Tom Naughton is a Fat Head

Link to the episode [mp3]

There is an amazing amount of misinformation in the world today. Some of it is unintentional and is simply repeated so often people assume it’s true. These are misconceptions or myths such as you only use 10% of your brain or Jesus was born on December 25th.1 However, there is other misinformation in the world that is more sinister. Misinformation of this sort is usually designed to manipulate you into buying a product, or it could be used as propaganda to convert you to a certain belief system.2 Unfortunately we are a trusting species and most of this manipulation works surprisingly well! That’s why the less scrupulous among us have used quack medicine and scams and cons to get rich quick at the expense of the more trusting among us.

I don’t consider Fat Head to be on the level of a scam, but it is filled with quite a bit of misinformation, manipulation, and disingenuous statements. In fact, most of the “experts” involved with this film have a vested interest their version of reality being true. That is to say, if you end up believing the main thrust of the movie then they can directly profit off that belief by selling you their books, supplements, DVDs, etc.

Why do I care so much about what other people believe? Usually I don’t. If Scientologists want to form a club of celebrities that believe in stuff like thetans and Xenu and engrams and other such nonsense I could not care less. Go nuts, I say. Other things, however, don’t sit well with me. I don’t exactly know why, but if it’s demonstrably false it really gets under my skin… especially if it is in my field of education and training.

Let’s get to the actual meat and potatoes of the movie, shall we? If I had to sum up the thesis of this movie it would be this: There is a large conspiracy in this country and it involves the media, scientists, the government, and non-governmental organizations. You should eat more meat because it’s actually really good for you; anyone that says otherwise is either brainwashed or in the pocket of Big Vegetable. Vegetarians are radical nutjobs. I hate the government. I hate Morgan Spurlock. Do you think I am exaggerating this? You must not have seen the movie. It breaks down like this: You know those studies that claim cholesterol and saturated fat are bad for you? Well it turns out they are all bogus. Every. Single. One. There was a dude named Ancel Keys some years ago that published a fake study linking cholesterol to heart disease. Then every other research scientist ever decided to piggyback off of his data and published studies that showed the same link even though it was false.3 Why would they do this?? Because the government said to. Yeah, see we actually live in a fascist state where you can’t get any funding for research unless you promise to publish more fake studies that promote eating more fruits and vegetables. Why would the government do such a thing? I dunno, maybe Del Monte bought all the politicians. Did I mention I hate our government? I really do. I’m not a big fan of Morgan Spurlock or CSPI, either.

It just cannot be believed by any rational, thinking person. There is a conspiracy against the public to make us unhealthy? Why? Just because the government hates us? First of all can you imagine the effort needed to carry this out? Picture 99% of all the scientists and medical doctors being involved, plus all (or at least most) of the US government. That would be some X-Files level operation right there, and we’re just scratching the surface! What about other countries? They also have research scientists. What do their studies show? As it turns out essentially every study around the world supports the FACT that circulating levels of cholesterol and intake of saturated fat play a huge role in atherosclerosis. So there goes that little conspiracy theory, unless you want to go even further and claim it’s not just a US conspiracy but a global conspiracy!!!

Meet the Experts

Michael and Mary Eades

According to their own website, they appear to be kind of a husband and wife team that both received MDs from the University of Arkansas. Now I respect anyone that has the brains and patience to get a medical degree. No doubt they take time and an incredible discipline. I will say, though, that the University of Arkansas is not exactly Harvard Medical School or Johns Hopkins University. In fact it’s as pretty far from them as you can go while still remaining an accredited medical school. All things being equal I’d rather take medical and/or dietary advice from someone that went to a more elite university rather than one located in the Ozarks. Also, I looked for any published studies by the aforementioned doctors Eades and was able to only find one that was co-authored by a Dr. Loren Cordain of my old alma mater Colorado State University. It’s nothing ground-breaking, just a review article detailing why you don’t want a ton of circulating insulin in your blood. Why do I bother to bring this up? The Eadeses style themselves as nutrition experts but have only been involved in authoring one review article back in 2003. This makes me skeptical of their claims about being nutrition experts and their pursuit of “research into metabolic and nutritional medicine,” as they put it on their website. What is a review article? Basically  it’s a summary of one particular area of research. That means there are not any actual scientific experiments conducted on the part of the author(s).

If you visit their website you will notice that they also sell several pop diet books that promote low-carb diets, so I don’t know if they are exactly a source of objective and unbiased information. Remember what I said earlier about a vested interest? Whaddya know! You can also buy a ton of nutritional supplements from them, too. Who would have thought? You can also get something called Metabosol for $209.95. If you are too pressed for cash not to worry, they have a “value pack” of Metabosol for $149.00. I’m sure they would tell you it’s a steal at that price.4

Al Sears

Dr. Sears is also a MD who got his degree at the University of South Florida, according to his website. Remember when I said that the University of Arkansas is about as far from Johns Hopkins as you can get? I lied. It’s actually the University of South Florida. Dr. Sears also sells a myriad of books including one that claims the sun will actually prevent cancer! He will also sell you a metric shit-ton of supplements. Seriously  a BOATLOAD. Everything from anti-aging to detox to plastic bio-shields. What are bio-shields?* They protect you from your own cell phone, of course. I’ll let the good doctor explain:

This new breakthrough, which is nearly invisible, neutralizes the waves that come out of your cell phone.

It doesn’t try to block them, weaken them, or deflect them.

It simply turns them into natural waves… waves that don’t cook your head.

By sending out small pulses of energy, it changes the wave pattern your cell phone sends out, neutralizing the heating effect.

But of course, it doesn’t interfere with your cell phone reception. You don’t even notice this is happening.

What’s the secret?

Natural electro-magnetic fields of energy.

Now that’s just good science. I don’t think this shield even takes batteries to send out the small pulses of energy – that’s how advanced it is. It’s yours for the low, low price of $59.95 plus shipping. I really need to get into this racket of selling “wellness” products. Seriously. I bet he makes a killing.

As an aside I was unable to unearth any peer-reviewed publications by this nutrition expert. If you have any feel free to send them my way.

Eric Oliver

Here’s a guy who got his PhD from UC Berkeley and is now a professor at the University of Chicago. Those are some serious credentials. Only thing is he got his doctorate in political science and now teaches political science. He has absolutely no education or training in the nutritional sciences, or any field of biology for that matter, at least according to his CV. I would not mind grabbing a beer with this guy and talking politics, but if I made a doc about nutrition I would not put him in as an expert. But hey, that’s just me.

Mary Enig

Finally we have an expert who has actually been involved in scientific experiments and has published articles in actual scientific journals! No joke. I can’t believe it.

Sally A. Fallon

I really don’t know what she is doing in this movie either. She has degrees in English and is the president of this organization called the Weston A. Price Foundation. We are never told what it is in the movie or why we might want to hold this foundation in any kind of esteem. Some simple Googling can remedy any ignorance, though. Evidently it is a bit of a fringe group that promotes high animal fat, high animal protein, low-vegetable diets. In addition to meat they also promote raw milk and… something… oh yeah homeopathy!!  They claim to be against fluoridation as well. Oh, but CSPI are the real radicals, right? Because they push for nutrition labeling. Whatever. Quackwatch has some info about the foundation’s namesake, and as far as I know Quackwatch is unimpeachable.

Jacob Sullum

Who is this asshat and why do I care what he says? Oh, he’s a professional libertarian and writes for a magazine that no one has heard of. A perfect addition to the panel of experts.

Tom Naughton

The filmmaker himself. According to the bio on his website he was going to be a doctor but was not a fan of science so he did something else. He puts it like this:

After two years of pre-med, Tom switched to a self-directed major called “Random Courses That Do Not Involve Studying Organic Chemistry.” By creating his own major, Tom enjoyed the rare distinction of graduating at the top and bottom of his class simultaneously. His valedictorian speech was very short, as he was the only one in attendance.

Oh Tom you’re such a card! Did he drop out of school? Major in something else? We do not know. But apparently he went on to try his hand at freelance writing, and then he tried to make it big in Hollywood as an actor on sitcoms. During the filming of Fat Head he seems to be employed as a computer programmer of some sort. C++? Python? HTML? It is unclear. What is clear (if his bio is even partially true) is the he likes the limelight more than he likes science, and he is going to lecture you about the etiology of heart disease5 because a) he read a pop science book once, and b) he wants to be on the silver screen.

He also seems to spend quite a lot of time blogging. The last time I visited his personal blog he had published the 14th iteration of an email debate he was having with one of his “leftist friends.” After giving that post a cursory glance I discovered two things: 1) Naughton thinks these email debates are so riveting that the world must see them, and 2) Naughton thinks he knows more about economics than a Nobel laureate and professor of economics at Princeton.

I almost forgot! Naughton sells homemade T-shirts, too.

You can pick one of these beauties up on his website if you have a PayPal account. Looks like they were freshly plucked off the racks at a Paris fashion boutique, amiright?

It appears that the bulk of Fat Head ideology comes from a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories by a guy named Gary Taubes. Mr. Taubes holds degrees in applied physics from Ivy League universities. That’s pretty impressive! However, Taubes has about as much authority expatiating on nutrition as I would have expatiating on string theory, which is to say none. Alrightythen, picture this if you will:  I have taken absolutely zero classes on any kind of physics. I have no education on such matters beyond reading Richard Feynman’s autobiography. Yet I decide to write a book about how everything we have been taught about Einstein’s mass-energy equivalency was wrong. I’ll go tour the country lecturing for no less than $5,000 per appearance and say “Hey guys, Einstein was wrong! Really. There is no link between the mass of an object and its energy content. It’s all a big hoax perpetuated by stupid scientists and the media. I did some Googling one night and unraveled the hell out of it. E=MC2 is the greatest lie of our generation. My book is on sale in the back. I accept cash, Visa, and MasterCard.”

The Actual Science

Although it is exceedingly easy with this panel of experts, I don’t want to engage exclusively in ad hominem attacks.

Modern humans (defined as Homo Sapiens) have not been around for millions of years like the filmmaker claims. Conservative estimates have placed the origins of humanity at about 100,000 years ago. More liberal estimates say we arose 250,000 years ago. I’ve even seen reports of up to 400,000 years, but I know of no legitimate anthropologist that would claim that humans have been around for millions of years. Why would I nitpick about something so seemingly insignificant? If someone is going to tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat based on what he/she assumes the first humans ate, yet are off on the origins of humanity by orders of magnitude then I would ask “Why should I trust their interpretations of the actual diet and its supposed benefits?”

Which brings me to another thing: Where did they get their information on the diets of early humans? I certainly did not see or hear any evidence that supported their version of a Paleolithic diet. Just assertion from the “experts” that for millions of years humans ate almost exclusively saturated animal fat.

The facts: Every nutrition professor I ever had – in addition to any literature I have read on the topic6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 – has stated that early humans subsisted on a diet of mainly foliage and seeds with periodic access to meat and a good amount of this meat was in the form of fish. There are of course debates on exactly how much saturated fat and unsaturated fat and fiber and total calories and cholesterol and what-have-you were in the diet of early humans or human ancestors. It’s difficult to come to a definitive number in terms of grams of any particular macro or micronutrient. To be honest it is probably quite variable, depending on which particular ecological niche of East Africa you want to study. However, the preponderance of evidence points toward a diet that was highly diverse, more total calories than we consume today (probably due to the fact that they were way more physically active than we are today), very high in fiber, included both terrestrial meat and seafood, included a lot of foliage, and included seeds, pulses, legumes, and tubers. In any case I can tell you what the “Paleolithic” diet DID NOT include, and that’s fried chicken, hamburgers, butter, French fries, and basically everything you see Naughton eating in the movie.

A Note on Diets and the Lipid Profile

A couple of things to note: both exercise and weight loss significantly affect cholesterol levels. In the film Naughton mentions that he walks in his spare time for a bit of exercise, but I don’t think he ever mentions how much. However, Naughton is interviewed by Jimmy Moore on his Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast shortly after the film’s release and (if memory serves) says he walked 15-20 miles per week while filming his documentary. This exercise alone could have caused the modest improvements in his lipid profile, especially if he was more-or-less sedentary prior to filming.

Moreover, although Naughton claims in the beginning of the film that the whole calories-in-calories-burned paradigm for weight loss is a “load of balogna,” if you look at his dietary records you’ll notice that he keeps his daily calorie intake below 2000 kcals/day on most days. Now I don’t know much about Mr. Naughton, but I know quite a bit about my own caloric needs. I’ve performed just about every physiology/metabolic analysis available to me over the years (from DEXA scans, glucose clamps, REE, respiratory quotient, Harris-Benedict, indirect calorimetry, etc, etc…) and I require about 3000-3500 kcals/day for zero wight loss or weight gain. I am almost certainly taller than Naughton (I’m 6’6″) and probably slightly more active as well, but I imagine that both our caloric needs are not too dissimilar. At the risk of spoon-feeding you the obvious conclusion here (pardon the pun): this effectively ensured weight loss during his pseudo Super Size Me diet.

Speaking of the Super Size Me diet, if you have seen both films you will notice that despite what Mr Naughton would have you believe the diets are in fact quite different from each other, and therefore not comparable. For instance, if you look at Naughton’s food record he doesn’t eat buns, he doesn’t drink sodas (unless they are diet), and eats fries only 3 out of the 28 days (Spurlock goes 30 or 31 days I think, but that’s not too important). If you have seen Super Size Me you will notice this is very contrary to what Spurlock ate and drank. Moreover, towards the end of Super Size Me you may also recall that Spurlock devotes a fair amount of screen time pointing out that it wasn’t the Big Macs and burgers that caused his weight gain and subsequent health problems, but in fact the sugary sodas and the fries that were mostly to blame. This would have helped Naughton make his carbs-are-bad point, but instead Naughton decides to shit all over Super Size Me and call Spurlock a liar.

Naughton also does a bonus fat-binge diet toward the end of his movie. He does not tell us what his daily caloric intake is during the month of his fat binge, but if it’s near his previous month and his energy requirements are in the neighborhood of 2500 kcals/day then he is definitely losing weight during his binge. Like I said earlier this will also beneficially affect his lipid profile.

Now what about his diet? You can also manipulate your cholesterol levels via the diet. Most notably, saturated fatty acids can lead to an increase in LDL, HDL, and of course total cholesterol, but not all saturated fatty acids do this. Even though he makes the argument in the film that vegetable oils are bad for you, the coconut oil that you see him adding to his food is one such example of a saturated fat that has a neutral effect on cholesterol because of how it is packaged and transported through the blood vessels. Eggs also don’t have a huge effect on cholesterol. The steak and the cheese and the cream, sure. But clearly that was not enough to override his exercise and weight loss.

Something To Think About

Let’s pretend for a moment that all these nutrition “experts” are right. That early humans and/or human ancestors had a diet consisting of ridiculous amounts of fat.  Just nothing but animal protein and animal fat with nary a vegetable or a grain passing their lips. Just imagine that humans were the ultimate carnivorous predator on the African savannah, so much so that lions would shit themselves and gallop away at the sight of us. Can you imagine it? Okay good. Now dig this vibe: that would have absolutely no bearing on whether such a diet would be healthy. That’s right. As my philosophy friends might say “you cannot derive an ought from an is” (although in this case it would be a was).

More facts: It is claimed in the film that early humans were taller. This is untrue. Here’s a recent graph of European height over the past few decades.12

As you can see it’s a steady growth. But what about really early humans? Maybe we (or our ancestors) used to be really tall, then we got short, and now we’re getting tall again. Okay let’s look at the skeletal remains of Australopithecus, shall we? Lucy was 3 ft 7 in tall for Christ’s sake! Incredibly short. You’ve seen that Evolution of Man image, right? Did any of those proto-humans look taller than the human? Nein.

