After Gastric Bypass Surgery, Insulin Goes Down Before Weight Loss has Time to Happen

In “Obesity Is Always and Everywhere an Insulin Phenomenon” I argue that insulin levels are a crucial determinant of weight gain and weight loss. I follow up on this idea in further posts,

and apply this idea in

Today, let me point your attention toward an important study that gives more evidence of insulin’s importance for weight loss. In “Loss of Insulin Resistance after Roux-en-Y Gastric Bypass Surgery: a Time Course Study,” Kusal Wickremesekera, Geoff Miller, Tissa DeSilva Naotunne, Graham Knowles and Richard S Stubbs write:

Gastric bypass has repeatedly been shown to improve and even cure type 2 diabetes by substantially improving insulin resistance. … The changes in insulin resistance seen after gastric bypass, which are responsible for the resolution or improvement of type 2 diabetes occur within 6 days of the surgery, before any appreciable weight loss has occurred. 

Insulin resistance is when many cells in the body have become somewhat “deaf” to insulin; the insulin-producing cells then respond by “shouting”: producing more insulin. Because not all responses to insulin are equally tamped down, the extra insulin increases the incidence of insulin side-effect. Even though it is produced by one’s own body, insulin must be considered a drug, and high doses cause trouble.

This link and those above will take you to the full abstract. Unfortunately, the article itself is behind a paywall, but going through the University of Colorado Boulder’s library website allows me free access. I consider the following paragraph the centerpiece of the paper. In order to understand it, you need to know the definition of “humoral”: relating to the body fluids.

There is abundant evidence from many centers indicating that type 2 diabetes can be cured by gastric bypass and by other forms of bariatric surgery. That this is achieved before appreciable loss of weight is an important clue to improving our under-standing of insulin resistance. Whereas obesity is conventionally thought to produce insulin resistance, it may emerge that obesity is another manifestation of insulin resistance. Put simply, insulin resistance may cause obesity, not vice versa. It has been postulated that gastric bypass improves diabetes through influences on the entero-insular axis, through a humoral effect. Our understanding of the changes in insulin resistance following surgery has been assisted by the documentation of marked falls in plasma insulin levels within days of gastric bypass.

Let me unpack this. It says that surgeries in the general category to which stomach stapling belongs can cure type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is basically a bad case of insulin resistance in which key cells have become so deaf to insulin that even if a lot of insulin is produced, they aren’t responding to the insulin enough. This is a bad situation!

The authors say explicitly that insulin resistance may cause obesity, as opposed to obesity causing insulin resistance.

What causes insulin resistance? High levels of insulin.

How can insulin resistance be reduced? Low levels of insulin.

How can insulin levels be reduced? One drastic way to lower insulin levels is gastric bypass surgery. It isn’t fully understood how gastric bypass surgery does this. Another way to reduce insulin levels and hence lower insulin resistance is to fast—that is, to eat nothing for a while. This effect is big enough that the authors worry in the paper about the reduced insulin resistance comes from the fact that people can’t eat for a while after gastric bypass surgery. Fasting is something you can do at home without having to go to the hospital!

Somewhat strangely, the authors write as if having some kind of operation is the only thing that would ever lead individuals to fast:

Without a sham operation being performed on severely obese individuals, it will be hard to resolve the role of fasting on insulin resistance in these patients. However, sham operations can be performed on animals, and experiments in a non-obese diabetic rat model support the hypothesis that the loss of insulin resistance is related to surgical bypass of components of the gut.

But many people are trying out fasting as a way to improve their insulin resistance.

I think of fasting (drinking water—and tea or coffee if desired—but not eating) as the most important idea I have come across for weight loss. It also has other health benefits. And if you are eating food that tends to produce relatively little insulin (see Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid), my experience and that of others I know is that fasting will be surprisingly easy. Or to put things another way, fasting gets a bad rap because people think of the agony of fasting in the wake of eating sugary food and other food that ramps up insulin. (Another factor in a low-insulin-index diet making it easier to fast may be that a low-insulin-index diet tends to be high in healthy fats, which makes the transition to burning one’s own body fat easier.)

A good place to start in putting these ideas into practice is last week’s post: “3 Achievable Resolutions for Weight Loss.” If you try these ideas, please let me know if they work for you—and even more importantly if they don’t work for you. I want to understand what works in practice, and hearing about things that didn’t work is a key way to get there.

Don’t miss my other posts on diet and health:

I. The Basics

II. Sugar as a Slow Poison

III. Anti-Cancer Eating

IV. Eating Tips

V. Calories In/Calories Out

VI. Wonkish

VIII. Debates about Particular Foods and about Exercise

IX. Gary Taubes

X. Twitter Discussions

XI. On My Interest in Diet and Health

See the last section of "Five Books That Have Changed My Life" and the podcast "Miles Kimball Explains to Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal Why Losing Weight Is Like Defeating Inflation." If you want to know how I got interested in diet and health and fighting obesity and a little more about my own experience with weight gain and weight loss, see “Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities and my post "A Barycentric Autobiography.

John Locke's Argument for Limited Government

In Chapters VIII-XI of his 2d Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government, John Locke makes his central argument for limited government. In Chapters VIII and IX, he argues that governments arise out of a situation with no government, and so derive their powers from the intentions of those in that initial situation of no government. In Chapters X and XI, he lays out his views on the most basic rules for appropriate government constitutions.

Below, I give links to all of my posts on these chapters, as well as links at the bottom to the aggregator posts for earlier chapters. Of the posts on Chapters VIII-XI, the most important five are these:

  1. We Are All Born Free

  2. Defense against the Black Hats is the Origin of the State

  3. The Public Good

  4. The Only Legitimate Power of Governments is to Articulate the Law of Nature

  5. No One is Above the Law, which Must Be Established and Promulgated and Designed for the Good of the People; Taxes and Governmental Succession Require Approval of Elected Representatives

Here are all the posts on Chapters VIII-XI:

Chapter VIII: Of the Beginning of Political Societies

Chapter IX: Of the Ends of Political Society and Government

Chapter X: Of the Forms of a Commonwealth

Chapter XI: Of the Extent of the Legislative Power

Links to posts on the earlier chapters of John Locke's 2d Treatise can be found here:

Posts on Chapters I-III:  John Locke's State of Nature and State of War 

Posts on Chapters IV-V:  On the Achilles Heel of John Locke's Second Treatise: Slavery and Land Ownership

Posts on Chapters VI-VII : John Locke Against Natural Hierarchy

Links to posts on later chapters so far:

Peter Conti-Brown: Can Trump Fire Jerome Powell?

Peter Conti-Brown is my coauthor on a paper in progress about negative interest rate law. I am grateful to Peter for permission to make his latest Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Can Trump Fire Jerome Powell? It’s a Political Question,” a guest post here. Here it is:

‘This is a challenging moment for central banking,” Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said shortly after his February appointment. He wasn’t kidding. Weeks later, President Trump launched the first in a series of broadsides against the Fed. In recent months Mr. Trump has called the central bank “crazy” and “a much bigger problem than China.” The conflict has been mostly confined to harrumphing. But last month Mr. Trump told the Journal: “Let’s see what happens with Jay Powell.” Can he raise the stakes by forcing the chairman out?

