On the greatly-exaggerated demise of the insulin-hypothesis

Last week, I tweeted a New England Journal of Medicine image challenge, part of the journal’s continuing education program for physicians. I suggested that it might be a source of comfort to those who were worried about the insulin hypothesis as a viable hypothesis to explain obesity and excess fat accumulation. Although I linked to the NEJM page and the link worked for me, I gather some who tried to click on it were presented with other image challenges and were wondering, for instance, why I cared if they could diagnose a pneumothorax when they saw one. So here’s the image challenge I had in mind, and the correct response is below. The relevance should be reasonably obvious.

Download NEJM Image Challenge (PDF)

Speak Your Mind



  1. Jim Purdy says:

    If a picture is worth a thousand words … I just don’t know what to say about that picture.

  2. Nikhil says:

    Keep the updates coming, Gary! 🙂

  3. Jana says:

    I see the point, but here’s my question: isn’t this extreme insulin lipohypertrophy still quite unusual? I’m a type 1 diabetic (diagnosed a little over 8 years ago), and although I rotate my injections (and now my insulin pump infusion sites), there just isn’t that much viable injection/pump site “real estate,” as we like to call it, and not every (and I would suspect not even most) long-term insulin user* ends up with even small visible extra fatty deposits.

    I’m not against your basic thesis, but I think that evidence like this suggests that (as you’ve certainly argued before) something about different individuals’ susceptibility to excess fat accumulation in the presence of insulin plays a huge role in the outcome.

    *I know quite a few, despite the rarity of type 1 diabetes. There’s a very active online community of (mostly type 1) diabetics.

  4. Howard says:

    This problem can also be reduced substantially by following Dr. Bernstein’s recommendation of eating a low-carb diet so that the amount of insulin needed is small (and any dosage errors are also small) — http://sn.im/diabetessoln

  5. Bob says:

    The needles were clearly too palatable.

    • johnnyv says:

      No no no!
      Fat is controlled by the brain.
      Needles hurt so the brain causes fat cells to increase in size at insulin injection points so that you have some cushioning effects for subsequent injections.
      Makes perfect sense!

      • terrence says:

        Sorry johnyv – needles REWARD the fats cells, thus they get fatter, and want more REWARDS .

        Now, THIS makes perfect sense.

  6. thras says:

    I think that a case against the insulin hypothesis can still be made. I’ll preface it by saying that I am a great fan of Taubes. After reading his book, I cut carbohydrate from my diet and remain 75 pounds down, 3.5 years later.

    Here are the best difficulties with the Taubes hypothesis that I can present:

    1) Excessive insulin clearly has a lipogenic effect, as evidenced above. But is that effect linear? From our a priori understanding of how biological systems tend to work, is it probable that there are other moderating factors that regulate how insulin induces lipogenesis? Look at all of the different types of fat in the body and the areas that it is located. Look at the phenomenon of “fatty liver”, etc. This may be more complicated than just “amount of insulin.”

    2) The carbohydrate to insulin causation chain seems more complicated than Taubes presents it. The GI index people, for example, would claim that all foods produce some sort of insulin response, and that the response is not simply predictable from carbohydrate content.

    3) Good Calories Bad Calories really falls on its face when confronting human biodiversity. Human diets have varied widely from environment to environment since human beings discovered agriculture 10,000 years ago. The common myth that we are adapted for the conditions of 100,000 years ago just does not fit the genetic facts (see Moyzis and Harpending in PNAS on the evidence for the massive acceleration of human evolution as population has expanded in the last 10-40 thousand years). Human beings have adapted to the diets of their recent ancestors, and different populations have adapted differently. The Lapps (ie. Renée Zellweger) have a special gene for digesting meat more effectively. I would not be surprised to see similar sorts of genes among the Inuit. And evidence of carbohydrate adaptation is fairly clear among Europeans and other groups that have had agriculture for long periods of time. There is a reason that all of Taubes’ best examples of population maladaption to the Western diet are from historically non-agricultural peoples.

    4) Exercise. Taubes is certainly correct that the greatest effects of exercise on body fat composition have nothing to do the 2nd law of thermodynamics. He has acknowledged that there may be hormonal effects (including improvements of insulin sensitivity), but I think that his weak acknowledgement of this fact really is not enough. Exercise can have huge impacts on body composition and Taubes needs to change his argument from “Exercise does not work” to “Exercise does not work in the way that you think it does.”

    5) Low calorie dieting. Taubes has often denied the efficacy of calorie deprivation as a means to lose weight. He is wrong. It works. And it even works at about the calories per pound rate that you would calculate from the energy density of food and basal metabolic rate, etc. Taubes seems to be aware of this, and when pressed he will acknowledge that the real difficulty of low calorie dieting is that the pounds do not stay off long term. But that is a different argument from the one he makes. What Taubes needs to say is that the real problem with the starvation approach to weight control is that a 150 pound man who has just starved himself down to 150 pounds is very different from a 150 pound man who has allowed his body to adjust itself down to 150 pounds through carbohydrate restriction. I have been both. The one individual is starving, with all of his organs operating on a nutrient deficit. The other individual is far more healthy. It is not just my single data point here, there are mountains of evidence that starvation (LCD and VLCD diets) reduces body weight effectively. When Taubes says that it does not, he just sounds crazy. The argument that Taubes makes gets at an important truth, but it needs to reflect reality. And the weak argument that calorie deprivation diets work through carbohydrate deprivation needs to be chucked as well. There is really no evidence of this, and as someone how has lost weight both ways (and much prefer carbohydrate deprivation in every way), I really do not find it to be the case.

    • Geoff says:


      I’ll defend Gary on at least one point, number 5. Low calorie dieting absolutely does not work at the rate that we would expect it to at all. Calorie restriction causes a downregulation of metabolic rate which results in less weight being lost than what would be expected. Of course where he is wrong is that this downregulation is driven directly by the brain in response to leptin signaling (and possibly nervous signaling in response to a degredation of muscle tissue if you buy the lean mass setpoint theory that Paul Jaminet is putting forward).

      • thras says:

        “Calorie restriction causes a downregulation of metabolic rate which results in less weight being lost than what would be expected.”

        Let us put some numbers to that.

        The maximum BMR + activity reduction that anyone sees from very low calorie dieting turns out to be on the order of 15%. Or 300 calories per day for a grown man. The calorie deficit that we are talking about is on the order of 1000-2000 calories per day.

        If we were talking about a BMR + activity reduction of 70-80%, then your sort of argument might be correct. No one ever sees anything near that. Further, the BMR + activity reduction seems to go away very quickly once normal feeding is resumed, making leptin/setpoint type arguments unlikely.

        • LeonRover says:

          The single factor explanations are are ALL strawmen, each strawman ingesting cherries, or saturated fat or cholesterol or . . . . .

          There is no science – there are large numbers of studies, showing different effects, in differently chosen sets of humans, or mice or rats, most human studies being of low statistical significance.

          There are bunch of conjectures – but very little data of importance – no points are settled, adipostatically or otherwise.

          As an author by the name of Gary Taubes recounts on page 318 of my copy of GCBC:

          “Hanssen noted, “a diet of 1,850 calories [112 gm CHO, nearly 60% fat] will reduce weight as quickly as a diet of 950 calories at University of Clinic of Copenhagen [over 50% CHO. ca 125 gm]”

          Thus a meat diet, with a few vegetable, was the reducing diet of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s – GCBC again. There were no recommendations to eat “super-sized” portions.

          The underlying science or paradigm is not settled, but the dieting praxis is quite settled.

          Atkins undermined his own praxis by coming out with his own conjecture concerning mechanism – which was easily refuted.

          The science will eventually be settled, but the current “war of the conjectures” on underlying mechanism throws no light on what constitutes a reducing diet. How to assure adherance in the face of “healthy sports drinks” etc is a challenge for each individual, family and school.

        • Razwell says:

          Lyle McDonald is NOT at all an obesity expert. The set point has been established soundly. The work of Dr Douglas Coleman has EXPLODED obesity research. The man is a GENIUS. Obesity is about BIOLOGY, NOT numbers.

          You have been fed a load of rhiono poop by Lyle NON -expert McDonald.

          • LeonRover says:

            “soundly” ??

            Unlike blood sugar, insulin or leptin, it has no measurement.

            Just another vague idea.
            Not even a “marker” like Apo-B.

    • Mike says:

      While Thras is a fan of Gary’s work, I’ m not sure he’s representing his work or the arguments against it very well.

      1. What difference does it make if the effect is linear or non-linear? There is an effect. A significant one. I don’t remember Gary saying carb-induced lypogenesis was the only way people get fat or the only factor. Just that it’s a significant factor and needs to be studied more. At the macro level, too many people are eating too many carbs all day long and inducing insulin insensitivity and ultimately diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, etc.

      2. Not sure about your point here. Gary has said protein can also induce insulin release. Step back and look at the macro level. Look at the discussion of first order effects here: http://waroninsulin.com/nutrition/irisin-the-magic-exercise-hormone

      3. I don’t recall Gary saying every single group of people on the planet is sensitive to carb induced lypogenesis, only that it explains our modern epidemic of metabolic syndrome better than the prevailing hypothesis that most fat people are gluttons and slugs. People’s appetities are honed by evolution and are controlled by feedback loops that will drive their behavior over the long term. Finding individuals or groups of individuals that aren’t sensitive to insulin doesn’t negate the whole hypothesis and the first order effects we’re seeing.

      4. You seem to agree with Gary in the first part of the paragraph, and it seems you only issue is that he’s not saying it loud enough, then you put forward a tangential statement that excercise can change your body composition. Gary’s only point is that excercising to burn calories doesn’t work very well. It increases your appetitie (those feedback loops again) and doesn’t really “burn” all that much energy. There are other benefits to excercise, and it will even help you lose weight by making you more sensitive to insulin, but again these aren’t first order effects. The topic is losing weight, not whether you can change your body composition with excercise.

      5. Gary has never said that low calorie dieting doesn’t work period. He said it’s unstainable for long periods of time. Even if it was and they were equally effective, what would you rather do, starve yourself all day long every day or be satiated all day every day while maintaining the same weight. Here again you are agreeing with Gary that low carb dieting works, so I don’t understand why this argument is included in your overall thesis that there are problems with the insulin hypothesis. I also don’t agree that there is no evidence to say that starvation diets work by restricting carbs. It’s simple math. Low calorie diets have lower carbs than normal diets as others have also pointed out.

    • Razwell says:

      Virtually all baritatric surgery patients, although they lose substantial weight, remain clincially obese. The average BMI is around 30 to 32. They still are clinically obese eating after only about 1,000 c alories.

      This result is consistent with many , many animal experiments. Mice are AWESOME model organisms to study obesity – SUPERB. They are VERY much like us.

      THAT observation alone should tell you how DEEP morbid obesity is. The implication from the scientific research is that there is something metabolically different about these individuals that results in obesity INDEPEDENTLY of caloric intake. VAST unknowns about morbid obesity.

      Science has firmly established that fat tissue is an IMPORTANT and ESSENTIAL endocrine organ, NOT a passive storage site.

      Science has established obesity is NOT a “passive accumulation of calories, but rather a DEFECT of some sort in the involuntary homeostatic body weight control mechanism. 400 genes are involved in the regulation of body weight.

      Science has firmly established obesity is NOT about willpower. Morbid obesity is a DISEASE state.

      Science has firmly established body weight in both humans and animals is INVOLUNTARILY regulated through extremely complex neural circuitry. All we “control” long term is a narrow range the lower end of our set points. But volunatry factors are extremely lmited.

      Variations in body weight are almost as genetic as variations in height. Top geneticists know this.

      Science has firmly established volunary factors such as eating healthfully and exercising , while great for health, do NOT affect body weight much over the very long term. We must respect the extreme limitations of voluntary factors to substantially affect body weight lon gterm.

      None of this is at all controversial among top, pioneering obesity scientists such as the great Dr. Douglas Coleman.

      Most of the Internet insists on asking “what cheese is the moon made of?” in regard to obesity .

      Plenty of Internet gurus like to take pot shots at Gary Taubes, but they ought to get their own science in order and stop asking what cheese the moon is made of – getting essentially NOWHERE……..

    • Chris says:

      I actually agree with you on 5, but only in that I feel Taubes presented himself poorly. I wanted to argue with him when first reading that part of the book, until I finally grasped that when he says “calorie reduction doesn’t work to lose weight” he means “sustainably”, i.e. once the weight is off, the calorie-counter is in a “what now?” state and will gain the weight back if they eat to maintain. This isn’t made clear in the text and is only ascertained from his other positions and the studies he cites.

      I have living proof; my roommate and I both lost weight. I’m down 45 pounds (over two months), he’s down 80 (over eight months). I’m at my “optimum” weight per BMI, he’s now below his.

      He did it by extreme caloric restriction. I did it by cutting out carbs and going in to ketosis. He lost all muscle tone and strength and looks very frail, while I feel good and have actually gained quite a bit of muscle from occasional workouts.

      He’s now at the “what now” phase and borderline anorexic about eating. I eat as much as I want (just no carbs).

      Calorie counting works, but it’s less healthy IMO.

      • James D. says:

        cutting calories helps you lose weight… yeah, but you might as well say that cutting the us population in half would halve its number of murders per year. thats a big DUH. the key is not to reduce the population, but rather, to reduce the number of folks doing the murdering (carbs).

      • Woodey says:

        Speaking of being in the “what now” phase Jimmy Moore is over 300lbs and a low carber. Hmmm is the low carb diet failing him? What’s happening to him now is the same thing that happened to him on the low fat diet. Jimmy counts his calories, he also tests his blood sugar levels and he is grossly overweight. Yet for whatever reason he still is a figurehead for the low carb community. Of course the easy thing to say is he has some kind of damaged metabolism and some kind of internal hormonal issue. The other side of the story is there might be a problem with the diet. The damaged metabolism doesn’t add up since he lost so much weight back in 2004 and has been a low carb man ever since. So did he have a perfectly working system while he lost the weight and then over the years low carb damaged him and now he is messed up? If he had a damaged metabolism to begin with then he shouldn’t have lost the amount of weight that he did.

        Can’t blame the diet or faulty science that regulates the low carb diet, that would be crossing the taboo line.

        Do you have any photographs of you and your room mate? I would love to see some before and after photos to at least show some supporting evidence to back up your claims. A big part of the scientific method is providing evidence and submitting it for critique, something I’ve noticed since GCBC came out that isn’t being done.

    • TOMAS says:

      I am a 51 year old cardiologist who himself has lived the low fat life all my life. I was fat until I decided that enough was enough. On january 1 this year I started to exercise vigorously and daily for 30 minutes, since I wanted to inprove my conditioning and hopefully also lose some weight. I did not change my diet and clearly ate more. Three months later I was fitter but had not lost any weight. My cholesterol was lower, as were my triglycerides. April 1 (fool’s day…), I discovered the smartphone app “myfitnesspal”. At 283 pounds body weight, I restricted myself to 1500 calories plus whatever calorie bonus I gained from exercise (usually 300 calories). As of today I have lost 40 pounds. I continue to execise vigorously daily, but not because I have to; I seem to want to (I have not figured that one out yet-endorphins ?). 3 weeks ago my friend (and endocrinologist) mentioned the low carb concept to me. Since I had been a faithful follower of the AHA/low fat life, such change was conceptually difiicult. After 3 weeks, however, there do not appear to be any problems, and, admittedly, i still probably eat more high GI foods (wasa crackers and the occasional peach). I keep loosing approximately 2 pounds per week and I am ok with that. I occasionally get hungry, but not as much as before. If I “go over my calorie limit, I exchange exercise for it. That seems to work for me, for now. I have 40 pounds to go and will follow the log GI concept plus exercise going forward. The hardest part for me has been to confron my obese patients every day and try to explain to them the low GI concept. It blows their mind (they too, like me, have been “low-fat-diet-indoctrinated) and usually think that I have lost it. We’ll see. I welcome any comments. You can call me directly at my toll free personal number 855-892-4725 or email me at tvybiral@aol.com.

  7. Geoff says:

    What a pretty little strawman. No one is saying that insulin is not an integral part of fat storage. We are saying that the brain controls the release of insulin from the pancreas, the brain controls glucose absorption in response to insulin on the tissue level, and the brain controls the trafficking of fatty acids in and out of fat cells in response to insulin. So yes, when you inject exogenous insulin into someone, they may gain fat in that area, but this still says nothing about the progression of obesity in the human body.

    • Warren Dew says:

      “the brain controls glucose absorption in response to insulin on the tissue level, and the brain controls the trafficking of fatty acids in and out of fat cells in response to insulin”

      So the brain caused those lumps, eh?

      • Geoff says:

        No, the person injecting insulin caused those lumps.

        • Warren Dew says:

          If “the brain controls glucose absorption in response to insulin on the tissue level, and the brain controls the trafficking of fatty acids in and out of fat cells in response to insulin” as you say, then it was the brain “controlling” the response to the insulin that caused the lumps, not the insulin itself.

          The fact is, once the insulin is in the body, the brain plays no further part. The most you might be able to legitimately claim is that the brain plays a part in the initial release of insulin.

          • Exactly. Once the hormone insulin is in the blood stream, the shunting of sugar into the fat cells happens without the brains guidance or intervention. At most you can say that the brain got the pancreas to secret the insulin — but it’s equally possible that the brain had nothing to do with it and these systems were operating independently. (I don’t assert that’s true, just that it sounds slightly ridiculous to say that the brain instructed those fat cells to get bigger when insulin can do the job perfectly fine.)

      • LeonRover says:

        Endogenous vs exogenous.

  8. Peggy Holloway says:

    Wow! How can anyone deny the role of insulin in obesity? Very graphic depiction.

    • BlueEyesSF says:

      Well, Peggy, if you’re being paid to develop a brain-based drug to combat obesity by dulling “reward” centers, then of course you have to deny the insulin hypothesis lest you lose your cushy research spot and high salary.

      Where does Guyenet’s money come from? What does he hope to patent? Follow the money, follow the money. . .

      • jocko271 says:

        Uh, if you’re looking to follow the money, why don’t you look at your best-selling guru first.

        How many books does Guyenet have listed on Amazon? He has no vested interest in whether you believe his theories or not. Your guru does. Best to ask “Qui bono” here first.

        And spare me the responses (“I lost 75 lbs after reading GCBC and I’ve only 140 lbs left to go, even though I haven’t lost any more weight for the last 3 years and actually am not gaining weight and in any case I’m still fat, low carb still rules, how can you pick on my widdle guwu like dat!”).

        • Blitzkrieg says:

          The “best-selling guru” is not required to sing a certain song to get payed as is Guyenet. Whereas the “best-selling guru” can write anything he wants and will generate a bestseller if the things he writes appeal to readers, Guyenet will immediately be cut of from funding if he just farts the wrong way. So yes, the saying follow the money is very appropriate.
          And of course I will spare you the mega tonnes of anecdotal evidence that proves Taubes right and Guyenet wrong as you already seem to know of it.

          • jocko271 says:

            “Whereas the “best-selling guru” can write anything he wants and will generate a bestseller if the things he writes appeal to readers…”

            Exactly my point. What appeals to readers more than to hear “It’s not you, it’s your insulin. I doesn’t matter how many calories you eat. You can eat as many as you want. IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT.”

            You evidently have not figured this out yet. Guyenet actually works in the research world. Taubes has a lot of nerve telling everyone they’re wrong after a lifetime of never having worked on any research. Always easier to be a critic, they say.

            There is anecdotal evidence for every single diet out there. And you didn’t get the sarcasm in my comment, YOUR anecdotal evidence is incomplete, because there are many many fatties that are low carb and NOT LOSING WEIGHT. Jimmy Moore? Loren Cordain? Atkins himself? Hello? You zombies lose a little weight and you become total fascists.

          • Warren Dew says:

            jocko271, I take it you believe the actual researchers who claimed they’d produced cold fusion, rather than Taubes’ debunking of it.

          • Blitzkrieg says:

            jocko, my simple minded friend. Jimmy Moore lost a lot of weight, didn’t you even take a look at his blog before using him as a negative example? And btw, Taubes bases his theory completely on research done by researchers from the “research world”.
            Based on your arguments you appear to posess a rather simple structured mind, which is totally ok. But maybe then it would be more appropriate for you to discuss things from your realm of expertise like room-cleaning or lawn-mowing or whatever the fuck your genius mind lets you be good at.

