Nutritional Fanaticism I: Extreme Low Carbers

By Mike Howard

2731-scientology.jpg No dietary trend has garnered as much popularity as low carb in the past decade. Where there is popularity, however, there is oftentimes fanaticism.

Let me be absolutely clear, I like low carb – I think it can be an effective fat loss strategy for many. Let me also be clear that I’m not trying to paint every low carber with the same broad stroke. I know many people who follow low carb diets who are sensible and level-headed about their chosen strategy.

But, like clusters of grapes, the vast majority of the more fanatical low carbers are generally subscribe to identical doctrines. I’ve outlined what I think the difference is between the “sensible” low carbers and the “fanatic” low carbers; (For an overview on my criteria for health “cults”, see part I)

Sensible Low Carbers

  • Those for whom it works well – those who feel better and don’t feel restricted when they eat lower carb.
  • Those who recognize (or at least entertain the idea) that they are eating less food when they are eating lower carb.
  • Those who see that they are generally eating more healthily and eating more protein than they were before.
  • Those who acknowledge that lower carb diets are typically higher in protein giving it a satiating effect superior to that of “low fat” diets.
  • Those who tell people about it from their perspective and offer standpoints from evidence-based perspectives and yet still acknowledge that the research isn’t unequivocally unanimous that low carb is best.
  • Those who don’t feel the need to vigilantly keep carbs below 20g/day.

Low Carb Cultists

  • Carbs and carbs only are the reason people are fat.
  • Insulin is what makes you fat – from eating too many carbs
  • Calories don’t matter – it’s all about hormones
  • Steer clear of fruit and veggies that might raise your blood sugar
  • Whether it’s a twinkie or an apple – it will all make you fat.
  • Exercise doesn’t do anything to for fat loss
  • “Good Calories, Bad Calories” is infallible.
  • Atkins was infallible (and wasn’t fat when he died).
  • You should actually keep protein low compared to fat as protein can produce insulin
  • Vegetarian/vegan diets will make you sick and fat.
  • Low carb eating should be the default diet for everybody when it comes to optimal health and fat loss.
  • We should only eat according to how our Palaeolithic ancestors ate – which is very low carb.
  • Low carb works because of a metabolic advantage
  • Omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided like the plague
  • Ketogenic diets are optimal for fat loss
  • Hunger and appetite function strictly on physiological pathways.
  • Weight stall or gains are almost always “carb creep” or too much protein (insulin)
  • Fat people eat no more than skinny people.
  • Anyone with a tattoo of a fictional Palaeolithic character.

Typical Logical Fallacies

Strawman: “It’s better than stuffing your face with pasta and eating low fat cookies”.
Appeal to Authority: Taubes, Eades, Groves, etc. said it…”
Cum hoc ergo propter hoc: “I reduced my carbs and I lost weight – therefore it was the carbs making me fat”.
Proof by verbosity: “Good Calories, Bad Calories has lots of pages of references”
And of course there exists an overwhelming confirmation bias fallacy – taking in only that information that aligns with extreme low carb-ism.

Agree? Disagree? It’s all good – bring the opinions!

Low Carb Sites: The Sensible

The following sites, in my opinion are very good, science-driven even-handed resources for not only low carbers but those who are interested in healthy living in general.

  • Carbsane: For my money the most scientifically complete blog on the planet when it comes to debunking the dogmatism of extreme low carb-dom. Very scienc-y but excellent insights and commentary.
  • Mr. Low Body Fat: When Muata Kamdibe has something to say, he has my full attention – every time. He is someone who has been in the trenches – undergoing a very impressive transformation through a low carb approach who hasn’t drunk the kool-aide.
  • Cassandra Forsythe-Pribanic: An alphabet-soup list of academic credentials and can probably lift more than you. I’ve always appreciated Cassandra’s take on matters of nutrition and training.
  • Anthony Colpo: AC is smarter than you are. The author of “The Great Cholesterol Con” and “The Fat Loss Bible”, he is often criticized for his less-than-friendly demeanour but he backs up everything he says with airtight science.

Low Carb Sites: The Fanatic

The following sites, in my opinion are extremist and/or skewed/editorialized to fit an agenda or preconceived idea.

