What would happen if…? Thoughts (and thought experiments) on the calorie issue

Thought experiments are devices of the imagination used to investigate the nature of things…. The primary philosophical challenge of thought experiments is simple: How can we learn about reality (if we can at all), just by thinking? More precisely, are there thought experiments that enable us to acquire new knowledge about the intended realm of investigation without new data?…  [T]hought experiments can disclose nature’s failure to conform to a previously held set of expectations. In addition, they can suggest particular ways in which both expectation and theory must henceforth be revised.

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

When we announced the creation of the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI) in September, I e-mailed  information packets and press releases to many of my colleagues in science and health journalism. I included a few who had vehemently and even publicly disagreed with the arguments I’ve made in my books and articles. I was hoping to see them embrace the idea that our conflicting ideas should and could be tested, and any organization that could make this happen would be a good thing and worthy of public support. They all expressed their admiration for the effort in private, although none of them perceived it as worth writing up publicly, at least not until we have experimental results to discuss.

A couple of these journalists took the opportunity to insist that we didn’t really disagree all that much on what we had argued over the years, and they explained why. Here’s how one put it in an e-mail back to me (and I’ve made a few minor changes so that this writer can remain suitably anonymous):

I think in our hearts we basically agree–I know you believe in calories because you are a scientist. And I know you know that many cultures that consume large amounts of carbohydrate but low fat and relatively low sugar are not fat.  (Japan, for example–and yes, I know they are not all slim, but we both know they have a very low obesity rate.)  Do I think some people get “hooked” on sweets and simple carbs?  Yes, I do.  Do I think that can be a problem for some people, hence steering clear of simple carbs is a good idea for them?  I do, and said so on national radio.  Do I think there is strong evidence that carbs per se (in absence of excess calories) will result in excess weight gain?  No I do not.

As I wrote in […]–sugar ain’t great, nor is excess fat.  Sugar and fat infused foods packaged and “ready to eat” are what has made America obese–sitting around doesn’t help, either.  When you cut out carbs, you cut out most of the fat–yes, you can eat pure whipped cream, but not the cake or ice cream you’d normally put it on–so why bother?  Yes, you can eat fried porkchops, but not breaded fried porkchops–or clams or chicken–so that cuts calories a bunch.  You eat a lot less butter when you can’t eat the bread or potato or pasta or cake or pie…etc, etc.  There is only so much “whole chicken and steak” and even full fat yogurt with berries that most of us can stomach. So over time, on average we eat fewer calories when we cut out simple and most complex carbs.

I thought a lot about this e-mail after I received it, for two reasons. One is the tendency we all have (or at least I have and I do see it in others) to assume that just because we’ve written something, other people have read it or certainly should have read it. If only…

In this case, I addressed the no-bread-no-butter, only-so-much-steak-you-can-eat position at length in Good Calories, Bad Calories (The Diet Delusion, in the UK). I even quoted Jane Brody making this point in the epigraph to Chapter 20 — “Unconventional Diets” — and set it off against a quote from the DuPont physician Alfred Pennington to contrast how the same observation — weight loss and absence of hunger on a diet unrestricted in calories  — could be perceived by one person, Pennington, as a “mighty stimulant to thought on the matter,” and by another, Brody, as a triviality to be dismissed without much concious thought (as my friend did in the e-mail).

Here’s Pennington in 1954:

Here was a treatment, that, in its encouragement to eat plentifully, to the full satisfaction of the appetite, seemed to oppose not only the prevailing theory of obesity but, in addition, principles basic to the biological sciences and other sciences as well. It produced a sense of puzzlement that was a mighty stimulant to thought on the matter.

And here’s Brody nearly half a century later:

Does it help people lose weight? Of course it does. If you cannot eat bread, bagels, cake, cookies, ice cream, candy, crackers, muffins, sugary soft drinks, pasta, rice, most fruits and many vegetables, you will almost certainly consume fewer calories. Any diet will result in weight loss if it eliminates calories that previously were overconsumed.

So rather than get upset at my journalist friend who either hadn’t bothered to read GC,BC after all these years, or read it and found it thoroughly forgettable, I got to thinking about the other point made in the e-mail: “I know you believe in calories because you are a scientist.”

Ignoring the possible mischaracterization of me as a scientist, this statement is a little ambiguous. I obviously believe in calories as a measure of energy, whatever that means to believe in such a thing. (It’s like believing in miles as a measure of distance.) So that’s probably not what my friend meant. What I don’t believe in is that discussions of caloric consumption and expenditure tell us anything meaningful about why we get fat or why we lose fat, and I believe that the mantra that ‘a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” serves only to direct attention away from the meaningful characteristics of the macronutrients in our diets.

I’ve been arguing that the original sin in obesity research is this belief that our body fat is regulated by the amount of energy we consume and expend. I think this is simply the wrong way to think about obesity and the chronic diseases with which it associates, and it’s because this is the fundamental assumption underlying most obesity research, it’s the reason why we’ve made so little progress. (And to those who think we have made real progress, I suggest they take a look around at the people walking by and reconsider.)

Another way to put this is that I think this energy balance hypothesis of obesity is an incorrect paradigm and it has to be replaced with a correct paradigm before progress will be made. Obviously my friend doesn’t understand this, so it got me thinking about yet other ways to explain it that might get the point across. This led me to a series of thought experiments, or gedankenexperiments as I learned to call them back in the days when I was writing about physics rather than nutrition and health.

The great thing about thought experiments is that they come unfettered by financial, ethical or real world constraints. We can do virtually anything in these experiments and see what we think is likely to happen. And we can do it quickly. So here goes.

Let’s imagine we have a pair of identical twins, unimaginatively named A and B. They’re males, say, and 20-years-old. They’ve stopped growing and both are weight stable when this experiment begins. (Remember we can do anything we like in a thought experiment, so if we say they’re weight stable initially, then they are.) Now we measure their daily energy expenditure. Let’s say they both expend 3000 calories a day. Every day, day in and day out — 3000 calories. Again, this is true of both of them because they’re identical in all respects.

Now the experiment: We’re going to house A and B in our splendidly livable metabolic ward and keep them there for the next 20 years. (Thought experiments also come free of  Institutional Review Boards. We don’t have to worry about whether this is ethical or not. Our imaginary twins will be perfectly happy anyway because we say so.) We’re going to feed them almost identical diets. Each one is going to get exactly 3000 calories a day so that their intake matches their initial expenditure. If we believe in calories, as my friend might have put it, the fact that we’re matching intake to expenditure and both twins are getting the same intake suggests they will both maintain a stable weight for the duration of the experiment.