He isn’t the first president to ask the question. More than 50 years ago, Lyndon B. Johnson had a similar conflict with Chairman William McChesney Martin. No one wanted more guns and butter than LBJ, and Martin, predictably for a central banker, stood in the president’s way. He saw Johnson’s program as a threat to price stability.

In 1965 Johnson asked if he could fire McChesney. No, Deputy Attorney General Ramsey Clark answered in a memo—for two reasons. First, members of the Fed’s Board of Governors “are appointed for a 14-year term and may be removed from office by the President only ‘for cause.’ ” The term “cause” was limited to “neglect of duty or malfeasance in office.” Because the Fed was independent, “lack of confidence or disagreement with policies or judgment” wouldn’t be enough.

Second, because of the curious governance structure of the Federal Reserve, Martin wore two hats: He was a governor and the chairman. As chairman, he had a four-year term that lacked explicit statutory protection. But the lawyers wrote that since that term “is prescribed by the statute it is reasonably clear that, once designated, the chairman cannot be removed” before the end of that term. Johnson didn’t pursue the issue, and Martin served until 1970, outlasting Johnson by more than a year.

That sounds like good news for Mr. Powell. Unfortunately for him, a lot has changed. For one thing, the Supreme Court has repeatedly limited Congress’s ability to restrict presidential control of independent agencies. In Free Enterprise Fund v. Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (2010), for example, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that “the President cannot ‘take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed if he cannot oversee the faithfulness of the officers who execute them.”

The PCAOB, a body created by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, is different from the Fed. But the high court’s recent decisions and present composition suggest a skepticism toward the administrative state. Brett Kavanaugh, probably the federal judge most skeptical of limitations on presidential power over administrative agencies, will likely move the court strongly in an antiadministrative direction.

Further, the lawyers were probably wrong in 1965 about the implications of the chairman’s four-year term. In 1976 Congress passed a law establishing a 10-year term for the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As with the Fed chairman, that statute does not expressly prohibit the president from removing the FBI director at will. Under the Justice Department’s logic in 1965, it would follow that the president lacks the authority to fire the FBI director except for cause. But both Bill Clinton and Mr. Trump fired their FBI directors before the term expired. The Fed is different from the FBI in a lot of ways—but probably not in this one.

Mr. Trump, Mr. Powell and the public are unlikely to see a judicial resolution to this question. Waiting on the Supreme Court to resolve uncertainty about the control of the Federal Reserve would be devastating for the Fed’s credibility and inject substantial uncertainty into the global economy. In the face of such turmoil, either Mr. Trump or the Fed would blink. In other words, despite all kinds of law around the Fed, conflicts between the central bank and the president are always and everywhere political phenomena.

We’re now entering the second act of this drama. How the play ends depends not only on Donald Trump and Jay Powell, but Congress and the political process. If Americans and their representatives embrace Mr. Trump’s campaign against the Federal Reserve’s independence, no law will protect it.

Mr. Conti-Brown, an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, is author of “The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve” (Princeton University Press, 2016).

3 Achievable Resolutions for Weight Loss

A week after New Year’s Day, many people have already abandoned—or even forgotten—their New Year’s resolutions. So now is the time for some resolutions that will work better.

Let me suggest three resolutions for weight loss that work well together and have three helpful features:

  1. They each have a bright line for whether you have done them or not.

  2. They each are separately helpful, so even if you fail on one or two, the other one or two will still make a big difference, and you can feel good about that.

  3. Each one, if you ever temporarily fall off the wagon and fail to do it on one occasion, has a fallback activity that will put you ahead.

Here are my three suggested resolutions, along with the fallback activity if you fall off the wagon, that will help you get back on the wagon.

Go Off Sugar. This one is simple and powerful. Stop eating sugar, except for a very limited list of exceptions that you have laid out in advance. (For example, most days I eat a few squares of chocolate bars that are 88% or more in cocoa content and so hopefully don’t have much room left for sugar in them. See “Intense Dark Chocolate: A Review.”)

One of the most powerful benefits of the determination to go off sugar is the knowledge you will gain from reading food labels to see how high up sugar is on the list of ingredients for each type of processed food. In addition to reading labels for processed food, you will want to read “Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid” or a sense of where other kinds of food fit in. My post “Letting Go of Sugar” has some helpful hints, including this link, which I repeat here: "56 Most Common Names for Sugar You Should Know."

Fallback Activity: If you do eat sugar, notice how you feel in the next couple of hours. My prediction is that you will feel a bit hungry and may well crave more sugar. If you are eating sugar all the time, such feelings will be so frequent in your life they will hard to notice as anything unusual; but if you manage to avoid sugar most of the time, then you have a chance to notice the effects of sugar in making you hungry. Noticing the effect that sugar has on you will make it easier to get back on the wagon and easier to remember the cost of eating sugar when you face your next temptation.

Choose and Keep To an Eating Window Shorter than 16 Hours a Day—With Appropriate Exceptions. One of the biggest causes of obesity is eating from getting up in the morning to bedding down at night. If you choose an eating window shorter than 16 hours a day and only eat within that window, you will be on your way to improved weight and improved health. (As long as you avoid sugar and the more problematic nonsugar sweeteners, coffee and tea are fine outside of that window. On the more problematic nonsugar sweeteners, see “Which Nonsugar Sweeteners are OK? An Insulin-Index Perspective.) Even if you choose an easy eating window of 15 hours, that will make you more aware of your sunup to sundown eating patterns. And if the eating window you have chosen starts seeming too easy, you can try a more ambitious eating window. One tip here: For healthy adults who are neither pregnant nor nursing, it is a myth that one needs to eat breakfast. The “Cui bono?” question of who gains from fostering this myth is easy to answer!

Note that the value of eating as a social activity means you should sometimes make an exception to your eating window policy. When you set your goal, it is a good idea to lay out the maximum number of days in the year with which you will make exceptions if there is a good reason, and what count as good reasons.

Fallback Activity: If you end up eating outside your eating window, try to think of what might make it easier to stick to that eating window that you can experiment with, going forward. Would shifting the time of the eating window in the day help? Would drinking coffee, tea or fizzy water (club soda or carbonated water made with Sodastream for example) during the time outside the window help? Does it help if your last meal or snack at the end of the eating window is especially low on the insulin index? (Again, see ““Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid”)

Come Up with an Inspirational and Informative Reading Program to Help with Weight Loss. It is important to be regularly reminded of the principles of weight loss, particularly since there are plenty of companies out there that can increase their profits by steering you wrong. It also helps to get ideas and inspiration. Many traditional religions have adherents listen to at least one sermon every week to help them stay on the strait and narrow. Weight loss is difficult enough that most people trying to lose weight will need at least that much in weight loss inspiration every week in order to succeed. There are many great things to read about weight loss. I have the links to all the diet and health posts I have written so far down below (which refer to the diet and health books I have found most valuable), and I am sure you can find many other great things to read online and in the bookstore. Not everyone has the same perspective I do; I hope you will at least consider my perspective along with the other perspectives you read.

Fallback Activity: If you realize you are behind on your reading goals, just take a moment to try to remember the ideas in the last few things you read and think about how those ideas might help you. In line with the principles I discuss in “The Most Effective Memory Methods are Difficult—and That's Why They Work,” this will do a lot to get those ideas into your long-term memory, where they can stick around and help you in the long run. Indeed, this fallback activity is so valuable, do it even if you are keeping up with your reading goals: at that moment you feel the glow of having achieved that goal, take a moment to remember and think about some of the ideas in the last few things you read.

