Calories, fat or carbohydrates? Why diets work (when they do).

Last September, the Williams College psychologist Susan Engel had an opinion piece in the New York Times on the value of standardized testing as a means of assessing the quality of a child’s education.  Engel argued that there was scant evidence that these tests were of any value at all, and that they should be replaced by the many “promising techniques” that psychologists had already identified as valuable in assessing the learning of our children.

So what does this have to do with nutrition and weight control? Well, among the promising techniques, wrote Engel, was this one:

Researchers have also found that the way a student critiques a simple science experiment shows whether he understands the idea of controlling variables, a key component in all science work. To assess children’s scientific skills, an experiment could be described to them, in writing, and then they would explain how they would improve upon it.

So the value of controlling variables in a scientific experiment is something that a reasonably well-educated child supposedly understands. And what I want to know is why don’ t nutritionists understand it and those researchers out there doing diet trials and studying obesity and weight regulation. Because their failure to do so — and I would argue that it may be a willful failure — has led to what may be another of the great misconceptions in modern nutrition research. In particular, that carbohydrated-restricted diets are “valuable tools” in the arsenal against overweight and obesity, but they’re just one of the dietary tools.

This belief stems from the last decade of diet trials comparing carbohydrate-restricted diets (usually Atkins) to low-calorie, low-fat diets. Instead of thinking of low-carbohydrate diets like Atkins as deadly, which was formerly the case, nutritionists and dietitians (or at least most of them) now think of these diets as useful, just as other diets, low in calories or fats, are also useful. The idea now is that some people do well on carbohydrate-restricted diets and some people do well on low-fat diets, and maybe this is a result of whether they happen to be insulin sensitive or insulin resistant or maybe its just a product of their particular food tastes and preferences.

And this belief, of course, is based on the notion that we get fat for reasons other than the nutrient composition of the diet – probably because of some combination of our genes, our tendency to eat to much and our sedentary behavior – and so the diet that works best is the one that allows us to most comfortably restrict our intake of total calories.

This was the conclusion, for instance, of a 2008 article by Chris Gardner and his colleagues at Stanford, reporting on a subgroup analysis of their famous A to Z study.  (The trial is famous, at least, in the low-carb world, because the Atkins diet resulted in twice the weight loss of any of the three other diets tested, and it also did a better job of improving heart disease risk factors). In this follow-up study, Gardner and his colleagues reported that in each diet group — from the Atkins diet on the high end of the dietary fat to carbohydrate ratio to the Ornish diet on the low end — the subjects who actually adhered to the diet lost the most weight. Hence, their conclusion: maybe adherence to a diet is more important than the actual nutrient composition of the diet. Here’s the concluding paragraph:

The main findings of this weight loss study, presented in a previous report, indicated that while all three diet groups lost modest amounts of weight, the Atkins group at 12 months lost approximately twice the weight of the other groups. The findings presented here indicate that weight loss in the lowest tertile [third] of adherence was negligible in all three diet groups, and more pronounced in the highest tertile of adherence for each diet group. It appears that substantial differences in proportions of dietary macronutrients play only a modest role in weight loss success, and that success is possible on any of these diets provided there is adequate adherence. Getting individuals to adhere to whatever diet they choose to follow deserves more emphasis. It remains to be determined to what extent there is a need for dietary weight loss programs that are easier to adhere to vs identifying and addressing individual barriers to adherence, or both.

So the nutrient composition of the diet is less important than whether or not the subject can live with the diet and is willing to do so for as long as it takes — ideally, a life time.

This concept of low-carb diets being good for some people and low-fat for others  is invariably reinforced by the fact that most of us  know someone who has lost weight and kept it off on Weight Watchers or after reading Skinny Bitch or some other popular low-calorie diet book. As a result, we assume that dieting isn’t a one-sized fits all endeavor and that everyone is different – perhaps metabolically and hormonally, as well – and that what works for me won’t necessarily work for you, and vice verse.

So what does this have to do with controlling variables or even understanding the concept of controlling variables?

What researchers like Gardner and his colleagues do in these diet trials  (and it’s the same thing most of us do when we think about those people who succeed on conventional  diets or after reading diet books like Skinny Bitch) is make the assumption that a diet that is described as a “low-fat diet” is low in fat only and that’s why it works. And they also make the assumption that a diet that restricts total calories works (if it does) because it restricts total calories. Another way of saying this is that we all tend to assume — researchers and lay people alike — that when someone embarks on a low-fat diet, the only meaningful variable that changes in their diet is the fat-to-carbohydrate ratio. The ratio gets smaller. Fat consumption goes down and carbohydrate consumption goes up. And, by the same token, when someone tries to simply eat less, the only meaningful variable that’s changing is the total number of calories they’re consuming.

The most extreme or perhaps egregious example of this thinking was the recent publication by Gary Foster and his colleagues, comparing low-fat diets, as they described them, to low-carbohydrate diets. The title was “Weight and Metabolic Outcomes After 2 years on a Low-Carbohydrate Versus a Low-Fat Diet.” And here was the conclusion as stated in the abstract:

Successful weight loss can be achieved with either a low-fat or low-carbohydrate diet when coupled with behavioral treatment. A low-carbohydrate diet is associated with favorable changes in cardiovascular disease risk factors at 2 years.

So the way the media and the nutrition community treated this was as further evidence that nutrient composition of the diet makes little difference in weight loss — maybe low-carb works for some of us, but low-fat works for others — although,  in this case, maybe low-carb had some modest advantage when it came to heart disease risk factors.

But if you read this article carefully, you’d have noticed that there was another significance difference between the “low-fat” and low-carbohydrate diets. The low fat diet was a low-calorie diet also — “A low-fat diet consisted of limited energy intake (1200 to 1800kcal/d; less than or equal to 30 % calories from fat),” the authors explained. The low-carbohydrate diet was not calorie-restricted. And if Foster and his colleagues were being either intellectually honest or good scientists, they’d have defined the two diets to make this clear. Not  “low-fat” vs.  “low-carbohydrate”, but “low-fat, calorie-restricted” vs, “low-carbohydrate, calorie-unrestricted.”In other words they’d have acknowledged that there was at least one other variable that was different between the two experiments and had to be taken into account when interpreting the results — the amount of calories the subjects were instructed to consume. As we’ll see, there were also other variables that were changing, but this one — how much food can be consumed if desired — is a whopper.

It’s a whopper because it begs this question: is it the total calories consumed that is the variable determining weight loss? And, by the same token, is it the calories consumed (or expended) that determines how much weight we gain?

In this case, both diets resulted in roughly equal weight loss but those subjects randomized to the “low-fat” diet were instructed and counseled to semi-starve themselves (eat a maximum of 1500 calories for women, 1800 for men), while those counseled to eat low-carb were counseled and instructed not to worry about how much they ate and, one hopes, as this was an Atkins diet being prescribed, eat until they were full. So if weight loss is the same in both groups, doesn’t this suggest, at least, that weight loss can be independent of whether dieters semi-starve themselves or eat to satiety? And, if so, of course, wouldn’t you rather get to eat to satiety?

Had Foster and his colleagues understood what school children are supposed to understand, according to Engels,  “the idea of controlling variables, a key component in all science work,” they may have decided to control for calories and instructed both groups that they could eat as much as they want, rather than just the low-carbohydrate group. Or, had they had the money to spend, they might have cooked meals for both groups of subjects, say, 2700 calories a day – either low-fat or low-carb – and encouraged both groups to eat all the food prepared. Such an experiment would have gone a long way to “controlling” for calories consumed or for whether the subjects were allowed to eat to satiety or not. In doing so, it might have revealed something meaningful about whether the nutrient composition of the diet plays a role in weight loss or weight gain independent of calories, which is one of the critical questions here. I’d hazard a guess that it surely does, but I could be wrong. It would be an interesting experiment to do and I’ll write  considerably more on that in a later post.

As for the other mistake Foster, Gardner and their colleagues make when they assume that a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet (defining it correctly) is restricted only in fat, it’s the same mistake we make when we assume that someone who lost weight following Weight Watchers or after reading Skinny Bitch did it merely because something about these regimens got them to eat fewer calories and maybe fewer fat calories in particular. And this is the other mistake that suggests a lack of understanding of the idea of controlling variables.

Virtually any diet that significantly restricts the number of calories consumed, even a diet that is described as low-fat (because the subjects are instructed to reduce the proportion of fat calories they consume), will cut the total amount of carbohydrate calories consumed as well. This is just simple arithmetic. If we cut all the calories we consume by half, for instance, then we’re cutting the carbohydrates by half, too. And because these typically constitute the largest proportion of calories in our diet to begin with, these will see the greatest absolute reduction. If we preferentially try to cut fat calories, we’ll find it exceedingly difficult to cut more than 400 or 500 calories a day by reducing fat — depending on how much fat we were eating to begin with — and so we’ll have to eat fewer carbohydrates as well.

Put simply, low-fat diets that also cut significant calories will cut carbohydrates significantly as well, and often by more than they cut fat.

Here’s the math: Imagine we want to cut our daily calories from 2,500 to 1,500, hoping to lose two pounds of fat a week. And imagine that the nutrient content of our pre-diet meals is what the authorities consider ideal — 20 percent protein, 30 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates. That’s 500 calories of protein, 750 calories of fat and 1,250 of carbohydrates.

If we keep the same balance of nutrients but eat only 1,500 calories a day, we’ll be eating 300 calories of protein, 450 calories of fat and 750 calories of carbohydrates. We’ll be cutting protein calories by 200, fat calories by 300 and carbohydrate calories by 500.

Now let’s make this a “low-fat” diet and try to reduce our fat consumption from 30 percent of calories to, say, 25 percent of calories, which is significantly less than most of us will tolerate. We’ll now be eating 300 calories of protein, 375 calories of fat and 825 of carbohydrates. We’ll be cutting our fat calories by 375 a day, but we’re still cutting carbohydrates by 425. So even though the percentage of carbohydrates consumed on this “low-fat” diet goes up — from 50 to 55 percent — the absolute amount of carbohydrates consumed goes down, and goes down more so than does the calories from fat. And if we increase the amount of protein we eat, we’ll have to eat still fewer carbohydrates to compensate.

If we start off eating enough fat, as I said — say, 40 percent of our calories — we can actually cut fat calories more so than carbs, but carbs are still cut significantly. Imagine our 2500 calorie per day diet is 40 percent fat, 40 percent carbs and 20 percent protein. That’s 1000 calories of fat and carbs each, and 500 calories of protein. If we now cut that to a 1500 calorie diet that’s 30 percent fat and 50 percent carbohydrates, we’ll be eating 450 calories of fat, 750 calories of carbohydrates and 300 calories of protein. So fat calories will have dropped by 550 calories, but we’ll still have reduced carbohydrate calories by 250. Not an enormous amount but an amount that might still have an effect on the regulation of our fat tissue and so fat loss.

Here’s an example of how this plays out in a real dietary trial. Consider  an Israeli trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2008 by Iris Shai and her colleagues.  This trial compared a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet to a Mediteranean, calorie-restricted diet to a low-carbohydrate Atkins diet, unrestricted in calories. And, you’ll notice here, too, having explained that the first two diets are calorie-restricted and the latter diet isn’t, Shai and company get lazy and shorten their labeling of the diets so that they leave out the critical variable of whether the dieters are instructed or not to semi-starve themselves.

In this study, Shai and her colleagues made an attempt to assess what their subjects were eating before the trial started, and then after 6, 12, and 24 months. Keeping in mind that the dietary records from these studies have to be taken with a grain of salt, here’s the relevant data:

Let’s concentrate on the low-fat, calorie-restricted diet and the low-carb, Atkins diet. The changes in dietary intake and nutrients for the “low-fat diet” are shown in the first column. As you can see after 24 months, the subjects eating the low-fat diet were supposedly restricting calories consumed on average by 572 calories. The reduction in carbohydrates consumed, though, was 330 calories (82.8 grams per day times 4 calories per gram), compared to only a 170-calorie (18.9 grams per day times 9 calories per gram) reduction from baseline in fat. So the “low-fat diet” reduced carbohydrates nearly twice as much as it reduced fat.

The low-carbohydrate diet, on the other hand (the third column), reduced carbohydrate calories by 520 calories per day (129.8 grams per day times 4 calories per gram) and fat calories by a mere 15 calories (1.7 grams/day times 9 calories per gram). So certainly the low-carb diet was correctly described as a low-carb diet, and the question we have to ask is maybe the weight loss seen in the low-fat diet was also due to the restriction in carbohydrates. It is quite possible that even low-fat, calorie-restricted diets work because they restrict carbohydrates and maybe the reason they don’t work as well as the low-carb diets is they don’t restrict them as much. Or maybe they don’t work as well, on average, because they also restrict fat calories when dietary fat has little or no effect on body fat accumulation. We don’t know if this is true or not, but it could be true, and until these researchers realize that another variable is changing significantly on these low-fat, calorie-restricted diets —  the amount of carbohydrates consumed — they’ll never bother to test it or take it into account in their interpretation of these clinical trials, and we’ll never know.

Now, here’s yet another variable that’s changing on these diets, and this one the researchers ignore entirely and make no attempts to quantify — the quality of carbohydrates consumed. Any subject in these diet trials and anyone who tries a serious weight loss program on their own (the twinkie diet, perhaps, not included) will make a few consistent changes to what they eat. And they’ll do this regardless of the instructions that they’re given or the diet to which they’re randomized in the trial.

Specifically, they’ll get rid of or cut way back on the high-glycemic index carbohydrates and the foods or drinks with the high sugar or HFCS content. They’ll do so  because these foods are the easiest to eliminate and the most obviously inappropriate for anyone trying to get in shape. (And because for a almost 200 years these foods have been considered uniquely fattening.) They’ll stop drinking beer, for instance, or at least drink less beer or drink light beer instead. They might think of this as cutting calories, but the calories they’ll be cutting will be carbohydrates and, more importantly, they’re liquid, refined carbohydrates that are exceedingly easy to digest and so, perhaps, exceedingly fattening.

They’ll stop drinking caloric sodas – Coca Cola, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper – and replace them either with water or diet sodas. In doing so, they’ll  be removing not just  liquid carbohydrates but specifically sugars — sucrose or HFCS. The same is true of fruit juices. An easy change in any diet is to replace fruit juices with water. Dieters will get rid of candy bars, desserts, donuts and cinnamon buns. Again, they may perceive this as calorie-cutting – and maybe even a way to cut fat, which it is – but they’ll also be cutting carbohydrates, and specifically sugars with their high fructose content. And if sugars with their high fructose content are uniquely fattening as significant evidence suggests, then this reduction in sugar content may be precisely why the diets work.  Starches like potatoes and rice, refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta, may also be replaced in these diets — even “low-fat” diets — by green vegetables and salads or at least whole grains, because for the past 30 years, we’ve been all told to eat more fiber and to eat foods that are less energy dense and less processed.

Even the very-low-fat diet made famous by Dean Ornish restricts all refined carbohydrates, including sugars, white rice and white flour. This alone could explain any benefits that result. Ornish’s rationale, as he described it in 1996 is a familiar one: “Simple carbohydrates are absorbed quickly and cause a rapid rise in serum glucose, thereby provoking an insulin response. Insulin also accelerates conversion of calories into triglycerides, [and] stimulates… cholesterol synthesis.”

Simply put, anyone who tries to diet by any of the more accepted methods (i.e., Weight Watchers), and anyone who decides to “eat healthy” as its currently defined, will remove the carbohydrates from the diet that may be — if the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis is correct — the most fattening. And if they’re trying to cut calories, they’ll be removing some number of total carbohydrates as well. And if these people lose fat on these diets, this is a very likely reason why.

The same is likely to be true for those who swear they lost their excess pounds and kept them off by taking up regular exercise. Rare is the individual who begins  running or swimming or doing aerobics regularly with the goal of losing weight and then doesn’t make any concomitant changes in what he or she eats. Rather beer and soda consumption will be reduced; sweet consumption will be reduced, and easily digested starches and high-glycemic index carbs are likely to be replaced by green vegetables and carbohydrates with a lower glycemic index.

So here’s the lesson, the moral of this story: before we assume that low-carbohydrate diets are just one tool in the dietary arsenal against overweight and obesity, and before we assume that everyone is different and that some of us lose weight and keep it off because we eat less fat (and more carbohydrates) and some because we cut carbs (and so eat maybe more fat),  we should make an effort to understand the concept of controlling variables and look to see which variables are really changing and by how much. Because it’s quite possible that the only meaningful way to lose fat is to change the regulation of the fat tissue, and the science of fat metabolism strongly implies that the best way to do that, if not the only meaningful way, is by reducing the amount of carbohydrates consumed and/or improving the quality of those carbs we do consume.

Now, one note about comments that I should have made in my last (and first) blog. I appreciate everyone who comments, but time constraints (earning a living, participating in my family life, etc.) makes it necessary that I keep my responses to a minimum. So I am going to thank everyone in advance for their comments. I will be reading all of them (up to the point, at least, that they degenerate into arguments between two or three particularly vociferous and contentious individuals), but I will be responding only to those that raise particularly interesting questions or issues, or point out any bone-head mistakes I may have made that need to be fixed.

Speak Your Mind



  1. russhutto says:

    Thanks, Gary for your insightful posts! I look forward to reading them!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Hi Gary and thanks for your time doing this blog. We talk about cutting carb vs. fat, but has anyone cut protein?

    The reason I ask is that I have been eating a high-fat diet for years, with initially good fat loss results, but these results peaked after several months and fat loss stopped. I read this and started to cut protein, WITHOUT changing fat intake (carbs were already low):

    Fat loss resumed and I reached my goal bodyfat in a few weeks, after years struggling with simple low carb-high fat, which exercise didn’t seem to help much.

    If low carb’s results are due to low insulin, I suppose low protein (which raises insulin too) would also yield the same results as low carb. Possibly better results with regards to fat-loss since studies show protein raises insulin for LONGER than carbs, though carbs do spike insulin more.

    Basically the question is: if you’re buying into the insulin argument for fat storage, do you go low carb, or low protein? One could conceivably go both low carb and low protein, but that would only leave you with fat to eat and I doubt there would be long-term adherence with that.

    Thanks for your thoughts in advance.

    • There’s such a thing as “fat fast”, introduced by Atkins, that intstructs one to eat only 1000kcal that consist of 90% fat a day; that’s four 250kcal or five 200kcal meals. This is only recommended for 3-7 days and only for obese and very insulin resistent patients that don’t get results by just changing to a low carb diet, or any other diet for that matter. It’s designed to shock the patient’s metabolism into using fat as a fuel.

    • Anonymous says:

      thanks for your post; ive been looking into cutting back on protein for weight loss reasons, and i have read a few studies indicating that protein consumption contributes to quicker aging.

      you raise a great question, but i feel carbohydrates are definitely more to blame for obesity levels we see today as they spike insulin, as you mention, and carbohydrates do not satiate like protein does. with carbs, you not only have the sugar spikes, but you crave more and more. its like that potato chip commercial where they say you cant have just one. with protein, i find that i get tired of it or satisfied by it much more easily than with carbs.

    • A137 says:

      According to Ron Rosedale, you should be careful not to overeat protein. You should eat only enough protein to account for your growth and repair needs. He gives rules of thumb for figuring how much protein that is for a given individual. If I remember correctly, protein beyond that amount gets converted into glucose.

      The thumbnail sketch of Rosedale’s advice is: just enough protein for growth and repair, enough healthy fats to make up the bulk of your calorie needs, as much non-starchy vegetables as you like, and no (or very little) grains, sugars, etc.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m surprised how Mignery’s book is so completely off the radar of these nutrition/paleo bloggers. What’s even more off the radar is his own blog! Only 3 reader comments in its existence.

  3. Frank Hagan says:

    I love it when a blog post points out something that should have been obvious to me, yet I had never thought of it before.

    I had noted the “stacked deck” approach in recent studies where reduced calorie diets were compared to unlimited consumption for low carb diets. I always thought the human element was missing (i.e., satiety, and how well people tolerated the diets), but I never tumbled to the fact that all the restricted calorie diets also reduced carbs more than they reduce anything else.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Nice blog post about the way so many nutrition researchers don’t seem to know how to do a scientific study. Perhaps they are just trying to follow in Ornish’s footsteps, since he never learned to do a scientific study with controlled variables either.

    I’m interested in gunthergatherer’s comment about cutting protein in addition to cutting carbs, and wondering if that might work for me. I’m one of those women for whom just cutting the carbs only works to a limited extent. I lose for a while and then stall, with my body quite happy to chug along on 1500/1600 calories with Atkins induction level carbs. I hope that someday you might do a post on the problems faced by many women for whom LC doesn’t completely solve the problem.

    Thanks again for writing this blog. Looking forward to many great reads.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds like you are not eating enough calories. You should do some more reading on the subject. Its ironic but you may need to eat MORE fat in order to lose weight. With that few calories your body is in starvation mode.

      • Anonymous says:

        While I don’t disagree with the Basic dieting philosophy of this post, I feel a need to comment about a couple of statements here that “push my buttons”.

        1. The above reference to “starvation mode” as though it were a TRUTH from on High.
        partly because…

        Even the “calories-in/calories-out experts” disagree about whether or not “starvation mode” is a dieting myth.

        2. The above statement “it sounds like you are not eating enough calories”..
        partly because…

        While I understand that when bodybuilders, who are already in excellent shape, work to get “shredded” for a competition, this advice has extremely limited value. For the rest of us “normal folk” who are engaged in a battle against obesity, it is likely that any weight-loss which comes from following that particular advice is a matter of Association, not Causation.

        I’ve been a frequent recipient of the first suggestion…the advice to “eat more calories” to lose weight…, by well meaning fellow dieters and alleged “experts”. I am one who has personally exhausted all possible experimentation of that option, which always personally resulted in only a negative effect—i.e. weight-gain. After my own experiences with that concept, I consider the statement: “it sounds like you are not eating enough calories” to be generally ignorant, frustrating, and even offensive advice…even when it is well-meaning.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am sorry that comments made you upset that much. You are fighting your battle and know what you are doing. Each food combination and each medicine affects everyone with different result. It is just that people who listen to you or read your comments never know for sure, are you at the end of your rope or if you are strong, well equipped and almost enjoying the fight. We all mean well. Although, I do believe, that excessive hunger may interfere with he easiness of maintaining your weight loss through increasing levels of stress hormones. But all in a life is stress, exercise is stress, excitement is stress. Only you can see how it affects you.

        • JT2011 says:

          When someone says you need to eat more that also means that you should be doing some form of exercise. If you eat more and don’t exercise then you will gain weight.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello, Lee242,

      I am just like you.You are not alone. 50 years old female, lost on the low-carbing 20 lb three years ago, then stack for 2 years on almost pure stage I Atkins (ones a while I ate some fruit). Then 6 months ago I eliminated all snacks, eating only 3 meals a day ( 2 eggs+butter as a breakfast, hand-size piece of meat + cabbage, green salad+some raw veggies for dinner) and weight started to move slowly at the rate of approximately 1 lb a month. Who knows, it may be wouldn’t last. Next step – “6 weeks cure for a middle -age middle” by Drs. Eades. (I am sure you will find their site to be very educational).
      Sometimes I think that it is good enough just not to gain.

    • Anonymous says:

      If low carb has stopped working for you, I think you may benefit from the Protein Cycling Diet link I sent. Remember that both carbs AND protein raise insulin. Also, limiting protein seems to mimic the effects of starvation, causing cell autophagy and boosting of glutathione.

      Low carb has been taken by many to mean all-meat. I think this overstresses the kidneys and liver, and supplies too much methionine and tryptophan, two amino acids which have been shown to reduce life span in rats and flies.

  5. Anonymous says:

    From what I get from this post, calorie content in the diet and carbohydrate amount are often correlated, so how to distinguish between those two effects when dieting?

    One way is to not restrict calories while restricting carbohydrates, but it seems that carb restriction helps regulate hunger, so people eating this way seem to eat less (reported in GCBD and personal experience). Another way would be to eat very high carb but low calorie diets (e.g. a twinky diet) but this seems difficult because carbs increase hunger. Anyway, would there be an ideal mixture of micronutrients and calories that would allow to separate these two effects?

    The Shai study that you report on comparing the low fat, mediterran and low carb shows that even the low carb restricted a lot of calories, so it is still not clear what the effect of a low carb diet with no calorie restriction would do. Anyway, some thoughts to ponder.


  6. Weston A. Price and Sally Fallon, Mel C. Siff (author of “Supertraining”), Ian J. King and Gary Taubes. This is where my list of most influential people in my life currently stands! I feel privileged, as many others surely do, to finally read your wise words of wisdom on a more periodic basis… Thank you Gary!

  7. Jamie Scott says:

    I thank you Gary for taking the time to share such excellent information. I have truly learned something.

  8. Garth says:

    In this article you mention replacing regular soda with diet soda. I am wondering if you (or anyone posting here) are aware of any decent studies on the effect of this. I ask because I recall you mentioning in GCBC that the sensation of sweetness can trigger an insulin response. Does the consumption of diet soda and other artificially sweetened food diminish the benefits of carbohydrate restriction?

    I’m enjoying the blog so far, particularly the length of the posts. I’ll gladly take >weekly updates in exchange for quality.

    • Anonymous says:

      a lot of low carb dieters use artificial sweeteners with no ill effect–by ill i mean weight gain.

    • Anonymous says:

      As far as I know, artificial sweeteners likely produse small stage one insulin response without stage two. It may slightly diminish the effect of insulin restriction. I am afraid, no research will predict personal reaction for each individual.

  9. LoreneT says:

    These studies still only go to the 2 year mark. Almost any diet can work for the short term, but what percentage of these people were still maintaining their weight loss after five years? That’s what I want to know.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ask your question on the Active Low-Carber Forums ( on the LC Research/Media forum. I know that there are several ladies that have been “low-carbing” for five or more years. I my self have been LCing (Protein Power Lifeplan by Dr, Eades) since February 2002. While I never weighed more than 155, I got back down to the 143 range (+- 5) but more importantly halted my prostate cancer by restricting the available glucose (from lots of carbohydrates) that is the only energy source most cancer cells can use (Warburg effect) and supplementing with known cancer antagonists.

  10. I might be a case of this point.

    When low fat got really raging, I went to 25 grams of fat a day. Period. The book I read didn’t say anything about restricting calories, which was probably why I jumped on it; I was tired of running out of whatever I was supposed to count by 2pm.

    I also started working out… and it took me working out 1 1/2 hours a day to get results. But I finally got them!

    However, I got sick and couldn’t exercise at all anymore. That’s when this plan turned disastrous. I believe I was burning up so many carbs it had the result of restricting them.

    I never could get back on this particular horse. I’ve been low carbing for six years with happy results. NO exercise. And… I’m a size smaller than I was on low fat.

  11. scottshapiro says:

    If you haven’t already seen it, I recommend Gardner’s lecture on his study “The Battle of the Diets: Is Anyone Winning (At Losing?)” The best part is when he admits he’s a 20-year vegetarian even though he recognizes Atkins dominance in certain health metrics.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Awesome job pointing to the ignored elephant in the research room. Essentially, all commonly tested reduced calorie diets are reduced carbohydrate diets, begging the question, is it the reduction of calories or the reduction of carbohydrate that produces the result?

    In the Shai study the “Low Carbohydrate” dieters were consuming 40% of calories as carbohydrate at the end of 24 months. This is far from an Atkins prescription…i.e. they weren’t even actually testing a truly low carbohdyrate diet, which would certainly have less than 30% of calories from carbohydrate, and could have even less than 10% of calories from carbohydrate. In other words, one way to show that a “Low carbohydrate” diet performs no better than a “high carbohydrate diet” is to let the “low carb” dieters eat a high carb diet, then call it a low carb diet when you publish the results. Shoddy, shoddy “science.”

    • Clark Dixon says:

      Any studies comparing high vs. low carb with fixed protein intake? No? Yeah.

      • Anonymous says:

        In the 1950s, Charlotte Young of Cornell did studies on young men, where she kept calories and protein fixed — 1800 calories total, 460 calories of protein — and varied carbohydrate and fat content. As she put it in 1973, when she discussed these results at the first obesity conference held at NIH, Over the course of nine weeks, she reported, “weight loss, fat loss, and percent weight loss as fat appeared to be inversely related to the level of carbohydrate in the diets.”

        • Clark Dixon says:

          Where is this data published? I wouldn’t mind a look at her results and conclusions.

        • JC Carter says:

          You write a blog post about controlling for variables within clinical research and you post the Young dataset as backing for a claim? really?

          • Anonymous says:

            My, my testy. I didn’t make any claim. I was asked if anyone did any
            experiments holding protein constant. This is the only experiment I
            know. Did I find it compelling. Not particularly, but she did it and
            she published it.

          • JC Carter says:

            Using her conclusions to promote a view point… sounds like a claim, but either way.
            That is the only experiment you know? Golay had two pieces of data published ~15 years ago examining a fixed protein with two levels of carbohydrate in each trial. Neither are overly magical publications, but are still published.

            And in terms of the reply to the other guy, 9 subjects (actually 8 in the end) for a parallel designed comparison examining bodyweight, or bodyfat, is substantially underpowered. Never mind the 3week period at the beginning of the 9weeks for spring break…

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Here’s another one (one that wasn’t starving its subject on 1000 kcal/day):


          • JC Carter says:

            One could argue poorl;y that they were clinically relevant, but considering the wide variability, it shows little benefit.
            Your ‘another paper’ doesnt appear to be examining anything like what is being discussed, so I am unsure what you see the relevance as?

          • Anonymous says:

            One of the most surprising things to me since you started this blog Gary is the behavior of those who disagree with you. I was excited to see rational, thoughtful debate. Instead we get folks behaving like cornered animals. It’s very disappointing and discouraging.

            Anyhow, kudos to you for remaining above the fray. I’m sure it’s not always easy…

          • This cuts both ways. There have been plenty of ad-hominems from people who agree with Gary.

          • Razwell says:

            Please LEARN what ad hominem is. My blog has a post about this. You are using it wrongly.

          • Anonymous says:

            It seems like new thought feels like an attack on that person’s bible. Why is a new idea threatening?

          • Nutrition should be based on science backed up by evidence from good quality studies, not beliefs & opinions based on the writings & lectures of “TOP EXPERTS” (to quote Razwell).

          • Anonymous says:

            I would add to the list your personal experience. Check what is working for you. You may be suprised.

          • But what works for me (or you) may not work for others. That’s why anecdotal evidence can’t be used.

          • Anonymous says:

            My point is,there is no fit for all solution. Your anecdotal evidence will work for you, no matter what is helping the next person. There is a lot research carefully design to illustrate somebody’s preexisting hypothesis. If some research indicates that Mediterranean diet works better for majority of diabetics , would I trust the date more than record of Dr. Bernstein? No. But no matter what I would trust,if I get a diabetes II, I would adjust my diet to BS levels.

          • I’m all for self-experimentation. On the subject of research, did you know that there are 33 publications written or co-written by Bernstein? See


            No. 2 is a good study and No. 1 is a review of the evidence. Therefore, I trust Bernstein as well.

          • Anonymous says:

            No, I didn’t, just read his “the Diabetes Solution” book and listened his lecture on line. I plan to get his book for a weight loss.
            Sorry, but your link didn’t work.

          • Try the link again. I’ve converted it into a shortened form.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you very much, I will read it. I don’t believe that the doctor may have any side agenda .

          • CarbSane says:

            So true! But why does the low carb community seem so dead set against acknowledging that the ELMM approach does work for a lot of people? I never had any problems losing weight, it was always keeping it off. And LC really threw me for a loop because the rebound from attempt 1 was more than the weight lost (lost 40, gained 100). I was used to yo-yo rebounds having done that so many times, but never before did I bust through some ceiling and become truly obese.

            And, to the title of GT’s post, why go through such contortions to try to support a theory that it is carbs? I’ve often wondered how extreme low carbers can even live with their families “killing themselves with rat poison” and other such approaches to LC.

            I’ve been told I did LC wrong this last time. Ummm. OK. If by wrong you mean I’ve gone from a 20/22W to an 8/10 and maintained while losing/recomposing (fitting smaller tops) for 2-1/2 years and counting. … again … ummmm OK. My weight has been going down or stable for going on 3-1/2 years now.

            I’ve spent the past several months freeing myself of my “carb cripple” crutches and losing a teensy bit to boot.

            I guess the point of this post is that GT’s mission is to convince us that the accepted science is wrong and we need some alternate hypothesis. I simply find his version of science sorely lacking.

          • Anonymous says:

            What do you call “the acceptable science”? The are a lot of science around? Looks like you are too kind to the acceptable science.
            How did you regain your weight after the low carb diet, how do you eat now? What is your trigger? I am just curious.
            Since low-carbing is not my religion, just the way of eating that works for me, I have no problem serving carbohydrate to my family, mostly complex kind or add vegetables on side. I don’t keep any chips, candies, sodas at home, deserts served only on special occasions, very little sugar. My family cooperates.

          • CarbSane says:

            Peer review, properly controlled studies.

            Basically anything newer than a textbook version of the science from 1965. The GCBC Fact Check label over at my blog contains a wealth of information on this that I won’t repeat here.

            I will challenge anyone here to read just the three following posts on my blog because they deal with books GT referenced in GCBC and conclude he represented their content accurately.


            As to my personal story? I don’t have triggers any more, and I do credit LC for that. Food wasn’t my issue in the end. I can eat just a little of anything these days!

          • Anonymous says:

            I just read the first link. Not terribly impressed yet. If G.T. choose some citation with which he agreed and left behind the part, where the author of citation puts on the same level red meat and pastry, is it a crime? I will read the rest very carefully a little bit later, right not I have to fulfill some family obligations and log out. Thank you for your posts.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for the links, it was very interesting.After reading, I was glad I was not in Harry’s shoes interviewing scientists for 5 years and trying to sort out all that information and choose how to represent the whole picture in his book. I wish G.T. put all the material he collected in the single book, I don’t believe it would be possible And I don’t understand why you decided to include in your links the subject of the glycerol phosphate? Gary admitted he made that mistake, you mast be aware of it. It looks like your prejudgment made that decision.

            I have to admit, that what Keith Frayn sad about the effectiveness of weight loss through creating energy deficit,doesn’t ring with me. All his credentials can not overturn my personal experience.I am , indeed, on of those people who was glad to find out in GCBC the theory why we (or some of us) overeat. When I read his book, I had a feeling that pieces of a puzzle were falling in places. I am truly fed up with the “exercise more, eat less approach”. From my perspective, It is the road to hunger, fatigue, sport injuries, guilt (because you feel that no amount of exercise is enough), and eventually weight gain after weight loss. We mainly are discussing here a weight loss subject because it is the obvious theme of Garry’s blog. Lets not forget, that the weight gain is just the tip of an iceberg for the most. If I can temporarily loose weight while exercising more while starving, and not resolving any of my health issues, why I should consider it a reasonable option, when I can go low-carb and resolve my health issues(at least 5 in my case). Even if weight loss is also temporary (I hope not) , if carb elimination puts me in a better health, what else to desire?

            One more thing. I appreciate the effort you are making seeking the truth about the weight issue, but you open hostility toward GT sometimes makes it a less enjoyable reading.

          • CarbSane says:

            I don’t understand why you decided to include in your links the subject of the glycerol phosphate? Gary admitted he made that mistake, you mast be aware of it. It looks like your prejudgment made that decision.

            Firstly, because I don’t believe GT has come fully clean on this. Even his two audio mea culpas conflict and he holds that the only error in GCBC is the absolute need for carb but the rest still is true. In his interview with Jimmy GT lamented not having a way to communicate his error in a blog. I await the “print” correction on that.

            But, the point of the G3P reference check is that it never WAS true. By his own reference (Newsholme and Start) there was no evidence to support the theory that G3P was rate limiting or any of the whole more carbs = more g3p = more fat accumulation. He apparently made it up and claims that all of the texts were wrong. But his own reference got it right.

            My point with Keith Frayn extends far past Metabolic Regulation. It has to deal with Taubes’ professed exhaustive research. Not only did Frayn at least give reason to question Taubes’ theory on the causes and progression of insulin resistance, but he’s just done so much in that area years prior to even the 2002 NYT article. This is also someone with whom GT has had personal communication. The thing is, there’s simply no excuse for GT’s inaccurate presentation of fat metabolism in GCBC, and it is proveably grossly inaccurate.

            I have made a deliberate effort to try to keep my blogging on point with the science, but there’s something about dishonesty that just rubs me the wrong way. When someone cites a reference that clearly states “there’s no evidence to support X, and here are three observations that support the opposite” and then goes on to write that X has been established as a fact beyond any reasonable doubt since the mid 60’s, how can one trust anything else he says or writes?

            As to weight loss being temporary because folks return to former habits, how does that counter calories in = calories out? When one decreases CI or increases CO they lose weight. When they reverse it, they gain. On low carb when one spontaneously decreases CI, they lose weight. If that does not occur (as happens for many), they don’t. Otherwise you would have long term low carbers wasting away to nothing when indeed we have many reports of regain despite keeping carbs low. If this were true, the obesity epidemic should have been solved because as we all know the only thing that makes us fat is carbohydrates. That’s what GT would have you believe.

            The theme of this particular post was that LF approaches really work because they restrict carbs. Why does GT insist on such intellectual contortionism? Oh, that’s right. Because his theories don’t explain the lean cultures eating high % carbs or the millions who have lost weight on traditional CRD’s and kept it off (yes 5% is paultry, but x 100’s of millions …).

          • Anonymous says:

            When I started to read the GCBC, I didn’t expect the author to give 100% accurate answer on all 100% of questions because our body is too complex, we all different because our ancestors got adjusted to different environments,and, in general,there is no final truth in science. It is a good thing that people like you keep asking questions because seeking for answers makes the knowledge deeper. I will continue to read your blog and I am waiting for further clarification on the glycerol phosphate too. I don’t believe that GT tried deliberately mislead his readers into something. He reputation of a well respected scientist is his very valuable asset. To risk that much it too stupid for somebody that intelligent.
            I said enough on the subject of CRD. I feel too strong about it in order not to get too angry. Almost each of us has something to hate.

        • Clark Dixon says:

          Nevermind, I found what you were talking about:

          A quick glance at the paper says eight male subjects, varying from 19% to 37% bodyfat.

          Weren’t you just complaining in this post about shoddy research and drawing conclusions from that? This might as well be anecdote. I’ve dieted more people down using “high carb” diets than this paper tested.

          • Anonymous says:

            I was complaining in the post about shoddy interpretation of the
            research and a lack of awareness of how the different variables are
            changing. Do you see me drawing a conclusion below that I might have
            missed? I was asked a question and I answered it. This is literally
            the only example I can think of offhand of an experiment in which
            someone held protein constant. If you go to GC,BC, where the quote is
            taken, you’ll also see I drew no conclusions from it. I used it as
            anecdotal evidence that studies had been done implicating
            carbohydrates in weight gain/loss, but that the authorities in the
            field of obesity — mostly George Bray, at the time — were
            uninterestested in following up on this possibility.
            One thing to keep in mind, by the way, is you do not need dozens,
            hundreds or thousands of subjects to do good nutrition research. You
            just need well-controlled experiments. Don’t scoff at nine subjects
            just because there were only nine. The issue is whether the experiment
            was well-controlled.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            I’m more worried about the fact that the subjects were so diverse in bodyfat. 37% is a whole different ballgame from 19% as far as rates of losses will go. Combined with a sample of only eight young men and it isn’t exactly inspiring confidence that this result is in any way due to the carb intake, even if the trial was well controlled.