But here’s the experimental twist: the diets are not identical, they’re only almost identical. They differ in the macronutrient content of ten percent of the calories. So 2700 calories of the two diets are identical. The other 300 calories of A’s diet will come from sugar — sucrose, to be precise,  molecules of glucose bonded to molecules of fructose. In B’s diet, these 300 calories will come from glucose alone. So A will get 150 calories of fructose that B won’t get, and B will get 150 calories more glucose than A. Other than that the diets are indeed identical with all the macro and micronutrients necessary for the twins to flourish.

Now we run the experiment for 20 years. What happens? Care to guess?  Will A and B still be identical after 20 years of A eating 300 calories of sugar every day that B does not eat?

We know sugar is metabolized differently from the glucose in starch because of the fructose component. Glucose is metabolized by cells throughout the body; fructose is metabolized primarily in the liver. We know the liver will turn some of this fructose into fat and if the fructose is delivered quickly enough (say in liquid form as sugar water), it  likely to cause insulin resistance in the liver, which in turn might cause systemic insulin resistance.  The extra 150 calories of glucose in B’s diet will stimulate more insulin secretion, although for B this will come in the absence of any fructose-induced effects in the liver. One way or the other, A and B will experience different metabolic and hormonal effects, despite eating precisely the same amount of calories in diets that are otherwise 90 percent identical. Their fat cells, for instance, will be on the receiving end of different hormonal and metabolic signals. As Claude Bernard would say, the fat cells would be living in a different  milieu intérieur and this will effect how they change over time.

Another way of asking what happens in this experiment is to ask whether this difference in hormonal and metabolic responses to diets of equal caloric content will have a meaningful effect on, say, fat accumulation and risk factors of chronic disease. Indeed, why would we expect our twins to end up with identical body compositions, weights, and chronic diseases risk factors, when their hormonal and metabolic experiences over those 20 years are indeed different? The question, of course, is are these differences meaningful.

If we’re wedded to the energy balance way of thinking — if we believe in calories, as my friend said — we’re supposed to predict that the twins will end up identical. (That’s certainly what the sugar industry would like us to think. Although the industry might even argue, based on observational studies from the 1980s, that the twin eating sugar will end up leaner and healthier than the twin getting only glucose.)But we’re also likely to maybe hedge a little bit. Okay, maybe the twins will have slightly different body compositions after 20 years. Maybe they’ll even have slightly different chronic disease risks, depending on how this sugar-starch/fructose-glucose trade-off plays out. Surely, though, they’ll weigh the same.  After all, they’re consuming identical calories and these calories are exactly matched to their initial expenditure. So they should end up weighing what they weighed at the get-go and they should both weigh the same. Yes? (And by the way, this thought experiment also negates any effects of food reward or the addictive nature of sugars, because we’re limiting consumption and so even if sugar is addictive and A wants to eat more of it, he’s not getting the opportunity.)

But the fact is even their weight’s can differ, because we’ve only fixed caloric intake. We haven’t fixed their expenditure. Both will get exactly the same number of calories. That’s a condition of the thought experiment. But the different macronutrient composition of A’s diet vs. B’s, can have an effect on fat accumulation and so weight despite caloric consumption being equivalent.

Here’s how: let’s assume two things for the sake of argument. First, the sugar in A’s diet causes A to become insulin resistant. And second, insulin works to put fat in fat tissue. There’s some evidence for our first assumption and the second assumption is in the textbooks; there’s a lot of evidence for that.

Now as A becomes insulin resistant, his pancreas has to secrete more insulin than B’s to handle the equivalent carbohydrate load. So A now might have higher circulating levels of insulin than B. If he does, this means more calories might be fixed in A’s fat tissue than in B’s. Put simply, A might now be getting fatter than B. And as A gets fatter, his body has to compensate for the calories that are being locked away in the fat tissue and for the greater metabolic demands of a heavier body. What does A do?

What A can’t do is eat more, because we’ve fixed his caloric consumption at 3000 calories per day. One option is he could cannibalize his lean mass to feed his growing fat tissue. This can certainly be done without violating any thermodynamic laws. Now A gets fatter while simultaneously losing muscle mass and his weight remains more or less the same. A second option is that A’s body merely expends less energy to make up for the calories being locked away in fat tissue and the greater caloric requirement that comes from being heavier.

Now A gets fatter while his energy expenditure goes down. While B remains in energy balance throughout the experiment — eating 3000 calories a day to match the 3000 calories he expends — A moves into positive energy balance. He’s still consuming 3000 calories every day, but he’s expending less. And the reason he’s in positive energy balance is because he’s amassing fat in his fat tissue and getting heavier. (Although a naive observer, wedded to the energy balance, might decide that A has become a couch potato and that’s why he’s getting fatter. In this case, the direct effect of the sugar is to make A expend less energy and this in turn causes the energy imbalance that makes A fat. The causality is reversed.)

So here’s a possible chain of events in our thought experiment that’s perfectly consistent with the laws of thermodynamics but is inconsistent with the notion that a calorie is a calorie is a calorie: first,  the sugar causes A to be insulin resistant; second, the insulin resistance serves to cause a compensatory elevation of serum insulin levels; third, the elevated insulin causes A to store calories in his fat tissue every day and grow fatter.

If this effect is tiny, say, five calories worth of fat get trapped in A’s fat cells every day, he’ll still put on ten pounds of fat over the 20 years of the experiment and weigh 10 pounds more than his genetically-identical brother eating his almost identical diet. If this fat-trapping amounts to 20 calories a day — still less than one percent of the calories A is consuming — that would amount to forty pounds of excess fat over the course of the experiment. It would still be too subtle of an effect to be observable in the relatively short-term experiments done to date on sucrose consumption.

Now, assuming this did happen, or at least could happen, it would lead us to some other interesting observations as well. For instance, if A puts on this fat above the waist, it will increase his heart disease risk. The more fat he gains, the greater his risk of diabetes. In fact, depending on the size of the effect, he might become diabetic over the course of the study. His brother might not. A’s cancer risk goes up, as well, with his adiposity. So does his risk of getting Alzheimer’s. All without consuming a single calorie more than his twin brother did. In fact, if we run the experiment long enough, the brothers might die of different diseases and one might out live the other by a significant amount.

If you believe this scenario is a possibility, even a likely possibility, as I do, you still believe in the laws of thermodynamics. You’re still thinking like a scientist (as my friend might say). But now, I hope, you can see what I mean by calories being the wrong paradigm. If we believe in calories,as my friend put it, then we believe that the twins end up identical, just as they started, because the quantity of calories consumed in the two diets was identical and it’s quantity that matters, not quality.  What do  you believe?