Conclusion. Please let me know how well these suggestions work or if they don’t work at all! An overriding principle beyond anything I say above is that you need to be experimental. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else—either a variation on the theme or something entirely different.

One of my contentions is that what we have been doing as a society for the last 50 years hasn’t been working well, as evidenced by the upward trend line of obesity almost everywhere and among almost every group. So as a society, we need to experiment with other approaches than what the bulk of people have been doing.

Don’t miss my other posts on diet and health:

I. The Basics

II. Sugar as a Slow Poison

III. Anti-Cancer Eating

IV. Eating Tips

V. Calories In/Calories Out

VI. Wonkish

VIII. Debates about Particular Foods and about Exercise

IX. Gary Taubes

X. Twitter Discussions

XI. On My Interest in Diet and Health

See the last section of "Five Books That Have Changed My Life" and the podcast "Miles Kimball Explains to Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal Why Losing Weight Is Like Defeating Inflation." If you want to know how I got interested in diet and health and fighting obesity and a little more about my own experience with weight gain and weight loss, see “Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities and my post "A Barycentric Autobiography.

Christian Kimball on Middle-Way Mormonism

Although his spiritual journey has been different from mine, my brother Chris has also wrestled with the question of what to think of Mormonism. One of the other guest posts by Chris that I list at the bottom is “Chris Kimball: Having a Prophet in the Family, which makes clear why neither of us could escape that question. Below are Chris’s words:

There has been an unusual flurry of talk lately about “Middle Way Mormons.” The Salt Lake Tribune (Peggy Fletcher Stack); By Common Consent (Sam Brunson); Wheat and Tares (a series); and even Times and Seasons ran a piece.  I commented, I provided background, I was quoted, but I have resisted doing my own “how it is” counter-essay until now.

I am a “Middle Way Mormon” by everybody’s definition.  It is not my label—I prefer “Christian who practices with Mormons.”  But it’s better than the alternatives on offer. This is not a to-be-wished-for designation—a high ranking Church leader sympathized with me about “living on a knife edge.”  It’s just a label for a modern reality.

Somewhere in the middle of all the commentary, George Andrew Spriggs observed that “successful Middle Way Mormons . . . undercut the traditional boundaries and truth claims about the church.”  This observation challenged me to describe the church I belong to.  I have tried this before, and the reaction has been “no—doesn’t exist, you’re wrong, that isn’t a thing—just no.” Because of this history, exposing myself this way is scary.

This is long.  This is personal.  This is my opinion.  For today--although reasonably stable for more than 20 years now.  This is also my life, the real stuff.  Reportage, not polemic.  You should not be like me.  You have been warned.

* * *

As a Christian who practices with members and at the meetings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sometimes my choices come down to tradition and a hymnal. At the same time, I am officially a member of the Church.  I haven’t resigned.  I value my baptism.  I take the sacrament with intent.

So what is this Church I belong to?  As I see it.  As I live it.

I view Joseph Smith as one of the religious geniuses of the 19th century, a man who had a theophany, from whom and through whom several books of scripture came to be, who experimented and collected and assembled a religious vision. And a prophet, in the sense of receiving the word of God and a charge to speak it.

Not necessarily a good man.  Not right all the time.  Not necessarily true to his own insights.  Not always consistent.

I view founding a church, restoring priesthood, organizing ordinances and sacraments, and developing temple practices, as 19th century syncretic work by well-meaning men choosing from among existing Christian traditions.

I view the Book of Mormon as a 19th century creation.  I read it as scripture.  I find the subtitle “Another Testament of Jesus Christ” the most correct and useful description.  The Church uses the Book of Mormon as a ‘proof of history.’  I don’t find value in that approach.  The Church does not (very much) rely on the Book of Mormon for administration or theology.  But I do read the Book of Mormon for theology and Christology and more.  What I read impresses me as certain versions of New Testament Christian, Pauline, and even Trinitarian traditions, with flourishes.

For better or worse, I don’t find much value or spend much time with the Doctrine & Covenants or the Pearl of Great Price.  I try to remain conversant, but in the limited sense of staying relevant in the community and not as a religious or devotional practice.

My understanding of prophets is that their job is to speak the words God gives them (not to speak “for God”).  In that vein I consider Joseph Smith and other Church leaders as prophets.  My operating assumption is that when a person is called to be a prophet, a tiny percentage of his or her words will turn out to be God’s words, they won’t necessarily know which are which themselves, and they may not understand the meaning or relevance of the words they are directed to say.

As a practical consequence, I apply a 50/50 skepticism even to statements labeled “the word of the Lord,” which looks like a cafeteria approach to General Conference talks and to the Doctrine & Covenants.  For example, I view D&C 1:30 as an exaggeration, D&C 22 as the natural human expression of a restorationist mindset, and D&C 132 as a mistake—a confusing version of a Joseph Smith insight driven by a mixture of Bible study, wishful thinking, and domestic conflict.

Because I understand prophets (historically) to be mostly misunderstood outsiders with a revolutionary message, I think the Church’s practice of combining the prophet and president roles is problematic.  I look for other prophets in addition to Church leaders.

I do not have a sense of divine destiny about the Church.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the survivor of a series of existential crises.  A succession crisis.  A crisis over polygamy.  A crisis over financial viability.  A crisis over the participation of men and women of relatively recent African descent.  We tell the survival story after the fact, but I don’t view survival as predetermined.  I can imagine the Church failing any one of the past crises. I can imagine the Church failing the next one.

I see the Church in crisis now.  It is dealing with challenges to an identity myth built on a heavily manipulated white-washed history, alongside a theology built around eternal gender essentialism which makes it difficult to incorporate principles of feminism and to include non-binary persons in the Plan.  I do not know whether the Church will survive. More accurately, I don’t know what the survivor will look like and how I will relate to it.

The Church offers a rich selection of Sacraments (ordinances) and a variety of rituals, which belong in a Christian practice and which I appreciate and celebrate.  Not as unique or indispensable, but as valuable and inspiring.

On the other hand, embedded in Church practice are secret loyalty oath covenants, and an interview and disciplinary system serving up bishops as judges, that make idols of the institutional Church and its human leaders.  I reject and avoid these parts of Church practice.

I view the institutional and administrative practices as built on good intentions (“guided by the spirit”).  Most leaders are sincere and trying to do right.  I have seen some frauds and some thieves, and too much abuse—ecclesiastical, emotional, sexual—but the most common sin of Church leaders is sucking up (managing up or making the boss happy or working for the next promotion).

I observe that good intentions are not the same as decision by principle, or decision by consensus or vote, or decision by systematic observation and experiment.  Good intentions do not guarantee results.  I do not see evidence of unusual foresight in Church decision making.  I do not see a better than ordinary record of good decisions.  I do see some very bad decisions.

Finally, the Church has almost nothing to do with my lived and living experience with God (the real thing, not doctrine or description, philosophy or religion) or my personal devotional life including my prayers.  I consider them separate worlds.

2018's Most Popular Posts

The "Key Posts" link at the top of my blog lists all important posts through the end of 2016. Along with "2017's Most Popular Posts," this is intended as a complement to that list. (Also, my most popular storified Twitter discussions are here, and you can see other recent posts by clicking on the Archive link at the top of my blog.) I put links to the most popular posts from 2018 below into four groups: popular new posts in 2018 on diet and health, popular new posts in 2018 on other topics, and popular older posts in those two categories.