In the podcast I mentioned some studies that refuted the claim by Fallon that “corn oil was a disaster” and that beef tallow prevented cancer (in rodents anyway).13, 14, 15 I made a sincere attempt to find any studies that backed up her claim. The best I could find was a study claiming there was not much difference in rodents fed high amounts of beef fat and rodents fed high amounts of corn oil regarding tumor incidence. Although that same study stated that rodent populations that were fed low-fat diets had markedly less carcinogenesis than their high-fat counterparts, which would undermine the claims of “more fat is better for you.” If anyone can find links or PDFs of those studies she’s talking about please send them to me. I don’t have any kind of religious devotion to any particular diet, and I will go where the evidence leads me.**

Even More Facts

Remember in the film when Naughton mentioned Dr. Kilmer McCully as token proof of the global conspiracy about heart disease because Dr. McCully had a theory about what might cause heart disease and it wasn’t cholesterol and he allegedly got fired for it but Naughton never mentions what the theory was? Do you also recall in the podcast episode when I say that it is deliciously ironic what Dr. McCully’s theory actually was because it turned out to be hyperhomocysteinemia which is caused by too much animal protein and not enough B vitamins, something even the good doctor himself called “[animal] protein intoxication”? Great! Here’s the New York Times article that I plucked the information from if you wanted to read it for yourself.

The rest of my critique of this awful, awful movie is in the podcast. I would still like to know about any federal mandate stating that kids cannot walk to school and must take the bus instead. Please inform me so I can write a strongly worded letter to the Obama administration about how I vehemently disagree with such a federal mandate. Then I’ll write a second letter to Mr. Naughton thanking him for bringing this travesty to the attention of the public. Or maybe that little tidbit was just some Grade A bullshit that was utilized to rile up the audience in favor of his libertarian cause against the nanny state.

Fun Facts

The Paleo Diet was recently ranked dead last in the US News & World Report Best Diets. Here are the experts that reviewed all the diets. What do they know anyway, with their fancy Ivy League degrees and RD accreditations from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly known as the American Dietetic Association)? It’s all a big hoax anyway.

I also found a section in a nutrition textbook focusing on low-carb diets. Instead of linking to several photocopied pages I am just posting a table summarizing the current science regarding this trend.16

Bonus Picture

Here is a graph showing global web traffic of “paleo diet.”

As you can see it is growing almost exponentially. However, I imagine that around 2015 or maybe sooner the novelty will wear off just like the Atkins diet and it will be just another blip in the history of fad diets.

*It appears as if the good Dr. Sears has since removed the Bio-Shields from his catalog. You can see it archived on the wayback machine and here. Nevertheless, he is still hawking ridiculous stuff at absurdly high prices. For instance he is selling 2 anti-aging DVDs for $199.00! Please tell me no one has actually spent two hundred dollars on that. Please?

**EDIT: I think I may have found the study she was talking about. It seems like a strange study, but I’ll try to summarize it as best I can. So apparently the researchers were investigating the effects of conjugate linoleic acid (CLA, a polyunsaturated fatty acid) that has been shown in other studies to have anticarcinogenic properties with rodents. They fed all mice high fat diets, but the diets differed in fat composition. The experimental diets were a vegetable fat blend, a vegetable fat blend + CLA, a vegetable fat blend + CLA + beef tallow, a vegetable fat blend + corn oil, and a vegetable fat blend + corn oil + CLA. After four weeks they took the rodents and injected them with tumor cells in the mammary area and the tail.  Then they sacrificed the mice and measured tumors. Evidently they got some data on the tumors showing no significant differences between the diets but declined to include that data in the study (the authors mentioned this). However, they were able to find that if 0.05% CLA was added to the diets the vegetable fat blend + beef tallow diet showed a significant decrease in “lung tumor burden” over the other diets. Furthermore, if you were to add 0.1% CLA to the diets then the vegetable fat blend only and the vegetable fat blend + beef tallow diet showed a significant decrease in “lung tumor burden.” Do you see what I mean about being strange? I was tempted to wonder why one would conduct such an odd study…. Then I saw it. Did you see it, too? At the bottom of the first page:

Funded by beef and veal producers and importers through their $1-per-head checkoff and was produced for the Cattlemen’s beef board and state beef councils by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association

It doesn’t mean that the study is exactly bogus, but it suggests that there were probably quite a few of these studies done with the NCBA actively looking for any hint that beef might be sort of almost healthy so they could take the findings and trumpet them to the skies. So…. There you go. Proof that under the exact right circumstances a little bit of beef tallow can be slightly chemopreventive in rodents.

  1. You should take an hour or two to peruse the Wikipedia page on common misconceptions if you haven’t already. It will blow your mind. I guarantee you believe at least one thing in that list that is patently false.
  2. although the ultimate goal there is likely financial anyway
  3. except for the handful of scientists that agree with us – they are brave, brave souls
  4. Looks like a glorified multivitamin to me, though.
  5. among other diseases he never studied
  6. Kay RF. Dental Evidence for the Diet of Australopithecus. Ann. Rev. Anthropol. 14, 315-41 (1985)
  7. Broadhurst CL, et al. Brain-specific lipids from marine, lacustrine, or terrestrial food resources: potential impact on early African Homo sapiens. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part B 131, 653–673 (2002)
  8. Hockett B and Haws J. Nutritional Ecology and Diachronic Trends in Paleolithic Diet and Health. Evolutionary Anthropology 12, 211–216 (2003)
  9. Marean CW, et al. Early human use of marine resources and pigment in South Africa during the Middle Pleistocene. Nature 449, 905-909  (2007)
  10. Konner M and Eaton SB. Paleolithic Nutrition. Nutr Clin Pract 25, 594-602 (2010)
  11. Don’t pay any attention to these studies, of course, or any other studies for that matter because we all know the researchers are in cahoots with Big Soy. Unless they show something that might be interpreted as pro-meat or pro-saturated fat, in which case those researchers should be heralded as torchbearers of truth and light.
  12. Taken from this study: McEvoy BP and Visscher PM. Genetics of human height. Economics and Human Biology 7, 294–306 (2009)
  13. Morei T, et al. Beef Tallow, but Not Perilla or Corn Oil, Promotion of Rat Prostate and Intestinal Carcinogenesis by 3,22-Dimethyl-4-aminobiphenyl. Jpn. J. Cancer Res 92, 1026–1033 (2001)
  14. You can read the rest of them yourself here and here because they are not available online, or at least not at my institution of higher learning. I personally scanned them. You’re welcome.
  15. This one is not about cancer, but it’s still pertinent to this discussion: Shimomura Y, et al. Less Body Fat Accumulation in Rats Fed a Safflower Oil Diet Than in Rats Fed a Beef Tallow Diet. J Nutr. 11, 1291-1296 (1990)
  16. Sizer F and Whitney E. (2007) Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies, 11th Edition. Brooks Cole, pp 342. Here is the context if you reeeeeally wanna see it.
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135 thoughts on “Tom Naughton is a Fat Head

  1. Right on! I’m ashamed to say there was a time when I was on the edge of falling for some of this faux science…then I started looking around for my own answers. I still can’t find anything about Keyes being discredited, but that “factoid” is all over the place. David Katz wrote something interesting several months ago about how he thinks the paleo diet could actually be quite a healthy diet…if people were actually eating like paleo people probably did: half vegetables and some fruit (by weight, not calories), and the meat component coming from wild game or grass-fed beef (i.e., relatively lean). But the reality is that there’s a whole lot of bacon and sausage noshing going on. I haven’t seen Fat Head…I’ll put it on my list for next time I feel like throwing things at my TV.

    • My first comment! Thanks for the feedback Carrie. When I asked about the Seven Countries Study in class I was genuinely curious, because like you I had heard about the criticisms but never saw anything persuasive against it.

      I had an undergraduate professor devote a couple of lectures to the diets of early man, plus I’ve seen enough Les Stroud shows to know that game is not as plentiful nor as easy to catch as we might like it to be.

  2. Hallo there, nice to read some sense!

    I’m going to be doing an accredited Nutrition degree and this entire debate obviously popped into the ‘must read’ category. Lovely to see an objective standpoint. Two things I’d like to add to your wonderful article.

    1) Why are we looking at what people ate back then anyway? Their life expectancies were in the 30’s for Pete’s sake! Today’s longest living people (90’s and 100’s!) tend to have a few dietary commonalities that we should pick up on;

    Moderate Fish
    High Legume
    High Veg

    Shouldn’t we be looking at the examples seen in their diets instead?

    2) All saturated fats should not be looked at as equals. A few differences in chain length or structure totally changes a chemical, look at morphine and heroin!

    Studies have found that saturated acids with chain length from 12-16 & 20 increase blood cholesterol, others have negligible effect. Animal related fats tend to fall into those categories.

    Thought I should just pop that in!

  3. Thanks so much for this… I have FB friends who are relentless with this paleo BS. It’s almost like they’ve become missionaries to save the rest of us from the evils of whole grains.

    Is this a brand new blog? I will be reading… ;)

    • Yes, it is quite new. I’m still messing with it to get it how I want it, but thanks for stopping by! The Paleo Diet is quite trendy right now. If I was smarter I would start churning out some Paleo diet books and ride this gravy train for the next two or three years.

  4. Pingback: Conjugated Linoleic Acids and Grass-fed Beef « The Science of Nutrition
  5. what about jimmy moore low carb podcasts with all the mediial doctors on them he has 550 of them most of them are doctors

  6. I am deeply disturbed by your approach to this subject. You’re bashing Doctors for daring to discuss their opinions based on how far removed they are from Harvard or other Ivy League schools? Their medical degrees are some how delegitimized because they are from Arkansas or Florida? You went to Colorado and Washington Universities-aren’t they even further away from Harvard? And to gloss over Gary Taubes education because you don’t like what he said is VERY disingenuous. The man DID go to Harvard, as well as Cornell AND Stanford. Being a scientific researcher and considering his extremely impressive educational background, most would at least consider his research. Do try to read his book, you may not agree with what he says, but he backs it up with considerable and ponderous research.

    I agree with many of the things you have said, but am turned off by your sarcastic snarky approach, and you are dishonest in some of your representations of the information in the documentary. For example, you start out by strongly implying it’s a scam. There is no “scam” and it’s unfair to imply so. You may believe the author is wrong, but there is no indication that he is trying to fool people or take their money. The examples you listed about people selling things on their personal sites is spurious. This is America, we are allowed to have free enterprise, selling things does not make one a “scammer.”

    You claim his point of view is, and I quote, “Yeah, see we actually live in a fascist state where you can’t get any funding for research unless you promise to publish more fake studies that promote eating more fruits and vegetables.” This is an outright dishonesty on your part. He never once said anything like this in the documentary. He was talking about government promoted low fat diets and GRAIN producers, not vegetables. He, along with the experts he included in his documentary, are not anti-vegetables. All of them agree that eating vegetables are necessary to good health. Why the flagrant dishonesty? You have many good points, but as an average American consumer who is interested in reading health information, I’m really put off by the above. I have no agenda, and don’t support any “side”, but want the best research and information.

    • I can appreciate your points. Let me try to address some of them.

      “You’re bashing Doctors for daring to discuss their opinions based on how far removed they are from Harvard or other Ivy League schools? Their medical degrees are some how delegitimized because they are from Arkansas or Florida?”

      Perhaps these were below the belt. I was trying to mix sardonic jabs with genuine criticism. I do admit in the post, however, that I was engaging in ad hominem attacks.

      “And to gloss over Gary Taubes education because you don’t like what he said is VERY disingenuous.”

      I don’t see how this is disingenuous since I did not gloss over his education. I mentioned his education and said I was impressed by it. Moreover, he didn’t actually ‘say’ anything in the movie. I would guess that Naughton just read his book and was inspired to make his documentary because of it since Taubes is cited so much, but I don’t really know. I did recently check out Good Calories, Bad Calories from my local library. It is currently sitting on my kitchen table, and I will try to read it as open-mindedly as I can.

      “You claim his point of view is, and I quote, ‘Yeah, see we actually live in a fascist state where you can’t get any funding for research unless you promise to publish more fake studies that promote eating more fruits and vegetables.’ This is an outright dishonesty on your part. He never once said anything like this in the documentary.”

      You’re right about that not being a real quote. I hope no one thinks that Naughton said this verbatim. It’s closer to satire, but that being said I do not think I misrepresented his ideas. The film clearly indicates that researchers and scientists (at least in the field of nutrition science) are on the take, and that the government only funds research that supports its public health propaganda. It’s a very conspiratorial film when you examine it. Furthermore, it just doesn’t square with reality.

    • Thank you DB for pointing this out. Everyone is very sensitive to what this movie pointed out and also completely misses the intent of the movie which is simply the current common “facts” about nutrition and saturated fats need to be looked at again. And if you don’t believe that the FDA and USDA are trying to help promote agriculture the government is subsidizing well I say go look at a company called Monsanto and why the government is dodging the GMO issue. Its not a scam, its capitalism taking over of our government.

      Never once did I see in the film Tom promoting someone to eat all fast food, or not to eat vegetables, or someone should eliminate carbs from their diet.

      Your “meat and potatoes” description was completely wrong. This entire movie was a counter to the Super Size Me documentary so please watch it again with that in mind.

      You said he was eating fries all the time, which was completely wrong…

      This blog was a horrible response to this movie and does not help someone like me in trying to find the truth. You just try and bring down people rather than proving them wrong. You claim he is saying that a HI protein diet is good and that is completely wrong. He is just saying that the fear tactics for low/fat NO MEAT diet might have caused an unexpected consequence which might be contributing to the health state of America today.

      I am vegan M-F and I eat local healthy unprocessed meats on the weekend. I am sick of people looking at me in my state with their nose up because I am eating meat and loving the fat from it. (cooked right). These fats are NOT the enemy and its all about not over indulging. Again his movie was a response to Super Size Me and NOT stating someone should eat fast food all their lives… Thank you and I am sorry for talking in circles, but I think you get my point.

      • And if you don’t believe that the FDA and USDA are trying to help promote agriculture the government is subsidizing well I say go look at a company called Monsanto and why the government is dodging the GMO issue. Its not a scam, its capitalism taking over of our government.

        I’m aware that one of the functions of the USDA is to promote American agriculture, but that issue along with Monsanto and GMOs are not relevant to this post. They might be indirectly relevant on a broader scale, but this post focuses on the claims made in the film and the science behind those claims.

        Your “meat and potatoes” description was completely wrong.

        My summary was editorialized. For example, I wrote I hate Morgan Spurlock which Naughton never actually says. But watching the movie you do get the distinct impression Naughton holds a very unfavorable view of Spurlock for obvious reasons. My summary may have been sardonic, but I still think it’s a fair characterization of the movie.

        This entire movie was a counter to the Super Size Me documentary so please watch it again with that in mind.

        It could have been a “counter” to Super Size Me, but what Naughton did was not even close to what Spurlock did. I have mentioned this very point in other comments here, but I will say it again… Naughton follows a diet (and exercise routine) quite different from Spurlock. For instance, if you look at Naughton’s food record he doesn’t eat buns, he doesn’t drink sodas (unless they are diet), and eats fries only 3 out of the 28 days. You will recall (if you ever watched Super Size Me) this is very contrary to what Spurlock ate/drank. Moreover, towards the end of Super Size Me, you will also recall that Spulock spends several minutes pointing out that it wasn’t the Big Macs and burgers that caused his weight gain and subsequent health problems, but in fact the sugary sodas and the fries that were mostly to blame. This would have helped Naughton make his carbs-are-bad point, but instead Naughton decides to shit all over Super Size Me.

        Also, Spurlock makes a point not to exercise too much so any change in health should be related mainly to dietary intake. However, Naughton mentions in an interview with Jimmy Moore that he walked about 15-20 miles per week during filming. He also mentions this in the film which shows clips of him walking around. You really can’t compare the two films, because the diet and exercise is so radically different.