We’ve started with identical twins, hence the very same genetic make-up. We’ve fed them diets of identical calories. We’ve made a relatively subtle change in macronutrient composition. Do we end up with twins that are still identical; or do we end up with one twin fatter and perhaps sicker than the other? And, keep in mind, as I said, that both twins are limited to 3000 calories a day, and we’re making them eat all 3000, so any addictive effects of the sugar, say, are not relevant. (And if food reward characteristics are meaningful, they have to manifest themselves via the periphery — increasing fat mass, for instance, through central nervous system stimulation of adipocytes — not merely by making us want to eat more. )

Now we can do a host of variations on this experiment. For instance, we can start off with two villages — A and B. Each village has one of each pair of 5000 identical twins. So each sibling pair is identical, but the 5000 sets of twins are as genetically diverse as any 5000 individuals chosen at random. We put  5000 siblings in village A and their 5000 twins  in village B. Now we do the same experiment on this population scale. We measure their energy expenditures. We match intake to expenditure for each pair of twins. Then the twins in village A all get ten percent of their calories as  a sucrose-sweetened beverage. The twins in village B get ten percent of theirs as a beverage with  glucose, not the glucose-fructose mixture that village A is getting.

Now let’s run it out for 20 years. Do villages A and B end up with exactly the same number of obese villagers, exactly the same incidence of diabetes? Heart disease? Cancer? If we run it out for decades, do the two villages have the same mortality rates? The only difference in their diets is the type of carbohydrate that’s sweetening their daily drinks. (And remember, this is a thought experiment: each villager is eating and drinking precisely what we say they’re eating and drinking because they’re under our imaginary control. No propositions need be voted on. We get perfect compliance to our interventions.)

If you believe in the primacy of calories, or you’re a sugar industry spokesperson, then you believe that the two villages start off identical and they end up identical. (Or, for the sugar industry spokespeople, maybe Village A ends up healthier.) If you believe that one village is going to end up fatter and sicker than the other because they’re experiencing different metabolic and hormonal experiences for 20 years, then you’re thinking as I now think and Robert Lustig has argued so publicly. It’s not about the calories; it’s about what those macronutrients do metabolically and hormonally. And who knows what else, maybe the sucrose has an effect on gut biota that the glucose alone does not,or vice versa, and if the two twins develop different bacterial populations in their guts, then this might induce a whole host of other downstream differences that could effect their weight and health.

We can play these thought experiments all day long. That’s the joy of gedankenexperiments. They’re ridiculously inexpensive and we can do them fast. Twenty years in a gedankenexperiment can be instantaneous in reality.

How about this one: instead of feeding twin B (or village B) glucose instead of sucrose, what if he (or it) got dietary fat. So now twin A gets ten percent of his calories as sugar water — pick your poison, so to speak, soda or fruit juice. Now we’re accelerating the delivery method in this thought experiment by making sure these calories are digested quickly. Twin B gets liquid fat, say heavy cream. watered down so that the energy density is effectively identical to the sugar water. So we control for energy density, a factor that the authorities think is key to weight gain. But we dramatically change the macronutrient content of these 300 calories — glucose and fructose calories for A, fat calories for B. Now the hormonal and metabolic responses to these 300 calories are entirely different. Nothing subtle about it. What happens over 20 years? Same body composition, same disease status because the calories are identical? Yes or no?

What if we play more extreme variations with the diets. Rather than play with just ten percent of the calories they consume, let’s play with 50 percent of them.  Twin A (or village A) gets his (or its) calories as a standard American diet, replete with 50 percent carbohydrates, of which, say, a fourth is sugar or high fructose corn syrup as is about the case today in the standard American diet. Twin B (or village B) gets a paleo diet or even a ketogenic diet, same amount of calories, far fewer to almost no carbohydrates, far more fat. What happens? Both twins (or villages) eat precisely the same amount of calories (each or per capita) every day for 20 years. Do they end up identical. Is village A healthier and leaner or village B or neither?

Now let’s change it up entirely, and this will be the last experiment I’ll suggest for the moment. Rather than start with genetically identical twins eating different diets and so generating different hormonal/metabolic responses that way, let’s start with subjects who are not genetically identical, and give them the identical diet. So we can use fraternal twins or siblings, or total strangers as our subjects, but now feed them the exact same diet. We’ll choose our subjects so that they’re the same age, to the  day, the same height and weight and they expend the exact same amount of energy every day (at least when the experiment begins). They’re both equally healthy. And now we feed them the same diet — intake matched perfectly to expenditure — with 10 percent of the calories coming as sucrose. What happens? How do they change over the twenty years of the experiment, given the exact same diet, precisely the same calories, precisely the same physical characteristics, but different genetic make-ups?

The differences in their DNA means they’ll almost assuredly have different hormonal and metabolic responses to the diet. Maybe one does a slightly better job of metabolizing fructose in the liver than the other does. Maybe one secretes a little more insulin in response to the glucose, or is a little more sensitive or resistant to the insulin secreted. Maybe the gut biota in one responds differently. Maybe leptin resistance develops in one but not the other. Anything can happen right, because genes ultimately determine all these responses and their genes are different.

So we’re feeding them exactly the same diet — same quality and quantity — but the hormonal and metabolic responses are going to be different. Their milieu intérieur is going to be different. Maybe a little different as the years go by; maybe a lot. We don’t know.  They may start out relatively identical in relevant physical characteristics, but little by little, they’re going to diverge. Why would we expect them to end up with with the same weight, same fat mass, and even the same chronic disease risk profile?

And if all these things do end up different, would our belief in calories have led us to the same understanding of what happened and why?

If we could do this experiment in real life, it wouldn’t really matter what we believe. Right? We just do the experiment and see how it comes out. (And this is what NuSI hopes to achieve, albeit in far more realistic experiments.) Because we can’t do the experiments, we can do these thought experiments instead and inform our understanding. Time permitting, more will be coming in later posts.

One last note before I conclude here. Let’s go back to our original experiment with twins A and B and their almost identical diets. Imagine, now, as I suggested, that A gets fatter than B and even heavier, because of the effect of the sugar in A’s diet on hepatic metabolism and insulin sensitivity and so serum insulin levels and fat accumulation in fat cells (and maybe all those other factors like gut biota). But A is never able to eat more to compensate for this loss of calories into his fat tissue and his increasing weight, because we don’t let him: we’ve fixed his caloric intake. As a result it’s safe to assume that A would be  hungrier than B is for the entire 20 years. B can eat to satisfy the metabolic requirements of his body; A cannot. How would that manifest itself? Would A at least feel like binging on occasions? Could we create a binge eating disorder that never gets to manifest itself in this particular thought experiment, just by changing the macronutrient composition of the diet?

You can see how thought experiments can lead us to all kinds of conclusions and (at least hypothetical) observations that might not be intuitively obvious otherwise.