          • Sam says:

            Is a well known fact that some athletes carb load before exercise. They take a lot of carbs but they burn it with exercise, they don’t get fat, but insulin is anabolic hormone that also regulate fat and glucose absorption and help in development, that why many bodybuilder and athletes inject insulin. Carbs is very different on an obese, also is doing exercise to try to burn enough calories to lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight, have metabolic problems like most obese persons, a diet high on carb will make harder weight lost, is a scientific known fact that insulin and insulin sensitivity influence fat metabolism and can cause lipids deregulations and other health problems. If you were born a Kitavian, have eaten and exercise all your life like one, have no metabolic problem and aren’t obese and plan to keep the same lifestyle then you could probably eat carbs like them. As some competitive athletes and bodybuilders do and that don’t negate that insulin is a fat regulator. Bodybuilders and competitive athletes are very small minority and that certainly doesn’t apply great majority of the obese trying to lose weight or having a lot of health problem caused by the over consumption of carbohydrates since they were born.

            Starvation result in weight lost if it’s done for long enough time, that also not in question. But hunger is always present during calorie depravation that why most diet don’t work. That the big advantage of a low carb diet, it’s a lifestyle where people can lose weight with less or no hunger some (not all) eating equal or more calories. Does not matter if insulin is the complete answer or if you believe in it is the most practical and doable that does the best for the great majority of obese that most if not all have metabolic problems, low carb is the best known solution to date.

          • TopaComa says:

            Are we forgetting that Gary Taubes WRITES for a LIVING? So he certainly should want to make money – that’s how he feeds his family!!!!1 What does Mr. Guyenet do?

        • terrence says:

          Please folks, DO NOT FEED THE TROLL – jocko271.

          HE/SHE/IT never reads Taubes’ posts or any comments. HE/SHE/IT just dumps the same-old same-old crap and nonsense.

          • jocko271 says:

            Terrence, I’ve read GCBC and WWGF and was low carb for 4 years. I was 40 lbs overweight and lost an initial 10 lbs on low carb, and then stayed at that weight for years (still overweight).

            It wasn’t until I started exploring the brain’s effect on bodyfat that I reached my goal weight. It took 4 months. I eat a 90% starch diet and I can eat all day. All bloodwork is perfect.

            Why am I a troll if I disagree?? Is that the kind of “science” you’re all so committed to here?

          • jocko271 says:

            Blitzkrieg, yes aren’t we all so simple minded when we don’t agree with you and your widdle guwu? Your argument consists of belittling people who disagree. And… people who clean their rooms or mow the lawn are somehow simple minded? Not only does that have nothing to do with fat-loss science, it’s pretty much the dumbest thing that’s been said on this blog, which is saying a lot.

            Blitzkrieg, did you allow your 3rd grader access to your computer while you were out? You can’t seriously think you’re going to scare away dissent with witless comments like that.

            And BTW, Jimmy Moore lost a ton of weight and GAINED MOST OF IT BACK, ALL ON LOW CARB. Do you ever read things you don’t like to hear? Seems to be going around on this blog…

          • BlueEyesSF says:

            Of course we should ignore jocko, Terrance. Because he’s tossing insults as fast as he can in order to hide the fact that Guyenet’s dependent on grants for his ressearch – grants from Big Pharma, grants from foundations & the NIH – all of whom are in bed with Big Pharma.

            We know Taubes gets his cash from his publisher. We understand it’s in both Taubes’ and Guyenet’s interest to keep the “controversy” alive. However, we can get outta this manufactured fake debate by consulting any reputable medical textbook, all of which agree that insulin causes fat storage.

            To debate the question, or act as if there’s a debate, is just to be grossly ignorant of basic medicine. It’s like being a flat-earther. Don’t even bother to engage in this nonsense.

            And I hate that Guyenet thinks I’m so stupid I can’t pick up a textbook and read it on my own.

          • jocko271 says:

            Wow, for a bunch of know-it-alls who claim to have no time to argue with such unenlightened Philistines, you sure are falling over yourselves to protect your guru. Think about why you are compelled to trash dissent instead of listen to it. It’s called cult worship.

            Let’s see, BlueEyes, your’s and everyone else’s argument here is to ignore me, tell me I’m stupid, and/or claim that anyone who shows evidence against the insulin hypothesis is taking secret money from Big Pharma. And I’m the one who’s supposed to “act as if there’s a debate”??

            Where is your debate so far? Is the fact that you all lost a few pounds supposed to prove Your Guru and the insulin hypothesis right? No one is disputing that insulin can cause fat storage. It’s just that Your Guru is willfully ignoring the many other hormones that do the exact same thing and/or oppose the actions of insulin when insulin is in the bloodstream.

            Not to mention, um… almost 2 billion Asians who eat mostly carbs and are much thinner than we in the Western world. Does he wish to debate that? Or even mention it briefly to you in his best-selling books? He’s also ignoring the fact that many low carbers do not lose weight, and some even gain weight. He’s also ignoring the fatty liver disease that ketogenic dieters develop, as well as the thyroid disease and kidney problems and renal stones.

            The problem is not that you can’t read a textbook. The problem is that you and Your Guru are too immature to have a real debate because you can’t deal with info you don’t like.

          • Alexandra M says:

            It’s always interesting to see how emotionally worked up people can get about this topic. I can certainly understand that there’s plenty of research, preferably in the form of clinical trials, still to be done and meaningful debates still to be had about where limited research money can best be spent; but I notice that when people get viscerally enraged about the insulin hypothesis they’re usually the people who take it personally if other people aren’t punished for their “sins,” in this case the sins of sloth and gluttony. They’re not interested in finding the way to end the suffering – yes suffering – of millions of obese and diabetic people if that way doesn’t involve more misery. The idea that people who are already fat can eat eggs and bacon and foie gras is as outrageous to them as a government program to distribute mink coats to the homeless.

          • Sam says:

            I find it frustrating to read those that espouse high carbohydrate consumption through a citation of say, a culture of African tribesmen who work in the fields 12 hours a day and are very healthy eating 78% carbohydrate, even do with a total lower carbohydrate consumption compared with SAD. These studies are totally useless for those of us who work in a cubicle and maybe get to a gym 4 times a week.

          • jocko271 says:

            Alexandra, I would have no problem with people eating eggs, bacon and foie gras all while losing weight and staying healthy if that were actually why the program worked.

            But anyone who starts at 300 lbs and all of the sudden cuts out 2 liters of coke a day and all kinds of bread, pizza and cookies is of COURSE going to lose weight, feel better, and maybe get off meds, for many reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with insulin. They have effectively halved their calorie intake while filling up the rest with more nutritious food.

            Let’s not paint everything with the Insulin Brush just to sell books, is all I’m saying. And it’s definitely time for someone to say this, whether you like to hear it or not.

          • Galina L. says:

            I found from my experience that macro-nutrient content matters a lot and the consumed food often creates the sensation of a satiety or the lack of the satiety independently of the calories content. I think the effect may be more prominent for some people than others. I finally CAN eat less when I started to use LC diet, it was not so easy before. I am just curious, do you have a problem with that?

          • Michael says:


            Check your stats. Those 2 billion Asians you are talking about aren’t as thin as you’d like to think. There is an signifacnt uptick in the obesity statistics for China. A quick google search will find pleny of information for you. Here is just one article. http://chinaelectionsblog.net/?p=15106

            Pick another carb heavy country. Here is a nice statistic for India. In 2002 there were over 1.5 million CVD related deaths. China with a sligthly larger population was second at over 700, 000 deaths from CVD.

          • jocko271 says:

            Michael, so the carbs obviously caused their CVD right? Of course I should have expected this on this blog. It’s all about the carbs here.

            They’ve been eating rice for thousands of years in those countries, and just now obesity and CVD are on the rise. Your point is that all of the sudden the rice has started to cause them obesity and CVD?

            How about the vegetable oils they have access to now? How about the refined sugar and sodas and wheat products and MSG and thousands of other toxins?

            When will you people use your brains and ask questions that challenge your biases?

          • Alexandra M says:

            “How about the refined sugar and sodas and wheat products…”

            I think those are all carbohydrates.

          • FrankG says:

            There are some who seem to delight is characterizing Gary Taubes position as “any amount of carbs will cause obesity and insulin is the work of the devil!”. Or that Dr Lustig says fructose is a “poison”.

            Nothing could be further from the truth.

            These are simply examples of taking an argument to its extreme, in order to make it seem absurd. These are not examples of reasonable, critical thinking being applied. If you have evidence-based proof to support your own position please present it so that we can debate it as rational adults… calling posters here “zombies and fascists” is not conducive to scientific debate. Reasonable people do not need shock tactics to open their minds. If your own evidence does not stand on its own without you resorting to personal attacks on your “opposition”, then I suggest that shows how weak your own position is.

            Carbohydrates (especially in the form of Glucose) are essential to human life — although not necessarily to be obtained through what we eat. http://www.ajcn.org/content/75/5/951.2.full

            Insulin is also essential to human life — check out photos of Type 1 Diabetics prior to insulin’s discovery if you doubt me. http://wellcometrust.files.wordpress.com/2011/11/type-1-diabetes-patient.jpg?w=580&h=387

            The issue as I see it (and as I read/hear from both Gary Taubes, Dr Lustig and many others) is one of the quantity and quality of what we consume these days.

            For me: a diet high in sugars and refined starches, which leads to chronically raised insulin and then on to insulin resistance/excess fat mass/inflammation/glucose intolerance etc… is currently the best working hypothesis to explain the current epidemic levels of Type 2 Diabetes, Obesity, Hypertension, Cardiovascular Disease, Alzheimer’s, Cancers etc… etc…

            I do however, always remain open-minded and IF you feel that you can present me with a convincing and reasoned argument — without calling me names or insulting me — then please feel free to do so. I keep hearing that “the CIH is dead” but I have yet to read how it died? I read that insulin injected into the brain is an appetite suppressant but I know from personal experience (shared with many other diabetics) that insulin’s peripheral effects are quite different — increasing both fat storage and hunger. If your proof is that some people traditionally eat diets high in starches (but not sugars and refined starches) while remaining lean and healthy then I am still unconvinced. As I said above, “quantity” and “quality” are the keys in my view.

            Carbs are NOT all bad, Insulin is necessary for life, Fructose is a “dose dependent” toxin much like alcohol — a little may do no harm and could well be beneficial but above a threshold it causes damage.

          • Sam says:


            People often ask why, historically, some cultures stayed lean while consuming starch, like the Japanese, French, and Italians. They ate starch, and didn’t gain weight, and don’t have the obesity epidemic that we have in the U.S. (yet). Of course, this is no longer true, as these cultures are doing their best work to catch up to U.S. rates of obesity, diabetes, and the cluster of diseases that stem from these, but historically this was the case.


            Three reasons, in my mind. First, they didn’t consume a lot of sugar – in fact, at the peak of their health they consumed probably less 10% of what we consume today in sugar as a nation. Second, they didn’t consume a lot of glucose at any one time – even though the ratio foods they ate were high in carbohydrates, their actual glycemic load was quite low. Third, their ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats was largely in balance. Asian and Mediterranean cultures consumed abundant fish (omega-3) and so little junk oils (omega-6) that they were always in a perfect balance, between 1:1 and 3:1 (omega-6 to omega-3). In the U.S. the average person is consuming 30-60 times more omega-6 than omega-3 fats!

            So, I eat a lot of fat, but I profoundly restrict my intake of omega-6 fats.

          • jocko271 says:

            Alexandra, refined sugar and soda are both poisons, that was my point. It’s time to stop using body-building lingo and start to distinguish between Agents of Disease and Real Food.

            There are many different types of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Some of them are good for us and some of them are bad. This “macro-nutrient” thinking is entirely outdated.

        • Al says:


          I’m curious, could you illustrate your before and after diets? You said that you ate low-carb and lost some weight, then didn’t budge. Subsequently, you ate 90% starch and have reached your goal quite quickly.

          Could you perhaps list a typical 5 day menu from each type of eating regimen? This is interesting.



          • jocko271 says:

            Al, sure. I originally started with Atkins several years ago, which was when I lost the initial 10 lbs eating mostly steak and vegetables. When weight loss stalled several months later, I tried a very low carb diet of about 70-80% saturated fat, cream, butter, fatty meats, etc., in other words, just the diet Taubes claims to be the one optimal for health because it doesn’t raise insulin. When that didn’t work, I tried zero carb. I lost no weight at all and in fact developed a 6 mm kidney stone after 2 years on the diet, for which I was received treatment in order to pass. I also developed non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, showing as fat globs around the liver on my CT scan. I was also developing some kind of prostate problem because I was urinating 4 times a night, not to mention horrible constipation. I was 38 at the time.

            Now I eat potatoes, sweet potatoes, taro, manioc, corn, millet, oats, beans, peas, seeds, root vegetables, green vegetables and salad with occasional meat. I’m trying nuts now too to see if they make me gain weight or not. Occasional fruit but no refined sugars: the diet is ANCESTRAL STARCH. I’ve since ditched the butter, cream and even olive oil. The carb ratio is about 90% depending on the day. I don’t measure calories and I’m never hungry.

            The menu plan is pretty much the same fare every day. I try not to overly soften the food through high-temperature cooking and I try to eat the root vegetables cooked and then cooled to maintain the resistant starch. Basically the crux of the regime is to fill up on as much fiber and resistant starch as you can because those things are NOT digested by the body, they reach the large intestine intact and are fed on by the bacteria there. This is the way skinny and diabetes-free hunter gatherers are living and have been living for millenia, so I feel that’s the kind of diet we’re made for.

            And I reached my goal weight of 145 lbs in 4 months. When I stalled on Atkins and very low carb regimes I was 180 lbs. No more nighttime urination, fatty liver is gone, and I feel much more free to eat how and when I please, as long as I keep starch/fiber to a certain percentage. Hope that helps and thanks for your interest.

          • jocko271 says:

            Al, I should also add rice to the list above. And another very important aspect is that nothing is salted or spiced in any way, so it’s pretty bland if you’re used to a typical western diet. However within a day or two you get used to it. It really re-teaches you what real hunger is. If the thought of plain sweet potato or white rice is delicious, it means you’re ready to eat again.

            I like it because you simply CANNOT overeat on the diet, not only because of the high volume and low caloric density of the food that easily fills you up, but because there are no crafty restaurant-style or cookbook techniques that can override your brain’s natural ability to sense when you’re hungry or not, or full or not. The food is simple but still satisfying if you stick with it.

          • Sam says:

            You are freak or eating very calorie deficient diet. What you say you’re doing is proven doesn’t work for the great majority of people. Even all the trials have proven it. You need a very deficient calorie diet and hunger is a problem with high cabs and compliance long term is a big issue.

          • FrankG says:

            Can you confirm that is 90% of calories from carbohydrates, or are you maybe saying that 90% of the volume of what you eat is made up of foods generally seen as carbohydrate sources (although not just carbohydrate) — like those you mention?

            Normally when discussing diets the percentages given are as percentages of calories per each macronutrient.

            I have concerns that a 90% carbohydrate diet only leaves 10% for both protein and fat which seems too little — given that these include essential nutrients* which we must eat (as we cannot make them ourselves)… I wonder if any of the lost weight was lean tissue as a result of too little protein? Unless (as I suggested) the 90% includes sources of protein and fat as well as starches?

            In any case I fail to see how you feel that your own n=1 experiment — while valid for you — should so strongly negate the experience of others who have had similar success with an LCHF approach, such that you come here and accuse them of being mindless zombies?


          • Al says:

            Hi Jocko,

            This is interesting. I’m wondering of what descent you are? Male @ 145lb goal. Makes me think Asian or another peoples whom have incorporated carbs into their diets earlier on. Maybe I’m wrong.

            I received the same effects from meat and vegetables as you have with high ancestral starch. I’m not here to defend any theories. I find that eating too much fat is a problem when trying to lose, and can even lead to gains – as others have reported. This all in a VLC-LC context. I think we might have swung too far in the other direction – scarfing down too much fat. I eat once per day, with sometimes an occasional small/snack on days where my activity levels are higher.

            Interesting how things work.



          • jocko271 says:

            Al, happy to help. I’ve never said LC or VLC can’t work as a weight loss strategy, only that when it works, it does not work due to the Insulin Hypothesis. It works because it reduces calories either recalibrating the brain’s reward centers or simply because it replaces the crap food we were eating previously with more nutritious, less calorie-dense foods that fill you up for longer.

            This may be why high fat caused you weight gain; fat, especially butter and cream which are soft and easily digestible in the small intestine, are not reaching your ileum where food reward is processed by local nerves and sent to the brain for assessment, telling you that you’re full. Those foods are also really dense in calories.

            FrankG, I’ve said countless times already that this is not an n=1 experiment. It is a diet modeled exactly on those of hunter gatherers, excluding the Inuit who on further inspection are not that healthy (though it’s true their high fat diet didn’t cause them CVD, which is a point for Gary).

            And as I also already said, it’s not about macronutrients. It’s about teaching your brain what real hunger is by giving it real foods in their natural state and making sure those foods are NOT pre-processed so that most of it reaches the ileum intact and unabsorbed. Obesity starts in the brain, not locally with a randomly-choosen and demonized hormone.

            Sam, how can I be calorie deficient if I’m never hungry? On LC I was hungry all the time and constantly overate.

          • Sam says:

            Well if you are not calorie deficient and losing weight maybe you are sick or have a special genetic makeup or simply lying because you just have an agenda. Whatever, if your are losing weight while not calorie restricted while eating all these food what you have it does not apply to the general population.

          • jocko271 says:

            Oh and not Asian, Caucasian with history of eating disorders (up until now) and obese mother and grandparents.

          • jocko271 says:

            Sam, why would my plan apply successfully for the entire history of humankind but all of the sudden not apply to the general population today?

            You guys are so myopic with the science you don’t even look around you anymore. This is the problem with all the reductionist bullshit spouted here. Maybe you don’t have everything figured out yet in one nice, neatly packaged insulin hormone. The publishers of Taubes’ books would love for it to be so, but the body doesn’t work that way.

          • Sam says:

            Well there you go now is clear again the agenda. What history of mankind the one with very few food resources that were hard working 12 hrs a day to get enough food to survive? That will apply to today general population after eating a way that causes many metabolic disorders, yeah!

          • jocko271 says:

            Sam, get yourself some education about life in the jungles and on the plains of Africa, in the highlands of Papua New Guinea or the rainforests of South America. There is food everywhere and the average time a hunter gatherer spends collecting food daily is 4 hours. What “hard work” are you talking about? In a lot of ways eeking out a living for them was much easier than it is for us today in the western world.

            Your sarcasm would be less boring if you were better informed.

          • Sam says:

            The only miss inform troll with an agenda that has more than demonstrated here is you. This compulsion to insult all that had benefit following LC is well document, the need to constantly posting on someone else posts that you don’t agree is no science it only say more about you that anything else.

          • jocko271 says:

            Sam before you try to enter into any discussion with anyone on this blog, I highly recommend Strunk and White’s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Elements_of_Style

            The fawning and asslicking of your Guru will be better understood then.

            But until then, for as far as I can understand you, you say I have an agenda. You who are writing on the site of a man who has made heaps of money selling best-selling books which is aligned with a multi-million dollar low carb industry full of snack bars, shakes, whole meals, diet books, cookbooks, seminars, etc., not to mention the book-selling, audio and DVD industry which tags along with all that. How can you not hear how stupid you sound?

            I’m giving you the facts about our evolutionary heritage but all you can do is repeat the same mantras. It’s known as religion. And it’s very sad.

          • Galina L. says:

            Jacko,’it is really great you found what works for you, out of curiosity, how much did you eat while on Atkins diet? My opinion that LC food often is very nutritionally dense, and some people manage to get too much nutrients eating several LC meals and snacks during their day because it is what they are used to. I think my decision to limit my meals to two small LC ones a day and fast one day a week helped me with my weight loss.

          • jocko271 says:

            Galina, I was thinking about that the other day. It’s hard to compare my diet then to my diet now, since the food I ate then was so much denser calorically than now, even though now I’m so much more full when I eat. I would estimate that on Atkins I was eating about 2600-3000 kcals a day of meat and fat, with random vegetables here and there. At first I was full and never hungry, but after a month or two, I was back to snacking in between meals just like before low carb. That’s when weight loss stopped. When I tried zero carb, the snacking just got worse.

            For me, success meant not feeling deprived when I was hungry and preferibly, never feeling hungry to begin with. I think that goes for most people hoping to lose weight. So if the fasting works for you, that’s great, but it just made me feel more restricted than I already was. Not good for long-term adherence. Now I probably eat at total of 2200 kcals, but remember that a lot of that is fiber, water and resistant starch that goes right through you, so the real kcals absorbed are even less. This is a bonus “filler effect” you’re not going to have with LC because of its density.