  • Livin’ La Vida Low Carb: Jimmy Moore. Once a respectable site in my opinion, Jimmy (who by all accounts seems a very pleasant individual) and his site have spiralled into a delusional realm that is far more preoccupied with launching a low carb empire and spreading the gospel of extreme low carb than bringing about the balance of truth. While I respect that Jimmy has guests on his podcasts that don’t fully conform to extreme low carb, any message that doesn’t fall in line with the extremists is brushed aside and ridiculed by the followers.
  • Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn: A double-whammy of narrow-minded dietary and fitness information. Essentially if you’re not into really low carb and really slow training, you don’t know science. Avoid at all costs.
  • Zoe Harcombe: While eating “real food” is a good idea, spreading nonsense and misinformation about why people gain and lose weight is not. Oh, and dissenting opinions will not be tolerated on her message boards.
  • Weston Price Foundation: This site has “agenda-driven” written all over it. Cherry-picked information, mistruths and half truths abound and the cast majority of their articles are non causa pro causa fallcies.
  • Active Low Carber Forums: You either subscribe to a very low carb philosophy, or face the wrath of the edgy low carbers. Prominent nutrition and exercise researcher James Krieger was unceramoniously booted off this site for no reason at all.
  • Dr. Michael Eades: Eades was an individual I used to respect greatly. His blog is very thorough and his writing oozes with intellect. Read between the lines, however and it becomes evident (from my perspective) that he has the bias and ego to match the intelligence. He shows a condescending attitude towards those who disagree and will take on easy targets and ignore those who legitimately call him on his woo.
  • Mark’s Daily Apple Forum: Mark Sisson is a very smart and VERY fit guy with a massive following. His articles (although Paleo-centric) are well thought out and he doesn’t have the demeanor of a cult leader . Visit his forums however and the Paleo-centricity is over-the-top and VERY cultish.

Fierce Conversations

If you have a couple of spare weeks on your hands, here are some of the more compelling debates of the extreme low carb camps vs. the middle ground folks. I think the most important thing about these discussions is to see them as an opportunity to learn something.

Middle Ground

Low carb can be a very safe and effective approach to fat loss and managing blood sugar. There is no need, however for most people to be overly restrictive of carbohydrates. Of course individual differences must be taken into account when choosing the best dietary approach and for some, lower carb (and even much lower carb) are both effective and palatable. There is no noticeable health or fat loss advantage to eating moderate carbs to very little carbs, however in longer term studies. In fact, eating a less restrictive diet is much better for long-term success.

Any thoughts as to which sites should be included/excluded to this list or additional suggestions?

Image Credit: flickr/drbertdelgado

89 Comments

  1. meizitang

    wow.so cool

    Reply
  2. No Nic

    I think, Mike, that homeless people have a lot more time to exercise than a working person with a family and a house!

    I don’t see too many obese homeless people but I see a lot of obese people working overtime at my job.

    I myself am not obese–but my apartment is a MESS.

    Reply
  3. Another Halocene Human

    Fred, aren’t you missing something here? What if you have good blood sugar control? Then your bloodstream is moving all that glucose where it belongs. Ergo, no problem.

    Kitavans, Fred. Google ’em and weep.

    Reply
  4. No Nic

    If you can work a stretching routine into your week it will really help your mental health. I was lucky enough to have a stretching class at work at one time where I learned how to do it, but you can also get a video. Play relaxing music and do all the stretches… I used to do it during lunch and it really put my head in a good place.

    Also, think about starting with some resistance (weight) exercises. They are very important for lifelong health and keeping your bones and muscles in place. Some walking is good, too. My wife and I sometimes wander around for 15 minutes after dinner. We go outside under the trees. It’s not a chore–it’s relaxing and fun and a way to be together. I hate treadmills too.

    Reply
  5. Sherrie

    I think every diet has fanatics and the more restrictive the worst it gets simply because it just gets plain dangerous, e.g. very low calorie diets. I don’t think there is an “absolute” answer in regards to the “ultimate” diet. I just don’t think there is one, simply because there’s too many variables in the first place such as a persons activity level, their health and body chemistry, their environment and lifestyle, influences, let alone their own food preferences and hey sometimes peoples health or circumstances change.

    Nor do I think you can necessarily judge a person because they are not lean, everyone is different, everyone has different set points and different backgrounds. A lean person that has always been lean and a person that always struggled with being overweight amongst other variables are two very different people and the way their body responds won’t always be the same, nor will their goals always be the same (e.g. a lean mean fighting machine!).

    I would never ever say that low carb is for everybody, because it’s not and I think it is negligent and perhaps dangerous to tell people that low carb is best for people that exercise heavily simply because of the obvious… e.g. electrolytes and glucose.