I could go on. I’m hoping the point is clear.

Getting back to my friend’s e-mail: Yes, I believe that calories are a useful measure of the energy contained in the foods we consume and a useful measure of the energy our bodies expend. (Just as I believe miles are a useful measure of how far I have to travel to get, say, from Oakland to Los Angeles.) Yes, I believe in the laws of thermodynamics and I believe, as I say in both my books, they always hold true. That’s why we call them laws. But, no, I do not believe that we can learn anything useful about why people get fat or why they get the diseases that associate with getting fat, by focusing on the calories they consume and expend. It’s not about the calories.



Speak Your Mind



  1. Mike says:

    I’m so tired of the “you can only eat so much fat” argument or the “cut out the grains, you’re cutting out the excess calories” argument. I know you must be even more tired of it since you hear it probably ten times as often as me. One figure I like to show people is this: https://sites.google.com/site/themikelinks/figures/sample-food. It’s a screen capture of a sample day that I put into one of those internet calorie trackers. This is typical of what I eat on a daily basis, and it’s been that way for 4 years. That’s 5,000 Cals/day for 4 years. I’m 6’0″, 180 lbs, and work out for maybe 10-15 minutes a day (burns maybe 100-200 Cals/day, if you’re into that kind of thing). My weight is constant. The only time is fluctuates is if I (purposely) change my carb loading. When I want to bulk up for a competition, I can put on 10 lbs in a week just by adding an extra potato; likewise, I can drop those 10 lbs in a week by cutting out the potato and being a little extra careful on the carbs. I don’t see how a CICO believer can argue with that (though they’ll probably say I’m lucky that I can eat that way, rather than seeing that the way I eat makes me lucky).

    • LeeBase says:

      I can’t explain your result, but neither have I seen any studies of low carb/high fat/excess calories to back up your experience.

      • Magarietha Zondagh says:

        I’m surprised no-one has “picked up” on my experience on the net as I keep writing it over and over. I went on a keto diet on 1 feb 2012. Have Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolaemia. Cld not find a single such person who had taken on even just Atkins with this “disease” on board. So it’s me alone I guess. Doc’s wld never hve approved, family waited for me to fall down and die. My mother was frantic. After 4 months had a lipogram done (have always been told with pointed wagging fingers to stay away completely from saturated fats). Now on mostly saturated fat, hey, my cholesterol for the first time in 56 years (my age) has normalised. (I refuse to believe that 5.0 is not normal – doc’s hve gone bonkers on cholesterol numbers). Without the drugs my levels wld go up to 13 and 14 (I think that’s about 400 in your imperial numbering). ON drugs it’s never been below 8.8 some such. So my thanx to a very brave sports scientist here in South Africa, one Dr. Tim Noakes – I simply followed his lead – not for losing weight (was always thin), but for the sake of a lipid profile. And my GP was astonished. I say again: HE said simply: Ah well, the blood numbers cannot lie and what a pleasure!” I always end with this is a statement of fact, true and honest, in case anyone doubts the findings. Wish so I could find someone else with HFH who had gone onto this diet. Can’t find a single one, not even in Scandinavia where I think the motherload of these people are. I do eat some berries now and then. Or a bite of my husband’s sweet fruits. Am not being miserable, but my diet is a pleasure.

        • Paul Eich says:

          Congrats! Great story

        • Magarietha, that’s very interesting.. I know of only one paper in the scientific literature about ketogenic diet as a treatment for hypercholesterolemia, and it’s not HFHC, just high cholesterol. The paper is Dashti HM, et al. Long term effects of ketogenic diet in obese subjects with high cholesterol level. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jun;286(1-2):1-9. Epub 2006 Apr 21. If you’d like to write an article about your experience I would be happy to publish it on my website.

          • Ed Reilly says:

            In June of this year, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. My A1C (a method of determining the average blood sugar) was 8.6. That translates to an average blood sugar of 200 milligrams of blood sugar for every deciliter of blood. I don’t know how high my blood sugar would get, but an average of 200 says that I was peeing sugar since kidneys start filtering out sugar when it reaches 180 mg/dL.
            Don’t worry too much though. I am now a Type II with normal blood sugar. The thought of losing my eyesight, my digits, my limbs, my kidneys, my cognition and my life to diabetes was, well, let’s just call it motivating. I knocked the carbohydrates in my diet down to almost nothing. It isn’t the Atkins diet but you could call it my version of it. It consisted of no’s – no rice, no bread, no beer, no corn, no pasta, no cereal, no oats, no sugared soft drinks, no fruit juices, no sugar, no alcohol. Sometimes I look at that prohibited list and want to cry. My wife, Yvette, doesn’t like it that I have to have different food at the dinner table. But the symptoms of Type II diabetes, no eyesight, digits, limbs, kidneys, cognition or life put that list in perspective. For me it was simple. I have a problem with blood sugar and the primary source of the sugar was the carbohydrates in my diet. By cutting the carbohydrates in my diet I should get better. It worked.
            The diet has had advantages that are serendipitous since I was only seeking to get my blood sugar under control. I have lost about 50 pounds. My cholesterol and triglycerides are under control. My legs don’t hurt anymore. People say I look better. What was important to me is that I got my blood sugar under control. In September, my A1C was 5.4. That translates to an average blood sugar of 108 mg/dL. I keep track of my blood sugar and I have been keeping my blood sugar where it needs to be. The diet allows me to keep my blood sugar under control without any drugs. I don’t need any cholesterol medication. I actually got a call from my doctor’s office asking what I was doing to get this kind of change.
            I did some research and diabetes is insidious. From the American Diabetes Association website, in 2007, there were 71,000 death certificates which listed diabetes as the cause of death and another 160,000 death certificates which listed diabetes as a contributing factor. None of the wars that the US has ever fought have ever been this bloody or had so many casualties. According to an article in Diabetes Health, February 3, 2010 the cost of diabetes and pre-diabetes treatment in 2007 was $226 billion. The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan averaged $143.5 billion/year.
            In truth, the medical profession is doing better. The death rate, the amputation rate and the dialysis rate has been going down. And they have been doing this in the face of a rising rate of diabetes. So what should be done about it? Do we appoint a czar to handle the diabetes crisis? Do we assign a general to marshal the forces needed to tackle this disease. Should we set up a new government program to research the problem? Should we assign a new cabinet post under the president? The problem is big enough.
            No, the medical profession is fighting a war against diabetes. What we need is a peace. The war is the result of the sugars and the starches in our diets. The terms of my peace are draconian. It seems to me that I could have reduced my sugars and starches earlier when I was pre-diabetic and reached a peace with myself at a much lower price. This is a war that should not have to be fought.