        Moreover, Naughton claims the calories-in/calories-burned paradigm is “a load of balogna” yet he specifically mentions how he kept his calories in check and exercised. If you take a look at his food log you will notice that most days his calories are well under 2000. Couple that with walking 15-20 miles a week and it’s no wonder he lost weight! Seems like the calories-in/calories-burned theory worked out well for him.

        You said he was eating fries all the time, which was completely wrong…

        I did not say that.

        You just try and bring down people rather than proving them wrong.

        I guess you skimmed over the parts where I was proving them wrong.

        But thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • I look at Naughton’s food log and see that he is eating a very full meal, taking pains to keep his carb intake within a strong limit. He is eating a lot of saturated fat, which, according to the pundits, is supposed to make you bloat up into an artery-clogged butterball, and instead, he has LOST weight and inches. On the other hand, I would love to look at Spurlock’s food log…but he has never made it available TO ANYONE, so we don’t know how he ate “over 5000 calories a day” at McDonald’s. If he ate a Big Mac, then swilled down a half gallon of Coke, he might manage it…but we don’t KNOW what he ate because he never told anyone in detail.

        As for your complaints about the scientists and doctors who gave testimonials in the movie, the fact that you admit those were ad hominem attacks utterly negates your argument — there’s a reason why ad hominem is called a logical fallacy. Even someone you think is a loon might very well be RIGHT.

        It’s like the old story of the guy who gets a flat tire next to an insane asylum. He is very careful when taking off the flat, putting the lug nuts in the hubcap and setting it to one side. But when he goes to put the lug nuts onto the spare, he finds the hubcap overturned and the lug nuts are nowhere to be found. He’s puzzling over this when he hears a voice, one of the inmates of the asylum, talking through a wire-mesh covered window. “Hey! Take one lug nut off each other other wheels, and put them on the spare. That’ll get you to the next town where you can buy new lug nuts.” The man looks at him incredulously, thinking that this just might work…but he shakes his head and says “But you’re CRAZY!” The man in the window nods brightly. “Yes, I’m crazy. But I’m not STUPID.”

        The biochemistry of fats and carbohydrates is neither simple nor disputable when you actually study it. I suggest watching the twin videos by Dr. Robert Lustig, entitled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”, and “Fat Chance: Frutose 2.0″. The second is a refinement of many of the points in the first, and the biochemistry detailed within both utterly demolish both the “energy budget” paradigm and the “fat is bad, carbs are good” concept. You don’t have to be an Ivy League physician with credentials up one leg and down the other, but Lustig happens to BE such a physician, and he works with plenty who have precisely the credentials that should mollify you.

        Tom Naughton isn’t a researcher. He’s a former stand-up comedian who got annoyed with a silly expose’ movie and decided to answer it with one of his own. He quotes many researchers and is quite candid with how he arrived at his information.

      • I look at Naughton’s food log and see that he is eating a very full meal, taking pains to keep his carb intake within a strong limit. He is eating a lot of saturated fat, which, according to the pundits, is supposed to make you bloat up into an artery-clogged butterball, and instead, he has LOST weight and inches.

        You might be interested in this comment I made a few months ago regarding Naughton’s diet. Moreover, “the pundits” don’t say that saturated fat will make you gain weight, they say that saturated fat can lead to heart disease.

        As for your complaints about the scientists and doctors who gave testimonials in the movie, the fact that you admit those were ad hominem attacks utterly negates your argument — there’s a reason why ad hominem is called a logical fallacy. Even someone you think is a loon might very well be RIGHT.

        I wasn’t making an argument with my ad hominem attacks. I just thought it was hilarious (and telling) that most of the “experts” he includes in his documentary are not really nutrition researchers or nutrition experts. Except for Enig, they all have little or no published scientific articles. Many of them don’t even have any training in nutrition or even science. Drs. Eades and Dr. Sears seem more interested in hawking their wares than conducting actual research. If you want to read more substantial arguments against the film I suggest you actually read the whole post instead of stopping about 1/3 of the way in. A good place to start would be “The Actual Science.”

        The biochemistry of fats and carbohydrates is neither simple nor disputable when you actually study it.

        I have studied it, and I agree. It’s very complex.

        Tom Naughton isn’t a researcher.

        Clearly.

        He quotes many researchers and is quite candid with how he arrived at his information.

        You’re right. He basically ripped-off Gary Taubes. Except he wasn’t nearly as good at presenting it as Taubes was.

  7. Thanks for the article Seth. My trainer posted a link to a segment of Fathead on You tube. Though I respect my trainer, I must say the segment had the distinct fishy odor of a late night infomercial. I had to Google quite a bit to find something that looked at it with an actual respect for the scientific method. Much appreciated.

  8. You remind me of the Christian fundamentalist who explained to me when I asked him to “Explain how there could have been a virgin birth.” He said that “it can’t be explained with science…it requires a leap of faith.” And so that is what this debate is for you. You made the leap of faith and now your religion that is being questioned.

    It’s hard to know where to begin to respond to your silly rebuttal of “Tom Naughton is a Fat Head.” You range from snarky comments about the figures in the film not having degrees from prestigious universities to wishful thinking about what the diet of primitive man comprised.

    Do we need to make a list of the ass clowns who all have degrees from prestigious universities? Really? OK, just start listing the all of the brilliant experts who serve and have been serving at the highest position in our government for the past 20 years and then consider what an expert job they’ve done stewarding the ship called the U.S. Government.

    <>
    That’s precisely what several hundred million of us have been doing for 30 years…and it has produced national obesity.

    More snarkery: <>
    Alright! Finally someone who is cool.

    <>

    You make it clear that you haven’t read any of the Taubes books because what he expatiates about is the work done by others, not himself. He claims to be a “science writer” (actually you should like him cause he’s frequently published in the NYTimes) and not a scientist. He researched the studies that have been conducted on diet during the last 150 years and he drew some conclusions; in short, none of them support the kind of diet that the authorities and people like you advocate.

    Taubes is now involved with The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) which is currently conducting a research effort “composed of the best scientists in the field — all independent and suitably skeptical to put to rest, one way or the other, all the major and many of the minor controversies in nutrition research.” You should apply, you might find it interesting.

    But seriously, why all the ad hominem attacks? Why so defensive? Too much invested in your position? Not even curious? Why don’t you just read the books of these people and rebut the words of the books instead of poking fun of degrees from Arkansas? BTW, where is your degree from? Then do some research to determine whether the claims of the people who hold degrees from Ivy League universities (“which is pretty impressive”) are valid?

    <>
    From where would early human Africans have obtained fish? How about early human Germans? Are Australian Aborigines seagoing people? Aren’t you curious?

    <>
    Indeed, what DO they know? Follow the money.

    On your blog you poke fun of <> But about yourself y state that <> Why not Johns Hopkins…or even an Ivy? I don’t get it. Why the snark about Harcombe when your degrees are so similar…and from second rate schools? Sounds to me like you’ve met your match in her.

  9. You remind me of the Christian fundamentalist who explained to me when I asked him to “Explain how there could have been a virgin birth.” He said that “it can’t be explained with science…it requires a leap of faith.” And so that is what this debate is for you. You made the leap of faith and now your religion that is being questioned.

    It’s hard to know where to begin to respond to your silly rebuttal of “Tom Naughton is a Fat Head.” You range from snarky comments about the figures in the film not having degrees from prestigious universities to wishful thinking about what the diet of primitive man comprised.

    Do we need to make a list of the ass clowns who all have degrees from prestigious universities? Really? OK, just start listing the all of the brilliant experts who serve and have been serving at the highest position in our government for the past 20 years and then consider what an expert job they’ve done stewarding the ship called the U.S. Government.

    “I respect anyone that has the brains and patience to get a medical degree…I will say, though, that the University of Arkansas is not exactly Harvard Medical School or Johns Hopkins University. All things being equal I’d rather take medical and/or dietary advice from someone that went to a more elite university rather than one located in the Ozarks.”
    That’s precisely what several hundred million of us have been doing for 30 years…and it has produced national obesity.

    More snarkery: “Dr. Sears is also a MD who got his degree at the University of South Florida… Remember when I said that the University of Arkansas is about as far from Johns Hopkins as you can get? I lied. It’s actually the University of South Florida…Eric Oliver – Here’s a guy who got his PhD from UC Berkeley and is now a professor at the University of Chicago. Those are some serious credentials.”
    Alright! Finally someone who is cool.

    “It appears that the bulk of Fat Head ideology comes from a book called Good Calories, Bad Calories by a guy names [sic] Gary Taubes. Mr. Taubes holds degrees in applied physics from Ivy League universities. That’s pretty impressive! However, Taubes has about as much authority expatiating on nutrition as I would have expatiating on string theory, which is to say none.”

    You make it clear that you haven’t read any of the Taubes books because what he expatiates about is the work done by others, not himself. He claims to be a “science writer” (actually you should like him cause he’s frequently published in the NYTimes) and not a scientist. He researched the studies that have been conducted on diet during the last 150 years and he drew some conclusions; in short, none of them support the kind of diet that the authorities and people like you advocate.

    Taubes is now involved with The Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) which is currently conducting a research effort “composed of the best scientists in the field — all independent and suitably skeptical to put to rest, one way or the other, all the major and many of the minor controversies in nutrition research.” You should apply, you might find it interesting.

    But seriously, why all the ad hominem attacks? Why so defensive? Too much invested in your position? Not even curious? Why don’t you just read the books of these people and rebut the words of the books instead of poking fun of degrees from Arkansas? BTW, where is your degree from? Then do some research to determine whether the claims of the people who hold degrees from Ivy League universities (“which is pretty impressive”) are valid?

    “Every nutrition professor I ever had…has stated that early humans subsisted on a diet of mainly foliage and seeds with periodic access to meat and a good amount of this meat was in the form of fish.”
    From where would early human Africans have obtained fish? How about early human Germans? Are Australian Aborigines seagoing people? Aren’t you curious?

    “The Paleo Diet was recently ranked dead last in the US News & World Report Best Diets. Here are the experts that reviewed all the diets. What do they know anyway, with their fancy Ivy League degrees…”
    Indeed, what DO they know? Follow the money.

    On your blog you poke fun of “Who is this Zoe Harcombe and why should I trust her judgment?…she is a [Q]ualified nutritionist with a Diploma in Diet & Nutrition and a Diploma in Clinical Weight Management, but she is first and foremost an obesity researcher.” But about yourself y state that “I hold a B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Colorado State University.” Why not Johns Hopkins…or even an Ivy? I don’t get it. Why the snark about Harcombe when your degrees are so similar…and from second rate schools? Sounds to me like you’ve met your match in her.

    • I realize that attacking the people rather than the ideas is a logical fallacy. I try not to engage in it too much and I point it out when I do. Perhaps knocking the universities in Arkansas and south Florida was below the belt. After all, these are accredited colleges and not diploma mills.

      That said, I do think education and experience are very important when talking about matters of health, which is why I found it odd that the audience was expected to take dietary advice from people with unrelated degrees or no degrees at all.

      You’re right about my never having read Taubes, at least when this was written. I have delved into some of his work since then and I find it unpersuasive. I just posted a review of Good Calories, Bad Calories, but you probably shouldn’t read it. I doubt it will align with your cognitive inertia.

      Also, thanks for pointing out my spelling error! I hate when I do that.

      Lastly, regarding my criticism (it’s obvious that you don’t appreciate ad hominem remarks yet you engage in plenty yourself) I will say that one difference between myself and someone like Naughton or Taubes or Horcombe is that I am not selling books or DVDs that tell you what to eat. I don’t even have a diet that I am pushing on this blog/podcast like you claim. At least I don’t remember posting or recording anything like that.

  10. I recommend you email, Naught, I hear he is willing to reply to questions. so you could find some of the studies he may have refered in the film. well written.

  11. I just finished listening to your podcast reply to this movie, and you really did nothing besides make fun of the aesthetics of the movie (like the music and the videos of obese people). Then you and your girlfriend tried attacking the experts by saying things like they look like child molesters and have creepy voices. What I didn’t hear was any shred of scientific proof behind your criticisms? All I heard was a regurgitation of the mainstream dogma, mixed in with how you Googled some of the experts.

    I think you largely missed the point on a lot of the points of the movie. One of the points you missed was that Naughton wasn’t trying to say there was no obesity epidemic, not at all. He was pointing out the flawed logic of the BMI scale. He was also pointing out that weight and health are not necessarily synonymous with each other, which is completely true.

    Tom Naughton seems to be very open to do interviews and answer questions. You may give yourself a little bit more credibility if you actually interviewed him for your slam piece, as opposed to just ad hominem attacks and rehashing of the typical advice frequently spewed to us.

    By the way, following a low carb, high fat diet, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight, gotten off all of my cholesterol and hypertension medication, and I have never had a better blood lipid profile. Just some food for thought, and I’m not the only one.

  12. By the way, Eric Oliver wasn’t giving nutrition advice, nor was he used in the movie as a nutrition expert. He was pointing out the flawed process of identifying obese people by the federal government and CDC, and how it affected funding. As a man who has a PHD in government studies, I think this makes him completely relevant. But nice try.

    Oh and by the way, its funny how towards the end of your review here, you put up a chart about high protein diets. This makes it quite obvious that you have never read anything regarding Paleo, Atkins, or anything that could be considered a low carb lifestyle. Most of these programs center around eating healthy fats, and limiting carbohydrates. You know, those things that affect insulin release, which directs the body to store fat? Very few diets condone high protein. Most consider protein as incidental to eating fat, since they’re usually found with each other in nature.

    • Brian, if I may make a few points….

      Congratulations on the weight loss. I lost quite a bit of weight as well several years ago by cutting out sugar and running several times a week. Low-carb diets certainly can be an effective way to lose weight for some people.

      Thanks for taking the time to listen, read, and respond to my work. However, it is evident that you only listened to the first few minutes of the podcast and what you did listen to you did not follow very well. It’s been a while since I recorded it, but I did mention that my SISTER was my guest, not my girlfriend. I don’t have a girlfriend – I have a wife that I also mentioned.

      Second, despite your assertion of “What I didn’t hear was any shred of scientific proof behind your criticisms?” (not sure why you ended that sentence with a question mark) I mentioned several studies by name in addition to mentioning the research of Dr. Drewnowski. I also have references on this post that I imagine you had to scroll through to post a comment. Feel free to go back and look at those.

      It’s been a while since I saw the movie, but I do remember him saying something like (I’m paraphrasing) “It took me several hours to shoot this footage of fat people. If obesity is such an epidemic I should have been able to shoot this in much less time.” He also mentioned that aging boomers are skewing the stats. I think it’s fair to say he was “trying to say there was no obesity epidemic.” Also, I don’t recall him “pointing out that weight and health are not necessarily synonymous with each other,” but correct me if I am wrong. However, like you I would agree with that.

      I did seriously consider trying to interview Mr. Naughton so he could give his side of the story. But if I were to do that I would also feel compelled to point out prior to the interview that I was not a fan of his movie and I thought he and his “experts” misrepresented many things. I would also mention that I would challenge him on many of his points. I would also need to convince him that in spite of this I would not deceptively edit our interview or make him look like a fool. Because of this I simply assumed he would not be interested. Perhaps that was a mistake. On a side note, you will notice that Mr. Naughton did not interview anyone that had a contrary opinion to his.

      Finally, I have to take issue with your claim that high protein is not condoned on these diets. Most of these types of low-carb diets do encourage high-protein intake for many reasons; notably, the protein intake helps to mitigate the protein losses that occur during ketosis and protein intake increases satiety. In fact, the base of the Atkins Food Pyramid is “protein sources.” http://www.atkins.com/Science/Atkins-Food-Pyramid.aspx

      • It all depends on how you define “high protein.” For example, the average RDI according to nutrition.gov for a 35 year old man weighing about 200 pounds would be in the neighborhood of 60g protein per day. Atkins, on the other hand, gives no specific recommendation for a protein amount, at least according to the link you provided. Yes, those foods will have protein, but they are not ONLY protein. Could chicken, fish, and veggies be considered exclusively high protein? Yes, lean cuts, with obviously minimal protein in veggies. The Atkins plan advocates eating full fat items, which is why things like butter, eggs, avocadoes, and non-lean cuts of meat are recommended. The higher fat content of these foods affects greater leptin release, and in turn the satiation of these foods results in no overeating. Now, per the federal guidelines, yes, a typical Atkins or low carber may eat over 100g of protein per day, which would be considered high. The protein number, if properly researched, is a number that low carb dietary experts have all said needs to be personally adjusted to results. Most recommend less than 50g of protein per day, which is less than federal guidelines.