    I like Atkins in that I think it makes a good starting base to work on as it helps to get the appetite under control as well as cutting out a lot of crap. But really, the rest is up to the individual to change it to suit their body. I think the biggest problem I see is people like a set of rules because rather then be accountable they want to be told exactly what to eat and how much. I just can’t see how that fits into a lifestyle, particularly maintenance because sooner or later, you’re going to break the rules and break them a lot!

    Nor do I think anyone should be scared of carbs, like fat they can also have some benefits such as to the thyroid and the obvious, muscle glycogen.

    Reply
  6. Don

    Mike –

    We’re not going to resolve the low-carb debate on a blog, though I’ve enjoyed reading the back-and-forth on this topic – my first visit to your blog has been a pleasure!

    I must pick one fight with you, however – Colpo does not belong on your list, not because he is arrogant, vituperative, and obnoxious, but for the simple fact that he long ago stopped allowing comments on his blog. Since you have singled out the Eades, Mark S., and others for the cultic comments on their blogs I think it only fair that your list of “approved” blogs include only those that accept comments. How do we know that Colpo’s followers aren’t just as fanatical or more so than the folks at Eades, etc? I don’t know and neither do you.

    Thanks.

    Reply
  7. CarbSane

    . There is no human being who will thrive on a high carb/sugar, low fat/low protein diet. Not one.

    Oh please. This again? Not one human being will thrive on a high carb low fat low protein diet? Try billions Fred, literally billions … alive TODAY or in the easy-to-verify recent past who do.

    Reply
  8. Dan

    I don’t think Mike spoke about your motives, but I do think you DO come across as someone is he very sure that you are right and that everyone else is wrong. You most certainly come across as believing that anyone who doesn’t agree with you doesn’t know science. It is a coincidence, but I did rebut this statement that you made 2 years ago on another site that was refuting John Cloud,

    “John Cloud is quite correct – you cannot exercise yourself to sveltness.

    This rebuttal is non-scientific and just knee jerk.

    Cloud states that exercise IS beneficial just not for fat loss and research proves him right.

    For all of you out there who seek to lose fat, exercise for health but eat a low carb diet for fat loss.

    Do this and in a month you won’t recognize yourself.”

    >HOW would you explain my experience, that I tried in vain to diet my weight down for 20 years and then once I started to exercise by bicycling EVERYDAY, my weight melted down to a weight I was not able to get to since High School, in other words a “svelte” weight? I didn’t terribly restrict calories OR carbs, or fat for that matter, and now I keep up the exercise and have not gained back even ONE pound in over a year. I even eat well during the holiday season, but the exercise keeps me from gaining weight- before I exercised so much I would usually gain a lot of weight during the holiday season. I do moderate what I eat, but I don’t greatly restrict carbs, fats or calories. Many people cannot recognize me now. Also, in contrast to Cloud, my stomach used to be huge, but it doesn’t hang over my belt AT ALL anymore. Remember John Cloud’s stomach hangs over his belt, even though he stopped exercising.
    You also quote the ACSM saying that exercise alone was not effective for weight loss. However, I did find another article which disagrees with them, by quoting such research as
    The Impact of Exercise Training Compared to Caloric Restriction on Hepatic and Peripheral Insulin Resistance in Obesity” by
    Robert H. Coker, Rick H. Williams, Sophie E. Yeo, Patrick M. Kortebein, Don L. Bodenner, Philip A. Kern, and William J. Evans

    This research found that persons who produced equivalent calorie deficits by exercise lost just as much weight as persons who produced calorie deficits by cutting calorie intake. The main way to do this is to exercise a lot more, but not increase the amount one eats. There needs to be no decrease in calories at the same time. There was also an exercise without weight loss group that still improved their health, but didn’t lose weight because they compensated for their increased exercise. This research showed more health gains such as improved peripheral insulin resistance for persons who exercised their weight down than for persons who mainly dieted their weight down. Most research has the exercisers burning just 200 calories a day, whereas the dieters cut their calories by over 500 calories a day. Even then, most research shows modest weight loss from exercise, even when the subjects don’t exercise so much. Running 5 miles usually burns at least 500 calories. I estimate that 10 miles of bicycling can burn 500 calories. Bicycling also burns a lot of calories when one goes up a lot of hills. This proves you and Cloud wrong that exercise is not beneficial for weight loss. Half assed exercise certainly is ineffective, but not serious, consistent, intense and regular exercise. If research “proves” Cloud right, then how do you explain that over 90% of the persons in the National Weight Control Registry, persons who have maintained a considerable weight loss for over a year, exercised a lot from the beginning of their weight loss journey and continue it throughout their maintenance period?
    You most certainly do come across as believing that anyone who disagrees with you doesn’t know science. I know, and people who know me know that exercise really helped me get to a very svelte weight- does that mean we don’t know science?