            I agree with you on LC food being very nutritionally dense. This is neither bad or good in an evolutionary sense. But no hunter gatherer got any amount of meat and fat he wanted any time he wanted. He didn’t just open his fridge and there it was. He had to hunt it over days or even weeks, meanwhile eating root vegetables and other high-volume foods. It think that’s just one of many contextual issues that go out the window when we reduce health to one single hormone.

          • Sam says:

            How much envy for Taubes success and the way he has help so many people. It’s really sad the need you have of trying putting everyone down.

            English may not be my first language but at least I speak and write in 3 languages.


            An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man” or “to the person”), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or belief of the person supporting it.[1] Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy.[2][3][4]

          • Galina L. says:

            Different people have different issues to address, I used to eat too much of “healthy” low-fat food (like big bowls of cabbage soup, heaping salads with whole grains) and being hungry all the time and preoccupated with a food. I never eat prepared or fast food more than 2 – 3 times a year. My guess is that some people have problem with too much insulin in circulation and need to control their condition with strategies that diminish insulin production like limiting carbs, limiting the amount and the size of meals. Of course, it is not only hormone involved, and my understanding of the whole process is a simplification. Others, like you, can successfully use diet carbohydrates as a source of the energy. From your description of you reaction on the Atkins diet you had trouble using fat as a source of the energy, so you stayed hungry . No one in real life measures level of hormones. We have to look on indicators like satiety, necessity to snack, energy level. Probably, it is a good idea to check the dynamic of blood sugar during the day. I am only guessing, but I gave the problem a lot of thoughts during more than 4 years since I started to be involved into thinking more about the theory of a weight-loss. Before it was simple – eat less , exercise more. Didn’t quite work for me, unlike low-carbs diet. I wish I knew what makes people different. Look, one person looses 100 lb, another develops fatty liver on pretty much the same diet. It is just fascinating to know what they do differently, or how differently their body reacted and why. Your body had enough of extra nutrients to accumulate it around your liver in the form of fat, but your other systems sent signal of hunger! The problem can’t be solved by just eating the appropriate amount of food, it suppose to be the right kind for a particular person. Fat and proteins are right for thous who lost weight on LC. I don’t think the LC diet just reduces energy content of the diet. I think it addresses hormonal issues that people have , although it didn’t address yours. It doesn’t make GT wrong, just put the emphasis on the complexity of the problem. He gave the push in the right direction to people like me who were locked in the exersise-more-eat-less hamster wheel. It didn’t do much for you, but do you want others who have different needs to be left behind? BTW in mine case GT’s advice was not enough, but I got initial push in the right direction. We all have to find a diet regiment that allows us to avoid overeating, and no author of a book or a blogger could give a 100% right answer. From the comments I read I can see some differences even among LCarbers .

          • Galina L. says:

            I think jocko271’s posts are very interesting in the light of current discussion on several diet and nutrition blogs the possibility of fatty liver while staying in ketosis. My take from it – overeating is bad for your body , period, undependable of macro-nutrients composition. Many LCarbers(me include) claim that excluding carbs takes care of excessive appetite, but we should not try to muzzle thous who claim over-vise. We are at a very important period of collecting a data. On any diet the weight loss beyond initial stage is not easy in the majority of cases. We have to look for the regiment that helps control appetite, not the safe way to over-eat.

          • FrankG says:

            So Galina,… how do you suggest we react to someone who promotes his contrary viewpoint or experience by name calling and insulting everyone who does not share his viewpoint?

            I agree that trolling is best ignored but I have also said I remain open to reasonable discussion. As is already evident in the above comments.

          • FrankG says:

            My point being that most of us here (certainly myself and others as I read it ) ARE open to other ideas and ongoing discussion… what Gary Taubes (and many others) present is an hypothesis [only] but one worthy of further investigation. I have never heard him state or write that he is 100% convinced he is right, and that his way is the only way, or that LCHF is the only optimal diet for all humans. As above: these extreme ideas are put about by those who seek to ridicule alternate viewpoints, rather than encourage them.

            As above: we are told that the carbohydrate + insulin hypothesis is dead but I have yet to see convincing proof of this… meantime I am called a mindless zombie for believing in this “dogma” as if I am a religious zealot following a guru; instead of an open-minded individual, who seeks knowledge from evidence-based proof, and applies critical thinking to draw my own conclusions.

            I think you will find that the majority here ARE open-minded to discussion of both sides. Perhaps you need to be wary that those you seek to defend are not the ones who are preaching a dogmatic viewpoint that does not stand up to scrutiny but instead relies on ridicule of its “opposition” in an attempt to seem valid.

            I’ve no doubts that carbs+insulin is NOT the whole story of obesity etc… but I am currently convinced than carbs + insulin are major players; and trying to dismiss any further discussion of their roles by using terms like “dead”, “coffins”, final nails” etc… is not convincing me in the least.

          • jocko271 says:

            “We should not try to muzzle those who claim otherwise”. Thanks for that, Galina.

            And I give credit to Gary for not muzzling me either. Come to think of it, maybe he just doesn’t give a toss, since he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

            FrankG, I ignored you the first few times because I feel that if you were really as inquisitive and genuinely interested as you claim in getting to the bottom of fat loss and health, you would have accepted the evidence I cited about the diets of hunter gatherers and present-day Asian countries who eat a carb-based diet. Or you could have at least checked it out for yourself.

            You also ignore the fact that Jimmy Moore is 300 lbs after gaining back 115 lbs of his initial weight loss, though he is LC-world’s leading cheerleader. You also ignore the evidence in every single university physiology and biochem textbook that has taught for years that fat can be lost even when insulin is high, and that fat can be gained even when insulin is low due to a myriad of other hormones the actions of which are ignored on this blog. You ignore the thousands of obese people with normal insulin levels and no insulin resistance. You ignore the thousands of thin people with high insulin levels and/or insulin resistance.

            Since you obviously don’t read what I write, I’ll repeat it again for you: Why is someone who disagrees with your cargo-cult science a troll??

            Just face the facts Frank. You don’t want to hear contrary evidence that upsets your biases. That is why dialogue with you is useless. Take a tip from Galina and Al, who are actually trying to learn and apply their brains to this problem in a manner that serves the science and the sick people who need help, not the fame and bank account of a best-selling writer.

          • Galina L. says:

            I don’t approve of a name calling and I think when somebody includes attempts to antagonize opponents during the exchange of arguments , it is a poor discussion form mainly because it often prevents the rude person to be taken seriously, I try to avoid doing so myself, but I am not a mother for everyone. Sometimes it feels like people comment just in order to went out their frustration and are rude because they assume in advance no one would listen anyway.
            One of reasons I participate in discussions and continue reading blogs – I feel like I don’t know enough. I am in ketosis half of the days of the month mainly because it helps me to manage moods and migraines. It works for me on many levels. I think jocko271’s post indeed contains a valuable information about how to screw-up a LC diet. I am interested in details. Don’t you? It is how I am prepared to react. Why he started to need snacks but I and you didn’t? How comes the fat in his food kept him hungry? I think many people who would be thin 100 years ago managed to get fat with super-available addictive food , and thous genetically thin people may require less carbs limitation than me, for example, or some diabetic T2. Me and you should avoid carbohydrates, but for somebody in the population the removing of manufactured food could be enough because they genetically handle carbs better, or may be they react on flavors strongly and LC food with MSG prevents them to reach satiety. I am just speculating, of course.
            Hello, jocko271, please, no more name calling, behave!

          • Galina L. says:

            just imagine you lost 100 lb and normalized blood sugar like Frank, would you support the idea of limiting carbs? Ditching carbs works for many, for whom starvation diets fail. That is why many people praise his books. For whole my life I couldn’t understand what was wrong with me , why I couldn’t just eat like other people around me till I was full without gaining weight. LC food brought to my life some sort on normalcy, I am full now after my meals, lost weight and in the maintenance state. On another hand, you are a good example it is not working for everyone. It didn’t take Jemmy Moor to a normal weight. Could your please give us more details about why did you became hungry on Atkins after your weight loss? What did you eat, how often? I think the diet you follow now could be more difficult for some people. With LC I can cook the same food for my family as for myself, but skip or limit starchy part, holiday season is also not a problem. Do you have to follow a high starch low-reward diet to maintain your weight-loss, or it could be relaxed? I think you may not get enough of proteins and fats which is fain for a while especially after getting a fatty liver but not on a long run.

            We are not in the same metabolic state as the populations who eat traditional carbohydrates like rice and taro , it takes years of consuming Western diet before western deceases appear.

          • Al says:


            Obesity is definitely much further upstream than insulin alone, notwithstanding insulin’s role in it. I don’t buy this food reward theory, but I do believe that it is most likely in the brain. As part of my masters program in exercise physiology, I had to take nutrition, but also used every available term paper to selfishly research obesity and metabolism. From what I have read, something happens in the brain, and then it is all downhill from there. I believe that something is inflammation – high circulating energy in the blood can cause it (possibly due to mitochondrial dysfunction); high blood glucose; high insulin levels; possibly palmitic acid; most processed shit – vegetable oils, fructose, and wheat, etc.

            Bottom line is, this WOE works for jocko, because it gets at the source (I think) in the same way low-carb does for others. The inflammation model explains a lot of the observations and synthesizes why carbs work for jocko, and meat and veggies works for me. It also explains some other ideas that Galina and I found out – that we have to fast (not that it’s painful in the least) to enjoy the benefits.

            It really could come down to… what inflames your individual brain? Cut it out, and your good. There’s got to be something else to swapping gut biota and gaining or losing body fat on a dime. Gary wouldn’t disagree – he would just like to see meaningful and supportive research in whatever direction is closer to the truth.


          • FrankG says:

            Why does it have to be “brain” or “body”? Why can’t a circulating hormone have both a central and a peripheral effect? Possibly even different effects in different tissues? And (as Dr Lustig maintains) different effects in the short and long term?

            I am not trying to silence discussion here. I am still open-minded to accept evidence-based proof from others. But I am not convinced simply by the assertions of someone in a blog’s comments. If you want to convince me that I am wrong, you will need to provide primary sources that I can read for myself and apply my own critical thinking.

          • Al says:


            If your comment was to me, I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m simply trying to explain different observations and fit them into a general concept – this is the reason I joined in this conversation, because jocko has the same results from a different intervention.

            It certainly could be (and probably is) a result of both peripheral and central effects, but since I am busy enough with my schoolwork and you are not grading any of my papers, I am not wasting precious time slinging around articles on the Inet. I only stated what I believe as I move forward in my understanding.



          • FrankG says:

            Thank you Al : my first paragraph suggesting that it may be a mistake to focus only on the brain was directed at some of your comments, but my second paragraph was not. I read your posts here as respectful of others and not trying to ram an opinion down anyone’s throat.

            I have been accused and taunted on the grounds that I am “ignoring evidence” which has not yet been presented. What am I to make of a “a diet modeled exactly on those of hunter gatherers, excluding the Inuit…” an eating plan that apparently was applied “successfully for the entire history of humankind but all of the sudden [does] not apply to the general population today” Am I to assume that everyone except for the Inuit ate this way? What hunter gatherer group was this (there have been a great many) and what is the source for this claim of an exact model? Where did my ancestors living in ice age Europe have year round access to a diet that could be used to model 90% of energy from carbohydrates?

            Perhaps others find this kind of specious reasoning interesting… I really don’t. I’d rather deal in evidence-based proof than taunts and sarcasm.

          • jocko271 says:

            Frank, is it really my responsibility to teach you what a hunter gather is an how he/she eats? This information will take you 5 seconds to find with a Google search. You are using a very lame argument implying that the information is somehow “not there” if I don’t give you a direct link to show you what Kitavans eat, or any other HG group.

            I gave you many many concrete examples above, more than once, of many logical conflicts which the insulin hypothesis cannot explain, which you continuously ignore and refuse to address. Now you’re saying I only taunt and spout sarcasm. If you can’t answer the questions I asked above, why should I waste time doing research for you? For as much as you want to believe you are open minded, you are a slave to your biases or you are just lazy. This is exactly my problem with your guru.

            In any case, the burden of proof is not on those who eat mostly carbs and stay lean and have done for millenia (the Chinese, the Kitavans, the Japanese, the Papua New Guinea Highland tribes like the Mek and the Kombai, East Indians, etc. – how many times do I have to repeat this?? LOOK IT UP.). It is on those who contend that the insulin these people have all been raising every time they eat with no ill effect is all of the sudden bad for them.

          • Sam says:

            More diets myths comparing and extrapolating conclusions that don’t apply to the general american population.

            Dr. Robert Su
            Kitavans can consume high carbohydrate diet (300 grams from carbohydrates out of a total of 1200 grams from yam, sweet potato, and taro), which consists of a whop 69% of their daily calorie intake. But, we take a close look at the data in Dr. Staffan Lindeberg’s article, the amount of their daily total calorie intake was 2,197 Kcal. At the same time, the daily calorie intake for the average America man was at least 2,500 Kcal with an average daily amount of carbohydrates (55%) at 1,375 Kcal or 343.75 grams. As mentioned in my previous reply, the quality of carbohydrates consumed by the Kitavans and the Americans is remarkably different. Apparently, the one for the Kitavans was low in glycemic index, in comparison to the one for the Americans. I have had any data on the Kitavans’ blood glucose. I suspect that theirs were lower and less erratic than the Americans’.
            Based on my preliminary review, the Kitavan diet is lower in both total daily calorie and carbohydrate consumption, in comparison to the typical western (American) diet. Thus, they are lean and healthier.
            The other is the Kitavan people’s physical activities. Last year, I gave a presentation to my alumni association at DC. In question and answer, a Johns Hopkins endocrinologist agreed with my assertions that carbohydrate are killing. But, he pointed out that our ancestors probably could tolerate the carbohydrate foods better than we do today, because, in the agricultural era, they had to work hard physically all day long without a stop other than the break for meals. They probably did not allow the their BG level rise so much before the BG was spent. In addition, he forgot that we have refined carbohydrates so much, which posse high glycemic indices and glycemic loads.
            What Nick Lane has said in his book “Oxygen” is the following, p 275; “based on a 25 year study, the book [The Okinawa Way written by a Japanese cardiologist] argues that the secret of the Okinawans… goes beyond genes, diet, and exercise to their relaxed lifestyle and low level of stress. The Okinawans have a word for it, “tege”, which means ‘half-done’: forget timetables, forget finishing today things that can be done tomorrow. I suspect they are probably right.”
            In the most comprehensive study pertaining to the Okinawan diet and longevity entitled, “CALORIC RESTRICTION, the Traditional Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging” published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, the following was found; “Findings include low caloric intake and negative energy balance at younger ages, little weight gain with age, life-long low BMI…and survival patterns consistent with extended mean and maximum life span.” The study concluded; “This study [Caloric Restriction, the Traditional Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging] lends epidemiologic support for phenotypic benefits of CR in humans and is consistent with the well-known literature on animals with regard to CR phenotypes and healthy aging.”… It’s known that they eat more fish and fibrous vegetables and lower calories. Simple logic could conclude that they eat fewer non-fiber carbohydrates, which, along with reduced stress, may account for their increased average lifespan.

            Low Carb Diet Research


          • jocko271 says:

            Okay Sam, so you’ve just proved calories-in vs. calories-out, which has been my point all along. No one said indigenous populations eat MORE food than westerners, only that they eat mostly carbs.

            What are you trying to say? That you are low carb and now you don’t know why?? Get your story straight.

          • Al says:


            I think that the largest problem with these discussions of seemingly opposing dietary theories is that once someone who has been under the sometimes severe conditions of ill-health and obesity and has tried many options, finally finding one that brings them back to health and relative leanness, there is much anger and emotion mustered when an opposing theory beings to make some sense, however the messenger delivers the message.

            I haven’t read back to discover what has expired between you three but emotions, and their resultant smirking and quibbles seem to be taking over this discussion – a very bad thing, for all of us.

            That being said, I was going to write earlier to Sam (albeit with less crass than jocko) that you, with your last post, have indeed supported his argument – and not that this is a bad thing. I think that we should lose grip on our respective dogmatism – it gets us collectively, no where. It took me a while, but I’m there – although still frightened to eat some carbohydrate foods – yes FRIGHTENED – and I’m a male, 42, very active, blah, blah blah. Its a process for us all, but I’ll get over it though.

            Let’s move the discussion forward from here – with no animosity, insults, or clever quips of the like. I value these exchanges and would not to see them all go to hell because we get emotional and protective.


          • Galina L. says:

            Al, I am sorry the conversation got that much under your skin, we indeed defend our diets because it worked for us. There is a lot of discussion in a Paleo community right now about how to make one’s diet more flexible, because some guys tried to add more carbs and see no wrong effect.http://freetheanimal.com/2012/02/why-low-carb-for-everyone-advocate-kevin-geary-got-himself-banned.html#comment-114257 Not my case, but I am not you or them or Frank.

            I personally don’t think that somebody in early 40-s reasonably healthy will get a decease immediately or shortly after he starts eating more potatoes if the person doesn’t have an additional reason to follow a LC diet like diabetes or glucose intolerance or epilepsy. Things get changed slowly, I am sure you will be able to notice how different changes in diet affect your health. There are markers that somebody’s health is in a suboptimal state like FREQUENT infections, catching every flue going around, frequent need of doing root canals or cavities, worsening of allergies, gaining weight and loosing energy, raising without a reason fasting blood sugar (I am describing how I used to feel at 45 yo), it is possible to get all that from stress,of course, not from a diet.
            You can’t model yourself on somebodies example, so only your own experimentation will give you an answer. Personally, I would not experiment with features of Western diet like sugar, coke, wheat, O6 oils, excess of fructose. It is unreasonable to get scared, relax.

          • Al says:

            Hi Galina,

            The conversation did not get under my skin, it just seems that high emotion tends to prevent discussion.

            I agree with everything that you stated here. We each have our own process – I know for me, anytime I introduce starch, I gain weight – unexplained by calories in/calories out; food reward; or gremlins. Aside from the negative association that I have with starch/carbs in general, I enjoy a diet full of meat and vegetables, in fact I eat more vegetables than meat (but they are cooked in animal fat or olive oil). However, it is interesting to me how many people seem to be doing fine when adding back some starch.

            If it is a case of healing the system, Richard Nikoley’s case follows through – he didn’t gain body fat until his 40s, I believe. How broken could he have been? Enough to heal quickly and return to eating starch. I was fucked up by the age of 6, and fighting the good fight, ever since. It may take me a bit longer to heal (if there is such a thing).

            I unscientifically and jealously equate the 30 or 40 somethings who have only gained weight later in life (and under 100 lbs at that) and then subsequently embark on a low-carb or paleo diet for a few years, then can return to eating starch, as the same types as those who can eat whatever they want and never gain an ounce. Theses folks are not the case studies for the metabolically deranged, I’m sure.

            This is why “YMMV” is a very important statement.


          • Galina L. says:

            Approximately one week ago I somewhat relaxed my diet experimenting how much carbs would take me out of ketosis (I was encouraged by some well-meaning advice), as a result I got myself a 36 hours long migraine. I have been on LC for several reasons, managing migraines and pre-menopause symptoms are among top priorities. I hope I learned my lesson, we have to find out what works for our needs.
            If you are satisfied with you diet, why not to stick with it?

          • jocko272 says:

            Al and Galina, and anyone else on this blog who would like to actually use their OWN brains instead of mindlessly following what the Guru says:

            Here is Richard’s blog, where he has begun eating carbs after not losing weight for several years on low carb, even though he works out, does intermittent fasting, etc. You can follow his results as he updates his experiment here:


            Al and Galina, just drop the “macro” thinking altogether and stop eating the salt, sugar, and processed crap. Eat your food minimally processed and stay away from things that are missing their natural fiber. The rest will take care of itself over time as your hypothalamus heals. THAT is where bodyfat is determined.

          • Galina L. says:

            It looks like you din’t read our comments, because in the case of me and other commentators, we do have to address a macro-nutrients composition of our diets. I also mentioned Richard’s blog and thelink to his experiment with adding more potatoes already. Things are not simple when it comes to a weight loss and optimal diet for each individual.

          • jocko272 says:

            Galina, if you say things like going out of ketosis for a little while is “somewhat relaxing” your diet, then of couse I wouldn’t read your comments. You are obviously spouting the same pseudo-science as the Guru.

            If you had read MY comments, you would know that mankind has never lived in ketosis all the time and that your Guru is advertising a very reckless experiment at your cost so that he can get rich. Stop being a delicate little flower about carbs and loosen up a bit. This diet creates neurosis if nothing else.