        • Kirk says:

          The good Prof inspired me to read Gary’s books and my further my now exhaustive study into this subject. Thanks Prof. Tim Noakes.

        • Lee Anne McLeod says:

          Im so glad to read this! I’m 39yo female diagnosed with heterozygous FH. My total cholesterol is crazy high in the upper 400s, slim build, not overweight, triglycerides perfect, my ldl lipoprotein a is off the charts at like 2500nmol. My lipids do not respond at all to statins and won’t take them anyway. The cardiologist doesn’t know what to do with me. I have NMR lipid profile every 6 months or so. Depending on my carb intake I can move the particle size to larger and fluffier instead of very small ldl. Major CVD on paternal side, everyone dies from a heart attack! My question is
          How many carb grams are you eating daily and from what foods are you getting them?
          Can you give me your macronutrient daily gram intake roughly? My doc is on board with me doing high fat diet! What do you think? Feeling kinda lonely with this FH diagnosis.

    • Fred Hahn says:

      Well…the typical answer would be that you’re not adding your calories correctly or, your expending more than you realize OR there is something wrong with you hormonally…since if I put 99.9% of people on a 5000 calorie a day diet who are tested to require 2500, they will get fatter.

      • Rober says:

        Another guy quoting numbers out of his ass and making simplistic statements. 99.9% eh? Where did you come up with that number? What would the diet consist of compared to what they were eating prior to the caloric increase? What proof is there that “testing to require” a certain amount of calories is at all reliable and anything but flawed results based all flawed presumptions? Calories are a measure of energy, not a measure of how fat one will get. Precisely Taubes’ point, nothing more to be read into that.

      • Mike says:

        So maybe there is something wrong with his hormones. The question still stands, “where did the energy go?” If he takes in 5,000 calories a day of chemical energy, either he burns it or he excretes it. If he burns it, what does the energy get used for? If he just makes heat out of it, he probably ought to have a body temperature warmer than 37C.

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  2. b-nasty says:

    The thought experiments are clear and difficult to argue with, but even if the results followed in-out perfectly (i.e. sugar had no effect), it still wouldn’t change the fact that nobody lives in a metabolic ward (maybe prison would count) where their food intake is not tied to their hunger levels. Ignoring the hormonal effect of food always seems like the biggest mistake CICO believers make.

    If sugar or fat or whatever plays a part in your hunger levels, it really doesn’t matter that you ate more calories; you did it because you ‘had’ to. I guess the CICO proponents don’t necessarily disagree with this, they just side-step the issue by laying moral judgement. If you aren’t able to eat exactly what your body needs — set aside what it demands due to the hormonal influence — you are clearly a weak-willed glutton QED.

  3. bad cat robot says:

    Perhaps a useful way to get people to think about the implications of “a calorie is a calorie” is to point out that a small chunk of paraffin has “calories” (if you burn it in a calorimeter, it generates heat) but if you ate it your body is incapable of metabolizing it (no weight gain). What the “chunk” is made of does make a difference for obesity considerations.

    • M. Levin says:

      I’ve always felt a better analogy would be putting gasoline into a diesel engine or vice versa. If it ran at all, it would run poorly and probably not for long. The other problem I have with CICO is that it’s a case of blame the victim when as Taubes points out it’s more a case of genetic variability causing susceptibility to modern foods that were never found in traditional diets, IMO primarily sugars.

  4. Ken says:

    Haven’t there already been whole books on this “calories” myth ? It’s certainly dealt with in great detail in the early Atkins books.
    Your thought experiments are too subtle.
    How about three adult triplets eat 10,000 calories a day each – one entirely fat, one entirely protein, and the other entirely carbs. The one eating only fat would lose body mass at a rapid rate until he died of malnutrition. The one eating only carbs would gain weight until he died of malnutrition. The one eating only protein would remain at a stable weight and should remain healthy for a long time (although I don’t remember if there are some fats required by the human metabolism that cannot be be made by the protein->glucose->lipids mechanism).

    • Mike says:

      They guy eating only protein would die of “Rabbit Starvation” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_starvation)

      • wester says:

        Wow, I hadn’t heard of rabbit starvation before, but it makes sense.
        I did know that Vilhjalmur Stefansson got ill on the first days of his meat-only diet until he increased the fat percentage.
        Another argument against low-fat diets – thanks for letting me know!

        And I don’t think the guy eating only fat would keep on losing weight, although he wouldn’t get all nutritients needed.

      • Warren Dew says:

        Indeed, the guy eating only protein would likely die fastest.

        I do agree with Ken’s arguments that Gary Taubes’ thought experiments are too subtle, though. He should talk about varying something like 50% of the calories – after all, according to calories in / calories out, it’s still the same number of calories!

  5. Lynda says:

    I am just so totally sick of this calorie arguement! Dr Oz loves it too – showing people that if you cut 200 calories from this meal or that then you’ll lose weight. No you won’t, you’ll eat those calories somewhere else because your body can’t help itself. Then there is the argument that your email mentioned that when you go low carb you simply eat less and that is why you lose weight. Yes and No. Yes you eat less but the original emailer just does realise that you eat less because your hunger is not driven by insulin spikes! This is the miracle of low carb eating – not only do you eat less, you simply can’t eat any more because you are not hungry. I don’t care why this works, I just love that it does.

    I have a friend who is a marathon runner and has recently gone to NY to compete in the marathon there (which was cancelled). Anyway, in the space of time that she was away she put on a lot of weight – and she was still running, she even did the replacement unofficial NY marathon. Exercise alone is not the key to weight loss or maintenance and if it was simply down to calories in calories out then she would simply not have gained weight.

    Keep up the fight – I loved “Why We Get Fat” and think everyone in the diet/health industry should be made to read it!

    • LeeBase says:

      You make a great point, but seem to actually miss it yourself. It doesn’t make sense to say “calories don’t matter” and then show how eating low carb results in eating fewer calories. Rather one could say “low carb is the best, most healthy way to lower carbs because one can diet without being hungry”.

      However, research shows that, like all diets, few people actually stick with carb restricted diets. The “hunger free” aspect must not be “the end all, be all”, or else low carb diets would significantly outperform others over the long term. And they don’t.

      • LeeBase says:

        Should say “low carbs is the best, most healthy way to restrict calories”

      • Jere Krischel says:

        “The “hunger free” aspect must not be “the end all, be all”, or else low carb diets would significantly outperform others over the long term. And they don’t.”

        Actually, I would argue that they do, but our problem is that most of the literature on the topic is ambiguous or poorly constructed.

        • LeeBase says:

          There are a lot of studies now, and low carb is holding up well for losing weight. But, like all diets, the studies show consistently poor adherence over the long term.