    Reply
  9. CarbSane

    Still waiting for that post on your blog Fred.

    Do try to follow along here though. The reply was out of place from where it was being discussed.

    Reply
  10. Fred Hahn

    ASP huh? I don’t think so. And we’re not talking about some small degree of fat storage, we’re talking about getting fat/obesity.

    Reply
  11. Fred Hahn

    Thanks for placing a link to my blog Mike. Much appreciated.

    And if you are ever willing to engage in a public debate on exercise and nutrition, I’m game.

    You said:

    “There is no need, however for most people to be overly restrictive of carbohydrates.”

    Really? Why? Because you say so? You are clearly completely unaware of how caustic a chronically high level of blood glucose is to the human body:

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/75/3/492.short
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15380496?dopt=Abstract
    http://www.diakine.com/assets/research20060202.pdf

    And of course there is much, much more than this.

    “Of course individual differences must be taken into account when choosing the best dietary approach and for some, lower carb (and even much lower carb) are both effective and palatable.”

    Yes and no. There is no human being who will thrive on a high carb/sugar, low fat/low protein diet. Not one. A certain amount of macro/micronutrient intake is vital for robust health for ALL human beings and low fat/protein diets are deficient in both.

    What is your actual argument? Is it that you just don’t like people who act sure of themselves or who strongly promote low carb? Is it that you only like people who ride the fence on the subject? Or are you trying to warn the world of dangerous cultists – as if Dr. Eades and I are out to hurt people.

    “There is no noticeable health or fat loss advantage to eating moderate carbs to very little carbs, however in longer term studies. In fact, eating a less restrictive diet is much better for long-term success.”

    First, define your terms please. People who understand how bad elevated blood sugar is do not see that a very carb- restricted diet is overly restrictive any more than an ex-smoker thinks quitting smoking is overly restrictive. For many, keeping blood glucose low is necessary – more necessary that they or their doctors realize.

    RE: Dr. Eades:

    “He shows a condescending attitude towards those who disagree and will take on easy targets and ignore those who legitimately call him on his woo.”

    This is both an exaggeration and a bald-faced lie. Shame on you Mike.

    Here is a good site for you to judge. I hope people read Dr. Su’s work.

    http://www.carbohydratescankill.com/

    Reply
    • Magarietha

      Have read all of Mike Eades’ blog – never once felt he was arrogant or condescending. Thing is now in 2012 the science is quite solid. I can no again go on anything else BUT a ketogenic diet. Have heterozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia and within 4 months this diet has normalised my numbers for the first time since I was born and I am now in my 50’s. My GP was over the moon. People in this blog would get a fright if they knew what my numbers were ON meds at that. LIke my GP says, their cannot be an argument, the numbers don’t lie. I’m thankful to Gary Taubes, Michael Eades, Dr. Peter Attia, Dr. Tim Noakes, the New Atkins diet. First studied both sides for months before taking an educated decision. And hey, it’s not high protein. Have not once seen in these kind of diets the word high protein. It’s moderate. My fat intake has been cranked up a lot – but because of that, I just don’t see why I should take extra carbs. It’s like when people do die while on this diet you’ll have to say they died of a lack of coke and cookies…. and hey, it’s a pleasant diet. On a vegetarian diet once, with zero cholesterol intake, my cholesterol after a single month shot off the charts. My doc’s then considered it an emergency – I was flabergasted and had to question the low fat diets all in all.

      Reply
  12. KGD

    And CW looks like a chimera of an old man’s head on a prepubescent boy’s body. Very off-putting to say the least.

    Reply
  13. Michal

    all carb sane and anthony colpo do is bash low carb people.