I am no stranger to bragging; however, I give statistics not to brag, but because I am a data hound. I would love to see corresponding statistics from other blogs that I follow! The numbers shown are pageviews in the first six months of 2018 according to Google Analytics. In that period, I had 313,231 pageviews total, of which 42,241 were pageviews for my blog homepage. 

New Posts in 2018 on Diet and Health

  1. How Fasting Can Starve Cancer Cells, While Leaving Normal Cells Unharmed  7034

  2. Why a Low-Insulin-Index Diet Isn't Exactly a 'Lowcarb' Diet  5707

  3. What Steven Gundry's Book 'The Plant Paradox' Adds to the Principles of a Low-Insulin-Index Diet 3038

  4. Stop Counting Calories; It's the Clock that Counts  4825

  5. The Case Against Sugar: Stephan Guyenet vs. Gary Taubes  2594

  6. Using the Glycemic Index as a Supplement to the Insulin Index  2469

  7. Intense Dark Chocolate: A Review  2065

  8. Vindicating Gary Taubes: A Smackdown of Seth Yoder 1428

  9. Is Milk OK?  1374

  10. 4 Propositions on Weight Loss 1281

  11. Why You Should Worry about Cancer Promotion by Diet as Much as You Worry about Cancer Initiation by Carcinogens  1180

  12. The Case Against the Case Against Sugar: Seth Yoder vs. Gary Taubes  1028

  13. Exorcising the Devil in the Milk 1016

  14. Which Is Worse for You: Sugar or Fat?  851

  15. My Giant Salad  774

  16. Our Delusions about 'Healthy' Snacks—Nuts to That!  772

  17. Letting Go of Sugar 703

  18. Carola Binder—Why You Should Get More Vitamin D: The Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D Was Underestimated Due to Statistical Illiteracy  703

  19. A Barycentric Autobiography 702

  20. The Problem with Processed Food  700

  21. Diseases of Civilization  550

  22. My Annual Anti-Cancer Fast 516

  23. Best Health Guide: 10 Surprising Changes When You Quit Sugar 483

  24. How Sugar, Too Much Protein, Inflammation and Injury Could Drive Epigenetic Cellular Evolution Toward Cancer  398

  25. Good News! Cancer Cells are Metabolically Handicapped  374

  26. Hints for Healthy Eating from the Nurse's Health Study  372

  27. Carola Binder: The Obesity Code and Economists as General Practitioners 347

  28. A Conversation with David Brazel on Obesity Research  332

  29. Which Nonsugar Sweeteners are OK? An Insulin-Index Perspective 324

  30. The Trouble with Most Psychological Approaches to Weight Loss: They Assume the Biology is Obvious, When It Isn't 323

  31. Yes, Sugar is Really Bad for You 297

  32. The Heavy Non-Health Consequences of Heaviness  245

  33. Jason Fung's Single Best Weight Loss Tip: Don't Eat All the Time 241

  34. Gary Taubes Makes His Case to Nick Gillespie: How Big Sugar and a Misguided Government Wrecked the American Diet  241

  35. Eating on the Road 241

  36. Magic Bullets vs. Multifaceted Interventions for Economic Stimulus, Economic Development and Weight Loss  212

  37. Against Sugar: The Messenger and the Message 210

  38. Anthony Komaroff: The Microbiome and Risk for Obesity and Diabetes 206

  39. In Praise of Avocados 193

  40. Evidence that Gut Bacteria Affect the Brain 188

  41. Nina Teicholz on the Bankruptcy of Counting Calories 165

  42. Does Sugar Make Dietary Fat Less OK? 146

  43. Prevention is Much Easier Than Cure of Obesity 145

  44. Heidi Turner, Michael Schwartz and Kristen Domonell on How Bad Sugar Is 141

  45. How Important is A1 Milk Protein as a Public Health Issue? 117

  46. Black Bean Brownies 109

  47. Podcast: Miles Kimball Explains to Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal Why Losing Weight Is Like Defeating Inflation 104

New Posts in 2018 on Other Topics

  1. Economist Twitter Stars 4978

  2. The Social Contract According to John Locke  4820

  3. On Teaching and Learning Macroeconomics  2906

  4. 2018 First Half's Most Popular Posts 2587

  5. John Locke: Freedom is Life; Slavery Can Be Justified Only as a Reprieve from Deserved Death  2285

  6. On the Achilles Heel of John Locke's Second Treatise: Slavery and Land Ownership  1226

  7. Must All Economics Papers Be Doorstoppers? 1059

  8. Gabriela D'Souza on Failure in Learning Math  988

  9. Marriage—Not for the Faint of Heart 930

  10. John Locke: The Purpose of Law Is Freedom  890

  11. John Locke on Legitimate Political Power  759

  12. William Strauss and Neil Howe's American Prophecy in 'The Fourth Turning: What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous with Destiny' 678

  13. The Most Effective Memory Methods are Difficult—and That's Why They Work 606

  14. Noah Smith—The Replication Crisis in Economics: Even After Downloading the Same Data, Economists Don't Get the Same Answer 571

  15. The Shards of My Heart  566

  16. John Locke Against Natural Hierarchy 549

  17. John Locke and the Share of Land  530

  18. John Locke's Argument for Majority Rule 501

  19. Cousin Causality  407

  20. Critical Reading: Apprentice Level 400

  21. New Mormon Prophet Russell Nelson Shakes Things Up 386

  22. 2017's Most Popular Posts  377

  23. My Organized-Tweet Stories, In Order of Popularity, in Their Flight from a Dying Storify to the Haven of Wakelet  375

  24. On Perfectionism 348

  25. Gauti Eggertsson, Ragnar Juelsrud and Ella Getz Wold: Are Negative Nominal Interest Rates Expansionary?  340

  26. Martin Feldstein Shows Too Little Imagination about How to Tame the US National Debt  340

  27. A Conversation with Clint Folsom, Mayor of Superior, Colorado 332

  28. Tushar Kundu: Pulling America Back Together 329

  29. Robert Barro: Tax Reform Will Pay Growth Dividends 329

  30. On Rob Porter 327

  31. On Being a Good Guy 317

  32. Math Learning for Kids Who Have a Tough Time  307

  33. Christian Kimball: Revelation and Satan 306

  34. The Economist: Improvements in Productivity Need to Be Accommodated by Monetary Policy  296

  35. The Partitioned Matrix Inversion Formula  286

  36. John Locke Explains 'Lord of the Flies'  284

  37. Charles Murray on Taking Religion Seriously  281

  38. John Locke's Smackdown of Robert Filmer: Being a Father Doesn't Make Any Man a King 280

  39. Greg Ip: A Decade After Bear’s Collapse, the Seeds of Instability Are Germinating Again  270

  40. Most of the Gender Wage Gap Stems from Inequality in the Household, Inequality in the Culture, and Hostile Workplaces  269