          • Jim says:

            How is long-term defined?

            I started my weight loss journey ~5 years ago. First with low fat and lots of exercise – didn’t work well – moderate loss – always felt deprived. Tried WW and lost ~20lbs but still felt deprived and hungry a lot of the time. Moved onto low carb and have maintained a 40lb weight loss for 3 years. On low carb I don’t feel hungry all the time. One thing that seems to be evident for me, is that I am somewhat carb-sensitive. With that in mind, I manage what I eat without counting calories and simply ask myself if I am “overdoing” the carbs – if your honest with yourself, you will know if your pushing your limits . I believe that once someone establishes an eating pattern that works for them, they can sustain the pattern and not feel like they are deprived or hungry all the time.

          • Warren Dew says:

            All the studies I’ve seen show better adherence to low carb diets than to other weight loss diets.

          • That’s easy to explain. Potato chips taste really, really good. Ditto ice cream. Restaurants will surprise you: I’ve ordered grilled fish and had it turn out to be breaded. People get offended if you don’t have a piece of their birthday cake. You forget to pack a lunch and the cafeteria is serving pizza, which smells amazing. And so on.

            There are lots of reasons why it’s hard to stay on a low-carb diet, that have nothing to do with how effective or healthy it is. I’ve lost weight every time I’ve gone low-carb, and gained it back every time I stopped. Calling that a failure of low-carb would be like letting my car run out of gas and then blaming the oil companies because it won’t start.

        • grinch says:

          Nobody does a better job of destroying the myth that low carb diets either work better/faster or have higher adherence than one Anthony Colpo. Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible can be quite a humbling experience for a low carber. The low carb is better hypothesis only works if you assume most researchers are grossly incompetent and that their studies are worthless.

          The most plausible reason that low carb diets work better would be because they eliminate the worst offending processed foods, AND they make it pretty darn hard to under-consume protein, the most satiating of the macros.

          • Razwell says:

            Evrything in “The”Fat Loss Bible” is completely at odds with what the world’s best obesity researchers have recently found such as Dr. Douglas Coleman, (retired) Dr. Rudolph Leibel, Dr. Jeffery Friedman and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum.

            It is a poorly written book by a crackpot who has no understanding whatsoever of even the most basic parts of the essence of science. The author never acknowledges uncertainty or embraces it. The author is the ANTITHESIS to science. In fact, I cannot eeven think of a more unscientific person than Colpo. He takes naive , gullible poeple and turns them into true believers. My scientific minded friend ,Urgelt of YouTube ,set me straight about him years back. Everything in science is tentative with no result ever being final no matter how well supported.

            if people woudl just read the writing of Einstein and Richard Feynman they never would be taken in by uneducated, unscientific Internet opportunists such as Colpo and the like.

            Nobody educated about what science is even bothers to read that book. I have- it’s unscienific junk and continued perpetuation of myths. I strongly encourage you to look into this. The Caloric Hypothesis Colpo clings to is a dead horse in the world of science. This is extremely obvious by now in 2012.

            Mice Become Obese Without Consuming More Calories: There are several more studies like this I have seen .


            The above link is real GENUINE science ging on in the obesity research world. The other is just a crackpot book filled with opinions , myths and complete certitude. If you want job security get a job in obesity research. It is a loooong way from being solved.

            I wish you well, grinchy.

            Yours In Genuine Science,


          • Paul Eich says:

            Grinch – couldn’t disagree more strongly. Colpo’s arguments are very thin. He cannot get his mind around the concept of causality – specifically, that hormonal responses to foods have an impact on hunger and lethargy. Carb intake has a predictable hormonal response in the obese, and it makes them hungry and lethargic. Thus they eat more. Colpo’s advocacy that “calories are everything” in weight gain is completely true and also irrelevant. He pretends that the human animal, unlike all others, eats according to reason but not physiology.

          • grinch says:

            There’s no evidence that carbs per se have such a role in keeping people obese. When you look at the insulin response, it is all over the place. People who are obese can have both healthy and unhealthy insulin responses. There are numerous populations thriving on high carb diets. The primary factor(s) are very likely to be not about carbs, but about other properties of the food that coincidentally are often high in carbs. Grain products are unatural for the human body but very high in carb, does that mean its the carb or the other properties that cause problems? You see its a leap of faith to put all your eggs in the carbs->insulin basket when it doesn’t even explain so many anecdotal observations.

          • Magarietha says:

            Hi Grinch – hey? For me I know in my knower that it’s a case of life and death. My weight loss has been sustained for a full year (but I was quite thin to begin with). I think whether you’re thin or fat, diets will matter in your mind. I cannot see any myth here at all. It’s easy for me to stay on it and healthwise I cannot afford to do anything else. It’s like a miracle – honestly, after years of panic attacks as a result of doom-saying doctors re my high cholesterol numbers, I’m actually cross that I didn’t know of this years and years ago. I actually DRINK some thick cream now and then. Love everything about this diet, but then, I do hail from sheep farming and fatty meat is a joy to me. But i now do exactly the opposite of what I’ve been “ordered” to do for around 35 years. Cheers

          • Michael says:

            “Anthony Colpo. Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible”

            You mean the part in which he cherry-picked and misrepresented weight loss studies to fit his confirmation bias?


          • Mike says:

            Not long ago I saw an abstract for a study which described an experiment in which the sample patients were sorted based on high/low insulin resistance. Then both groups were randomized into isocaloric diets, one low carb, one high carb. The low carb diet out performed the high carb diet in the insulin resistant group, but did eqaually as well as the high carb diet with the non-insulin resistant group. In other words the low carb diets didn’t outperform a high carb diet at all, but it enabled the metabolically deranged a chance at losing weight. So whether or not there is a “metabolic advantage” depends heavily on how you define your terms.

            The experiment that is hard to run is, what would happen if low carb diets became an accepted mainstream option, and it was trivially easy to order low carb in restaurants without having to deal with hidden sugars in salad dressings and such? I’ve been in restaurants that had a low carb menu page. What if they all did? What if potlucks had two tables set out for low and high carb options? What if no one ever pressured a co-worker that one little piece of birthday cake wouldn’t kill them? What if doughnut shops offered package deals with meat & cheese plates. Then how would compliance numbers turn out for low carb diets? I’ve heard that cultural shift is beginning to happen in Scandinavia, and I’m very curious if that is really so.

            I can say from personal experience, that it took two or three weeks before I stopped looking at the box of doughnuts with longing. That’s how long it took me to slay the carb cravings demon. Months later, I bought doughnuts for my coworkers and had no problem eating exactly zero of them. Others aren’t so lucky; they feel the carb monkey on their back all of the time.