        I think cutting out the fat and limiting protein only leaves one macronutrient- carbohydrates. I will meet you in the middle and agree that refined carbs and sugar are no way to get the 300g recommended by the government, but things like whole grains are not the way to get them either. In the GI tract, it is still broken down into glucose. The release is more gradual, and the insulin and BGL roller coaster not quite as bad as eating a candy bar, but those carbs are still absorbed over time, and can still lead to insulin resistance.

        Regarding your sister, I apologize for the mistake. And to clear it up, I listened to the entire podcast.

        In terms of addressing the movie’s viewpoint about the obesity epidemic, I think speculating about what point Mr. Naughton was trying to prove is purely conjecture. We are both entitled to our opinions, but I stand by my view that he was merely pointing out the flawed logic of the BMI. As an educated person, you have to admit that he has a point- the BMI is very flawed, and I think Eric Oliver made that point very clear in the movie.

        If you ever do try to interview Mr. Naughton, I think you would be successful. The dietary community, on all sides of the issues, are one of the few communities that seem to be willing to defend their positions and do so in a respectful and informative quorum. I point to Dean Ornish being interviewed by Jimmy Moore a few years ago, where he told Jimmy to challenge him. And with all my research in dietary studies, this was probably one of the most interesting interview I’ve heard to date.

        To close, thanks for the congratulations. I do believe that nobody should be a food evangelist- everybody is different out there. Certain things work for each individual separately. I know people who eat low fat, some who are vegans, and some who eat nothing but eggs and bacon, and all will tell you their way is the best. I think finding our own ways are the most effective way to address the health problems of this country, and a one-size-fits-all solution can not be endorsed by bodies as large and influential as the USDA.

    • Brian,

      I’m not an advocate of high-carbohydrate diets or low-fat diets, either. There is plenty of scientific evidence out there that shows one can lose weight and greatly reduce their risks of various diseases on diets of moderate fats, protein, and CHO. There is also similar evidence for Ornish and Pritikin diets, but they are so low-fat I would never want to be on them. I imagine they are barely palatable. At any rate, I would be far more concerned with my intake of protective bioactive compounds than, say, % calories from fat or CHO, but then again I could be biased since that is my field of study.

      Back to the film… Yes, Mr. Naughton did point out legitimate limitations of BMI, but then he used that as evidence of why the CDC obesity statistics are bogus. But perhaps I missed his main point and need to revisit the film.

      I’ve never listened to Jimmy Moore’s podcast, but I will have to look for that Ornish interview. It does sound interesting.

      I will leave the option open to interview Naughton. I certainly would welcome the opportunity, but have always simply assumed he would not be interested.

      I’m glad we could find some common ground on this polarizing issue. The last word is yours if you want it.

  13. Thanks so much for this. It’s so difficult to get evidence based information around nutrition, and it’s often difficult for laypeople (like myself) to recognize nonsense masquerading as science.
    I did start watching this documentary – and I was actually pretty sympathetic to high-protein high-fat eating. What put me off was his ranting about how we’re all being lied to by scientists, doctors and government agencies. Does he really believe that these people and agencies are all purposely feeding us misinformation to make us fat and unhealthy? And does he not understand how the process of peer review works if he thinks that scientists can just write a load of nonsense and publish it without it ever being subject to scrutiny?
    I’m sure it would be a real coup for any scientist to publish evidence that could help reverse the obesity epidemic.So, if this information is so obvious and self-evident, why the hell wouldn’t someone out there prove it and publish?

  14. I’m new to these nutrition debates, but what really interests me in the carb debate is the heart disease angle. I’d never heard about artery inflammation and sugars role in it and how it affects plaque buildup before reading Dr. Dwight Lundell a year ago. The lypo hypothesis fingers cholesterol and for forty years the medical community has focused on fat reduction as heart healthy. I’d never had any reason to doubt it. However, The stats after all these years are pathetic, but the vested interests in the theory are legion. Fathead touched on this but you haven’t mentioned it. Was the movie wrong or misleading about this?

    • I’m not familiar with Dr. Lundell, but I Googled him and this was the first result: http://www.quackwatch.org/11Ind/lundell.html so I am already skeptical of his message.

      The thing about heart disease is that it’s essentially an umbrella term for several heart-related diseases. What’s more is that there is not one single cause for one or all of these diseases. The pathogeneses are multi-faceted.

      That said, dietary factors certainly play a large role in the development of heart diseases. I don’t know how scientifically literate you are, but I have many papers about the causes of atherosclerosis that I can provide you. (Atherosclerosis is probably what you’re talking about.)

      http://ge.tt/7jeJpYf
      http://ge.tt/6LDfpYf
      http://ge.tt/6HFcpYf
      http://ge.tt/8IiRpYf
      http://ge.tt/6EbGpYf
      http://ge.tt/9VafyxZ

      The first link is probably what you’re looking for, but they are all relevant if you’re interested in this issue.

      The long and the short of it is that atherosclerosis is largely due to serum cholesterol levels, specifically LDL, but even more specifically small & dense LDL particles that become oxidized. What’s interesting is that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have nearly the effect on serum cholesterol cholesterol as you might think.

      One of my problems with Fat Head is that the filmmaker sets up a false dichotomy that you can either eat an unhealthy vegetarian-style diet filled with sugar, white flour, and “processed vegetable oils” or you can eat an all natural diet of meat and animal fat like mother nature intended.

      You’d be hard-pressed to find a dietitian or nutritionist or a vegetarian that advocates for a diet higher in sugar or flour, yet he still asserts that the government, scientists, doctors, the media, nutritionists, etc, etc… all want you to eat such a diet. So he ends up only telling one side of the story (namely that sugar is bad for us) while also ignoring the mountain of evidence that doesn’t support his theory.

      I’m typing this in a rush, so does this make sense?

      • Here is the Lundell article I mentioned: http://www.sott.net/article/242516-Heart-Surgeon-Speaks-Out-On-What-Really-Causes-Heart-Disease (sorry, don’t know how to insert links in ipad)

        I’ve no problem with the minor regulatory infractions, and heart surgeons aren’t necessarily great investors. After 25 years of bi-passes his passion turned to promoting his contrarianism, no problem with that either. So not impressed with google hit job on surgeon who saved who knows how many lives. He seems sincere to me.

        The thesis: yes, cholesterol in the artery forms blood blocking plaque. But if not for inflammation, it wouldn’t! What causes inflammation: sugar and carbs. More thesis: when people eat less fat, they eat more carbs. They just do.

        Now I’ve only heard this recently and big ships like the AMA and US gov turn slowly. is it really quackery?

  15. What about me? I believe that there was only a conspiracy in the etymologic sense — breathing together — but I’ve certainly made the point that the lipophobes have refused to accept their failure to show any relation between SF and CVD. The recent meta-analysis was telling because it included studies over twenty years that showed nothing. I included the figure in my blogpost on the Danish fat tax, now departed: http://wp.me/p16vK0-8t The only recent ad hominem I’ve been able to get is when I showed how flawed Lustig’s study was. http://www.plosone.org/annotation/listThread.action?root=63857

    What’s his name with the stocking cap and six-pack abs used to say I was widely quoted which is a big deal for a professor in a medical school. Of course, he was the main person who cited my work and then he stopped, in order to go after Mike Eades. And now this. Hard to get your work cited.

    • Well, I’m not at all familiar with your work so I won’t be able to comment on it intelligently unless/until I have the time to investigate it.

  16. No need for me to give you any facts cause I’ve seen how you deal with them by ridiculing the authors with nonsense arguments about where they got their degree’s. For real ? !! Come on Seth your argument is as weaker than a vegan child.
    Get your head out the sand and face the facts; the current lipid hypothesis isn’t even supported by the stan drug makers anymore. They now claim it’s inflammation not serum cholesterol levels. That’s so 80’s !
    You’re just in lock-step with the FDA which has killed more people with there drugs and is bought and sold by big business.
    That my friend is why you are an IDIOT !!!!

    • Nope, not a grad student. I’m a former vegetarian who was lied to by diet gurus of the ’60’s into believing that meat was bad and that I should eat a low fat diet to save my life. Back in 1980 I became a vegetarian, then turned vegan then macrobiotic then macro with fish. Overall it was a 27 year journey that although started out well turned into a diet related health nightmare. It wasn’t until I gave up soy and embraced the principles of Dr. Weston A. Price that I started to feel better and recover from my ailments caused by the lack of saturated fat/cholesterol and fat soluble vitamins and minerals in my diet. And so it really piss’s me off to see this kind of garbage being passed onto to people who are trying to better their health. I believe in results from People in the real world who are seeing real health benefits from a low carb or paleo diet. Not some grad student’s regurgitated Government health principles that he learned in some government sanctioned main stream medicine college.

      • “I’m a former vegetarian who was lied to by diet gurus of the ’60′s” so you are an idiot yet you called idiot f author?

  17. So basically you’re saying that, if someone has something to sell, their information has to be bogus. Um please tell that to The American Heart Association, the pharmaceutical industry, people who have put out books on veganism and vegetarianism, Morgan Spurlock, Dr. Colin T. Campbell of “The China Study” fame and and so on. There wouldn’t be much information available if the only stuff we trusted were from someone who has no stake in anything. Yes, Tom sells stuff on his website. Considering he financed his movie himself, he has so make back the outlay somewhere, somehow. But no one is pushing anyone to buy any of that stuff. There is a lot of information on his website that is totally free of charge and for the taking, as is the information on Dr. Eades website, and others. I look forward to your response to Dr. Richard Feinman’s comment. He has nothing to sell and his credentials are impeccable.. Mary Enig was warning about the dangers of trans fats 25 years before it became cool to do so. Try rebutting the points made in the movie with some actual data and facts, not a critique of everyone’s credentials and motives. More and more evidence is showing up in peer reviewed journals to support the information in the movie and contradicting the prevailing “wisdom.” And try not attacking straw men. The movie did not promote the Paleo diet or say everyone should eat a low carb diet. He presented information and evidence to support it. What anyone does with that information is up to them. I was aware of the same information long before I saw Fat Head.

    • “So basically you’re saying that, if someone has something to sell, their information has to be bogus.”

      Actually, no. I did not say that. THAT is a straw man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Straw_man Please read up on it so you can avoid using it in the future.

      “Try rebutting the points made in the movie with some actual data and facts, not a critique of everyone’s credentials and motives.”

      Evidently, the followers of whoever posted this link today do not bother to read much of the post before commenting. I suggest you read a little beyond the experts section. If you do you’ll find what you claim I am lacking.

      • I did read to the end. None of the experts in the movie claim that our Paleolithic ancestors ate nothing but meat and fat with “nary a vegetable passing their lips.” So that’s a strawman argumetn. Actually, here’s a fact for you: stable isotope analyses of bones show that early man did eat a lot of meat. Comparisons to modern day carnivores shows that Neanderthals and early modern man were even more carnivorous. Doesn’t mean they didn’t eat fruits and vegetables–it’s harder to assess how much of that they ate. Absolutely no one is claiming that a Paleolithic diet included fried chicken, etc. etc. As I said, Naughton wasn’t trying to eat a Paleo diet in the movie. He was trying to refute Morgan Spurlock’s claim that eating fast food makes you fat and sick.
        As to the chart from your nutrition text book, restricting carbohydrates does, in fact, shift metabolism toward weight loss. It’s true that restricting carbohydrates without restricting calories will not result in weight loss, but the beauty of a low carbohydrate diet is that calories can be and are restricted naturally, without hunger. And according to a recent study comparing a low fat, low carb, and Mediterranean diet, the people in the low carb arm burned more calories per day than the people in either of the other two. So yes, there is a shift in metabolism with carb restriction. Text books aren’t infallible. I’m a retired teacher. I know. Science textbooks, in particular are pretty much out of date by the time they get off the presses.
        Claim 2: BMI isn’t a measure of leanness. So saying that people who eat more protein have a higher BMI is true but doesn’t say anything about how lean they are or aren’t. A person with a higher BMI than another might be very lean and muscular compared to someone with a lower BMI.
        Claim 3. No one in the low carb sphere is claiming that insulin release causes obesity and disease, so that’s another straw man. And while it’s true that insulin can’t cause weight gain in a person who is in energy balance, there is evidence that, in a person who is insulin resistant, the presence of insulin can, indeed, contribute to weight gain by creating energy imbalance. Tom covered that in the movie.
        Claim 4. No problem.

      • First off, I would like to say ‘thank you’ for what I consider to be a thoughtful and substantive comment.

        I’m no anthropologist, but I do enjoy learning about human evolution and human history. I find it quite fascinating. In my readings I have found that the diets of early humans and human ancestors to be more moderate in meat intake than the makers of Fat Head would have you believe. (Cited above and here are some studies regarding Neanderthals) You mentioned some studies that might suggest otherwise. I will happily take a look at them if you want to cite those studies.

        However, like I mentioned when I wrote the post I’m not too concerned about what Neanderthals or early humans may or may not have eaten. I am more concerned about what we are eating now and whether or not it is healthy. If it turns out that 50,000 years ago was the pinnacle of human health and nutrition, then I will happily espouse those foods. After all, I don’t want to eat harmful foods any more than you do. However, the evidence presented in Fat Head is far from compelling.

        You are correct about the Paleo diet not being explicitly stated in the movie. Mr. Naughton does strenuously advocate a diet high in animal fat while decrying plant fats and all carbohydrates. It wasn’t until I visited his website that I saw the term “paleo diet” used to describe what he advocated. Therefore, I decided to go with that term since he used it himself, and it was a better shorthand than typing out “a diet high in animal fat, but low in vegetable fat and carbohydrates.” Some friends and colleagues have pointed out to me (after writing this post) that Naughton’s paleo diet is not a ‘true’ paleolithic diet, but a rebranded Atkins diet. They also informed me that a ‘true’ paleo diet would include more vegetables and whole grains than Mr. Naughton would have you believe. Now I suppose we could nitpick about what the paleo diet is in its purest form, but I’m going to move on.

        Regarding Spurlock and Supersize Me, if you recall toward the end of that film Spurlock spends some time highlighting a man that eats Big Macs literally everyday. He’s a skinny guy and by all accounts fairly healthy to boot. I’m sure Spurlock’s intention was to puzzle the audience for a bit, and have them think “But… I don’t understand. Spurlock is eating McDonald’s everyday and gaining serious weight, but here’s a guy that eats daily McDonald’s and seems happy and healthy. What gives?” Then if you recall Spurlock takes this opportunity to highlight the fact that the sugary soda and salty french fries caused the lion’s share of his weight gain and ill health.

        What baffles me is why Mr. Naughton doesn’t build on this. It fits perfectly with his anti-carbohydrate narrative. Instead he implies Spurlock is lying about his diet and claims Spurlock implies that poor people are stupid (I never got that message from Supersize Me, though). Naughton then attempts to prove Spurlock was full of baloney by eating a fast-food diet very different from Spurlock’s (no sugary sodas, no buns, and maybe no french fries…I’m not sure about the fries). He also exercises much more than Spurlock. Moreover, he also makes a point to keep his calorie intake at or below a specified amount, despite claiming at the beginning of the movie that the calories-in/calories-burned theory of weight loss was baloney. It’s completely incoherent. I’m surprised so many people consider it a thorough refutation of Supersize Me.