    Reply
  14. dan

    I for one keep carbs low on average but that is only because carbs carry A TON of calories with them. If I ate 100 calories of fish, I would feel far more satisfied than from 100 calories from 1 sliced of bread. However, things that carry carbs, almost always taste better.. Cake after all is cake, and is amazing 🙂

    Reply
  15. Mike Howard

    ^^ Last comment landed in the wrong place. Whoa – that site is a couple of tomatoes short of a thick sauce. Thanks for sharing, CarbSane : )

    Reply
  16. Mike Howard

    Yes Bret, I’m actually shocked we haven’t had a visit from mr. razwell and Fred.

    Reply
  17. Frosty

    They are only “suprisingly healthy, happy and very content” because anyone who has problems while on zero carb are booted off. It is a highly self-selected group. Very few people that try that brand of VLC are able to do it.

    Reply
  18. Bret

    Isn’t it ironic that some of the most vehement supporters of low carb nowadays are all overweight and/or borderline obese? I’m talking about Jimmy Moore, both the Eades, and Richard Nikoley among others. Moore and the Eades in particular seem to have struggled with their weight lately, yet still are as passionate as ever about the lifestyle. Many of these folks have lost a lot of weight, and God bless them for that. But some of the biggest names in LC are themselves examples that the lifestyle might not be so easy to maintain for everyone. Carbsane has gone into great detail about this in many of her recent articles. Anthony Colpo also commented on this in his latest article.

    By the by, Mike, has Razwell brought his sociopathic flair to your blog yet, or have you already blocked his IP address? I’m also surprised Fred Hahn apparently hasn’t left any comments yet….

    Reply
    • Razwell

      YEP, I’m right HERE.

      The human body is an OPEN system. The human body is a NON- equilibrium system.

      There is no equation that can characterize the loss and gain of body fat. if it could even be done, it would BE MANY equations and HELLISHLY COMPLEX.

      I have MY TOP SOURCES.

      NO caloric energy is being turned into matter in a human.

      Colpo has “airtight science”? First of all, there is NO SUCH THING. Second of all , Colpo’s understanding of what science leaves much to be desired. He has no understanding at all.

      I have spoken to some of the smartest physicists ( including Lawrence Krauss) and biophysicists in the world and they LAUGH at Colpo’s sensationalist site.

      MORGAN FREEMAN GO POOPY ON YOUR HEAD, FOOL!

      Reply
    • Razwell

      Anthony Colpo , Alan Aragon, Lyle McDonald , James Krieger and CarbSane have LAUGHABLE understandings of thermodynamics.

      Here is a HINT:

      FREE ENERGY.

      Reply
  19. CarbSane

    Any thoughts as to which sites should be included/excluded to this list or additional suggestions?

    I hesitate to send any of your traffic this guy’s way, but I was catching up on my feed reading of the comments on Taubes’ blog and this guy really takes the cake:

    http://thebunnellfarm.blogspot.com

    Over on GT’s he basically accuses the entire human race of being high on carbs. Meanwhile he’s eating a carnivore diet and succombing occasionally to carb binges and can’t seem to realize his own behavior does not make all of the rest of us addicts. Currently weighing in at over 300 lbs he can be found berating folks for their addictions. Howzzat working for you Tom?

    Reply
  20. CarbSane

    Interesting revelation there. I think I’ll share that with my readers. 🙂

    Reply
  21. CarbSane

    This was supposed to be inline with the ASP thread.

    Reply
  22. CarbSane

    OK … we were talking about ASP, insulin and esterification. Where I went on any tangent it was then trying to steer the conversation back to Sisson’s excess carb turned to fat claims which is different than the “can’t store fat w/o insulin (carbs)” claim.

    Somehow you came back with IR, your hunger and evolutionary arguments. I can see discussing further is a waste of my time.

    Reply
  23. KGD

    I think “parrot” sums it up nicely. Seems to me she reads/views the same popular media as the rest of us (Taubes, Lustig, etc.) and basically regurgitates it. I’m not even sure she truly believes what she says.

    I thought this tidbit from Ben Goldacre’s blog was interesting:

    “We all rely on heuristics, or shortcuts. Trusting an authority is one. Zoe boasts in the Mail that she is “studying for a PhD in nutrition” but she admitted to me, tediously, inevitably, that she’s not registered for a PhD anywhere (although she is thinking about doing one in the future).”

    (http://www.badscience.net/2011/01/how-to-read-a-paper/)

    Oh what a tangled web…

    😉

    Reply
  24. Geo

    I’m not sure…all I know is that EVERYONE I know personally, that has made VLC a way of life, has eliminated their obesity status. (about 20 of my friends, family, and myself)…..Mind you, this was AFTER attempting the more moderate approach that many skeptics preach, and somehow forget….THAT WAS ALREADY TRIED BY MANY…..and it didn’t work….