  41. Why We Want More Jobs  267

  42. Netflix as an Example of Clay Christensen's 'Disruptive Innovation' 262

  43. Chris Kimball: Having a Prophet in the Family  261

  44. Why America Needs Marvin Goodfriend on the Federal Reserve Board  238

  45. John Ioannidis, T. D. Stanley and Hristos Doucouliagos: The Power of Bias in Economics Research 225

  46. Why Donald Trump's Support Among Republicans Has Solidified 224

  47. Noah Smith: Nurture Counts as Much as Nature in Success 218

  48. Less is More in Mormon Church Meetings 215

  49. The Real Test of the December 2017 Tax Reform Will Be Its Long-Run Effects  210

  50. Relative Price Changes, 1997-2017  209

  51. On Guilt by Association 207

  52. Miles Kimball, Time Traveler: Regrets and Gratitude 203

  53. Sam Brown and Miles Kimball on Teleotheism  197

  54. False Advertising for College is Pretty Much the Norm 195

  55. John Locke: Government by the Consent of the Governed Often Began Out of Respect for Someone Trusted to Govern 195

  56. John Locke: The Law of Nature Requires Maturity to Discern  194

  57. Eric Weinstein: Genius Is Not the Same Thing as Excellence 188

  58. The Metaphor of a Nation as a Family 186

  59. Tropozoics  179

  60. John Locke: Thinking of Mothers and Fathers On a Par Undercuts a Misleading Autocratic Metaphor  179

  61. Manifesto #1: I Am Enough 171

  62. Dan Reynolds, Lead Singer of Imagine Dragons, on the Human Cost of the Mormon Church's Stand Against Gay Marriage 167

  63. Jacob Bastian and Maggie Jones: Do EITC Expansions Pay for Themselves? Effects on Tax Revenue and Public Assistance Spending 163

  64. David Holland on the Mormon Church During the February 3, 2008–January 2, 2018 Monson Administration  162

  65. Martin A. Schwartz: The Willingness to Feel Stupid Is the Key to Scientific Progress  162

  66. Alexander Trentin Interviews Miles Kimball on Next Generation Monetary Policy  155

  67. John Locke: The Public Good 154

  68. John Locke: By Natural Law, Husbands Have No Power Over Their Wives 153

  69. Glenn Hubbard on National Debt Ethics  148

  70. Christian Kimball: Revelation and Satan 133+

  71. The Hidden Cost of Not Having a Carbon Tax 131

  72. Ricardo Hausman: Tacit Knowledge Is a Key Component of Productivity; That Means Prosperity Depends on Allowing Skilled Immigration--Especially into Poor Countries  131

  73. John Locke: Defense against the Black Hats is the Origin of the State 128

  74. Should the U.S. Dollar Be Weak or Strong? 123

  75. The Argument that We Are Likely to Be Living Inside of a Computer Simulation 122

  76. Oren Cass on the Value of Work 112

  77. Economists' Open Letter Open Letter to President Trump and Congress Against Protectionism  110

  78. John Locke: The Only Legitimate Power of Governments is to Articulate the Law of Nature 109

  79. Equality Before Natural Law in the Face of Manifest Differences in Station 105

  80. Shane Phillips: Housing and Transportation Costs Have Become a Growing American Burden  102

  81. Peter Conti-Brown: The President Crossed a Line in Commenting on Interest Rates. The Fed Needs to Redraw It. 100

Older Posts with Continuing Popularity on Diet and Health

  1. Forget Calorie Counting; It's the Insulin Index, Stupid  18808

  2. Obesity Is Always and Everywhere an Insulin Phenomenon  4181

  3. Five Books That Have Changed My Life  2857

  4. Key Posts 2507

  5. The Keto Food Pyramid  1518

  6. Whole Milk Is Healthy; Skim Milk Less So  1353

  7. Jason Fung: Dietary Fat is Innocent of the Charges Leveled Against It  868

  8. Meat Is Amazingly Nutritious—But Is It Amazingly Nutritious for Cancer Cells, Too?  801

  9. Salt Is Not the Nutritional Evil It Is Made Out to Be  464

  10. Sugar as a Slow Poison  383

  11. Mass In/Mass Out: A Satire of Calories In/Calories Out  235

  12. How Sugar Makes People Hangry 184

  13. Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities 102

Older Posts with Continuing Popularity on Other Topics

  1. John Stuart Mill's Brief for Freedom of Speech 8015

  2. There's One Key Difference Between Kids Who Excel at Math and Those Who Don't  (with Noah Smith) 3185

  3. The Logarithmic Harmony of Percent Changes and Growth Rates  2954

  4. Five Books That Have Changed My Life  2857

  5. There Is No Such Thing as Decreasing Returns to Scale 2782

  6. William Graham Sumner, Social Darwinist  2638

  7. The 7 Principles of Unitarian Universalism 1922

  8. On John Locke's Labor Theory of Property  1918

  9. Joshua Foer on Deliberate Practice  1783

  10. How and Why to Eliminate the Zero Lower Bound: A Reader’s Guide  1767

  11. The Complete Guide to Getting into an Economics PhD Program (with Noah Smith) 1845

  12. The Medium-Run Natural Interest Rate and the Short-Run Natural Interest Rate  1725

  13. Monetary vs. Fiscal Policy: Expansionary Monetary Policy Does Not Raise the Budget Deficit  1661

  14. John Stuart Mill on Freedom from Religion  1553

  15. Why I Write  1454

  16. Why Taxes are Bad  1404

  17. John Locke on Punishment  1360

  18. John Stuart Mill’s Vigorous Advocacy of Education Vouchers  1336

  19. The Message of Mormonism for Atheists Who Want to Stay Atheists  1267

  20. John Locke's State of Nature and State of War  1128

  21. John Stuart Mill’s Defense of Freedom  1113

  22. Government Purchases vs. Government Spending  1077

  23. Daniel Coyle on Deliberate Practice  928

  24. Shane Parrish on Deliberate Practice  902

  25. How to Turn Every Child into a "Math Person"  881

  26. Next Generation Monetary Policy  866

  27. The Descent—and the Divine Calling—of the Modernists  806

  28. Ezequiel Tortorelli: The Trouble with Argentina 804

  29. On Master's Programs in Economics  767

  30. An Agnostic Prayer for Strength  716

  31. What is a Supply-Side Liberal?  691

  32. Robert Shiller: Against the Efficient Markets Theory  682

  33. What is the Effective Lower Bound on Interest Rates Made Of?  679

  34. John Locke on the Equality of Humans  637

  35. John Stuart Mill's Brief for Individuality 597

  36. Roger Farmer and Miles Kimball on the Value of Sovereign Wealth Funds for Economic Stabilization  586

  37. John Stuart Mill on Balancing Christian Morality with the Wisdom of the Greeks and Romans  563

  38. Economics Needs to Tackle All of the Big Questions in the Social Sciences  529

  39. Returns to Scale and Imperfect Competition in Market Equilibrium 510

  40. Freedom Under Law Means All Are Subject to the Same Laws 504

  41. John Stuart Mill: In Praise of Eccentricity  500

  42. The Volcker Shock  499

  43. The Shape of Production: Charles Cobb's and Paul Douglas's Boon to Economics  480

  44. Noah Smith: You Are Already in the Afterlife  473

  45. Peter Conti-Brown's Takedown of Danielle DiMartino Booth's Book "Fed Up: An Insider's Take on Why the Federal Reserve is Bad for America"  471