  18. Uh oh, it’s damage control time now Seth.
    Boy, you’d have a great future as a politician the way you divert legitimate criticism with total disregard. You say one thing on your post then deny it. Which is it ???
    I call it Romnyism. Were you for it before you were against it ? !
    What a joke your Blog is !

    • Responding to comments is considered damage control now?

      By the way, if I bother to divert legitimate criticism then I am not disregarding it. At least try to make your insults consistent.

      And what am I denying?

      I should probably not even respond to you. It’s now obvious to me that you’re far too intelligent for me to debate. You cut through my poor arguments like a samurai. I can see now that my blog truly is a joke. I will now go re-evaluate my life. You have beaten me, and I hope to be a better man for it.

      Good day.

      • You are denying that you are in lock step with the current low fat propaganda being spewed by our government agencies such as the FDA.
        Do you advocate the limiting the amount of red meat consumption on your blog ? Answer; YES.
        Does the FDA and CDC advocate a low fat diet limiting the amount of red meat ? Answer; YES
        So that’s what you are denying.
        I hope you’re not following a low fat diet Seth cause it’s causing your brain to malfunction. Lack of saturated fat and cholesterol will do that.
        Good luck with your low fat diet…you’re gonna need it !

      • Bert,

        I think you are confusing the FDA with the USDA
        …and low-fat with low-meat
        …and “denying” with “not explicitly stating a position”
        …and common nouns with proper nouns when you capitalize words like “Blog” or “Great Politician” for no discernible reason.

        Of course like you said I am the real idiot here, so there must be good reasons why you are doing these things that baffle me so. Clearly you are much more intelligent than I am because you know what my diet is even though I have never said what it is on this blog. Come to think of it, I had no idea I was even on a low-fat diet until you told me.

        I am glad you dropped by to share some of your true wisdom on such an inferior blog.

      • To bert again all your post only proof your iq lvl and he is low
        “I hope you’re not following a low fat diet Seth cause it’s causing your brain to malfunction.” for brain function is responsible glucose, Lack of saturated fat and cholesterol will do that.
        “Good luck with your low fat diet” they link to cardiovascular disease ncbi.com look at web but please eat this evolution always rid weaker but when you get some health problem you will be going to DR you are hates and take drugs to safe you life you are not first person who saying drugs is evil but when they get problem eat them in kg.

      • I’m sorry, you can’t even write English- true i can only sorry for that (but not you) I start learn English 4 mounth ago. “an idiot ” so if Im a idiot who know that in past maybe they eats high fats food but also they activity where high why they need more energy, then who you are Im idiot then this mean you are much lower lvl than idiot. I always like to talk with conspiracy paranoic,
        ” Back in 1980 I became a vegetarian” Asuming that you have 20 years now you have above 50 so this explain why you acting like that, in this age brain what is sad start shrink.

  19. “There’s an amazing amount of misinformation in the world today. Some of it is unintentional and repeated so often, people just assume it’s true.” That certainly applies to the myth that fat will make you fat and that fat, especially sat fat, and cholesterol in the diet cause heart disease. Your lead in had me going. Then you switched to a diatribe against a movie I happen to like. You’re the one spreading misinformation.

  20. I find this article kind of petty. You didn’t like the movie, you feel it’s full of misinformation. I think that’s fair but then you go on to slam the people and the schools they attended. Instead why not tell us who you are and trumpet what makes you an expert instead of bashing Doctors and their qualifications?

    This article is to Fathead, as fathead is to super-size me…

    You may not like it and it may fly in the face of what we’ve all been told, but this guy managed to drop weight and improve his cholesterol by eating fast food and high fatty foods.

    I think as an expert you could explain how he did that, and how that fits into today’s understanding of nutrition. Maybe his is an atypical result?

    What I took away from the movie is that moderation is the key to a long healthy life, and that we don’t have all the answers yet… Oh and to exercise. I think you missed the big picture by focusing on all the tiny details. I feel there is a bigger story here.

    • Parts of my post are petty, but the majority is fair and honest criticism of the film.

      I’ve learned my lesson, though. From now on I will not try to sardonically mock someone’s degree from the University of Arkansas. Evidently most people who already don’t agree with my post use that sentence or two as evidence that I am an incompetent boob. The truth is I have no qualms with U of A. In fact one of my cousins graduated from that institution. But of course sometimes humor doesn’t translate well via a text-based medium and that’s my fault.

      I am hesitant to get into his diet much since I can almost guarantee there were aspects of his regimen that weren’t presented in the film. But what he does present seems to make perfect sense. For instance he keeps his calories under a certain amount, despite claiming early in the film that the calories in/calories out paradigm was “baloney” (or “balogna” – however you want to spell it). And he exercises, mainly by walking a lot.

      This is not particularly ground-breaking or controversial. In fact, it’s simple thermodynamics. I can’t remember if Naughton’s lipid profile improved or not (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc.) but if they did that is to be expected, too. Most people who lose a significant amount of weight will see an improvement in their lipid profiles as well, regardless of whether it was achieved through a low-carb diet, low-calorie diet, low-fat diet, fasting, exercise, lab band surgery, or a combination.

  21. Interesting article. As with almost any blogger, or studies for that matter, you present ‘facts’ that support your position and I can certainly understand that. All I know is — the paleo/lowcarb/primal (choose your label) worked for me. After eliminating grains, sugar, and most starches from my diet and also eliminating most processed foods (if it comes in a box, a can, or through a drive-thru window, it ain’t food) my health is better, I’ve lost weight, my arthritis pain has become mostly non-existent, and my lipid numbers are vastly improved. I probably eat more vegetables than most vegans, along with meat, eggs, and lots of butter and coconut oil. At 67 years of age, I still have the energy to work full-time and still take care of a 100 y/o house and 35 acres of grounds. For you to fully appreciate the benefits of this way of eating, why don’t you do a Whole 30 (google it) and just see if you don’t feel better at the end? That’s the bottom line, isn’t it — how you feel?

    • Congratulations on your weight loss and health improvements. My father recently acquired 80 acres of land in Arkansas. I have helped him a little bit in maintaining those grounds, so I can imagine how difficult it must be for you.

      I do believe that how your diet makes you feel and how you feel about your dietary choices are very important. If it works for you then it works for you.

      However, there may be things happening on a cellular level that one cannot feel. For instance, I might enjoy a few beers every night after work. It might make me feel good initially, especially if I don’t experience a hangover, but there are things going on in my liver that I am not aware of. The damage might not even manifest for decades. If I am very lucky it may not even manifest at all.

      Anyway, you have obviously recognized the benefits of a diet limited in starches, sugars, and processed foods. However, many low-carb proponents (including the maker of Fat Head) make the unfounded leap that we should instead be eating a diet high in bacon, lard, steak, and butter to maximize our health. This is what I have a problem with because the evidence is just not on their side. And it’s not like they just have the misfortune of being on the wrong side, it’s that they deliberately obfuscate and misinform their audience.

  22. “Yeah, see we actually live in a fascist state where you can’t get any funding for research unless you promise to publish more fake studies that promote eating more fruits and vegetables. ”
    What nonsense. Have you never heard of all the reports that debunk the fat is bad assertion? Cholesterol is not the enemy.

    • I’m not sure what the first part of your comment has to do with the second. I have never said that fat is bad nor that cholesterol is the enemy.

      And, yes, I have read many “reports” contrary to my position. Are there any specific “reports” you have in mind? I will read them if you provide links.

  23. first off I have to admit…I fell for the fathead movie…I tried the high fat low carb diet…for about a week…I really can’t say I felt any different…I was told it was ketosis but im really not sure…honestly the amount of butter, bacon and fat I was consuming made me feel nauseous…anyway that’s neither here nor there…after watching the movie a couple more times I started to feel like he was giving viewers an excuse not to watch their diets…like saying “hey! why worry about cooking and eating well balanced meals when you can just go to mickey D’s and as long as you don’t have bread you’ll be good!” …but one thing that really made me laugh about this movie…and by the way I found it on Netflix…so it had already been out for a good few years when I saw it im assuming…is that he pointed out on a picture of a newspaper headline that Morgan Spurlock didn’t make the nation thin by telling mcdonalds to get rid of super size meals…true…but I never saw the headline that Tom Naughton helped the nation slim down because he helped everyone realize that a high fat diet would make you skinny…which cutting carbs is good…everyone knows that if you eat a shitload of bread and potatoes then its not good for you…duh…what people seem to forget constantly is EVERYTHING in moderation…sugar, fats, bread, starch, carbs…the whole lot…many many MANY people I know have lost weight by balancing meals and being more active…and I see so many people saying their upping their calorie intake to 5-6k per day…even naughton said that 5k of pretty much anything would make you fat and mess up your health…so anyways…long story short…I feel like an idiot for jumping on the fat head bandwagon…it seems like he just did that movie to tell everyone that its cool if your too damn lazy to cook well balanced meals…nothing wrong with eating meat or fat or protein or carbs…just moderate your amounts…and i’ll be damned if im gonna stop eating my morning cereal…I love that stuff too much! :)

    • It’s kind of a compelling movie if you don’t question its premises or if you have no knowledge of nutrition or how the body works.

      However, if you are the least bit skeptical and attempt to confirm any of the claims in the movie you’ll quickly realize how much they misinform you. Hell, you don’t even have to look anything up. Just watch it for a second time and try to follow the logic. The contradictions begin to compound on each other, so much so that even if you accept everything they say as truth you will discover that the film is still incogruous.

  24. “There is a conspiracy against the public to make us unhealthy? Why?”

    It’s called perverse incentive. If you are healthy, and not taking any meds, you are essentially worthless. If you are fat & diabetic, you are the motherlode. The only real challenge is prolonging and intensifying the misery without actually killing the host, which is a revenue-stopping event.

    BTW, I know Tom personally, and I’m happy to report that your representations of him — and of his various claims — are false. I strongly suspect that you actually knew this before writing your article. IOW, you are a liar.

    Have a nice day!

    • You didn’t really explain the incentive. I can kinda see why hospitals might want you to be sick – to keep you coming back. But you did not explain why the government would want a sick, miserable, and nearly dead populace.

      Oh, and pleeeease don’t tell Mr. Naughton about my site. Pleeeeaaassee!!! I wrote this and published it on a wildly popular blogging platform so I could keep all my ideas secret. What do you think he’ll do to me if he finds my little WordPress blog? Is he going to send the gulag to silence me for all the “lies” that I took from his website verbatim?

      But seriously, good luck getting him to read my post. I read on his blog a year or two ago that he actively avoids reading criticism of his film. However, if he does feel he has been unfairly reviewed I will be happy to give him an interview so he can disabuse me of any misconceptions I may have about him or his film.

      My guess is he won’t do it because he will assume I will be unfair towards him, but maybe I’m wrong.

  25. You wear your skeptic credentials proudly I see. Well so do I. A JREF member for years. While you did your research on Gary Taubes you might have noticed that he was featured in the cal-tech skeptic lecture series a few years ago. There are some in the sceptic community who are starting to rethink what they know about mainstream nutritional advice. I for one am one, and it took me a long time to be convinced but in my reading of the evidence next-to-none of it supports mainstream nutritional advice. I won’t go so far as to say the evidence demonstrates the opposite or that there is one perfect way to eat for everybody. Decent nutritional studies are few and far between so the best we can say at this point is – that which has already been done does not support the ‘Standard American Diet.”

    There is no conspiracy theory here or anything like that, other than perhaps by many drug companies to fund, promote and or misrepresent studies which support their interests. It is just a matter of politicians looking for answers getting entrenched in one easy answer ‘saturated fat causes heart disease’ and the medical community and related govt agencies staying with that answer for decades despite a lack of decent clinical studies to support it. So please don’t look at this as any old woo-woo. I didn’t want to think my beloved ‘science’ could be so corrupted either, but if you did deep in the nutrition arena you will be so surprised you might just start thinking, hmm if this is so wrong maybe those UFO nuts do have a point.

    • Well hello fellow skeptic!

      I am a couple of months away from a Master’s degree in nutrition science and I got my Bachelor’s in human nutrition, so needless to say I have spent a few years digging “deep in the nutrition arena.”

      I’m curious what you are reading that leads you to claim that “decent nutritional studies are few and far between.” There are plenty of good studies out there. The ‘perfect’ human study would be to follow a very large group of diverse individuals from birth to death controlling every aspect of not only their diet but also their exercise, sun exposure, stress levels, etc. Of course that would be either impossible or unconscionable. This appears to be the standard of evidence that Taubes and others hold for anything that goes against their positions. However, you might also notice that they have a much lower standard for anything supporting their position.

      In any case, I’m not sure what you mean by the Standard American Diet, but if you are referring to a diet consisting of sugary sodas, potato chips, cake, ice cream, processed meat, pastries, cheese, fried everything, and plenty of booze, then you are correct. I know of no study that would indicate these things are healthy. But of course I am not advocating such a diet here, so….. your point?

      You can find review articles that conclude something along the lines of saturated fat (especially from coconut oil or palm oil) in moderation isn’t so bad for you. Or lean meats like fish or chicken aren’t so bad for you. Or occasional/limited amounts of bacon or beef aren’t so bad for you. But I doubt you will find any such articles that claim a high-animal fat, high animal protein, limited fruit/vegetable diet (like the one presented in the film) is beneficial.

      • Proper clinical studies really need to be done. I’m sure they didn’t assign you “good calories – bad calories” as part of your program and can only advise you to stray a little from what I can only assume is pretty ‘status quo’ reading list. Observational studies can be twisted every which way and they seldom adequately eliminate all the variables. Furthermore they only show a correlation and can’t prove anything, and the real point of them should not be to try to answer questions but to generate ones which will then lead to proper clinical studies. Taubes readily admits the evidence isn’t there and that’s why he is part of the team of the Nutrition Science Initiative in order to get some answers. – nusi.org.

        By “Standard American Diet” I mean basically one that is high is starches and sugar. Mainstream nutritionists are just starting to become aware that sugar should be dramatically cut but they are still hanging on to starches. There is also a misconception that people on lchf/paleo diets are just eating steak and eggs for every meal, the center of this diet for most people is generally vegetables. The film doesn’t say one word about limiting non-starchy vegetables or fruits so perhaps you should review it again.

      • I’m surprised that a skeptic such as yourself would put more stock into a lay pop-science book over, say, peer-reviewed college textbooks.

        As it happens I have read many of Taubes’s works and viewed many of his lectures on YouTube. He is painfully biased. Take this passage from GCBC for instance:

        When Keys launched his crusade against heart disease in the late 1940s, most physicians who believed that heart disease was caused by diet implicated dietary cholesterol as the culprit. We ate too much cholesterol-laden food—meat and eggs, mostly—and that, it was said, elevated our blood cholesterol. Keys was the first to discredit this belief publicly, which had required, in any case, ignoring a certain amount of the evidence. In 1937, two Columbia University biochemists, David Rittenberg and Rudolph Schoenheimer, demonstrated that the cholesterol we eat has very little effect on the amount of cholesterol in our blood. When Keys fed men for months at a time on diets either high or low in cholesterol, it made no difference to their cholesterol levels. As a result, Keys insisted that dietary cholesterol had little relevance to heart disease.

        Those few sentences are just dripping with contempt. Leaving aside the actual science, if you remove all of the hateful rhetoric about a man Taubes has never even met, you are left with this: Keys had an idea about cholesterol. He did some experiments, and he followed where the evidence led. This is the mark of a good scientist, right? You would think that Taubes would praise him for not following the “conventional wisdom” and actually conducting his own studies using humans instead of animals like most previous researchers, including Rittenberg and Schoenheimer whose study that Taubes cites actually used mice despite Taubes’s words of “we eat” and “our blood” strongly implying that their studies were on humans (moreover, their results are hardly definitive if you bother to actually read the paper). Taubes also agrees with the results of Keys’s work, but he can’t bring himself to even tacitly praise anything having to do with Keys, preferring instead to paint him as a questionable scientist and religious zealot on some sort of false crusade that he will shove down everyone’s throats (pardon the pun).

        Not only is Taubes painfully biased to the point of being a hypocrite, he also will just plain misrepresent scientific results. I could go into much more detail about Taubes if you wish, but I have previously written some critiques of his work here and here.

        Following your initial comment I Googled “skepticklish” and found this. I assume you wrote this. I’m afraid you have been bamboozled. The people you listed – Taubes, Eades, and Bailor – are all frauds in my humble opinion. Bailor clearly doesn’t know what he’s talking about if you read his blog. He seems more interested in style over substance. Taubes and Eades, however, have actual scientific credentials and actually do know what they’re talking about, which makes them much more insidious in my opinion because then they can deceive their audience more adeptly; even skeptically-leaning individuals like yourself.

        Do me (and yourself) a favor and try this: Go through your Taubes-Eades-Bailor readings once more, but with your skeptical filter on high (or at least as high as it seems to be for university public health programs). Personally check references that are given for claims that seem unlikely. I can tell you that since the winter I have been systematically checking EVERY SINGLE REFERENCE in GCBC and plan to write a mammoth post on it one day. Many of his citations don’t even come close to supporting what he claims in his text. Either that or be a proper skeptic and read opposing nutrition literature actively looking for evidence that disproves your beliefs. It can be painful but also fun and rewarding to do this from time to time about everything ranging from ethical philosophies, political ideologies, other fields of science… you name it.

        Also, as far as NuSI goes, as far as I can tell it is simply an organization created to bilk a Texas billionaire out of his money and artificially bolster Taubes’s bona fides. That sounds harsh, but hear me out. NuSI was created to conduct the “real” nutrition research that everyone else is apparently unable to do. However, they have conducted zero studies so far, they are not currently recruiting for any studies (at least according to their own website and clinicaltrials.gov), and as far as I can tell have no plans for future studies. The only thing they have accomplished is making a table of past studies annotated with comments about why they suck. The website is nice, but there’s really nothing there.

      • I almost forgot to address this

        Mainstream nutritionists are just starting to become aware that sugar should be dramatically cut but they are still hanging on to starches.

        Do you have a source for this? Many of my friends are dietitians ans nutrition researchers and do not advocate a diet high in starches. As far as I know they never have, nor did they ever advocate a sugary diet. This sounds completely made-up. I imagine that it was concocted by some low-carbers to try and galvanize their audience against The Man, but if you have one or more legit sources for that story then I’ll accept it.

  26. To address your last point first, I seriously can’t believe you’ve never seen the USDA food pyramid with starches at the bottom, or the new My Plate where half the plate is starch. Starches should be at the top of the pyramid if anywhere.

    You seem to be more against specific people than their ideas or questions, everybody has biases but that doesn’t mean you throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are many folks out there who are just trying to find the answers heading in many different directions and all you can do is question their motives, a good scientist will say “bring it on, go ahead and disprove me!” GCBC is a popular science book that has lots of references to peer-reviewed studies which you are always free to look up and analyze yourself. And peer-reviewed or not, unless they are repeatable clinical studies I personally have little interest in them. I’m glad you have read things that are off your school’s reading list, apparently they haven’t convinced you that the lipid hypothesis is a house of cards, but I would like to think you got into this field to help people out and LCHF/paleo is obviously helping some people. So if you can’t endorse it, at the very least I’d hope you could accept it as an alternative that shows promise in a certain portion of the population.

    We’ve been listening to the same low-fat, eat-less, exercise more nutritional advice for decades now and our health and weight has only gotten worse, you’ve had a 50 year head start with your hypothesis and haven’t proven it yet, so feel free to just get out of the way and make funny faces at us while a few alternative hypothesis are examined.

    • I think you are confused about some things.
      • The USDA food pyramid does not exist and has not existed for 8 years now
      • The USDA food pyramid is not the same thing as a nutritionist or a dietitian
      • Starches are not the same as whole grains
      • 30% is not half

      You seem to be more against specific people than their ideas

      all you can do is question their motives

      By saying this you communicate to me one of two things: either you have not been reading what I wrote or you have read it and are not being honest. Most of my writing and podcasting focuses on the substance of the argument and the actual science behind it. Very little is made up of ad hominem arguments. Some of these are petty but most are relevant to the issues, like when I discuss someone’s qualifications. In any case I always point out in the text when I am engaging in ad hominem.

      There are many folks out there who are just trying to find the answers heading in many different directions

      but I would like to think you got into this field to help people out and LCHF/paleo is obviously helping some people

      I don’t mind if you’re on the “LCHF/paleo” diet. Many people I know are on the Paleo diet (although “paleo” means very different things to each of them). If it helps you lose weight or if it makes you feel good, fine, go nuts. What I do care about is when filmmakers or authors or bloggers or what-have-you deliberately lie about or otherwise misrepresent the science (that I have spent nearly a decade studying) to other folks who are just trying to find the answers, but may not have the sufficiently strong scientific background that I have to realize they are being duped. Then these charlatans can exploit this ignorance much like Alex Jones does to convince their audience that the charlatans themselves are the only true source of real information, and not to trust the lies of everyone else. Once that is accomplished these people can now make a real nice living selling books, advertising, DVDs, t-shirts, commanding speaking fees, etc. What’s more is they can do all this without having to spend the money, time, and hard work on med school, actually conducting research, publishing a single paper, and so on.

      I do care about helping people, which is why I spend many hours researching, writing, recording, editing, and responding to everything I publish. Not only do I not receive a dime, it actually costs me money.

      We’ve been listening to the same low-fat, eat-less, exercise more nutritional advice for decades now and our health and weight has only gotten worse

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Post_hoc_ergo_propter_hoc

      you’ve had a 50 year head start with your hypothesis and haven’t proven it yet, so feel free to just get out of the way and make funny faces at us while a few alternative hypothesis are examined

      A few things:
      • I don’t recall ever advocating something called “the lipid hypothesis” (more on this later)
      • The low-carb business is not a fancy, new “alternative hypothesis.” It’s been around for many years – remember the GCBC prologue that took place in the mid-nineteenth century?
      • You remind me of the guy in this video http://youtu.be/IBHEsEshhLs because you are repeating false tropes that are bandied-about in the low-carb bubble, but in the scientific community are absurd. Since you are a member of the skeptic community you may have run across it. Except change “transitional fossils” to “studies about fat” or some such nonsense.

      I’ve only ever heard the term “lipid hypothesis” by low-carbers and (much like “paleo”) it seems to mean different things to different people. I don’t know what you mean by it, but I will assume the following: changing the fat we eat may reduce the risk of heart disease. If that is the case, there are several high-quality studies on the topic. What evidence would you accept? Cohort studies? Clinical trials? Reviews? Meta-analyses? A Cochrane systematic review sounds like a good place to start. How about a peer-reviewed history of cholesterol and atherosclerosis? Are you interested in how cholesterol affects blood vessels or how dietary fat affects cholesterol?

      There are plenty more where those came from, and you can choose cellular studies, animal studies, human trials, population studies… you name it. You can find them for yourself, but I will be happy to provide more if you wish. I’m here to help.

      I feel like winding this discussion down, so unless you’d like to continue I’ll give you the last word if you want it.

      • Wow. You just equated Tom Naughton with Alex Jones? I don’t think Naughton would appreciate being equated with a Zionist Stratfor agent whose fellow Zionist Stratfor agent wife Kelly Rebecca “Violet” Nichols Jones infiltrated PETA and false-flag attacked Anna Wintour and Oscar de la Renta to make PETA look like a domestic terrorist operation.

        Oh, and do your research on CSPI. CSPI is nothing but a bunch of Monsanto sellouts. They praise former Monsanto execs (Michael Taylor), and they pushed their own anti-“Yes On 37″ propaganda. So you go ahead and support Monsanto’s CSPI front operation. You do know that the USDA food pyramid was written by Big Agra, Einstein?

  27. Yep, no real point, we obviously aren’t interpreting the science the same way. Just to say, I would have no issue with evolution deniers who work to find alternative answers using science, I’d bet my life they will fail, but I will support anybody working to expand our human knowledge. All scientific fields are full of things that are a bit wobbly, because of the difficulty and cost of doing proper research the field of nutrition seems to have more wobbly things than most, It is the people challenging the wobbly stuff who either shore it up or shake it up, both of which are good things.

    There is nothing healthy about “whole grains” they are a starch just like any other, if they have a substantial amount of fiber in them they might spike your blood sugar a little bit less than their more refined cousins but that doesn’t make them healthy or mean they should be a staple. Why not avoid grains all together and fill up on nutrient-rich food?

    The only last word I care to have, is to say the only important thing really here is to have a healthy population and if you find yourself with a patient in the future who isn’t improving after following your advice, don’t jump to blaming him/her for not following it properly but consider the possibility that maybe you should blame the advice.

  28. All I can say is wow, no wonder there are no more podcasts since last October. You guys were the most uninformed and immature group I have come across so far.

    • That’s high praise, Valeire. But get ready. I just graduated so I have more time to churn out the podcasts and blog posts.

      By the way, what did you find that was uninformed? Do you prefer the anecdotal evidence and outright fabrications of the filmmaker?

  29. Lets talk about Tom Naughton’s motives. For the moment let’s take what he says at face value. There are several interviews on Youtube where he discusses the movie Fat Head.

    He has done stand up comedy. One of the few groups you are allowed to stereotype and mock are overweight/fat people. Tom decided to do a 30 minute move abut the topic of the view, “if you are fat, it is your own fault and since you can do something about it, but choose not to, it is ok to make fun of you.”

    He then started to to do research for the this 30 minute documentary. Part of that was watching super-size me. There were some things that bothered him about it. Blaming the fast food industry for obesity in America. Spurlock ground rules of always super sizing when asked, no exercise and eating 5,000 calories a day. You can’t eat 3 meals at McDonalds a day where you get one main course item, one potato side and a drink and end up at 5,000, not even 4,000.

    So Tom decided to show that you could eat fast food sensibly for a month and actually lose weight. He did this for 28 days. About mid-way through he was doing research/reading and discovered the existence of low carb diet/eating/lifestyle AND the material about the lipid hypothesis and the lack of data backing it up. Senator McGovern put the low fat vs high fat diets on trial. Plenty of scientists were on either side of the issue, and despite the fact that the lipid hypothesis did not have any real strong evidence, he came down on the side of low fat. The USDA ran with this and published guidelines that a low fat diet was heart healthy.

    Tom found it crazy that you could look at human history, and see that people did not eat processed plant oils till this century and in his own words. “You can’t go out to a field and eat wheat. You have to ground it up into flower and mix it with fat, salt and sugar which the body loves to trick it into liking wheat.” Plus the slant by the USDA, basically saying, “throw out how people always ate and conventional wisdom. If you want to be healthy eat lots of grains and they new oils” So he decided to make the second half of the movie about that.

    After eating fast food “sensibly” for 28 days, his research that showed fat was not bad AND that people who gain weight because they have become insulin resistant are healthier and will lose weight on a low carb diet, decided to eat low carb and discovered it worked for him.

    That was the agenda at the time he made the movie. Not a webstie, not selling books. just the evolution from “a movie about how fat people are treated” to “A movie refuting super-size me” to “A movie refuting super-size me AND also being about the lipid hypothesis and becoming insulin resistant.”

  30. I am a believer that despite our sameness we are all different and different things work for different people. I think we all benefit from the kind of debate that is going on in the field of nutrition. I look at it from the perspective of balance. My aim is to be happy and my happiness revolves around my health (physical, spiritual, and mental). I have realized how and what I eat impacts directly on how I feel about myself. I won’t mention how I eat because I don’t want folk on either side trying to pooh pooh what I do. I will say my food style is sustainable. I eat a healthy amount of calories daily (sometimes up to 2800 or 3000 KCAL) and I exercise at least five days a week (sometimes six) with resistance training being my primiary method and high intensity interval training ranging from 30 to 60 minutes in duration with about 20 to 40 minutes of hard work when you subtract warm up and cool down. I am leaner than I have ever been!! I turn 50 in less than a month and am in the best shape of my life by all the so-called indicators. My resting heart rate typcically ranges from 40 to 43 and my only worry is doing something extreme (in either direction) to muck it up. Long way to get to my point which is look at all the research and experiment on yourself until you find what WORKS for YOU. Because something that works for another person, especially some of the celebrities that people slavishly mimic, may be poison for you. I appreciate Civil debate and there is lot of that here. I just cringe when people feel the need to toss insults, in my mind that just lessens the effect of the discourse. Thanks for creating a forum where folk can air their opinion.

  31. Someone suggested that movie to me after I espoused a Meditterranean Diet after I had to have a heart stent put in! BTW I am an extremely healthy fitness fanatic who ate a pretty clean diet but heavy in hamburgers (not mcDonalds or other fast food though) and cheese and so forth. I guess basically a “Paleo” diet. So I was shocked when i ended up in the emergency room! I’m not a nutritionist but I decided now to follow diets used by populations that have low incidence of heart disease. From what I can see its generally Meditterranean (can never spell that darn word!) and Japanese. They don’t seem to follow the principles of paleo or high fat diets at all. Anyway, I’m not going to argue with my friend about it. But thanks for this review.

    • Hmmmm… the WAP foundation…. Isn’t that the organization that promotes Homeopathy and gave Christine Cronau a THUMBS UP? Does anyone actually take the WAP foundation seriously? Evidently you do, but enough with the ad hominem.

      No, actually I haven’t read Dr. Masterjohn’s review of Dr. Steinberg’s book. I’m giving it a cursory glance now and it seems like he mostly agrees with Steinberg, so I don’t know why he gave it a THUMBS DOWN. Masterjohn does nitpick some studies that Steinberg cites, and then goes on to mention two “embarassing” studies like “Corn Oil in Treatment of Ischaemic Heart Disease” by Rose and “Low Fat, Low Cholesterol Diet in Secondary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease” by Woodhill which are ripe for some nitpicking, but strangely are not critiqued in the least.

      Definitely no bias here.

  32. I suggest that you give the review more than a “cursory glance”. Your account of it is quite misleading. Look particularly at the paragraph starting with the sentence “But, in part, there is also some bad science in the book …” and the sections with the headings:”Does the Conclusion fit the data” “Statins do not prove the lipid hypothesis (as Steinberg has it – A.B.) – they do the opposite” and “Diets – Where the book really goes wrong”.

    Your claim that M’s critique is mainly limited to nitpicking about a few articles makes me doubt that you can read anything not in accordance with your own views with a truly open mind.

    • “Daniel Steinberg can be called nothing short of a true expert on cholesterol.”

      “The majority of the science in the book is solid, and the arguments are generally well reasoned.”

      “… Steinberg is actually right about some things that some cholesterol skeptics refuse to admit. ”

      “… [T]he evidence Steinberg presents on this point is compelling. ”

      “And yes, Steinberg is certainly right on one thing—we should get plenty of exercise.”

      “…[T]his book is an important addition to the cholesterol debate. ”

      “Steinberg presents a compelling case for the relevancy of animal studies and the success of the Coronary Primary Prevention Trial. His two chapters on the basic science of cholesterol and lipoproteins add a great deal to the debate, which is too often dominated by epidemiology.”

      “Steinberg presents the history of the controversy as one who was intimately involved with it. It is fascinating to read how intertwined the development of the lipid hypothesis has been with the development of modern biological science itself.”

      “Steinberg often includes important details from studies that others leave out…”

      Not to mention the fact that Dr. Masterjohn appears to summarize the entire book while only disagreeing on a couple of points. But you’re right; I was terribly misleading in my original comment. Clearly there is no praise for Steinberg here. I don’t know where I got that idea.

      One thing to note is that this is a review of Steinberg’s book The Cholesterol Wars. I linked to Steinberg’s peer-reviewed journal articles on which the book is surely based, but I have not read the book so I have no idea of knowing how similar they are.

      Another issue worth pointing out is that you linked what amounts to a blog post hosted on a site that officially promotes low-carb, high animal-fat diets (among other interesting things) and written by a guy that officially promotes high-cholesterol diets, but instead it appears I am the one that is narrow-minded because I linked to articles published in the Journal of Lipid Research.

      It’s interesting to see how Masterjohn masterfully dismisses some of Steinberg’s major points. For instance: “Now, naturally a high level of LDL in the blood—all things being equal—will make that LDL more likely to oxidize…. But all things are never equal.” And how about how statins definitely lower heart disease incidence, but (according to Masterjohn) it has little to do with their cholesterol lowering abilities and everything to do with a side-effect of the drugs that activate a little-known enzyme called Rho.

      Nevertheless, Dr. Masterjohn does bring up some interesting points that I would like to explore further, but since there are no real citations for his claims I cannot do so. Perhaps I should just take his assertions on faith like you seem to have done.

  33. To begin with you created the impression that Masterjohn’s only disagreement with Steinberg had to do with two articles concerning which M. limited himself to “nitpicking”. After I pointed out how misleading this was you now countered this by quoting extensively the passages in which M. is either praising Steinberg or seems to be agreeing with him. I couid easily respond to that by doing the opposite – but it is too tedious an exercise. Anyone who is interested in the issuer can easily read the review for him/herself.

    What is clear is that Masterjohn is bending over backwards to be fair to Steinberg. Something you noticeably fail to do with your opponents. You rather resort to intellectual snobbery (pointing to the institutional background of authors as if that had anything to do with the quality of their arguments and/or evidence) or other types of ad hominem.

    You have among the readers of your blog those who agree with you in advance (the majority). Talking to them is preaching to the converted. You also have your determined opponents (a much smaller group). You won’t convince them under any circumstances. But you might also have some neutral bystanders. If you have missionary aspirations that is the group you want to target. But the only rewarding strategy there is to rely on “the non-compulsive compulsion of the better argument” (Habermas). Scorn and snobbery won’t hack it for you.

    • I find it interesting that I wrote
      “Masterjohn does nitpick some studies…”

      Yet somehow you read
      “Masterjohn’s only disagreement with Steinberg had to do with two articles…” (emphasis mine, of course)

      What did you say about “the non-compulsive compulsion of the better argument”?

      And yes, in addition to Masterjohn’s praise of Steinberg, he also excoriates him on a couple of points (namely statins and the omission of what Masterjohn believes are important studies). But judging by the extolling quotes I copied, in addition to the fact that Masterjohn appears to not take issue with the majority of the book, I think it is perfectly reasonable when you conclude that I am a narrow-minded and scornful snob.

      Speaking of ad hominem… It is my favorite logical fallacy! Especially when you have jag-offs like the ones in this film dispensing health advice who have literally no training or education in what they are talking about, aside from reading a book like Good Calories, Bad Calories and parroting it back in a homemade documentary. You bet I love pointing that out! Of course I know that is not legitimate argumentation and I point out my ad hominem attacks when I engage in them before moving on to the actual substance of their claims. I did it in the above comment (or I tried, Masterjohn makes it difficult when he doesn’t properly cite any sources), I did it in this blog post, and I’ve done it in other blog posts. However, you and others like you seem to ignore the science that I discuss, and instead cry “Ad hominem!” as though I had not been completely transparent about it in the beginning. What’s really hilarious is that usually one will insult me while at the very same time say I should not be engaging in ad hominem.

      Also, I’ve never bothered to count them, but I have read literally all of them and I think your estimation that the majority of my readers already agree with me and a much smaller number disagree is precisely the opposite. At least judging from comments alone, but now I am being nitpicky!

      In all honesty, though, I do think it is important to look into the Rho aspect of Masterjohn’s review. I hadn’t heard of that before. Unfortunately Masterjohn didn’t point to any specific study that proved his claim so I am going to have to waste a bunch of time wading through the studies guessing as to which he have may been referring.

  34. Why not send him an email? He seems an amiable man.

    For the rest I think that you attach too much value to formal qualifications. I have taught (in a subject totally different from yours) at three universities in three different countries (Scotland, Holland and Australia) and I was never very much impressed by the work ethic of students. As a colleague of mine once said: the fact that they seem to learn something after all must be a matter of osmosis.

    I think it perfectly possible for a man as Taubes to make himself an expert in your subject outside University halls especially because he has a science background. The same holds for Dr.Jaminet. Anthony Colpo has, as far as I can gather, no formal qualifications at all but people like Masterfjohn obviously respect his books (so does Jaminet).

    Enough said.

  35. The supersized documentary fudged a lot on facts so I am sure fat head fudged some as well….what I got from both, well balanced, small portion meals are key to healthy living. Eating only carbs= unheathly Eating only fat = unheathy… and the mcdonalds down the street didn’t make america fat our poor choices did.

  36. My dear friend,

    I am not going to review your review, but you can be sure it would not get very high marks. However, just one thing – and I welcome any good suggestions how to move forward from here – what are your comments behind Naughton’s decision to go for a month without carbohydrates and start “saturated fat pig out” and still improve his weight and cholesterol levels? An ad hominem-free answer would be highly appreciated.

    • I don’t know anything about it. Is this something he has done or is planning to do? Or are you referring to his diet in Fat Head?

      Naughton is free to eat whatever he wants, of course. I would hope that he reports his diet and results honestly, especially considering his large and deeply devoted following.

      • Yes, it was covered towards the very end of the movie, some 6 minutes before the end. The movie can be found online on youtube. If you can find yourself those 6 minutes, give it a chance. I am no expert, I just want to know what is good for me and what is not, and the conclusions presented in this movie are really shifting a paradigm here. An unbiased comment from someone who has a deep knowledge on the subject, like you, would be appreciated.

        Bonus question: How do you feel about the conclusion of this article? http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.sk/2009/03/its-time-to-let-go-of-glycemic-index.html

      • Ah yes, I remember now. That segment was right before his parade of straw men, but I digress. A couple of things to note: both exercise and weight loss significantly affect cholesterol levels. In the film Naughton mentions that he walks in his spare time for a bit of exercise, but I don’t think he ever mentions how much. However, Naughton is interviewed by Jimmy Moore on his Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast shortly after the film’s release and (if memory serves) says he walked 15-20 miles per week while filming his documentary. This exercise alone could have caused the modest improvements in his lipid profile, especially if he was more-or-less sedentary prior to filming.

        Moreover, although Naughton claims in the beginning of the film that the whole calories-in-calories-burned paradigm for weight loss is a “load of balogna,” if you look at his dietary records (http://fathead-movie.com/content/MyFoodLog.htm) you’ll notice that he keeps his daily calorie intake below 2000 kcals/day on most days. Now I don’t know much about Mr. Naughton, but I know quite a bit about my own caloric needs. I’ve performed just about every physiology/metabolic analysis available to me over the years (from DEXA scans, glucose clamps, REE, respiratory quotient, Harris-Benedict, indirect calorimetry, etc, etc…) and I require about 3000-3500 kcals/day for zero wight loss or weight gain. I am almost certainly taller than Naughton (I’m 6’6″) and probably slightly more active as well, but I imagine that both our caloric needs are not too dissimilar.

        Naughton does not tell us what his daily caloric intake is during the month of his fat binge, but if it’s near his previous month and his energy requirements are in the neighborhood of 2500 kcals/day then he is definitely losing weight during his binge. Like I said earlier this will also beneficially affect his lipid profile.

        Now what about his diet? You can also manipulate your cholesterol levels via the diet. Most notably, saturated fatty acids can lead to an increase in LDL, HDL, and of course total cholesterol, but not all saturated fatty acids do this. Even though he makes the argument in the film that vegetable oils are bad for you, the coconut oil that you see him adding to his food is one such example of a saturated fat that has a neutral effect on cholesterol because of how it is packaged and transported through the blood vessels. Eggs also don’t have a huge effect on cholesterol. The steak and the cheese and the cream, sure. But clearly that was not enough to override his exercise and weight loss.

        Bonus answer: I am a fan of Dr. Guyenet. I like that he actually delves into the nutrition science, unlike many other blogs (*cough* Fat Head *cough*) that are dripping with heavy bias and empty rhetoric. Like Dr. Guyenet I don’t put too much stock into the glycemic index, but I haven’t studied it in too much detail, either.

  37. “Remember when I said that the University of Arkansas is about as far from Johns Hopkins as you can get? I lied. It’s actually the University of South Florida.”

    What a snob you are. As if every person who developed a good hypothesis did so at a world-famous institution.

    I stopped reading after that early comment. It revealed a lack of critical thinking in you, and a closed mind. You, indeed, could have something valuable to add, but your lack of class and professional respect for others turned me off.

    There is a good deal of valuable input in many unconventional places. A mature intellect can respect others while making a good argument. One day you may get there. I wish you sincerely good luck.

  38. I couldn’t get past the first 3rd of the movie, it was just too obvious that his political beliefs were his true inspiration. I also get tired of people ripping on carbohydrates as a general rule. I thought it was funny when he mentioned getting depressed on the pritikin diet because I got hugely depressed the one time I restricted carbohydrates and ate mostly fat and protein. I eat 500+ grams of carbs a day and i’m 6’2 and 162 lbs, but i’m also quite active. If restricting carbohydrates works for you then great, but its not for everyone.

  39. Man you wasted so much time talking about nonsense. You should nuke this post and try again. I was really looking forward to a critical examination of the medical information presented in Fat Head. I’ve tried asking Doctors. They don’t engage.

    There’s no x-files like conspiracy presented in this film. The “conspiracy” is simply that a government official without a medical degree started mandating nutrition policy. What’s so crazy about that? That kinda things happens all the time in almost every economic realm in America TODAY so why is it preposterous to think someone years ago could have made the wrong call but it became something of conventional wisdom. I’m pretty sure corn ethanol subsidies still exist right now! I wouldn’t characterize bad policy and incorrect science as “Picture 99% of all the scientists and medical doctors being involved, plus all (or at least most) of the US government. That would be some X-Files level operation right there, and we’re just scratching the surface!” But I guess that’s your way of trying to discredit the movie to people that haven’t actually seen it?

    You know this documentary was basically a response to SuperSize Me right? So if you find it too political or condescending or seeming like it was written by a conspiracy theorist, maybe it’s because that’s exactly how SuperSize Me is.

    The documentary resonated with me on many levels.

    That “trans fats are good, just kidding trans fats are the worst” flip flop was eye-opening.

    The glycemic index information was something I had never come across before.

    I experience similar results two summers ago. I lucked into a reusable coupon for Taco Bell that was as follows: by any drink, get any menu item free. I’m not making this up. Needless to say, at least once (maybe twice) a day I ordered a small unsweetended iced tea and some $5 triple steak burrito. While i don’t advocate for high salt low vitamin food intake, this was my diet. I lost weight, my blood pressure went down, and my at my yearly checked my doctor asked me if I had started marathoning or something. I didn’t have the heart to tell her “No i just started eating Taco Bell twice a day and I stopped drinking juice/beer/pop.”

    Maybe this movie is bunk, I’m not so invested in any theory to forgo the truth.

    What I’d really like to see is some scientific studies (like, thousands of them) that relate to the lipid hypothesis.

    You failed to provide even a whiff of that here. Wasted opportunity.

    • I was really looking forward to a critical examination of the medical information presented in Fat Head.

      Perhaps you should find the subheading “The Actual Science” and read from there. There’s also a link at the top to an mp3 where I discuss things that aren’t written about here.

      The “conspiracy” is simply that a government official without a medical degree started mandating nutrition policy. What’s so crazy about that?

      It’s absurd because it didn’t happen. Fat Head likes to portray Ancel Keys as some sort of evil, crazed, powerful, religious zealot, but A) It’s not true, and B) Keys’s research played only a small role in US dietary recommendations. As evidence I ask you look at the 1989 NAS dietary recommendations and the scientific evidence they used. You may notice that there are literally 27 pages of references in the dietary fat section alone. Citations of Keys’s research occupies a small fraction of that. I also have older manuscripts if you’re interested.

      You know this documentary was basically a response to SuperSize Me right? So if you find it too political or condescending or seeming like it was written by a conspiracy theorist, maybe it’s because that’s exactly how SuperSize Me is.

      I did not find Superseize Me to be very conspiratorial, but I guess we see things differently. But are you now saying that Fat Head is conspiratorial?

      That “trans fats are good, just kidding trans fats are the worst” flip flop was eye-opening

      Does that mean that you would have preferred CSPI to have ignored the evidence and remained in favor of trans fats? Even up to today, just to avoid being labeled flip-floppers? Do you consider changing your mind a worse charge than following evidence?

      I experience similar results two summers ago. I lucked into a reusable coupon for Taco Bell that was as follows: by any drink, get any menu item free. I’m not making this up. Needless to say, at least once (maybe twice) a day I ordered a small unsweetended iced tea and some $5 triple steak burrito. While i don’t advocate for high salt low vitamin food intake, this was my diet. I lost weight, my blood pressure went down, and my at my yearly checked my doctor asked me if I had started marathoning or something. I didn’t have the heart to tell her “No i just started eating Taco Bell twice a day and I stopped drinking juice/beer/pop.”

      Good for you. I’m glad you’re a healthier person because of it. No one is arguing that we should be drinking more sugary drinks.

      What I’d really like to see is some scientific studies (like, thousands of them) that relate to the lipid hypothesis.

      A good place to start would be the references provided in the link above. It doesn’t include any evidence from the last 25 years, but it has a ton of relevant studies up until 1989. Elswhere in this comments section I linked to other papers, but here is a good series of reviews on cholesterol http://ge.tt/9VafyxZ By the way, I’m curious… How much evidence did you need to start following a low-carb diet (if you in fact do follow one)? Was it simply the (bad) documentary Fat Head and some personal experience? Yet you demand thousands of studies to change your mind? You would likely never even have time to read and critically evaluate all of those!

      • I wouldn’t say I follow a low carb diet. I’m merely interested if I don’t need to have such a repulsive attitude towards fat and should be shaking my fist at sugar instead.

        That’s what Fat Head is really saying.

        I’d like to know how true this is. The sections of Fat Head with the cheesy animations where the message being conveyed is that spiking blood sugar is what leads to all the problems and eventually inflammation which causes LDL cholesterol to attach itself to the damaged arteries.

        Is that just made up? Growing up in school we were taught that just eating foods with fat and cholesterol caused plaque build up and hardening of the arteries.

        I’ve also been taught calories in – calories burned = weight change. As an engineer that seems overly simplistic. That the maker of the documentary seemed to disprove that claim was interesting.

        You seem to be implying that I am an entitled consumer of science. You’re right! Especially if people are going to lob grenades at each other. Fat head at Spurlock, you at Fat Head. Is the lipid hypothesis valid or not?

        Why do I feel like the only thing everyone agrees on when it comes to nutrition is that vegetables are good. Everything else is up for debate. This isn’t rocket science. I guess I will sift through your 25 links. Way to be pinpoint me in the right direction….

  40. And I thought I must have mis-read your post after you told me to re-read the section called “The Actual Science”. Nope! I read it in full. You’re arguing against the Paleo Diet. Fine.

    Not at all what I’m asking about. The only “science” pertaining to my question is some brochure like table trying to “debunk” claims.

    Now we have a problem – two different groups of people are saying two different things. I need a ruling.

    • I wouldn’t say I follow a low carb diet. I’m merely interested if I don’t need to have such a repulsive attitude towards fat and should be shaking my fist at sugar instead.

      Why do you have a repulsive attitude toward fat?

      I’d like to know how true this is. The sections of Fat Head with the cheesy animations where the message being conveyed is that spiking blood sugar is what leads to all the problems

      The cheesy animations where he explains the history of the controversy is very wrong, especially in the end when he says ADD is caused by the government and low fat diets or the kids are prohibited from walking to school… Is he serious? But the LDL causing atherosclerosis and how insulin lowers blood sugar are fairly accurate. However, there is a lot of context that’s left out.