    Reply
  25. Geo

    LOL! Re-read the last 3/4’s of your post I was replying to! You went off on a tangent, and then replied in kind, following your lead!

    Reply
  26. CarbSane

    What percent are we consuming? What percent are the obese consuming? What percent are the lean consuming?

    Reply
  27. CarbSane

    Ugh … thanks for the reminder. Zoe is a parrot. Sorry, but that’s the kindest term I can use to describe her statements about energy balance. The first clue is that thermogenesis factors are actually first law terms.

    Zoe admitted in comments on my blog that she was a vegetarian until about just over a year ago now. She used to eat porridge for breakfast, butternut squash curry over brown rice for dinner and a huge “cheese salad” for lunch. This is not the diet she is advocating. No truth in advertising for Ms. Harcombe because now she’s seen the light and fought her deep rooted beliefs in love of animals to consume the diet she advocates.

    But she’s open minded at least 😉
    We are more open minded to new ideas and we know, all of us from experience, that calorie counting does not produce sustained weight loss.
    Funny how all these new ideas come from decades old citations.

    Reply
  28. CarbSane

    My interview experience with Jimmy ultimately left a VERY bad taste in my mouth. It’s sort of water under the bridge, but it will need to be shared on the blog someday b/c someone who hasn’t been through the experience isn’t likely to pick up on certain things scattered about the web.

    Jimmy censors just about every dissenting or even critical opinion these days. There’s clearly a “gang” of bloggers I say would make up the LLVLC circle of friends. They all repeat the mantras. At least Fred will allow dissenting opinions, but it’s really a futile cycle trying to discuss anything with him LOL.

    I don’t know how many times I’ve read on his board “I’m not losing weight”, or “I’m experiencing XYZ discomfort”, etc. The solution is always “add more fat” or take ABC supplement. If A supplement causes more bad stuff, then take BCEFGHIJKLMNOP. Anything BUT stop taking the A!

    For me personally, I think the harm is in the fact that so many are instilled in an utter fear of carbohydrates. I know I was. I’m not even diabetic and I became fearful that if I ate carbs I could certainly become one due to my weight issues. I lost my weight eating under 20g carb/day. The only “real” carb I ate was the occasional LC wrap, Lindor truffle or squirt or two of whipped cream. When weight loss stopped it was cut even more carb? I’m not about to go zero carb — which, BTW, was apparently such a contentious issue in Jimmy’s world back at the inception of his forum that Charles Washington was booted from his forum and any version of “zero carb” was added to the “bad word filter” and converted to very-low-carb. That’s one reason Jimmy’s ZC experimental crash diets had a particular irony.

    There are many people there who return time and again after falling off the wagon berating themselves for not being able to stick to it when they know this is how they *HAVE* to eat to be healthy. I would try to suggest they try a more moderate plan that they could sustain. *hears pin drop*

    Even Atkins envisioned adding carbs back to the diet, not staying on induction for all eternity and when that stopped working cutting out even veggies and intermittent fasting. What happens when this doesn’t work or is unsustainable?

    Reply
  29. Geo

    And historical evidence certainly doesn’t support humans consuming the current % of carbs in the typical diet.

    We certainly can handle carbs in low amounts…but the definition of low is yet to be determined, IMO…

    Reply
  30. CarbSane

    I thought we were talking about ASP.

    Reply
  31. CarbSane

    I have an open mind. Humans were not designed to be carnivores. And no, I’m definitely not a vegetarian or a lipophobe either.

    Reply
  32. Mike Howard

    Thank you for your first-hand input, SueK24! I would have to say that from an outsider perspective and from those I know who have interviewed with him is that Jimmy is very gracious and gives people the floor – even if they don’t agree with them.

    I couldn’t resist chiming in on the Lyle McDonald interview thread, though when Jimmy’s followers showed such disdain for someone who dared suggest that calories matter.

    Reply
  33. Mike Howard

    Thank you for your encouraging words, Bret – couldn’t agree more! I actually linked (or at least meant to) link to that very discussion. It really shows the “tribal” mentality. I’m shocked that Harcombe has such a devout following.