    • KarenLynx says:

      This is the point that mainstream people seem to miss. We all should be happy that a lower carb/higher fat diet makes us less hungry. Instead they are trying to force these observations into the dogma of calories in/out. Maybe they should turn their attentions to why there is less hunger (and there is truly less hunger!!)

  6. One more thing to change in the thought experiment. Temperature. Cold air makes the production of brown fat more likely and this will also influence weight. A thin person generally has more metabolically active brown fat and can burn as much as 500 cal a DAY more than an obese person with less brown fat. Calories expended as heat can matter, and may also be contributing to the obesity epidemic in addition to the type of foods eaten. This is the most air-conditioned – comfortable generation ever. Our grandparents had to fire up the stove in the morning, we don’t have to anymore….

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  7. Jamie says:

    Saying a calorie is a calorie is no more useful in describing what is happening at a physiological level than saying a metre is a metre. Both are units of measurement, useful in our physical worlds – for measuring stuff – but completely bloody hopeless for understanding our biology. If I say I have a metre of wood, a metre of glass, or a metre of string, does this tell me anything much about these things other than how long they are? Assuming a metre is a metre, they must all be the same… they must all have the same properties, because I can quantify some aspect of them all similarly.

    What if we took two substances, in an identical amount, such as say, testosterone and oestrogen (I assume you could probably even quantify a caloric measure of these hormones – they “burn” after all). Do we automatically assume, once you feed them into the body, they each have identical effects because they can be quantified identically? Of course not. Yet we make the same mistake with fructose, glucose, palmitic acid, lauric acid, tryptophan, tyrosine, and so on. I have only a nutritionist’s understanding of biochemistry (read as: relatively basic), but I understand, when we move away from their gross macronutrient labels, that each of those compounds will elicit a different downstream response… will send a different signal or message to our biology. I can’t for the life of me fathom why anyone would think these different compounds, even if corrected to be calorically equal to each other, would be identical in their effect on the body. It is just insane.

    • Stanley Frank Young says:

      It’s just insane?

      Yes but with the way things are gong the INSANITY is being replaced with Wisdom. AND the truth will prevail… in time…. As we continue to do what you do…. Listen, consider, talk, reason, PERFORM GOOD EXPERIMENTS… etc… The insanity will be gone…. in say…. 10 or 500 years…. or in MY world… We can reach someone in some small way…. TODAY….

    • Pamela says:

      Love the examples!

  8. I think that the “Natures perfect foods” regarding fruits and vegetables and grains, the typical mindset of the public regarding our grocery shelves and refrigerators, loses the fact that although all of these were once perfect foods, we lose the fact that they have all been hybrid a thousand times over to raise their sugar content and thereby, their salability factor. — All quite by accident, never once knowing we had turned all of our fruits and vegetables and grains into mostly pure sugar and NOT “Natures perfect foods” any longer.

    • Warren Dew says:

      Wild fruit actually generally has about the same sugar content as domesticated fruit. The main difference is not sugar, but vitamin C content, which is much higher in wild fruit. Check out Denise Minger’s column on the topic for more info.

      • Now check on the availability and consumption of wild fruit in the area you are living in for the young to the old people during the more natural time periods throughout history. Both seasonally and throughout the year. Sun and wind drying of fruit didn’t exist for millions of years and not until the recent millenniums and we were not addicted.

        • sam says:

          Your point is slightly undercut by the fact that human beings haven’t existed for millions of years at all. Yet we are noticeably divergent from the ancestors who did. Regardless, the real issue is that most wild fruit has more in common with a cucumber or bell pepper than it does with our prejudices regarding the term.

  9. LeeBase says:

    As long as the studies of carb restricted diets ALWAYS equalling lower calories, this issue will not have been put to bed. Are there studies of low carb/high fat/excess calories equalling weight loss?

    I’m following carb AND calorie restriction (long story). I’m down to 70-140 carbs a day (some days less). I’m also down 70lbs, from 309 to 239 in 7 months. Never have I been in nutritional ketosis, always eating too many carbs for that.

    How is it, under the “calories don’t matter” theory, that I’m losing weight? How come my sugar intake hasn’t caused insulin to turn all those calories into fat and simultaneously prevented my body from using any of the fat stores for energy? Surely one wouldn’t suggest that the 10.5 inches off my belly represent muscle loss.

    Mind you, I’m working to lower my carbs. In the mean time, I count my calories because I know that an energy deficit does indeed result in losing weight. I haven’t seen ANY of the research suggest you can eat 10,000 calories of fat a day and lose weight. Where does the excess energy go? Do you simply sweat excess fat, or poop it out?

    • Shipmaster says:

      No one is saying that calories don’t matter. This is a matter of semantics. It’s the quality, not quantity, of the calorie.

      I tell people something similar to what Gary has stated here. Assuming the same with the twins, with the same metabolic rates and energy expenditure, have one eat 2,000 calories of Twinkies a day, while the other eats 2,000 calories of steak, for a month. Nothing else. Who do you think would gain, and who do you think would lose weight? Or do you think they’d be the same, since they had the same caloric intake (with highly different qualities).

      My brother lost 50 lbs in a few months going low calorie. I don’t think Gary says that you can’t lose weight by lowering calories, his point is it’s not that simple. If it were that simple, so many people would not be obese and diabetic. Oh, my brother gained it back and more in 2 months. I’ve never met someone that calorie restricted that can maintain that level of restriction. Your body has to continually adjust, with your metabolism slowing down as your caloric intake lessens. Then, you plateau, and have to restrict calories further to start losing weight again. No one can live for long periods of time this way. This is why all those people on Biggest Loser gain all their weight back. They can’t eat nothing and work out for 8 hours a day forever.

      The only way I have ever been able to keep weight off, and be satiated, is by eating high fat, low carb. I don’t get hungry, yet I eat the same amount of calories as before. If I’m eating the same amount of calories, and have lost 40 pounds in 5 months, that goes to show that it’s not just about the quantity of calories.

      When you eat low carb and high fat, you aren’t miserable and hungry like you are on low calorie. I’ve been there, done it all. Every person I’ve ever known who does low calorie gains it back.

      Restricting calories is a good way to temporarily lose weight, but impossible, or almost impossible and highly unlikely to maintain for a period of time.

      • Lynda says:

        I totally agree 🙂 Everyone I know who has lost weight counting calories (ie WW or Jenny Craig) has gained all the weight back very quickly. I am a living example of this (in the past). Sinceg going low carb I have lost the weight and not regained it. I just wish everyone could experience the way I feel.