            I’d be much more interested in seeing a larger study that controls for protein with respect to total calories and CHO intake. One point I do agree with you on is that nutrition research is largely inadequate.

          • montmorency says:

            I would have thought that with nine subjects you could do interesting indicative research, but in order to do statistically significant research, you would need a larger sample.

            Mike Ellwood

        • Razwell says:

          Absolutely. My brother is a professional ( natural) bodybuilder ,Gary. He won the whole show, and only has 4 shows he has done (4th show).

          His diet was that of very low carbs. Very, very strict diet. There was a reason for that. These “calories are everything ” people do not understand that diet composition matters very much for fat loss. The quality of your diet composition can lower body fat setpoint, or at least oush it along in the right direction. Fat loss is very specific. Weight loss can levae people with very bad builds. FAT loss is what we want, but we also do not want to get too low. 4% bodyfat is not healthful.

          Dr. Stephan Guyanet has some posts about this.

          I am glad you are blogging because this is a beneficial experience, and progress can be made. The human body is not a train, it is a chemistry set. The substances we eat absolutely have varied effects on our body fat levels. Composition is very important especially for long term FAT loss.

          What you say has a lot of merit. I realize no one is omniscient on this, but the bank account model of obesity just has too much evidence against it . Too bad not many realize this yet.

  13. WOW That was alot of info. I will have to re read this to “get it all”. But thanks for the great start!

  14. SoothingSuds says:

    hi gary! i am thrilled that you are now blogging. how refreshing it is to have a thought provoking, intellectually stimulating “conversation” with you on a regular basis:D I love your style of writing….looking forward to more great posts!

  15. Anonymous says:

    Gary, do you have an editor for this blog? I’m a big fan of your work and would love to recommend this blog to friends and acquaintances of mine on Facebook, but many of them are schoolteachers and tend to really cringe at silly spelling mistakes (e.g. you have ‘desert’ instead of ‘dessert’). I’m embarrassed to say it, as I’m concerned I may be acting somewhat pedantically here, but I’m not sure where blog-writing falls on the spectrum of ‘polishedness’. If you do not have an editor, may I send you a copy of this blog post with Track Changes edits on some of your typos? I’d love to be able to help out.

    • Anonymous says:

      No editor, obviously. But I’m willing to accept all the help I can get. Apologize to the school teachers for me and send along it anyway. And feel free to contact me through the contact section and maybe we can work something out.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Good points. I have recently lost a lot of weight that I attributed to calorie counting, and it occurred to me that I might have cut mostly carbs instead. The goods news is that I have the data (2 years, 60 pounds) to address this. The bad news is that – as far as your argument goes – the knife cuts both ways. In other words, if calorie counts and carbs are correlated in most studies (as opposed to independently modulated), the authors can’t make their claims about the amount of calories, but you can’t make yours about sugar/carbs, either. Because they *are* correlated/confounded/conflated/inseparable.

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s precisely the point. If these variables aren’t controlled, you can’t conclude anything about anything! The study is worthless and these guys doing the research are wasting huge amounts of time and money! And, even worse, these “scientists” are making recommendations about our health! Yikes!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely true. One of the key points I’d like to get across about doing science is that valuable evidence is evidence that refutes one of the competing hypotheses. That’s why it’s so important to know all the different variables that are changing in any particular diet. All to often in this world, the evidence can be used to support any or all of the hypotheses, but refutes none of them. One of my later posts (I hope) will be about tests of the carb/insulin hypothesis, and the goal of these tests is to assure that at least one of the two hypotheses — calories-in/calories-out or carbs/insulin — are refuted by the results.

      • Razwell says:

        Agreed, Gary. Good scientists who are unbiased and in search of truth are genuinely delighted to find strong valid evidence that refutes their own hypothesis.

        The bank account model of obesity has far too much evidence aganist it already. Composition of the diet is one factor among many – but it most certainly matters.Obesity is most certainly not “all about the calories”. I have discovered this myself. Many of my own assumptions about obesity were wrong back in 1998.

        I will never ever diet again in my life. Gone are the days of these farcical 1,000 calorie diets and moving and moving. I do reasonable exercise , a few sprints once a week consistently and just general life living and perhaps lifting once a week. I pay attention to satiety and honor my body and balance the hormones.

        A ( healthy) body whose fat regulation systems are not ruined by dieting , has the ability to sort a lot of this out. Admittedly though I am not an obese person and never was. I realize the situation for some of the most obese people in the world is one of fat cell disregulation.

        Please have a look at the first 11 pages or so of comments on Urgelt’s obesity video from YouTube. He is a huge supporter of yourself and your message that the caloric hypothesis is wrong.

        • “Obesity is most certainly not “all about the calories”. I and CarbSane have never claimed that it was, but that’s a lovely strawman you just built there. It’s not all about calories, but calories do count. Are you saying that calories have nothing to do with weight loss?

          “I will never ever diet again in my life.” You are dieting, right now. Diet means “way of life”. That’s another mistake that people make, thinking that once they’ve got down to a reasonable weight, they can go back to the way of eating that made them fat in the first place. Like, duh!

          • Razwell says:

            Your lack of understanding is unmatched. You obviously have not read a word of my blog, took the citations and read the studies. Read the blog thoroughly. All the evidence needed to debunk the caloric bank account theory of obesity is there.

          • Anonymous says:

            It is nearly impossible to read your blog thoroughly or over vise because of the loud color.

  17. Clark Dixon says:

    So when acknowledging that reducing calories is associated with losing weight, and noticing that this causes a commensurate reduction in carb intake…the conclusion is the less likely hypothesis? That makes me el-oh-ol.

    Nothing like a little confirmation bias and self-reported food intakes to brighten our days and tell people it’s not their fault they won’t stop eating.

    • What do you consider the less likely hypothesis and why?

      It’s calories that are harder to measure, and more dubious from methodological point of view. A human body is not a calorimeter.

      • A calorimeter oxidises stuff put in it by burning it. 1g of fat yields ~9kcals of energy. A calorimeter has no BMR/RMR, TEF, TEA & NEAT/SPA. A calorimeter has no brain.
        The human body oxidises stuff put in it by using enzymes, hydrogen ion transporters & molecular motor-generators (look-up “ATP Synthase” on YouTube). 1g of fat yields ~9kcals of energy.
        However, the human body has BMR/RMR, TEF, TEA & NEAT/SPA, all of which affect the right-hand side of the energy balance equation. The human body has a brain that makes the body eat stuff that it shouldn’t, which affects the left-hand side of the energy balance equation.

      • Clark Dixon says:

        I’m not worried about *measuring* calories. I’m worried about what’s more likely to be the causative factor given the choice between CHO intake and calorie intake.

        Cum-hoc reasoning in Taubes’ post aside, CHO intake in the absence of sufficient energy isn’t going to cause fat. Using the example somebody else raised in the last thread, if you’re trying to build a house you need workers to build it and bricks to provide material.

        The low carb approach takes away the money to pay the workers. Calorie restriction takes away the bricks to build the house, at least superficially. The more accurate analogy would be that calorie restriction is the bank cutting off your funding — you can’t pay for the workers or the bricks.

        If you’re being parsimonious and looking at the causes of this sequence, it might seem intuitive that no workers means no house. At least if you’ve got the bricks, you’re okay, right? There’s a problem with that. If you aren’t watching the funding source and the bricks keep showing up, then you can go out there yourself and put it together.

        In the body, protein stimulates insulin and protein in sufficient amounts turns into CHO. If you don’t regulate the amounts of energy coming in to the body, then it doesn’t matter that you aren’t paying the workers. It’ll find new workers.

        • “CHO intake in the absence of sufficient energy isn’t going to cause fat.”

          Nobody is disputing this. The crux of the argument for low-carb, as I perceive it – perhaps wrongly – is that CHO consumption, however, makes it very, very easy to ensure the presence of sufficient energy to cause fat. This may work via psychological modes (addiction to sweets or the like), hormonal/psychological modes (the insulin/hunger roller-coaster), purely hormonal/metabolic modes (inducing insulin resistance), ease of consumption, relative profit margins of foods — nobody knows for sure, because nobody has bothered to investigate this hypothesis, because everybody was fixated on the “trivially true” argument of calories in = calories out.

    • Razwell says:

      Blaming the patient all the time is well debunked. That is a favorite tactic of the % 100 BILLLION dieting industry and proponents of the farcical bank account model of obesity. How about asking the effectiveness of their FAILED method? It is time to CHALLENGE that method.


      Turns out there is NOT a lot of validity on the CLAIMS of weight management research. Just a bunch of BELIEF SYSTEMS among researchers running roughshod……..

      OPEN YOUR MIND. Let’s start getting to the bottom of obesity.

      • Clark Dixon says:

        “Blame” is a harsh word, but let me ask you the same question: if behaviors are out of our metaphorical hands and solely due to the action of physiological signals telling us to EAT, then at what step in the causal chain does “work to change your behaviors” become less useful than “we overeat because carbs, therefore eat less carbs”?

        Eating a low-carb diet still requires conscious intervention in your behavior and steps to change habitual eating patterns. It doesn’t remove hunger or cravings, although it can help regulate them. Then again, for equal protein intake and behavior interventions (appetite control via coffee & tea, for example), there really isn’t any difference between LC and HC diets.

        So why does this suddenly become easier? Magic?

        • Anonymous says:

          Because losing fat on a calorie restricted standard diet requires that you expend more energy than you consume. This results in a constant state of hunger. With a low carbohydrate diet, energy needs are being met but fat is still being lost. So there’s no constant state of hunger. This is why it’s easier. No magic needed 😉

          • Clark Dixon says:

            There’s no constant state of hunger on a low-carb diet?


            Any diet I’ve ever done that resulted in weight loss had hunger come along for the ride, LC, HC, and whatever else. Dieting isn’t and has never been easy of fun. Tolerable, manageable, yes. But not hungry? I have to wonder about the experiences people have with these things to say that.

            Appetite and hunger signals aren’t coupled to “idealized” energy intake, and you can and will still have cravings on LC diets. Again: if sugars are the culprits and they drive uncontrollable behavior, why would the LC dieter not eventually snap and go back to eating crap?

            Appetite control from high protein intake I’ll buy — but note that this is a function of protein intake, not carbs. The behaviors are what matters, not this ambiguous slippery-slope of “why” we overeat. Controlling appetite through a variety of methods is useful, but ultimately you still have to exert willpower and deliberate control over your behaviors.

            The “carbs make you eat” hypothesis absolutely does not explain why or how people can abandon high-carb intakes in favor of low-carb diets. If anything, it makes it all the more unlikely.

            At least the calorie restriction approach acknowledges that behavior modification is a cornerstone of the process, rather than telling people that they can eat low-carb and see magic happen.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yeah, that’s the critical difference Clark. Folks on low carb diets lose weight without hunger. If you had the experience of hunger eating LC before, then the easiest thing to do is increase your fat intake. One of the problems, which has been mentioned already, is people talk of low carb as a “diet”, when it should simply be seen as how we should eat for optimal health. Once you remove the “diet” baggage, the negative connotations go away.

            I personally eat “low carb” as well, but the decision had nothing to do with weight. I’ve always been thin (though the melting away of those 15 pounds of abdominal fat I’d accrued since high school was a nice added bonus). I also enjoy eating more than ever before now – little did I know that grains and sugar were causing significant reflux, and so I was actually consuming considerably less food (and calories) before switching my diet. Plus, it’s just so much more satisfying way to eat it’s easy to stick to – I’ve never had any desire to go back to my old habits. Not to mention the boost in energy levels, the absence of the post-lunch sleepiness, etc… It’s freakin fantastic – I just wish Gary’s book had come out a few decades earlier!

          • Everyone is different. You are almost certainly insulin-resistant, which is why a low-carbohydrate diet suits you, as well as the other health problems you mentioned. Insulin-sensitive people are less hungry on high-carbohydrate diets. There is no one diet that suits everyone.

          • Anonymous says:

            On the contrary, I’m about the last person you’d worry about being insulin resistant. I also don’t have any health problems, just switched to low carb to maximize health. Didn’t think I’d feel quite this good, though!

          • “absence of the post-lunch sleepiness” That’s a classic sign of insulin resistance. I had that for most of my life. I’ve been low-carbing since 1997 (thanks to Atkins). Thin people can be insulin resistant, although being fat tends to make it worse. Just out of curiosity, what latitude do you live at?

          • Clark Dixon says:

            Increasing fat pushed up calories and stalled my weight loss.

            How does this model account for that? Less than 50g of carbs per day from incidental sources, diet of meat + green veggies, and weight loss stalled. Adding fat put weight back on.

            I thought that wasn’t supposed to happen?

          • Anonymous says:

            Go to less than 20g of carbs per day. Report your results back here after six weeks.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            When I tell you that I’m eating a diet of meat and green veggies, and the response is “eat less carbs”, my reaction isn’t “take this advice seriously”. My response is “did he really just tell me to lower my carbs on a diet of meat and green veggies?”

            One is almost tempted to respond with sarcasm, but let’s go the positive route: where exactly would I remove carbs from a carb-free diet? Should I breathe less to avoid inhaling the smell of bread on the street? Looks like sarcasm crept in there anyway. Oops.

            This is a perfect example of why this particular hypothesis is flawed. Not to say that any ideology is free of hammers looking for nails, but this is an exemplary case given that there is a more logical solution: eat less food

            When presented with a problem, when it fails to work as advertised, this model is unable to provide solutions. Instead the believers just repeat the dogma as if it’s a solution.

            I’m willing to concede that there is something to LC eating in as much as it does help control appetite and other related behavioral benefits, but this kind of mock-quote ‘troubleshooting’ destroys credibility.

          • Anonymous says:

            You said you got 50g of carbs a day. Regardless of *what* you’re eating, this is the number to focus on.

            So with just meat and green veggies, where are the carbs coming from? Is it cured meat made with a bit of corn syrup? Do the green veggies you eat have significant starch in them?

            As for your “more logical solution”, I’m afraid it doesn’t follow, especially if you reduce the food amount, but start eating the wrong foods (i.e., carbohydrates).

            Now, I’m not sure what you thought was “advertised”, but if you believe that it was “eat 50g of carbs of day and we promise you will lose weight”, I think you’ve misinterpreted the point. There is significant difference between people as to what their critical carbohydrate level will be, and it very well may be the case that your level is less than 50g.

            Seriously, you calculated 50g somehow – do you have a more detailed breakdown? Now, granted, if you were at 0g of carb a day, and still stalled at an abnormal weight, I’d ad hoc explain that as some sort of other hormonal dysfunction…which I’ll grant you, isn’t quite fair.

            So let’s see, what would convince me the model is wrong, and that carbohydrate/blood sugar/insulin isn’t the mechanism for weight gain? Well, anecdotally, it’s difficult -> any single situation could be subject to some sort of ad hoc explanation, but here’s a try:

            Given) 50g carbs, meat and veggies only + fat == weight gain
            Given) 50g carbs, meat and veggies only == stalled weight

            1) 20g carbs, meat and veggies only + fat == ?
            2) 100g carbs, similar calories == ?

          • Clark Dixon says:

            No, what I said verbatim: “Less than 50g of carbs per day from incidental sources, diet of meat + green veggies”. Less than is not equal to, last time I looked in a math book.

            The rest of your post is built on false premises, like the rest of the logic that swarms these parts.

          • Anonymous says:

            I thought you meant that as an upper limit. Do you have an exact number? Or even a range? I’ll correct my premises if you make more specific assertions.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            I didn’t think I had to really sit down and count the carbs in beef and spinach.

          • montmorency says:

            Never mind about weight-loss. I am still trying to get my head around the idea of two people consuming ice-cream on a regular basis (either with sugar or aspartame), drinking cola on a regular basis (with sugar or aspartame and/or with rum), and eating fast-food on a regular basis (with or without the bun) and expecting us to believe that they take their health seriously.

            “Only in America”, I suppose.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            And to add, the reasoning is hilariously specious from the outset. Troubleshooting in practice would have you consider other alternatives, like “maybe I’m wrong”, not blindly seek out narrower and narrower interpretations of a broken thought process in hopes that if you flail around long enough, you’ll get a result.

            By all means, keep focusing on the carb intake as if that piece of trivia is the problem.

            (For the record, this happened over a year ago, and I did wind up dropping about 9kg over eight weeks….by dropping the fat intake, which lowered total calories, upping the protein, and — wait for it — coping with the hunger. A year later and I’ve stabilized at the lower weight. Go figure.)

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m still not clear what you think was “false advertising”. Let me see if I’ve understood you correctly, please point out any misunderstandings:

            1) at < 50g of carbs per day, on meat and veggies, your weight loss stalled
            2) at < 50g of carbs per day, on meat and veggies adding fat, your weight increased
            3) at < 50g of carbs per day, on meat and veggies, removing fat and enduring hunger, your weight dropped

            If I'm reading you right, you're now convinced that, say, reducing carb intake to < 20g a day, but keeping calories high would have not worked, but keeping carb intake at < 50g a day, but semi-starving yourself, did work?

            Now that you've stabilized at the lower weight, have you increased the calories again, or are you still starving yourself?

          • Clark Dixon says:

            I eat ice cream almost daily and McDonald’s 3-5 times a week, if that answers your question.

          • Anonymous says:

            Nope, that didn’t answer even one of my questions. If you wish to be understood, I think you’re going to need to try harder to explain yourself.

            I eat no sugar added ice cream daily, eat fast food (sans bun, diet coke only) 3-5 times a week, and even have two shots of rum in diet coke just about every week day. I’m stable at -50lbs from my maximum weight, and have been for the past two years. None of that tells you whether or not I’m starving myself and feeling hunger. None of that tells you whether or not I believe that carbohydrate restriction will work. None of that tells you whether or not my retelling of your points accurately reflect what you’re trying to say.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            I’m not looking for solutions. I appreciate that you’re trying to help, but as I said, I’ve found a solution, and I didn’t find it by adhering to a dogmatic viewpoint.

            What worked for me was not the belief that carbs were driving fat and/or weight gain, but that I had to eat at a sufficient calorie deficit for weight to move. If I stuck blindly to the model of ‘carb casuation’, then I wouldn’t have gone anywhere. Break out of that pigeonhole, consider the larger model, and bamm, changes. Yes, it means dealing with hunger. Hunger can be controlled through external and internal means, like any discomfort (or addiction). Yes, it requires willpower, and perhaps even the right kind of brain chemistry (or sufficient changes to induce the right kind of brain chemistry, but that’s getting way off topic).

            Point being, model A loses its power and has no remedy besides zooming in further and finding nits to pick — and still fails. Model B, certainly less attractive in some ways, has prescriptive power, empirical results, and is the simplest solution that accounts for all the phenomena.

            From my POV, which is more likely?

          • Anonymous says:

            Okay, so I think I understand you better now, but I’m still not sure if I agree with your conclusion, especially since it seems that a *combination* of carbohydrate restriction and calorie deficit is what it took for you to get over a stall (I’m assuming carbohydrate restriction alone did work for you for a while?).

            Maybe what we’re really disagreeing on is what “Model B” is -> is it strictly caloric restriction, or is it caloric restriction in *addition* to calorie restriction? The latter doesn’t seem to be a contradiction to the insulin driven model of fat accumulation, but merely a refinement for specific people.

            I know you may not believe it, but my weight loss was completely without hunger. If you accept that at face value, I think it at the very least that confounds your theory that hunger *must* be dealt with. It very well may be that this is an individual difference (brain chemistry, etc).

            Put more simply, Model A had prescriptive power, empirical results, and was the simplest solution that accounted for all phenomena for me. I accept, at face value, that Model A, without further refinement, didn’t work for you. If your Model B is simply caloric restriction without carbohydrate restriction, I respectfully disagree with your assessment of its prescriptive power, etc, etc. (I haven’t heard anything from you to indicate that you ever went unrestricted on carbs). If your Model B is simply a temporary caloric restriction on top of carbohydrate restriction to overcome a stall, I’ve got no problem accepting that as a refinement to Model A.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            “Maybe what we’re really disagreeing on is what “Model B” is -> is it strictly caloric restriction, or is it caloric restriction in *addition* to calorie restriction? The latter doesn’t seem to be a contradiction to the insulin driven model of fat accumulation, but merely a refinement for specific people.”

            As far as I’m concerned, this is almost there; the only difference is that it’s not so much the carb restriction but the availability of protein. Protein satiates and controls appetite more than fat and certainly more than CHO. Protein is expensive to metabolize and works to spare LBM (amino acids replace protein which is turned over, and also work as a signal to stimulate the synthesis of muscle mass, among other things). Under conditions of calorie restriction, high protein intake has any number of advantages over low protein (vis a vis, “high carb”) strategies.

            I think these factors are more than sufficient to make a case for the efficacy of LC eating. The effect is more from what people are adding, versus what they’re removing, as it were.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well, thank you for clearly explaining yourself, although I’ll still respectfully disagree with your “Model B” -> my experience when I was eating carbohydrates was that even when I ate protein, I still felt almost continuously hungry, even when my stomach was so full it felt distended.

            Upon further reflection, it sounds like you’re describing a different part of the curve with your model -> for perhaps, 80% of the carbohydrate related weight one might have, simple carbohydrate restriction might work. For the last 20%, caloric restriction and a higher protein ratio might be required for people to get over stalls towards their target or ideal weight.

          • Anonymous says:

            I have a lady friend who says she will gain weight on a meat and a fat. May be she is right and knows her own body better. She is almost opposite then me physiologically , you reacted quite differently then me on the low carb diet, so I am telling to you what works for her in assumption that it may help you.

            Her husband is a biochemist and he advised her to to keep insulin sensitivity at the best possible level by spacing her meals as much as possible in order to prevent long-time insulin elevation. Especially he asked her to stop eating after 5 or 6 pm. So she eats her first substantial mostly complex carb meal at 10 -11 am, then eats anything she wants at 5 pm. Then nothing at all exept green tea with lemon without even sugar substitute. At the beginning she lost some weight, now it is her maintains program.Her mother even lost 40 lb this way. I tried, it didn’t affect me at all.

            It is a very inconvenient regiment, but may be it will give you some ideas.May be the Intermittent fasting will work for you. I also want to add that I feel your pain. It is awful to be immune to other people best remedy.

          • JC Carter says:

            So you ignore what he had said and restate that low cabr results in no hunger. Why am i currently hungry, really hungry? even though I have just eating nice fatty chicken? on top of all the other meat I have eaten today. Or are wild assumptions only valid when defending low carb?

          • Anonymous says:

            Maybe the more specific statement should be “you can satisfy your hunger on low-carb (avoiding carbohydrates), by eating more protein and fat, and still lose weight”. The whole low-fat/low-calorie trope requires one to be hungry all the time for it to work. While you *can* decide to remain hungry on a low-carb diet, and eschew eating more protein and fat, you don’t have to.

          • JC Carter says:

            Except those who do have to

          • Anonymous says:

            Hmmm…why didn’t you just eat more? When eating low carb, you should be eating until you’re no longer hungry. If you’re still hungry, that just means you didn’t have enough food – it’s nothing to do with the low carb approach. It’s only on a calorie restricted diet where you’re often leaving a meal hungry, as you’re no longer eating to satiety.

            Of course if you’re trying to fill up on less food, chicken, being the lean meat that it is, wouldn’t be the best way to go. Get yourself a nice hunk of pork belly and you’re good to go! Man I love eating like this 🙂

          • You are still making 2 fundamental errors.
            1) Conflating hunger with calorie restriction.
            2) Assuming that what works for you works for everybody else.
            Did you not see where JC Carter wrote “nice fatty chicken”?

          • Anonymous says:

            I did see what he wrote. He needs to eat more food – perhaps another chicken.

            And no conflation. Hunger with caloric restriction is well documented (especially well in a fantastic book called “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, which I highly recommend). Or you could just hang around someone who’s on a caloric restriction diet. My wife used to do weight watchers, and was completely miserable all the time thanks to hunger. Thank god I read Gary’s book…she was able to reach her goal with no misery once switching to low carb.

          • You’re still making the error that what works for you (and your wife) automatically works for everybody else. How come there are studies showing that insulin sensitive people lose more weight on a high-carb diet than on a low-carb one? You keep ignoring this fact.

            I did ask you below what latitude you lived at but you didn’t answer. It’s relevant to insulin resistance.

          • Anonymous says:

            “How come there are studies showing that insulin sensitive people lose more weight on a high-carb diet than on a low-carb one?”

            Because the nutrition data is awful. See Gary’s post above as well as “Good Calories, Bad Calories”
            You can find any data to support any notion because it’s bad science.

            roughly 33 degrees north.

          • Who decides what’s bad data and what’s good? Did you watch the Chris Gardner video that scottshapiro linked to below? Gardner refers to 4 studies at 39:39 , 41:18 , 42:15 and 42:52. Can you say that they’re all bad?

            How much sun exposure do you get on average per day? Sun exposure through window glass doesn’t count.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            lol, I love this classic. Science that supports me is good, science that disagrees is awful.

            Never mind the empirical evidence, just cherry pick over research until you’re right. Throw in some supporting anecdotes and win!

          • JC Carter says:

            Eat until I am no longer hungry, or eat pork belly until i am no longer hungry. Been there, gotten fatter with that. You may enjoy eating like that, but I just get fat. Whch is something I would prefer not to do. Cheers.

          • OldeDog says:

            “So you ignore what he had said and restate that low cabr results in no hunger”

            Well, I did not ignore it. If he said there was “no hunger” I missed it. Are you sure you quoted that correctly? I said that a low carb diet results in a decrease in hunger.

          • JC Carter says:

            ” Folks on low carb diets lose weight without hunger.”

          • montmorency says:

            Without knowing what you have been doing or your history, it’s impossible for anyone to know why exactly you specifically are hungry. We also don’t know how your meats were prepared or what they were served with.

            But leaving aside theory for a minute, and just talking about meats, I’d say that chicken, even when fatty, is vastly overrated; turkey even more so.

            I personally have found that fatty beef is somehow always more satisfying than anything else. Something like rump steak or ribeye. Lightly pan fried in beef dripping with all the fats and juices consumed.

            I try to avoid all processed meats.

          • Anonymous says:

            When I’m eating low carb I can fast for roughly 24 hours without hunger. When I’m not low carb hunger happens much quicker. Low carb definitely leads to less hunger.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’ve been low-carbing for three years now, unrestricted calories, and I simply don’t have a constant state of hunger anymore. I still snack a lot out of habit, just for taste, but sans-carbohydrate. Lost 50 pounds the first year, and have kept it all off since.

            So yeah, no hunger, go figure. On the flip side, when I did eat carbs, I can remember waking up at night to eat something because I was hungry, having my stomach completely full and distended to the point where I felt like I simply couldn’t force another bite of food down my gullet, but I was still starving. I had no idea what to make of the phenomenon until reading GCBC, and realizing that all the calories I was shoving down my throat were being shunted to my fat cells by insulin -> my muscles were starving, even when my belly was full beyond capacity.

            So maybe it’s not magic, but once you understand how the machine works, it’s a viable model for making better decisions.

          • Anonymous says:

            When I’m eating low carb I can fast for roughly 24 hours without hunger. When I’m not low carb hunger happens much quicker.

          • OldeDog says:

            “There’s no constant state of hunger on a low-carb diet?


            Stop blinking. A long term low carb diet does indeed result in a diminution of hunger. Sorry you have not yet benefited from this effect. I sure have.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            So the low-carb magic isn’t infallible? You don’t say.

          • essayiste says:

            Clark, you’re being too scientific and objective. Don’t ask question. Don’t question the dogma. Never mind the scientific data out there showing that the metabolic advantage is BS. Just believe. It works. Someone wrote a book about it. There’s tonz of anecdote. It has to work! Who cares why? It works! I ate 5000 calories on LC and I lost weight, I was eating 1300 calories on moderate carbs and I was not loosing anything… LC is some serious stuff man… you can make energy disapear while you’re on it…you can eat a full bowl of whipped cream and that cream just disapears, like it never exist! (as long that there is no carbs around!)

            GCBC is the bible after all… you can’t question the bible.

          • You’re conflating expending more energy than you consume with hunger. Insulin-sensitive people lose more weight on a high-carbohydrate diet than on a low-carbohydrate diet. How can this be?

            The fact is that you are expending more calories than you consume if you’re losing weight. The magic is that a low-carbohydrate diet reduces your hunger more than a high-carbohydrate diet.

          • OldeDog says:

            I am certain that you are wrong in the hypothesis that “a calorie is a calorie”. The human body, for a fact, metabolizes protein, fats and carbohydrates in different ways, consuming different amounts of energy for each.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            A calorie is a calorie. A calorie is a unit of energy.

            Discussing the energy content, and physiological efficiency, of different nutrients, that’s up for discussion. Claiming that energy vanishes into thin air because you don’t understand the difference is stupidity.

          • Your certainty is based on poor data. Read my other posts. There are studies by people who have measured calories in & calories out accurately (i.e. not by using self-reported food frequency questionnaires) and found that weight gain/loss is determined by calories in & calories out. In the meantime, see

          • Why do you insist on using words like “determined”? Weight gain/loss is certainly _associated_ with caloric balance. It’s the arrow of causality in real life scenarios that is being disputed.

            It’s possible to show in a lab setting that lowering calories leads to weight loss, but it’s a fact and intervention that is useless in real world application and dieting scenarios, as evidenced by long term failure of low calorie diet plans.

          • “Why do you insist on using words like “determined”?”
            Because it is.
            People who are losing weight on a low-carb diet have achieved a caloric deficit even if it feels like they haven’t. Low-carbing is one method for achieving a caloric deficit without excessive hunger. It doesn’t work for everybody. If it works for you, great.

            The problem with trying to get people to merely “eat less, move more” on their existing diet is that it doesn’t take into account human behaviour or the fact that their existing diet may be encouraging them to eat too much and move too little which is why it fails.

          • RebeccaL says:


        • Walter Bushell says:

          Because it’s easier to eschew carbs than to struggle against long term hunger.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hello, Clark,

      Still looking for somebody to blame instead of searching for answers? If the bigger reduction in carbohydrate content provides more weight loss, If a person can stop eating to excess on a low-carb diet without being hungry, is it not the reason to ,at least, take notice? Is it better to lose less weight while being hungry, them more weight while being full? What is your point? To make that fat jerk suffer more for less result?

      Galina L.

      • Clark Dixon says:

        If the environment is triggering physiological signals that “cause overeating”, then what makes you think the obese person can stick to the low-carb diet in the first place?

        The obese will still have to exert willpower in order to eat low-carb. Or do you think that appetite regulation and eating behavior begins and ends with “fullness”?

        Taubes’s own argument — that dysregulation of fat mass alters behavior in a vicious cycle — abdicates the conscious agent’s responsibility, ironically making it unlikely that an obese person could thrive on ANY diet. Low-carb dieting isn’t magic. It still requires changes in eating habits, it still requires avoiding “trigger” foods that will signal cravings, it still requires conscious intervention in daily behaviors — all the things that people like Razwell say don’t work.

        So where’s the low-carb magic coming from? It’s almost like this works because you people believe in it, rather than through the articulation of clear physiological mechanisms or understanding of the interaction between physiology and psychology.

        • Anonymous says:

          Well, now I understand what you think.Despite on the research results, you don’t accept the results.Somehow it is you who knows that because of the wrong psychology influence on physiology that obese person is doomed because he or she is just lacks willpower to exercise healthy lifestyle choices. What makes you so sure?

          I argue with you because I am the proof that your are wrong. I don’t know anything about your personal experience, may be it is you who can’t resist temptations in a fast food environment, or you know somebody who fits your perception of a standard obese person.I understand,one person is not enough, it is a limited pool of data, so do your data is limited. Please, except me as a legitimate case of observation. I fit the requirement because four years ago I was obese -198 lb at 5’6″. Now I am 28 lb lighter, still not a Barby, but I am very fit and fit looking.

          So, like other people with abnormal insulin sensitivity, after consuming food with more, than I can tolerate, amount of carbs, I get hungry very quickly after my meal. The amount of food doesn’t matter, in 1 hour or 2I am really hungry and don’t feel full any longer. If I eat potato with my stake and salad, I will be hungry, if I skip potato, I will be full(for 3-4 hours). The same story with breakfast , if I eat just 2 eggs and butter, I am full, if I add piece of bread or fruit, or sugar in my coffee, I am hungry.

          It goes without saying, when I am hungry and look around with hungry eyes, my environment looks quite different than when I am full, loaded with temptations. So, my physiology has some influence on my psychology. I cook and serve food for my family, that I myself avoid without exercising much of willpower because I am not hungry any more.When we went to a trip and hotel served only danishes and bagels, I choose not to eat at all without difficulty.Ability to experience hunger depends on the amount of insulin, on blood sugar fluctuations (on physiology).I doesn’t depend on my believes. It happens from time to time that I eat soothing that I thing is fine, but then go hungry too soon and could see, that my assumption was wrong.I am not claiming that my case is 100% reflection of other obese people situations, so do you can’t claim that you know how others feel and what they experience

          Again, what is your point? And, please, don’t overuse the word like”magic” and try to be more friendly. I hope you don’t think that you the only one who understands what is going on.Sorry for a long post.

          Galina L.

          • Clark Dixon says:

            All I’m asking is this:

            If the argument is that CHO -> insulin -> overeating, then the implicit statement is that “people can’t control their eating because physiology won’t let them”

            So if they can’t control their eating bc of physiological causes, then why can they suddenly adhere to a diet that gets rid of all “bad” foods?

            What stops the low-carb dieter from heading to the supermarket and picking up ice cream and potato chips?

            It’s not that they aren’t hungry; I can point to plenty of people that either 1. eat to their fill on LC diets and don’t lose weight or 2. reduce calories to trigger weight loss and have to deal with hunger in the process.

            What I’m saying is that the GCBC hypothesis is inadequate as an explanation because it doesn’t account for actual, you know, results.

          • Anonymous says:

            I don’t know how to start, because you obviously didn’t read GT’s book and I don’t think I could successfully retell it to you. There are a lot of information there that you requested. For example, there are whole chapter about a hunger. At least one very well designed research trail ,mentioned in the book, proved that even prepared and selected people were unable to tolerate hunger (1800 K cal/day) for more than 6 month in controlled environment. On the subject of insulin and desire to eat,I can tell you that hyperinsulinomia increases appetite. GT mentioned in his book numerous facts about it, like insulin use for treating anorexia.The mechanism of insulin response is described in many sources, researched through and trough . You will find it on internet without any trouble.It is trough controlling insulin through controlling carbs intake people on low-carbs diets control their desire to eat. I am not hungry and not craving carbohydrates.So, there is no reason for me to go to the store to buy an ice-cream. I just not had a sweet tooth before and was always preoccupied with food and eating in general.It took some trails and errors to find out what works for me.It also took time for my body to readjust.The only thing I try to control is my desire to use the food as an entertainment.I am loosing weight very slowly, but it is not a problem for me.Tell me if you are interested, and I will give to your some suggestions.

            The mechanism of weight loss through low-carb eating is not GT’s hypothesis. Trere are a lot of scientists who did work in the area.He is a journalist with specialization in science and described in hes book numerous research and findings. It looks for me that you will definitely benefit from some reading.

          • Helen Smith says:

            Its not just a matter of being hungry. For some reason, the feeling of the hunger that I get when I eat refined carbs is qualitatively *different* than the hunger from low carb foods. When I stay away from carbs, I can be hungry and yet I dont feel like I’m going to perish if I don’t get something to eat and I can resist eating something until mealtime, plus, when I do eat, I am satisfied with a normal amount of food and I don’t over eat. But when I eat carb-y stuff, its exactly the opposite and some sort of viscious cycle starts where eating carbs begets more eating of carbs…especially if its highly refined carbs like wheat flour and/or sugary stuff.

            p.s. I have lost 50lbs since early October 2009 by eating low carb. I used to weigh 205lbs on a small-boned 5’8″ frame. I went from squeezing into a size 18 jeans down to a size 8, and I am very, very happy with myself 🙂

          • People with impaired glucose control get wild fluctuations in their blood glucose level after eating high-glycaemic load carbohydrates. The dips in blood glucose level trigger intense hunger pangs. That’s why low-glycaemic load carb diets help by preventing wild fluctuations. See

          • mark91345 says:

            “But when I eat carb-y stuff, its exactly the opposite and some sort of vicious cycle starts where eating carbs begets more eating of carbs…especially if its highly refined carbs like wheat flour and/or sugary stuff.”

            I couldn’t have said it better. Carbs begets the “pull” for more carbs.

        • JamesK says:

          Ah, excellent. Our very first “Knowitall Contrarian With An Internet Attitude Problem”. Welcome to the blog. You’re probably sweet as pie when discussing things like this face-to-face.

          Looks like you’ve spent at least half your day today in Gary’s comments section. I’m sure he’s honored. We look forward to your continued attempts at being clever and snarky rather than simply discussing the issues at hand in a mature fashion. When you eventually get bored in a couple months and move on, rest assured you will be missed. 🙂

          • Clark Dixon says:

            Oh look, a flamepost with no substance.

            JamesK is a stirling example of content-free posts that prove the weaknesses of the argument. No facts, no rebuttals, only vitriol.

  18. Regarding this paragraph:

    “The same is likely to be true for those who swear they lost their excess pounds and kept them off by taking up regular exercise. Rare is the individual who begins running or swimming or doing aerobics regularly with the goal of losing weight and then doesn’t make any concomitant changes in what he or she eats.”

    This idea seems to be falsified by people in endurance sports, who carbo-load on purpose and, at the highest level, must actually strive to eat as much carbohydrates as possible. In the extreme cases, such as multi-day cycling races such as the Tour de France, it even takes form of loading up glucose by intravenous injection, because digestion is not fast enough.

    I think a better explanation of exercise’s relative effectiveness in weight loss – when it is really regular and strenuous – is that it deplenishes glycoged stores sufficiently that any carbohydrates consumed go first to rebuilding them, rather than go to the fat tissue and wreak further hormonal havoc. Exercise also makes tissues, esp. muscle tissues, more insulin-sensitive, so perhaps less insulin needs to be released in response to carb-heavy meals.

    I hope Mr. Taubes, to whom I am thankful for his books and articles, makes some time to address these edge cases that seem to weaken the carbohydrate hypothesis. I am aware of his articles about exercise being an insufficient driver of weight loss, but this may only be true at the general population level, not about the seriously dedicated enthusiast level.

    • Razwell says:

      Hi Tomasz

      I would say that exercise helps because it affects fat cell regulation, more so than just the caloric burn.

      . However, professionals like Lance Armstrong who carbohydrate load are naturally lean people to begin with.

      Most professionals be it Marathoning, Swimming etc had the sport picked for them by their natural builds. In other words people who are prfoessional sprinters naturally looked similar to what they look like and therefore have the best bodies for that particular sport. People built like Emmit Smith usually do not go into the NBA. People naturally built like Reggie Miller do not go into the sport of Strongman and compete against Magnus Ver Magnusson LOL !