    Reply
  34. Geo

    Insulin resistance creates a scenario where insulin lingers longer and longer in the body, and the much higher spikes of insulin due to high sugar/carb foods take longer and longer to go down….and that is where the dirty work of insulin takes place…it is after it slams blood glucose levels down sharply, but takes longer and longer to itself, decrease as a serum percentage. However, the sudden drop in blood sugar triggers hunger (or the mimic of “true” hunger) and before insulin is allow to return to a normal level, it is called upon by the body to rid itself of the excess (toxic) levels of blood sugar.

    Fat consumption vs. high carb meal creates a vastly different insulin response.

    10 years ago I was diagnosted as pre-diabetic….fast forward to today, and my blood glucose level is rock steady between 85-90.

    My “hunger” is not the same as what is percieved as “hunger”….eating very low carb (or essentially no carb) for long periods of time, have shown me and others the subtle differences between “true hunger” and a carb/sugar craving…

    Most people can easily experience this with themselves at dinner time…..Eat a nice juicey steak, maybe with a tossed salad if you so like, and/or some steamed broccolli…go ahead and fill er up!! Then when someone comes over and says, “I’ve got more steak if anyone wants”…and most of the time the response is “no thanks” I’m full….but 10 minutes later, bring out a nice bowl of ice-cream topped with whipped cream and a cherry, and voila…down the hatch it goes….again, only 10 min. after the “I’m full” response.

    With a VLC diet, once the sugar/carb addiction is broken, “hunger” is not the “OMG I’m starving” type feeling that comes about with most people after not eating for 8-24 hours….for me, it is more of a feeling of my body needing a boost of energy…..slam a couple of fatty steaks, and off goes my body, running on some pretty high octane energy.

    From a natural selection standpoint, doesn’t it make sense that the most efficient form of energy is dietary fat at 9cal/gm vs. 4cal/gm of carbohydrate??? You do know that in the wild, almost every carnivore, once killing it’s prey, go for the fattiest part of the animal. How would natural selection fit into a notion that an energy source so dense, could be so ridiculed in the late 70’s through today, when it has truly been part of history over thousands of generations, yet, the high carb foods of today, (processed grains… , high fructose corn syrup, genetically altered fruits and veggies……ice cream, soda/pop, candy, pop corn, corn chips, potato chips, and on and on and on) seem to skirt scrutiny as a possible cause for the ailments of today, when they have really only been around for the last 1000 years or so??? And much of the last century it has gotten much worse with the advent and corresponding ingestion of the most intense “sugary” foods???

    Reply
  35. SueK24

    I was a guest interview on one of Jimmy Moore’s podcasts about 3 or 4 years ago. He interviewed me about my experiences with the Zone and asked me to do a presentation about the Zone diet. Being best described as a diet of moderation, the Zone is by no means an extreme low carb eating plan, but I have to say, Jimmy was a pleasure to work with, a genuinely sincere nice guy. I haven’t kept up with his web site, bascially because it’s too low carb for my liking, but the interview was very enjoyable and Jimmy was very respectful of my opinions, even though they were not in line with his very low carb lifestyle.

    Reply
  36. Geo

    Antecdotal evidence was that my resting body temp (taken many times while eating a 1500-2000 calorie lower fat diet) was about 2 degrees F lower than what it is typically today eating exclusively meat (for 3+ years) (which my body temp now regularly runs around 99F)

    BTW, my Dr. is now a HUGE low carb proponent, and 10 years ago, he was very leary of my independant efforts to lose the excess fat on my body, because the standard methods were not working. Believe me, I am by most people’s standards about the healthiest 43 year old male around!

    What made me so skeptical of the standard USDA recommended diet??? It was not working for me….nutritionalists stated that I “required” carbs for energy (bull…as for 3 years I’ve predominately eaten only animal flesh and have more energy than ever)…they wanted “longer term studies”, yet I never found, heard nor remember such requirements when the lower fat diets were recommended, and lastly, that they were unhealthy, yet a decade ago, I had known several people eating very low carb and were in terrific shape and health!

    Keep an open mind, if you are struggling with weight…that is my only point.

    Reply
  37. Bret

    Mike,

    This is a very good compilation of some excellent threads and nutrition bloggers and scientists who have engaged in some very heated debate over the past several years. I would agree with you pretty fully on the categorization as well. I used to be very impressed with the WAPF but found that they do tend to rely upon anecdote and observational data, and particularly mixing correlation and causation as you have observed. I still find many of their ideas interesting and thought provoking nonetheless, as well as that of their inspiration – Weston A. Price himself.