  46. Sticky Prices vs. Sticky Wages: A Debate Between Miles Kimball and Matthew Rognlie  459

  47. John Locke: People Must Not Be Judges in Their Own Cases  459

  48. Japan's Move Toward a Sovereign Wealth Fund Policy  447

  49. Cognitive Economics  446

  50. The Message of “Sal Tlay Ka Siti”  445

  51. John Stuart Mill: In the Parent-Child Relationship, It is the Children that Have Rights, Not the Parents  438

  52. John Stuart Mill on Freedom of Thought  431

  53. The Unavoidability of Faith  408

  54. John Stuart Mill: Two Maxims for Liberty 404

  55. An Experiment with Equality of Outcome: The Case of Jamestown 403

  56. Let's Set Half a Percent as the Standard for Statistical Significance  396

  57. The Extensive Margin: How to Simultaneously Raise Quality and Lower Tuition at Elite Public Universities 389

  58. Two Types of Knowledge: Human Capital and Information  389

  59. Expansionist India  386

  60. Matthew Shapiro, Martha Bailey and Tilman Borgers on the Economics Job Market Rumors Website  384

  61. Nicholas Kristof: "Where Sweatshops are a Dream"  380

  62. Franklin Roosevelt on the Second Industrial Revolution  375

  63. Why I Am Not a Neoliberal  364

  64. John Stuart Mill’s Brief for the Limits of the Authority of Society over the Individual  361

  65. Miles Kimball - Google Scholar Citations  358

  66. John Stuart Mill on Public and Private Actions  355

  67. Paul Krugman on John Taylor and Admitting Error 339

  68. International Finance: A Primer  335

  69. John Locke Treats the Bible as an Authority on Slavery  332

  70. The Coming Transformation of Education: Degrees Won’t Matter Anymore, Skills Will  329

  71. John Stuart Mill Applies the Principles of Liberty  327

  72. John Stuart Mill on the Role of Custom in Human Life  321

  73. Greg Shill: Does the Fed Have the Legal Authority to Buy Equities?  313

  74. Michael Weisbach: Posters on Finance Job Rumors Need to Clean Up Their Act, Too  312

  75. Bret Stephens and Paul Krugman: What Should a Correction Look Like in the Digital Era? 311

  76. The Deep Magic of Money and the Deeper Magic of the Supply Side  309

  77. John Stuart Mill on the Chief Interest of the History of Mankind: The Love of Liberty and Improvement vs. Custom  309

  78. How Albert Einstein Became a Celebrity  305

  79. On Having a Thesis  296

  80. Silvio Gesell's Plan for Negative Nominal Interest Rates  293

  81. John Locke: When the Police and Courts Can't or Won't Take Care of Things, People Have the Right to Take the Law Into Their Own Hands 277

  82. Why GDP Can Grow Forever 274

  83. How Subordinating Paper Currency to Electronic Money Can End Recessions and End Inflation  273

  84. Heroes of Science Action Figures  270

  85. John Stuart Mill on Freedom of Contract  267

  86. Jeff Smith: More on Getting into an Economics PhD Program  266

  87. Miles Moves to the University of Colorado Boulder  258

  88. Noah Smith: Why Do Americans Like Jews and Dislike Mormons?  258

  89. Will Women Ever Get the Mormon Priesthood?  257

  90. Can Taxes Raise GDP?  257

  91. 18 Misconceptions about Eliminating the Zero Lower Bound  245

  92. John Stuart Mill on Benevolent Dictators  239

  93. Why Scott Fullwiler Misses the Point in ‘Why Negative Nominal Interest Rates Miss the Point’ 238

  94. Democracy is Not Freedom 237

  95. The Wall Street Journal's Quality-Control Failure: Bret Stephens's Misleading Use of Nominal Income in His Editorial ‘Obama's Envy Problem’ 234

  96. My Objective Function  233

  97. John Stuart Mill on the Protection of ‘Noble Lies’ from Criticism 232

  98. Karthik Muralidharan, Abhijeet Singh, and Alejandro J. Ganimian: Disrupting Education? Experimental Evidence on Technology-Aided Instruction in India  228

  99. Teleotheism and the Purpose of Life  223

  100. David Byrne: De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum 223

  101. Restoring American Growth: The Video  222

  102. On the Great Recession  220

  103. Rodney Stark: Historians Ought to Count—But Often Don’t  219

  104. Discounting Government Projects 219

  105. Rodney Stark on the Status of Women in Early Christianity  219

  106. Contra John Taylor  214

  107. Electronic Money: The Powerpoint File  213

  108. After Crunching Reinhart and Rogoff's Data, We Found No Evidence High Debt Slows Growth 213

  109. Social Liberty 210

  110. Higher Inflation Is Not the Answer 206

  111. Why I Am Not a Physicist  206

  112. One of the Biggest Threats to America's Future Has the Easiest Fix (with Noah Smith)  199

  113. Marriage 102 195

  114. Noah Smith: Sunni Islam is Failing 195

  115. Why I am a Macroeconomist: Increasing Returns and Unemployment  194

  116. Noah Smith: Buddha Was Wrong About Desire 194

  117. My Dad  192

  118. Christian Kimball on the Fallibility of Mormon Leaders and on Gay Marriage 191

  119. Marriage 101  189

  120. In Praise of Partial Equilibrium 188

  121. Even Central Bankers Need Lessons on the Transmission Mechanism for Negative Interest Rates  188

  122. Human Beings as Social—and Trading—Animals 188

  123. Brio in Blog Posts  186

  124. Clay Christensen, Jerome Grossman and Jason Hwang on the Agenda for the Transformation of Health Care 185

  125. John Stuart Mill on the Historical Origins of Liberty 184

  126. Barbara Oakley: How We Should Be Teaching Math 182

  127. John Stuart Mill on Rising Above Mediocrity 181

  128. An Agnostic Grace 180

  129. How I Became Optimistic  179

  130. How the Original Sin of Borrowing in a Foreign Currency Can Reduce the Effectiveness of Monetary Policy for Both the Borrowing and Lending Country 178