      I’ve also been taught calories in – calories burned = weight change. As an engineer that seems overly simplistic. That the maker of the documentary seemed to disprove that claim was interesting.

      If anything, the filmmaker actually proves that calories-in/calories-burned is accurate. I’ve made this comment before, but here it is again. if you look at his dietary records (http://fathead-movie.com/content/MyFoodLog.htm) you’ll notice that he keeps his daily calorie intake below 2000 kcals/day on most days. Now I don’t know much about Mr. Naughton, but I know quite a bit about my own caloric needs. I’ve performed just about every physiology/metabolic analysis available to me over the years (from DEXA scans, glucose clamps, REE, respiratory quotient, Harris-Benedict, indirect calorimetry, etc, etc…) and I require about 3000-3500 kcals/day for zero wight loss or weight gain. I am almost certainly taller than Naughton (I’m 6’6″) and probably slightly more active as well, but I imagine that both our caloric needs are not too dissimilar.

      Assuming his caloric needs are similar to mine he was sure to lose a lot of weight, even without exercise. Let’s assume it was something like 2500 kcals/day, he still loses weight over a month’s time without exercise. But he does exercise! He says he takes regular walks, but I don’t think he says how much in the film. However, Mr. Naughton was interviewed on Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast shortly after the film came out. In it he tells Mr. Moore that he walked 15-20 miles/week during filming. This effectively ensured that he would lose weight.

      So how does that disprove the calories-in/calories-burned idea? As an engineer, what do you not understand about this? Did you never learn about the second law of thermodynamics? If you keep adding matter to something without taking as much away from it, does it get heavier or lighter?

      You seem to be implying that I am an entitled consumer of science. You’re right! Especially if people are going to lob grenades at each other. Fat head at Spurlock, you at Fat Head. Is the lipid hypothesis valid or not?

      If you’re really confused and earnestly looking for unbiased nutrition information you shouldn’t be looking at documentaries from people without any scientific or medical training (Supersize Me or Fat Head or any other garbage out there). Blogs probably aren’t exactly a bastion of truth and objectivity, either. What you should do is go buy or download a nutrition textbook. Perhaps introductory. It won’t be as titillating as thinking you’re uncovering some nutrition secrets that have been covered up by the government, but it will be factual, written by experts, and heavily peer-reviewed.

  41. He said 2 million years ago because it dates back to homo erectus. It is believed we evolved from them…so I’m not taking points away from the guy for knowing that…I myself eat a low carb High fat diet and lost 300lb. My LDL and HDL are right where his were. This documentary certainly wasn’t the best and came off more obnoxious but there are a lot of good points in the film.

  42. Seth,
    I like what you’ve done here. There are so few today that will look objectively at what they are told.
    I’d really like to hear that mp3 (podcast) but the link appears broken. Help a brother out?
    Ray

  43. “It is claimed in the film that early humans were taller.
    This is untrue. Here’s a recent graph of European height over the past few decades.”
    First off your graph is of no relevance to the issue at hand.
    Secondly, your reference to Lucy betrays a conceptual confussion. Australopithecines were NOT humans: they were other species of hominids altogether. The comparison is nonsense.
    The point made in the documentary was that actual homo sapiens living before the invention of agriculture were taller and fitter. Cro magnon fossils, that is fossils of actual homo sapiens living in Europe before the invention of agriculture (paleolitihic), say 20.000 years ago, reveal that Europeans back then were actually more robust and taller than the Europeans living in the Bronze Age, say 4.000 years ago, when agriculture had spread. In fact, this has remained true until the 20th century.

  44. “I’m aware that one of the functions of the USDA is to promote American agriculture, but that issue along with Monsanto and GMOs are not relevant to this post. They might be indirectly relevant on a broader scale, but this post focuses on the claims made in the film and the science behind those claims. ”

    Only a paid Monsanto shill would say “Monsanto and GMOs are not relevant to this post”.

    You are what you eat. You are a genetically modified turd.

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  46. After the first 15 paragraphs or so, I felt compelled to leave you a comment. It seems clear you’re a very intelligent young man.

    However, it’s a shame you feel it necessary to call people names, use juvenile language, and generally portray yourself as a petulant child. For me, it detracts from your message. Your points will stand on their own and do not need to be propped-up with such behavior.

    Obviously, it’s your blog and you will do as you please. I respect that fact. In a few more decades, though, I suspect you will see my point.

    Wishing you well,

    Michael

    • Despite your insulting me, Michael R. Williams, I found your comment refreshingly polite.

      Let me be completely honest with you. If I were to write this blog post today it would be very different from how I wrote it back in early 2012. I would probably keep most of the “juvenile language” because I think it’s fun, but I would focus most of my efforts on fact-checking the claims in the movie rather than the so-called “experts” featured in the movie.

      That being said, I stand by what I wrote here. Aside from the obvious bits of satire, everything I wrote here is true and I cited my sources. The Eadses really do paradoxically promote a paleolithic diet while at the same time sell wildly overpriced vitamin supplements that I’m pretty sure cavemen didn’t eat. Dr. Sears really does promote what most people would consider to be snake oil.

      Mr. Naughton, the filmmaker, really has zero training in the health or medical sciences. Moreover, he makes many, many claims in the movie that are very wrong. His poorly-researched claims can have real effects on people’s lives for the worse. That’s bad enough, but you know what really gets me?? The arrogance of it all. The holier-and-smarter-than-thou attitude that Naughton and many of his experts ooze. They clearly think they are smarter than the “other” health experts, dietitians, scientists, policy makers, filmmakers, vegetarians, and anyone who happens to disagree with them. And it’s all based on nothing.

      So pardon me, Michael R. Williams, if I come off as a little rude when trying to explain that in my own personal blog.

      • Hello, Seth:

        Thank you for the thoughtful reply.

        My previous comments were not meant as an insult, believe it or not. I was simply stating my opinion. Nevertheless, I unreservedly apologize for the way I made you feel.

        As for the information you presented, I have no dispute with your facts. It was simply the method of delivery that I was challenging. But, as we both acknowledged, it’s your blog and you will do as you please. Going forward, I’ll cease any unsolicited feedback on style.

        Finally, I enjoy your blog, have added it to my ‘short list,’ and look forward to sharing more of your articles with others.

        Wishing you much health and happiness,

        Michael

  47. About a year ago, I did a Whole30. I dropped like 30 pounds and felt way more energetic and healthy than I ever felt in my life. I know anecdotal evidence doesn’t count for much, but it was pretty fantastic.

    My qualms with this movie have to do with his attitude that people can easily combat the effects of the nonstop advertising we’re constantly bombarded with. I appreciate his faith in people to be able to use their brains and limit their consumption, but when literally everything is some sort of advertisement or another, it’s difficult to train yourself to constantly monitor your motivations.

    But as far as the science is concerned, all the recent studies that I’ve read over the last year or so have supported the claims of the movie. Along with this, which is a good summary of the situation: http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303678404579533760760481486?mobile=y

    If you think the people presented in the movie — and a growing number of healthcare professionals and researchers — have ulterior motives, how do you explain Big Agriculture and its role in pushing high-carb diets through manipulation of government officials? I’d say that an entire industry has far more to gain than a doctor hawking a book they wrote, especially considering how much lobbying they’ve done over the last half a century or more.

    • A few comments…

      Congratulations on the weight loss. I know how hard it is to accomplish, and it’s not usually much fun to do, either.

      I agree that we are constantly bombarded with marketing and advertising for food. There was a recent report about Coca-Cola have a very slight decline in sales so it decided to increase it’s advertising budget by $400 million!! So Coke will be spending $3.7 BILLION in 2014 alone. How do cucumbers and carrots compete with that? How can mere mortals like us avoid that?

      As far as that article is concerned I have a couple things to say about it. One is that the study she alludes to but doesn’t link to or actually cite both surprising and not so surprising. Interestingly, the supposed quote she opens with – “Saturated fat does not cause heart disease” – doesn’t actually appear in the paper. Second, if you know anything about nutrition science you will know that it’s not really accurate to tie disease to fat, or even saturated fat for that matter. The truth is that fat is not really associated with disease, saturated fat is, but only specific types of saturated fat. For instance, short and medium-chain fatty acids that are found in things like coconut oil and palm oil are essentially benign, but longer-chain saturated fatty acids are more closely associated with heart disease. Moreover, some unsaturated fatty acids (such as the famous omega-3s) are protective against heart disease.

      It doesn’t show it in great detail in the original paper, but if you can get behind the paywall and download the supplemental material you will find exactly what I described. For example, here is a breakdown of a few saturated fatty acids. The one saturated fat that appears to substantially lower CHD risk is margaric acid, which is essentially a synthetic fat found in margarine. And here are some unsaturated fatty acids that appear to reduce risk of CHD.

      The second thing I’d like to mention about the article is that pretty much the entire thing is a distilled version of the first four chapters of Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes. Ms. Teicholz is basically regurgitating Taubes’s work with a few updates and repackaging it. There is barely anything new here. In fact, I claimed recently that she actually plagiarized Taubes for an earlier article she wrote. She also (unsurprisingly) gets a few things wrong in the article, but I won’t get into that.

      Finally, to your last point, I don’t exactly dispute it. We live in a more-or-less free market and capitalist society. Every industry and food company is trying to find ways to get you (or other businesses) to buy and consume as much of their product as you can bear. This is certainly true of corn and wheat processors, but it’s also true of dairy companies and meat packing companies. The low-carb/paleo talking heads like to invoke Del Monte or Mazola as big, evil, greedy corporations that only care about the bottom line, but I’ve strangely never heard any such rhetoric about Swift and Company, Hormel, or Tyson Chicken.

  48. For a blog entitled “Science of Nutrition”, I didn’t find much science. What I did find was a lot of poorly wrought apologetic that focused on how unimpressed you were with everyone’s credentials. Argument from authority anyone? Were you more impressed with Morgan Spurlock’s bachelor of fine arts? Al Gore’s degree in journalism? Let me guess–you voted for Obama.

    Fathead is a documentary, and as far as documentaries go, it was par for the course–entertaining and not particularly notable for it’s academic rigor. I think the Morgan Spurlock digs were an attempt to drive traffic–a common tactic these days in a world driven by social media. I’m old enough to remember when a documentary was a serious piece of work, but I think Michael Moore demonstrated that the new business model is a lot more profitable.

    If you want to talk about the science of nutrition, by all means do so, but dismissing a lot of very good scientific research clarifying the organic chemistry of nutrition as ‘unpopular’ is not only a non sequitur, but allows me to dismiss you blog as an ill-conceived vanity project (what are your credentials to discuss nutritional science anyways?).

    • For a blog entitled “Science of Nutrition”, I didn’t find much science.

      Mick, you clearly missed the several sections containing the actual science titled “The Actual Science,” “A Note on Diets and the Lipid Profile,” “Something To Think About,” “Even More Facts,” “Fun Facts,” and the section of references where I cite the sources and even provide scanned pages of academic papers.

      Also, for someone who doesn’t appear to like my ad hominem attacks, you seem to be engaging it a bit of it yourself: attacking my politics even when you have no evidence what my politics are. Talk about a non-sequitur! By the way, I wasn’t the one that introduced the “experts.” Naughton did. I am just evaluating them based on the information available to anyone.

      Moreover, what “good research clarifying the organic chemistry of nutrition” did I dismiss as “unpopular”? I did not even use that word anywhere.

      What are my credentials? Try clicking the link that says “About.” I’ll make it easy for you: About

  49. I know it’s been a long while since this was published, but I just found it, and felt to comment. First off, well written. I did enjoy reading this. Second, how crazy does a person have to be to think that a plastic “shield” changes cell phone radiation into natural waves?

    As for the diet. I don’t consider myself to be health nut. I don’t exercise any more. I did when I was younger, but for 20 years I’ve spent more time behind a desk then anything else, including sleeping. Over the years this lifestyle has really caused me to gain a little more weight than I really wanted (390~ lbs). About 8 month ago I chose to do something about it. I stopped eating carb rich foods. I didn’t change the amount of what I eat, just left out the bread, corn, sugar and potatoes. I don’t eat a meat only diet as I also try to limit my protein intake, but it is very meat heavy. For example, I had a hamburger bowl last night, it was about 1lb of 90% lean hamburger, cheese, mayonnaise, pickle and a touch of Romaine lettuce, for breakfast I normally have 4 eggs and 6 pieces of bacon with some cheese. Most would consider that to be an unhealthy diet, high calorie diet not suitable to weight loss. Now keep in mind that I have not doing anything extra, not even a little extra walking. I keep track of my lipids (I work for a medical clinic with an on-site lab) and while I’ve always been a little on the high side, there has been no change at all. While that is not in of itself a good thing, as I’d really like it to go down a few points, it’s not a bad thing as it has been steady for about the last 10 years. My weight however has dropped significantly over the last 8 months. I’m down to about 305 now and still count my weight loss in pounds per week.

    I don’t want to say that your article is wrong or that it’s “misinformation”, but I think that the complexity of the human physiology makes it hard to pin a “1 diet for all” concept. I don’t think that everyone can eat the diet I am and expect the same results. I do know that eating a “balanced” diet that consists of high fiber, low fat rich in grains only caused me to slowly gain an excessive amount of weight over time. I’m sure a more active lifestyle would have helped curb some of that. As would not eating 3-4K calories a day. But that was not balanced for (to?) me. I eat just as much, exercise just as little and I’m still dropping the weight.

    • Thanks for the kind words, and congrats on the weight loss. It’s much less fun to take it off than put it on, although it wounds like you’ve found something that you might enjoy.

      I agree with your no-one-size-fits-all approach. You should do what’s right for you. Keep an eye on those lipids, though.

  50. Pingback: Over- en ondergewicht - deel 3 - Pagina 147
  51. Wow! I arrived at your site looking to see if there was criticism of Good Calories, Bad Calories, and I ended up reading your blog from the start. (I think it is important to read criticisms of books and I couldn’t find anything other than bland, one-page reviews.)

    Anyway, I want to bring up how the US News ranked the Paleo Diet last. I can understand if they view the Paleo diet as just a bunch of bacon and butter, but what do you think of how they ranked the SlimFast diet? It’s #13 overall, and — in my opinion — it really should be ranked last because it doesn’t emphasize real food.

    By the way, I’d be curious about your advice on what food to eat, so you might consider that for a future post.

    • Hi Daniel. I guess I don’t have a strong opinion on the SlimFast diet. It should have an adequate amount of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and (hopefully) essential fatty acids. It may have a little too much sugar. I can imagine people getting sick of it real quick, and it’s probably not sustainable in the long run. Plus you don’t get the bioactive compounds that one normally gets from eating “real” food.

      On the other hand, if you dig Slim Fast and are overweight/obese and find that this diet is effective in losing weight then I say go for it.

      If you read my blog posts, you may come away with the impression that I hate The Paleo Diet, which isn’t exactly true, especially since The Paleo Diet definition varies so wildly between the Paleo gurus. I’m not even against meat. What I am against is when people like Mr. Naughton here clearly don’t do any research, parrot someone like Taubes, and self-righteously claim that fruits/vegetables/seeds aren’t that good for you and that eating a diet heavy in meat, butter, and animal fat is the healthiest diet humans can eat: it will help you live longer, cure depression and ADD, you’ll lose weight, it prevents heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, etc. Naughton even goes the anti-gov’t route and makes you think that eating meat is some sort of political activism: by eating a hamburger you’re sticking it to the man.

      Sorry for the rant.

      • Oh, I absolutely understand your perspective on Taubes, Naughton, etc. I consider myself mostly Paleo (because I’ll have rice every few days), but I don’t eat nearly as much meat/eggs as Taubes would suggest — the base of all three meals I eat a day are (non-starchy) vegetables.

        PS: I’m not at all overweight but I’m only 21 so I could eat whatever I want and look the same. I just figured I would get to knowing what I should eat as soon as possible.

        PPS: This is quite the comment list that you have here …

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