      Many people seem to think if they sprint they will look like Asafa Powell. Asafa Powell looks like he does because he just looks that way. That is his natural build. Thinner people go into Marathoning because they cannot produce the sprinter’;s power and different muscle fibers .

      You will see a surprising amount of fairly fat AMATEUR Marathoners, Triatholons and even 100 meter sprinters etc, but you will never see a fat professional ( of those sports mentioned above) because the elite are weeded out.

      I hope that helps.

      • Yes, at the professional level it’s the selection effect that you observe.

        But a seriously dedicated sports enthusiast can get in the vicinity of 10-20% of professional-level performance – it’s that last 10% which is the genetic gift. If you train like Asafa Powell, you will eventually look like Asafa Powell and run 100m dash in maybe 11-12 seconds. Even if you start from very low fitness level. Human body is very malleable by serious training.

        The fat amateur marathoners, triathlonists etc. are simply not dedicated enough 🙂

      • montmorency says:

        Interesting, in cycling, sprinters tend to be powerfully-built men. They use their arms and shoulders as well as their legs, as well as needing plenty of volume in their chest cavity to allow their lungs to function well. Of course they are also lean where it counts.

        Chris Boardman, the British gold-medallist was perhaps notable in not looking like a naturally skinny cyclist (I expect he had to work at keeping his weight down), and once he had retired from racing began to look distinctly chubby.    

    • Anonymous says:

      it isnt–more like verified rather than falsified. athletes carbo-load to maintain their bodies, a balance. this is what gary is referring to. when most people take on exercise, they eat to compensate–thats natural. thats exactly what athletes do; they eat more to compensate for all the exercise they do. they exercise to maintain performance levels, not to lose weight. they eat to maintain their bodies, not to gain weight they lost from exercise.

    • Anonymous says:

      We have to differentiate between people who engage in endurance sports and are lean and those who do it to lose weight and who might not be. Although the evidence for runners, surprisingly, suggests that even lean runners and those who log the most distance weekly, gain weight and fat with the passing of the years.
      I agree that the benefit of exercise, if it exists, and intense physical labor is in burning up the carbohydrates consumed, and increasing insulin sensitivity. The insulin sensitizing effect, though, lasts only for about 36 hours or until the subject eats his or her first carb-rich meal. Once glycogen stores are replaced, insulin sensitivity reverts to whatever it would have been without the exercise.
      Final note and a plug for the new book: I discuss all this directly and indirectly in the new book — Why We Get Fat. All the ore reason to read it.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hi Gary,
        I’ll be ordering your book on Kindle the day it comes out. Will there be a Portuguese translation of “why we get fat”?
        Yesterday I reread chapter 21 of GCBC, “fat metabolism”. It’s my favorite chapter. It’s scary how something so wrong as the positive-caloric-balance/overeating hypothesis or the thrifty gene hypothesis could become so universally accepted and go unquestioned for so long. It makes me wonder what other ideas are out there that society unquestioningly believes to be true are really not and are doing us harm.
        Keep up the good work.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi Mark,
          I don’t know yet if there will be a Portuguese translation of
          WWGF. I think there is going to be one of Good Calories, Bad Calories.

          • Razwell says:

            Hi Gary

            I wish you nothing but the best in exposing this nonsense for everyone to see.

            This is for the bank account model proponets.

            “Counting calories “, “energy balance” “calories in /calories out” – all industry buzz words. The concept is wrong. There is very little peer reviewed science demonstrating the caloric bank account belief to be true, if any. It is DOGMA, NOT scientific knowledge.

            Our bodies weight regulatory systems are long term – over years- not meal to meal , day to day or month to month . We take in MILLIONS of calories over a decade. NO ONE can CONCIOUSLY balance all the MILLIONS of calories we take in to all the calories we expend . Calorie labels are not accurate either a lot of the time. Even if they were, our bodies are far more accurate than we are. Practicing energy balance is an absurd belief . The diet industry is full of pseudoscience.

            These bank account model proponets do not realzie body fat is regulated through complex feedback loops and if soemthing is off by even 1% someone can possibly can 100 pounds, as Harvard researcher Dr. Kaplan showed. My blog has a post about this.

            The laws of thermodynamcis do NOT and NEVER WILL explain the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors. To say we do not understand them is a massive understatement.

            Please use any and all information to provide more black swans against the prevailing wisdom, Gary.



            The caloric bank account people get angry with us because something they have believed in all their lives is just a steaming pile of cow crap.

            In the words of Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, one the world’s premiere obesity research pioneers ” it’s time to move on from the ineffective often repeated nostrum to eat less move more in favor of 21 st century medical science advancements”.

            Great Sean Croxton podcast. Sean is a great guy who I have supported since 2006

            Take care, and keep exposing this.


            here are two articles you might like:

            Obesity is truly indescribably complex

            He says obesity is NOT energy in and energy out and if it were that simple we would have solved it many years back.
            said if it were true than obesity would hjave been solved yeats back.

          • Razwell says:

            My computer caused some of my message to be disconnected.

            Anyhow, there’s no question the caloric bank account people will get angry reading my comment because what they have believed in all these years is nothing more than a steaming pile of cow dung.

            My blog has links to numerous scientists in the field of obesity who are on record as saying obesity is NOT calories in/calories out. They are definitely critical of the useless advice to eat less, move more, and think we can do much better than that.

            No one carefully keeping track of the work of researchers in the field of obesity could ever come to the conlusion that the caloric bank account model is valid. It’s NOT.. Hopefully the public and doctors will catch up to what real researchers already know.

            Dr. Jeffrey Friedman has numerous articles showing how the prevailing wisdom is wrong.

            caslories in/.calories out

      • Anonymous says:

        Mr. Taubes,
        could you, please, tell what happens if the after one’s hard exegesis/hard labor a carbohydrate reach meal is not consumed? What are yous thoughts about a glycogen stores replacement on a low-carbohydrate diet?
        Thank you very mach for giving your valuable time to the blog.

        • I (and many other sports enthusiasts, I am sure) can tell you from personal experience what happens. If you don’t consume carbohydrates after a strenuous training session, your recovery will be very much impaired. With carbo-loading, it’s possible to do 30-60 min. training at lactate threshold for 2-3 days in a row. Without replenishing carbohydrates, it will only be possible once every 3 days or so.

          Metabolically, if you don’t consume carbohydrates after training, your glycogen stores will be replenished, albeit slowly, via glucose produced in gluconeogenesis, which is slow and inefficient.

          In dogs, who are carnivores, this process is probably much more efficient.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you very much for your answer. Do you think it is possible for human body to readjust in time? I trust your experience, but from from the logical point of view it is difficult to understand why humans who don’t consume carbs are in a disadvantage in comparison with humans who do carboloading while people were not evolved eating carbs? What if athletes conditioned themselves to thrive on a such regiment? Did you notice, maybe effectiveness of carboloading gets increased in time?

          • “Do you think it is possible for human body to readjust in time? I trust your experience, but from the logical point of view it is difficult to understand why humans who don’t consume carbs are in a disadvantage in comparison with humans who do carboloading while people were not evolved eating carbs?”

            My best explanation, which is really an evolutionary “just so” story, is that strenuous training day after day is an “unnatural” activity for which we have not evolved. So unnatural measures, such as carbo-loading (or glucose injection in extreme cases) are beneficial in order to cope with that unnatural burden on the body. Even if your body runs healthier every day without carbs, in this highly artificial context its performance will be better with carbs. This is why athletes do it, as they do many other things that are unhealthy in the longer run.

            I don’t know if effectiveness of carbo-loading increases or decreases with time, but in endurance sports, recovery time needed for full recuperation from hard training or race lengthens with age, even as endurance itself gets better. In cycling, for example, typically younger racers will have better sprint and recovery, and will gain endurance as they get older. Average age of Tour de France winners is something like 29 years old — a Methuselah’s age in many other sports.

          • Anonymous says:

            May be it sounds primitive, but in my guts I feel there is something else.Body usually has means to reach the same result through different pathways. Glycogen stores are important for survival because are used during emergency responses and during activity that require endurance . It is difficult to imagine that our ancestors were less prepared for those occasions than modern athletes. Probably, pathway to create glycogen from glucose is more effective and because carboloading is the standard after and before any physical activity, athletes do not have the necessity to develop well-functioning alternative pathways for the glycogen.May be, the reliance on the pathway that needs exclusively glucose for creating glycogen is a disadvantage for somebody living a primitive life because glucose sources are not widely available.. Athletes who “hit the wall” look like they are unable to function.

            Probably, trough that alternative pathway functioning it would be possible to explain how some people manage to get fat while eating meat. May be it is some mechanism that we share with carnivores, who can became fat while eating fat and meat.

            There are just a half-baked thoughts. I don’t expect you to give me the answer on anything that comes into my mind. You already kindly gave me the most satisfying explanations .

      • Thank you for the prompt answer.

        The evidence about runners getting fat with age is only somewhat surprising (everybody is getting fatter with age, so why runners wouldn’t), but I was reacting rather to the postulated diet changes correlated with taking up exercise. It is quite common for these diet changes to be for the “worse” from low carb perspective. I cannot quantify this effect, but most everyone getting serious about training gets to hear very quickly about the necessity of carbo-loading, especially right after training and before races. And yet people who get serious about training will most often get their weight down, often radically — at least at first.

        I was more surprised by the insulin sensivity petering out after 36 hours or carb-rich meals. On one hand, it makes sense, because if glycogen stores are full, how exactly can insulin sensitivity manifest itself? On the other hand, just quickly trawling PubMed, I found some abstracts that seem to indicate there is some kind of a long term effect. I found quite a few more supporting no long term effect, so maybe these are just outliers.

        • Anonymous says:

          Hi Tomasz,
          Two points: one is everybody isn’t getting fatter with age. Some
          people are, some aren’t. Worthless anecdotal evidence: I used to be
          getting fatter with age, then I stopped eating carb-rich foods and I’m
          no longer getting fatter with age. As for the carb-loading and
          athletics, I disagree there, too. Sure serious endurance athletes
          learn about carb-loading for races, and we all learn about the
          necessity to replenish our electrolytes, etc., but whatever carb-
          loading is done is done within a reasonably short time of the event
          itself. That’s an entirely different thing than eating carb-rich
          diets, drinking beer, sodas, etc., day in and day out. My take on
          insulin sensitivity as a 36 hour effect after exercise comes from
          interviewing researchers who study insulin resistance — for an
          article I did for Science last year on mechanisms of insulin
          resistance. I did not go through the literature to see if the research
          supported their view as I assumed that they would always prefer the
          effect was more beneficial than they were telling me it was.

          • Anonymous says:

            Your article on insulin resistance:
            “Hormone replacement therapy seems to double CRP levels in postmenopausal women, which may help explain why hormone replacement therapy seems not to help stave off heart disease, as originally thought. ”
            Are the hormones natural, bioidentical or synthetic?

      • Michael says:

        In one of Barry Groves’ books and on his website, he cites the case of a famous British Olympic oarsman whose exertions did not prevent his developing Type II diabetes.

        On the other hand, my grandfather was an amateur medal-winning runner and cyclist in his young days, and remained slim all his life. He did do a hard manual job and also walked a lot, well into old age. If my grandmother were ever to put an extra potato on his plate, he would sternly refuse it. He always knew when he’d had enough. One of his 3 sons (my uncles) seemed to inherit the “lifelong slim” gene, while the other two had a tendency to run to fat in later years. (That gene never came my way unfortunately).

        Mike Ellwood

  19. Anonymous says:

    Gary said…”Or, had they had the money to spend, they might have cooked meals for both groups of subjects, say, 2700 calories a day – either low-fat or low-carb – and encouraged both groups to eat all the food prepared.”

    If I ate 2700 calories a day in any combination – low-fat, low-carb, whatever – I would gain weight! The USDA nutrition recommendations (which aren’t really that good) are only based on an average 2000 calories a day. Good grief!

    Also, any calorie restricted diet reduces carbs, especially grain-based and sugar laden carbs which are an easy target due to their high calorie content per serving. I think everyone gets donuts, soda, beer, cakes, cookies and so on, but a couple of slices of whole-wheat bread adds 200+ calories to a meal. I can eat a HUGE salad with some chicken and a nice vinaigrette dressing and be far more satiated for longer with about the same amount of calories as the average lunch sandwich (less than some of them). Trust me, I’ve counted the calories. The nutrition profile in the salad is better too. So OF COURSE paying attention to total calories will result in lower carbs. It will also result in lower fat, because of the calorie content in a steak or pizza or a loaded chili-cheeseburger. It also encourages us to leave the pasta and potato salad, cheese and other high-calorie, fat-laden foods OFF the salad and just load up on fresh crispy vegetables.

    I think that what is missing for a lot of people now is a good idea of how many calories they REALLY consume in a day, how many they actually NEED, what a good nutrition profile looks like and how to eat for good nutrition. Throw in some movement every day because it’s good for your body and a lot of people would drop some weight pretty quickly.

    We don’t live in the stone age any more. We live in a world full of every delightful, high-fat, high-sugar food imaginable, and really comfortable furniture. The amount of cheap food that the developed world has access to is like nothing our bodies and taste buds have ever seen before! But just because it’s there doesn’t mean we have to eat it. The human body isn’t prepared to handle it. We need to learn how to eat nutritious foods, incorporate modest amounts of treats since no one likes to feel deprived, and move.
    Healthy lifestyle = healthy body.

    • Anonymous says:

      You might consider doing an experiment and seeing if it’s true about your belief that 2700 calories a day will lead to weight gain, regardless. Do an Atkins-style induction diet — eggs, bacon, sausage, meat, fish, and some green vegetables — and see what happens. You might be surprised.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you haven’t eaten low carb before, 2700 calories might seem like a lot. Doesn’t sound like a lot the low carbers around here though…

      • Anonymous says:

        Nice challenge I suppose, but I’m not really convinced that it’s all that good for my body to eat that much meat and a fairly small amount of plant-based food. I actually do eat eggs every day, bacon or sausage several times a week, along with other meats on a daily basis – just not 2700 calories worth. I eat a lot of vegetables and some fruit every day as well. What I don’t eat much of is sugars, grains/breads (probably only one or two servings a day at most and some days none) and dairy (I’m lactose intolerant and so tend to avoid it rather than use the tablets).

        What I think I would really be interested in is keeping a food diary for a while and trying to quantify my carb intake. It may be that my lower-calorie diet and established eating habits fall within the range of a lower-carb diet as well. I think it’s important to add that while I refer to a “lower-calorie diet” it is a satisfying diet. I don’t starve myself – the foods that I eat are satisfying, filling and enjoyable. That’s probably the biggest factor in maintaining a healthy weight anyway. And when there’s cake, and I want cake, I definitely have cake – and a good beer when I want it as well. 🙂

        • Anonymous says:

          I strongly suspect that what is low-carb diet for one person in excessive carb for another. Probably the criteria is the insulin response on the consumed food and blood sugar levels. I don’t expect you do go through medical testing, anless you start to gain weight or developa blood pressure problem.

  20. Ken Leebow says:

    Is it possible that the low carb/low fat issue is much ado about nothing? If you observe the spectrum of diets that exist, let’s say, from Vegan to Paleo, they all include many of the same foods and exclude many of the same foods. Yes, a huge overlap.

    So, in reality, to maintain a healthy lifestyle requires the exclusion of … fast food, highly processed food, sugar (minimize) and the inclusion of fruits, vegetables, and exercise. Yes, an over-simplification, however, I’m not here to write a dissertation.

    The fact that some include/exclude meat or grains is of minimal importance.

    The reason for most diet failures is because people feel deprived (hungry) and feel that they must use willpower to sustain a diet. There is a solution to that problem.

    Instead of concentrating on fat or carb content, always include protein and fiber in your meals and snacks. This will provide the feeling of satiety – the most important factor in long-term success.

    So, for those folks who get stuck in a particular “diet camp”, loosen up. There’s a wide spectrum of healthy diets that will assist with long-term health.

    Ken Leebow

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m a big fan of all kinds of highly processed meats and cheeses, fast food (sans-bun/sugary soda), and I simply stopped eating fruit and vegetables (in fact, I’m generally terribly allergic to fruits, but I used to force myself to eat them anyway because they were “healthy”).

      Since going low-carb, no-fruit/vegetable, and lots of processed meats and cheeses, I’ve lost 50 pounds, by cholesterol got better, my blood pressure got better, and I’m simply not hungry anymore. The fact that I exclude grains is of critical importance, and hand-waving about protein and “satiety” doesn’t refute that.

  21. Larry Clapp says:

    Hi, Gary. Love your blog so far. Loved GCBC. Looking forward to Why We Get Fat. Have lost 46 lbs by cutting my carbs by about 2/3 (clocked), changing what carbs I did eat, and exercising. Generally followed Kurt Harris’s advice (Kurt writes the PaNu blog). I hope you’re right about most of what you write, ’cause if not I’m doomed. 🙂 On the other hand I think the results speak for themselves. Please keep up the good work, and know that many people are hoping that you and Kurt and Mark Sisson and people like you can turn the carb tide that is the Standard American Diet. /fanboy

    To some people spelling errors are like fingernails on a chalkboard. “Dieters will get rid of candy bars, deserts, donuts and cinnamon buns.” You wanted “desserts”. 🙂

    • Anonymous says:

      Spelling errors have been duly noted. And my wife made me get a life insurance plan a few years ago in case I’m wrong, because I’m doomed, too. The problem is one of anecdotal data. I could have a massive heart attack tomorrow — knock on wood — and I still wouldn’t know (or my next of kin wouldn’t) whether I’d have had the heart attack two years earlier if I’d been eating a low-fat diet, rich in fruits and vegetables. On some level we have to decide who to trust and which interpretation of the data we find most compelling.

  22. Razwell says:

    I know that ,as far as myself, when I eat a diet that is too rich in carbohydrates the fat tissue comes on for sure. I get smooth, and waist girth increases.

    There is much more to fat gain and loss than the farcical bank account model. The regulation of fat cells is complex and there is much to learn. The people who think it is “all about calories” are plain misinformed. My own blog disccues feeding times, viruses, and other things.

    Google ” Dr. Turek mice sleeping hours”

  23. Razwell says:

    What would a top notch physics professor say if you asked him if the Laws of Thermodynamics adequately explain the biological phenomenon of obesity?

    I would bet they would say : ” There are major problems using a measurement of heat output from burning to predict what happens when substances are consumed by humans”.

    Keep on exposing this Gary !

  24. Razwell says:

    WE need to learn how to LOWER the SETPOINT. That is one of the aeras where further research needs to be done.

    Good scientists are not 100 % certain. They admit unknowns. Obesity is only certain to the dieting industry and the various proponets of the bank account model on the Internet, who are part of the dieting industry.

    The time has come to STOP dieting and DITCH the chronic caloric deprivation. This method FAILS long term.

  25. Jim says:

    Hellow from Rochester, NY (very cold and wintery today).
    Loved the post. It is amazing how researchers can ignore confounding in their design and then make so called meaningful comparisons. BTW- really liked GCBC. Keep up the work. Hopefully your insight, in conjunction with others, who are willing to take a truly critical look at the weight gain issue will be able to bring out true meaning and help those in need.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Jim,
      I lived in Rochester until I was 12. And one reason I can happily live in California is because I saw enough snow by that time to last me a lifetime. Thanks for the kind words. (And it’s been raining here in Berkeley for about two weeks straight, so…)

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Jim,
      I lived in Rochester until I was 12. And one reason I can happily live in California is because I saw enough snow by that time to last me a lifetime. Thanks for the kind words. (And it’s been raining here in Berkeley for about two weeks straight, so…)

  26. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Taubes,

    Thank you for your blog articles and for the job you are doing fighting nutritional ignorance.Your have a gift is to deliver your message in the form that is impossible to ignore. Your logic is just perfect. After reading your article, I felt ashamed, because you said something that I knew, what Dr. Eades already talked about, but somehow it was in the back of my mind. In the front it was “we are different, what works for you may not work for me” notion. Probably, such approach helped to keep peace between individuals who follow different diets.You know, the degree of animosity during such discussions is unbelievable. You mention that now low-carb diets are treated like just another group of diets. Probably, it allowed some health lifestyle advisers to keep their dignity – it is easier to advice low-carb diet after failed low-fat one on the ground that low-carbing may suit better your metabolic type (as opposite to admitting that low-fat diets are just plain wrong). It reminds me about that ridicules fig leaf covering private parts of some marble statues. They are still naked, but the fig leaf provides the illusion of dignity. Do you know who are you, Mr.Taubes ? You are the fig leaf eliminator.

    Jokes aside, I think it is important to clarify the criteria of having a healthy blood sugar level(right now it is too wide) and criteria for low-carb diet. For some people it is 50 gram a day , for others it is 200. The lack of the definition contributes to the confusion.Or Is it that a person could have as much (or as little of) carbs, in order to provide a particular blood sugar curve (and insulin level curve)? May be that clarification will create the common ground for different dieters.What if it is necessary to declare that any diet must provide the sense of satiety?

    English is my second language, please excuse me if sometimes my sentences are slightly awkward. I try my best.

    • Anonymous says:

      One point I should have made in the blog is that there are some ways we are all different, and one of them is in our ability to tolerate the carbs in the diet. So some of us are lean and burn them, and some of us are predisposed to get fat and store them. So yes, individual variation is key. It’s just important to know how that variation manifests itself.

    • Anonymous says:

      One point I should have made in the blog is that there are some ways we are all different, and one of them is in our ability to tolerate the carbs in the diet. So some of us are lean and burn them, and some of us are predisposed to get fat and store them. So yes, individual variation is key. It’s just important to know how that variation manifests itself.

  27. j says:

    In my experience you just have to cut calories to reduce body fat if your otherwise a normal healthy person and dont have an underlying illness.

    I have found this to be true even on strict ketogenic diets of 0 carbs.

  28. Mal says:

    I don’t know if I ‘get’ the insulin to blood sugar to glucose stuff better than the next person, but theres a lot of variables in consideration if one wants to say ‘fat causes fat storage’ vs ‘carbs cause fat storage’ vs ‘insulin causes fat storage’ vs ‘calorie excess’ causes fat storage. THEY ALL CAUSE FAT TO BE STORED. you overeat ANYTHING and yes, your going to gain weight. more slowly with an excess of fat grams b/c of water storage and more ‘quickly’ with carbohydrates because of the same reason. but the weight you gain will be lean mass vs fat mass. it remains to be proven which excess leads to the best long term results.

    it is the difference in the soft look vs the depleted look. that aspect in and of itself is NOT fat gain or fat loss. the theory of lipotoxicity holds true, and I do not think an excess of fat grams eaten by anyone is a good thing, just as an excess of carb grams is not a good thing. over-fatting via food leads to physiological insulin resistance, the ol dawn phenomenon, and higher fasting BS. an excess carb consumption(especiall with unreal food) will give you insulin resistance because your pancreas and liver do not communicate with your brain correctly. the wrong signals are sent out and the wrong consequences happen(you get fat or you fail to get fat). usually people are on one bandwagon or the other. insulin IS A GOOD THING YOU WOULD DIE IF IT WAS ZERO. I don’t know why it is so shunned. maybe instead of looking at insulin as the cause of all this, one should look at what is causing the insulin to malfunction, and it is not real food dietary carbohydrates.

    if your already broke and insulin resistant(eating UNREAL food) then you need to fix it, and high fat low carb will fix the insulin resistance. however, I don’t think that it is the cure in anyway because once it IS fixed then insulin levels should regulate themselves appropriately. when your insulin resistant you have a dysregulation of glut4 which helps the clearance rate of glucose in the blood by communicating with the liver/pancreas through a signal given by the hypothalamus. something is giving the ‘supply it now’ signal and glut4 isnt released when you are resistant to insulin thus it is stored as fat as the body’s way of ‘clearing’ the glucose.

    For a type 2 diabetic, their chronically raised insulin leaves glut4 acting in ’emergency’ to expand fat tissue as it is the quickest way to clear the glucose(but in normal society people have chronically raised levels, then they keep eating and its not real food so it just gets worse). some peoples body’s also pee it out too. when you are insulin sensitive, the liver responds with the pancreas and when glucose rises, insulin secretes and glut4 clears it(uses it to transport aminos and stuff). when you go ‘zero carb’ you stop or extremely lower your production of glut4(which maybe is why people say you starve your body but your body is starving you of glut4). the fact that adding back carbs after a zero carb diet leads to an impaired glut 4 because, I am guessing that it is impaired in the muscle and the tissue at this point(im talking prolonged no carb) and now you’ve pretty much given yourself diabetes or at least blood sugar problems(or lost the ability to handle carbs). a lot of people on extended low carb diets have very malfunctioning glut4. I am thinking that when one it fat adapted, glut 4 shuts off but triglycerides are used as the replacement cell energy mover because something has to compensate low glycogen. this is only relative in figuring out WHY the body malfunctioned to begin with. I have an idea that it has nothing to do with carbohydrates in and of themselves(again, real food carbs).

    if you overfeed long enough your glut4 just becomes overworked, usually due to fake oils and refined foods. but the same should hold true of fat and its processes. something is downregulated and something else is raised.

    chronically raised BS levels(through bad food choices, not primal or carb related AT ALL) obviously means your eating more than your body can handle and process(your overeating plain and simple). overworking your liver and pancreas is essentially overworking your entire body from your brain to your gut which will also lead to screwed up cortisol levels and burnt adrenals, which then lead to insulin dysregulation.
    This is what I think people mean when they say ‘calories in DO NOT equal calories out’…if you think about it, an 8oz rib eye has a good chunk of calories(in the mainstream sense) but a piece of toast with margarine and jelly carry much less ‘calories’. BUT, BUT when you eat the steak the CORRECT processes in your body occur. because you ate REAL food your body processes it and signals are delivered, hormones released etc. storage is only put into perspective, IMO, depending on the season and the body’s mental history(have you counted calories in the past? do you worry about weight? are you a blood sugar fanatic?).
    So, my point is that the steak has MUCH LESS CALORIES because your body goes into NO ‘abnormal’ functioning state nor are you feeding it anything unreal. now, when you eat toast with fake butter and sugary jelly your body stresses and it goes through a lot more ‘calories’ so to say dealing with it and much more synthetic processing. I hope that makes sense. I think calories should be equated with what the body does with the food. a unit of heat tells me nothing about how my liver/brain/pancreas/hormones/gut all deal with a steak.

    I think the first step toward a healthy world would be to look at food as food, not as macro composition, not as percents or grams or fat carbs and protein. REAL FOOD IS REAL FOOD IS REAL FOOD and your body will essentially act in a ‘low calorie’ sorta way by destressing and repairing your overworked organs/brain/gut when your diet consists of real food. when you add ‘unreal’ food(anything conventional…I think we know the difference by now) your body acts in an unreal way, and thus, you have modern society, full of over-caloried people, but not numerical calories…synthetic, altered and enhanced calories. there is too much misfiring and unsignaling or oversignaling going on in the body. I think calories should be accounted for by the stress, signaling and hormonal changes/gut necessity in a particular food. look at a brussel sprout…real food, real handling in the body. look at a cut of cow heart. real food real processing. look at a sweet potato…real food real processing. ALL SHOULD BE CONSIDERED LOW CALORIE REGARDLESS OF THAT IT IS….. THEN, look at modern food. toast…high calorie along with wheaties, bran flakes, fiber one etc. GMO enlarged fruit, more calories than it should have b/c its not 100% real. margarine… VERY high calorie(think about what you body goes through or fails to go through eating veggie oil..)

    just a thought. I became to low carb with a background of anorexia, and have literally felt the nutrition a real foods diet can offer. I no longer buy the ‘carb’ hypothesis because it just does not make sense. at one time it did, I spent a year eating just meat. anorexics actually suffer hyperinsulimia, so, if insulin causes fat storage and obesity, then anorexics would be fat and that is simply not the case. but they are actually very resistant to insulin and serves as a physiological adaption to the stressed out body.the whole insulin theory, in my opinion, should have NOTHING to do with obesity nor should it be focused on weight loss/fat loss or anythign like that. the bigger picture is looking at how conventional food alters the functioning of the body’s organs via its connection from the brain to the gut.

    • I have wondered if obesity and anorexia are based on the same thing. You mentioned anorexics suffer from hyperinsulinemia, as do us fat people. Perhaps the reason anorexics are not fat is only because they don’t eat; otherwise, anorexics would be fat. I am assuming that insulin makes us fat mostly in the presence of carbs (like a catalyst).

      In other words, I cannot help but to wonder if anorexia and obesity come from the same core problem: insulin, even though their outward manifestations are at extremes.

      • Mal says:

        i have thought the same thing

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I’ve wondered the same thing, myself. In fact, until I read something in GT’s book (“Good Calories …”) I didn’t even know there was such a thing as anorexia that *wasn’t* connected w/ mental problems (nervosa anorexia); that a person could be anorexic by some *purely physiologic* cause.

        Since spring, 2008, I’ve had a devil of a time trying to re-gain weight I lost (12 lbs. in one month). With lost employment and low unemployment insurance checks, there was a lot of stress; so I assumed that’s what drove my weight — and appetite — down. However, it’s 2 1/2 years later, and I’ve only gained back 5 pounds. To get back to my normal size (at least 110 lbs.), I need to put on 7 more pounds. Am having a very hard time of it. Yes, I DO work out [Gary T. says that that can increase your appetite] — Pilates 3 days/wk. and strength-training 2 days/wk. One time I even took 4 months off from the gym just to see if a lot of lounging would increase my weight; but that didn’t work, either! Wonder what I’m doing wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      It sounds in a contradiction with the treatment anorexics received in the past. According to GCBC, they were given insulin in order to increase their weight and appetite.

      • Injecting anybody with insulin, whether they’re insulin resistant or not, results in a drop in blood glucose due to inhibition of hepatic glucose production & increased uptake of glucose by muscle & fat. A drop in blood glucose triggers intense hunger pangs.

        I was injected with 10 units of fast-acting insulin (to test my pituitary’s GH response) and the low blood glucose made me ravenously hungry. Luckily, I was given food at the end of the test!

    • Anonymous says:

      Too many people blame unreal food too much, because it is very easy to blame. I don’t eat it myself on general principle. It didn’t helped me to avoid the weight problem and became insulin resistant. Yes, it is important to eat healthy and do exercise. It is not enough for many people. When we get concentrated on something that is on surface (like junk food and chemicals) , it easy to miss something that is deep. Let people who chose eat fast food alone, nutritional science is wider than that. The theme of the blog is “why diets work”. No one claim that being overfed is healthy. GT’s point that in order not to overeat you have to start with carbs(especially the refine kind), than you have less chances to overdo fat and calories.
      May be for some people not laying on coach is a change in a healthy direction, for others it is walking around the bloc one time a week a big thing.Not eating donuts is on the same scale. I am sure for some individuals nothing will help.

  29. Russ Ault says:

    I think that one of the biggest problems that has to be overcome in the quest to both firmly establish the carbohydrate hypothesis’ accuracy and relevance, and to gain its acceptance both by the establishments that generally minimalize it and by the general public as a whole, is the continuing misconception that “a calorie is a calorie no matter what the source”. (An additional serious challenge exists in the form of the huge size of the vested interests whose profits are directly derived from preserving this misconception.) Coupled with the “calorie is a calorie” issue is the common attitude that “diets are for losing weight”. I note that some of the most vocal adherents of going low-carb (and staying there) have been making a point of emphasizing that low-carb shouldn’t be treated as a “diet” (which implies that one only does it temporarily), but rather as a permanent change in eating habits.

    It is in addressing this seemingly minor linguistic nuance surrounding the term “diet” that I found the crucial obstacle in handling the issue within my own household, where the resistance to anything labeled as a “diet” was nearly total. Many people regard any and all things labeled as “diets” (with the single exception of “a balanced diet”) as being fads, onerous regimes, and/or outright quackery simply due to the presence of the term itself. Unfortunately, there’s really not a good way to get around this problem when discussing the shortcomings of the common diet or the fallacy of the “balanced” diet as it is generally constituted.

    The embedded cultural bias against “diets” (probably reinforced by the common observation that they usually do not work in the long term) is working against us in any attempt to modify what people eat, and why. Until people come to grips with the fact that much of the promulgated “wisdom” as enshrined in the concept of the “balanced diet” is based on nonscience (if not outright nonsense), and until we have the hard evidence in hand to prove otherwise, it will remain difficult to convince most people that fats in general are not the problem, and that carb overconsumption is what they need to address.

    Much of the art of persuasion relies for success upon the careful choice of terms. When the only ones presented are those which have been precharged against understanding, the task is made more difficult.

    Russ Ault

    • Anonymous says:

      hi Russ,
      One reason I call the new book “Why We Get Fat” is because of exactly the point you make. It’s not about dieting, as far as I can see, it’s about avoiding the foods that make you fat. In the same way that someone with a corn allergy or a milk allergy doesn’t talk about going on a corn-free or milk-free diet, they just don’t eat corn or don’t drink the milk.

  30. Anonymous says:

    You gotta love it… these studies are these scientists’ life work and they can’t even design them properly or control for obvious variables, no wonder the USA has such a weight problem… where do they find the guys to fill these “nutritionist” jobs? on Craigslist under ETC?

  31. Anonymous says:

    I did my master’s up in Canada, and I know first hand that a lot of the research that’s done up here is done by graduate students, many of which are just executing some game plan from their supervisors, often based not on advancing the field but rather on securing additional funding for future students. That leads to research that is often redundant or useless in the context of the field.

    I’ve often thought that an organization that helps guide research on a national or global level would be a good idea, similar to how Michael J. Fox’s organization is helping to guide research into Parkinson’s. Right now I think too many schools and research facilities are operating in their own little silos, and not really advancing the field in any capacity. Obviously the danger with that approach is having people who are biased in the organization, but I think it would produce more meaningful results than the haphazard way most research is conducted, at least in Canada.

    • OldeDog says:

      And you think that a centrally located “Research Directorate” would be better? Thst is, in many ways the problem now.
      Outside the space program, have you an example of government directed research that produces quantifiable results.

      • Anonymous says:

        The only institution not connected with government and interested in the real solution for obesity related health issues mast be some group of health insurance companies. I don’t understand why they are pushing up to nine fruits a day like our Aetna and support statins application.

  32. Hello Mr. Taubes! I have been a fan of your work for a very long time, so it is nice to see you blogging.

    I do have one question that has always plagued me about the whole insulin/ fat/ blood sugar theory, and that is in the case of someone such as myself. Maybe you or someone in our discussion can address this. My doctor has proven to me that my blood sugar is normal and responds normally to food intake,yet I am obese. Meaning, I am not insulin resistant, yet it takes an act of congress for me to lose a pound. I don’t carry fat in my abdominal area, either (which, I may be wrong here, is a sign of insulin resistance). Would someone like me benefit weight wise from a low carb diet? Meaning, if the point of the low carb diet is to control insulin, therefore, control the amount of fat storage, and my insulin working fine, would I even benefit from a low carb diet? How does someone with seemly normal blood sugar amounts and ability to regulate blood sugar then store fat if is not excess calorie consumption?

    Thanks! I look forward to many wonderful blog post from you!

    • Anonymous says:

      Absolutely it would work for you. In no way is insulin resistance required for it to work. It may be more critical for your overall health to eat low carb if you’re already insulin resistant, but it is in now way required for fat loss to occur.

    • Anonymous says:

      You could have a normal blood sugar level and abnormal insulin (I hope you do not).Also, doctor’s definition of normal usually is too wide. Dr. Bernstein consider normal fasting sugar should be less than 90 mg/dl. If you are too hungry compare to other people, or hungry too soon after meal – it is soothing what points in the direction of not perfect sugar regulation. I wish my doctor told me that my fasting BS was out of a good range 4 years ago (it was 99 mg/dl), but he did’t.

  33. Hi Gary,
    So, although we may label a diet as “low fat” and make that the focal point of our observation, there are other variables at play which do not receive the same attention, like carbs. In other words, we may put less butter on our bread (low-fat), but we are also eating less bread (low-carb).

  34. Anonymous says:

    Thought you might like this article:

    “This Paper Should Not Have Been Published”

  35. Gary

    Have you considered the research that has emerged recently concerning prolonged sitting and decreased lipase activity? Could this be playing a major role in the obesity epidemic?

    I agree with you that sticking an obese person on a treadmill for an hour a day is likely a waste
    of time. In that sense, no, exercise doesn’t seem to solve obesity. But sitting in front of television and computer screens, or at a desk, with little to no sun exposure, at ALL TIMES, is completely unnatural. We did not evolve to do that.

    I spent many years in the construction industry, where people spend 8-12 hours a day on their feet, engaged light and vigorous tasks. And it’s striking how much thinner construction workers are compared to office workers. Most are relatively thin, and even the heaviest are not overly heavy. And that’s all the more interesting, considering that construction workers classically don’t give a hoot about what they eat. In fact, I haven’t met one yet that tried to “eat healthy”.

    And have you considered how vitamin and mineral deficiencies might be contributing to this? I think I read that magnesium deficiency can lead to decreased insulin sensitivity.

    Do you ever worry that our intolerance to carbohydrate is the result of some other underlying disorder caused by any of the countless noxious influences we’re exposed to in the modern world?

    Surely you’re aware of the many non-industrial cultures who suffered no metabolic syndrome whatsoever, in the face of primarily carbohydrate based diets.

    • Anonymous says:

      Two words: Pima Indians

      Gary does a whole section in GCBC about them, and it pretty much addresses all of your questions.

      • Two words: One example.
        Also, two things changed when the Pima were forced to live on reservations. Diet and activity.

        • Anonymous says:

          You think activity was less for them on the reservation? In any case, by any stretch of the imagination, they weren’t sitting at computer screens, with little to no sun exposure, nor were they previously running 8-12 hours a day on their feet before they became poor and eating rations.

          Two words: Good example. 🙂

          • “You think activity was less for them on the reservation? With no more farming, hunting and gathering, what do you think? From Wikipedia “For comparison, genetically similar Pimas in Mexico have virtually no type 2 diabetes.”

          • Anonymous says:

            My guess is that their brutish life, without luxuries like electricity or running water, was probably quite active.

            Were the Pima in Mexico also put on sugar and coffee rations? If not, I’d argue there’s a good indication that the real difference wasn’t activity, it was diet.

          • They didn’t have those luxuries before they were institutionalised, so no change there. After being institutionalised, all they could do was chop wood for trading (according to wiki).

            I would guess that the Mexican Pimas lived a more natural life without the “displacing foods of civilization” as Weston Price called them. You can’t argue that the real difference for the Pima Indians was diet. Both diet and activity changed.

          • Anonymous says:

            I think the problem is that we *know* how diet changed, but we’ve got pretty weak speculation on how activity changed. “I would guess” and “a more natural life” aren’t helpful in either a qualitative or quantitative manner.

          • Do we know how the Pima Indians’ diet changed with much accuracy? From GCBC. “By the mid-1890s, the Pima were relying on government rations to avoid starvation…” and “…the Pima diet already included “everything obtainable that enters into the dietary of the white man…” and “…the Indians took to buying “sugar, coffee and canned goods to replace traditional foodstuffs lost ever since whites had settled in their territories.”

            That’s as qualitative as me saying that getting food hand-outs instead of farming, hunting & gathering reduced their activity.