  131. How Conservative Mormon America Avoided the Fate of Conservative White America . 177

  132. John Stuart Mill’s Roadmap for Freedom  176

  133. The Costs and Benefits of Repealing the Zero Lower Bound...and Then Lowering the Long-Run Inflation Target  174

  134. John Stuart Mill on the Rich and the Elite 172

  135. How Increasing Retirement Saving Could Give America More Balanced Trade  172

  136. Paul Finkelman: The Monster of Monticello 171

  137. Robert Eisler—Stable Money: The Remedy for the Economic World Crisis  169

  138. Why Thinking about China is the Key to a Free World  164

  139. Scrooge and the Ethical Case for Consumption Taxation 161

  140. The Racist Origins of the Idea of the ‘Dumb Jock’ 160

  141. Why Financial Stability Concerns Are Not a Reason to Shy Away from a Robust Negative Interest Rate Policy 158

  142. John Stuart Mill on Being Offended at Other People's Opinions or Private Conduct 157

  143. John Stuart Mill on the Gravity of Divorce 156

  144. Alexander Trentin Interviews Miles Kimball about Establishing an International Capital Flow Framework  154

  145. Cass Sunstein on the Rule of Law 155

  146. John Locke: Lions and Wolves and Enemies, Oh My 154

  147. Barack Obama: Football as the Best Sports Analogy for Politics 153

  148. Janet Adamy and Paul Overberg on Immobility in America  152

  149. John Stuart Mill on Puritanism 152

  150. ‘The Hunger Games’ Is Hardly Our Future--It's Already Here 152

  151. Pro Gauti Eggertsson 151

  152. The Mormon View of Jesus 150

  153. Godless Religion 149

  154. John Stuart Mill: How Laws Against Self-Harm Backfire 149

  155. John L. Davidson on Resolving the House Mystery: The Institutional Realities of House Construction 149

  156. Is Taxing Capital OK?  148

  157. Isaac Sorkin: Don't Be Too Reassured by Small Short-Run Effects of the Minimum Wage 146

  158. The Egocentric Illusion 145

  159. Matt Waite: How I Faced My Fears and Learned to Be Good at Math  145

  160. Jordan B. Peterson on the True Purpose of a University Education  143

  161. Fields Medal Winner Maryam Mirzakhani's Slow-Cooked Math 143

  162. Electronic Money: The Quiz  142

  163. The Supply and Demand for Paper Currency When Interest Rates Are Negative 142

  164. Signalling When Everyone Knows about Last-Place Aversion: An Application to Economics Job Market Rumors 142

  165. Big Brother Speaks: Christian Kimball on Mitt Romney 142

  166. Inequality Is About the Poor, Not About the Rich 141

  167. Contra Randal Quarles 140

  168. John Locke: The Law Must Apply to Rulers, Too 140

  169. David Pagnucco: The Eurozone and the Impossible Trinity 139

  170. John Locke Pretends Land Ownership Goes Back to the Original Peopling of the Planet  138

  171. When the Output Gap is Zero, But Inflation is Below Target 138

  172. John Stuart Mill's Argument Against Political Correctness 138

  173. Miles Kimball, Colter Mitchell, Arland Thornton and Linda Young-Demarco—Empirics on the Origins of Preferences: The Case of College Major and Religiosity 137

  174. Hannah Katz: The Pros and Cons of Tipping Culture 135

  175. Benjamin Franklin's Strategy to Make the US a Superpower Worked Once, Why Not Try It Again? 135

  176. Marc F. Bellemare's Story: ‘I'm Bad at Math’ 135

  177. The Rise and Fall of Venice 134

  178. Mary O'Keeffe on Slow-Cooked Math 134

  179. Student Guest Posts on 133

  180. More on Original Sin and the Aggregate Demand Effects of Interest Rate Cuts: Olivier Wang and Miles Kimball 131

  181. Defining Economics 129

  182. Martin Wolf: Why Bankers are Intellectually Naked 129

  183. Believe in Yourself 129

  184. Dr. Smith and the Asset Bubble 129

  185. Books on Economics 129

  186. Inside Mormonism: The Home Teachers Come Over 128

  187. Owen Nie: Monetary Policy in Colonial New York, New Jersey and Delaware 126

  188. America's Big Monetary Policy Mistake: How Negative Interest Rates Could Have Stopped the Great Recession in Its Tracks 125

  189. How and Why to Expand the Nonprofit Sector as a Partial Alternative to Government: A Reader’s Guide 124

  190. An Underappreciated Power of a Central Bank: Determining the Relative Prices between the Various Forms of Money Under Its Jurisdiction  123

  191. The Swiss National Bank May Need to Cut Its Target Rate Further Now That It Could Get In Trouble with the US If It Keeps Buying So Many Foreign Assets 122

  192. John Stuart Mill on the Adversary System 120

  193. John Stuart Mill on Having a Day of Rest and Recreation 118

  194. Building Up With Grace  117

  195. Andrew Carnegie on Cost-Cutting 117

  196. How the Romans Made a Large Territory 'Rome'  116

  197. John Stuart Mill on the Need to Make the Argument for Freedom of Speech 116

  198. Markus Brunnermeier and Yann Koby's ‘Reversal Interest Rate’ 116

  199. John Locke: Property in the State of Nature 116

  200. Edmund Burke's Wisdom 116

  201. Why I Read More Books than Economic Journal Articles 116

  202. John Locke on Diminishing Marginal Utility as a Limit to Legitimately Claiming Works of Nature as Property 115

  203. The Mystery of Consciousness 115

  204. John Stuart Mill: The Central Government Should Be Slow to Overrule, but Quick to Denounce Bad Actions of Local Governments 113

  205. The Equilibrium Paradox: Somebody Has to Do It 113

  206. Scott Adams's Finest Hour: How to Tax the Rich 113

  207. Jing Liu: Show Kids that Solving Math Problems is Like Being a Detective 113

  208. Cathy O'Neil on Slow-Cooked Math 112

  209. On the Virtue of Scientific Disrespect 111

  210. John Locke on the Mandate of Heaven 111

  211. The Government and the Mob  111

  212. Leveling Up: Making the Transition from Poor Country to Rich Country 111

  213. Libertarianism, a US Sovereign Wealth Fund, and I 111

  214. Why the US Needs Its Own Sovereign Wealth Fund 111

  215. Steven Pinker on the Goal of Education 110

  216. How Big is the Sexism Problem in Economics? 108

  217. Annie Atherton: I Tried 7 Different Morning Routines — Here’s What Made Me Happiest (link post) 108

  218. An Agnostic Invocation 107

  219. Glenn Ellison's New Book: Hard Math for Elementary School 106

  220. Noah Smith—Jews: The Parting of the Ways 105

  221. Democratic Injustice 105

  222. Bruce Bartlett on Careers in Economics and Related Fields 105

  223. Christian Kimball: Anger [1], Marriage [2], and the Mormon Church [3] 104

  224. So You Want to Save the World 104

  225. Janet Yellen is Hardly a Dove—She Knows the US Economy Needs Some Unemployment 104

  226. The Mormon Church Decides to Treat Gay Marriage as Rebellion on a Par with Polygamy 103

  227. Michael Huemer's Immigration Parable 103

  228. Monetary Policies in the Age of Uncertainty 102

  229. Amy Morin and Steven Benna: 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do (link post) 102

  230. John Locke: Law Is Only Legitimate When It Is Founded on the Law of Nature 101

  231. Top 52 All-Time Posts and All My Columns Ranked by Popularity, as of May 23, 2014 101

  232. Gather ’round, Children, Here’s How to Heal a Wounded Economy 99

  233. The Arbitrage Pricing Theory as a Noise Trader Model 98

  234. So What If We Don't Change at All…and Something Magical Just Happens? 98

  235. How Freedom of Speech for Falsehood Keeps the Truth Alive 97

  236. Luigi Zingales: Pro-Market vs. Pro-Business 96

  237. Expert Performance and Deliberate Practice 96

Christmas Dinner 2018 with the Kimballs in Colorado

Photography in this blog post by Jordan Matthew Kimball

Photography in this blog post by Jordan Matthew Kimball

Our son Jordan’s long-time girlfriend, Caroline, is a fabulous cook. She cooked Christmas dinner for Jordan, Gail, me and herself this year. What is even more remarkable, Caroline was good enough and talented enough to dream up and create dishes consistent with the way Gail and I are trying to eat—in accordance with principles I write about here on this blog in my weekly diet and health posts. Caroline graciously wrote up the recipes below.

Slow Roasted Prime Rib with Horseradish Cream and Balsamic Reduction 

  • 8 lb Standing or Bone-In Prime Rib

  • 2-3 tbs Grated Horseradish

  • cup Sour Cream

  • ½ cup Avocado Oil Mayo

  • ½ tsp White Wine Vinegar

  • 1 cup Balsamic Vinegar

  • Salt & pepper

●      The balsamic reduction can be made up to a week before. I recommend making it at least a day before to keep your kitchen from reeking of vinegar. Heat the balsamic vinegar in an uncovered pot on medium until just boiling. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to simmer until it has been reduced by half. If you make this beforehand, let the reduction cool a little before storing in a heat-proof container. Once the reduction cools, it will be harder to pour.