          • Galina L. says:

            Jocko, we all have our issues, you are mainly concerned with a weight loss, Frank has diabetes, I lost the weight I wanted and continue to eat LC because it helps me to manage my migraines, to keep the weight-loss , and I have no pre-menopause symptoms when I follow a ketogenic diet. I don’t care how natural it is till it serves my purposes. I thought many reasonable people would approve such approach. Ketogenic diets have very valuable therapeutic properties for those who have some particular conditions. No guru made my weight-loss possible, it took me a lot of effort and experimentation to find out what would work for me without looking at any single authority. For me my diet is also more flexible than yours because I don’t have to cook completely different foods than members of my family eat, I can go to visit other people or eat out without going outside my diet which works for me. The convenience of one’s diet it important in order to stick to it on a long run. Possibly, if I had to loose more weight, I would have to explore farther and other options, like you did.

          • Al says:

            @ Galina,

            I do follow the diet that works for me at that time. I also like to try and experiment with those elements that others seem to be doing ok with. Like you, high concentrate carbohydrates do not work for me – yet, or maybe never. That’s fine.

            @ jocko,

            Now I see the arguing initiated from. Just because we are having this discussion on Taubes’ blog does not mean he is the guru to every person who is not eating carbohydrates. Many of us were doing this long before Taubes’ exposition. And… you have no way of knowing why Taubes does what he does – so don’t throw accusations around in an attempt to a way of eating that has literally saved lives.

            I agree that starches are benign enough for consumption, but I tend to believe that it is the very recent fatties, and those who never got so fat in the first place, that can reintroduce starches. Those of us who have been obese and/or fat since single digits pushing 40-some odd years may require a different intervention.

            Concerning macronutrients, these are man-made categories. I look at food in terms of animals or plants. I get plenty of both. I see no reason to think this is dogmatic or unhealthy. Do you?


  9. Stan says:

    “Hypothesis: noun, plural-ses 1. proposition set forth as an explanation of something, often as the basis for further investigation”

    Taubes’ insulin hypothesis does seem to warrant further investigation. As he says in his books, we need good trials to test the long term safety and efficacy of the diet he favors. Until those are done, the science isn’t settled. Until the science is settled, anyone strongly advocating for extreme carbohydrate restriction risks making the same kind of mistake that Ancel Keyes made, e.g., the science really wasn’t clear, but he was sure he knew the truth about heart disease, and felt we couldn’t wait on the science to become clearer before making new dietary recommendations because lives were at stake.

    • Geoff says:

      No it doesn’t. It flies in the face of too many empirical results. Research dollars are better spent elsewhere.

      • Jay says:

        Garbage comment. There are huge amounts of money spent on quite useless drugs (in terms of chronic illness) that should be diverted to such tasks. Please…..

    • Paul says:

      Stan, would you offer the same criticism on extreme high carb, low fat fad diets, which government and medical authorities have endorsed for nearly 30 years without supporting science?

      That the science isn’t settled is Taubes biggest point in my view.

      I don’t think Taubes is advocating that govts should validate the carb hypothesis until the science is done.

      As for the safety of the diet and the “extreme” claim – by what criteria would you define extreme? By any available measure, low carb weight loss diets show health improvement. I know of no evidence that there is any risk associated with low carb intake (50-100g/day).

  10. dario says:

    Hi Gary,

    I’ve read all of Why We Get Fat and I’m 3/4’s the way through Good Calories Bad Calories. I think your work is great. I concur with everything you say not only because of the evidence but also because of direct experience.

    I’m currently been eating low/no carb for a month now and have seen minimal weight loss. I have moments where I don’t chage what I’m eating and the scale indicates I’ve gained 2lbs in one day. I’m finding this a bit frustrating but at the same time I do feel better eating this way. My cravings two are controlled so well that I am amazed how little I can eat and how long I can go between meals but the scale is not indicating much change. Most of the foods I’m eating are homemade so I’m not really sure why I’m experiencing very slow weight loss (3-4lbs). I’m not sure whether to just keep doing what I”m doing and the weight will take care of itself or should I focus on increasing the fat intake and reduce protein a bit more…I rarely eat any carbs except for homemade almond bread. Any suggestions?

    • Galina L. says:

      Check out intermittent fasting – http://gettingstronger.org/2010/11/learning-to-fast/. It helped me to move scale further. There are other things that promote insulin release like frequent eating, big meals.

    • Alexandra says:

      What’s in the almond bread?

      • Alexandra says:

        Sorry – my comment seems to have posted itself before I finished typing.
        Does the almond bread contain any wheat flour or sugar? Because that could be your problem right there.

    • DB says:

      I am wondering how low carb you are if you are having almond bread? I started a month ago myself and have noticed a large weight loss with very low hunger? How low is low carb?

      • Alexandra says:

        Atkins’ induction phase recommended no more that 20 grams per day for the first two weeks. But interestingly, Joe Alsop’s “radical” low carb diet in 1965 advised going no lower than 60 grams – and he still described his weight loss as dramatic.


        Some people – like me – have to go nearly to zero.

        • Suze says:

          “Some people – like me – have to go nearly to zero.”

          If you don’t mind my asking, how do you do that for any length of time without missing your vegetables/berries? Have you tried alternating your carb load, such as eating 10-25 on M-W-F/35-50 on the other days for two weeks, then changing it up for the following two weeks and so on? I cannot eat very many carbs – never over 50 total – but have found that I stall while feeding myself the same amount day after day. The change up seems to surprise the metabolism a bit – similar to alternating exercise intensity maybe? – and keep the number on the scale going down. Also, I find that my body thrives on regular small doses of greens, broccoli/cauliflower, and the occasional lowest fructose berries. What’s been your experience?

          • Alexandra says:

            You’re right – it isn’t zero because I do eat vegetables: spinach, kale, broccoli, avocados – regularly, though not in large quantities. When I first went low carb 10 years ago, all I did was eliminate the bread, rice, pasta, etc. and the weight just fell off – 50 lbs worth. Somehow I gained back 30 (for some reason I’d been telling myself it was only 20 – ah, well) without ever putting any of those things back in my regular diet, and now it seems I can’t budge whatever I do. I’m almost at the point of being afraid to eat anything at all, and I know that’s not good (leptin deficiency, starvation signals and all that).

            A change up might be a good idea. Thanks for the input!

          • Galina L. says:

            I found from personal experience than just limiting carbs is not enough. I use hunger-diminishing effect of LC diet in order to EAT LESS without a discomfort. It means two LC meals a day without any snacks. For me it is usually two eggs+butter+coffee for a late breakfast, meat+small bowl of soup+ veggie with beef tallow for dinner. Many LCarbers regain weight by eating nuts, consuming too much heavy cream with their coffee several times a day, snacking on whatever in-between meals.

        • Suze says:

          You are so welcome. Have something (healthy) fatty that you love, that will make you feel good and forget about weight loss for a day or so. For me it’s (sugar/nitrates free) bacon, or homemade sugar free vanilla ice-cream. I know what you mean about the stress of the whole thing. Anxiety and fear can lead to increased production of cortisol, which I understand *can* slow weight loss. Relax. Sounds like you are doing great, and with carbs that low – protein, and healthy fats to compensate – it’s only a matter of time before you see results. I keep reminding myself that it’s taken decades to do the damage, and so the changes will not happen overnight. But they will happen.

          • Martin says:

            When you eliminated carbs 10 years ago, did you replace them with fat, lots of fat? In the long run you you cannot sustain a low carb diet if your fat intake is not large enough. Notice that replacing carbs with protein is not such a great idea either, as the latter can be converted to glucose which again will drive your insulin high. Dairy, inlucing 0-carb cheese, can be a problem a well – it will make you acidic and stimulate insulin release. Finally, eat a perfect diet but allow stress and insufficient sleep in your life and you will get or stay fat. I personally found that I get best health / fat loss / performance results when combining low carb, ketogenic diet with the Paleo diet principles and low frequency high intensity exercises.

        • Suze says:

          “Dairy, inlucing 0-carb cheese, can be a problem a well – it will make you acidic and stimulate insulin release.”

          Hi Martin, agree with mostly everything you’ve stated. But, I eat cheese – enjoy it – and so far have seen no problems with my consumption of a moderate amount of dairy, including cream in my coffee. Just curious, how/where you learned that cheese will stimulate insulin production? Have missed that one thus far.


          • Warren Dew says:

            On a paleo forum I hang out on, many people report stalls 10-20 pounds from their goal weight that are solved by removing cheese from the diet. Cheese has significant amounts of milk protein that stimulates insulin, and it seems like that protein might be more likely to be converted to glucose than meat protein as well.

    • Johansson says:

      Ignore the scale and measure your waist instead.

  11. Aimee Miralles says:

    Hi – I have been following the guidelines in your book for the past several days with great ease and results. My one issue is that I have developed a burning pain in my hips and am concered that it is ketoid related. Any advice?

    • Galina L. says:

      Some people report muscle cramps at the beginning of LC diet, which usually gets corrected by increasing salt intake, magnesium and potassium supplements.

  12. Tom Bunnell says:

    Gary — I believe that you are wasting an enormous amount of time and energy trying to prove and disprove science and biology theories, regarding hormonal imbalance and other body chemistry actions and reaction’s.

    The scientific minded thrive on these arguments.

    High Fructose Corn Syrup hasn’t been proven with science to have all of it’s ill effects or we wouldn’t be consuming it in the massive amounts we do.

    The same with sugar and flour..

    I realize you are a scientist and science researcher and science writer and author and that is what you do best.

    Observation and behavior studies is what has gotten you to where you are at, that and first hand experience and knowledge.

    These type studies prove as implicitly as lung cancer observation, proves tobacco to be a dangerous carcinogen.

    Science be damned!

    Hundreds of years of tobacco use and scientific study did not discover this simple truth until the 1960’s.

    The science people love to spin their wheels with science.

    Right now, all that science, is not proving something as profound as marijuana and it’s effects on the human race.

    It’s not the body chemistry science that is going to take this over the top.

    It’s anthropology and the study of man and man’s habits and addictions.

    That and the study of hybrid plant life that has so altered our carbohydrate consumption ratios and in turn our mind and body chemistry.

    Alcohol is the highest form of sugar.

    I believe your time could be better spent proving the obvious.

    All the science in the world doesn’t even come close to as simply looking at lung cancer and tobacco effects.

    Centuries can, and do, become lost in these quagmires.

    This I think, would be your better focus on science.

    Best to you.


  13. Hi Gary,
    What a disgusting looking stomach! Poor guy. I just wrote something about insulin that you might find interesting: http://healthfully.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/we-were-never-meant-to-eat-simple-or-starchy-carbohydrates. I’d be happy to hear your thoughts on it.

  14. DB says:

    Hello Gary

    I just finished watching your googletalk with a friend and he became convinced of the low carb/insulin hypothesis. The interesting thing is that he does not suffer from obesity but rather anxiety. I suggested he try low carb because stable blood sugar might equal stable mood. This certainly seemed to be the case after just one meal. I got him to blog about it, but have you ever had any experience, or heard about, how low carb diets may influence anxiety.


    • Alexandra says:

      This is a facet of low carb living that doesn’t get much attention. I feel very energetic and yet calm and emotionally steady since switching to low carb and low carb paleo eating four years ago.

  15. Paul says:

    Gary – when you get bored, would you describe an experiment that would adequately discern causality between the palatability v insulin hypotheses? Or did you do that already and I missed it? Thanks, Paul

  16. edella says:

    It would be like king canute attempting to stop the waves, but I really wish that we could call ‘diabetes’ as the inability to produce much insulin. Many other metabolic peculiarities might then more correctly be called something like ‘carbohydrate intolerance’. I am reminded of the tale of blind men trying to describe an elephant by feel alone. It seems to me that we are in that predicament at the moment. We describe symptoms — obesity, insulin resistance, IBS, glutin intolerance and so forth ad infinitum — as separate ailments or conditions, when the actual disease is caarbohydrate intolerance. I’m happy to see this old european idea returning, as it makes things much easier to understand — and even improve!

  17. My husband found you book some months ago. We both read it and went on the regimen which I have followed to some extent for years. Only made sense. My husband lost sixty pounds in four months, and I, for some unknown reason, kind of dropped my very intense workout routine, but haven’t gained an ounce in this period. I have been recommending the book to many of my patients and one called just yesterday. I asked her if she had a question for me and she said she just wanted to thank me for suggesting your book. She has lost 16 pounds, her husband has lost 30 and has been taken off his diabetes medicine, her brother and sister-in-law have lost 15 lbs each, and a number of people in her husband’s workplace have joined the bandwagon. They have bought multiple copies and are handing them out. Her call made me actually tear up. As a doctor, all I want is to help people and you have given me a way to do some good outside of my usual field. I thank you, (and I will take commissions). Best, K

  18. jake mazzon says:

    Thank you so much Mr. Taubs for your dedicated, meticulous work and the opening up of minds against what has been a dangerous fog created by what is akin to a conditioned response in the fields of nutritional research.

  19. Razwell says:

    Hi, Gary,

    As for insulin I will leave that up to Dr. Douglas Coleman etc. 🙂 It certainly is involved, and a significant factor.

    But, I want to say that you deserve TOP credit for the following: In my honest opinion , your geartest contribution to obesity was pointing out the FACT that “eat less move moe” is a bunch of NONSENSE that is a completely unscientific approach , and also the fact that there ARE plenty of obese people in socities who are dirt poor and do much manual labor. There are poor villages in Africa with considerable significantly over weight women to obese. ( not a criticism of them- just observation- obesity is complex)

    KUDOS , Gary . 🙂 You deserve support and much recognition if for nothing more than these IMPORTANT observations.

    Take care,

    Best Wishes,

  20. Steve Pen says:

    I have just finished reading ‘Why We Get Fat’ and I am totally fascinated by its power to convince, abundance of facts and argumentation. But the book’s power is that it inspired me like nothing else before to see eating from a different perspective and to start eating in a totally different way (to the amazement of the people around me).
    I am 56, 183 cm tall and weigh 105 kg with an oversized belly and fat tissue around the waist. I lead a sedentary life due to my office job. I have tried a variety of ways to decrease my weight and waist measure like fitness gyms and even Taekwondo, but nothing worked.
    Today is the second day of my new way of eating and I’d like to share my first experiences, which prove that this book says the truth. I am determined to continue my life according to the its principles.
    On the first day I stopped eating any carbs at all – no bread, no rice, no sweets. Lunch was only lean meat, tofu, vegetables (mushrooms, cabbage) and dinner only fish and meat. I ate a lot at both meals. On the next day I felt a big difference: firstly, I felt inflow of energy, so I resumed exercises, which I had left behind two years ago. The second effect was that I was not hungry. Before I always had snacks and sweet coffee at home and at work and had them almost every hour. But this day I just didn’t need anything else between the meals. The third effect is that I no longer notice the snacks, cookies and sweets in the shop, which seemed so delicious before. My stomach reacted with pain and indigestion to the three pieces of chocolate, which I had after dinner.
    I would like to test the effect of this way of eating on myself and will closely monitor my medical indicators: weight, blood pressure, triglycerides, cholesterol levels, etc. I also experience some side effects (as predicted in the last chapter) like constipation and dizziness when I stand up fast, but I can overcome these easily.
    I am confused by the difference between the scores of insulin and glucose with some foods as presented at http://www.ajcn.org/content/66/5/1264. I decided that insulin score of 40 and below is safe for me, and in this group fall All-Bran, porridge, white and brown pasta, eggs and peanuts. But according to the book, I should avoid carbohydrates as much as possible (which for me means none of them). I need some advice on this controversy.

    • Warren Dew says:

      To get the maximum effect, avoid all carbohydrates as much as possible. Really even a GI or II score of 40 is high compared to nice fatty meat.

      Drink more water to minimize the dizziness, as there’s less water retention on a low carb diet. Try to get at least half a gallon per day. Also, don’t be afraid to get some salt if you are getting dizzy. The body needs salt, just not as much as we normally get in baked goods.

    • LeonRover says:

      So many of the foods mentioned in the Holt’s paper are “store bought”, containing sugars and refined CHOs.
      As far as I can remember, the numbers in the samplings are low – there is much measurement variance.
      My judgement – as an index it is more flawed than GI – qualitative rather than quantitative. People seem to come across it, and then do nothing with it. I have not seen reference to any other papers on the subject.

      Satiety in each meal has now kicked in without sugars and refined CHOs.
      Enjoy that feeling, and your desire to exert those muscles.

  21. Jim Adams says:

    I have been following the low carb way for 4 months now,and the most surprising benefit, among many, that I have noticed, is that I now longer need my reading glasses. I assume that this is a reversal of the effects of insulin on my lenses. I hope that the same thing is happening to my arteries.

    • Warren Dew says:

      This is likely an effect of reduced glucose levels in your bloodstream. Excessive glucose – blood sugar – causes crosslinking of proteins and makes those proteins less elastic. This apparently leads to, among other things, hardening of the lens, which is the cause of presbyopia.

      Note that this effect is only partially reversible. For you, it made the difference between needing and not needing reading glasses, but people with severe presbyopia may get sufficient improvement for that.

  22. antonio says:

    Gary says “carbs make us fat” I feel his slightly contradicting himself. The example of growing children, calories are partitioned based on the hormonal response. A growing child can eat most of his calories from carbs and still grow muscle and get taller, So the carbs don’t make us fat, it’s the hormonal that do. My question is, about KSA, is supposedly a greater culprit to fat storage than insulin. Anyone have comments on KSA?

  23. mikke says:

    How often I’ve seen massively obese people with this sort of pendulous sac structure hanging out from the bottom of a t-shirt…and sometimes even from the bottom edge of a skirt. A friend of mine calls them hemboobs.

    I was going to say something satiric re: mainstream view of etiology…but other commenters beat me to it. ;D

  24. Harvey Levitt says:

    I am the former fat guy from Cleveland. I am a low carber who eats virtually no sugar. I have read the “lost chapter” on gout with interest. I am contemplating going off gout med which I have reduced greatly already.
    My weight is now steady so weight lost is not an issue. I am wondering if you have done any more research on gout. I also wonder if their are any anecdotal stories about going off gout meds after pursuing a lo carb diet.
    Thank you

  25. Tom Bunnell says:

    Lactose Intolerance Study – By Tom Bunnell

    Lactose Intolerance

    I have been looking at lactose intolerance for quite some time now.

    Ever since I first heard about it some 30 years ago.

    It seemed odd to me, especially since the first person I knew or had had experience with, that had this condition, was a paranoid schizophrenic.

    He also drank coffee by the gallons, and smoked cigarettes by the carton.

    Ton’s of both constantly.

    I’ve known a lot of non-schizophrenic people who do the same thing.

    Or at least, nearly so.

    So lactose intolerance, or the inability to drink milk without getting vomiting sick, intrigued me from the beginning all those years ago.

    I never looked into it.

    It just seemed strange that something as natural as milk, to be unmanageable by those with this condition without getting deathly sick.

    Fast forward to last night.

    February 22, 2012

    I decide to google it.

    Low and behold after a few hours of reading I come upon the simple fact that what we call “lactose intolerance” is what is natural to our lives and digestive systems and that to “not be” lactose intolerant, “unnatural”.

    In other words we are “supposed to be” lactose intolerant, after about two years of age.

    About the time we stop breast feeding.

    “Imagine” my amazement.

    “What’s going on here”.

    It’s “unnatural” to ingest milk after weaning.

    We “Northern Europeans” had developed a tolerance for milk over the centuries and millenniums.

    Native people had not.

    Lactose is sugar.

    How this “lactose tolerance” has effected our “other”, sugar/alcohol addictions and in turn our “psyche” as the “addictive stimulant drugs” that they are, is where the real “study” should be.

    Our love of “sweet” being pretty universally accepted as that of our mothers first milk.

    And then, “no more” after development and “weaning”.

    It makes us sick.

    Did we open the “pandora’s box” of stimulants, inadvertently with “dairying”.

    “Unbeknownst” to ourselves.

    Our cravings for grains and alcohols and other sugars and starches and carbohydrates.

    “Great Minds” like yourselves, can answer this.

    This I bring to you, and Dr. Jay Wortman.

    I realize that the both of you have known about this for quite some time.

    It’s how this correlates to our addictions and psyche’s that intrigues me,
    that and our quest to cure, same.

    Thank You
    Tom Bunnell

  26. SJ Green says:

    For those that believe elevated serum cholesterol contributes to CVD here are three considerations when purchasing plant sterol-spiked snacks & beverages as a means to lower cholesterol.

    Consideration 1: Snack & beverage companies exploit peer-reviewed medical journal for product acceptance.

    In comparison to the sponsored biasness practiced by pharmaceuticals in the development of drugs to treat disease, the scientific bias in favor of a food ingredient product — that is associated with the promotion of health and wellness — is even more worrisome due to the widespread consumption by both diseased and healthy individuals of all ages and genders.

    In 2008, Lesser, Ludwig and colleagues reported in PLoS Medicine that scientific articles sponsored by food and beverage companies were 8-times more likely to have outcomes favorable to the financial well-being of the sponsoring companies than articles not sponsored by such product-centric concerns. In response to this article, the editors of the PLoS Medicine reminds us that such sponsorship bias, especially by food and beverage companies, is potentially troublesome, especially due to the widespread impact it may have on public health.

    Consideration 2: Failed pharmaceutical drug candidates can be repackaged by snack & beverage companies for health & wellness claims.

    An intriguing case study for industry funding of a nutrition-related scientific articles is found with plants sterols that reduce dietary cholesterol. Plants sterols, manufactured by companies such as ADM and Cargill, targets cholesterol in the gut in a similar fashion to that of Schering-Plough’s drug, Zetia.

    Originally evaluated as a cholesterol-lowering drug candidate, plant sterols failed. Although abandoned by the pharmaceutical industry as a regulated cholesterol-lowering drug candidate, it was quickly repackaged by the snack & beverage industry as a supplement and ingredient to promote ‘healthy hearts’. Today, it is a cash cow and rivals its regulated cholesterol absorption drug counterparts.

    Consideration 3: ‘Healthy heart’ labeled phytosterols accelerates the consumption of sugar-laden snacks & beverages.

    Unfortunately, the advancement of this cholesterol-lowering food ingredient may actually do more harm than good, especially, when added to certain processed snacks and beverages. Albeit the vast majority of sponsored research on plant sterols demonstrates cholesterol lowering (assuming this is necessary, which is a separate discussion), the problem lays in the subsequent use of the plant sterol ingredient in chosen foods products.

    Hence, the perceived value of such a functional food ingredient results in the consumption of unhealthy foods that not only counteracts the potential perceived value of this ingredient but may actually promote obesity and diabetes. A disturbing picture emerges when we take a closer look at how it is ultimately consumed as previously highlighted in an Atherosclerosis in 2008, ‘Regarding the potential perils of phytosterols.’ The following is taken from the article and the same concerns remain, if not, heightened with growing consumption of sugar-laden foods wrapped in ‘healthy heart’ claims of phytosterols.

    Today, there are a growing number of processed foods spiked with plant sterols and chemically-modified sterol derivatives to multiple foods, snacks, and beverages with the hope to slow down intestinal absorption of cholesterol. The consumers of these products consist of a growing population of consumers of all ages. Although blessed by the FDA as a foods ingredient for the ‘self treatment’ of hypercholesterolemia, it is debatable as to whether the widespread use was anticipated. The reality is that we may be actually exacerbating cardiovascular disease and obesity in an attempt to reduce dietary cholesterol.

    With the appearance of plant sterols now in the general food supply, it is short-sighted to simply view the safety of plant sterols or phytosterols within the context of the target disease or prevention of hypercholesterolemia. Rather, we should pause to consider the implications of consumer behavior when confronted with a variety of unhealthy foods ‘made healthy’ with the addition of scientifically supported plant sterols. Clearly, the health sciences community per se has done an effective job in getting the message out about the concerns – real or not — of hypercholesterolemia. Consider that in 2005 consumers worldwide spent approximately $33 billion worldwide on various cholesterol management strategies, including, most notably, the statins. Another $3.6 billion was spent in 2004 on various ‘healthy foods and ingredients’ that have regulator-approved heart-related health claims. The high growth rates found in this segment suggests a strong consumer’s appetite for dietary solutions, driven presumably by the high costs and negative side often associated with the statins.

    One of the leading functional food ingredients with an approved cholesterol-lowering health claim is plant sterols. In the last two decades, numerous studies have shown that ingestion of several grams per day of plant sterols result in 9-20% reductions in serum cholesterol. Then in 2000 the FDA approved a health claim for plant sterols, allowing food manufacturers to claim that consumption of plant sterols would help to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.

    For many years plant sterols were really considered more of a novelty. The sterols were first introduced in 1995 by Finland’s Raisio as the cholesterol lowering margarine Benecol. In the ensuing decade, thanks to the successful marketing efforts of major producers of plant sterols such as ADM and Cargill, we are now seeing plant sterols move into mainstream food and beverage applications. While market penetration of sterols is still relatively low, it appears to have reached an inflection point and is now growing quickly. We have seen a spate of new product announcements from major brand companies in the last few years for products that contain plant sterols.

    In late 2003, Coca Cola’s Minute Maid brand launched the announced the release of their Heart Wise orange juice. Then in 2004 General Mills launched their Healthy Heart line of Nature Valley granola bars. They followed up with the launch of a Healthy Heart line of Yoplait Yogurts, also containing plant sterols. In 2005 MasterFoods/Mars followed suit, announcing the launch of their new CocoaVia chocolate bar. The growing penetration of plant sterols in mainstream foods will serve to increase broaden the general population’s exposure to this plant extract. And in doing so, we may actually undermine our intended health goals of reducing coronary heart disease and controlling obesity.

    Moving from science into consumer behavior, the ramifications of such a cholesterol-reducing functional food become even murkier. Most troubling is the fact that the presence of health claims on foods has been shown to result in increased consumption of that food. In the Journal of Marketing Research, Brian Wansink of Cornell University reviews a number of studies that demonstrate consumers exhibit such behavior. Here, Wansink, tests the hypothesis that low fat nutrition labels serve to increase food intake by increasing the perception of appropriate serving size and by decreasing consumption guilt. The study finds that normal-weight consumers increased their consumption of snack foods labeled as “low fat” by 16% over that of “regular” snack foods. Further, overweight consumers actually increased their consumption by 46%.

    The implications of such behavior should be clear. Consumers will increase their consumption of those foods that make the “reduces cholesterol” claim, such as General Mill’s Yoplait Yogurt and Mars Cocoa Via candy bars. In fact, the nature of the health claim may actually amplify the effect found in the above referenced study. The “low fat” message, in essence, says that “this product is less bad for you”. But in the case of plant sterols we have a food that essentially claims to cure or mitigate a disease. The natural consumer tendency will be to think more is better. Such a result would of course be acceptable if the increased consumption of such a product were generally accepted to be beneficial. But in numerous instances we have good reason to believe that this is not the case.

    Aside from whether reducing cholesterol is of value, we must consider two costs of increasing our consumption of cholesterol-reducing, plant sterol-spiked foods. First, we must understand the intrinsic cost of increasing our consumption of plant sterols. As provoked in an earlier review of Patel and Thompson in Atherosclerosis, there are still some fairly serious questions that we do not believe have been answered satisfactorily. In particular, by increasing our consumption of plant sterols, are we actually accelerating the very atherosclerotic process which we are trying to retard? Second, and equally importantly, we need to consider the ramifications of increasing the consumption of the carrier (e.g. Yoplait yogurt or Mars candy bars) product.
    As previously discussed, we have every reason to suggest that consumers will respond to these “cholesterol-reducing” health claims by increasing their overall consumption of these products. Let’s consider that for the moment. Take for example General Mills’ Yoplait yogurts. While certainly very tasty, Yoplait yogurt also contains nearly the same amount of sugar as an 8 ounce glass of Coca Cola. As we have seen unfold in the press over the last several years, Coca Cola, along with the carbonated beverage industry in general, is increasingly under assault by the medical and school establishment for their contribution to obesity, diabetes, and poor nutrition in general. So we should ask ourselves whether we want to encourage, by regulatory proclamation, the consumption of foods that are laden with sugar.

    Then there is Coca Cola’s Heart Wise orange juice. Belying the healthy halo effect that it conferred on orange juice in general, this popular breakfast beverage is also laden with sugar, weighing in at 24 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving. The story is even clearer with the cholesterol-lowering spreads such as Benecol or Promise. These butter-substitutes still contain 100% fat, albeit a less unhealthy variety. So, if the consumer behavior studies discussed above hold true for these new mass-market cholesterol-lowering health claims, then we can be pretty sure that consumers will be consuming more of these “healthy” fats. Is that really what we want to do?

    And last but not least, there is the cholesterol-lowering CocoaVia chocolate bar by the well known confectioner Mars. Consumers can now feel less guilty that they are eating a chocolate bar because they know that it is good for them. In fact, they may have a second helping. Let’s pause for a moment and consider the following question. Again, this is assuming that we need to reduce cholesterol. If so, how would things be different if plant sterols had been brought to market and regulated as drugs? How would things be different?

    First, consumers and doctors would have more information at their disposal. For example, there would be a package insert that disclosed all of the potential long term side effects of consumption as well as the lack of efficacy or evidence in preventing plaque formation in blood vessels, which is now further called into question, based on the ineffectiveness of cholesterol lowering drugs for most users. Further, consumption of plant sterols would be ‘contraindicated’ for those consumers that are hyperabsorber of plant sterols or cholesterol. And finally, by not fortifying sugar-laden yogurts, fruit juices, and candy bars with plant sterols, we would not be encouraging the consumption of these food items that we would otherwise barely tolerate from a nutritional standpoint.

    Wrapping sugar-laden snacks & beverages in perceived ‘healthy heart’ ingredients is likely accelerating obesity and this is further exacerbated when such products are validated in peer-reviewed medical journals by university medical center researchers funded by snack & beverage companies. The snack & beverage companies have thoughtfully blurred the lines between regulated drugs and health-claimed ingredients. They clearly figured out how to look like pharmaceutical players in the eyes of the ‘health conscious’ consumer.

  27. Don Dekker says:

    I just finished reading “Why We Get Fat” and I thank you for writing this book. It is very helpful. I have always wondered if our American dieticians are so smart, why are we so fat. I spent a few weeks working in France and they are thin and don’t eat at all like Americans. I have been on the Adkins diet a few times and you have convinced me that low carbs is the only way to go. I am 72 and hope to live many more healthy, happy years thanks to you. Gool luck in convincing the American doctors to change.
    Thanks again,

  28. Razwell says:

    Gary Taubes is on to something. There are FAR too many Taubes bashers on the Internet.

    TOP obesity scientist Dr. Douglas Coleman ( a true genius), as well as scentists he associates with have said “there is DIFFERENT about morbidly obese people that results in obesity INDEPENDENTLY of caloric intake.

    The failure of Bariatric surgery ( although they lose weight, they are still clinically obese with average BMI of 32 to 30 after only 1,000 calories ) STRONGLY supports this.

    Obesity is SO deep and SO complex.

    I, Razwell SUPPORT Gary Taubes because he is among the FIRST to POINT THIS OUT- something is DIFFERENT. And he put forth a great effort to find it, turning up atleast one of the pieces of this puzzle. That is far more than his detractors have ever done. We need to FIND that “something.”

    It is no surprise as he is an excellent physics writer and deals with the hard sciences. He is far smarter than these arrogant detractors of him are. I suppose they are jealous that they have piddly little minds.

    Most of these outspoken critics could not even get into Harvard, let alone take physics courses.

    Lastly, there is a well known Aussie Internet guru critical of both Gary and Dr. Eades. I am looking forward to possibly poisting pictures ( with his permission) of my brother who puts this Aussie guru to SHAME as far as physique. Professional IFBB bodybuilder Eddie Moyanz was VERY impressed by my brother’s physique and “awesome symmetry” according to Moyanz. Several IFBB pros commented that they are very impressed by his physique- all 180 exceptionally musclular pounds of fim. He has his pro card and is 100 % natural. My brother follows Gary’s type of diet by the way, with the exception of sweet potatoes. He remains humble. Colpo is the guy so arrogant about his physique when Colpo’s physique is NOTHING special at all.He needs to put that shirt back on. He is NOT that muscular.

    It would be GREAT if Dr. Eades could do a post entitled “Put Your Shirt Back On , Colpo” LOL ! My brother beats him in every way – defintion, symmetry, size and more. In fact, he has a MUCH better body than ANY Internet guru out there.

  29. Rachel says:

    I have a question if anyone would please give me some advice that would be great! I have been low carbing for about four months now. At first, I had a lot of energy…I was NEVER hungry and I was sleeping well. But in the last three weeks my energy has been depleted and I’m not sleeping well at all. Im very restless. I have also been suffering from some depression like symptoms and anxiety and I have never experienced either of those two things in my life. I tried the last two days to up my carbs with more veggies but nothing seems to be working. All I know is I agree with the low carb lifestyle and will continue it but I would love to figure out what I am doing wrong that has thrown me off so much? Do I need a restart? If so any suggestions? Should I do a cleanse? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! Rachel

    • Tom Bunnell says:

      Your carbohydrate addiction is gnawing away at you trying to lure and trick you back into feeding it more sugar and carbohydrates and getting back to “the good old days” when lots of carbohydrates and starches and sugar were staple’s in your life.

      It’s a long hard battle but can be won if you don’t give in.

      Cigarettes are the same.

      So is heroin and cocaine.

      If you can last long enough to become fully and totally detoxed, both mentally and spiritually and physically.

      Your rewards will be astronomical.

      Most people can’t do it.

      Good luck and make sure your getting plenty of fat.

      Lots of fat meat is what makes this thing work.

      Natures perfect plan for all of us.

      Most people cannot break this addiction permanently.

      That’s why it is so often considered “short term”.

      Everybody’s addiction’s “sabotage” our minds into thinking that this is not natural and not healthy or realistic or necessary or normal, long term.

      Back to carbohydrates we go.

      Our addictions are very pleased and proud of us.

      Till death do us part.

      Don’t forget you have been unnaturally “stimulated” since birth.

      Actually since about two years of age.

      About the time of your weaning.

      This thing takes time.

      Stimulants have effected us profoundly.

    • Galina L. says:

      Experiment, some people sleep better with adding some carbs (check Drs. Atkins and Eades how to do it safely without regaining weight). Different people have different needs.

  30. Mike Fleischer says:

    I heard your appearance on the Peter schiff show
    I am an investor with Peter schiff
    I discovered Marc sisson and the primal blueprint a few months ago from the lew Rockwell website
    I have gone primal
    I was never overweight but I am 43 and my waist over the last ten years has expanded by 4 inches
    I cut out all the refined grains and sugars
    I lost 8 pounds in two months
    I was doing sit ups and push ups and planks and sprints
    Sisson is absolutely right
    You are right
    People with normal cholesterol can invert the food pyramid and it’s much healthier
    Thank you

  31. BachLvr says:

    I read about this today:

    Should I stop my low carb diet since my mother had colon cancer?

  32. Brian Marasco says:

    Dear Mr. Gary Taubes,

    Thank you for communicating the truth about diet and nutrition.

    I received a BS degree in Nutrition from Penn State University (1986). After graduating from college, I took a position as a clinical dietetic technician for the Veterans Administration Hospital in Loma Linda, CA. I always had a suspicion that there was something wrong with the ‘picture’ I perceived in the traditional health care delivery system. In addition, the nutrition protocol or lack thereof was neither effective or respected.

    After reading your excellent work I feel vindication because I believed and believe that the traditional health care delivery system is not very effective or efficient. My metaphor is that our traditional health care system is like a vehical driving around with flat tires; in addition, our nutrition information is based on “flintstone science”. Incidentlly, I left working in the health care industry in 1996.

    I will help spread your revelations.

    Best regards,
    Brian Marasco

  33. Steve Pehnec says:

    More books, more diets, such as “Perfect Health Diet: Four Steps to Renewed Health, Youthful Vitality, and Long Life” and “Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Food”, etc.
    Are ANY of these worth pursuing? Are ANY of them in tune with what you’ve learned, Gary?
    Who can we trust currently?

  34. Razwell says:

    Gary Taubes’ biggest critic is perhaps Anthony Colpo. I hope Gary and/or anybody else on here will forward this by email to Dr. Michael Eades.

    It is COMMON for Internet scammers to do a complete reversal of what they used to support. They follow the MONEY TRAIL Low carb was drying up, so he found ANOTHER profitable way to scam.

    DON’T be fooled. It is NOT like he “learned new information.”

    Colpo tried and tested a high carbohydrate diet in the 80’s and 90’s extensively. He publicly acknowledged, and fervently and adamantly admitted poublicly it made him feel TERRIBLE. He fervently and publicly REJECTED it completely.

    He fervently went on and on and on how GOOD LOW carb diets made him feel. he said ENERGY was imporved, performance and he felt SPECTACULAR on LOW carb and also advised clinets to eat this way. He mentioend his CLIENTS got GREAT results , alos, from LOW carb

    Now he prmotoes the hell out of high carbs.

    The REAL con guy is Colpo, NOT Dr. Eades He is a CLASSIC charlatan. Dr Eades is REPUTABLE, and so is Gary. They made honest attempts at obesity and BELIEVE in what they are saying, even if it is not 100 % complete.

    You will see in the article below written by Colpo himself that he was PIMPING LOW CARB for WEIGHT LOSS FERVENTLY, making a case over and over again, study after study, AGAINST high carb ofr heart disease prevention, feeling great, and losing weight. Praising Dr. Robert Atkins up and down.

    Anthony Colpo DISCREDITS HIMSELF completely in this article WRITTEN by himself:


    OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPS! That is the MOST damning evidence I have seen yet. Spread it everywhere.

    I can only hope this SILENCES Colpo and VINDICATES Gary AND Dr Michael Eades.

    Best Wishes,


  35. Alex says:

    jocko271 said:
    “I try not to overly soften the food through high-temperature cooking and I try to eat the root vegetables cooked and then cooled to maintain the resistant starch. Basically the crux of the regime is to fill up on as much fiber and resistant starch as you can because those things are NOT digested by the body, they reach the large intestine intact and are fed on by the bacteria there.”

    So, inspite of your claim, you are actually minimising the amount of readily digextible carbs in your diet by undercooking fibrous veg and cooking and cooling, then eating, starchy veg in order to maximise the resistant starch (resistant to digestion into glucose)?

    So how is your diet a high carb diet? Just because you eat a lot of plants does not mean you are absorbing a lot of carbohydrate. The indigenous groups you mention – even though you only specifically cite the Kitavans – who also eat a lot of similar plants in the same fashion are likely also not actually digesting and absorbing quite so much carbohydrate as you and certain others suppose.

    • gman3164 says:

      Thank you, Alex. I had the same thought as I read jocko’s quote above. I just didn’t have time to respond due to my work schedule these days. If those glucoses never make it to his bloodstream, then he’s effectively following a low-carb diet, not a high-carb diet. Thanks for the meaningful communication.

    • jocko271 says:

      I just saw this today, since it was down below and not a reply to the conversation above.

      I do try to maximize the foods I mentioned, but I still eat lots of white rice, potatoes (fully cooked) and gluten-free pastas. Also oatmeal, chestnuts and other starchy foods that do digest perfectly well.

      Anyway if your point is that I’m somehow inadvertently low-carb because I’m not absorbing my food, you could also say I’m low calorie for the same reason. To test this very idea a long time ago, I ate steak and butter and all the stuff that LC people eat and my weight went up immediately. Sounds like a calorie issue to me.

      • Alex says:

        Couldn’t reply directly to your original comment directly because the reply function wasn’t available!
        You seem to be back-pedalling/contradicting yourself.
        Originallly you said:
        “…the crux of the regime is to fill up on as much fiber and resistant starch as you can because those things are NOT digested by the body.”

        Now you are saying:
        “…I still eat lots of white rice, potatoes (fully cooked) and gluten-free pastas. Also oatmeal, chestnuts and other starchy foods that do digest perfectly well.”

        So which is it?!!!

        • jocko271 says:

          Uh, both. As I said originally, I eat about 90% starch. And rice and potatoes have a lot of resistant starch.

          Where’s the backpedalling? Face it: I lost weight on 90% carbs.

          Looking for holes in such a simple fact because you simply can’t accept that calorie intake and expenditure determines bodyfat is beyond pathetic. Ask any Asian or Kitavan on their traditional diets.

          • Alex says:

            LOL! You just asked:
            “Where’s the backpedalling?”
            Right here…
            You originally said: “…the crux of the regime is to fill up on as much fiber and resistant starch as you can because those things are NOT digested by the body.”

            When I pointed out that this is, in fact, a diet that reduces rapidly digested carbohydrate, you said: “…I still eat lots of white rice, potatoes (fully cooked) and gluten-free pastas. Also oatmeal, chestnuts and other starchy foods that do digest perfectly well.”

            And finally, when I said you were contradicting yourself you said: Uh, both. As I said originally, I eat about 90% starch. And rice and potatoes have a lot of resistant starch.

            So which is it? Do white rice and potatoes ‘digest [to glucose] perfectly well’ or do they have a lot of resistant starch’ which are NOT digested [to glucose] by the body’?

            I also question your claim that you eat a 90% carbohydrate diet. Is that 90% by mass or total daily calories? If it is 90% of daily total calories then, assuming a modest 2,500kcals per day, you are only 250kcals per day to split between protein and fat. Even if all of that was given to protein (zero fat diet) you would only be getting 62.5g of protein per day and since it is impossible to have a zero fat dirt (as it is to have a truly zero carb diet) you would be having significantly less protein than that.

            On the other hand, if you mean 90% carbohydrate by mass of total food consumed – and you still ate around 2500kcals per day and the rest was half and half protein and fat – then that would equate to around 529g of carbohydrate and only 29g of protein and fat. That’s a woefully inadequate diet.

          • jocko271 says:

            Alex, as I said and I have been saying since the beginning: whatevery you think “woefully inadequate” is for a diet, you can tell it to the Kitavans, Kombai, Mek and other tribes who have been thriving on it for thousands of years.

            As far as rice and potatoes goes: last time I checked, they were starches. ´This is the case whether you would like to convolute my point by saying I’m somehow waffling or not. Their fiber and resistant starch are not absorbed in the small intestine, but some of the carbs definitely are otherwise 2 billion Asians (for rice) and all of South America (potatoes) would not be living on them. I invite you to try to look for conflicts there.

            But if you’d like to really discuss conflicts within the same theory, why don’t we discuss your Guru’s insulin hypothesis? According to your Guru’s theory, raising insulin makes you fat. Even though the cultures I mentioned are not fat.

            Please explain. While you’re at it, explain this:

            -Lots of obese and overweight people have no insulin resistance and insulin levels are normal.
            -Lots of skinny and underweight people have insulin resistance and insulin levels are high.
            -Jimmy Moore is fat, after years of “Livin’ the Vida Low Carb”. Atkins himself was overweight. Loren Cordain is fat.
            -A lot of people lose weight on low carb, but very few of them reach their ideal weights and most of them gain the weight back, just like with any other diet.
            -If all you have to do is not raise insulin and you’ll be skinny, why can’t you eat 5000 kcals/day of butter, cream and steak? Try it and see if you don’t gain weight.

          • Galina L. says:

            It is the point where I disagree with GT – all you have to do in order to loose weight is to eat less carbs. There are other things that promote insulin release, just act of eating is one of it. Famous Kitovans not only eat some carbohydrates, they also eat basically once a day (and smoke and chew betel). For me it looks like they practiced IF. I think benefits of fasting are related to the insulin theory of a weight loss It is easy to get fat on LC by eating too often and in general too much of low-carb food .

          • Al says:

            Is this true? – the Kitavans only eat once per day? High carb or not, this is effectively fasting; and probably going through somewhat of a feast/famine sort of natural existence, where its a lot more famine than feast.

            If this is true than the Kitavans can be thrown out as a case study in what the optimal human diet is. Sheesh!


        • Galina L. says:

          It is what I read about Kitivan’s diet. It is more than just the presence of carbohydrates that affects hormones level in one’s body. I have a lady friend in Moscow, Russia, my native country. She had never heard about Gary Taubes, his books are not translated in Russian yet, but her husband who is a biochemist, advised her to eat 2 meals within 6 – 8 hours window when she started to experience some increase of her waistline after 45 because he came to the idea of fattening effect of insulin on his own . She is a naturally thin person, btw. The advice worked. Her meals contain a lot of carbs, but I think she practice the insulim theory of a weight-loss. She told me her meals should contain enough of carbs to keep her full. I am not a naturally thin one, may be it explains the difference in our reaction on macro-nutrients ratio. No guru will be able to tell everyone what to do and get the same result.
          I think the perfect human diet should not be excessive in calories, but include necessary nutrients. In my mind LC perfectly fits the description. However, if somebody like Jacko can’t eat less on LC food, it is very reasonable he decided to find what would work for him. I am glad I didn’t have to go so far as him in food preparation, it would make my life more complicated.

  36. Nicole Volk says:

    I have been low carbing for over a month now. Mostly Atkins but I try to throw in super foods like oat bran and beans if I’ve been active. Anyway, I’ve been keeping track of my food intake and looking at carb/protein/fat ratios but the calculator also tallies calories. My calories are pretty close to 1000 some days and I’m not hungrier to eat more. Should I worry I won’t lose weight if the calories are too low?

  37. Gary Wehsels says:

    An article appeared in the UK’s Daily Mail Newpaper today (March 5, 2012) regarding a weight loss program that burns fat by being on a fasting diet for approx. 10 days. It supports your book, which I’ve purchased and read, “Why we get fat…” I’ve attached the link so you can read it when you have time.

    Question: In looking at the relationship between LPL and estrogen, has anyone examined the other side of the coin in terms of testosterone, LPL and insulin? I’m one of those males who has Metabolic Syndrome and deal with glucose, weight control and blood pressure issues. This leads me to believe that if Type 2 diabetic males were given a regimen of testosterone it may impact the syndrome effects in a positive manner. Just a hypothesis, but it sounds plausable.

    Thanks again for your book and the valuable information you provided. It’s answered many questions that I had about this disease.

    Gary Wehsels

  38. jacquie feinberg says:

    I’m wondering what’s wrong with half and half for coffee. on page 220 of your book “Why We Get Fat” when you talk about cream you say (not half and half). do you have a specific reason. I have been using half and half in my coffee but will stop if there is a reason why it’s not good when restricting carbs. I really found your book extremely interesting and easy to read and comprehend. I’m just confused about the half and half. would appreciate understanding why. thanks jacquie feinberg

    • gman3164 says:

      Half and half has some sugars (monosaccharide carbohydrates) in it, while heavy cream does not (it’s all fat and no sugar). Check out the nutrition facts on the side of the cartons and compare them. If you are trying to reduce or eliminate sugars, then the advice is to switch to heavy cream. And don’t sweat the extra calories – we’re talking a tablespoon’s worth of cream.

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  40. Alex says:

    Jocko271 said:
    “Alex, as I said and I have been saying since the beginning: whatevery you think “woefully inadequate” is for a diet, you can tell it to the Kitavans, Kombai, Mek and other tribes who have been thriving on it for thousands of years.”

    A. Thriving or subsisting? What is their diet EXACTLY? Ther is a lot of speculative clap-trap about 90% or more carbohydrate diets without any definitive qualification. As I said 90% carbohydrate leaves insufficient room for protein and fats. There are essential amino acids and essential fatty acids but NO essential carbohydrates as we can synthesise the glucose we need from non-carb substrates.

    “As far as rice and potatoes goes: last time I checked, they were starches. ´This is the case whether you would like to convolute my point by saying I’m somehow waffling or not. Their fiber and resistant starch are not absorbed in the small intestine, but some of the carbs definitely are otherwise 2 billion Asians (for rice) and all of South America (potatoes) would not be living on them. I invite you to try to look for conflicts there.”

    A. So what percentage of your rice and potatoes is degestible starch and non-digestible fibre and resistant starch? You are still admitting that of your ‘90% carbohydrate diet’ less than 100% of it is digestible!

    “But if you’d like to really discuss conflicts within the same theory, why don’t we discuss your Guru’s insulin hypothesis? According to your Guru’s theory, raising insulin makes you fat. Even though the cultures I mentioned are not fat.”

    A. First of all, I do not consider GT to be mine – or anyone else’s ‘guru’ – I merely recognise that he is questioning the status quo that has, so far, done nothing to stem the rising tide of obesity and disease in western civilisation. As I understand it he is saying that high and sustained levels of insulin sevretion have a multitude of downstream effects that include conversion of excess glucose into triglycerides and storage into adipose tissue and, perhaps more importantly, difficulty in liberating those stored fats for use as an energy substrate.

    As to whether the cultures you mention are not fat (to every man and woman) and not diseased AND producing large and sustained excursions of insulin remains to be definitively documented. As I keep pointing out, you conradict yourself – or evade giving a clear answer – as to what percentage of the carbohydrate you or they ingest is actually rapidly digestible to blood glucose or not. I think this is the key to the observations you make. A study done on traditional Australian aboriginal bush plant-foods showed that when traditionally prepared and eaten had far less effect on both blood sugar and insulin response than cultivated Western equivalents prepared in the more modern way AND as would be predicted based on a nutritonal analysis of the macronutrient content of the those foods in their raw state. They were prepared and cooked in such a way that a significant proportion of the carbohydrate (whether sugar oir starch) was rendered indigestible (to glucose). However, fibre and resistant starch can be fermented by gut bacteria yileding short-chain saturated fatty acids, which can be absobed. So these foods become less carby by percentage of calories digested and much more fat-yielding. Ipso facto, they are eating a ‘low-carb diet.

    “Please explain. While you’re at it, explain this:

    -Lots of obese and overweight people have no insulin resistance and insulin levels are normal.*

    A. Do they? Any citations to support that?

    “-Lots of skinny and underweight people have insulin resistance and insulin levels are high.”

    A. Do they? Any citations to support that? In which tissues or cells are they insulin resistant? If it is the adipocytes, then that may explain why they do not gain excess fat.

    “-Jimmy Moore is fat, after years of “Livin’ the Vida Low Carb”. Atkins himself was overweight. Loren Cordain is fat.”

    A. These are ad hominems, not verifiable and not worthy of any further response!

    “-A lot of people lose weight on low carb, but very few of them reach their ideal weights and most of them gain the weight back, just like with any other diet.”

    A. Well I, at least, seem to have bucked that trend then!

    “-If all you have to do is not raise insulin and you’ll be skinny, why can’t you eat 5000 kcals/day of butter, cream and steak? Try it and see if you don’t gain weight.”

    A. Speaking for myself, I would never want to eat that much fat and protein – don’t forget that the size of the insulin response is also partially dictated by the size of the meal. You would never be able to physically eat a large enough meal made exclusively from fat and protein to get that effect or total that many calories!

    • jocko271 says:

      Alex, I’m going to answer you the same way I did FrankG above: LOOK IT UP if you want answers to the questions you seek. Asking whether these cultures are thriving or are fat is amazing, coming from someone who is eating loads of fat in order to lose weight and recover from disease, and all because of one Guru.

      I’m not going to waste my time doing google searches for a zombie that has already made up his mind. If you really want to know exactly what these cultures eat, just read any study on these cultures. You can start with Staffan Lindeberg’s “Food and Western Disease”, where the Kitavan study is discussed at length. But my worry is that even faced with this glaring evidence, you would still find some pathetic, made up reason for why I’ve “contradicted myself”. Because you know, how can millions of years of evolution be smarter than you?

      Anyway if you would like the short answer to whether the insulin hypothesis of obesity is true or not, just actually DO the test and eat 5000 kcals/day of fat. Don’t raise your insulin at all while eating a massive amount of calories. Get back to me in 2 weeks.

      • Alex says:

        I have read the studies – and there are not that many that are good quailty. Most of what Steffan Lindeberg reports is based on observations by medics who were stationed on the islands during the 1960’s – so I don’t consider it very good data (and yes, I have actually gone directly to his website to try to find some detailed information – which is sadly lacking). This is why I asked you to provide citations for your overly assured analysis! Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof – and since you are making the claims you should provide the proof, not I!

        As I said and will keep on saying – merely recording the types of foods eaten and giving their nutritional breakdown based on the USDA nutritional database is not good enough. They need to actually take samples of the foods as they are eaten by the natives and analyse their content.

        And by the way, fir the second time in a row, I do not consider Gary Taubes to be my or anyone else’s ‘diet guru’; he is a science reporter and writer who is asking necessary questions and forming hypotheses deserving of proper scientific investigation by the mainstream – I started my dietary path long before I read any of his nutritional writing.

      • Alex says:

        And did you not read my response to your ridiculoos challenge? Why would I even want to eat that many calories in a day? I’ve never in my life eaten that many calories in a day, yet I still put on weight (fat) when most of those calories I did eat (significantly less that 5000) came from carbohydrate! It doesn’t matter how much fat I eat – I could never get to 5000 kcals per day without making myself physically sick. I dare say, If I cut out fat completely and ate only highly refined carbs, I might manage it but I don’t need or want to!

        • jocko271 says:

          Alex, saying you “don’t need or want to” is an obvious way of squirming out of the experiment. Make it 3500 kcals if you “can’t eat” 5000 kcals of meat and fat (whatever is over your daily caloric needs will suffice), even though most people would jump at that chance.

          I would argue that it’s mainly that reason why Taubes is so popular. He’s essentially saying “eat all you want and don’t feel guilty”. And he’s laughing all the way to the bank with your money.

          Anyway until you actually try the experiment, you are thinking with your Guru’s brain, not your own, therefore your comments are useless. You haven’t put your insulin theory to the test. You’ve taken it all on faith, just like a zombie should.

          With regard to the Kitavans, you didn’t read the book and your understanding of hunter gatherer cultures after a brief peek at Lindeberg’s website is so woefully lacking in any depth that I’m not going to even waste my time teaching you about it here. “I don’t have a battle of wits with the unarmed.”

          • Alex says:

            You are a fool as well as a troll! I said I could not physically eat 5000kcals of meat and fat in order to make myself gain fat – to prove your silly point with your silly pointless experiment – but then you go and say “I would argue that it’s mainly that reason why Taubes is so popular. He’s essentially saying ‘eat all you want and don’t feel guilty’. And he’s laughing all the way to the bank with your money.”

            Your cognitive dissonance is staggering! That’s why you can eat as much as you want but not overeat and get fat. And, no, that still does not make it totally about calories. It doesn’t matter what degree of calorie deficit you have regarding the actual quantity of food that passes you lips but rather what your body does with the calories once they are digested and absorbed. You never have a calorie deficit at the metabolic level – if your metabolism requires 2500kcals per day to function it will still require that amount even if you eat 500kcals less per day. If the metabolism is functioning properly – and you have excess body fat to spare – this where the additional 500kcals not conumed as food should come from. It is the hormonal environment that dictates whether this happens or not and the hormonal environment is influenced by the nature and quality of the food, not by how many calories it contains.

            Thinking that the number of calories consumed is the sole determinant of fat gain and loss is as illogical as thinking that you can run a gas-powered car on electricity just because you can measure their energy content in the same units!

          • jocko271 says:

            Yes Alex, just keep telling yourself that. You know nothing about hunter gatherer cultures, but you pretend that you do. You know nothing about biochemistry, but you pretend that you do. You have done zero research on this diet and how it does not square with numerous bodily processes, yet you pretend you have. You are the one who believes all bodyfat is determined by one hormone. And I’m somehow the one with cognitive dissonance?

            If you had ever cracked a biochemistry book you’d know that there are tons of hormones that also determine bodyfat, as well as tons that counteract insulin’s actions when insulin is activated. You have yet to counter any of my points about the conlicts of the insulin theory, other than to say you need references (even though they are two clicks away in front of you). You said my pointing out that Jimmy Moore is overweight is somehow an ad-hominem attack on him when it is simply a factual observation that you can’t ignore.

            You use deflections instead of answers for every point I’ve posed. Because you can’t answer them.

            As far as the diet challenge goes, you have simply backed out. None of your excuses, deflections and distractions will change that. I told you you just had to eat more calories than you needed if you can’t stomach 5000 kcals/day. But if you don’t try the test, you haven’t tested your theory and so you, yes you, are a non-thinking, non-questioning, ZOMBIE.

            And BTW, that definition would include cognitive dissonance. Not that I should have to say it you seem to need that.

            Arguing with you is like arguing with a creationist. So I’m done with you. Won’t be reading your ignorant and unwitty responses either.

          • Al says:


            Does jocko seem bipolar to you?


          • jocko271 says:

            LOL. Now there’s a good attempt at deflection instead of answers. Ad hominem instead of facts.

            Can’t answer a question? No problem, just make stuff up about the guy asking! Al, you are truly worthy of the Guru you worship.

          • FrankG says:

            Actually I still suspect that jacka$$ is simply another alias for Evil-lyn AKA “Carbsane” who seems oblivious to any facts other than her stalker-like obsession with Gary Taubes. Interestingly I don’t see a jocko271 posting anywhere except on this blog.

            But a troll by any other name…

          • jocko271 says:

            You zombies would be impressive with your creativity if you weren’t so pathetic.

            You will find any excuse at all to be right and protect your Guru. You can’t answer any of the questions I asked about the conflicts of the insulin hypothesis, so in your anger and frustration you call me a troll, a jackass, a manic depressive and now carbsane (who is somehow “evil” and a “stalker” to Frank because she picks apart the faults in his Guru’s statements).

            Not one of you has attempted the Test I refer to above to see if the insulin hypothesis even works on yourselves. You look for excuses or deflections or simply ignore the idea out of hand. If that’s not cognitive dissonance, I don’t know what is.

            Do you not see how stupid you all look?

            BTW, not that any of you will admit it, but Richard and his wife are finally losing weight again after ditching low carb: http://freetheanimal.com/

            He must be a jackass/manic depressive/troll too!

          • Galina L. says:

            I actually don’t see the reason for Alex to eat 5000 calories worth of food in order to convince jacko he is not a zombie. I wouldn’t do it in order to please somebody on internet. We are not on a play-ground any more. The reason people appreciative of LC is the high satiety of the food. However, not for everybody, which doesn’t turn people who are not hungry eating LC into guru worshipers , they may be not metabolically identical to Richard. I am not.

    • gman3164 says:

      Hi Alex,
      I did some reading on “resistant starch,” and I think the science behind the phrase is pretty shaky. To think that starch residing in starch grains within potato cells (even uncooked) can somehow escape amylase enzymes all the way through the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum sections of the gut is rather unbelievable, depsite the strong emotional opinion of jocko271. I suppose if you swallowed the entire potato you could claim that the starch grains can hide the starch chains from pancreatic amylase. One paper stated that maybe 5 % of potato starch was resistant – not exactly a large amount. Even though most of the research was done in the 80’s, the term did make it’s way to nutrition textbooks, which claim the starch gets converted to butyrate by colonic bacteria. Thus, it appears that the starch in jocko’s diet is ketogenic… And I think FrankG is correct. Jocko’s writing style is the same as Carbsane’s writing of one year ago (see “The Dose of Intervention and the Land of Doctor Oz” and scroll down the comments – the diaolog I had with Carbsane is very similar to the dialog you are having with Jocko..).

      • jocko271 says:

        This one gets filed under “double-LOL”. You guys simply cannot deal with the truth. You will search for any way possible to wiggle out of having to deal with that, instead of asking the questions I’m asking.

        It’s called religion.

        • jocko271 says:

          And BTW, can no one besides Carbsane disagree with your stupid and still-unproven insulin hypothesis? Do no other detractors exist besides her?

          How about the entire scientific world, who disproved it years ago…

          • Sam says:


            Physiologic Effects of Insulin
            Stand on a streetcorner and ask people if they know what insulin is, and many will reply, “Doesn’t it have something to do with blood sugar?” Indeed, that is correct, but such a response is a bit like saying “Mozart? Wasn’t he some kind of a musician?”

            Insulin is a key player in the control of intermediary metabolism, and the big picture is that it organizes the use of fuels for either storage or oxidation. Through these activities, insulin has profound effects on both carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, and significant influences on protein and mineral metabolism. Consequently, derangements in insulin signalling have widespread and devastating effects on many organs and tissues.

          • jocko271 says:

            Once again Sam, since you guys willfully ignore my comments above:

            I never said insulin didn’t exist or didn’t have a role in the body. Obviously it does or it wouldn’t be there in the first place. I simply said you are not losing weight due to insulin control. You are losing weight because you eat less calories.

          • Sam says:


            Insulin inhibits breakdown of fat in adipose tissue by inhibiting the intracellular lipase that hydrolyzes triglycerides to release fatty acids.

            Insulin facilitates entry of glucose into adipocytes, and within those cells, glucose can be used to synthesize glycerol. This glycerol, along with the fatty acids delivered from the liver, are used to synthesize triglyceride within the adipocyte. By these mechanisms, insulin is involved in further accumulation of triglyceride in fat cells.

            From a whole body perspective, insulin has a fat-sparing effect. Not only does it drive most cells to preferentially oxidize carbohydrates instead of fatty acids for energy, insulin indirectly stimulates accumulation of fat in adipose tissue.

          • jocko271 says:

            Gee thanks Sam for describing insulin to me. Do you think I’m denying the actions of insulin?

            You also strangely forgot to mention one of the main actions of insulin, which is to make you STOP EATING and to FEEL FULL.

          • FrankG says:

            So jocka$$/Evil-lyn/whoever you really are… you like to set a challenge and you know full well that your 5,000 calories a day of fat is ridiculous. You think you can “pwn the internet” by setting a challenge that no-one in their right mind is foolish enough to accept… because A) anyone ingesting that much fat would spend all day in the bathroom and B) “eating freely” does not mean forcing-feeding yourself but rather eating until you are satisfied and then stopping — something that I (and apparently many others) find very much easier to do by avoiding sugars and/or refined starches… most likely because of the effect they have on insulin and the effect insulin has on energy partitioning and hunger… so yes! low carb may indeed work by allowing a person to spontaneously eat less but it is because it lowers insulin! …AHHH but you claim that more insulin will make you “STOP EATING” and “FEEL FULL.”..!

            So here is your challenge: get some long acting insulin (apparently available without a prescription in the USA) and inject yourself a small amount (perhaps 3-5 units) every day. Not enough to make you hypoglycemic but surely enough to make you eat less (or so you claim). Continue eating as you do now, and keep up the insulin injections every day for at least 6 months, then see what you think. Maybe 6 months is plenty because I’d hate for you to waste away to nothing… although I strongly suspect that you will in fact have stored significant excess fat mass.

            BTW I don’t need to take this challenge for myself because I am already living it and have been doing so for the past 9 years as a Type 2 Diabetic who uses insulin to control my Blood Glucose. I already know first hand the effect that insulin has on my hunger and fat mass… without going hypo… but then I’m not a rodent…. are you?

            Oh but then we ignore Diabetics because they are outliers.. except when it suits people like “your Guru” Stephan Guyenet to refer to rodent studies of mice with diabetes. Look how we infused insulin into rodents for 7 (seven) days (that’s just one week in case you missed it) and they didn’t put on weight! Why, that is the perfect model for Chronic High Insulin in humans with Insulin Resistance!… and this was offered, out of what we are told is a vast and overwhelming mass of studies, as a “final nail” in the Carbohydrate Insulin Hypothesis?!? Gimme a break… I may not be employed as a “real” scientist but I ain’t that gullible… are you?

            Poor misunderstood Stephan… just an honest “real” scientist, altruistically trying to make a better world for us all — nothing like that money-grubbing Taubes… Stephan’s motivation has nothing to do with furthering his own career, with lucrative drug-company sponsored research grants, tenure at a University, speaking fees and honoraria, royalties from pharmaceutical patents etc.. etc…

            Seriously I have nothing against Stephan.. I sincerely wish him well and I’m sure he’ll go far in his specialist field… although he could do with being more open-minded on the peripheral role of insulin and a little less fixated on the brain — but you jacka$$ need to learn some perspective.

            So there is an open challenge to you — put up or shut the f*ck up!

            And now over to you… because we all know how you LOVE the last word 😉

          • jocko271 says:

            FrankG, did you lose all that weight between your ears on low carb? You have understood zero about what I’ve been saying, which basically matches your understanding of biochemistry itself, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

            Instead of doing the 5000 kcal/day challenge, I get another deflection from you. Now I’M supposed to find insulin and inject it so I can prove your point instead? LOL.

            If you “have been living the challenge for years”, are you skinny now? I’m gonna predict that you’re not. You’re still fat, even though you lost some weight on low carb. And if you say you are skinny now, I’d like some before and after pics to back that up. Because you’re a liar.

            You just wrote a 1000 word comment and I’m somehow the one trying to pwn the internet? Exactly what are you taking along with your steak and butter? I thought you were deluded and stupid before, but now you’re just a wacko.

            Nice to know you’re all so open-minded and inclusive in your “scientific” search for health and leanness. Though most of your are not lean here and none of you seem to be healthy in the noggin.

            So FrankG, if you don’t like dissent, kindly go f*ck yourself, all day if you’re so inclined. This is not your website and your Guru is old enough to defend himself if he wants. He doesn’t need a fat, half-wit who misunderstands basic biochem to protect him. Unless, of course, YOU ARE GARY TAUBES??? Hm, let’s deflect for moment…

          • jocko271 says:

            Gman, you just said it yourself: you can’t eat all you want on this diet or any other, meaning that the low carb diet RESTRICTS CALORIES. However in the last part of your comment you’re still denying calories in-calories out. Do you even know what you’re arguing?

            You can’t have it both ways and these conflicts annoy you so, like a good scientist… you want to kick my ass. That’s your idea of a real scientific debate.

            It’s actually awesome that you said that because you’ve just proven that these books and this whole low-carb culture are a fanatical religion where dissenters get punished instead of engaged with.

            No facts to debate? Just call the dissenters names and try to debase their character. If they continue to point out the holes in your argument, just threaten to kick their ass. I probably don’t need to point out that these tactics still don’t make you right.

            But they do indicate that you are not only stupid but have a serious problem.

            Al, you’re a whiny twat. Just as well that you stop answereing since you just make me scroll more anyway.

        • gman3164 says:

          Actually, the low-fat, high carb diet was/is religion. The McGovern Commission issued their report in 1977 without scientific consensus. They merely “felt compelled” to speak out about diet. It took off from there, and became “dogma.” How dare “us” in the low-carb community speak out against it.. And if the scientific community disproved it long ago, why is the information that supports Gary’s hypothesis written in biochemistry textbooks? You are in denial jocko.

          • jocko271 says:

            Gman, WHERE is your proof “written in biochemistry books”??? If anything the biochemistry books continually prove you wrong. You are so desperate to be right that you guys are simply making sh*t up now.

            And I never said low fat was the answer either. I’m all for saturated fat. Where did you get the idea that I was low fat just because I don’t agree with the insulin hypothesis? Did you read my comments about hunter gatherers? Do you EVER read comments that counter your view?

          • FrankG says:

            You can read sections of Marks’ basic medical biochemistry: a clinical approach here…


            …they describe this book as “A best-selling core textbook for medical students taking medical biochemistry…”

            Medical Students eh… would they be the ones (like my son) who are training to be Medical Doctors and care for humans, not rodents, perhaps?

            Section Five includes “Basic Concepts in the Regulation of Fuel Metabolism by Insulin, Glucagon and Other Hormones” — I guess they didn’t think the “other hormones” important enough to name” — I cannot cut and paste from this online book and I’ll be damned if I’ll waste my time retyping it all just for you so go read it, if you can… there is nothing there which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that high levels of sugar and refined starches lead to high levels of insulin, increased fat storage and increased hunger.

          • gman3164 says:

            Thank you, FrankG, for your comment with the medical biochemistry textbook information. I was thinking of Biochemistry by Berg, Tymoczko, and Stryer (pages 853-855), where they discuss the regulation of adipocytes by insulin. Thus, I didn’t “make up” anything, as jocko (Carbsane) suggests. I would have hit the “reply” button on your comment, but it wasn’t there. So, jocko, my challenge to you would be to reference some pages in a biochemistry textbook that “proves us wrong.” I seriously doubt that you’ll find anything in a biochemistry book about the “eat less, move more” hypothesis, but go ahead and try.

          • jocko271 says:

            What can I say Frank, except that you’ve once again proven, if anything, that you are idiots. Pages 851-852 and 854-855 are missing from the book you sent. And, LOL… here is PAGE 3 OF YOUR OWN LINK, CHAPTER 1:

            “Fuel requirements. We require enough energy each day to drive the basic functions of our bodies and to support our physical activity. If we do not consume enough food each day to supply that much energy, the body’s fuel stores supply the remainder, and we lose weight. Conversely, if we consume more food than required for the energy we expend, our body’s fuel stores enlarge, and we gain weight.”

            HAHAHAHAHAH! You two have really shown your expertise in biochem, and with your own effin references…. too much awesome for words…

          • gman3164 says:

            So how does your statement prove your biochemicl prowess? And the phrase “too much awesome for words” doesn’t make sense. What do you think, FrankG? Does jocko sound like an angry two-year-old to you?

          • jocko271 says:

            Yes it does make sense. Your stupidity was “too much awesome for words”. Simple, direct and to the point. But alas you didn’t get it.

            Because Frank said, and you agreed with:

            “there is nothing there which is inconsistent with the hypothesis that high levels of sugar and refined starches lead to high levels of insulin, increased fat storage and increased hunger.”

            Now judging from the quote I found, in CHAPTER 1 no less, Frank and you didn’t even read the textbook you use as reference. That’s called stupid. But on top of it, you are a gaping a**hole who’s trying to detract from that fact by calling me childish for pointing it out to you.

            The only children in this thread are those that can’t admit they’re wrong. And that means you and Frank.

          • jocko271 says:

            Oh and here was another reason you’re both all kindsa stupid:

            “I cannot cut and paste from this online book and I’ll be damned if I’ll waste my time retyping it all just for you so go read it, if you can…”

            This was a howler because it was Frank who wasn’t able to read his own basic biochem reference book. Or he conveniently left out my quote as he cherry-picked anything in the book that discussed the actions of insulin. Hey this is strangely his Guru’s favourite trick too.

            Do you two brainiacs have any other fantastic references to further crush the calories in-calories out argument?

          • FrankG says:

            “Does jocko sound like an angry two-year-old to you?” — most definitely. But not to worry…. the more this person posts (and they *DO* love to post don’t they 😉 ) the more they show up their own childlike level of intellect and complete lack of anything resembling integrity or coherent reason. But hey… if you really think you convince people that you are right by calling them mindless zombies… then fill yer boots!

          • jocko271 says:

            More deflection, Frank? Your own references were the only incoherence I saw in this whole discussion. You can’t argue any of the points I bring up about your hypothesis, so you just hack away pathetically at my character.

            Sucks to be fat, doesn’t it Frank? Sucks worse to be fat and wrong…

          • Al says:

            @ jocko:

            What was the purpose of your 5000kcal challenge? I can’t find the original post in the thread.

            I spent a few years heavily overeating when I dove into VLC – apparently, I still had the hair-trigger back then. I was easily taking in between 4000-6000kcals per day, everyday. I still ate due to the clock, boredom, etc – everything but hunger. I had to eat each meal until I was stuffed. This was over a decade before GCBC, and pre-internet communities. Part of my healing process was having a better relationship with food, especially portions and quantities.

            So, what are your questions for someone who has completed your challenge (and then some)?


          • jocko271 says:

            Al, the purpose of the 5000kcal challenge was simply to show how you can not raise your insulin and still gain weight. This disproves Gary Taubes’ Insulin Theory of Obesity very clearly.

            Just eat 5000kcals of fat per day for a month. Don’t eat any carbs at all. See if you gain weight or not. Obviously it doesn’t have to be exactly 5000 kcals, but whatever is far in excess of your daily energy needs will do.

            If you say you were eating 6000 kcals a day and losing weight, without exercising at all, I suggest you re-examine the food amounts you ate from back then. I really think you overcounted.

          • gman3164 says:

            What amazes me is that jocko considers himself (herself) to be an expert in biochemstry, but yet mentions not a single solitary biochemical pathway that supports his (her) belief in the calories in/calories out hypothesis. But FrankG and I are the “stupid ones.” Hey jocko, why don’t you start at the chemiosomosis pathway, and work your way back from there. Let’s see if you can make a logical argument. But logic apparently is not your strong suite. And by the way, carbsane, you lost the argument we had last year about glyceroneogenesis. Look that one up.

          • Al says:


            I hear what you are trying to say but (and I’m not arguing for any guru, hypotheses, or otherwise) in my experience, overeating high fat puts on little weight, if any. By comparison, ating much less energy (though probably still overeating somewhat) made up from a high-carb intake leads to fatness with ease – I’ve been through both. It may not be true for everyone, but it is is true for a lot of folks that I have personally worked with in addition to a lot of folks on Inet communities since 2004. On an old zero-carb forum quite a few people took up your challenge and gained little if any – though some gained up to 10lbs, I would consider that amount very little as compared to what glucose (c)would have done.

            But this proves nothing… nothing except that, when adapted, some people can overeat fat and protein and gain little weight. So what? It certainly doesn’t disprove the CIH theory, because there is always insulin circulating in the blood. It doesn’t lend support to any other theory as well.

            I personally think that it is a lot more than what you do today, tomorrow, and the next day. It is about where you have been, and everything in the peripheral. Nikoley may be able to now eat 200g of potatoes, swapping them out for some fat/protein, because of where he’s been – not so fucked up in the first place, and through a healing process already. I’m finding out much the same (lower carb than he, however) in myself, currently.

            Whatever the underlying mechanisms for obesity/MetS/DOC’s turn out to be, one thing is clear, avoiding processed crap and factory foods get you most of the way to health. What are we bickering about anyway? A few hundred grams of glucose based carbs? Although some of us here probably are not at a point (and may never be) to tolerate as much, it is still low-carb and whole food eating as compared to the typical intakes.

            I’m not wanting to take sides here, but you are the instigator in the name-calling, insulting, and condescending attitude towards others – and that has little to do with food intake. It is in my opinion that you have little idea what some of psychologically went through when we first went low-carb and were freed from the shackles of fatness, obsession, and social outcast. Give us a fair shake and some understanding when we rally behind the instrument that literally saved our lives, even if the science behind it needs updating and amendment. Your attitude here is very telling about the kind of person you are.


          • jocko271 says:

            Gman, you’re the one saying that you can eat all you want, far in excess of energy needs, and not gain weight. This defies basic math. Who needs to be a biochem wiz? It takes no expertise at all to see this (if you’re not in denial like you are). But I’m the one without a logical argument? You are seriously too dumb to even understand how dumb you are.

            I guess you’re also shirking the 5000 kcals challenge so you don’t have to face the truth either. But deflect away by calling me names if you must.

            You are simply searching for a way to take the responsibility of your fatness off yourself. Insulin is your answer. This is what your Guru’s books are all about: using this one hormone to get you off the hook. It’s nothing to do with real science. Not that you’d know what that is.

            Al, you are an oversensitive petunia. Grow a pair and face up to some facts: losing weight means eating less calories. You can do that a number of ways and low carbs does help do that (as I’ve said from the beginning). But any other assumptions as to why low carb helps is simply that: assumption. It is not proven clinically to work any better for weight loss over the long-term than any other calorie-cutting diet.

            And stop your pseudo-analytical suppositions about what kind of person I am. You are simply projecting your own fears (that I could be right).

          • gman3164 says:

            Hey jocko – when did I ever say you could eat all you want? The fact is, when you eat low-carb, as we evolved to eat many generations ago, you eat until you’re satisfied, and low and behold, you can lose all the weight you want. You can also speed the process by toning your skeletal muscles through resistance training. And I did this long before Gary wrote GCBC. In fact, I’m in better shape at age 47 than I was at 27. And thus, I could kick your ass in a boxing match with no problem, that is IF you are a male (I would never strike a woman, but I would consider making an exception for carbsane).. Still no scientific references to back up your claims? At least you did admit to not being a biochemistry wiz – the only intelligent comment that you’ve made to date. And I believe it is you who have the market cornered on name calling and throwing childish insults at people. Get it through your head – eating less calories doesn’t work. If it did, we wouldn’t have an obesity epidemic on our hands. And it wasn’t Gary that came up with that bit of data – it was the Cochrane Collaboration (although Gary has pointed this out in GCBC and in his lectures). But let me know if you want to meet up for a boxing match.

          • Al says:


            “Oversensitive petunia”? That has to be the absolutely first time in 42 years that anyone has accused this retired grunt of being “sensitive”. But I’ll take it.

            You seem to fail to understand the concept of energy partitioning – which is why it is not basic math. And this may have little to with insulin, as the science may eek out one day, but it does not change the fact that it exists… or else I would have packed on the pounds during those years that I was eating twice the amount of energy I needed each day. And yes, I know how much energy I was consuming.

            Since you have regressed back to the manic-depressive phase, and I’ve little time to wait for for your mood to normalize, I’m done trying to have a reasonable discussion with you.

          • jocko271 says:

            Gman, you just said it yourself: you can’t eat all you want on this diet or any other, meaning that the low carb diet RESTRICTS CALORIES. However in the last part of your comment you’re still denying calories in-calories out. Do you even know what you’re arguing?

            You can’t have it both ways and these conflicts annoy you so, like a good scientist… you want to kick my ass. That’s your idea of a real scientific debate.

            It’s actually awesome that you said that because you’ve just proven that these books and this whole low-carb culture are a fanatical religion where dissenters get punished instead of engaged with.

            No facts to debate? Just call the dissenters names and try to debase their character. If they continue to point out the holes in your argument, just threaten to kick their ass. I probably don’t need to point out that these tactics still don’t make you right.

            But they do indicate that you are not only stupid but have a serious problem.

            Al, you’re a whiny twat. Just as well that you stop answereing since you just make me scroll more anyway. Your idea of a “reasonable discussion” was telling me I’m a manic depressive because I disagree with you. More religion.

          • gman3164 says:

            Exactly what have said here that can possibly be classified as “scientific?” Insulin suppresses lipolysis and stimulates lipogenesis, thereby making you fat and keeping you fat. If you simply lower calories, and keep your carb intake the same (which is what a low-fat diet is), your fat tissue holds onto its fat stores, and then you get hungry again. This is why just “restricting calories” without restricting carbs doesn’t work. It never has worked. And you are, by definition, following a low-fat diet if you are eating a 90% carb diet. And once you do start using your fatty acids for fuel (which is what low-carb allows for), such as in skeletal muscle, you have more energy and are not hungry. Now, here’s where you are confused. Some people do, in fact, eat less because of this phenomenon (they are burning their stored fat, thus there’s less of a need to eat). But I’m not one of those people. So there’s the science in a nut-shell for you. And yet you come on this blog and spout nonsense like “just eat less calories.” In case you missed it, that is called “conventional wisdom.” The original subtitle of GT’s book GCBC is “challenging the conventional wisdom about diet, health, and disease.” So if you haven’t bothered to read GCBC, go to your local library and check it out – that way you won’t have to pay any money to find out what we’re discussing in the low-carb community.
            Your tactic of just repeating conventional wisdom, without ANY science to back it up, is stupid. “Just eat less calories!” That’s great, jocko, you could become a primary care physician. And then when we disagree, and I point out relevant biological facts, you simply deny them, and start calling me names and calling me stupid. I would like to have a logical debate, but you are the one who is incapable of doing so. This reminds me of the argument I had with carbsane last year. She denied the biochemical facts as well. And if you didn’t resort to name-calling, I wouldn’t have the impulse to challenge you to boxing match. What’s funny is that you’ve insulted so many people on this blog, I bet there are folks here who would pay to see you get your ass kicked. What do you think, FrankG? Alex? Al? Maybe we could split the gate money?

          • jocko271 says:

            “If you simply lower calories, and keep your carb intake the same (which is what a low-fat diet is), your fat tissue holds onto its fat stores, and then you get hungry again. This is why just “restricting calories” without restricting carbs doesn’t work. It never has worked.”

            Gman, poor guy. You are obviously having problems with the big words I used in this entire discussion. There are 2 billion Asians eating white rice at every meal, every day, who are not fat, staring you in the face and you simply refuse to see it. The Kitavans eat a 90% sweet potato diet, yet you refuse to acknowledge it. Just about every poor country in the world who eats their TRADITIONAL diet (no processed or refined foods) is skinny, while you sir, are fat and angry and obviously sick in the head. And you have the nerve to spout this arrogant nonsense about how you understand the workings of the body. Just where the hell do you get off telling people what they should be eating then?

            These people defy every single tenet of your insulin theory and until you explain this contradiction in your theory, your theory breaks down.

            These people have been around much longer than your stupid hypothesis. You are not smarter than them. YOU ARE IN DENIAL.

            And as an aside, you should really have your head examined. Threatening disagreement with physical violence is, well, sick. You’re not doing well on this diet.

          • Sam says:

            You are pretty stupid if you think you are winning any of the discussions with your insulting rants. When presented with facts and scientific evidence, you just increase your insults and the non-sense. It only reflects a lot more about your mental status than counter anything. If you want to read more about this go to the link and since you’re so childish that think that having the last say is some way of winning an argument flame on.


          • jocko271 says:

            Sam, you are the best comedian a blogreader could ask for!

            “It only reflects a lot more about your mental status than…”

            Then you send me a link to an admitted bipolar, OCD, mood disorder and eating disorder sufferer who goes on long rants and gets kicked off blogs left and right for writing long diatribes that go way off topic.

            That’s your proof alright. That you’re an idiot.

            Since you’d like to compare biochemistry experts, would you like me to send you a link to my Aunt Rose’s blog? I think her mahjong partner lost weight on low carb, maybe she has a blog too I could send you for more of your type of hard science “proof”…

          • gman3164 says:

            Big words? What big words have you been using? “Eat less, move more.” There’s not even a second syllable in those words, you moron (the word “moron” actually has more). And about those Asians, are you really going to try to say that ALL of them are thin, and that ALL of them are eating rice with every meal? And you know this how? From your many travels to Asian countries? Your notebooks of families you’ve stayed with, and recordings of their meals for weeks at a time? It’s called stereotyping. Do you understand that big word? I met many Asian exchange students in the early 80’s in high school. And guess what? Not ALL of them were thin. About half of them were. The other half, were, well, “chunky.” Thus, my observations directly refute your stereotyping. And I never threatened you with physical violence, you moron. But, if you were in the same room with any of these people, and saying to their faces the things you’ve been saying on this thread, you’d be lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood – because any one of us would kick your ass. Thus, you are a piece of dung.

            Thanks for that link! That was wonderful reading! I have read Woo’s comments over on Hyperlipid in the past, but I didn’t realize she had her own blog. Great stuff! Certainly much more interesting than jocko’s idiocy.
            Here’s an analogous (too big a word for you?) movie quote that sums up your level of communication: “Everything is not an anectdote. You have to discriminate! You choose things that are funny, or mildly amusing, or interesting. You’re a miracle! You’re stories have NONE of that! You’re stories aren’t even amusing.. accidently!..” Steve Martin

          • jocko271 says:

            Are you still yapping, Gman? I lived in Taiwan for 2 years and saw, well, lots and lots of Asians. The place was pretty much overrun with them. You however knew a few in high school (in the US, and presumably eating the food there). Once again you’ve proven you’re an expert at, you guess it, absolutely nothing.

            If you think Woo is wonderful reading, then enjoy. There is not a shred of evidence in anything she says. Both she and you are obsessive and crazy and lie and bend evidence constantly about whatever you want to convince others of. No one takes either of you seriously, so… Hey you two should definitely get together!

            “…you’d be lying on the floor in a pool of your own blood – because any one of us would kick your ass.” And yet you say you never threatened me with physical violence?

            No Gman, really. There is something really wrong with you. You really need some help. Not surprised at all that you’re attracted to people like Woo.

          • gman3164 says:

            And once again, jocko, you’ve proven how unintelligent you are. What does the phrase “exchange student” mean? I guess I need to explain it to you. They are living in an Asian country, and they come to the U.S. in August of year x. They stay for one year, and then they return home. So, logically, while they were living in Asia, they were eating their native diet. They didn’t suddenly become “chunky” on the flight to the U.S., you moron. And ask anyone on this thread, “Who is the obsessive, crazy liar in this discussion?” They will unanimously answer “jocko271.” Woo references almost everything she says with primary literature articles. Do you even know what those are? Face it, jocko – you’ve lost the argument. I think I’ll go over to the more current post, and prove to that audience what an idiot you are.
            And I’m still going to the gym and working on the heavy bag..

  41. Jon says:

    It seems to me that an acute reaction to insulin, at the site of insulin injection, can not necessarily be extrapolated to the entire body, where insulin concentrations would generally be much lower.

    • Alex says:

      I don’t think that was the point being made. The answer given is that the pictured condition is caused by ‘insulin lipohypertrophy’ and that this is associated with glycemic flux – insulin causes glucose to be shuttled into subcutaneous fat cells and stored as fat. In other words, insulin is a fat storage hormone and, under its influence, glucose can be converted into fat and stored in adipocytes, which is precisely the phenomenon dtractors keep saying does not exist!

  42. Rose says:

    From comments I read, many seem to know much about science – or sound like they do. I just know from my personal experience – and it’s been an interesting experience, trying to eat in a low carb way – and I hope I can keep on doing eating this way, but I’m having some struggles.
    One struggle is that any restricted diet gets very boring after a while. Bacon, maybe once deemed a “treat” is now old hat to me (I try to eat the least processed form I can find). Steak, it’s nice, but. After a while, I want to scream, maybe.
    Now I’m wondering: can I eat full fat, plain, no-sugar added Greek yogurt? Can I add blueberries to the yogurt (but sans Added sugar).
    Are eating sweet peppers helping me or dooming me. Are Brussel sprouts okay, or akin to a snickers bar? (or Almost akin to one?)….
    After eating low carb for almost a year, I thought I’d try some genuinely whole grain bread. Mistake! I suffered a great deal of stomach pain after doing that!
    As for weight loss, it’s been minimal. Maybe i am just doing doing this low carb thing Perfectly enough? There is the American Dream (Myth?) that IF one can just eat PERFECTLY (or Perfectly Enough) then weight loss will happen, tons of energy, scads of healthy outcomes, etc etc etc.
    Well, I guess I can’t do it. I eat eggs galore, but I also make my own low carb candy. I found the recipe online: unrefined organic coconut oil, unsweetened cocoa powder, a packet of splenda & some nuts, if desired. Yummy! Am I dooming myself, though? Or am I SAVING myself from the much worse snickers bar???
    You see, folks, this is the Gary Taubes Atkins approach in the real world – outside the lab & the confines of the research. This is me: a very obese individual, trying not to gain any MORE weight & also looking to lose weight. I’ve lost a Bit of weight & I no longer binge eat. Carbs like sweets (regular sweets, like the snickers bar or ice cream) have a way of driving my brain INSANE w/the desire to eat to the point of sickness – and then eat some more. I believe this is how i got fat in the 1st place.
    Meat IS satiating. I also eat plenty of salads (w/some olive oil only, as dressing). But sometimes I mix in mayo w/my salads, & I put mayo into my deviled eggs & egg salad. I also eat plenty of plain, hard-boiled eggs, however. I think I am doing a pretty good job w/this diet – but far from perfect.
    I’m doing the best I can do. And it’s helping me a great deal. But I am still very fat & very sad that people who judge me can’t see how hard I am trying.

    • Alex says:

      Hi Rose. Sorry to hear of your struggles. Initially, I also struggled with embarking on low carb – especially going the Atkins route. In my case, I think I was so engained in the high carb, low fat way of eating that I had down-regulated all my fat-burning ‘machinery and up-regulated my glucose-burning machinery that the Atkins induction phase ws just too ‘painful’ to endure for more than a few days. I had to really research the whole low carb idea and come up with my own approach, which entailed a gradual reduction in carbohydrate while gradually increasing fat – especially saturated fat.

      You mention using coconut oil. You have to consider that body fat is largely composed of saturated fats (excess glucose, when it is converted to fat, is converted to long-chain saturated fat – palmitic acid). in order for the body to oxidise these long-chain saturated fats for cellular energy, you need the ‘carnitine shuttle’. The medium chain saturated fats found in coconut do not require the carnitine shuttle to enter cells for oxidation so, by eating these in preference to the long-chain saturated fats found in meat and dairy produce, you are limiting the speed and extent by which you can up-regulate the expression of carnitine.

      it is not enough to optimise body fat release by limiting insulin excursions via low carb eating, if the long-chain fatty acids released from body fat cannot enter cells to be oxidised for energy. If they cannot enter the cells for use as energy they will just be re-incorporated back into body fat.

  43. Rose says:

    I really have profound admiration for Gary Taubes, because, in his book: “Why We Get Fat” he is honest w/fat people in a non-condescending, non-patronizing way. He clearly states that for some fat people, they may have reached the “point of no return” regarding their obesity. This simple acknowledgement – if more people understood & accepted it – would spare fat people a lot of pain from others who always see fit to judge, to speak of being strong in the face of temptation, to just moving, to just stopping eating so much, etc ad nauseum. Now, in addition to this being true for me, it could also be I have not been doing low carb eating long enough. It may be I am not doing it perfectly enough (and/or that I Am doing it in a way that I, personally, can sustain doing, over the years to come)….
    It may well be that I do not have the finances to see a doctor who could Really help me. There may be a myriad of underlying conditions (or one Important, yet overlooked underlying condition) that dooms me to failure when it comes to much weight loss.
    At least I am not bingeing anymore (and purging, eventually, in the desperate attempt to undo the terrible damage of the bingeing).
    People talk of overeating & how even w/low carb, this is possible to do. True, but overeating steak is Much more difficult than overeating cake, including Entimens, Snackwells, etc. Twinkies, the whole horrible lot of it. Been there, Ate that. To my everlasting shame, but I was in the grip of a serious illness (w/a VERY strong Physical component to it, if not being THE strongest. It’s hard to say. Bingeing as I did causes serious depression & also a sort of mania. Yet, who can seriously deny that refined carbs are like drugs to people like me? Yet, who needs all the guilt of OA? When all one need do is eat as Gary Taubes advises. Which I do, to the best of my ability).
    Right now I’m pan-cooking a steak in olive oil & herbs; it’s sizzling, even as I type these words. I know that I won’t need or want to eat All of it (it’s a big & thick steak). And I know it will satisfy & “calm” me. So, yes, I could overeat this steak, but not to the degree that I overeat & binged on sweets.
    I’m also eating a lot more vegetables than I ever did. This way of eating has brought me sanity, w/o the group pressure, hugs, sayings or other things that I am not interested in. I wish I could lose more weight (and also get more energy), but at least I am not gaining weight or bingeing. I was on a slow ride to suicide of one form or another and Now I am not.
    People ought to give Gary Taubes credit for showing a way that may help them a great deal, even if their BMIs don’t get much lower.

  44. Ian says:

    Hi everyone,

    Been doing the low carb thing since july last year with mixed success. Hit a few really lousy plateaus, in the middle of one now. I was following ANA for most of my time, but have recently switched over to slow carb in an attempt to jolt my system a bit. Whenever I get onto an ANA forum to ask for advice I can never get the answers I need, mainly because I’m not truly an ANA follower but an ANA follower armed with Taubes. People say thinks like: get more exercise, or your eating too many calories and I can’t even argue with them.

    Is there a place to seek advice on the internet that is perhaps a bit more scholarly and Taubes friendly. It’sd be great to disscuss my questions with some people who have read both both books instead of just one. I find I usually need to understand WHY something works the way that it does and the ANA people seems to just want to tell me I’m just not doing things right.


    • Ian says:

      Oh dear, I wasn’t paying attention to where this was getting posted. Sorry! Any Ideas where a better spot to ask this question might be?

  45. Tom Bunnell says:


    I finally summarized today, a quick and easy and to the point, summary.

    It says it all in about two minutes and on one page.

    I found the missing piece to the puzzle.


    Thank You

  46. Bob R. says:

    Any thoughts on this latest study?

    As someone who eats paleo this worries me a bit.


    • gman3164 says:

      From what I read about the study, they used “data” from the Nurse’s Health Study, which relied on questionaires to determine individual diets. These data are notoriously unreliable. It’s simply another paper demonizing dietary fat as “somehow” causing premature death. I wouldn’t worry one bit about it. I also find it curious that they are still running the Nurse’s Health Study. Since their own “data” did not support their hypothesis (that high fat diets lead to heart attacks, stroke, etc) for the first generation of nurses, they simply continued the “study,’ such that they’re now looking at a third generation. Any other scientific studie’s funding would have been scrapped after the first generation. But this one continues to be funded.

  47. Richard Draper says:

    Mr. taubes,
    Your books are well researched and conclude with strong evidence that it’s not the fats that sicken you but the sugar and refinbed carbs. Today’s LA Times publishes new reserach (Archives of Internal Medicine) that red meat is a killer. How to reconcile your conclusions with theirs?

    • Gerg says:

      I read the article actually.

      So, while it can’t be dismissed out of hand, the data is based on people being interviewed once every 4(!!!) years. No journaling. I frankly can’t remember what I ate last week.

      So I think it’s a long way from proving anything of substance.

  48. Helen Armstrong says:

    Off Topic,
    But what is with the study that is all over the ABC News and SBS in Australia today re 120,000 preople over 20 years that shows Red meat is linked to incresed cancer and heart disease?
    They said just reducing or swapping one red meat meal for fish or chicken each week reduced the risk.
    I do not know if the report states what the absolute risk is or just the percentage increased or decreased risk.


    • FrankG says:

      My humble suggestion for anyone who finds this latest story about red meat to be convincing is: to follow the advice given… switch it up and try some fish and/or poultry instead. I’m not aware that eating LCHF is in any way tied at the hip to red meat… simply that it is advisable to avoid sugars and refined starches 🙂

      For the record I am *not* convinced by this report, and I source all my grass-fed red-meat from a local farmer/butcher, but I also include some cold-water fish (from a wild sustainable source) at least once a week anyway. We are all destined to die eventually — I *am* convinced of the health effects of obesity, high Blood Glucose etc… etc… and I know that avoiding sugars and refined starches has helped me to significantly reduce those risks.

      • Galina L. says:

        Frank , according to the study, “Men and women with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index.” So, they just confirm (sort of) that people who don’t care about their health have low life expectancy. So many famous vegetarians died young, that it also looks like a dangerous life style , btw.

        You are right, low-carbohydrate diet doesn’t mean a high red meat diet.

        • Gerg says:

          Oof, they weren’t controlling for those factors? Really? It’s meaningless then!

        • Gerg says:

          Actually this is incorrect, I think. Excerpt:

          “The regression analyses were adjusted for age (<49 y, 50-54 y, 55-59 y, 60-64 y, and ≥65 y), family history of diabetes (yes vs no), history of hypercholesterolemia (yes vs no), smoking (never, past, current with 1-14 cigarettes per day, current with 15-24 cigarettes per day, current with ≥25 cigarettes per day, and missing), hormone therapy use (premenopausal, never, past, and current hormone use), caloric intake, history of hypertension (yes vs no), physical activity (30g/d), body mass index (BMI; continuous and quadratic terms), and missing FFQ.”

    • FrankG says:

      Here is the full study…

      Red Meat Consumption and Mortality

      Results From 2 Prospective Cohort Studies

      An Pan, PhD; Qi Sun, MD, ScD; Adam M. Bernstein, MD, ScD; Matthias B. Schulze, DrPH; JoAnn E. Manson, MD, DrPH; Meir J. Stampfer, MD, DrPH; Walter C. Willett, MD, DrPH; Frank B. Hu, MD, PhD

      Arch Intern Med. Published online March 12, 2012. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.2287


      So these conclusions used diet questionnaires and are based on observations of 121,342 women and men, over 20+ years, during which time there were 9,464 deaths from all types of cancer

    • Lanie says:

      It says eating meat was negatively correlated with eating poultry and fish (meaning those who ate more red meat ate less poultry/fish). It could be that it’s not the red meat that’s the problem, but the lack of fish (and maybe lack of Omega 3 fatty acids) that’s leading to earlier death. So do what the study says – swap out a meat dish for a fish dish and gain some lifetime.

    • FrankG says:

      J. Stanton over at GNOLLS.org has this to say on the topic… Always Be Skeptical Of Nutrition Headlines: Or, What “Red Meat Consumption and Mortality” (Pan et.al.) Really Tells Us

  49. NatePortnoy says:

    Hi Gary,

    I’m curious to know what you make of the findings recently published by Dean Ornish:


    Maybe you care to share? Cheers

  50. D.D. says:

    I just read the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine entitled, Red Meat Consumption & Mortality, and noticed that they did not control for sugar consumption.

    • D.D. says:

      Sorry, a follow up: the study does NOT control for sugar consumption. In the study they acknowledge: “Men and women with higher intake of red meat were less likely to be physically active and were more likely to be current smokers, to drink alcohol, and to have a higher body mass index.” So, they do control for smoking, drinking and activity level, but not sugar. The point being it’s possible that the mortality effects are due to sugar consumption. It appears even more likely given that red meat eaters have a higher body mass index which evidence seems to say is often caused by sugar consumption, not from eating red meat.

  51. BioEmeritus says:

    Looking forward to critique of recent Harvard red meat study.


  52. Rose says:

    Maybe this low carb diet is working for me more than even I thought. Was informed by my doctor that I have had a 53 pound weight loss, from 2010 to now. That seems a bit much to me. I think I’ve lost something, but I don’t weigh myself – so I’m surprised! I figure I’ve lost at least 20 pounds, though. Maybe more. I think I’m going to in a good direction, eating as Gary Taubes advises in his latest book – at least to the best of my ability. And I eat regular, non-organic red meat, (as well as lots of salads, vegetables, fish, eggs, butter) – because organic is too expensive for me, most of the time. So…? Maybe giving up the sugar is going to help me improve my health even though I eat imperfect meat. Sorry about that. The scale doesn’t lie, though. Wish me luck. I want to continue losing weight. Or – at least not gain back any weight that I’ve lost. Studies say lots of things. I’m living this diet.

    • Rachel says:


      Please don’t be so hard on yourself. If the doctor says 53lb, I expect you really have lost 53lb. The benefits to your emotional and mental wellbeing are obvious and very important too. You sound very down on yourself and on the diet. I can’t afford organic meat either. I try for free range chicken and buy stuff that’s on offer, but other than that I do my best with what I can afford. Don’t worry about it.

      As for reaching the metabolic “point of no return”, hell, that should be me. Born to 2 (known) generations of obese Type 2 diabetics, obese by the age of about 15 and stayed that way for 18 years. Morbidly obese most of that time. That’s a heck of a lot of damage done. So far I am 90lb and 6 dress sizes down and counting, and feel so much better emotionally. It CAN be done, really it can.

      Low carb sweets are a matter of opinion. I have them occasionally, not a great deal. Some people say they stall their weight loss, others have no problem with them. There is no ultimate right or wrong, you have to feel your own way. Just stick to the premise of keeping carbs low and focusing on whole, natural foods most of the time, and run with it. Sounds to me like you’re doing great. 🙂

  53. Jeff Ward says:

    Mr. Taubes — What do you think of this story?


    I like to think the dangers being reported are of a diet of meat and sugars. Is there an implication for a carnivore diet without starches here? Jeff Ward

  54. Jennifer says:

    I was wondering what your response is to the new study that just came out saying red meat shortened your life span. http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/12/health/red-meat-shorten-lifespan/index.html

    I would be very interested in knowing what you had to say. Thank you for your time!

  55. George Henderson says:

    Can I interest anyone in an analogy? The old calories in-out model used a steam engine analogy when it came in, back in the 19th century. The low-carb model is like a hybrid car. You can run it on petrol (carbs) but most of this goes to top up the battery (fats) which are what runs the car most of the time between gas stations.
    Or you can fill’er’up just by charging the battery from a mains power source (high fat diet). You need a little gas in the reserve tank (glycogen) to start the engine, but you could always get out and push (ketone bodies).
    In doing so, you might burn off some energy yourself (metabolic advantage).
    You’re welcome.

  56. Good replies in return of this query with firm arguments and describing everything about that.

  57. Deb B says:

    So since I wear my pod on alternating breasts….

  58. Louise Hakmiller says:

    Would love to hear what you have to say regarding exercise and its effect on endothelial function (since you have already made us so aware of the benefits of a low-carb diet and subsequent (one hopes!) reduction of AGEs’ damage to the arterial wall). How significant is laminar shear stress (that leads to the production of nitric oxide) to reversal of cardiac events?
    Can’t wait for your next book!
    Most sincerely,
    Louise Hakmiller

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  201. Sam says:

    FrankG says:
    February 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

    So Galina,… how do you suggest we react to someone who promotes his contrary viewpoint or experience by name calling and insulting everyone who does not share his viewpoint?
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  204. Jeff Johnson says:

    Insulin seems to differentiate – it stores Injested Fat but does not store Carbohydrates

    The average American Diet is both high in Fat And Carbs – the results are predictable

    A Very Low Fat – High carb diet does not store Body Fat – The Kitanan’s(2100 calories) – many Azians(up to 4000 calories)

    The Masia Tribe average about 1800 calories a day as a point of interest

    Gary Taube’s should provide some science as to why Insulin behaves differently in regard to Injested Fat’s and Injested Carbs – Casual observation as well as many reasonably sane people seem to notice this – So what’s the deal ? Gary ?


  1. […] Last week, I tweeted a New England Journal of Medicine image challenge, part of the journal’s continuing education program for physicians. I suggested that it might be a source of comfort to those who were worried about the insulin hypothesis as a viable hypothesis to explain obesity and excess fat accumulation. Although I linked to the NEJM page and the link worked for me, I gather some who tried to click on it were presented with other image challenges and were wondering, for instance, why I cared if they could diagnose a pneumothorax when they saw one. So here’s the image challenge I had in mind, and the correct response is below. The relevance should be reasonably obvious.   Read More » […]

  2. […] a calorie deficit overrules everything else, also hormones… To that specific point, how do you explain away this picture, which shows pendulous subcutaneous fat deposits caused (per the NEJM authors) by "insulin […]

  3. […] see how the direct application of hormones causes particular cell clusters to store more fat, when the same site is repeatedly used for insulin injections and becomes disproportionately fatter than the surrounding tissue. For most obese people, that’s happening throughout their bodies, […]

  4. fast weight says:

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  5. […] curiosidad, visita esta página y comprueba en la imagen que verás allí cuál es el efecto de pincharse insulina durante 31 […]

  6. […] a final curiosity: pay a visit to this page and see for yourself the effect of 31 years of insulin injections, all on the same area of the […]