          • Anonymous says:

            Not at all -> farming, hunting and gathering can be no more strenuous than chopping wood, walking long distances to get water, and playing with sticks in a field. Furthermore, you’ve got another confounding problem -> causality. If indeed the Pima of Arizona reduced their activity, was it because they were on a reservation, or was it because their diet stripped their muscles of energy?

            In any case, the activity is a red herring -> by any stretch of imagination, their activity levels would be generally considered much more “healthy” than typical activity levels of sedentary computer programmers of today.

            But here’s a question -> what experiment would you design to determine whether or not increased carbohydrate intake, or decreased activity, has a more deleterious effect on weight and health?

          • Nobody measured their activity so we can’t say for sure. They would have been walking to get water before they were institutionalised. Why would a diet high in refined carbohydrates have “stripped their muscles of energy”? They would have had loads of muscle glycogen.

            The effect of sedentary behaviour on health has already been studied. See

          • Anonymous says:

            A diet high in refined carbohydrates causes blood sugar levels to spike, which causes insulin levels to spike, which causes fat cells to accumulate fat (as opposed to returning fatty acids to the bloodstream). The dearth of fatty acids in the bloodstream starve the muscles of energy, leading to lethargy and a subsequent lack of activity.

            From your cite:

            “The definition of sedentary behaviour is at present inconsistent in the research literature, and comparable definitions and measures are rare.”

            Also interesting:

            “The changes in carbohydrate metabolism were particularly
            pronounced, with participants experiencing a 67% greater
            insulin response to a glucose load following the 5-day intervention.”

            It seems being sedentary is particularly problematic if you eat carbs 🙂

          • What muscles burn for energy varies with fitness level, genetics, exercise intensity and muscle glycogen fullness. See

            A diet high in refined carbs keeps muscle glycogen stores full. Therefore, RER=1 which means that muscles burn 100% glycogen & 0% fatty acids at rest. Muscles also have IMTGs to fuel them when necessary.

            Sedentary behaviour & high-carb diets don’t go well together. Oh, wait….

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            …A diet high in refined carbs keeps muscle glycogen stores full. Therefore, RER=1 which means that muscles burn 100% glycogen & 0% fatty acids at rest…

            Is that right? For that to be true, your muscles and liver would have to hog the glycogen indefinitely. Or you’d have to eat carbs in perpetuity. But I’m pretty sure that once you wake up in the moring from this glycogen fantasy, you’re pretty much burning fats, unless your Krebs cycle is miswired.

          • I should have written “full during the day”. Carbohydrate intake fills muscle & liver glycogen stores. Activity (also the brain & red blood cells indirectly) burns it. If carb intake equals carb burning, glycogen stores never empty. If carb intake exceeds carb burning, that’s when the excess passes down the lipogenesis pathway & raises serum triglycerides (bad news).

            After a night’s sleep, liver glycogen is quite depleted (as it’s used to provide blood glucose for the brain & red blood cells) but muscle glycogen is less depleted (unless you were thrashing around in bed all night). If you look at the RER histogram in my blog post, you’ll see that first thing in the morning, resting fasted RER varies from 0.71 to 0.93 which equates to fat-burning of 93% to 20%. So you’re not necessarily pretty much burning fats.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            I see that in order to justify your point of view, which is quite apparent and immoveable, you have to use the word “if” thrice. Three big ifs. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to rely on ifs? Good luck to you.

          • You’re quibbling over my use of the conditional word “if”? Does that mean you don’t have any evidence to support your point of view? I can support my point of view with evidence from a peer-reviewed study. Have you looked at the RER histogram in my blog? I didn’t like to presume that you had, hence the “if”.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            I did, and I’m familiar with RER as I’ve done work in this very area in university (we did the RQ in my days) and had mine tested when I swam competitively. So I know what we burn at rest and at different VO2 levels and what it is based on. And I know when anaerobic and aerobic metabolism kicks in. And I know how after a meal, once the insulin levels get back to basal levels and the excess glucose has been stored in the fat cells, how your RER ratio starts dropping away from 1.0, where quickly you start burning fats predominantly (especially if you aren’t an athlete–re: your histogram). So, since one is in basal insulin levels most of the day, one would expect to be burning fats predominantly at rest, which is what your histogram shows whether you like it or not, or wish to acknowledge it or not. You like to concentrate on the 20% value, I’ll look somewhere between the 20 and 93%. Cheerio.

          • The histogram was for fasted RER. Meals high in carbohydrate top-up glycogen stores which raises RER. As glycogen level falls between meals, RER falls. Therefore, average RER during the day is higher than in that histogram.

            Increasing fitness reduces RER (which is why trained marathon runners can run 25 miles at 12m.p.h. without draining muscle glycogen stores too quickly). Unfit people get a higher % of energy from carbs.

            Burning both carbs & fats aerobically uses Krebs.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:


          • Indentation is a pain! To see the effect of a high-carb meal on RER, see

            RER is raised for several hours.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            I’ll answer your last comment here, since there’s more horizontal room.

            As you know, I did research in the area and was a competitive athlete back yonder, so I know what’s going on (and I currently design clinical trials, so I’m pretty versed with fast versus fed states). You are merely interpreting the data as you see fit–the fringe aspect of it to support what you want it to support. I can do that too, but I look at the data itself. Best of luck to you. This has nothing to do with Gary’s post, so I’m done.

          • “…so I know what’s going on…” Self-praise is no recommendation. I cited a study below showing that RER is raised (fat-burning is reduced) for several hours post-carb consumption. How is that misinterpreting the data? Your Krebs cycle comment also makes no sense. But yeah, we’re pretty much done.

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m reading more of your cite (particularly the conclusion section) – the authors seem to be decrying a lack of objective study on sedentary behavior and its effects on our health:

            “It seems likely that it
            will be feasible to induce people to shift some proportion of
            their sedentary time into higher volumes of light- or moderate-intensity physical activity. However, this needs to be determined empirically. In populations where most adults are
            physically inactive, the feasibility and acceptability of such
            changes needs to be examined carefully in rigorous studies
            using objective measurement methods.”

            Did you read the piece before citing it?

          • Yes. I hope you weren’t expecting me to remember all of it! Studies usually end with “More rigorous studies required (i.e. more money, please!).

          • Anonymous says:

            Ah, I see your point 🙂

            Thanks again for the cites, they’ve been very informative! I think I’m beginning to understand some of what you’re trying to say, and appreciate your patience 🙂

          • You’re welcome. I enjoy researching & discussing diet, nutrition & human metabolism – it’s a fascinating subject.

          • Razwell says:

            BIOLOGY dictates that we REGAIN the fat, Nigel.

            People REGAIN DESPITE, DESPITE MAINTAINING their DIET and EXERCISE programs. read that again.

            THIS is what the studies SHOW.

            The caloric model is a FAILURE. The bank account model of obesity is dead WRONG.

          • So, what do you do to stay slim & healthy?

          • Razwell says:

            Nigel, I am actually trying to help you. Don’ ever diet. I did that back in 1997. There are only negatives. Dieting raises your fat storage enzymes. Dieting raises your setpoint little by little. Learn from my mistakes. Paying attention to signals of fullness and hunger is better. ( assuming they work right) Gone are my days of dieting and deprivation. People do NOT fail diets . Diets fail people. This is what science has shown.

            *Dieting is a strong predictor of future weight gain.

            *Overwhelming evidence documents that people who diet are much more likely to gain weight than people who don’t.

            References all included in this link :


            Please read that article and check those studies. Science backs what I say.

          • I’m touched that you’re trying to help me. Are you aware that diet means “way of life”. Therefore, whatever you’re doing, you’re dieting.

            That said, I’ve been low-carbing since 1997. I lost weight easily, which is why I’m all in favour of a low-carb diet. Taubes is proposing a low-carb diet for obesity. Why aren’t you shouting at him?

            I used to believe that calories didn’t count, so I ate too much and gained some weight back. I now know that calories still count, even when low-carbing. I now also know that moving more is essential for good health. Luckily I have found a way to move more without making me eat more.

            So, what’s your secret for having a slim & healthy body?

          • Anonymous says:

            What if you are dieting without being hungry? It is one thing to be deprived because you are hungry and not full and quite another to feel deprived because you are not eating an ice-cream or bread. Sometime you eat in order to replenish your nutrients and sometimes for hedonistic pleasure.Some foods make you more hungry. If you are avoiding such foods, is it the dieting in your sense?

    • Razwell says:

      AWESOME points your bring up, Robert. Malnutrition, hormones all important parts in the complex subject of obesity. And good points about formal exercise not solving obesity and being overrated. Construction workers live more naturally.

      You are also correct about it being bad to live unnaturally in front of a computer, no sunlight etc. . Sitting for long time is not what we evolved to do and I am sure it contributes . Standing is good for us.

      Urgelt of YouTube would like your comment a lot.

      Good stuff!

      • Hormones control the distribution of bodyfat around the body (arms, boobs, belly, bum, thighs etc) but they don’t create bodyfat out of thin air! There has to be an excess of fuel that’s not being burned to create more bodyfat i.e. calories in > calories burned.

        Sedentary behaviour reduces the activity of lipoprotein lipase leading to elevated serum cholesterol & triglycerides. I should know, as I have elevated serum cholesterol & triglycerides due to sedentary behaviour. Exercise is necessary for health even though its effect on weight loss is minimal unless you’re an athlete.

        • Razwell says:


          Second as far as lipodystrophy, I guess they ate less and exercised more for their ( very emaciated)upper bodies, while they ate more and exercised less for their lower bodies, huh Nigel ?. Get real.

          Your explanation fails. The caloric model fails.

          • What part of the word “distribution” did you not understand, huh?
            You fail. The caloric model works. I am making it work. See

          • Razwell says:

            What science has uncovered directly contradicts your deeply held belief system about obesity. You cannot handle this.

            The idea that if we would just “eat less and move more ” we would lose fat and become lean is WRONG. Numerous studies from my blog show how that turned out……..

            Composition of the diet, meal timing are all important. Dr. Linda Bacon is NOT a defeatist at all. She is a realist. We will get better results if we just listen to our bodies.

            Obesity is NOT solved. To you it is simple and certain. To real, genuine scientists it is very complex and full of uncertainty. The TRUTH is we are still figuring obesity out.

            Your bank account “eat less, move more” fat loss method has NEVER been proven to work successfully long term in ANY study . This is 100 % incontrovertable fact.


            Read that good.



            Dieting is a great way to GAIN WEIGHT long term Nigel……..

        • Razwell says:

          NOTHING is out of thin air. We ALL eat.

          The body can keep you fat on a low calorie diet. The idea that we would all lose weight LONG TERM if we just cut the calories is FALSE. The idea might seem like common sense to you, but it is dead WRONG.

          I cannot spell it out for you anymore Nigrel.Please read my blog carefully and read the REPUTABLE studies I cite.

          My latest post is a podcast from Dr. Linda bacon. All these things I have said are disccussed on my blog. I am tired of typing them all over again. My blog will you show you the failure of the caloric model.

          Again see here:

          You do not seem at all to be intersted at all in searching for the TRUTH about obesity, only defending a failed bank account model. To you it is simple and all figured out. To the diet industry it is simple and all figurd out.

          The truth is we have more to learn. There are more unknowns than knowns. No one’s advice on losing weight long term has ever been proven.

          We have not figured this fat loss thing out yet.

          • Why should I bother reading your “TRUTH” (could you please stop writing in capital letters as it looks like hysterical ranting) when I have already addressed the problems that I & other people face when trying to lose weight & be healthier and found workable solutions to them?

            I do not advocate just cutting calories. If you’re too thick to understand that, this discussion is at an end.

    • Michael says:

      Good point. The only time we buy sugar and biscuits (cookies) is when we have builders in (the sugar is for their tea). And you’re right, they are rarely overweight, or significantly so.

      See Barry Groves’ website (SecondOpinions) for lots of stuff about sunlight and other things.

      Mike Ellwood

    • Michael says:

      Good point. The only time we buy sugar and biscuits (cookies) is when we have builders in (the sugar is for their tea). And you’re right, they are rarely overweight, or significantly so.

      See Barry Groves’ website (SecondOpinions) for lots of stuff about sunlight and other things.

      Mike Ellwood

    • I posted this elsewhere, but two things that contribute to insulin resistance are:-

      1) Hypovitaminosis D due to lack of UVB (which can’t penetrate window glass). See
      I take 5,000iu/day Vitamin D3 and now have a completely normal OGTT result.

      2) Prolonged inactivity. See

  36. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Taubes, your first book, “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, has arguably saved my life. Thank you for your work, and I’m glad to see you out on the blogosphere!

  37. David says:

    Typo in 5th paragraph; beginning with, “And this Belief…” The sentence should read, “…our tendency to eat too much…”

    Seems to me that even a low-fat, calorie restricted starvation diet is technically a high-fat diet during weight loss because the body is feeding on it’s own fat stores. Physiologically, as fat stores diminish, leptin signaling changes and hunger eventually becomes a problem.

    One possible explanation for EXTRA weight loss with increased fat calorie intake is the fact that gut microbes utilize digested fat for both energy and cell structure. The more favorable the nutrient profile of the food, the more the gut microbes are able to multiply.

  38. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Taubes,
    Could you , please, give me your definition of a low-carb diet?

  39. Anonymous says:

    Gary, thanks for setting up the blog. Let’s hope your new book helps get the message out about carbs.

    I’d be interested to know your thoughts on why the 2003 Atkins craze appears to have faded out like all other diet trends. A reflection on the nature of all fads? Too difficult for folk to stick to? Delivered in the wrong format (too many crap tasting low carb nutrition bars) or maybe Atkins’s untimely death?

    PS: I love the look i get from folk when i try and explain why my morning eggs n’bacon is better than their plain bagel and fat-free spread….

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it might have a lot to do with the scare tactics employed by the mainstream media and health/nutrition community.

    • Michael says:

      The British Guardian newspaper recently did a holiday-filler piece about various celebrities and their breakfasts. Not one of them would admit to bacon and eggs, let alone a “full English” breakfast.

      It was a right old “healthy” carb-fest.

      I hope at least some of them were lying through their teeth.

    • Michael says:

      The British Guardian newspaper recently did a holiday-filler piece about various celebrities and their breakfasts. Not one of them would admit to bacon and eggs, let alone a “full English” breakfast.

      It was a right old “healthy” carb-fest.

      I hope at least some of them were lying through their teeth.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I am 57 years old and have been basically eating low carb for more than 15 years, ever since I discovered I have a sensitivity to wheat. While I’ve never maintained a food log, my general experience is that if I hold my carbs to under 50 per day, I can pretty much eat whatever I want without gaining weight. However, my weight will go up fairly quickly if I go to as much as 100. My experience has also shown me that if I want to lose weight, it doesn’t matter how low I go in carbs if I don’t create a caloric deficit. It wasn’t always this way, and I suspect my length of time on low carb, plus my age, have something to do with it. I have also found that it is more difficult to lose weight without exercise, especially the older I get. Unfortunately, a bum knee won’t let me do a lot of things I used to love, like distance running.

  41. Anonymous says:

    Gary, great post. I’ve noticed in recent studies researchers have failed to comment on the noncaloric restriction of the low carb diets, I suspect they believe” the low calorie in disguise” theory as fact, so don’t comment on it. Darrol

  42. Anonymous says:

    I am 57 years old and I have eating low carb for at least 20 years, ever since I discovered I have a wheat sensitivity. While I have never maintained a detailed food log, my experience has been that if I hold my carbs to 50 or so, I can pretty much eat whatever I want without gaining weight. I will start gaining weight fairly quickly if I go as high as 100. I have also discovered that if I want to lose weight these days, I have to create a caloric deficit. It doesn’t matter how low I go with carbs if I don’t create the deficit. It wasn’t always this way. When I first did the Atkins diet, I could stuff myself until I couldn’t stand up if it was meat, cheese or whatever, and the weight would drop off. I suspect the change may have something to do with the amount of time I’ve been eating low carb, or perhaps my age, or both. It’s hard to say. I have also found that it is easier to lose weight now if I can exercise fairly vigorously.

    • Anonymous says:

      Could you, please, tell,when you cat calories, what to you limit? Fat in your diet or proteins or snacks? Or just the size of the total meal?

    • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

      With everything being equal, it may be that your basal insulinergic ceiling (I just made that up, but I think you’ll understand what I mean) is 50 grams of carbs (it also happens to be mine). Below 50 grams, you aren’t riling up insulin to get a rise out of it. So, you ain’t putting on the weight. I too can loose weight by limiting my calories, but you don’t want to be around me when I’m empty-bellied. So I don’t limit them. What you could try is what someone else suggested earlier–try lowering your protein intake. That may also blunt some of that insulin response. Or, if that doesn’t work, try INCREASING your protein intake, which might speed up your metabolism (this works for me if I only do it once in a while–about once a fortnight). If none of that works, I hear amphetamines work pretty good, but they’re a bitch to get off of…I’m told.

      As far as exercise, two words: Tabata sprints. Most economical workout ever. Faster than it takes to read a Clark Dixon thread.

  43. I wonder about the high carb cultures or subcultures where people tend to be skinny, like Japan till recently, or vegans. Why do you think?

  44. CarbSane says:

    Firstly, since carbs contain calories, there is no way to separate the two out fully as you attempt to do. If one does, control for protein and total calories and compare LC vs. LF for the remainder of the calories in a controlled setting then meaningful conclusions can be drawn. But …

    …. as you state early on that the dietary records of Shai are to be taken with a grain of salt, and the diets were not matched for calories and protein, clearly this study and the results thereof are fairly useless for determining the cause of weight loss. I agree about the records, so then why base evidence for your theory on the results of this study? We’re talking a couple of days records from differing numbers of participants in each study at three time points over a two year period.

    But, if we are going to look at the records, we see that you continue to misrepresent unrestricted calories to mean there is no caloric deficit. This is not the case, the caloric deficits are greater for LC vs. LF in the first 6 months and 1 year, and slightly less over the last year. Your logic would jump on that and say “See! It’s the carbs”. But not so fast! Why do you ignore the third group in the study? The Mediterranean dieters. This group actually reported consistently lower average caloric deficits than either LC or LF as well as the LEAST carbohydrate restriction and lost the same amount of weight as did the LC group in the end. So what does this tell us? That ultimately, the control/reporting accuracy in Shai was lacking sufficiently to render any conclusions on the basis of intake analyses moot.

    Shai offers some insight, however, into the most healthful weight loss method, that being one that produces consistent losses that are maintained. And the prize there goes to? Mediterranean again. In most diet comparison studies, weight loss is greater early on followed by a rebound bounce in LC. I propose that this is not an optimal strategy either. And the improvement for the diabetics in the study? Med once again.

    Lastly, however, how do you explain the weight loss trajectory for the LC group. They claim to have maintained a rather significant reduction in both carbs and calories at each time point. Although not significant, the LC group reduced calories a bit more from 6 months to 1 year, and carbs slightly too, yet they regain pretty consistently over the year from 6-18 months before finally plateauing out. And what of the plateau? They ate a few more calories, but even fewer carbs. Again, these records are not to be trusted as accurate, and the differences are not likely to rise to a level of statistical significance, but if you’re going to use this data for one purpose, you will need to explain ALL of the results, not just those that fit your theory.

    • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

      …clearly this study and the results thereof are fairly useless for determining the cause of weight loss…

      For someone who said that the results shouldn’t be taken seriously, you clearly seem to be taking them earnestly and using whatever information from them that seems to fit YOUR theory. Is it cherry picking season?

      • CarbSane says:

        I’m doing a hypothetical analysis (or perhaps “devil’s advocate” is a better term). IF one is to draw any conclusions from comparing the reported intakes to weight losses in Shai, then one has to look at ALL of the evidence, not just LC vs. LF. Pretty much all we can state is that the groups all lost some weight maintaining some sort of caloric deficit over a period of time.

        That said, when one looks at the standard deviations on the reported intakes for LC and LF vs. Med, the variability is far less for the Med group. They also had a preferable weight loss trajectory w/o regain. So if we’re to get anything from Shai it is that moderate approaches might be better than the extremes.

        • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

          But you said the paper was useless, yet you still present the evidence in it that points in YOUR favor. You claim Gary Taubes is taking bits and pieces of the paper to support his claims, but can’t you see you’re taking different bits and pieces (and dismissing Gary’s bits and pieces) to make your own claims? Under your scenario, neither of you is “looking at ALL the evidence.” If Gary is biased, defacto you are biased too since you are using the exact same strategy that you are accusing Gary of utilising.

          The bottom line is that people have been banting since before Bant and getting results. It works and you can’t get around that. No one can. Gary might have some things wrong (and I think he does and I think he knows he does) but overall, he’s on the right path. I think his mission is not for Gary Taubes to be right, but for Gary Taubes to right science. If he does, whether he is right or not, we will all benefit, especially overweight and obese folks. That’s all I’m saying.

          • CarbSane says:

            OK, so we default to “LC works so what if Taubes perpetuates flawed theories as to why”.

            Let me say this in no uncertain terms. The reported dietary intakes in Shai are useless to prove anything regarding carb or caloric restriction. Since GT chose to again highlight this study (as he did in his most recent lecture available online) however to support his position, I’m just pointing out that there is evidence to counter that position in the very same data. I am not using it to support any position other than noting the least extreme of the three approaches led to the best overall result: steady and maintained loss.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Maintained? Can you point out where the yellow dots dip below the blue dots?

            Steady? Three cheers for the Med group. Their weight loss was steadier. However, three cheers for the low-carb group whose weight loss was more.

            Regardless, all that graph tells us is that most subjects were non-compliant by the end of the first year…in all groups. While compliant, though, I think it’s obvious which group lost more.

            Heart health? Low carb comes out ahead again.
            Inflammation? Low carb breaks the tape first.
            For diabetes? Low carb did dang well. Best at lowering glycated Hb.

            But it’s all for naught. The data was poison.

            We don’t have to default to GT, but you don’t personally have to gainsay default the other way just because it’s coming from GT. That’s not science…and as John Cleese would point out, it’s not even an argument. Good luck to you and your beliefs.

            I’ll continue to bant the old fashion way until GT and his numerous predecessors are proven wrong. Or until I reach my target weight.

          • CarbSane says:

            The LC weight loss was not more than the Med group except at earlier time points. At 2 years, it is not significantly different. In all parameters the LC vs. Med group are similar, the diabetics did better on Med. I blogged on that here.

            I didn’t state that the outcomes were for naught, I said trying to draw conclusions on calories and macronutrient compositions over a 2 year period of “free living” based on a few days of self-reporting is pretty useless … as GT said himself in this blog to be taken with a grain of salt!

            What does this have to do with how any of us choose to eat? In case you missed it, I eat low carb myself. For the better part of 2 years <20g/day probably 90% of the time, and only recently at carb levels more akin to those reported for the LC group in this Shai study (if anything I've lost a little since upping my carbs a bit).

            As far as low carbers gaining on it? Two names for you: Jimmy Moore, Dana Carpender

          • Anonymous says:

            Again at 2 years the low carb people were above what most low carbers maintain at; 100g a day.

            I think Jimmy Moore might be gaining because he eats so much franken food. There might be other issues too. He might be sensitive to gluten and the bread he’s been eating.

          • CarbSane says:

            mikepol you are reading the data table incorrectly. I linked elsewhere to the actual intake at 6 months the average was 87.4g carb. The table in GT’s post is for change from baseline, not intake. So at 2 years the LC group was eating an average of 81.2 g/day carb … fewer, not more.

          • Anonymous says:

            CarbSane… her username alone is an ad hominem attack… So she’s sane and the rest of us who dare to disagree with her are crazy…
            from her blog “…I found the LC community on the web and began reading all sorts of crazy theories.”

          • Your evidence that a calorie isn’t a calorie where weight is concerned is……?

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            A bathroom scale would be a good place to begin…

          • A bathroom scale measures calories in & calories out how exactly?

          • Razwell says:

            I sure do. LIPODYSTROPHY. Also, all the evidence from my blog.

            You are wrong about not listening to ” top notch experts” . Nigel. When someone is an acknowledged top world expert such as Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, on the subject of obesity ( a subject we are talking about) you SHOULD heed his lectures and writings. They ARE based on scientific studies. They ARE appropriate. They ARE acceptable. They ARE verifiable.

            Your argument holds no water. You and several of your heroes consistently MISUSE logical fallacies such as ad hominem and appeal to aithority.

            Personal attacks and name calling are NOT, NOT ad hominems.

            Deferring to nobel level scientists over NON experts on the Internet who write cute diet books and are your heroes) in their appropriate disciplines is NOT an appeal to authority and perfectly appropriate. The experts I cite such as Dr. Friedman and Dr Linda Bacon all have citre numerous reputable studies.

            The angel of ad hominem comes to save you and let you win all arguments completely unscathed, so you do not have to actually use your mind to enegae your opponents.

            Nice tactic, but claiming logical fallacies for your defense is the adult equivalent to saying ” na nana nana na”. Whether you misuse or even use logical fallacies correctly says NOTHING about the VERACITY of your opponents argument.

            You, James Krieger, Anthony Colpo ought to stop misuing the word and get an education on what it actually means and how to apply it. You also should start using your own skills to debate properly, instead of misusing the angel of ad hominem. OK?

            My blog has a post about this here, and I think you should read the article I link to :


          • CarbSane says:


            IMO there are all sorts of crazy theories. GT had to retract one such theory that you needed dietary carb to store fat. Never was true. Calling theories crazy isn’t the same as calling a person crazy.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            At two years, no one in any of the groups was eating the macronutrient or caloric distribution they claim to be eating (well, maybe a few were) or else they never would have put on weight at any time during those two years (i.e. the slopes never would have been going back up at any point). I see this every day in the studies I oversee (I supervise clinical trials for BigPharma–three jeers for me!). Patients fill out those surveys the way they think you want them to fill them in (no one wants the investigators to find out they’ve sneaked in that square or two of baklava at the office Christmas party). It’s easy to spot these things when you see them often enough. So, if you now think the data wasn’t so poisonous, all this study shows is that while the subjects were motivated (up to 6 months, maybe), the low carb group lost substantially more. But because of its shoddy design, it’s easy cherry picking for those who like to pick cherries. You can take whatever you want from the study to make a blog post to agree with whatever position you want it to agree with (it appears you’ve already done this). But it doesn’t matter how many times your resident stalker likes your posts, it doesn’t make your interpretation of the study any more correct. The main point of what GT had to say still stands: why did they neglect to emphasize, or address in their analysis, the other variable?

          • CarbSane says:

            At two years, no one in any of the groups was eating the macronutrient or caloric distribution they claim to be eating (well, maybe a few were) or else they never would have put on weight at any time during those two years

            So we can draw no conclusions from this study specific to exact macronutrient intake or calories.

            Why did they neglect to address the other variable? Probably because calories and carbohydrates aren’t independent? But IF they addressed the other variable using the dietary records as GT has done, they would have needed to address ALL the data, not simply LC vs. LF. It remains that the Med group lost as much weight as the LC group in the end restricting both calories and carbohydrates the least.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            So, when GT uses the data to make his point, it’s worthless data. When you use it to make your point it’s a panacea. Well, you tell me what conclusions can be drawn.

            …It remains that the Med group lost as much weight as the LC group in the end restricting both calories and carbohydrates the least…

            You might see that from the data (probably the panacea component). I’m not so convinced that’s true (based mainly on my experience in clinical trials and food survey validity). I feel the first six months are more telling–while the subjects were still compliant. You may feel different.

          • CarbSane says:

            So you believe the data comparing LC to LF and that this supports the carbohydrate hypothesis, but you don’t believe the data comparing LC to MDTN because this directly counters the carbohydrate hypothesis.

            In a blog post chastising scientists for poor controls and analyses, GT has displayed far more egregious behavior than he accuses them of.

            I am NOT saying the paper is useless. I’m agreeing with GT that the dietary records are to be taken with a grain of salt. So then why did he go on about them?

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            If you’d read GT’s blog post without your rose-tinted glasses, you’d have noticed that he wasn’t using the post to justify low-carb at all, but to question why these authors did not give ink to the “other” crucial variable.

            The dietary records are the only raw data there is (excluding demographic data), so if you question the raw data, then you have to question everything. But you don’t. You even posted a blog post to show how the Med diet is superior to LC for diabetics based on this raw data you find so objectionable. Raw data is where it’s at, man.

            It’s okay. Bloggers like you who live off others fame are a dime a dozen and those rose-tinted glasses are a necessity. Good luck to you and your minions.

          • CarbSane says:

            This will be my last response to you on this topic. If you cannot understand the concept of *IF* you accept something you have to look at all of it, you’ll just continue to misrepresent what I’ve written.

            You simply didn’t read GT’s post in full, but you don’t need to … just look at the title: Calories, fat or carbohydrates? Why diets work (when they do). Are you saying that he didn’t use Shai to support his thesis that carb restriction was responsible for the weight loss?

            GT has not, and likely will not, address the gross inaccuracies in GCBC. He has a blog now so the clock is ticking on when he’ll come clean on alpha glycerol phosphate, unequivocally, in print.

            Nah. That won’t sell non-fiction books.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            You and Nigel use a lot of conditional clauses, so I’ve noticed. I do accept that GT has some things wrong or is on the fringe of right on others (and have stated that before), but I think his message is rock solid. Not obsidian-like–more like granite and sorts. He has his reasons for sticking to his guns and I respect that and believe this is the right approach to take for what he is attempting to accomplish (which is more than making a buck). The fact that carb reduction works irrespective of the mechanism by which it does so speaks volumes.

          • Life is full of IF x THEN y ELSE z. Get used to it. Carb reduction doesn’t work for everybody. Get used to that as well. No further comment.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Oh, while you’re at it, Carbsane, can you explain to me, as it deals with the ironclad calories in/calories out dogma, what you meant in your Sept 10th post (Gary Taube$, Shai-ster) when you said, verbatim: To repeat: MDTN restricted BOTH carbs and calories significantly less than the LF group, but lost more weight. MDTN being the Med group.

          • essayiste says:

            lol. Carbsane did not made a blog post based on this paper, did he? He’s not using it to prove anything. Taube did. He’s just pointing out that his paper does not mean anything.

            The bottom line is that carbophobic are running around blaming insulin for everything and bringing very probably false mechanistic as to why LC works, and then saying non-sens as calories don’t matter. People are confused enough like this, let’s not perpetuate bad science.

            I’ve seen many individual in the LC-community plateauing, and then starting to count calorie and having a steady weight loss.

            LC works because

            1) it’s highly restrictive, and taking out food that are easy to overconsume, thus reducing caloric intake
            2) is high in protein, which has a high TEF and is very satiating, thus reducung caloric intake.

            Sure, it’s a quick fix if you’re overweight and you don’t want to count calories, by default it shall reduce your caloric intake. But you won’t get ultra lean just by cutting out carbs. At some point you’ll need to control your caloric intake.

            If calories don’t matter and insulin is all that matter, how did the twinkie and the potatoes diet work?
            It defies all the LC logic.

          • Anonymous says:

            plateauing, meaning they lose weight and then come to a stop at some point. were you under the impression that eating no carbs would reduce ones body to that of a skeleton with skin? because thats not how it works, and i dont think anyone would expect that.

            most low carb diets are high fat, not high protein. many who lose weight on lc diets consume more calories than they did before they started losing weight. who said insulin is all that matters? it is an important factor when it comes to regulating fat retention, but it is one factor.

          • CarbSane says:

            many who lose weight on lc diets consume more calories than they did before they started losing weight.

            There’s simply no evidence of this other than unverifiable anecdotes.

          • Anonymous says:

            thats a lie.

          • CarbSane says:

            Do you have any evidence where intake was monitored and documented where a person ate more calories on low carb and lost weight? It is possible if someone has a serious fat absorption issue, but that would not be a healthy way to go for such a person either. Atkins claims and internet “experiments” that cannot be verified are interesting but not sufficient.

          • Anonymous says:


            well, i think the whole point of cutting carb intake is inducing a fat absorption issue of sorts. perhaps puts strain on the kidneys. i dunno.

          • “i dunno.” Correct! 😀

          • Anonymous says:

            lol, pretty sad when all you have left is blatantly taking someone out of context.

          • Razwell says:

            Then you’re hopeless, Nigel. You need to learn to use appeal to authority and ad hominem correctly. These are used incorrectly so often on the Internet. My blog has a post.

            I defer to REAL, WORLD RENOWNED EXPERTS like Dr. Friedman and Dr. Linda Bacon . That is perfectly appropriate. These experts cite the research which I have provided.

            My blog is VERY good, Nigel. Quality information. Numerous lectures by Dr. Friedman. My blog clearly demonstrates all the failures of the caloric bak account model of obesity.

            There is no hope for you.

          • essayiste says:

            The magnitude of all those things that Manninen discuss are completly irrevelant when it comes to real world fat loss. It’s mental-masturbation. Anyhow, a review is not consider a very high level of evidence. Here something more talking.


            The non-ketogenic diet actually resulted in more weight loss. Protein was kept constant, and all the food was provided during the study.

          • Jonathan says:


            Why do you dismiss the Manninen review as “not a very high level of evidence” and “mental-masturbation”. Here are some excerpts:

            Samaha et al. randomly assigned 132 severely obese subjects to a low-carbohydrate or calorie and fat-restricted (low-fat) diet [17]. Seventy-nine subjects completed this six-month study. It should be noted that the difference in consumption of energy from carbohydrate was quite narrow: 51% in the low-fat group and 37% in the low-carbohydrate group. Total energy intake at the 6-month mark was 1567 kcal/day in the low-fat group and 1630 kcal/day in the low-carbohydrate group. Thus, the low-carbohydrate group consumed 54 extra kcal/day. Nevertheless, the low-carbohydrate group lost 5.8 kg (and was still losing weight at 6 months) vs. 1.9 kg (leveled off) in the low-fat group. Both groups were given an exceptional number of contacts with “experts in nutritional consulting”, so the possible placebo and nocebo effects would be even more intense here [18]. Greene et al. found that people eating an extra 300 kcal a day on a very-low-carbohydrate diet lost a similar amount of weight during a 12-week study as those on a low-fat diet [19]. Over the course of the study, subjects consumed an extra 25,000 kcal that should have added up to about a 7 pounds weight gain; it did not. The study was unique because all the food was prepared at an upscale Italian restaurant, so the researchers knew exactly what they ate, and one could not argue that diets were not palatable. Finally, a recent randomised, balanced, two diet study compared effects of isocaloric, energy-restricted ketogenic and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight/obese men (n = 15) and women (n = 13) [20]. Despite significantly greater calorie intake (1855 vs. 1562 kcal/day), both between and within group comparison revealed a distinct advantage of a ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet for weight loss/fat loss for men. In fact, 5 men showed more than 10 pounds difference in weight loss. Majority of women also responded more favourable to the ketogenic diet, especially in terms of trunk fat loss. Furthermore, the individual responses revealed that three men and four women who did the ketogenic diet first, regained body mass and fat mass after the switch to the low-fat, whereas no subjects regained weight or fat mass after switching to the ketogenic diet.”

            These studies report facts, not opinions. All of them demonstrate a difference in weight loss between low carb and low fat diets which cannot be explained by calories alone.

            The theory that all types of calories are metabolically equivalent is an empirical hypothesis, not to be confused with the first law of themodynamics. It is a generalization and as such can be proven false by a single piece of credible counter-evidence. Of course, one can challenge whether or not the studies were performed perfectly with all the correct controls, etc. But the same point can be made for any of the other studies you, CarbSane or others cite.

            So what specifically is wrong with the studies cited in Manninen?

          • Anonymous says:

            they dont agree with him. lol

          • essayiste says:

            Hi Jonathan. All of this was explain by Anothony Colpo already on his website. Alan Aragon also reviewed many of them in his Research Review, but you need to subscribe.

            Please read this with an open mind.

            Part 1:

            Part 2:

            It’s a bit long, but should gave you enough matter to at least question if a metabolic advantage exist. Colpo is harsh and that is not an advantage to have his message heard, but his critics still stand.

            Lyle McDonald wrote a very good article considering the calories-in/out. Very worth reading.


            I’ll be the first to say that LC works very well in loosing weight, and that macrocomposition can influence body composition. Mostly the protein level, though. Denying calories is a mistake though, and I just don’t get why the LC crowd hold so much onto that idea.

            All the revelant studies are discuss by Colpo, and if you find any flaws in his reasonning, please feel free to point it out. I’m all open to reconsider my stance, but I once believe that low-carb was magic and that calories did not matter. I’ve changed back my mind though. There are good reasons to this. I’m into this for science and for my clients, not to promote anything. I’m going with the evidence and with what works.


          • Anonymous says:

            lol, you will only be satisfied with something that fits your opinion. and no one denies calories–the atkins website even says calories still matter… instead of trying to work on arguments, you should probably slow down and really try to understand what it is youre discussing.

          • essayiste says:


            If you agree with me that it is calories in/out that dictate if there is mass gain or mass loss, not carbohydrate, and if you agree with me that it is the protein content of the diet, not the carbohydrate, that favorably affect body composition and hunger, then we are indeed arguing agasint each other for nothing. If you agree with this, I guess you’ll agree that going low-carb is absolutly not necessary to have a sucessfull weight loss, since you can easily be higher-carbs and higher-protein.

          • Anonymous says:

            its not just calories–thats the relevant issue here. thats why people have lost weight without reducing their caloric intake and exercise habits. taubes isnt saying calories dont matter, you are misunderstanding. he is criticizing the calories/in-calories out model because it is far too simplistic.

          • The calories in/calories out model is far more complicated than you think which is why you just don’t “get it”. See
            “In conclusion, ample evidence has been suggested to show that in calculating calorie balances from

            calorie balance = calories in – calories out

            care should be taken to account for the influence of caloric intake on calorie output.

          • Razwell says:

            And this is exactly the ineffective advice/nostrum that does NOT work LONG TERM. That is what everyone is missing.

            Many different diets produce SHORT TERM weight loss. That is completely irrelevant and useless observation.

            What we want is LONG TERM weight loss, specifically FAT LOSS.

            Low calorie diets/caloric restriction bank account model advice does NOT work for long term fat loss . Your own body is better able to regulate your weight than you are.

            Nigel, you and other fat loss gurus are not realizing we do not have anywhere near the control over our weights you mistakingly think. The quality information from reputable scientists like Dr. Friedman and Dr. Lind Bacon , and other scientists Dr Stephan Guyanet shows this to be true.

          • Razwell, Eat Less, Move More does work. It just has to be applied in a way that’s workable and sustainable for life. That’s where most “diets” fail. The failure has nothing to do with calories in/calories out.

            By an amazing coincidence, I’ve just blogged about solutions to the problems that stop people from losing weight (which, if done properly is fat weight, not muscle weight). See

            In 9), I advocate avoiding eating carbohydrates that disrupt blood glucose levels. Happy?

          • Razwell says:

            Wrong, Nigel. You obviously have NOT read Dr. Linda bacon’s book, nor my blog. People will FAIL at diets long term EVEN WHEN DIET AND EXERCISE ARE MAINTAINED.

            Address that. I have the studies on my blog.

          • I’ve already looked at your blog and the writings of Linda Bacon. As I already said, I’m not impressed. Hysterical shouting, appeals to authority and defeatist attitudes don’t impress me much.

            It’s not rocket science that if someone eats a diet/does an exercise regime that doesn’t suit them, they won’t be able to maintain it for life.

          • CarbSane says:

            1. Since the new book now contains a diet, can we presume you will be shouting and railing against GT anytime soon? He’s now officially in the diet INDUSTRY!
            2. I am very confused at your defenses of GT as he does not seem to have much if any agreement with Bacon etc. He basically claims that if we keep carbs low, we won’t get fat, and if we’re fat, we’ll get lean when we restrict them. The long term success rates of low carbing are no more impressive than traditional CRD’s so I can’t figure out what your defense of GT’s theories is all about.

          • Razwell says:

            And the failure has EVERYTHING to do with calories in/calories out. That model is simplistic and WRONG.

            Ask Dr. Jeffrey Friedman. He said “21 st century medicine will allow us to do MUCH BETTER than reiterate the nostrum to eat less and move more , which is no more liekly to work today than 2,000 years back”

            READ my blog.

          • Razwell says:

            And lastly, Nigel, you and CarbSane are always accusing Gary of cheery picking. Well guess what? No one misrepresents and chery picks science more than the DIET INDUSTRY.

            James Krieger, Anthony Colpo et al CONSISTENTLY misrepresent the what the evidence has shown with regard to obesity and body fat regulation.

            Dr. Stephan Guyanet , Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr Jeffrey Friedman are real scientists and far more edcuated on this topic than Krieger and Colpo.

            As incomplete as Gary ‘s own theories might be, it does NOT change the FACT that THEIR adviced has NEVER been proven true and is ineffective LONG TERM.

            THEY consistently cherry pick. In fact ,Krieger is the boiggest cherry picker I ever saw.

          • Razwell says:

            We have a nobel level scientist ( Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, the discoverer of leptin) who has a deep understanding of obesity at the cellular level saying that the often repeated nostrum to “eat less and move” does NOT work as a long term effective solution to obesity.

            We have the studies- no matter how many times scientists refine their methods, repeat the experiment, etc., the results is always the same . Dieting ( cutting calories) does NOT work long term and is NOT effective as a solution for solving obesity.

            You do not have that much control , Nigel. Your body sorts thing out.

            NO ONE can conciously and deliberately balance the MILLIONS of calories in to calories out over a decade . A HEALTHY body does this for you. Our fat regulatory systems are measured over YEARS- they are VERY LONG TERM. Obesity research for the future needs to DITCH the false bank account model and research how to LOWER OUR SETPOINTS. THIS IS THE FUTURE.

            You and CarbSane just do not get this……..

          • essayiste says:

            You keep making the assumption that they don’t reduce their caloric intake when

            1) there is ample evidence that LC/high-protein diet is very good at spontanuesly reducing caloric intake.
            2) you have no data whatsoever to back this up. all the studies where calories and protein are kept constant show no greater weight loss for LC. Only in the studies where protein are not controlled there is a difference.

            You also should read this one


          • Anonymous says:

            im not assuming. ive done it myself, and studies have shown this. you just dont want to accept it. yes, lc/high protein, but most low carbers are on lc/high fat, not high protein. i posted data, you just didnt accept it, like i dont accept your data. you are lying, not all studies back up your claim.

          • essayiste says:

            Anecdotal evidence are intresting, but must be replicable under controlled sitting as to be valide. Please show me the study where if protein are keep constant, calories are the same, and it’s a metabolic ward study, LC has lost more. No, you did not show me any evidence. I told you already that the studies in Manninen review don’t control for protein. I’ve shown you 2 such studies already.

            Here’s another one.


            Notice that it was a moderate protein, high-fat diet, as you claim. And still. Nothing.

            Please post primary research, with protein and calorie controlled.

          • Anonymous says:

            “Please show me the study where if protein are keep constant, calories are the same, and it’s a metabolic ward study, LC has lost more.”

            what i posted showed lc/higher calorie diets allowing for more weight loss. i dont recall protein being kept constant, but this still demonstrates that its not just the number of calories eaten that matter. do you think the weight loss on lc/higher calorie diet is attributable to protein?

            in your study, i dont see anything saying they were trying to lose weight–it focuses on maintenance. low carbers dont lose weight forever–as im sure you know, they hit plateaus; maintenance and weight loss are not the same.

          • essayiste says:

            Last reply, since we are running out of space

            If calories were not all, in the study I poste, it would have taken a higher caloric intake on the high-fat/LC to maintain bodyweight than on low-fat/HC. This was not the case. Same caloric intake to maintain weight.

            You can’t use a study where protein were not controlled and say that it’s a proof that calories are not all that matter, especially with what we know regarding protein. In the review from Manninen, studies found things like 54 calories discrepencies. We’re not talking about 500 calories difference here. Indeed, this can easily be explain by a higher protein intake.

            Anyway, we pretty much agree to disagree I guess. It’s all good. I’m pretty sure i’ve given enough solid evidence so that anyone objective would at least question the LC dogma.

          • Anonymous says:

            it wouldnt have taken higher caloric to maintain weight on lc, because you are not expected to shrink out of existence on lc diet; at some point, the weight loss will stop even on an extreme low/non carb diet. lc dieters all plateau at some point–this is very well-known in lc diet community–weight loss isnt forever on diets like atkins. but your study focuses on maintenance, mine on weight loss. are the people in your study obese and trying to lose weight? it doesnt say.

            even if protein is not controlled, you can say calories are not all that matter because they are being monitored. you just cant say protein didnt matter.

            there may just be a difference of perspective between us, rather than a real difference of opinion. its very important to remember the context here: this site is about why people are fat–that is, not at a weight they want to maintain, but a weight they want to reduce. atkins doesnt reduce body fat % to 0–this is known and accepted.

          • Razwell says:

            Please read my blog and read it good, especially the earlier posts.

            Dr. Linda Bacon Ph.D. refutes all those men. She is the expert on the subject of body fat regulation. She is very, very educated on this topic and all the literature. Here is something to read also :

            There are no reputable studies showing LONG TERM fat loss for dieting. FACT.

            The claorie restricted diets Colpo promotes DO NOT WORK LONG TERM. There is NO escaping this fact. They can rail on Gary all they want. it does NOT change the INEFFECTIVENESS of their OWN methods.

            Challenege these Internet gurus to put up or shut up. Challenege them to produce the clients that they had who were formerly obese and lost major weight and maintained this a decade or more.

          • What specifically is wrong with the studies is that they measured calories in, but they didn’t measure calories out due to all causes in a metabolic chamber. They therefore prove nothing.

          • Jonathan says:


            Of course the studies prove something! They prove that it is possible to
            lose MORE weight by eating FEWER calories, provided those calories in in a
            certain form (very low carbohydrate, high fiber, or certain other
            variables). The likelihood that the low carb group probably had more
            calories out, due to various possible reasons such as reduced absorbtion
            (higher excretion of unoxidized calories), greater energy expenditure,
            thermal effects, only proves that a full energy balance obeys the laws of
            energy and mass conservation (which nobody denies). The metabolic chamber
            would have provided a useful accounting of this, but it doesn’t change the
            fact that you can lose more weight and eat more calories, so long as your
            efficiency of storing those calories is reduced. Absorption efficiency is
            the factor which is always overlooked by the calories in = calories out

            Tim Ferris’ new book, The 4-Hour Body, has an excellent discussion of this,
            including a full mass balance he to show how he lost weight (and fat) eating
            more than 4000 calories in a single day. He even measured his body fat
            precisely and weighed and analyzed his own excrement to document the mass


          • Unlike ruminants, humans excrete very few calories in faeces. Unabsorbed proteins, carbohydrates & fats cause intestinal distress in humans e.g. colic, diarrhoea & wind. The calcium in dairy can form soaps with fats, but that only accounts for ~10g of fat/day (~90kcals).

            NEAT/SPA makes a big difference to energy out. Eating a diet that suits you increases your NEAT/SPA. See

          • Anonymous says:

            Some people are never satisfied.

            You may easily imagine how difficult it will be to isolate just one variable in a nutritional study.Not to mention isolating a big group of people long term looked in some medical facility. Is it the reason to stop all research in the area of nutrition or to trow away any received data? I understand how such situation contributes to mutual accusation in cherry-picking. For me design of the mentioned research looks good as good as you can get.

          • I agree, it’s difficult. However, you can’t claim that A = B – C is invalid, when only A and B are measured. As you’ve probably noticed by now, I’m never satisfied! ;-D

          • Anonymous says:

            According to the data of National Weight Registry , people, who followed LC(carb) diets, consumed more calories, eat more fat and exercised less than people on low calorie diets.

          • The thermic effect of activity (TEA) a.k.a. “exercise” is only one factor determining energy expenditure. There’s also TEF and SPA/NEAT, both of which are higher on low-carb diets (due to increased protein intake and decreased sluggishness).

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Galina, that doesn’t count because Nigel found a vestigial statement in the bowels of the appendices of that registry you speak of that in a roundabout way seems to contradict what you’re saying. Please standby for the irrelevant Pubmed citation.

          • Oh, dear. Another worthless troll spouting strawman fallacies.

          • Anonymous says:

            thats not even what a strawman is, lol.

          • Anonymous says:


          • CarbSane says:


            I’ve yet to see any study demonstrating the basal metabolism of a low carber is higher than that of someone eating a high carbohydrate diet. Have you? NWR is self reported data.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry, when I went to find the article where it suppose to be, I failed. As
            I remember it was quite a sketchy abstract, but still same data from NWR. It
            is so little good nutritional research data.

          • CarbSane says:

            It’s OK, such data would not be very helpful anyway. Since most low carbers don’t count calories and those who lose on CRD’s do, the fact that LC “reports” higher caloric intake does not surprise. I’ve not seen any studies showing a significant difference or one at all for BMR/TDEE for low carbers vs. non. And I did go looking quite extensively at one time because my anecdotal experience is that long term VLC really tanks my metabolism. It could be that going through (early) menopause and the calorie reductions many LC days that produced the rapid losses are to blame rather than LC itself. Dunno and I won’t go offering my situation up as proof of anything. But I’ve attracted several kindred spirits who relate to my approach to low carb and are encouraged by my success despite planned “cheating” and such.

          • CarbSane says:

            BTW, how to explain that the vast majority of NWR succeeded with an ELMM approach?

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry, I am not familiar with the abbreviations and can’t understand the post.

          • BTW = By the way.
            NWR = National Weight Registry.
            ELMM = Eat less move more.

          • Anonymous says:

            When I read your posts, it feels that your blood boils when somebody is singing hymns (like me) to ketosis. Likewise, my blood boils when “eat less exercise mor” approach is presented like solution to a weight loss or an insurance against weight gain. My guess is that those people who succeeded trough such path managed to controls their hunger better then me, or somebody very nsulin resistant. And since hey were, most likely, very determent and enthusiastic individuals, they also tried to exercise because it is part of recommended mainstream advice. When regular person hears such data, it feels, that exercise does some magic that protect you from all bad staff, and a lot of people get into false feel of security because they are spending hours exercising and conditioning themselves into sport injuries. After the injury they are really doomed.

          • Anonymous says:

            My own anecdotal experience is that getting into premenopausal state messed up my metabolism on the first place.I gained 26 lb between 45 and 46years old while being constantly hungry, doing exercise and eating healthy. I lost 20 lb on the ow-carbing during one year after I started, then hit plateau for 2 years, went on ketogenic level diet+ limited my meals to 3 a day and started to loose around 1 lb/month . I never managed to reintroduce anything. All experiments (like eating more soy products) lead to regaining weight. Of course, I don’t know the future. Right now it looks like ketogenic level for life. On another hand,it is the most good tasting and satisfying diet I ever been on.

            Thank you for your posts. It caused me to go to your blog.

          • CarbSane says:

            Thanks Galina! FWIW, I have had great success in non-weight related issues since taking Estroven (soy isoflavones – I get the max strength 3 mos supply at costco for like $20!). The other supps I take are potassium and magnesium and a bit of D (too much didn’t agree with me). I’ve not seen a difference weight wise but my moods sure are more stable (according to the husband) and I just *feel better*. Early menopause sucks more than the appropriately timed thing IMO 🙁

          • xxldave says:

            Hello, I’ve been reading the discussion and thought this might be a good place to insert my two cents. I started Atkins about 8 weeks ago and have lost over 50 pounds. I regularly consume much more than I did before and am averaging about 3500 calories per day. My current carb intake is in the 30-50g range. Currently I’m losing about a pound per day. It amazes me that I can eat like I do and still lose weight. I did Atkins about 8 years ago a lost 100 pounds in a short time period, eating more then. There was a restaraunt around the corner that had an all you can eat tri-tip lunch that I frequented at least three times a week. I eventually got burned out on all the meat and started a calorie restrictive diet. After starving myself on that diet I gave up and gained all my weight back- plus more over the next few years. Tried going back on the restrictive diet after reaching 454lbs, lost some weight, but eventually gave up again. I purchased the New Atkins For a New You and started getting motivated again to try LC one more time. I’m eating more variety this time around including green vegies, and berries a couple times a week. Also am more active, more by necessity(shoveling snow) rather than choice,but did go on a snowshoe hike this weekend. I do think however that as my size decreases so will my appetite. I’m hoping to get to 275 by summer.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            That’s right, James, the tiny lot of us crazies who keep dietary journals (Fitday et al) and can see that plain as day don’t count. But the other anecdotal case jobs, like, oh, this Carbsane person, or the anecdotal stuff she puts out there, all count. Those are the ground rules. Get use to them. Don’t stray. Chant after me: “Calories in, calories out.” All together, now.

          • CarbSane says:

            Where have I used anecdotal evidence? The only studies that count to be used in support of such theories are those where intake and expenditure are tightly monitored and would include measuring absorption as well.

            The major metabolic engines of Krebs & the electron transport chain are the same for all three macros. Only a small amount of energy is produced in the pathways leading into that engine (glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation), so the differences simply aren’t there biochemically.

            As others have pointed out, it could just boil down to feeling so much better on LC (probably b/c you’ve eliminated something you’re intolerant of like gluten moreso than the carbohydrate itself) that you’re more active. Heck, according to Eades all of us low carbers should be spontaneously taking up mountain climbing to burn off all the excess energy we have!

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Jimmy Moore, Dana Carpenter ring a bell? Yourself?

            I’m sure you’ve quoted the Eades correctly too.

          • CarbSane says:

            I’m not attempting to “prove” anything with those examples. You asked for some, I provided two unless you’re accusing them of lying? Have you read 6 Week Cure? It’s full of it!

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            I love what the Eades are doing. I respect them and trust their information.

          • CarbSane says:

            Last time: Anecdotal evidence is not science whether you, I, GT, etc. use it. And free living studies with sketchy self-reported intake, etc. are not proper evidence to support or refute.

            So you didn’t answer my question, which is fine.

            If you care to learn where GT has misrepresented the science, you won’t learn anything from our email exchange, because he did not address the science. I have asked him several pertinent questions, and if anyone reads the posts with Taubes v. Frayn in them or those titled GCBC Reference Check and still thinks GT has accurately represented the science of fat metabolism I can only conclude that it has become a “religion” for them.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            As it has for you.

          • essayiste says:

            How can you trust someone who has such a big conflict of interest in the matter? Eades, and Taubes, will never be able to admit that they were wrong. That would mean they don’t sell anything anymore. That’s never gonna happen. There whole carreer is base on LC. That’s the danger of adhering to only one philosophy.

            It should not be a matter of trust. That would mean that you’re looking at the messenger rather than the message. Who cares who says something. It’s – 1) what he says/how he says it 2) what he uses to back what he says – that really matter. If you’re trusting someone you’re just more likely to be biased.

            Aren’t you knowledgeable to review the evidence yourself? You say you’re taking part in supervising pharma studies, surely you must have an understanding of the scientific method? And maybe some formal education in relevant feilds? Why don’t you go on pubmed then with an objective look reviewing the data regarding studies comparing LC to LF with matched protein and controlled calories?

            Eades lost all his credibility to my eye while arguing with Colpo for the metabolic advantage. That was also when I stopped believing in the magic of LC, and that i’ve become much more skeptic.

            I was trusting and really enjoying Eades at that point, but I still had an enough open mind to realise that Eades had no evidences whatsoever and that his reasonning was very poor.

            There are studies out there who looked at what you claim. They find it to be wrong. What else do you need? Eades himself acknowleadging he’s wrong? He won’t do it.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Maybe you should return to vist Colpo…I hear he’s singing a different tune as far as metabolic advantage is concerned. And good for him.

          • Oh, yeah? Which part of “Carbs Don’t Make You Fat; Excess Calories Do” did you not understand? 😀

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Or maybe I heard wrong. Haven’t visited his site in over a year.

          • So your statement about Colpo was based on zero information. That figures. Maybe you should visit his site at and get some information.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            No thank you. I’ve had my fill of Colpo way back yonder. Matter of fact, I’m still trying to burn it off.

          • essayiste says:

            lol are you kidding me??? Colpo is on higher-carb diet than ever, and there’s no way he believes that LC has any metabolic advantage.

          • Michael says:

            QUOTE:“How can you trust someone who has such a big conflict of interest in the matter? Eades, and Taubes, will never be able to admit that they were wrong. That would mean they don’t sell anything anymore. That’s never gonna happen. Their whole career is based on LC. That’s the danger of adhering to only one philosophy.”

            Ouch! I don’t know about Eades, but I don’t think that last-but-one sentence applies to Taubes. See his excellent book on Cold Fusion, for example, or the one about the Nobel prize. His career is based, if you want to put it in those terms, if anything, on how scientific research in general works, and how it can be misused and used to mislead people. That in itself is an even more fascinating subject than the whole subject of metabolic disorder and its many ramifications.

            I get the impression that Taubes has, if anything, become rather lumbered with the whole low-carb thing because of the reaction (or non-reaction in some quarters who should have reacted) whether he wants it or not. I suspect it’s a bit of a distraction from work he might otherwise prefer to be doing.

            I would love for example to see him do a book on Climate Research, although I don’t think it will ever happen. (Even more “religious”-type views there than in the diet world!).

            Mike Ellwood

          • CarbSane says:

            BTW, didn’t answer my question about 6WC. There’s lots of errors in there, from blatantly wrong (ribose), to outright making stuff up as fact, to confusing hepatic fat with all visceral fat, etc. His response to one of the participants on Jimmy’s forum regarding donating blood was also bizarre.

            He’s got a lot of reasoned informative posts in the archives, but he’s gone off the deep end with his dogma.

            Here’s what he used to believe:

            In order to lose weight, one must create a caloric deficit. This can be done in a number of ways. People can burn more calories by increasing exercise; they can eat fewer calories; or they can increase their metabolic rate. Or they can do any combination of the above.

            Most people going on a low-carb diet decrease their caloric intake. A low-carb diet is satiating, so most people eat much less than they think they are eating even though the foods they’re consuming are pretty high in fat. Some people, however, can eat a whole lot on a low-carb diet, and, can in fact, eat so much that they don’t create the caloric deficit and don’t lose weight. But the interesting thing is that they don’t gain weight either. They pretty much stay the same. They are eating huge numbers of calories and not gaining, so where do the calories go? (from He goes on to discuss futile cycling and uncoupling proteins but still is “thinking out loud” at that point. Same stuff on futile cycles was presented as fact in 6WC.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            At least he has the character to admit when he’s wrong. And has. That’s a plus in my book, not a negative. It’s called being human. You can either praise him or attack him for it. That’ll be the litmus test of your character.

          • CarbSane says:

            Eades has admitted being wrong?

          • CarbSane says:

            BTW, to add, according to Eades, all the anecdotal evidence of people eating more and losing on LC in the world just adds up to more “white swans”. All I need is to find one “black swan” and voila!

            And … FWIW, I ate very low carb most days and lost probably 70 or so pounds in approximately 10 months and slowly lost another maybe 30 the next year or so. From July-ish 09-2010 I’ve neither gained nor lost and fluctuate +/- 2 pounds around what I consider my weight to be which is well within water weight range. Since I’ve increased carbs on average the past few months I’ve lost a pound or two. I must be eating less but I have not counted carbs or calories in over a decade (I do occasionally track to get an idea of how much I eat). This whole notion that believing in energy balance means someone meticulously counts and tracks everything is bogus.

          • essayiste says:

            2 bad that all the well controlled studies who tried to test your hypothesis miserably fail. Anecdoct is much better!

          • Fitday et al measures calories out how, exactly?

          • essayiste says:

            You’re giving a signification to what I said that is not what I meant, and you probably do this on purpose to give the impression that I said something foolish.

            By nature low-carb diet are higher in protein. When you eat nothing but meat and veggies, there is no coming around this. Most high fat food are usually high in protein, at least the one consumed on LC. Or are you telling me that you are drinking olive oil or eating butter? What are they high fat food that ppl consume on LC? Meat and meat-derived product.

            What you say is not true and is anecdotale. Most low-carber readily admit that they don’t count calories, so, in the first place, how would they know that they get more? Second, in all the studies where calories was kept constant, there was no difference in weight loss, albeit slightly more on LC, which probably reflect water loss that is well known on LC.

            I’ve been low-carb for about a year myself, after reading GCBC and metabolic diet, which is a low-carb diet with refeed. I was doing so while trying to pack on muscle mass. It was mostly impossible. When I used a nutrition tracking software, I quiclky realize that I was getting around 1700 kcl, which is clearly not enough to put on muscle size. When you eat tonz of vegetable and meat, you’re not hungry even if caloric income is kept low. I had to add carbs back around training to acheive what I wanted. It is just mostly impossible to eat a lot on LC, this is why it works so well. Most peopl would be surprise how little calorie they get if they were to count it for a few days.

            As for insulin, the main theory of Taubes is that carbs drive insulin and insulin control weight loss.

          • Anonymous says:

            citing a plateau in weight-loss was foolish in that context, because it implies the weight-loss was to continue indefinitely, so long as carbs are restricted. logical conclusion: you end up with skin n bones. reality: doesnt happen.

            and no, low carb diets arent higher in protein “by nature.” low carb means low carb–thats it. and atkins, one of if not the most popular low carb diets, is high fat, not high protein. macadamia nuts, avocado, heavy cream, etc. staples of atkins with low protein/high fat content.

            how would they know? because they eat more. you think after failing at calorie restricted diets, they switched to low carb and just inadvertently succeeded at finally restricting their caloric intake? lol.

          • essayiste says:

            Bunch of logical fallacies here, again.

            I gotta admit that some food are high in fat and lower in protein and I’ve admit to mention them. Post-prandial hyperlipidemia is probably worst than hyperglycemia. I would never tell my client to gorge on whipped cream.

            “how would they know? because they eat more. ”

            How clever… what a great explanation! No records, nothing, and i’m supposed to believe that these ppl know that they eat more? Without even measuring and taking note of anything? Seriously? Good thing you’re not doing any research or anything.

            “you think after failing at calorie restricted diets, they switched to low carb and just inadvertently succeeded at finally restricting their caloric intake? lol. ”

            Well, if they never took the time to weight their food and to use a tracking software, yes, this indeed can be, that switching to LC make it easier to reduce calorie intake, than using a “shot-in-the-dark” method of controlling portion.

          • Anonymous says:

            name the fallacies; you dont know what a fallacy is apparently. many dieters do take note and measure everything they eat. there are entire sites dedicated to facilitating and encouraging this. ive done it myself, thats why i am convinced–otherwise i would be skeptical as well.

          • essayiste says:

            here, you can easily spot the one you did


          • Anonymous says:

            i didnt “do” any fallacies. youre confused.

          • Anonymous says:

            i dont need wikipedia to explain your shortcomings to me. instead of finding links, you should be working on your writing. lol

          • Michael says:

            QUOTE:“I had to add carbs back around training to achieve what I wanted. It is just mostly impossible to eat a lot on LC, this is why it works so well. Most people would be surprise how little calorie they get if they were to count it for a few days.”

            I don’t deny that in effect, successful LC dieters probably end up consuming fewer calories than they believe. The more important question from a “Taubsian” point of view would be ‘how come they are able to do this, when when they were eating carbs, especially “junk” carbs, they tended to overeat?’
            Taubes offers answers to that, which you may not agree with, but seemed plausible to me, a layman.

            I found from my own experience while low-carbing and especially very-low-carbing, provided that I was fully occupied, and not bored and not too close to readily-available food, then I could go for long periods without eating, perhaps only eating once per day. The famous character “Bear” (famous to people on the ZeroCarbage forum for example) said that he often forgot to eat, because he never got hungry.

            From my own experience, if ever I was not fully occupied, bored or perhaps worried about something, and sufficiently close to food, then I did sometimes tend to eat when I wasn’t hungry, and in effect overeat. I suppose it always depends on the individual and the circumstances.

            In passing, it often seems to me that people on LC or VLC or ZC often seem to go wrong when they get a bit over-obsessed by exercise. The aforementioned Bear found that he had a cardiac insufficiency when he started doing a particularly strenuous workout (it actually may have been dance of some sort…long time since I read it). Then the well-known Jimmy Moore seemed to have problems losing weight when he started weight-training (or increased his weight-training). I often wonder about the obsession low-carbers seem to have with weight-training, which seems a most unnatural exercise to me, but each to his own.

            QUOTE:“As for insulin, the main theory of Taubes is that carbs drive insulin and insulin control weight loss.”

            As I understand it, from the appendix to the later, paperback edition of GCBC, this is the headline version that is (in his opinion) all that anyone practically needs to know if they are concerned about weight loss. He then goes on to talk about people wanting to go into more exact detail about the mechanism, and suggests that while this may be very interesting, it is of little practical help.

            Perhaps in this sense, a certain amount of what Taubes may write may later be judged to be incorrect or oversimplified, but for most of us it may not matter because for most people, his “prescription”, in essence, works. The same could be said of Dr Atkins.

            Mike Ellwood

          • Anonymous says:

            actually the Twinkie diet was a lower carb diet. He ate 175 grams of carbs a day.


          • On the Twinkie diet, carbohydrate calories were 47% of total which is only slightly lower than the recommended 55%. At such a large caloric deficit, it had to be a lower everything diet.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Merci beaucoup. I’m glad you admitted LC works. That’s all I was claiming.

            Psssst! You might want to brush up on what constitutes a low carb diet.

          • essayiste says:

            Nope, people here are claiming that they work because of pseudoscientifict theories. I’ve read GCBC two time, protein power from Eades and the metabolic diet from De Pasquale. I’ve been following Eades blog for at least 3 years. I’ve been a low-carb, high prortein high fat diet myself for 1 y. I perfectly know what a low-carb diet is, and I perfectly know all the arguments that these guys use. I’ve been reading on this issue for a very long time, and I used to believe that low-carb is magic. I’ve come to realize that I was wrong though.

          • errihu says:

            I have been very stringent about accurately tracking my food intake for several months. Prior to switching to LC I ate a SAD of about 1800 calories a day. According to weight loss “experts”, this should have been enough for me to lose about a pound a week, as it was significantly below the 2200 they felt my body required to maintain itself with no activity. I was instead gaining weight at the rate of about 5 lbs a month.

            I switched to a low carbohydrate diet where I vary from about 20 grams of carbohydrates to about 50 per day. The calorie count of my diet averages about 2400 calories a day, and about 60% of those calories come from fats, mostly animal fats. I have lost about 20 lbs in two months eating this way. My pre-diabetes has gone away and my blood lipids have improved.

            If, as you maintain, it is calorie deficit that counts in a diet, then that would suggest that my body is at calorie deficit on a SAD only when I am below 1800 calories. When I am below 1800 calories on a SAD I am enervated and hungry all the time. Yet, this would also suggest that the calorie deficit point on the low carb diet is somewhere beyond the 2400 calories a day I currently eat. I doubt I’d be able to physically eat more than I do (the satiety factor is amazing) on this diet. I am no longer enervated, and rarely hungry except at normal meal times. I get to eat at least 800 calories a day MORE and lose weight.

            If it’s calorie deficit, why would the calories required for loss/maintainance/gain vary so much between diets? Does the ‘metabolic advantage’ alone account for 800-1000 calories a day?

    • essayiste says:

      All of Taubes followers should read Carbsane comments. It just shows the bias in the LC community and how they wrongly interpret the scientific litterature to make it seems like LC is magic.

    • JamesK says:

      “…we see that you continue to misrepresent unrestricted calories to mean there is no caloric deficit.”

      Nope, he didn’t do that at all. Nowhere in his post is this even implied, let alone stated.

      If only you’d read Taubes’ own words as carefully as you read other studies/etc trying to debunk him.

      • essayiste says:

        Hi JamesK.

        Here’s something that he said though that is plain ridiculus.

        2nd paragraph under table 2

        “because they also restrict fat calories when dietary fat has little or no effect on body fat accumulation”

        This is so laughtable. Dietary fat as a 98% fat storage efficiency. Dietary fat is the most likely macro to be store as body fat, whereas carbohydrate, under a caloric surplus, promote fat gain because they are oxidized over fat. De novo lipogenesis is mostly non existant in human, unless you massively overconsumme CHO during several days.

        Here, read.

        • JamesK says:

          What exactly does this have to do with what I posted?

          • essayiste says:

            Nothing, obviously. I’m just showing you why this post need to be debunk. I’m just curious why you’re on the side of pseudoscience. Most of Carbsane comment still hold true.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:


            I’m not sure that’s quite the endorsement you meant it to be.

          • JamesK says:

            You have no idea what side I’m on. All I did was point out a nonsensical statement in Carbsane’s message. Doesn’t mean I agree with everything Taubes says.

            Fortunately Jonathan took the time to look through the study you linked and was able to show, quite easily, that your “interpretation” is baloney. So if either of us is “on the side of pseudoscience”, it’s clearly you. Hopefully in the future you’ll be able to provide evidence which actually supports your argument rather than the opposite. 🙂

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            In addition, the authors had this to say:

            …Awareness of the fact that fatty foods have a particularly high
            energy density, and that low-fat diets provide more bulk, led
            dietitians long ago to recommend low-fat diets for weight
            control. Recommendations to reduce fat intake have indeed
            been increasingly promulgated in dietary guidelines published
            by government agencies and medical on health-related
            associations, because limiting fat intake (particularly the consumption
            of saturated fats) appears to be a key measure in
            lowering blood cholesterol concentrations and in minimizing
            the development of arteriosclerosis. To these reasons
            for restricting fat intake one can add the further argument that
            the steady state of weight maintenance can be expected, for
            metabolic fuel balance reasons, to be achieved with smaller
            adipose tissue stores when the diet’s fat content is low….

            So, to recap, they use the AHA dietary recommendations as a crutch for their argument, essentially blame cholesterol for heart disease and subcribe–line and sinker–to the calories in, calories out dogma, and then go on to suggest that that flab belt can be “expected” to whittle away if one goes low-fat. Too bad these low-fat trials–conducted since these well-meaning folks put this paper out–have had their collective asses kick by the likes of Atkins and Paleo and pseudo-paleolithic and other low and not-so-low carb diets (weight-loss wise). Just ask Ornish about that. BTW, has low-carb lost any head-to-head match-up yet?

          • essayiste says:

            You should read it and see if it does not provide evidence for my argument, instead of counting on someone else interpretation, again. What I said stand perfectly correct.

            1) Fat is the most easily macro store as body fat
            2) De novo lipogenesis mostly don’t occur in human.
            3) Carbs promote fat storage by imparing it’s oxidation, and is fattening only if there’s a caloric surplus in the first place.

        • Jonathan says:


          I read your AJCN post, and I think you misrepresent and overstate the findings there. The article mostly studies the effects of mixed meals with “fat contents typical of the mixed diets consumed in affluent societies”. Of the macronutrient ratios studied, even the “low carb” meals contain high amounts of carbohydrate. Yet even there, the conclusions are not quite what you claim. Here are some relevant excerpts:

          “To induce substantial rates of carbohydrate conversion into fat, the body’s total glycogen stores must be considerably used. This requires deliberate and sustained overconsumption of large amounts of carbohydrate for 2-3 days”.

          Comment: This statement above is more nuanced and qualified that your gloss on it. Also, this “overconsumption” of carbohydrate is in fact typical of what many Americans consume

          “Fats are usually consumed together with carbohydrates. The latter’s influence in stimulating insulin secretion leads to an increase in carbohydrate, but a decrease in fat, oxidation.”

          “Because the presence of fat in the foods consumed also results in a lesser intake of carbohydrates, fat-containing meals are followed by lower postprandial insulin release and less inhibition of fat oxidation.”

          And the article ends by explaining why high carbohydrate diets are more fattening than higher fat diets:

          “Increased fat accumulation occurs despite a lesser fat intake, because the increased flux of carbohydrate raises insulin and glucose concentrations, thereby curtailing fatty acid oxidation and inducing lipogenesis.”

          In short, there is nothing in the article that contradicts Gary Taubes’ insulin/carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity, and much that actually supports it. What would have been most interesting, however, is what was left out of the study — an examination of diets truly low in carbohydrate, much lower than the combinations studied.

          • essayiste says:

            The conclusion are exactly what I claimed, re-read the paper. It takes glycogen supercompensation, which take a very high (80%+) carbs intake for several days with a caloric surplus for glycogen store to be “considerably used”. This is not the case for most american. Most american OVEREAT calories in general, esp. carbs & fat.

            “And the article ends by explaining why high carbohydrate diets are more fattening than higher fat diets:”

            This is gonna happen when a caloric surplus is present ONLY. Even if you’ve got a caloric surplus on a low-carb diet, fat will be store. If you don’t have a caloric surplus, carbs oxidation will tend to equal carbs intake, or close, and fat oxidation will fill the rest of the day needs. This is obviously not as clear cut and a coutinuous process.

            Then, read this


            Fat is the most efficiently store as body fat. That being said, witht the same caloric surplus on a lower or higher carbs diet, you will end pretty much with the same fat mass but the accumulation with happen via different mechanism. High fat = dietary fat directly store, high carb – fat oxidation being impaired.

          • Anonymous says:

            “This is gonna happen when a caloric surplus is present ONLY.”

            so, you believe that two diets with the exact same number of calories, regardless of carb/fat composition, will result in the exact same levels of fat retention as long as there is no caloric surplus?

          • essayiste says:

            Not sure i’m following you here. What do you mean “…fat retention as long as there is no caloric surplus?”

            There can not be any fat retention if there is no caloric surplus. The energy will be use. You can’t create mass out of nothing.

            If there is a caloric surplus, wether from fat or carbs, there is going to be fat mass gain. And if anything, CHO are better when it comes to overfeeding : they have a higher TEF value than fat, and if they ever go to DNL, this cost energy. Whereas fat goes into fat directly. The paper state it : fat has a 90-95% efficiency storage whereas CHO as a 75-85% storage efficiency. And they are not talking about CHO being store as fat (DNL) but CHO promoting fat storage. This is not the same. DNL is mostly non existant in human.

          • Anonymous says:

            unless youre dead or dying, fat is always retained to some degree, even if one is losing weight. the focus is on expenditure and expulsion–this is what reflects in ones weight from fat. returning:
            “And the article ends by explaining why high carbohydrate diets are more fattening than higher fat diets:”

            This is gonna happen when a caloric surplus is present ONLY.

            above an admission that–at least with a surplus–high carb diets are more fattening than high fat diets. i ask again, having provided clarification:

            so, you believe that two diets with the exact same number of calories, regardless of carb/fat composition, will result in the exact same levels of fat retention as long as there is no caloric surplus?

          • essayiste says:

            It was not an admission. I was not responding to his quote, but to the quote that he took from the study.

            “Increased fat accumulation occurs despite a lesser fat intake, because the increased flux of carbohydrate raises insulin and glucose concentrations, thereby curtailing fatty acid oxidation and inducing lipogenesis.”

            This is true only short term and will cause fat gain only if there’s a caloric surplus in the first place. Otherwise this is no way a proof that high-carb diet are more fattening.

          • Anonymous says:

            lol, right, that would explain why you wrote it right under the quote you cited from Jonathan. youd appear more credible if you just said you misspoke, now you just look like youre backpedaling.

            anyway, your excuses make no difference:
            “Increased fat accumulation occurs despite a lesser fat intake…”

            and again, you say: “This is true only short term and will cause fat gain only if there’s a caloric surplus in the first place.”

            so, lets see if you can finally answer without squirming:

            “so, you believe that two diets with the exact same number of calories, regardless of carb/fat composition, will result in the exact same levels of fat retention as long as there is no caloric surplus?”

          • essayiste says:

            I provide no exscuse at all, and you’re simply mis-reading what I’m writting. I don’t need to be backpeadling at all. You’re very good at logical fallacies, my friend. What I said from the beggining still stand correct, and no one has been providing any evidence that fat is not the most easily macro to be store as fat.

            I can’t answer what you’re asking because it’s a non-sens. You’re asking me if I think that a hypocaloric diet will result in fat mass gain, regardeless of macro composition. There is no fat mass gain on a hypocaloric diet. What else do you want me to say to this?

            Now, if you ask me if I think fat mass gain will be more important on a higher-carb (protein kept constant) diet when there’s a caloric surplus, the answer is no. Fat mass gain will be the same, since it’s a matter of calorie balance.

          • Anonymous says:

            cant? it seems you just did: “its a matter of calorie balance.” so your answer to the question is yes. you believe that two diets of varying composition, with the same number of calories, as long as there is no caloric surplus, will result in the same levels of fat retention.

            rather than deny jonathans conclusion, based on the study, you qualified it by saying, “This is gonna happen when a caloric surplus is present ONLY.” so you admit that higher carb diets are more fattening, when there is a surplus present.

            and i doubt you know what a fallacy looks like.

          • essayiste says:

            lol. Thanks for making me admit things I never admit! What a troll. For one, you keep making straw man about my stance. You keep reformulating what I said in a way that not mean what I implied.

            Again, here, for your education


            I’m not gonna answer to you anymore. I’ve said what I had to say and provide evidence supporting my stance. Provide evidence and stop with the bad rhetoric or don’t bother.

          • Anonymous says:

            name calling, false accusations and denial will get you nowhere. here is a link if you want some evidence:

          • “so, you believe that two diets with the exact same number of calories, regardless of carb/fat composition, will result in the exact same levels of fat retention as long as there is no caloric surplus?” It does. Belief has nothing to do with it.
            This shows that body weight remains constant when carb % & fat % are varied hugely, protein % being held constant. As muscle doesn’t turn into fat & vice-versa, constant body weight = constant fat weight.

          • Anonymous says:

            um, werent you saying more fat = more fat retained? this study contradicts that, because fat level percentages varied hugely, as you say.

            i still wonder how one can account for atkins success, when many atkins dieters failed at restricting calories before trying atkins. while on atkins, they just successfully restricted calories by accident? is this what is being proposed?

          • I know I said that I had other things to do, but I just couldn’t resist.
            Remember A = B – C ? As total calories are constant and protein % is constant, it figures that as fat calories increases, carb calories decreases.
            As fat calories increase, B increases.
            As carb calories decrease, fat burning calories increase. Therefore C increases.
            B – C = constant. Q.E.D.
            The fact is that your arithmetic and debating skills = 0

          • essayiste says:

            Indeed, this guy resort mostly to logical fallacies and present no evidence what so ever.

          • Anonymous says:

            point out a fallacy.

          • Anonymous says:

            the fact is, you come across as though english is your second language.

          • Worthless troll. /discussion

          • Anonymous says:

            name calling. lol. its not my fault youre horrible at expressing yourself. your post made no sense, and youve a pattern of speech deficits.

          • Anonymous says:

            lol, whatever makes you feel better about it, nigel.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yours is a useless and thoughtless post. Hope you refrain from further participation in what has been otherwise a thought-filled discussion.

          • RebeccaL says:

            I am an Atkins success story. Pages 114-115 “The New Atkins for a New You”.

            I maintain my weight on 1100 calories of high carb, low fat food.
            I maintain my weight on 1800 calories of low carb, high fat food.

            I definitely eat way more calories now, on Atkins, than I ever have in my life. If it is all about calories, what is the explanation for this outside of the metabolic advantage of eating low carb and high fat?

          • I’ve already asked you this question but you didn’t answer it, so I’ll ask again.
            On your old high carb low fat diet, did you feel tired, sluggish & sleepy?
            On your new low carb high fat diet, do you feel full of beans & raring to go?
            If so, the answer is that you are now expending far more calories due to SPA/NEAT.

          • essayiste says:

            Even Eades himself acknowledge that the metabolic advantage, if it exist, is around 100-300 calories. You’re claiming a 700 calories difference here. Not even your guru would endorse this.

            Why did all the metabolic ward studies did not find any metabolic advantage to high-fat, low-carb diet?

          • Jonathan says:


            Sorry for replying to these posts “out of order”, Essayiste. I read your suggestions to read Colpo below, which I’ll do when I have a little time. But for now I’m coming back up here to address your point about the AJCN article you cite. You say it shows that fat is more efficiently stored as fat than carbohydrate. But the article only shows this to be true for EXCESS fat added on top of a normal high carbohydrate diet. It was not shown for diet that is specifically high fat/ low carb in its overall makeup.. The baseline diet in each case was a “maintenance” diet based upon self-reported normal proportions of fat, protein and carbohydrate. No details are given on this, but I presume these typical means were not low carb.

            So this only shows that fat is more fattening, or more efficiently metabolized, “in the flame of carbohydrate”. That is not at all surprising. Once there is a high enough level of insulin, from “normal” high carbohydrate levels, the fatty acids will be readily stored. Even ASP, the favorite enzyme of James Krieger and CarbSane, works best in the presence of insulin. When insulin levels are very low, as is the case with a very low carb or ketogenic diet, the oxidation of fat and the degree of fat deposition decrease greatly. And at the same time, low insulin levels remove the inhibition on both glycogen conversion to sugar and triglyceride lipolysis to FFA.

            In short, this study is IRRELEVANT to understanding what happens to fat in the presence of very low or zero carbs.

          • CarbSane says:

            Even ASP, the favorite enzyme of James Krieger and CarbSane, works best in the presence of insulin.

            Hi Jonathan (are you the same Jono who has commented on my blog?). ASP is not an enzyme, it would be classed a hormone were it not for the fact that it is produced on site of action instead of in a remote endocrine organ. ASP is the major hormone involved in fat deposition. It is erroneous to state that it works best in the presence of insulin. Insulin can stimulate ASP, but the effect is many fold less than that of chylomicrons (dietary fat in transit). I recently blogged on the actions of ASP and insulin after a large (high fat and high carb) meal:
            Triglyceride clearance correlates with ASP doing its thing. If you check out the ASP label on my blog you’ll find several more articles discussed demonstrating that ASP can stimulate glucose transport, etc.

          • essayiste says:

            No problem. We’re running out of space. Thanks for taking the time to read what i’m suggesting.

            I’m gonna agree that this article was probably not very revelant to the matter that we are discussing.

            Let’s stick to more talking studies : when possible metabolic ward studies, where REE is measured, calories & proteins are controlled. If not possible, at least calories and protein controlled.


            Wide variation in fat/carbs ratio. If there was any magic to LC, it would have taken a higher caloric intake to maintain body weight on this diet. It was not the case. Same caloric intake to maintain the weight.


            Ketogenic diet vs non-keto, protein controlled. No difference in weight loss.


            No greater energy expenditure on the lower carb diet.



            3 different diet. Protein was equal in two of them, being 20% : LF-HC/HF-LC.

            Caloric intake was not perfectly well controlled, but in each diet it was inbetween 1200-1500kcl.

            No greater weight loss for LC. Actually a little bit more for HC.


            Here, energy expenditure, albeit non-signifiant, was higher on HC.

            here, no increase in energy expenditure on LC


            Let’s be honest. Most studies reviewed by Manninen were not protein-matched and most of them were not calorie controlled. These kind of studies are worthless. You can’t use that kind of studies to make the claim that calories don’t matter and that LC have a metabolic advatange, especially because we know that protein affect body composition and hunger very favorably.

            All the study looking at the energy expenditure of LC don’t find any increase, and studies where protein are match and calories are controlled don’t find greater weight loss on LC.

            If you have any evidence of the contrary please post them.

        • Lucas says:

          I present you Xu5P and ChREBP:

          • Hi Lucas. From your link:- “Carbohydrate-responsive element binding protein (ChREBP) is a transcription factor that activates lipogenic genes in liver in response to excess carbohydrate in the diet.” Did you spot the word liver?

            Excess dietary carbohydrate is great for fattening-up livers and producing sky-high serum triglycerides.
            Pate de fois gras, anyone?

          • essayiste says:

            Mechanistical studies are worthless compare to clinical endpoint studies such that I presented. Especially in the rat. All those theories don’t add up when you compare the two diet. Sorry.

          • Lucas says:

            LOL. Ok, its not your fault you dont understand one word on such technical papers. Go on “debunking” low carb.

      • CarbSane says:

        The low-carbohydrate diet was not calorie-restricted. And if Foster and his colleagues were being either intellectually honest or good scientists, they’d have defined the two diets to make this clear. Not “low-fat” vs. “low-carbohydrate”, but “low-fat, calorie-restricted” vs, “low-carbohydrate, calorie-unrestricted.”In other words they’d have acknowledged that there was at least one other variable that was different between the two experiments and had to be taken into account when interpreting the results — the amount of calories the subjects were instructed to consume.

        Taubes continues to imply that unrestricted calories = more calories. In his most recent IMS lecture, he implies this even more strongly about Shai ignoring that the reported intakes show no such thing.

        • JamesK says:

          Nope. There’s no such implication in that paragraph. He’s simply referring to the difference between being specifically told to restrict calories on one diet and allowing it to occur naturally (without hunger) on the other.

          Your bias is just as bad as those who you criticize.

        • Anonymous says:

          on that note… the people who lose weight on atkins–a high fat/low carb diet–many have tried to lose weight with calorie restriction. why do you think they failed with calorie restriction and not carb restriction? do you think they tricked themselves into finally restricting the appropriate amount of calories by distracting themselves with carb avoidance?

          • CarbSane says:

            Why do you assume they failed? One of the most famous low carbers around, Jimmy Moore, lost 175 lbs previously on a low fat diet. I’ve lost probably 500 lbs in my life time doing conventional diets. There’s little evidence that the recidivism rate for low carbing is any better than other approaches. I do believe that the satiety of higher protein content of LC makes for more dramatic calorie deficits and more rapid losses in some (myself included) that can help with compliance – it is certainly easier to stick with a plan that doesn’t have you going around obsessing over calories all the time.

            You might be interested in this study that I blogged about:
            The participants weren’t even supposed to expect weight loss. I know for me, during my rapid losses, there were any number of days in a row where my intake was around the 700 cal/day mark or lower and I’ve even forgotten to eat entirely.

            Carb restriction also tends to take away tasty combo foods like pizza, ice cream, fries, etc. Folks don’t replace the carbs and lower intake.

            This doesn’t seem to last forever in most though. The weight loss rebound is a familiar phenomenon in studies comparing LC to other diets.

          • Anonymous says:

            satiety due to protein makes sense but atkins is high fat, not high protein. a lot of people–myself included–did not eat fewer calories when they went low carb. many were already eating a lot of meat before low carb, and continued to eat meat at those same levels, only now they actively sought higher fat content. many even go out of their way to have tablespoons of fatty oils, like coconut oil, to add more fat calories to their diets. granted, this was for weightloss.

          • CarbSane says:

            James, anecdotes are interesting but they simply are not proof. There’s a man in India (I believe) who claims to thrive without eating at all! I’m reminded of heated discussions I’ve had over at Jimmy Moore’s forum with a guy who was adamant about eating more and a ton of calories but dropping weight like gangbusters. He was also featured as a success story over on Marks Daily Apple. Well, one day he posted his 3 month averages from FitDay or whereever he was tracking his intake. This almost 400 lb man at the start was consuming under 1200 cals per day! Does it surprise anyone he was dropping like crazy? Even TBL wouldn’t have “prescribed” such a calorie deficit!

            In this paper ( they cite a study where intakes were looked at before going on Atkins and after. The mean spontaneous caloric deficit was around 1000 calories.

          • Anonymous says:
          • “Although elimination of glycosuria is not relevant to healthy non-diabetic individuals, daily energy expenditure decreased 5% (approximately 120 kcal/day). The authors concluded that the reduction in the energy expenditure was the result of the decrease in triglyceride/free fatty acid cycling and non-oxidative glucose and protein metabolism.” Injecting shed-loads of insulin in order to intensively control blood glucose on a standard high-carb diet results in drowsiness & sluggishness, which reduces calories burned by TEA & SPA/NEAT. So, calories still count!
            Readers who have no idea what TEA & SPA/NEAT are, please read

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Nigel, you have this fetish of picking quotes from a paper that agree with your position but totally dismissing the totality of the information presented in that paper. That alone shows your extreme bias. I’m trying to picture how you put things together. What I see is a nutritional/dietary puzzle that would take the abstract out of a Picasso.

          • I have a fetish for debunking pseudo-science. I’m not even disputing the figure of 5% reduction in energy expenditure so I don’t know why you’re getting your panties in a bunch over what I wrote. I’m merely disputing the authors’ reasoning for the cause of the reduction. There is a far simpler explanation and I gave it.

            Manninen also uses the laws of thermodynamics to support his argument for the existence of a metabolic advantage. This is more pseudo-science, debunked by carbsane on

          • Anonymous says:

            more like, you have a fetish for negative attention–maybe for blog hits? i dont know. but i didnt bother responding to your post because i couldnt take it seriously, lol. hockey–youre wasting your time with this one.

          • Anonymous says:

            But usually the weight loss rebound is due to the “low carb” not being low carb in the first place, and letting the carbs get too high as time goes by. Can you post a study that was true lowcarb and the carb amount stayed at a sane amount?

          • CarbSane says:

            So what’s GT doing using this study at all?

            The <20g induction period on Atkins was never intended to be a forever thing. That was the original plan.

          • Anonymous says:

            Dr. Bernstein advised to consume around 30 gram of carbs a day forever in his Diabetic Doctor diet for everybody interested in not being overweight.

          • Hi. I thought that the 30 grams of carbs a day for Type 1 diabetics was because of

          • Anonymous says:

            No, most of his patient are diabetics, but he also treats people for a weight loss. Johny Bowden mention in his “”Living low-carbs” book that doctor Bernstein released a new diet book(for weight loss) where he recommends 30 grams of carb a day indefinitely for a weight loss and health.

          • Being in ketosis for decades doesn’t seem to have done Bernstein any harm, judging from his lipid panel at

          • Anonymous says:

            I am interested in staying in ketosis myself, even more than in a weight loss. I am a migraine sufferer, and it happened, that during an electroencephalogram I had one of my migraine attacks, and doctor noticed electrical activity in my brain particular to epilepsy. Then the low dose of epilepsy drag was prescribed to me. It helped but not without side effects. Some of side effects were pleasant ones, like a very stable mood.Then I learn about the use of ketogenic diets for epilepsy treatment and decided to dive it a try as a migraine treatment. It worked with pleasant side effects and without unpleasant ones.By then I already was on a low carb diet, but mistakenly thought that in a future I would have to move in more standard food plan. Almost each low-carb diet author trays to create an impression that very low-carb diets is something, reasonable only during short period of time in order to achieve the weight loss.May be they try not to scary people away, or to avoid severe criticism, or even being brainwashed themselves to some degree into holiness of fresh produce.Dr. Bernstein example demonstrate the safety of the long-term ketosis. It doesn’t mean that everybody else should do the same , just provides the reassurance for people like me.It is nice to avoid migraines while being mood-swings free at the premonopausal age. In addition to meat and eggs and cheese I eat some green veggies and avoid as much as I could all fruits. I am loosing somthing like one lb a month and within 15 – 20 away from the desirable weight. I don’t know what I would do when I reach it.

          • Look what I just found:

            As your weight decreases, your calorie expenditure decreases therefore your calorie deficit decreases and your rate of weight loss decreases. If your weight is still falling when you reach your target, eat more.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you,Nigel. I have just put the article on my Bookmark . It is amazing haw many health problems I solved with my diet – asthma, dermatitis, allergy on fish, migraine, mood swings, leg edema. I also prevented blood pressure problem.How many pills I escaped! I can’t not question, how many people here are just like me.

          • I also found this:
            Whey protein powder (the stuff that body-builders use after workouts) is high in branched chain amino acids.

          • CarbSane says:

            This is the whole shifting goal-posts thing again. Until the New Atkins, there was no suggestion that anyone should stay at those carb levels for more than a couple of weeks. Other popular LC plans also have phases too. Bernstein is a relatively obscure diet that was largely aimed at diabetics. So when people complain that the diet wasn’t really a true low carb diet when it looks pretty much so to explain something like the regain I smell a bit of a rat. If low carb has to mean ketogenic levels of carbs for life, then let’s state that. I never got so obese until after I went off low carb the first time. At least for me it totally messed up my metabolism so that I regained 40 lbs and added 60+ more and I had never gotten over my start weight in almost 20 years of yo-yo dieting on other plans. There are long term lowcarbers who struggle with regain despite keeping them very low. Anything under 150g or so is simply not physiologically an “excess” and should not cause anyone to gain weight unless those carbs bring more fat calories to the party. So when I see low carbers actually blaming the occasional carb or two in veggies and a piece of fruit for their weight gain it’s rationalizing.

            But speaking of diabetes and this study, one thing we did get from Shai is that of the T2 diabetics in the study, those consuming the most carbs (Mediterranean) had better outcomes at the end of the study. I blogged on this here:

          • Anonymous says:

            Sorry, if I shifted something, just couldn’t resist.

            First , I believe it is a problem that there is no clear definition for a low-carb diet, so almost any diet could be labeled as not being enough low carb and over wise.

            Second, it is you, who has to decide (on most low-carb diets), how much or how little cabs you are able to consume without getting out of control. Not the author of the diet.(for some people it may be ketogenic level for life) The dietitian can’t predict how everybody will react on the diet. It is the main catch. Probably, there are people who are able to figure out the precise amount for each macronutrient, do calculations all the time. Good for them. I like Dr.Bernstein’s approach because it makes weight regain less possible by keeping it simple. If you eat pretty much the same food combinations every day and limit the amount of meals to a certain number (it is 3 for me)and choose the food that prevents hunger, it is easy to stay in control. If people already cut carbs till ketogenic level. it looks like time to cut protein or increase time between meals. Probably, it is easier for me because I cook all my meals all my life. People have tendency to underestimate the amount of consumed food. It is no need to count each asparagus is you go low enough and eat piece of fruit just ones a week . I also use ketosis test strips, it helps me to feel accountable. I also am interested in being in ketosis because it helps to control my migraine. May be in time menopausal changes will cause me to regain weight, or something else. At least I am not a victim of my appetite any more.

            You feel that it may be the low-carb diet , that damaged your metabolism even more because then you regain the most weight. When you went to the diet, did you have an excessive appetite? Did you have a choice? Because when I went on my first low-carb diet (it was South Beach) I wouldn’t manage on Mediterranean then, because I used to be hungry almost all waking hours till cutting of carbs. Yes , I agree, 150 gram looks like physiological norm if it is calculated through the body requirement for glucose . But if that amount will make me hungry, how am I suppose to feel about the information? As an excuse to eat more carbs, or as something to feel guilty about? The information from different research matters, but you are your own project. Some people have an adverse reaction on some drag, while very well designed medical research demonstrated how the drag suppose to work for general population. May be there are at list 2 groups of people who would react differently on the low-carb.

            I wouldn’t brush of Dr.Bernstein diet just because it is less famous then the South Beach Diet or Atkins or is used mostly by diabetics. You said that no one recommends ketogenic diet indefinitely, but he does. Also, One of the first diets by W.Banting (Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public) doesn’t contain any plan for carb reintroduction (as far, as I know) His book was quite popular in his time. I believe it is possible to find more examples, but my post is long enough already. It could be other reasons than safety of very low carb diets by other low-carb authors(especially those who emerged for last 40 years) not to recommend it for a long term.

            I believe we have to know more about what is going on in our bodies besides weight and level of hunger. Probably it is time to make glucose meters more popular. I would get one,but my husband already believe I am too serious about weight control.

    • Anonymous says:

      Looking at the Shai study, the lowcarb was more of a true low carb for the first 2 months where carbs were kept to 20G, however, they were instructed to gradually raise carbs to 120grams, which is not a truly low carb diet. No wonder the “lowcarbers” started to gain weight. Also the low carb participants were told to get their fat from non-meat sources too, making the lowcarb diet not a truly low carb diet.

      • CarbSane says:

        Not sure what happened to my last reply, but if one looks at the actual average intakes at 6 months, one sees that the LC group was consuming 87.4 g/day. Those numbers in the 120’s in the table in this post are deficits from baseline. Therefore they indicate that from 6 months on they reported eating even fewer carbs (though not much) yet this correlates with weight gain.

        The not truly LC diet argument is moot. If that’s the case then GT is even more off base using this study as evidence.

        • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

          I know old habits die hard, and all that jazz, but stop misinterpreting what GT says. He did not use this study as evidence of whether this was truly a LC diet or not. Remember the “grain of salt” comment in his blog? You really need to work on that attention span of yours.

          • CarbSane says:

            ” As you can see after 24 months, the subjects eating the low-fat diet were supposedly restricting calories consumed on average by 572 calories. The reduction in carbohydrates consumed, though, was 330 calories (82.8 grams per day times 4 calories per gram), compared to only a 170-calorie (18.9 grams per day times 9 calories per gram) reduction from baseline in fat. So the “low-fat diet” reduced carbohydrates nearly twice as much as it reduced fat.

            The low-carbohydrate diet, on the other hand (the third column), reduced carbohydrate calories by 520 calories per day (129.8 grams per day times 4 calories per gram) and fat calories by a mere 15 calories (1.7 grams/day times 9 calories per gram). So certainly the low-carb diet was correctly described as a low-carb diet, and the question we have to ask is maybe the weight loss seen in the low-fat diet was also due to the restriction in carbohydrates. It is quite possible that even low-fat, calorie-restricted diets work because they restrict carbohydrates and maybe the reason they don’t work as well as the low-carb diets is they don’t restrict them as much. Or maybe they don’t work as well, on average, because they also restrict fat calories when dietary fat has little or no effect on body fat accumulation. We don’t know if this is true or not, but it could be true, and until these researchers realize that another variable is changing significantly on these low-fat, calorie-restricted diets – the amount of carbohydrates consumed — they’ll never bother to test it or take it into account in their interpretation of these clinical trials, and we’ll never know.”

            Actually he did. Of course he’s just “suggesting” it’s the carbs. It HAS been tested, and we do know. Shai is not the type of study to test it, however. But the data is there for Taubes to cherry pick from when it suits him. I’m only pointing out that if one is going to do such an analysis it should be complete. All the “maybes” and “could be’s” are negated by the fact that the Med group restricted carbs the least and lost the same amount of weight over two years.

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Accusing Taubes of cherry picking? Wow, pot, kettle black.

            Oh, while you’re at it, Carbsane, can you explain to me, as it deals with the ironclad calories in/calories out dogma, what you meant in your Sept 10th post (Gary Taube$, Shai-ster) when you said, verbatim: To repeat: MDTN restricted BOTH carbs and calories significantly less than the LF group, but lost more weight. MDTN being the Med group.

          • CarbSane says:

            Can you not read the table above? IF we’re going to

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            But the data wasn’t useless in your blog analysis. You even had to “repeat” yourself to make a statement that I assumed meant an awful lot to you since, as I’ve said, you had to cockily repeat yourself. But it seems that you forgot to reread it and think about it’s meaning. Your statement is an endorsement that calories in/calories out is bunk, but you weren’t using it to prove that point, so it eluded you what else it could have meant.

            People with ears hear, others don’t.

          • CarbSane says:

            As I pointed out on my reply on my blog, the data doesn’t prove anything. I knew full well it refuted both hypotheses if taken seriously. You can’t say data should be taken with a grain of salt, but lookie here it shows carb restriction but don’t look over there where it shows just the opposite. C’mon man. A little intellectual honesty here?

          • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

            Don’t point the finger at me. It’s you who is doing exactly what you claim someone else is doing. That’s what I’ve been trying to point out all along. And not too subtlely either. But you are so enamored with yourself that you just don’t see it.

            People with eyes see, people without don’t.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I have been maintaining a weight loss of 58% of my body weight for the past 5 years, from 271 lbs to 115 lbs. I am female, 5’0″ and over 60 years old. I am in good health, all blood work good, low blood pressure, and take no prescription medication. I lost my weight by calorie restriction, and for the past 6 years have logged all of my food into a software food journal every day. These computer entries give me great deal of personal data about the nutritional values of my food and my corresponding weight.

    I became interested in Low-Carb issues after reading GCBC, and after learning Taubes’ theory as stated above, I looked at my past data, and discovered within my 1250 average daily calories during my weight-loss period I reduced my normal carb intake by more than 2/3. I have many physical and psychological benefits from being normal weight, and I am highly motivated to maintain my weight-loss. However, for more than the past 6 years, I’ve felt like I’m starving, and I strongly identify how the men in the Keyes experiment felt. My food tracking has also shown me that this past two years, while maintaining my weight loss, I’ve had to drop my calorie average to 1050, which is 200 calories lower than I ate WHILE I was losing weight.

    SO…I am currently experimenting with eating low-carb, and I find that I am LESS HUNGRY eating 1050 calories of Moderate-Protein, High-Fat, Low-carb, than eating 1050 calories of Moderate-Protein, Low-Fat, Higher carb….BUT of course, as Taubes points out, my carbs are still greatly reduced from what is “normal”, because of my calorie restriction. I’ve changed the ratios of my nutrients, but at this point, I have not been able to summon the courage to experiment with, removing my calorie restriction, or raising my daily calorie quota –even for a limited time period to see what would result. For me Maintenance is cliff-edge, and I don’t want to fall off. Perhaps after reading Taubes’ new book, I’ll gain the courage to do that personal experiment.

    • Anonymous says:

      Take a look at Rosedale advocates a moderate protein, high fat, low carb diet without calorie restrictions. If your hormones are in balance, you don’t have to count or worry.

    • Anonymous says:

      You deserve a monument! Learning about your experience makes it perfectly clear why statistically the success rate of dieting is so low. Are you registered in the National Weight Registry? According to their statistics ,people who lost weight and maintained it on the low-carb diet, consume more calories, eat more fat and exercise less than people on traditional diets. Do you mind to give on example of your daily regiment?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I’ve been registered with the National Weight Registry for the past 3 years.

        During my 5 years of maintenance, I’ve experimented with increasing time and intesity of Exercise,
        both cardio and strength-training. For various reasons, my cardio is limited to low-impact, and strength-training limited to body-weight, resistence bands, and 5 lb dumbells. I’ve spent long periods exercising 1 to 4 hours daily, 7 days a week, and….after that experience…I’ve spend periods exercising 30 minutes 3 or 4 times a week. At one point, I even bought a Body-Bug – armband etc. and wore it 24/7 for 6 months. I’ve carefully tracked much of my exercise data. As a result of my own experience, I’ve come to believe that Taubes..and others…are correct that, while exercise brings fitness, it does little or nothing for weight-loss.

        I think that adding a bit of detail to my own weight-loss History will add to the credibility of Taubes’ above-stated position. My weight-loss from 271 to 160 lbs was 18 years ago in the year after Gastric Bypass Surgery, when I was physically able to eat between 300-800 calories per day…
        However, this surgery ALSO caused dumping syndrome, which eliminated my physical ability to eat most dairy products, fruit juice, sugar, and refined flour…and only very small amounts of complex carbs. So…was my weight-loss due to the calorie restriction or to the carb restriction or to both?
        Several years prior to my WLS, I also lost 100 lbs on a medically supervised liquid diet, consisting of a whey protein drink 3 times a day, and no other food. I always assumed this was due to calorie restriction, but it could have been due to carb restriction or to the two together.

        After the 1st year of my WLS, my psysical capacity to hold food remained small, but my tolerance for began increasing, and after about 3 years, I began having to diet to keep from regaining weight,
        but, even with much calorie restriction, my weight climbed from 160 back into the 190s.
        Six years ago, in Sept 2004, I began using a food journaling computer software program,
        and consistent calorie restricition. By the beginning of Feburary 2006, after 16 months of averaging 1250 daily calories, I reached my weight-loss goal of 115 lbs. I have been mainaining around that area…by continued calorie restriction and consistent daily computer logging of all my food in the almost 5 years since that time. My computer program tells me that during the past two year period, my average daily calorie intake has been around 1050, and my average daily carb intake has been around 80 grams. So….calorie restriction or carb restriction or both????
        For what it’s worth:
        Calculations of US RDA protein minimum daily amount for my body is 36 grams per day. Calculations of WHO protein minimum daily amount for my body is 20 grams per day.
        My daily average protein the same time period was 60 grams…and my fat grams 52 resulting in an average Ratio of Protein 23%, Fat 45%; and Carb 32%.
        During the past month, for the first time, I’ve been consistently working to lower the carbs and increase the fat, while keeping protein around the same area. Too soon to tell results, But, so farI do feel less hungry while eating about the same calories, and, I’ve had a very small weight-drop, which could easily be merely a water-shift from lower-carb eating. My refined carb cravings are less, however, I still feel hunger much of the time. My present plan is to see if my weight drops while eating this way, and if it does, then increase my fat calories a bit at a time, and see if I can eat more calories while maintaining my current weight. My “experiment of one”, doesn’t meet the criteria of scientific research, but what’s really important TO me, is to find something that works FOR me.
        Anyway, I look forward eagerly to receving my pre-ordered Taubes’ new book from Amazon,
        but if it doesn’t come by the 28th, I will probably also buy it on Kindle as I am eager to read it.

        • Anonymous says:

          Thank you for your detailed answer.It is easy to see, you are taking your health really seriously.
          I am not an authority or expert in nutrition, but I have some remarks to make, and I hope you will take it kindly.I also have to deal with the weight issue and managed to read a lot on the subject.

          First of all, the percentage of carbs in your diet looks too high on order not to have carbs craving and to keep hunger at bay.At your calorie intake at 1050 and 32% of carbs intake, it is almost 80 grams a day. It would be appropriate amount for a young athletic male . Even though you are doing a lot of exercises, at you age and gender it looks excessive.

          I believe, it would be quite safe for you to try the Atkins plan. There are a lot of diets based on the low-carb idea, but Atkins is different in his very careful approach to adding carb grams back to the diet(after the introductory stage)in order to find the amount, that will not produce any weight gain. It is so careful, that it would be an overkill for the most.You look like somebody who is able to pay attention to details.

          I was overdoing exercise too, until I had to have a foot surgery.While intensively exercising, I followed a low carb diet, but didn’t go too low because, according to many calculations , I could tolerate more carbs while being active. By the time of my surgery I had been on a plateau for two years. After surgery I had to cut on my physical activities, and also on carbs. It is now 20 – 30 grams a day and I moved from the plateau. I continue exercising, but stop doing it every day , do more yoga and feel liberated.

          After reading your post, I made an impression that you are very much stress out and live in a fear of falling from that cliff. I believe, moving more definitely toward low-carbs may be liberating for you too.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for your comment. As I stated in my first post, I lost all of my weight and have been maintaining that weight-loss through calorie restriction. The average 80 grams of carbs is the “normal” amount of carbs which I’ve had during the past year, while eating a low-fat, calorie restricted food diet. The carbs were not intentionally low. They just turned out to be that low because after getting in my basic protein requirement, and limited fat, I didn’t have calories enough left for any more carbs. During my past month’s Low-Carb experiment, I’ve been having far less carbs than before…an average of around 20 per day…since a comparison between my “normal” low-fat calorie restricted diet, and a low-carb calorie restricted diet is my immediate focus.

            I’m very pleased with myself, both with my behavior and with the results of that behavior. I’ve been able to turn my necessity for dieting into what has become an interesting hobby. Recording my food into my computer software food journal has become an enjoyable habit, and I’ll be happy to continue doing this for the rest of my life. While I don’t like feeling ravenously hungry much of the time. I am willing to do this forever, if it is the only way I can maintain my current weight. However, of course, if there is a way I can maintain my current weight while avoiding that hunger, I want learn all about it, experiment with it, and make it a part of my lifestyle.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes,It is,probably, the only way to tolerate such tight self-control – to turn it into hobby. I mentioned Atkins not because I want you to loose weight, just because people on the low-carb regiment are not hungry, and it is easy to add little by little,until you find your happy compromise.

            I really want tohelp you to find something to deal with your hunger. There is another good sours of information Dr. Eades”Protein Power”. As you could guess from the title, they really into importance of appropriate amount in protein in the diet. His very informative web side is

            I am not sure, it is 100% appropriate for me to give you my advice. Please, consider it a simple information shearing.You achieved so far much more then me and you have all reasons to be proud of yourself.With all my heart I congratulate you with your success.

            Good lack.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for your kind concern. In my opinion the best book currently out on the subject of Low-Carb is “Good Calories Bad Calories”(2007) by Gary Taubes. I have read it through several times, and even purchased a second copy on my Kindle.

            Although I have little personal experience with Low-Carb dieting, over the years I’ve been exposed to the concept, and during the past 6 months I’ve done lots of reading about it. Some of the books I own and have carefully read are:

            Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution (1972) by Robert Atkins
            The New Atkins for a New You (2010) by Eric Westman et al.
            Natural Health & Weight Loss (2007) by Barry Groves
            Protein Power (1996) by Michael and Mary Eades
            The 6-Week Cure for the Middle-Aged Middle (2009) by Mary and Michael Eades
            The Diabetes Diet, (2005) by Richard Bernstein
            Living Low Carb (2010) by Jonny Bowden
            Eat Fat, Lose Fat (2005) by Mary Enig and Sally Fallon
            How I gave up my low-fat diet and lost 40 pounds (2003) by Dana Carpender
            The Carbohydrate Addict’s Diet (1993) by Rachael and Richard Heller
            The Secret to Low Carb Success (2001) by Laura Richard
            21 Life lessons from Livin’ La Vida Low Carb (2009) by Jimmy Moore
            The Dukan Diet (2010) Pierre Dukan

            I have pre-ordered and am eagerly awaiting the publication release of:
            Why We Get Fat (2010/2011) by Gary Taubes

            I am open to the low-carb concept, and am now personally experimenting with it .

          • Anonymous says:

            You might want to read Protein Power Life Plan. The Original Protein Power was about low carb and weight loss, Protein Power Life Plan is about low carb and health. BTW while identified as low carb the approach is more paleo that pure low carb.

          • RebeccaL says:

            Good for you for the research you are doing! I did the same thing, and went low carb 21 months ago, and I can honestly say that I have never looked back. The main thing I love about eating high fat is that I am never hungry. What a change! If you look on pages 114-115 of “The New Atkins for a New You”, you will see my story.

          • CarbSane says:

            So … you have Atkins Original 1972 version. I do too. It is no wonder LC has been relegated to fad diet status given the wild claims he made. Did you notice how ketosis is not specifically mentioned in the weight loss section of The New Atkins? There’s a reason. The underpinning of Atkins’ theory was that we peed out huge numbers of calories as ketones.

            I’ve lost a lot of weight low carbing. Doesn’t make made-up theories any more correct.

          • Anonymous says:

            Many years ago, I read Atkins’’ book out of curiosity, along with many other diet books, but I didn’t choose to follow low-carb. I am now in the process of deciding whether, or not, I will do that in the future. During this past 6 months, because of some of the info in Taubes’ GCBC, I decided to look further into low-carbing, and during that time, have read many of the “leading” low-carb books. After reading the New Atkins book, I became curious about how it might have changed from the original Atkins book, and purchased a used copy of the 1972 version to read and compare. I was actually very impressed by my recent reading. Despite the fact that it was written almost 40 years ago, and, of course, contains a few minor flaws that have surfaced over time, I found most of Atkins’ Theories far more credible now, than they were when I first read the book, many years ago. I think that those who retrospectively “nit-pick” at details in the Atkins , as well as in GCBC, tend to …as my mother used to say….“stumble over the cow on their way pick a needle out of a haystack”, which, I think, is a great disservice both to themselves and to others.

          • CarbSane says:

            If it were needles in haystacks I could agree. But what Taubes presents as fact is almost totally refuted by science. He’s basically left with insulin suppressing hormone sensitive lipase in adipocytes as a last gasp. Excess carbs stored as fat? Refuted. More carb = more alpha glycerol phosphate = increased “fixing” of fats as triglycerides in fat cells. Sorry, not. Fat cells becoming insulin resistant last? Nope. They come first. Carbs causing IR and hyperinsulinemia by chronically elevating insulin? Again, nope. The only carb associated with IR is the one that does not provoke an insulin response (fructose).

            I could almost forgive not correcting all the errors were it not for the fact that a mountain of uncontroversial and consistent evidence for each of the points above existed well in advance of publication of GCBC. And the nail in the coffin for me was GT’s blatant misrepresentation of the role of glycerol 3 phosphate (aka alpha glycerol phosphate) in the rate of triglyceride formation. In his own reference it states as plain as day that there is NO evidence for that theory, and then goes on to list several observations that were evidence against it.

            Go for LC BrightAngel! It can be invaluable. But it doesn’t mean having to buy into all the theories to convince yourself. Save your money on the books … do what works for you.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for your advice. However, I believe that I will continue spending my money on books; continue working to keep an open mind; and continue learning from others; while I do my own personal experimental dieting..

            It is my understanding that Gary Taubes is a controversial science journalist . While I find his personal opinions and conclusions interesting, I do not accept all of them at this present time. However, I fail to see how anyone who has carefully read GCBC could do anything but compliment Taubes on his fantastic job of research and reporting about this specific field of study. Although I have a doctorate, and….probably…you are highly educated as well……in my opinion, by comparison to him, we are both illiterate morons.

          • CarbSane says:

            That’s fine, waste your money if you like. If low carb works, just stop eating them! Why read over and over the same theories? Sorry, I just don’t get that unless there’s some need to keep convincing oneself. This is why I don’t get anyone who has read GCBC buying WWGF.

            How anyone can consider any research endeavor that relies mostly on decades old research when methods to measure certain things didn’t even exist (e.g. they have no data!) is beyond me. As to being an illiterate moron compared to GT, please speak for yourself.

          • If you want to read a very well researched book on ketogenic diets, I would have to recommend “The Ketogenic Diet. A Complete Guide for the Dieter and Practitioner” by Lyle McDonald. It’s 325 pages and contains over 600 scientific references.

            That said, I’ve read GCBC. It’s like the curate’s egg. It’s good, in parts. I have an Honours Degree in Electronic Engineering so I’m quite familiar with science, so I think that calling us illiterate morons by comparison is insulting.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thank you for the recommendation. I look forward to reviewing the book. Unless you are aligned with CarbSane and consider that your relationship with her qualifies the two of you as an “us”, you are incorrect in assuming that my statement of opinion was directed to you.

          • I am of CarbSane’s opinion in that Taubes has made some serious omissions and is promulgating a theory which, although plausible, is incorrect. Other than that, I have no relationship with her!

          • “Ketogenic Diet” is also self-published, which should tell you something about its quality. Personally I have a low opinion of Mr. McDonald since his Usenet days a few years ago, he made a fool of himself enough times ranting on topics he didn’t have a clue about. Memorizing and rehashing a huge body research does not equal the ability to put it all in context.

          • Is an ad hominem the best argument you can come up with? Have you even read the book? Your personal opinion is of zero relevance. Lyle is only human and he does make mistakes but when he does, he admits to them. I read both of his forums.

            I suppose you don’t like Alan Aragon, Martin Berkhan, Borge Fagerli and all of the other people aligned with Lyle who get results, either.

          • Razwell says:

            Martin Berkhan is NOT an obesity expert. Citing NON experts is NOT a good thing.

            Dr. Jeffrey Friedman is an acknowledged world renowned, nobel level, top pioneering scientist who discovered leptin.

            Who do you think knows more ?

          • That’s an easy one. Aragon, Berkhan, Fagerli, McDonald, Krieger, Colpo et al get practical results.
            Richard Nikoley is currently following Berkhan’s advice. See

            What practical results has Friedman achieved?

            Citing “experts” is not a good thing either. It’s called argumentum ad verecundiam. See

          • Razwell says:

            NONE of those guys get LONG TERM results. Dean Esmay challenged them to put up or shut up. Give the statistics of formerly over fat clients who lost major amounts and maintained it for a decade or more.

            They could NOT produce this……..

          • Razwell says:

            WRONG again, Nigel. You obviously do not understand how to CORRECTLY apply logical fallacies .

            Deferring to recognized top experts is perfectly appropriate. Deferring to Einstein for physics is fine. Deferring to Dr. Friedman is fine.

            I am not deferring to Einsten on the subject obesity . I have committed NO logical fallacy. I defer to Dr. Friedman WITH his citations of his work and other equal level scientists. I have many citations of my own too, not just HIS videos ( which also have links to research)

            Lastly claiming a logical fallacy is being committed by your opponent ( whether correct applied or not) is POINTLESS and MEANINGLESS as it says NOTHING about the VERACITY of the opponents’ argument.

            You and your heroes need to learn this……..

            Furthermore, accusing someone (incorrectly or correctly) says NOTHING about the VERACITY of the argument.

          • Razwell says:

            Also, YOU Nigel , defer to Anthony Colpo, an NON expert on the subject of obesity.

            You are the one closer to committing appeal to authority. e.g. ” It’s wrong because Anthony Colpo says so” …… You give no links to reputable research. It’s wrong because Colpo says so – A nNON recognized NON expert at that.

            Sorry Nigel using impressive sounding Latin terms does NOT make you win an argument or appear smarter……..

          • Razwell says:

            What has Dr. Friedman done? He has discovered obesity is only surpassed possibly by height as far as the genetic component. he also discovered leptin and various defective genes the morbidly obese have

            Your heroes wrote about leptin a lot. Guess what? Dr. Friedman DISCOVERED it.

            I have news for you, Nigel Dr. Friedman is a nobel level scientiost.

            His intellectual abilities GREAAAAAATLY surpass your Internet gurus.

            The real question is, what has Anthony Colpo and james Krieger ever done but be Internet bullies who are always correct with a lot of farcical opinions and assumptionms about obesity and other things and write crappy dieting books that belong in the trash.

            I do not follow crackpots like you do. Dr. Friedman is a genuine scientist. He is not infallible but very reputable.

          • Nigel,
            How are you able to make “bold” words on your posts? I cannot find any tools for bold, underlining, or anything.

          • Hi Mark. I use html tags. If you use Firefox, select highlighted text, right-click on the selection and select “View Selection Source” That shows you the source code.

            Also, see

            Hope that helps. Nige.