●      A day before serving the prime rib, coat the outside of the prime rib with salt & freshly cracked black pepper. Optionally loosen the fat cap from the bottom so that it hangs downward like a flap. This allows air flow when it roasts and helps crisp the fat. Leave uncovered in the fridge to allow to air dry.

●      Also on the day before, mix the horseradish, sour cream, mayo and white wine vinegar together and refrigerate so the flavors have time to meld. Adjust the amount of horseradish to taste.

●      Preheat the oven to 250 F. Place the roast on a deep roasting pan with a wire rack inside. Roast for 3 hours or until an instant meat thermometer shows an internal temperature of 135 F for a rosy pink prime rib. Remove the prime rib from the oven and allow to rest between 30 minutes to 1 hour. Just before serving, heat the oven to 450 F and blast the rib for 10 minutes to brown the outsides.

●      Serve with horseradish cream and balsamic reduction.

 Baked Brussel Sprouts with Pancetta, Chevre, Pine Nuts & Dried Cranberries

  • 1 lb Brussel Sprouts

  • 12 oz cubed Pancetta or Bacon

  • 8 oz chopped Chevre or Creamy Goat Cheese

  • ½ cup Pine Nuts

  • (optional) ¼ cup Dried Cranberries

  • Salt & pepper

●      Preheat the oven to 450 F.

●      Steam the brussel sprouts until a fork can just slide into the center. You can do this over a traditional steamer or by covering with a wet paper towel and microwaving for 5-7 minutes depending on the wattage of your microwave.

●      Place steamed brussel sprouts in a flat roasting pan & cover with cubed pancetta. Roast until sprouts are crisp and browned on the outside and the pancetta or bacon is crisp. Turn off the heat and allow the pine nuts to gently toast in the residual heat for another minute.

●      Once removed from the oven, season with salt & pepper to taste. Add goat cheese and dried cranberries if using and serve immediately.

Creamed Pearl Onions

  • 1 lb frozen Pearl Onions

  • 1 cup Chicken Stock

  • 1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 1 Bay Leaf

  • Salt & pepper

●      Heat chicken stock, pearl onions, and bay leaf over medium-high heat. When chicken broth comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium and add the cream.

●      Simmer the pearl onions for 15-20 minutes until onions are translucent and tender. Strain the creamy broth and save all but ½ cup for the Cream of Mushroom Soup.

●      Add the reserved broth back to the onions and simmer until reduced. Season with salt & pepper to taste.

Cream of Mushroom Soup

  • 1 cup Dried Mixed Mushrooms (I used oyster mushrooms, black trumpets, portobello & porcini.)

  • 1 cup chopped fresh Button Mushrooms

  • 1 diced Onion

  • 2 tbs Butter

  • 3 tbs Soy Sauce

  • ½ cup Heavy Whipping Cream

  • 1 tsp Dried Thyme

  • Reserved liquid from the Creamed Pearl Onions

  • Salt & pepper

●      Wash the dried mushrooms to remove any remaining grit. Then soak the mushrooms in hot water for 15 minutes. Once the mushrooms have been reconstituted, reserve 1 cup of the liquid for the soup.

●      Heat butter in soup pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until tender. Then add the fresh and dried mushrooms. Saute for 1 minute. Add the soy sauce and stir to distribute evenly.

●      Add the reserved mushroom liquid and thyme. Cover and bring to a boil. The mushroom liquid may be a little bitter depending on your mix. Sweeten with the reserved pearl onion broth and add the cream. Season with salt & pepper. Keep covered over low heat to keep warm until ready to serve.

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and Camembert cheese

Blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and Camembert cheese

Don’t miss my other posts on diet and health:

I. The Basics

II. Sugar as a Slow Poison

III. Anti-Cancer Eating

IV. Eating Tips

V. Calories In/Calories Out

VI. Wonkish

VIII. Debates about Particular Foods and about Exercise

IX. Gary Taubes

X. Twitter Discussions

XI. On My Interest in Diet and Health

See the last section of "Five Books That Have Changed My Life" and the podcast "Miles Kimball Explains to Tracy Alloway and Joe Weisenthal Why Losing Weight Is Like Defeating Inflation." If you want to know how I got interested in diet and health and fighting obesity and a little more about my own experience with weight gain and weight loss, see “Diana Kimball: Listening Creates Possibilities and my post "A Barycentric Autobiography.

John Locke: No One is Above the Law, which Must Be Established and Promulgated and Designed for the Good of the People; Taxes and Governmental Succession Require Approval of Elected Representatives

John Locke’s views are important because so many of the framers of the US Constitution had read his works. In Sections 141-142 of his 2d Treatise on Government: Of Civil Government, he completes and summarizes his Chapter XI (“Of the Extent of the Legislative Power”) delineation of what powers rulers have and what they don’t have. In reading these sections, it is important to remember that John Locke uses the word “legislative” to refer to the ruler or rulers of a commonwealth.

As with taxation, John Locke views the transfer of power from one ruler to another as something that requires authorization by elected representatives—though his lack of insistence that a monarchy must be elective suggests that this authorization by elected representatives could be long prior to the existing ruler dying or stepping down:

§. 141. Fourthly, The legislative cannot transfer the power of making laws to any other hands: for it being but a delegated power from the people, they who have it cannot pass it over to others. The people alone can appoint the form of the commonwealth, which is by constituting the legislative, and appointing in whose hands that shall be. And when the people have said, We will submit to rules, and be governed by laws made by such men, and in such forms, nobody else can say other men shall make laws for them; nor can the people be bound by any laws, but such as are enacted by those whom they have chosen, and authorized to make laws for them. The power of the legislative, being derived from the people by a positive voluntary grant and institution, can be no other than what that positive grant conveyed, which being only to make laws, and not to make legislators, the legislative can have no power to transfer their authority of making laws, and place it in other hands.  

In addition to succession within a commonwealth of a given geographical extent, this seems to imply that annexation of lands that were outside the commonwealth—or cession of lands that were in the commonwealth to the control of some ruler outside the commonwealth—requires approval by elected representatives of the people in those lands. However, John Locke does not directly address that issue in this passage.

In Section 142, John Lock gives a good summary of the limits to the power of rulers, I have boiled down this summary still further into the title of this post.

§. 142. These are the bounds, which the trust, that is put in them by the society, and the law of God and nature, have set to the legislative power of every commonwealth, in all forms of government.  

First, They are to govern by promulgated established laws, not to be varied in particular cases, but to have one rule for rich and poor, for the favourite at court, and the country man at plough.  

Secondly, These laws also ought to be designed for no other end ultimately, but the good of the people.  

Thirdly, They must not raise Taxes on the property of the people, without the consent of the people, given by themselves, or their deputies. And this properly concerns only such governments, where the legislative is always in being, or at least where the people have not reserved any part of the legislative to deputies, to be from time to time chosen by themselves.  

Fourthly, The legislative neither must nor can transfer the power of making laws to any body else, or place it any where, but where the people have.

For links to other John Locke posts, see these John Locke aggregator posts: