making crap that passes for food.

Fast intermittently.

If you follow the above two prescriptions, you have a far better chance of making it healthy and alive into old age. You stand an even better chance if you add intermittent fasting to your routine.

Intermittent fasting can be thought of as a better, easier version of calorie restriction, the most potent life-extension process known.

If used for weight loss, it’s the simplest, easiest form of dieting. No need to anguish over meal planning and timing.

In intermittent fasting, you need not go over board. A few sessions a week of 16-hour fasts can give great benefits. It improves insulin sensitivity and increases autophagy, the cellular self-cleansing process that extends lifespan.

Stop excess iron.

I’ve written extensively about this topic both on this site and in my new book. Suffice it here to say that excess body stores of iron not only cause disease such as cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s, but that no one in mainstream health is going to tell you this. Not your doctor: he’s too busy prescribing you a statin, one that will alter your life, and not in a good way.

Body iron stores are fortunately rather easily controlled, and fixing excess iron or preventing its rise should be on the health program of every man. (Every woman too, though on average women have much less of a problem with excess iron.

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Conclusion

This is my health program at the most basic level. (Also see 20 Principles of Rogue Health.) There are other things you can do for optimal health, such as strategic supplements, cold showers, and so on.

Most of this is far from mainstream advice, or your doctor’s advice.

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8 comments
Philomathean says April 5, 2016

For six weeks I’ve fasted at minimum 16-18 hours a day and threw in one 24 and two 36 hour fasts. I’ve also switched exclusively to cold showers in the same time period.

The 36 hour fasts got uncomfortable at around the 26 hour mark and it disturbed my sleep, though I’m sure those side effects will temper.

In short, I feel great. Period. I’ve lost body fat, though not as much as I would have expected, and I have no muscle loss that I can see.

Also, I’ve donated blood twice since last November and eliminated a mild case of foliculitis that I’ve been dealing with for over 12 years. No antibiotics whatever. It’s gone.

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    P. D. Mangan says April 5, 2016

    That’s great! (Kinda chuckling to myself right now.) I wonder whether dumping some of your iron via blood donation cured your folliculitis. Wouldn’t be surprised: bacteria and fungi need iron, and depriving them of it lowers infection rates. You may have starved them into submission. While I don’t often get colds or flu, I usually manage to get at least one cold each winter, and last year I think I had 3 colds, which was terrible. Since I began lowering my iron last fall, I have not had a single cold, much less the flu.

    Reply
Tuba says April 5, 2016

One expects most of our social institutions to get it wrong. We expect government to be lousy, law to be blind, education to be shallow, and religion to be out of touch. But somehow we expect medicine to have our best interests as its focal point: It does not. Contemporary health advice out of the medical establishment sucks. It is pig-headedly, arrogantly wrong. It is truly a sorry state of society when you can know more about good diet and nutrition practices than your doctor. I lift, I cycle, I walk, I fast and I supplement, each several times a week. I donate blood to lower the iron. I do not eat simple carbs, pre-processed, or precooked food. I cook it all from scratch. Why? To extend the good life and have a sudden death. I am hoping to influence how I live, and importantly, how I die. That’s the name of the game: Get into over time, sudden death. That is winning.

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    P. D. Mangan says April 6, 2016

    Tuba, good point about our expectations of medicine. If our other social institutions have become so inefficient or corrupt, why would we expect medicine to be different?

    Reply
Billy Pilgrim says April 6, 2016

Intermittent fasting works, but now I can’t find my dick.
I’ve lost about 40 pounds, a 20% weight loss, so I rewarded myself with some new jeans. Last night I had the jeans on and instead of my fat guy sweat shirt, I put on one of my extra-large T-shirts and tucked it in. When I went to pee, I absolutely could not find my dick! I knew it was there somewhere, but it was absolutely inaccessible. Finally, I had to drop-trou and discovered that since my old X-large t-shirt no longer has to stretch over my belly, it now extends so much lower that it completely blocks access to the fly on my briefs.
Do you think I should cut off ten inches of fabric from the front of my T-shirts, or should I squat to piss?

Billy Pilgrim

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Ken says April 8, 2016

Hi. I’ve been following your site for ages and have also browsed through the Perfect Health Diet (PHD) which I believe you have previously endorsed. The PHD diet allows for a small amount of white rice in their diet but is otherwise Paleo. I mostly cook my own food and average about 1 cup of white rice per day. As an Asian, it’s pretty tough to get below that number which ultimately results in 115g of carbs per day on average. I guess I’m interested to hear what you mean by “low-carb” in terms of quantity and application, and if there are grains that can at least qualify as neutral such as white rice.

Thanks

Reply
    P. D. Mangan says April 8, 2016

    Ken, I doubt I’d get too concerned about 115 grams carbs daily. Usually a “low-carbohydrate” diet is deemed to be under 100 g/d, but even 115 is certainly way lower than the average American diet. Perfect Health Diet is a good one. I have read most of the very long back-and-forth between Paul Jaminet and Ron Rosedale – the latter insists that the lower the carb content the better, the former that 20% dietary carbs is helpful. I tend more towards Rosedale’s side in that fight, but ultimately at that level of carbs I don’t find it a huge deal. If you’re lean and exercise, I’d say that amount of carbs is fine; if not and you need to lose weight, cut back.

    Reply
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