          • Razwell says:

            There are no reputable long term studies anywhere showing the “eat less, move more” approach to work succesfully in treating the obese long term . FACT.

            This advise is WRONG and does NOT work LONG TERM. That is what you are not getting, Nigel. People REGAIN EVEN WHEN THEY MAINTAIN their diet and exercise programs.

            Dr. Jeffrey Friedman is on MY side. He acknowledges eat less move more does NOT work. That nostrum is NOT effective LONG TERM as a successful treatment for the obese.

            You can deny this all day loing. Plese OPEN that shut mind of yours. Look for TRUTH. We are still learning.

          • “We are still learning.” If only that was true, Razwell :-/

          • Anonymous says:

            Please let me take back my “Liked” to the above. I meant to Like Bright Angel’s comment. Well put!

          • Michael says:

            QUOTE: “I’ve lost a lot of weight low carbing. Doesn’t make made-up theories any more correct.”

            For this sort of reason, I never used to tell anyone I was doing Atkins when I first started Low-Carbing. Apart from reading Gary’s work, I mostly followed Barry Groves for specific diet suggestions initially.
            The name “Atkins” just carries too much “baggage” unfortunately. And as GCBC tells us, Atkins didn’t invent the principle, although he did contribute some ideas to the actual dietary practice. No doubt he didn’t fully understand how it worked (did anybody? does anybody really understand today, given the amount of, er, constructive disagreement on, but he knew it worked. And given that he was not a dietician (nor claimed to be) – he was a heart man, he knew, perhaps intuitively, that it would be fundamentally heart-healthy – very ironic considering the type of criticism it received).

            I especially wouldn’t bandy the term “Atkins” around nowadays for what I do (apart from the fact that I’ve veered towards VeryLC/Zero-carb). With Atkins long-gone, things are now being done in his name that I doubt he would have sanctioned. Occasionally people who know I’m into this sort of thing will pass me tabloid versions of the “latest” version of the Atkins diet. I don’t study it closely, but on a quick look, it seems a travesty, and I wouldn’t want to be associated with it. Not to mention all the Atkins-special “products” (which I believe he did sanction, sad to say).

          • Anonymous says:

            Be careful with the Heller Carb Addict’s Diet reward meal — eat anything you can consume in one hour. That seems to be a recipe for failure. I can eat a lot of starch/sugar in one hour and what’s the good of encouraging you to gorge? The other books are all good — I find Dr. Berstein’s the most practical and simple and of course Gary Taubes GCBC the most informative.

    • RebeccaL says:

      I maintain my weight at 1100 calories if I eat high carb and low fat, but I starve.
      I maintain my weight at 1800 calories if I eat low carb and high fat, and I do NOT starve.

      I say to give it a try. What is the worst thing that could happen?

    • Anonymous says:

      I am curious as to what food tracking software you have been using. I have been looking for one but haven’t found one yet that I really like. Would you be willing to share?
      BTW, congratulations on keeping off that much weight for so many years. I totally admire your dedication and resilience in the face of pretty much constant hunger. I’m still battling the demons myself.

  46. Anonymous says:


    First, I applaud you on producing one of the most thoughtful arguments for the science behind a low-carb diet vs. competing ideologies. Though I’ve come across several folks who have made half-hearted attempts at technical writing on the subject, yours is by far the best.

    My one criticism is that to really understand weight loss you have to talk about three separate yet equally important factors; calories consumed, metabolic engine, and the sustainability of each. And interestingly enough all three are tightly tied to one another.

    To begin quite simply, and as the law of conservation of energy holds, the only way to lose fat is to burn more calories than you consume. First, your burn calories through your resting metabolic rate, or the calories your muscle mass burns as you sleep, and through exercise or the other physical activities you do each day. So the best way to spur fat loss? Exercise more and build more muscle. But its seems everyone undervalues muscle, exercise is a one-time deal, but muscle keeps working for you, and is really the key to weight loss. On the flip side, calorie intake also has two facets; the energy profile of the foods you are eating and the your body’s response to those macronutrients. I think you’ve clearly explained the carb vs. fat argument to satisfy the first point, but for the second, it is important to note that your body reacts differently to ingested carbs, fat and protein. Given the filling effect that you get from protein and carbs, many folks find it difficult to reach 1800 or even 1500 calories per day on ketogenic diets. Further, from a metabolic standpoint, the introduction of ketogenic energy production actually enables the body to burn stored fat efficiently. Combined with the protein sparing effects of a high protein diet and hormonal impact of satiasation on fat oxidation, a macronutrient balance heavy on fat and protein nearly makes fat loss fool proof.

    Finally, blame needs to fall on obesity begetting obesity, not sloth. I’ll leave the technical writing to you, but the latest research I have read paints fat gain in obese individuals as a syndrome, not a side effect. In obese people, the body stores stores glycogen as fat more quickly to prevent the damage cause by excess glycogen in the bloodstream. Essentially, obesity is an immune response protecting the body from harm, which is why skinny people can stay skinny while the fat keep getting fatter. When you compound with testosterone losses associated with high visceral fat levels, many folks have a difficult road to recovery once they pass a certain point.


  47. Anonymous says:

    Gary, what do you think would happen in the following scenario re: a person’s weight:

    A person is eating a maintenance level of 2500cals a day. These 2500 cals, however, are mostly made up of high GI foods (ie this person eats a lot of crap: sugar, white flour, etc).

    The person then switches to a low GI diet (ie all healthy primal foods: no grains, no sugar, etc) but maintains a caloric intake of 2500cals a day.

    Hence, they go from chronic high levels of insulin to low/constant levels. This being the case:

    What would happen to this person’s weight?
    What would happen to this person’s body composition (eg bodyfat %)?


  48. Anonymous says:

    Gary, what do you think would happen in the following scenario re: a person’s weight:

    A person is eating a maintenance level of 2500cals a day. These 2500 cals, however, are mostly made up of high GI foods (ie this person eats a lot of crap: sugar, white flour, etc).

    The person then switches to a low GI diet (ie all healthy primal foods: no grains, no sugar, etc) but maintains a caloric intake of 2500cals a day.

    Hence, they go from chronic high levels of insulin to low/constant levels. This being the case:

    What would happen to this person’s weight?
    What would happen to this person’s body composition (eg bodyfat %)?


    • Hockey Guru (aka Poisonguy) says:

      Is this a trick question or one of them “gotcha” types?

    • Anonymous says:

      In short, scenario 1 gains BF% and scenario 2 maintains.

      Scenario 1 gains weight and bodyfat, because the high glycemic diet is, by practical function of all those high calorie foods, low on protein. As a result, the body likely doesn’t have enough protein to main its currently lean muscle mass, and thus the metabolic rate decreases from 2500 cal/day. Hence you are taking in 2500 and burning progressively less.

      In scenario two, there is no calorie deficit so you will not lose weight, however, the higher protein will aid in muscle repair to help maintain 2500 cal/day metabolic rate

      Weight is inconsequential, BF% and lean muscle mass are important.

    • Anonymous says:

      That would depend mostly on the person’s body composition on the first diet.

      I made exactly that switch a couple years ago. I was thin and lean when I ate nothing but high GI crap, and I’m still thin and lean, but I’ve gained weight (muscle, but some fat too) after cutting out grain and sugar and limiting total carbs – because I’m getting better nutrition. Someone who had 50 lbs of extra fat eating the first diet would doubtless lose a lot of weight on the second!

  49. Anonymous says:

    I don’t know anything about weight loss, but I’ve been successful in gaining weight – both fat and muscle – on a whole foods ‘low-carb’ diet (granted I usually get at least 50g carbs daily, and up to 150g).

    I also have a cat with a weight problem – like my other cat and dogs, he is strictly zero carb, in his case for his entire life. Raw animals only. My senior dogs started out fat from many years of eating a grain-based diet, but they didn’t lose any weight when I switched them to a raw diet, until I cut their total intake by quite a bit. And they easily gain weight – mostly fat, they are 10 and 14 after all – if I don’t stay strict with the total amount of bone, organs, muscle, fat and skin they consume, and especially during the summer when their activity level is cut in half.

    So based only on our experiences, I’m pretty sure that both exercise and total calories have some effect on weight/fat gain, loss and maintenance… even in an individual like my chubby, compulsive over-eater cat, who never had his metabolism borked by improper diet, but nonetheless maintains too much body fat simply because I can’t always keep him from stealing my other cat’s chicken wings!

    • OldeDog says:

      That is really interesting. Sorry to hear it. I switched a 14 yr old border collie to low carb, mostly by just feeding her meat, and she lost 15 lbs in six months. It has made her much more active, as well. Sorry to hear of your failure.

  50. Ingvar says:

    Discussing food recipes with American friends (we’re Swedish) we ran into some trouble going from your system to our metric one. The remark from my American guest was. ‘You’ve got your system and we’ve got ours, and I guess they are equally good!’ Changing a medevial system into a modern one, that is logic and easy to understand and handle would probably be an even harder undertaking than having the Americans accepting The Carbohydrate Hypothesis. Good luck to you on the latter one, and good luck to the man who will come forward and do the same job with the metric system as you’re doing in your field! Hopefully he’ll get his variables right!

  51. jhkrischel

    I didn’t mean to suggest that a decrease in activity is the only factor causing obesity. I think our poor eating habits are intimately connected to to obesity. However, I don’t think carbohydrates per se are the root cause of the obesity epidemic. I think you’d have to have some sort of brain defect to think that sweet potatoes, squash and blueberries caused the human race to become morbidly obese. From a comment on mine on Gary’s last post, when I was posting as ‘Roberto’:

    “I do believe, on a whole, obesity has been caused by our exposure to unnatural, engineered, nutrient-poor junk food. Yes I feel it’s safe to assume that most obese people have eaten those foods more liberally than most. Of course there are exceptions. I think it’s silly to try to rationalize that carbohydrates, regardless of their source, are the cause of obesity. Blueberries, yams, bananas and squash never hurt us.

    Yes I’m aware we don’t fully understand leptin, there’s more to the story. But however it works, our weight is biologically regulated. I sincerely doubt that whole, unrefined carbohydrates caused that regulation to fail. Why would anyone even consider blaming sweet potatoes, strawberries and squash. It couldn’t possibly be rancid vegetable oils, high fructose corn syrup, hybridized refined garbage wheat, numerous obesogenic chemicals, lack of sunlight, lack of vitamins and minerals and yes, in many people, literally no physical exertion whatsoever. Clearly a person shouldn’t have to run marathons to be healthy, but sitting down at a desk, or in a car, or in front of a computer at ALL TIMES is disgustingly unnatural. Literally, hundreds of factors, and here we are on a blog that is going to argue that butternut squash, cherries and brown rice caused the obesity epidemic. It boggles the mind, it truly does.”

    • The food we buy – regardless of its fat and carb content – is really hard to even consider food anymore…at least to those of us who have evolved past the silliness of the carb vs. fat debate.

      Our food has been genetically modified, refined, preserved, hydrogenated, artificially colored, packed in BPA, filled with pesticides and hormones, and left to sit in factories and on store shelves for weeks and months before it reaches our lips. I think Michael Pollan said it best when he described such garbage as “food like substances”.

      Many of these foods mess with our appetite regulation. They have a drug like effect that overrides or natural hunger control. Conduct these two experiments, if you think I’m wrong:

      Sit down, on two separate occasions, to unlimited amounts of the following two meals:

      1) Nothing but steak
      2) Nothing but potatoes

      Granted you’re not insulin resistant, in the case of potatoes, I guarantee nobody would eat a mono-meal of either of those whole foods to the point that they fill bloated and sick. As soon as your hunger kicks out, you’ll lose complete interest and put the fork down.

      Try that experiment with a bag of chips and coke. Or a box of store bought fudge. Tell me what happens.

      People are eating food that completely destroys their sense of when to stop stuffing their face. My concern was what happens when you take those people and chain them to a desk, couch or car seat for virtually every second of their waking day? That’s adding serious insult to injury. And that’s literally how many of us are living, no movement whatsoever.

      • I can actually comment on this, as I’ve done it. With nothing but potatoes… ok, and some homemade tomato salsa on top. Ate them til I felt bloated and sick. Same with organic whole wheat pasta/spelt pasta/rice pasta, organic sprouted whole grain bread, organic whole grain (amaranth, quinoa etc) cereals, and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils etc (dried and soaked before cooking).

        I’ve also done it on crap food too! 🙂

        My weight gain occurred while I was eating a low-fat diet that was based on organic whole foods, mainly grains and legumes with vegetables, fruit, eggs and dairy, and eventually with meat as well (I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for about 2 years, then added meat back in). I was also working out 3-5 days a week, 30-90 minutes at a time, cardio and strength training. It’s not that I never ate junk food (I did, now and then), but GMO/refined etc foods were definitely not the bulk of my diet.

        For me, it didn’t matter how ‘pure’ the food was… my sense of when to stop stuffing my face was, eventually, completely messed up. It got to the point that I’d have to leave the house after a full dinner to keep from raiding the cupboards and ramming organic (plain) rice cakes or 7-grain crackers into my mouth.

        Just sayin’. It happens to some of us on whole foods as well.

        • You’re right…That’s why I’ve been seeing so many children begging their parents for broccoli and brown rice at the grocery stores these days. And we’re all aware of the term “sugar rush”, but I’m sure few have heard of the phenomenon known as “carrot rush”. It all agrees completely with what you’re saying.

          Sorry, that was a little sarcastic…

          I sympathize with you…Still, I feel much more comfortable feeding my children steak and sweet potatoes, instead of ice cream, coke and potato chips.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is exactly the type of logic the author of this site is attacking. You present no empirical evidence, no scientific data, just conjecture and conspiracy theories about “hormones and pesticides”.

      There are literally hundred of fruits and berries that are toxic for humans, so why is it difficult to understand that high glycemic foods, regardless of the source, can be dangerous? Whether something is naturally produced has zero correlation to its dietary quality. In truth, anything you eat that damages your insulin sensitivity is dangerous. It inhibits both insulin production and the positive effect of insulin in your system.

      • I’m not claiming to have hard evidence in regards to how to eat for optimal health. Personally, I don’t think we will ever have hard evidence on that matter. Gary Taubes does his darndest to pretend he does, but he doesn’t. Not even close.

        All I’m saying is that there are numerous, very significant factors that aren’t being considered in his “Carbohydrate Hypothesis.” And near as I can tell, he has no interest in investigating those factors.

        A comment from Gary on his first post:

        “You may not hear anything from me on some of the subjects you suggest, because I don’t feel I know enough to comment — leaky guts, abundances of PUFA, etc. I may someday learn, but as you note, I don’t have all that much time in my life.”

        “I may someday learn” <– From a man who preaches the need for better nutritional science

        Nonchalant, complacent, negligent, hypocritical. Which word best describes that??

        • “Whether something is naturally produced has zero correlation to its dietary quality.”

          You’re joking right…Tell you what, go on a low-carb diet of corn oil, hydrogenated vegetable shortening, and protein powder…5 years down the road we’ll see how well you’re doing.

          “There are literally hundred of fruits and berries that are toxic for humans, so why is it difficult to understand that high glycemic foods, regardless of the source, can be dangerous?”

          Saints be praised, it all makes such sense to me now. Some berries are toxic, therefore all carbohydrates are dangerous. You need to get that in a peer-reviewed journal as soon as humanly possible. The world must be informed. Hahaha…You criticize me for not bringing hard evidence to the table and THAT’S what you throw at me…

          • “In truth, anything you eat that damages your insulin sensitivity is dangerous.”

            I agree, but while we’re on the topic of “hard evidence”… Bring me one study that convincingly – or even hints toward – whole food carbohydrates like blueberries, squash and sweet potatoes damaging insulin sensitivity. Please, I’d love to see that…

            I’m not saying there aren’t carbs that do that. I think a good case could be made against wheat and refined sugar. In my opinion, there are good and bad carbohydrate based foods, and good and bad fat based foods.

            Fresh grass-fed butter vs. Rancid corn oil left in a deep-fryer for 3 weeks

            Wild blueberries vs. Genetically modified corn starch and high-fructose corn syrup

            But that’s probably to much for you to swallow. Just stick to “carbs = insulin = fat” with Gary, in the Black and White district of la-la land.

          • Anonymous says:

            Well you’ll have to let me know how that diet of ignorance and arrogance works out.

          • Is that it?? I was expecting an onslaught of “empirical evidence” from you.

            And my whole foods, variable macro-nutrient diet is going quite well, thank you. I’m the male in my picture. The blueberries and yams haven’t made me fat yet, I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before my pancreas explodes though.

            Or maybe I’m just insulin sensitive, from years on a diet of common sense, not “ignorance and arrogance.”

  52. Hi Gary– i’m very pleased to see that you’re blogging! I’ve read GCBC a couple times and it’s just an amazing book. I was dumbstruck at the virtual ‘war on fat’ that’s been going on and how it originated. So I’ve been wondering about ‘carb addiction’. I know when I go overboard with simple carbs it makes me feel like crap. So why do I want to keep on having them despite knowing how I feel when I eat them? Is it as straightfoward as the ‘carb-insulin-digestion’ cycle and your body just makes you want more? Or is it ‘old habits die hard’, or the intensive advertising? A combination? Thanks for your consideration and keep up the good work!

    • Anonymous says:

      I think it’s an addiction, similar to alcohol. When I fall off the wagon, it’s hard to get back on, but I feel much better when I do.

      • Addiction is right. My father was an alcoholic, and I remember his moods, habits, and dependency on it. I find that I have similar experiences, yet with food and not alcohol (I don’t drink at all).

        Carbs are the worst offender because I can feel the pull towards them. The way it works is if I have some carbs, I will want more, then more, until I am hooked in. When I have too many carbs (like during this holiday season), I feel lousy; if I have something carb-y, I will feel better… and I do, except that it is short-lived and then I need more to function.

        I am one of those people who simply should not eat refined carbs, period. The trouble I have with eating low-carb is the boredom I experience with it, as it’s hard to avoid even a piece of bread; however, being morbidly obese is no party either.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think there must be a genetic defect/flaw with alcohol/sugar addicts. On both sides of my family everyone is one or both. I can’t handle alcohol, maybe because of hypoglycemia. I might be able to learn to tolerate it, but it never makes me feel ‘high’, just dizzy and sick. Give me sugar/starch anyday.

          It took me a decade to completely get over withdrawal from smoking — even dreams of it — but I had the guilt of imagining my nonsmoking husband getting lung cancer if I continued. Perhaps with enough time on low carb the addiction lessens. The more I stay away from carbs, the better I feel. I find if I keep something in my stomach, and have protein like cheese or nuts on hand, I can resist. I think I would have been morbidly obese on my decades long junk food addiction if I had the fat cells from childhood. I did give up looking at the scale when I hit 150 (should be 110) but then I was diagnosed type 2 (as three of my mother’s siblings were) so I was lucky enough to find the practical advice of Richard Berstein’s Diabetes Solution and lost the excess weight in a short time, and easily, almost magically.

          Surely you can find some protein you like enough to keep from being bored — have you seen Dr. Mary Dan Eades website?

          • Surely you can find some protein you like enough to keep from being bored

            Steak, hamburger, bacon, eggs, hard cheese, and fried pork rinds are all fine to a degree, but bread is a “staple” for me; nevertheless, when I start low-carb, it will have to go.

  53. Andrew Brown says:

    I know this is a pretty simple thing, but it seems that referring to diets as “high” or “low” something due to it’s proportion is holding things back. It doesn’t even make sense, it’s not like the body sees intake as a proportion. If dietary terms like high and low just referred to absolute amounts then maybe the whole issue here wouldn’t have even been the case because in designing the study it would have become immediately obvious that a “restricted calorie low fat” diet was also a low carbohydrate diet.

    A simply unhelpful way to label diets…

  54. josef says:

    Another great post Gary. 331 comments to a single blog post (your 2nd ever) is very impressive traffic. You deserve tremendous success with your new book – Why We Get Fat.

  55. Anonymous says:

    When I was diagnosed with type II diabetes in 1998 (before GCBC) I found Dr. Richard K. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution to be the most helpful and practical (30gr carb/green veg and all the protein you need to be satisfied). I think it’s well worth buying a glucose meter and testing strips (about $75 for 100 strips and a free meter in Canada): the results are surprising and quick (half an apple drives me well into the diabetic zone). Doctors are surprised when you need no drugs to return to “prediabetes”, just avoid starch and sugar and the excess fat falls off. I’m anxiously awaiting Why We Get Fat.

  56. Richard S says:

    My modest understanding is also that eating a higher fat, lower carb diet results, as a matter of practice, in a net reduction of calories consumed, and that in turn has an impact on weight loss as well. The difference, as I see it, is that the caloric reduction, as opposed to a restriction, is that the individual is not consciously making a decision to eat less or to eat fewer calories. The problem with caloric restriction is that in order to get the physical sensation of fullness, one tends to think (?) and be encouraged to think, that bulkier foods, rather than calorie-dense foods are the best. The problem is that “satiety” is not such a simple process either: it takes just a reasonable number of fat calories to induce the desire to stop eating as opposed to the larger number of carb calories. The result, again, is over consumption of carbohydrate calories.

    This over-consumption is pernicious if the carbs are processed foods like flour, and sugar and various grains. The problem may be trivial or non-existent if the diet is unprocessed foods like potatoes or carbs contained in vegetables.

    What I do not understand is the hostility expressed by some posters in regard to the conceptual issues: do they have some vested interest in milling companies? Are they farmers? Or are they minions of the drug companies? I sometimes wonder about the “scientific” analysis used by some of the objectors, too:. All anyone has to do is look around the shopping malls of the US and Europe, and now Asia too: so many fat people. If this is a failure of will it is failure that transcends all continents and national groups and cultures.

    Of course, it is in fact an UNCONTROLLED experiment in its own right, an experiment in feeding people excessive carbohydrates compared to historical and evolutionary patterns. The results are obvious to even a casual observer.

    In those terms I am reminded of the comment of a friend of mine, when I expressed the concept that although people could live well enough on a carb based diet, ideally carbs should be a small part of the diet and fat and protein, and green vegetables, the larger part. Her comment was that here in the Philippines one sees dogs fed diets of corn and rice, and they survive. They get fat if they get to eat too much, and they don’t look good, but they are alive. Just because they can survive does not mean it is the best possible diet for them.

    There is another aspect to all of this as well, and that is the economic issues caused by production of foodstuffs that are possibly not beneficial to people over-all. That is, there is no doubt that wheat is a grain of historical significance, yet it is somewhat irritating to most people, and very irritating to some. It also requires tremendous expenditures on oil and petrochemicals. Is this in the end a very good deal, calorie-wise and environmentally, compared to raising cattle on pastureland? Yes, cattle are very flatulent on grains, but how about on direct grass feeding?

    For that matter, if the net caloric reduction on a high fat diet is about 30-50 %, as I understand it to be, that reduction, by itself alone, is a tremendous reduction in the food calories that the land needs to produce. Of course, implicit in production of calories from the land is the use of petro based fertilizers and power for tractors and water pumping for crop growing and harvesting.

    These are not trivial national security concerns. Anyone who looks to end excessive and unnecessary use of resources, with all the costs and damage that incurs, and will cause, should consider that in the end it may be more efficient to grow farm animals on pasture than to grow wheat or corn to either feed to people or to the animals.

    Or, of course, one can consider the matter as a public health issue, with about the same results…

    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t mean this as a direct criticism of Richard S. Richard is largely asking questions rather than pounding relentlessly on a point or two.

      In a discussion like this one (the whole blog on this topic), you can perform a lot of “Bad Science” without actually being a scientist.

      Truth isn’t a matter of shouting loudest and longest. It appears as if there are those who believe that truth is in fact shouting loudest and longest until the opinion expressed becomes the majority opinion, and is then declared fact.

      After seeing what these discussions devolve into, if I were Gary Taubes, I would cease writing anything at all for this blog.

      The rabble here are harder to convince than the alleged stoic MD’s and Dieticians.

      It just isn’t worth reading these arguments, and I don’t think it is worth writing to this audience, based on what they write as a result of what the discussion topic was.

      Watching the squabbles and pettiness of thought only reminds me of the low ranking of science knowledge in the USA compared to other developed countries. The educational process has failed us so deeply for so long that few of us have the ability to understand science.

      SCIENCE ISN’T COMMON SENSE – we have had common sense for thousands of years, and common sense didn’t exactly invent a lot of modern technology and it doesn’t explain much of modern technology. As the key point of the Taubes article states, there is a failure of scientific sense in not uderstanding the importance of controlled variables, and the near impossibility of changing only one variable in a dietary experiment. [The same is true for a socio-economic experiment such as Vice President Cheney making the claim in 2004 that “Reagan proved that deficit spending is OK.]

      With few changes of words, this discussion could generally be converted into political behavior of our politicians and their followers. Having “proved” many things by loud and long argument, when you haven’t proven anything at all.

      • “Truth isn’t a matter of shouting loudest and longest.” There is no truth. There is only evidence for or against a particular hypothesis. The sooner people grasp this fact, the better.

        “The rabble here…” Charming!

        “…there is a failure of scientific sense in not uderstanding the importance of controlled variables…” The failure is in understanding human behaviour. Eat Less Move More works, but just telling someone to do it doesn’t work. Low Carb also works, but most people want to eat their cake and have it, too.

        • Anonymous says:

          I don’t understand how people who advocate low-carbs could honestly put on so much importance on the “Exercise more , Eat less” approach and then said-“o, low-carbing works too, if people behave”. The first Bright Angel’s post is a very good example of what it takes to succeed in the eating-less. To push such model of a weight loss as equally functional is just unkind and unrealistic. In order to expect people to behave don’t set them for a failure in the first place. O.k., no research that demonstrates the superiority of low-carbing is not perfect in your opinion. Somehow years of pushing “exercise more, eat less” on masses with dysfunctional result is more convincing? You know, I am not advocating pigging-out. I am for getting priorities right.

          • Hi. I think that the people posting comments here aren’t representative of the general population. Bright Angel has shown a willingness to try a new way of eating (LC) and has stuck to it. Ditto yourself and others. Sadly, I don’t think that the general population will stick to a LC way of eating. That’s their problem, though.

            The Move More part has nothing to do with weight loss. It’s necessary for good health. Sedentary behaviour leads to insulin resistance in skeletal muscle and all of the the health problems associated with it. Been there, done that!

            Anyway, it’s 03:30 and I should be in bed. Good night!

          • Anonymous says:

            Wow! It is just 11 pm in Florida where I live. Yes, general population believes that eating less works (it is harder and less effective to do ) and low-carbing (which is much more manage)is dangerous. I hope Garry’s book will contribute to the change in the public opinion. For me “exercise more eat less” sounds like encouraging people to set the wrong set of priorities. More people will stick to LC if they finally understand that it is not realistic to relay on an exercise and hunger for a weight loss. Exercise is important for different reason. I am for removing it from the first or even second place when it comes to the weight loss.

          • Anonymous says:


            All these people pushing calories in/calories out / bank account model/ calorie is a calorie should post photos of themslves with their shirts off or in a binkini. Let’s see how that belief is working for them……..

            I would bet $100 dollars they look very untoned and terrible.

            No one in natural bodybuilding follows the FALSE idea that a calorie is a calorie.

            Mark Sisson looks GREAT. My brother looks GREAT.

          • Mark Sisson looks GREAT. My brother looks GREAT.

            And these people live sedentary lifestyles – NOT!

            What do you look like, then?

          • CarbSane says:

            Sheesh, Sisson was a former professional athlete. I doubt GT looks all that great w/o a shirt. Google images for some of the more notorious low carbers. Not a whole lot of role modeling going on.

          • Galia L. says:

            It is nice that you like so much how your brother looks like. Personally, I believe that guys should relax a little bit about bodybuilding – it is easy to overdo, than bodybuilder starts looking narcissistic and ridiculous. Sort of male equivalent of a girl with headsized artificial breasts.Of course, I don’t mean your brother or people your mentioned, just some guys I regularly see in a local sport club came to mind.
            It is a bit too shallow to try to make same person at a respectable age to make behave like a teenager . Sorry if I sound too matronly, as a mother of a teenager son I got used to making sure that guys behave for their own good.

          • I agree with you that pushing “Eat less, Move More” on the masses has been a total failure.

            Razwell endlessly blathers on about “calories in/calories out/bank account model/calorie is a calorie”.

            People tend to not want to do anything about a problem until their life depends on it. By the time their weight problem reaches critical mass (excuse the pun), they may be type 2 diabetic, hypertensive, dyslipidaemic, joint pain-ridden and on half a ton of meds/day. By that point, their metabolic processes are so damaged that low-carbing is the only option that works.

            If Taubes’ books get people to stop eating a grain-based diet, then good for him. However, Move More is still compulsory for health reasons. I know it sucks, but that’s life!

          • Galia L. says:

            My experience illustrates how somebody can get almost pre-diabetic and gain 26 lb in one year while exercising at least 8 hours a week and eating healthy home-cooked low-fat diet. That is why I so mach against overemphasizing of exercise. The keystone of staying in shape for whole life is the diet as low in carbs as it necessary for any given individual in order to be in optimal weight. I am not against exercise, I am doing something (yoga, rollerblading, zumba) daily because I love it.

            There are a lot of people who are too seek by 45. Usually they start taking care of themselves by walking around the block, eating fruits non-stop and switching on multi-grain Cheerios. It is how they understand the “eat less,exercise more advice”. I hope Gary’s book will reach them and they start at least some LC.

            Why you are so concentrated on calories, is beyond my understanding. You are the low-carb person.

          • Why you are so concentrated on calories, is beyond my understanding. You are the low-carb person.

            Because, where weight is concerned, calories still count!

            Also, exercise cannot compensate for poor diet. It’s still compulsory, though.

          • Galia L. says:

            There many things that count, like food composition or meals spacing. If
            your first priority is counting calories, then it would be logical to
            compensate poor food choices through exercise ,or choose bread over eggs if
            calorie count is the same. My guess is you know by now what is right for
            you. We are discussing now the general advice. Is you advice for general
            population to start counting calories or start counting carbs? Or you for
            not forgeting about the total amount of consumed food and other livestyle

        • Anonymous says:

          “There is no truth. There is only evidence for or against a particular hypothesis.” So on what evidence do you base your “Eat Less Move More works”? Why do you continue to insist that the calorie bank model (hypothesis) is correct when the evidence is stacked up against it? Science says you only need one set of valid evidence to disprove a hypothesis. Seems to me much more than that has been presented that contradicts the calories in/calories out model. Yet you and so many others can’t let go. Believe me, for many years I bought into that idea and the idea that fat is what makes us fat–to the detriment of my family and myself. But in the face of the evidence presented by many, including Mr. Taubes, I had to let that go and have moved on. The carbohydrate hypothesis seems like a viable alternative to me. So let’s work on testing that, rather than on continuing to adhere to an hypothesis that already has a body of evidence against it.

        • Anonymous says:

           some people gonna hate.

      • Richard S says:

        Actually, as I read recently, science is all about showing that common sense is wrong. In other words, the sky is not blue because of reflection from the water, the sun does not revolve around the earth, and you don’t get fat from eating fat. Many basic facts seem to be so obvious that they do no need much explaining or investigation, until of course someone actually does it. Then the surprises begin. In terms of nutrition, the answer is that the chemical composition of the calories consumed does matter. It may not matter to a calorie determining system and computer, but it matters to the human body. And of course, in science it is all about dis-provability: Things are not necessarily true, they just have not yet been shown to be false. Yet we still have knowledge that we can use. As I see it, eating carbs to lose weight, when those carbs are from grains, simply does not work. Caloric restriction does not work. What does work is a reduced carb, high fat and low grain diet, and I have the suspicion that adherence to that diet makes for a much happier old age.

        • Anonymous says:

          I suppose that you know of Dr. William Davis of the Heart Scan Blog
 He is in agreement with you on the
          negative aspects of carbs from grains, wheat in particular, but his primary
          focus is on the cardiac health.

          One of his latest blogs involved the use of a glucose meter in reducing
          weight. The consistent measure of taking blood glucose readings after eating
          did eventually lead the patient into selecting just those foods which don’t
          produce an insulin spike for them.

          To add to your good sense of science, the field of Thermodynamics arose
          mostly because of the heat engines developed at the beginning of the
          Industrial Revolution. The original engines were terribly inefficient and
          people wanted to know either why, or else how to make more efficient heat
          engines. Frankly, for many people knowing why isn’t all that important.

          It is relatively easy to convert mechanical energy to heat with nearly 100%
          efficiency as well as to convert electrical energy to heat with virtually
          100% efficiency.

          The reverse conversions of heat to mechanical or electrical energy appeared
          to never be anywhere near 100% efficient, and this led to the concept of
          entropy as a vital part of the fundamentals of energy conversions.

          Thanks for writing.

          The Conservation of Energy, or the First Law of Thermodynamics only states
          that energy is conserved, not that intrinsic limitations on conversions

          In this sense of energy conversions, a calorie or other unit of heat energy
          was distinctly different from a calorie (or other unit) of mechanical or
          electrical energy.

          To a real student of science, the sentence “A calorie is a calorie.” is
          frankly false. On the other hand, we can hardly call nutrition, as
          practiced, a real science partly because nutritionists aren’t actually real
          scientists and lack that tradition or understanding of energy.

  57. Anonymous says:

    20 Calories Per Day – Keeps Middle Ages Spread Away ?

    Besides thinking of the mere 20 Calories per day as food in, think f it as Fidgeting. You may not burn up hundreds of Calories per day fidgeting, but you can surely burn 20 Calories.

    So, according to this “Energy Balance” from the so called “First Law of Thermodynamics”, then simply fidgeting a little could keep off the “Middle Age Spread”.

    Besides this super-accurate intake function, where is the super accurate minor work limit function in the bodies of humans and mammals?

    “What if it has all been a big fat lie?” could be replaced by:

    “What if it has all been just stupidly applied science by poorly trained investigators ?”

    • Razwell says:

      EXCELLENT point . You are exactly right.

      The whole 20 calories a day less thing is garbage . ( Dr. Linda Bacon is critical of that too)

      Good point.

    • “20 Calories Per Day – Keeps Middle Ages Spread Away ?” Er, no. Total maths fail.

      • Anonymous says:

        20 Cals X 365 DaysX 20 Years =146,000 Calories and at about 3,500 Cal per Lb
        we get 146,000/3,5000 = 41.7 Lbs.

        I just copied what was in Taub’s first blog and changed the calorie count
        from input to expenditure.

        I believe your maths are the ones that are failing. Taubes and I appear to

        Can you show your “maths”?

        • Certainly!

          1) Assume that the person starts at 150lbs with a maintenance intake of 15kcals/lb = 2,250kcals/day.
          2) The person finishes at 191.7lbs with a maintenance intake of 15kcals/lb = 2875.5kcals/day.

          To get from 1) to 2), the person ate 625.5kcals/day more for however long it took, not 20kcals/day more. Changing the starting weight doesn’t change the result.

          Where you and Gary have gone wrong is in assuming that, in A = B – C, A, B & C are independent of each other. As A increases, C increases. Q.E.D.

          • Anonymous says:

            To ASSUME your figures is to make as ASS out of U and ME.

            The key point is the assumption of equal metabolic rates. I made the
            specific argument that the activity level changed. Therefore, the metabolic
            rate per KG or Lb is changed.

            So, I don’t accept your assumption of constant metabolic rates per pound of
            body weight.

            You should take up your argument on eating with Taubes, because he was the
            one who made the argument about 20 Cal/day being enough to be responsible
            for long term middle aged weight gain, IF [ repeat IF ] all you did was to
            equate the calories eaten into fat at a fixed ratio of so many pound of fat
            per so many Calories of food.

            Your argument, while it may be correct doesn’t actually “disprove” what
            Taubes said – the meaninglessness of equating so many ingested calories to
            so many pounds of fat via unthinking attempts to misapply the First Law of

            You could benefit from more careful analysis of what others actually write.
            You seem intelligent enough to be otherwise worth listening to.

          • Perhaps you missed the part where I wrote “Changing the starting weight doesn’t change the result.”
            Therefore the assumption of a 150lbs starting weight was purely for calculation purposes.
            You could benefit from actually reading what other people write.

          • Anonymous says:

            The baslal metabolism rate depends on a lot of things. One of them is age.
            So, to assume that the basal metabolism is the same for a 25 year old and a
            45 year old isn’t likely to be a good assumption.

            American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 82, No. 5, 941-948, November
            © 2005 American Society for Clinical
            ORIGINAL RESEARCH COMMUNICATION Factors influencing variation in basal
            metabolic rate include fat-free mass, fat mass, age, and circulating
            thyroxine but not sex, circulating leptin, or triiodothyronine1,2,3
            Alexandra M Johnstone, Sandra D Murison, Jackie S Duncan, Kellie A Rance and
            John R Speakman
            1 From the Aberdeen Centre for Energy Regulation and Obesity (ACERO),
            Division of Energy Balance and Obesity, Rowett Research Institute, Aberdeen,
            Scotland, United Kingdom (AMJ, SDM, JSD, KAR, and JRS), and ACERO, School of
            Biological Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, Scotland, United
            Kingdom (JRS)

            *Background:* Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the largest component of daily
            energy demand in Western societies. Previous studies indicated that BMR is
            highly variable, but the cause of this variation is disputed. All studies
            agree that variation in fat-free mass (FFM) plays a major role, but effects
            of fat mass (FM), age, sex, and the hormones leptin, triiodothyrionine (T3),
            and thyroxine (T4) remain uncertain.

            *Objective:* We partitioned the variance in BMR into within- and
            between-subject effects and explored the roles of FFM, FM, bone mineral
            content, sex, age, and circulating concentrations of plasma leptin, T3, and

            *Design:* This was a cross-sectional study of 150 white adults from
            northeast Scotland, United Kingdom.

            *Results:* Only 2% of the observed variability in BMR was attributable to
            within-subject effects, of which 0.5% was analytic error. Of the remaining
            variance, which reflected between-subject effects, 63% was explained by FFM,
            6% by FM, and 2% by age. The effects of sex and bone mineral content were
            not significant (*P* > 0.05). Twenty-six percent of the variance remained
            unexplained. This variation was not associated with concentrations of
            circulating leptin or T3. T4 was not significant in women but explained 25%
            of the residual variance in men.

            *Conclusions:* Our data confirm that both FFM and FM are significant
            contributors to BMR. When the effect of FM on BMR is removed, any
            association with leptin concentrations disappears, which suggests that
            previous links between circulating leptin concentrations and BMR occurred
            only because of inadequate control for the effects of FM.

          • This is ridiculous. Taubes explicitely discusses the dependency between calories in and calories out in GCGC as well as in other places, and yet you are accusing him of “going wrong in assuming that”? What are you even doing here if you have not read the material?

            Trying to explain the dependency by the alphabet soup of TEF, SPA, NEAT or whatever is just muddling the waters, because not only the average person has no chance in hell to figure these values out for themselves; neither can the average doctor or even the average scientist. Putting names on concepts does not make them usable in real life. This is why referring to the caloric model of obesity is the wrong approach — it’s true, but useless.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes, it is common to forget that the human body is the complex system like climate, economy,ecosystem, and it is impossible to regulate complex system trough micromanagement .

          • I’ve edited my post to remove Gary’s name. I was replying to materialguy who said that he and Gary were in agreement as he had copied the figure from Gary’s first blog post.