    It’s too bad that so many have commented here that demonstrate this fanatical “groupthink” that you are talking about. Perhaps most of you will look at this article as the author undoubtedly intended it be viewed – not as a jab to your dietary beliefs, but an expose of the misinformation and hype that has tended to accompany the Low Carb lifestyle. And you could insert any dietary regimen in place of Low Carb in the last sentence, be it Low Fat, Vegetarian, or Paleo among others.

    As for suggestions, you could add Alan Aragon’s blog and James Krieger’s Weightology to the “Sensible” section since they have many good pre-subscription model articles as well, although they are included in the Fierce Conversations section. The following link I think is a classic example of fanaticism by Harcombe et al as well as great logic by Krieger and could be added to “Fierce Conversations”:

    http://www.theharcombedietclub.com/forum/showthread.php?2205-The-energy-balance-equation

    At any rate thanks again and keep up the good work.

    Reply
  38. CarbSane

    Geo, I do presume you are familiar with the fact that the energy content of ketones is negligible, right?

    Unless you’re an untreated T1 diabetic you’ve got insulin, even fat elicits insulin indirectly via incretins.

    I would like to see a study on low carbers that demonstrates an increase in metabolic rate. I’ve yet to see one. If anything the “fat burning” metabolism would ultimately reduce metabolic rate as it mimics the fasted/starved state (gluconeogenesis, glyceroneogenesis, ketosis, etc.)

    Reply
    • Michael Banashak

      There is NO, and I emphatically stress, NO caloric energy EVER turning into or becoming bodily fat tissue in a human. I WILL correct your nonsense.

      Nuclear reactions are converting the rest energy of uranium atoms into kimetic energy. Again, energy is ONLY EVER converted to other forms of energy. It is NOT A THING,NOR substance, nor object, nor liquid. It is an anstract property like SIZE, foolish person,

      Reply
  39. CarbSane

    Geo, the production of ASP has been shown to increase even more dramatically by …. drumroll please …. chylomicrons! AKA dietary fat.

    Chylo stimulation of ASP

    ASP and fat accumulation

    During the insulin “spike”, fatty acids are actually net exiting the fat cell. Later when ASP rises in response to the arrival of chylo, we get fat deposition.

    But this is actually a different issue than the one I have with Sisson. He is a preacher of body fat comes from excess carb not excess fat. Wrong. Body fat comes mostly from dietary fat if there are excess calories. Matters not the macro composition of the “excess”.

    IF you don’t gain eating excessive amounts of fat but require significantly lower intake to maintain on a low fat diet, there is only one reason for this: you have a fat malabsorption issue.

    Even Feinman and Fine — in arguing for the metabolic advantage — replace carb with equal amounts of fat and protein. Replacing carb 1:1 with fat would produce a distinct disadvantage by their own theory.

    Unless you’re an untreated T1 diabetic, you have all the insulin you need to store excess fat or it remains in circulation or it’s mucking up your metabolic works. You should probably hope your case is a malabsorption issue as the alternative is even less healthy.

    Reply
    • Michael Banashak

      Energy is NOT itself ANYTHING. Energy is a very abstract mathematical CONCEPT ONLY. Calories are a property, a CONCEPT. They are NOT ANYTHING. Calories CANNOT be turned into fat tissue which actual stuff-MATTER.CONCEPTS cannot become matter. Energy can only be converted into other forms of energy. To lose matter we must remove ATOMS.Calories have NOTHING to,do,with the causal mechanism of actually losing physical matter.

      In science, laws are NOT some holy,truths or cosmic texts handed down. NO laws are imposed on the Universe, you science illiterate foolish person. These laws are ONLY OUR very fallible models and guesses.NOTHING is ever imposed on the Universe by us and our silly dictates. Rathern, WE try to FIGURE IT out and are more times wrong than right.

      These “laws” CAN and be and are regularly broken as we learn more . Scienrists do not even use that term anymore.We see what is wrong with our models or “laws” and then revise our MODELS. Get with it!

      I actually talk to real physics Ph.D.’s and I assure you Colpo is laughable……..
      None of you bloggers are scientifically literate. You and Colpo have the poorest understanding of physics I habe ever seen. What’s worse, you totally abuse it and misrepresent it to fit outdated beliefs about obesity. I am so tired of rhe science illiterate weirdos of the health blogosphere. None of you have the slightest clue about physics. The ignorance about basic things is astounding.

      Reply