            20kcals/day extra will not result in a weight/fat/w.h.y. gain of 41lbs. No way, hose.

      • Anonymous says:

        By the way, Calorie = Kilocalorie and the Capital C means a lot. The physics
        calorie is a lower case calorie = 0.001 Kilocalorie.

  58. Dan Rose says:

    penultimate paragraph, last sentance:

    “and/or improving the quality of those carbs we do consume”

    Please can you define what you mean by quality.

  59. David Whelan says:

    Alternative hypothesis not considered, controls botched, what a mess:

    • Anonymous says:

      The article you linked is a very good illustration to the Garry’s blog. The group eating the most sweets and deserts performed more poorly. In that study the authors again jammed together saturated fats and trans-fats , so their conclusion about danger of fats in the diet doesn’t look conclusive. It is possible, that group of people who eat the most of veggies eat the least amount of carbs, there is too little information about the carb components of the diet.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for this fascinating discussion. I am curious about one thing only marginally addressed in your post: fiber. Some weight-loss programs argue that one can subtract the amount of fiber a portion of food has from the total carbohydrate count (for example, if a muffin has 20 grams of carbohydrates, but 5 grams of fiber, it has a “net” total of 15 grams of carbohydrates.) Does this philosophy make any sense given how the body processes fiber in relation to total carbohydrates?

    • As nobody has replied, I’ll try to help.

      Insoluble fiber e.g. bran yields 0kcals/g, as it passes through the GI tract completely unabsorbed.
      Soluble fiber e.g. cellulose yields about 2kcals/g, as some of it is converted into fatty acids by gut bacteria, which is absorbed.

      Note to UK readers: Fibre is listed separately from carbohydrate so it shouldn’t be subtracted.

  61. Dear Razwell. I can see that you’re struggling to comprehend what I’m trying to say, so I’ll keep it simple.

    In order to lose weight & be healthy, person “A” needs to do “X”. Let’s assume that there are only 2 options for “X” which I shall call ELMM (Eat Less Move More) and ELCMM (Eat Low Carbohydrate Move More). Both options contain Move More as this is for health reasons. O.K so far?

    If/when Person “A” tries ELMM and fails to lose weight & be healthy, what’s the reason? According to your logic, it’s because ELMM doesn’t work. You have completely and utterly failed to comprehend an alternative reason, which is that ELMM isn’t easy.

    Watch the following YouTube video: Every time someone says “Less”, shout out “Low Carbohydrate”.

    Do you think that the fat lady played by Crista Flanagan will give up her Kebler’s Double Stuffin’ Marshmallow Fudge Sludgers for a Low Carbohydrate diet, and Move More?

    If/when Person “A” tries ELCMM and fails to lose weight & be healthy, what’s the reason? According to your logic, it’s because ELCMM doesn’t work!

    Got it?

    P.S. Don’t bother trying to leave any more “comments” on my blog. They will be rejected.

    • Razwell says:

      bad news, Nigel.

      Siberian Huskies contradict the bank account model of obsity.

      Siberian Huskies can run for hours and hours , hundreds of miles,burning energy, BUT RESERVE THEIR FAT STORES. In other words they LOSE NO BODY FAT AT ALL. (Dr. Karen Halligan nationally recognised veterinarian)

      You are the one who is wrong Nigel. Your beloved caloric bank account model of obesity is dead WRONG. You are obviously upset your theory is wrong. Well, don;t be. You are moving closer to the truth.

      Stop defending a failed model. You can have all the tantrums you want, Nigel, but it still does NOT change the fact the caloric hypothesis has far too much contradictory evidence to be valid……..

      • Dear Razwell,

        1) Human beings aren’t Siberian Huskies.
        2) Were the Huskies tested in a Metabolic Chamber? No, I didn’t think so. Another useless anecdote.
        Therefore, your argument is invalid.

        P.S. Your blog makes my eyes water with its lurid colour scheme and hysterical ranting in large bold text. I’m not reading it any more.

        • Anonymous says:

          I agree about the blog design. It is so irritating I couldn’t get into the context.

          • Razwell says:

            My design is fine. It is only “irritating ” because what you believed in all of your life is a scientifically unsupported steaming pile of cow crap.

            Very easily read in large letters.

          • Razwell says:

            My design is fine. It is only “irritating ” because what you believed in all of your life is a scientifically unsupported steaming pile of cow crap.

            Very easily read in large letters.

          • Razwell says:

            My design is fine. It is only “irritating ” because what you believed in all of your life is a scientifically unsupported steaming pile of cow crap.

            Very easily read in large letters.

          • Galia L. says:

            Actually, I agree with your ideas . We (me and you) believe in the same
            things, as I notice. I just don’t like your style in conversation and in a
            graphic design. When people want to share their ideas it is better to be
            presentable. I honestly wish you to improve.

          • Razwell says:

            The Husky thing IS true, Nigel. First, I did NOT do ANY logical fallacy. She is a recognized expert. I did nto appeal to Dr oz for dog infromation

            Lastly, to both of you:

            Obesity facts:

            *Obesity’s genetic component is the same as height.

            *There are over 400 genes that regulate bodyweight ( and that’s only the known ones)

            Sorry, moralizing obesity like Anthony Colpo does is


            You appeal to NON experts Nigel like McDonald, Colpo

            THAT is the correct appeal to authority

            My blog has already shown your MISUSE.

            Lastlky, claiming logical fallcy is POINTLESS and it NEVER SAYS ANYTHING about the VERACITY of your opponents’ argument.

        • Razwell says:

          You’ve been DEBUNKED thoroughly, Nigel. You just cannot handle it. So sorry.

          Siberian Huskies or anything else- if the caloric hypothesis were true then what they do would NOT be possible – BUT IT IS.

          YOU LOSE.

          • I thought it was too good to be true when you wrote that you weren’t going to reply to me any more.

            Dr. Karen Halligan says it’s true. Ergo it must be true, according to you. You have provided no verification. Your blog is full of hot air. You are totally unqualified to call anyone a bad scientist. You are a classic example of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

            You have shown yourself to be incapable of holding a logical discussion. When you’re in a hole, it’s usually advisable to stop digging!

    • Razwell says:


      I have explained to you numerous times that “eat less ,move” more does NOT work because people regain the weight DESPITE MAINTAINING , M A I N T A N I N G their diets and exercise. My blog discusses this detailed.

      This farcical approach fails LONG TERM, because it does NOT work, NOT because of “compliance”

      DR. JEFFERY FRIEDMAN ACKNOWLEDGES eat less move more does NOT work anymore todasy than 2,000 years back.

      Secondly , LEARN what ad hominem MEANS. . By the way it is ad hominem, NOT ad hominemS. In fact, YOUR gurus have committed ad hominem MANY TIMES when accusing others of it. That is the irnoy of the MISUSE on the Internet. The Intrenet gurus who pull out that word are the ones guilty of committing ad hominem , as the article I link to on my blog clearly shows.

      Secondly, Siberian Huskies CONTRADICT the “caloric bank account “model of obesity. They will NOT lose theor body fat even after running HUNDREDS OF MILES for HOURS and HOURS . Those sled dogs exercise more than anyone – human or animal. According to YOU and your heroes that would not be possible- BUT IT IS.

      Lastly, “eat less, move more” has NEVER been shown to be true., and HAS been shwon to be INEFFECTIVE REPEATEDL;Y.AS DEMONSTRATED HERE:

      Obesity is a failure of fat cell regulation and has many causes.

      What don;t YOU get? YOU do NOT seem to be able to grasp simple concepts

      STOP wasting my time anymore. This is the LAST reply to you. I have tried to help , but you are DENSE. Which is not surprising to me because of the blogs you follow……..

  62. Anonymous says:

    Hey Gary Taubes,
    Just a couple of things – in your new book, Why we get fat, you refer to the Inuit as the “Inuits.” Here is the deal: a single person from this nation is an Inuk. A group are Inuit. I know this because I am Canadian, and these terms are used often here.

    An interesting anecdote for you. When I was in university I had the chance to visit some Cree communities in the James Bay area of Quebec. We had a feast in a wigwam, and they served beaver, goose and ptarmigan. They also passed around a container of fat (!), which was for smearing on the ptarmitagn, since it’s a rather dry meat. At the time, I thought that it must be really bad for their health to eat all that fat. Now I think that the big pan of bannock that they cooked over an open fire was probably considerably worse! (It was really good though. All of it.)

  63. Warren Dew says:

    I found your previous book on diet highly enlightening and have recommended it to many; I look forward to recommending your new book as well.

    I would like to see suggest being careful when talking about “quality” of carbohydrates. I’m an adherent of a high animal fat version of the paleo diet, and I’ve seen quite a few men lose substantial amounts of fat on it – I’m talking 50+ pounds over 6 months, not just 5 or 10 or 20 pounds. This diet permits unlimited amounts of whole fruit, which most people consider a “good” source of carbohydrates.

    However, the carbohydrate in fruit is mostly simple sugar, which most people consider to be “bad”. Half to two thirds is fructose, which the detractors of high fructose corn syrup consider to be “bad”. A lot of fruit have high glycemic indices, which is generally considered to be “bad”. The only real difference between whole fruit and soft drinks is that the fruit is bound up in solid form, and has a bit of vitamin C in it.

    Meanwhile, supposedly “good” sources of carbohydrates, like whole grains, are the opposite: complex carbohydrate in the form of starch, no fructose, supposedly low glycemic indices. Yet, there’s little or no actual evidence that whole grains are any better than refined grains with respect to weight loss. In both cases, all the starch eventually turns into insulinogenic glucose; none of it is fructose, which is retained in the liver.

    I worry that people will assume that “high quality carbohydrates” means “more whole grains”, and possibly even “less fruit”, which may be the opposite direction from where they ought to be going.

  64. Yes there is a need to control variables.

    Which includes controlling for thermogenic effect of varying macronutritents and NEAT. It’s hard to take any claims of effect of varying macronutrients on weight control unless all variables in the energy balance equation are considered and controlled.

  65. Nddean says:

    In response to the notion that the LC proponents are in it for the money is laughable in the extreme. The amount of money coming to those supporting LC is a drop in the ocean compared to what the carb-pushers have and still make. It Taubes were in it for the money, he would not be doing this kind of writing. He is not about the diet, rather, the decades of shoddy nutritional science. If we had had the level of science in the space program we’ve had in the field of nutrition, we would never have gotten into space, much less the moon.
    I’m curious that a few people seem addicted to trying to debunk LC on this site (they are often curiously and vehemently mean-spirited); rather like closeted homophobics–to paraphrase the Bard): Methinks they protest too much.

    • I do hope that you’re not referring to me or CarbSane. We both support LC. What we don’t support is bad science & the cherry-picking of studies to support the “a calorie isn’t a calorie where weight is concerned” theory.

      • Anonymous says:

        No author of any low-carb book or diet ever claimed that somebody could eat unlimited amount of low-carb food and loose his or her weight(at least I never noticed a such claim). Looks like there are some few lucky individuals out there as well as some very unlucky ones for whom nothing works .

        • What does Taubes say 8 minutes and 12 seconds into ?

          • Anonymous says:

            My personal impression that Gary is sort of careful about the issue. In the title of his new book is “Why we get fat ?” question, not “How to get lean” answer. If you read again the title of his last article we are blogging about, you will find the implication that diets not always work.(Thank you, by the way ,for sending me that link.) He said that people who participated in the study in Israel loose weight on low-carb diet without counting calories . Did you really sow a contradiction? It is the experience of the most of us – dramatic difference when we started it without counting calories.It was the first diet that didn’t make me hungry.I am sure, from personal experience you know that low-carbing is the way to go. It works better and in a less painful way than any other approach. For most people it is the only thing that works. But we got too fat before getting into our present way of low-carb eating, our bodies are not the same as 20 or even 10 years ago. No diet will turn the clock. Somebody who had an extra 20 -25 lb would loose it and stay in his(her) normal weight, for others with more damaged metabolism there is more complicated road. Very often it is just lost of 20 lb out of extra 40 or more , not gaining weight after loosing and having a better health as a result. Will you take it? I will.Did you get leaner? I did.You and me personally dig our holes. If nothing may help 100%, I would use the remedy that works the best.

          • Gary wasn’t being very careful when he said “You can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want, as long as you’re eating fat and protein”. I think that those words are going to haunt him forever.

            I’m not disagreeing with you that LC diets naturally result in a reduction in appetite for many people, you and I included. However, you can’t exercise as much gluttony as you want. Calories still count. Just don’t bother trying to count them.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree, the phrase is not very careful if he meant the weight loss. In my experience, I can’t exercise gluttony if I want to continue loosing weight. Like almost everybody else, I have periods when I am more relaxed in my diet. I didn’t loose my 0.5 lb during December because of holiday food, but I definitely didn’t gain despite of significant increase in the amount of consumed food (may be 30% increase). I managed to stay in ketosis all the time.

            I remember the example from the “Protein Power” when some lady complained to Drs.Eades that she lost only 4 lb (obviously water weight) after one month of low-carbing while eating around 5000 K cal daily. She was told that metabolic advantage was not that huge.

            I think the gluttony is fine for the the maintenance . At least for many people.May be somebody indeed can get away with it while trying low-carbing for the first time. Definitely not everyone.

          • RE Your holiday food result: I’m impressed!
            I wasn’t in ketosis and gained ~2lb. It was probably mostly water weight as it’s now going away.

          • Anonymous says:

            2 lb going away is not bad at all.

          • Most short-term weight fluctuations are caused by things other than bodyfat gain/loss.

          • Anonymous says:

            I agree,most of the time there is no point to weight yourself. However, It
            makes me feel safe. If I weight myself while gaining 26 lb, m.b. it would
            stop me from gaining.

      • Razwell says:

        A calorie is NOT a calorie as far as FAT LOSS is concerned. That is why YOU continue to look terrible, and my brother is a contest winning natural bodybuilder.

        You did not have success Nigel. A smaller pear is not success.

        Meal TIMING is also important. Do not eat during sleep hours.

        • “A calorie is NOT a calorie as far as FAT LOSS is concerned.” Which part of “a calorie isn’t a calorie where weight is concerned” did you not get?

          “That is why YOU continue to look terrible…” Whatever you think I look like (and to be honest, your opinion means nothing to me), at least I have the courage to show what I look like. I have been much fatter, so my current build is a success. What do you look like, Razwell? I couldn’t give a **** about your contest winning natural bodybuilder brother.

          I hope you keep to your promise of not replying to me again.

          • Razwell says:

            No we are talking about FAT loss. Nice diversion tactic.

            We are talking about OBESITY- which is NOT too much weight, but rather too much FAT.

            WHAT you eat MATTERS. You will NOT get shredded on a pastry diet even if your calories are OK.

          • On a non-retarded diet (i.e. one with sufficient protein, not too few calories and/or not too much exercise), weight loss is fat loss.

            Fat people are carrying excess weight as virtually 100% bodyfat. The word “obese” is a poor choice, as heavily muscled people with low BF% can have BMI > 30.

            What you eat only matters if you’re on a retarded diet (i.e. one with insufficient protein, too few calories and/or too much exercise). Who’s talking about a pastry diet? Another pathetic strawman.

        • Anonymous says:

          What an ugly , hostile and unintelligent response! Shame on you!

  66. Nddean says:

    In response to the notion that the LC proponents are in it for the money is laughable in the extreme. The amount of money coming to those supporting LC is a drop in the ocean compared to what the carb-pushers have made and still make. It Taubes were in it for the money, he would not be doing this kind of writing. He is not about the diet; rather, the decades of shoddy nutritional science. If we had had the level of science in the space program we’ve had in the field of nutrition, we would never have gotten into space, much less the moon.
    I’m curious that a few people seem addicted to trying to debunk LC on this site; they are often curiously and vehemently mean-spirited, rather like closeted homophobics–to paraphrase the Bard: Methinks they protest too much.

  67. Matt Tanner says:

    An observation and a question: I spend the vast majority of my blog-reading time on politics, which can be pretty rough-and-tumble and vituperative, but it’s a picnic compared to the fat controversy!

    The question: Have you seen the report of the guy who ate nothing but potatoes (sometimes cooked with a bit of canola or olive oil) for two months, lost a bunch of weight (apparently from fat), and improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels? A story on it is here:

    Lord knows it’s not a scientific study, but this one man’s experience would seem (to my rookie mind, anyway) to raise some very interesting questions. Gary, if you have any thoughts on this, I’d sure love to hear them.

  68. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand how people who advocate low-carbs could honestly put on so much importance on the “Exercise more , Eat less” approach and then said-“o, low-carbing works too, if people behave”. The first Bright Angel’s post is a very good example of what it takes to succeed in the eating-less. To push such model of a weight loss as equally functional is just unkind and unrealistic. In order to expect people to behave don’t set them for a failure in the first place. O.k., no research that demonstrates the superiority of low-carbing is not perfect in your opinion. Somehow years of pushing “exercise more, eat less” on masses with dysfunctional result is more convincing? You know, I am not advocating pigging-out. I am for getting priorities right.

  69. I have finished GT’s new book and I like it. First of all, it’s easier to understand than his “big book”. It astonishes me how the most fundamentally-held tenet, of calories in/out is flawed… and dramatically so. What’s even just as astonishing is that GT is able to go back in time and show the influential people that made this erroneous theory prominent, despite the actual science pointing elsewhere (to carbs).

    Now, I am NOT taking this to the extreme and eat all the non-carb foods I want. Here’s why: when I eat too much, even if it’s non-carb, it “conks me out” for a few hours. Then, I need something sweet to help “perk” me up. That’s the way it goes for me.

    I do wonder about the role of calories, as although protein and fat influence insulin way less than carbs do, if I ate several eggs with lots of hollandaise sauce (protein and fat), would the quantity of insulin increase to meet the demand of “all that food?” I don’t know; however, what I DO know is that when I eat high-fat foods, like cheese, butter, and hollandaise, I simply don’t need much of it.

    About a year ago, I did low-carb and lost about 17 pounds in a month (I weigh about 350 lbs (25 stone)). It worked great the first few weeks, but then tapered off and I had several weeks of “zero” losses. It was absolutely devastating, especially as I was “good” and had only 20 grams of carbs daily, which is rough. Sadly, even that low amount may be insufficient to lose the fat I want and need to, as I simply cannot endure those “zero loss” weeks. I do not relish the thought of avoiding the foods I enjoy, as low-carb quickly gets boring, but going on a semi-starvation diet seems worse.

    • Mark… don’t take this as anything other than my own n=1 anecdote, but it took me 2 years to shed my 25lbs. Seriously. It was slowwwww. Turns out there were other things going on (ie: gut damage from an undiagnosed gluten intolerance, etc) that may have contributed to the slowwwwwness.

      Although, I also noticed during that time that while my scale wouldn’t budge for months on end, my body was changing. My scale weight would be the same as it had been for the past 2-3 months, but suddenly my clothes were loose. I was very surprised when, in the middle of what I thought was a ‘stall’, all of my undies were suddenly too big.

      Not to say don’t tweak things as you go along, but keep in mind that losing weight can take time… and that ‘zero loss weeks’ may not, in fact, be accurate. Your body composition could still be changing (slowly, sure, but hey… the time is gonna pass regardless).

  70. I figured out the LC way on my own, gave up the “white” stuff…sugar, flour, rice and lost 50 pounds. I eat all I want, to satiety. I do eat some carbs, but not a lot and only the “good” ones. Works for me!

  71. Anonymous says:

    Gary, you’re turning my world upside down, inside out. I guess that’s what you set out to do. I have to rethink everything I ever thought about nutrition and weight loss programs. I had come to the conclusion that it’s just a matter of calories in vs. calories burned. I’ve lost 20 pounds since October but I’m down to 1023/day to achieve that. Semi-starvation.

    Food pyramid. Balanced diet. The latter 20th Century doctrine was just dogma?

    Frankly I like carbs. I eat complex carbs, brown rice and whole grains, nuts, but I also like all veggies and fruits. I’m a fan of a hunk of beef steak, a salmon steak, and a chicken thigh as well, all of which I’ve severely limited.

    I will look for your latest book. I cannot claim to have absorbed all the science you discuss in Good Calories, Bad Calories so I hope your Why We Get Fat breaks it down for me.

    I just wondered about a few things so far:
    -Policy-wise HFCS ain’t good for the environment but meat production isn’t either. Have you considered what if?
    -Colon cancer is a concern in my family. High fat diets are not, shall we say, very easily “processed” as an end product. Concerns?
    -Is there a “sensible diet” where I can still eat those things I described above in combination with meats?

    I haven’t finished Good Carbs yet, and to be honest I’m reading it like the ADD person I am – back and forth, and then slamming it down and shaking my fist at whoever, so if you’ve answered these questions already, mea culpa.

    • I will look for your latest book. I cannot claim to have absorbed all the science you discuss in Good Calories, Bad Calories so I hope your Why We Get Fat breaks it down for me.

      You are in for a treat, as his book is much easier to understand. Yes, there are some “technical parts”, but I found that I was easily able to follow along.

      I just wondered about a few things so far:
      -Policy-wise HFCS ain’t good for the environment but meat production isn’t either. Have you considered what if?

      Taubes mentions that the argument over meat production is a worthy one; however, it is beyond the scope of concern for this material.

      High fat diets are not, shall we say, very easily “processed” as an end product. Concerns?

      I have the same problem when I eat too much fat; thus, I’ve learned that although fat is beneficial (in the absence of carbs), I must eat it in small quantities.

    • Paula says:

      GT turned my husband’s and my life upside down, too, thank God! GCBC is BIG and we dipped into it here and there, and then EACH read it cover to cover with great fascination (and in my case with many an annotation). I’ve bought it for 29 people, including 7 doctors. People who thinks it’s “too big” or “too hard” need to dart into it like a hummingbird to a feeder, and then go cover to cover. What a fascinating book, it’s enthralling, like a great mystery story. We were floored. Each lost 20+ lbs effortlessly, now have boundless energy, and the “hallmark of carbohydrate restriction” that Dr. Mary C. Vernon discusses: flawless Triglyceride & HDL profiles! (Personally my TG’s went from 152 to 54, HDL from 52 to 65, and this in 4 months!!!) Had never been off ‘bad’ carbs & sugar in my entire life – what vibrancy one attains! I didn’t know the world was like this. Also no more colds, no more aches & pains, no more sleepy drifting around 3 p.m…

      As for your questions, in GTs absence, let me state:

      Colon cancer is addressed in GCBC on pp. 54, 126-128, 132-135, 209-211, & 217. According to LOTS OF EVIDENCE in GCBC, what you need to worry about are foodstuffs made with white flour and sugar (which includes HFCS) causing colon cancer (and cancer in general). The witness to this is overwhelming in GCBC and WWGF (the colonial and missionary doctors’ testimony all over the globe is to the effect that indigenous peoples living on their traditional NONWESTERN diets DON’T GET ANY CANCER but they DO GET IT JUST AS SOON AS THEY BEGIN TO CONSUME A WESTERN DIET which is made of white flour (which includes “whole wheat flour” by the way) and sugar. And not just colon cancer: they get all the “diseases of civilization” – heart disease, stroke, diabetes, appendicitis, diverticulitus…DON’T EAT THE STUFF, WHAT COULD BE CLEARER?

      To me the greatest thing Gary has done is bring the witness of historical experience to us again.

      What I don’t see addressed is the issue of cancer due to BURNED meat or meat grilled over high heat. This continues to worry me and I look forward with some anxiety to GT addressing it. One thing that gets around that issue is the fact that the Drs. Eades sell a sous-cooker to cook meat which sous-cooker is esp. good for grass-fed meat — which is definitely what we should all be consuming – read Lierre Keith’s “The Vegetarian Myth” (2009) which Dr. Eades highly recommends, and do my husband and I after being blown away by it — warning, she will strike some if not most as a whacko feminist, but trust me, she is a GREAT and RIVETING writer. I’d spend 90 minutes FIRST, before reading her, in watching the 2007 documentary “King Corn” and its follow-up, which they shot the next year, “Big River” and THEN read Lierre. Otherwise what she says will seem impossible and overblown.

      You asked: Policy-wise HFCS ain’t good for the environment but meat production isn’t either. Have you considered what is?

      What IS good for the environment is raising cattle (and pigs and chickens) on pasture which creates topsoil, which is what Jerry Salatin does at Polyface Farm in VA – he is to be seen in the AMAZING documentary I saw for the first time last night called “Food, Inc.” (2009). Jerry Brunetti (who founded Agri-dynamics in 1979) is another amazing speaker well worth watching on YouTube – he talks about Louis Bromfield and his Malabar Farms which (while still being a working farm) became an Ohio State park in 1976. Bromfield turned the “dead soil” around, and by so doing, again made the water run into the aquifers instead of running off the land, made the soil live with organisms… Our CAFO’s (concentrated animal feeding operations) and their concomitant mega-corn and soy (and wheat) growing have, due to run-off all along the Mississippi, caused a dead zone off Louisiana the size of Connecticut. You really need to watch these documentaries. Not just for what we’re doing to the earth, the farmers (God help them), the animals (all of us help them!), but OURSELVES! Also our dumping of our HUGE AMOUNTS of excess corn on developing countries are helping to wipe them out, not save them. The corn, wheat and soy we grow is BAD FOOD in every respect. But now you’re going to think I’m wacky. Also read about Arpad Pusztai and Jeffrey Smith.

    • Paula says:

      Sorry, I meant JOEL Salatin!

  72. Anonymous says:

    Now, all of that has been upended. The new system allots points based on a complex formula that considers each item’s mix of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat. Making it more confusing, most people are now given more total allowed points — a kind of new math that requires recalculation of what had been ingrained.

    Under the old system, for example, the average new member of Weight Watchers was allotted 22 daily points and an extra 35 weekly points. Now, the average new member is allotted 31 daily points and 49 weekly points. So while two potato latkes are now seven points instead of five, their portion of the total is about the same (too high). But a Burger King bacon double cheeseburger is still 12 points, making it slightly less objectionable under the new regime. And that little pack of Oreos? Up a point, to three.

    “It’s a complete overhaul; it doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, the chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “Fifteen years ago we said a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If you ate 100 calories of butter or 100 calories of chicken, it was all the same. Now, we know that is not the case, in terms of how hard the body has to work to make that energy available. And even more important is that where that energy comes from affects feelings of hunger and fullness.”

    Amazing. The diet people are evidently learning some science. Well, it really isn’t proven that they are learning science, but they might be.

    Maybe the book GCBC might had had some influence in this. They would never admit it, most likely, if GCBC did influence them.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Now, all of that has been upended. The new system allots points based on a complex formula that considers each item’s mix of protein, fiber, carbohydrates and fat. Making it more confusing, most people are now given more total allowed points — a kind of new math that requires recalculation of what had been ingrained.

    Under the old system, for example, the average new member of Weight Watchers was allotted 22 daily points and an extra 35 weekly points. Now, the average new member is allotted 31 daily points and 49 weekly points. So while two potato latkes are now seven points instead of five, their portion of the total is about the same (too high). But a Burger King bacon double cheeseburger is still 12 points, making it slightly less objectionable under the new regime. And that little pack of Oreos? Up a point, to three.

    “It’s a complete overhaul; it doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Karen Miller-Kovach, the chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “Fifteen years ago we said a calorie is a calorie is a calorie. If you ate 100 calories of butter or 100 calories of chicken, it was all the same. Now, we know that is not the case, in terms of how hard the body has to work to make that energy available. And even more important is that where that energy comes from affects feelings of hunger and fullness.”

    Amazing. The diet people are evidently learning some science. Well, it really isn’t proven that they are learning science, but they might be.

    Maybe the book GCBC might had had some influence in this. They would never admit it, most likely, if GCBC did influence them.

    • The problem with Weightwatchers is in the name. Scales can’t tell the difference between bodyfat loss and muscle loss. Any fool can starve themselves on a large caloric deficit and/or run 10 miles a day but that’ll make them lose loads of muscle weight which is not good (unless they’re training to run a marathon).

      Clever people set up a small caloric deficit (if LC helps to achieve this, that’s fine by me) and do resistance training with weights to gain/maintain muscle mass.

      • Anonymous says:

        Unfortunately, your comment doesn’t have any relevance to anything I wrote
        or meant.

        However, if you enjoy writing this sort of reply, there isn’t any rule
        against doing so.

        Enjoy yourself.

        • Anonymous says:

          LOL ! So true.

          Nigel and all the other proponents of the caloric bank account model of obesity love to make comments that have nothing to do with what the original commentor said. I suppose they cannot accept that their beloved dogma is nothing more than a belief system with little to any peer reviewed science supporting it.

          Professor Stephen Hawking would most likely at least comment ( if asked) that the laws of thermodynamics do not and cannot explain something like the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors.

          I would like to know how Nigel , Colpo, McDonald, Hale and Krieger explain the fact animals can make more fat even when semi starved. Another blatant contradiction to the bank account caloric model.

          • I would like to know how Nigel , Colpo, McDonald, Hale and Krieger explain the fact animals can make more fat even when semi starved.

            Because they don’t.

            You still haven’t provided any robust evidence that they do other than “My TOP EXPERT says so, so it must be true!”

          • Indeed.

            In his 1968 book “Overweight: Causes, Cost, and Control”, Jean Mayer observed that “These mice [Zucker rats] will make fat out of their food under the most unlikely circumstances, even when half starved.”

          • If Zucker rats are managing to store bodyfat with a low calorie intake, they are obviously reducing their metabolic rate enough to remain in caloric excess.

            Zucker rats are relevant to humans how exactly?

          • Anonymous says:

            Why on earth would rats, or any other organism for that matter, purposely or not, reduce their metabolic rate in order to remain in caloric excess? That makes no sense on any level. What makes sense is that Zucker rats’–and humans’–metabolic rate/activity level slows down because (as in as a result of) they can’t access the energy stored in fat cells–and can’t use ingested carbohydrates for energy, either, because they are too busy converting them to fat, thanks to the excess insulin in the blood stream.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thanks, Anthony. 🙂

          • In fact, Zucker rats can die of starvation with excess body fat.

            Also, hibernating ground squirrels will store excess fat in the fall even if they are prevented from eating more than they would in the spring.

            These are just a couple of examples of the “decoupling” of caloric intake and fat deposition in mammals.

          • It’s an example of adaptation (by natural or selective breeding) in non-human mammals.

            In humans, this doesn’t happen, as was shown by the Minnesota Semi-starvation Experiment. The human subjects were fed 50% of the calories they would normally eat to maintain their weight.

            They lost 40% of their original body weight (most of it body-fat, but also some muscle mass) and got down to ~5% body-fat. There was only ~10% reduction in metabolic rate not due to weight loss.

            So, what was your point again?

          • Galia L. says:

            As Dr. Eades said on some occasions,” rats are not just little furry humans”. Not all what is right for rats is right for humane. I think, however , that some point may be made – the point of the hormone power. If a body gets the message to store fat, it follows the message. We humans don’t receive the massage to hibernate, but we receive the message to store fat while eating diet containing the excessive amount of carbs.

          • Exactly.

            Well said.

          • Hormones control the distribution of body-fat, but they can’t create body-fat out of nothing. The rats were only half-starved, so there was still food available. They probably reduced their metabolic rate to that of a snail.

            Humans only store body-fat when there is an excessive amount of anything (except for a diet of 100% protein – see Rabbit Starvation). When there is a deficit, humans burn mostly body-fat. See

          • Anonymous says:

            So are you insisting that the law of energy conservation applies to humans, but not non-human mammals?

        • Sadly, what you wrote is irrelevant.
          So a calorie isn’t a calorie because WeightWatchers says so? LOL!

          • Anonymous says:

            I never said or wrote or meant that!

            You do have excellent childish creep skills in debate and discussion. I
            haven’t seen those displayed so clearly in a long time.

            I’m sure you enjoy doing it. Others have remarked on your abilities as well
            in this regard..

          • I see that your sense of humour bypass operation has been a success.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sarcasm —

            Your humor bypass operation was an even better success.

            Weightwatchers has a new formula and it treats the different macronutrients
            differently than the old formula.

            The article I cited included the following quote from a Weightwatchers

            ‘ “It’s a complete overhaul; it doesn’t get any bigger than this,” said Karen
            the chief scientific officer for Weight Watchers International. “Fifteen
            years ago we said a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” ‘

            If you look carefully, you can see the reason for the sarcasm of

            “Weightwatchers discovers a calorie isn’t a calorie isn’t a calorie……”
            as a headline.

            It was so obviously a piece of sarcasm, I completely failed to allow for the
            fact that someone would fail to see it.

            If so, I apologize for misleading you.

            I never in my life thought that someone would take the literal meaning,
            especially given the quote that was given showing where it came from.

            I’ll be more careful from now on and try to remember to indicate sarcasm
            with graphic winks and smiles, if not full explanations of sarcasm.

          • Yes. Be more careful next time. There are no visual cues in internet posts. ;-p

    • Galia L. says:

      I heard from people that years ago,at the beginning , the WW promoted a low-carb based point system, then turned to then-in-fashion low-fat. Does anybody remember it? I have been it USA for only 11 years.If it is the case , all what they need is to dig it out.

      • Anonymous says:

        Some recent information on the formulas and “theories” that WeightWatchers have used is in the Wiki article (and section ) at:

        Weightwatchers has considered the formulas it uses as protected under intellectual property rights, even to the extent that formulas used in a published US Patent are claimed to be proprietary.

        US law says that information in a US Patent is not proprietary, but if it is a physical product or process such as in manufacturing, another manufacturer cannot copy your product from your patent and sell it without your permission (including paying a fee if desired). This exclusivity of manufacture and sale exists for the duration of the patent (currently 20 years). There may be some legal issues with the use of small bits of a patent for product X in product Y, and I have no knowledge of what those might be.

        An equation may not be patented.

        The threats of lawsuit for disclosing the formulas used by WeightWatchers to determine the point values of foodstuffs and to determine the allowable point values for consumption by the customer are most certainly bogus.

        The information in the Wiki article appears to describe the main thrust of the WeightWatcher system as a variation of the energy in limitations with some extra allowance for extra eating depending upon how many activity (exercise) points you gain. There are allowances for age, sex and body weight to determine your daily and weekly points allowance.

        So far, there has been no hint of the system ever having been a low carb diet.

        The evidence suggests that WeightWatchers is on the secretive side of its inner workings, and that gaining much information from them on the prior working details of the diet plan could be difficult.

        Reading the whole article at the link above is probably worth your while.

        For example there is an alternative method used by weightwatchers called a “Simply Filling” approach where certain types of foods are prohibited and others are freely allowed so long as don’t eat past the point of being full. Someone can make the point that this “Simply Filling” approach could have some similarities to the low carb approach where certain subgroups of carbohydrate rich foods are forbidden and you can pretty much eat as much as you want from another list of foods but you aren’t supposed to stuff yourself — eat till satisfied, not satiated .

      • Yes Galia, when I was a young woman in the 60s and 70s the WW diet was low carb and allowed more protien and worked very well as a matter of fact.  When the company was sold to food processors they changed to diet to include too much carb and it became just another low calorie diet that didn’t work.

  74. Mike Schudel says:

    Calories in = Calories burned through exercise + Calories burned through normal resting metabolic processes + Calories excreted as waste + Calories Stored

    In other words, the calories in do not magically disappear, they must go into one of these 4 places (can you think of any more?) and if you can influence any combination of these factors without the not-included factors compensating for the change, you will lose weight. To me this is a much more completeexplanation than Calories stored = calores eaten – calories burned.

  75. Mike Schudel says:

    Was a little fast on the posting. What I meant to say is I’d like to propose a new law of thermodynamics (or a new statement of it) that is more applicable to obesity:

    Calories in = Calories burned through exercise + Calories burned through normal resting metabolic processes + Calories excreted as waste + Calories Stored

    In other words, the calories in do not magically disappear, they must go into one of these 4 places (can you think of any more?) and if you can influence any combination of these factors without the not-included factors compensating for the change, you will lose weight. To me this is a much more completeexplanation than Calories stored = calores eaten – calories burned.

    • Galia L. says:

      Human body is a complex self-regulated system.Everything what is going on inside could be described more or less accurately with a very sophisticated model. Try to imagine computer models for a weather forecast. We know how hurricanes develop, but can’t count each detail most of the time.

    • Anonymous says:

      Technically, the first law of thermodynamics need not be clarified much beyond the statement of conservation of energy is obeyed. There has never been a need to simplify it or elaborate much more upon it except for those who lack enough science education to correctly apply it.

      That has been the fundamental nature of the problem.

      Given that for a properly trained scientist, there is no need for further “clarification”, for a nutritionist or other less trained scientific person, the elaboration as restricted to a biological application (ie the words metabolic processes cause that restriction – automobile engines don’t have resting metabolic processes, for example, and nuclear reactors don’t fit well within this scheme). So, it really isn’t sensible to propose it as an alternative first law.

      It would be a good start at “specialization to biological processes”, and may help with the classic problem of the nutritional misapplication of the basic thermodynamic law. You may have overlooked including the growth phenomena where the calories of new tissues for a larger body may be more properly considered as something other than calories stored which is often considered to be fat, in the traditional reader’s mind when hearing of the nutritional version of the first law.

      My recommendation is to fix the problem of simply ignoring the thermodynamic pontifications of the scientifically challenged medical and dietary writers out of hand.

      I sometimes ask those who speak of the “First Law” to tell me all four of the accepted laws of thermodynamics, and describe what is the primary implication of each one. I never get any answers to that, and the conversation appears to wind down rather rapidly. Which I don’t mind in the least.

      • Mike Schudel says:

        Wow, that was wordy. Sorry, I wasn’t clear that I don’t mean to replace the law or really formally propose a new law, simply that when the ignorant invoke the first law of thermodynamics to explain why it MUST be calories in and calories out, that the factors within the system are more than eating, fat storage and exercise. Excretion and base metabolic rate (like the idling of a car) will also play into it.

        I was also trying to point out (rather ineffectively) that the factors can influence each other. Such as what Taubes points out, that exercising can influence the amount we eat. That eating less can slow down metabolic rate and decrease the desire to exercise possibly reduce the number of calories excreted. So invoking the ‘First Law’ as just storage = calories eaten – calories burned off is incomplete and hiding alot of details.

        • Anonymous says:

          The simple single fact is that the real first law of thermodynamics
          discusses neither food nor calories but metely states that energy must be
          conserved – it doesn’t turn into fairy dust or magically appear and
          disappear. Paraphrases of the law that specialize in food and calories are
          just that — some person’s thinking that calories in minus calories out =
          net (fat) storage is not automatically a correct statement of the
          conservation of energy.

          You attempted to enumerate (list) the ways that energy gets partitioned or
          divided up, and that is a step towards clarity.

          The problem is that effectively uncomprehending idiots are attempting to
          rephrase the basic laws of thermodymanics – which were conceived of by a
          group of real genius class scientists and tested by yet other groups of
          first class scientists over the following 150 years.

          Your comment, that storage = calories eaten – calories burnt off is
          incomplete and hiding a lot of facts, is very insightful. Good thinking.

          People can die of prolonged diarrhea, so it is correct to include a physical
          path of calories leaving the body which have not undergone complete
          digestion down to CO2 and H2O end products, such as are used to determine
          the caloric content of foods by the oxygen bomb calorimeter method.

          Nice thinking.