      • Lily says:

        Some of us really DO have trouble eating “enough” calories when carb-restricting, though. I was open minded and didn’t want to assume that I really needed 2,000 calories. I’m 5’6″ and about 125- I don’t want to lose much weight, just a bit of belly fat, but the sugar roller coaster takes an enormous toll on my energy level. In ketosis I am HYPER. It’s great. But, despite drinking things like egg yolk, coconut milk and cream smoothies for breakfast and eating bunless bacon cheeseburgers for lunch and smothering everything in butter (my cholesterol profile is great, btw)…I struggle to consume more than 950 calories a day. I completely lose my appetite. And that WOULD be okay with me, except while I don’t feel hungry physically, at all, I start acting and feeling emotionally/mentally the way I do when I’m hungry. Bitchy, impatient, whiny, childish- very unlike me, and this ain’t PMS, it’s exactly how I act and feel when I haven’t eaten anything all day. I’m not talking about the first three days of withdrawal from sugar, I’m talking long term ketosis. Then I decide to go off the wagon for a while because a holiday or vacation comes up and I eat and I lose that hungry weird behavior and get my appetite back full force after a few carby meals and then I feel crappy for a different reason. So. I just don’t know what to do anymore…?

    • Warren Dew says:

      You poop it out. You’ll know because your poop will float instead of sinking.

      • Mike says:

        Doesn’t it depend on what you eat that contains all of those calories?

      • Mike says:

        I know that people learning to drink bullet-proof coffee complain of digestive complaints when they first start eating significant quantities of MCT oil or coconut oil. At least in that case, pooping it out seems to be a viable explanation.

    • Emily H. says:

      “How is it, under the ‘calories don’t matter’ theory, that I’m losing weight? How come my sugar intake hasn’t caused insulin to turn all those calories into fat and simultaneously prevented my body from using any of the fat stores for energy?” If I’m understanding this question correctly, it would depend how much sugar/carbohydrate you were eating before you started losing weight. Taubes’ argument doesn’t predict that ~any~ amount of sugar/insulin in the body will cause weight gain (which would be ridiculous), or that you have to be in ketosis to lose weight. Rather, the amount you consume will influence how much weight you keep, gain or lose. If a person was eating 500 grams of carbs a day, and then cut down to 300 grams, they’d lose weight. It would make no sense to ask to ask “why didn’t insulin turn those 300g of carbs into fat?”

      Incidentally, this is likely the reason so many people lose weight on low-cal, low-fat diets — they cut out things like soda and desserts, so even though they’re eating a lot of carbs in the form of grains & starch, it’s still less than they were eating before.

  10. Gretchen says:

    “When you cut out carbs, you cut out most of the fat–yes, you can eat pure whipped cream, but not the cake or ice cream you’d normally put it on–so why bother? . . . You eat a lot less butter when you can’t eat the bread or potato or pasta or cake or pie…etc, etc. ”

    Huh? Does this guy consider himself a scientist? Hasn’t he ever heard of putting whipped cream on LC desserts? Hasn’t he ever heard of slathering veggies with butter?

    Most people on LC diets eat about 60% fat, some even more. So no, when you cut carbs, you don’t lose most of the fat!

    @Carol: Some of us still have to fire up the stove in the morning (my oil burner doesn’t come on until it gets below 50), but that alone doesn’t necessarily keep us thin.

    • Jim says:

      I agree – I can eat heavy cream without cake or “desert” and be really happy. Of course I love eating butter from grass-fed cows all by itself too.

      • Tom of the Missouri says:

        I developed that habit with grass fed butter, too. I am happy to know I am not the only one. I could have a stick for a meal. It is not making me fat. I like a regular spoon or two of my barely solidified coconut oil, too. I love fat. I am now no longer fat.

    • Warren Dew says:

      Yeah, that struck me, too. That reminds me, I’ve got some some left over hollandaise in the refrigerator that I think I’ll eat – no asparagus required.

    • Lynda says:

      I love it!! I thought this too when I read that part of the email. Heck I have lost loads of weight and eat masses of whipped cream and butter. That is what makes this lifestyle so much fun 🙂

    • paul helman says:

      I often point out to my patients that everything on a pizza is fine except the crust.(Assuming one reads lables and uses a lower carb sauce) We enjoyed my egg plant pizza last night and it is so very simple. Thin slices of egg plant replace the crust which in turn are covered with sauce, canned chopped tomatos, cheese and sliced peppers layed on in a charming surface pattern. Baking time the same about 15 min. at 400 degrees. For the last 5 minutes I brush on a mixture of parmison and olive oil.
      We prefer it to the old fashioned crust type and it is much simpler to prepare.

    • JCM1953 says:

      I keep the AC off as long as possible, and I can assert that heat has an effect on my appetite. I’ve lost 32 pounds going low-carb, and I actually have to force myself to eat in the heat. Mostly homemade sugar-free ice cream.

  11. LeeBase says:

    Another aspect to the discussion. The body can burn sugar for fuel, and it can burn fat for fuel. Clearly, there are other aspects of diet that aren’t about fuel…such as proteins and vitamins that go into building the body itself. If someone eats nothing but fat or nothing but sugar, this will not lead to good results. So you have to hold the “basic health” portions of the diet equal. Same protein, same vitamins.

    Then you can compare the body’s reaction to the fuel aspect of sugar vs. fat. For example, does the body convert sugar to fat always? Is it not true that it’s the presence of sugar in excess of energy need is what the body has to handle? What about excess fat energy? Are we to believe that the body will just excrete the fat and not store it?

    Sure, there won’t be a sugar spike, and there won’t be getting sleepy because insulin processes too much of the sugar out of the blood. But the fat doesn’t just evaporate.

    • Shipmaster says:

      Weight gain is a product of hormonal imbalance, not excess calories. The eating of excess calories is an effect of body mass growing. An elephant eats hundreds of pounds a food a day because his mass is enormous; he didn’t grow enormous by eating hundreds of pounds of food. No one would argue with this elephant example as being true, but somehow it’s not true for humans?

      People’s mass grows because of a hormonal imbalance; be it puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or eating abundantly insulin producing foods. Obesity is not an eating disorder. Does a boy hitting puberty not start eating a lot to make up for his growing mass, and does a girl hitting puberty attain fat in her breasts, hips and thighs all the sudden because she starts eating more? Does a pregnant woman accumulate fat because she decided to start eating more? Or, are all these a product of hormone changes?

      Food is no different. Foods that cause hormonal imbalance make you store fat, just like the prior examples. Why would we think any differently?

      • LeeBase says:

        You are just restating the premise. You haven’t stated any evidence that one can eat too much fat and not gain weight.

        The whole “we eat too much because we are getting fat” is interesting for sure. And it seemingly takes character out of the equation. We are no longer lazy gluttons. HOWEVER, the cure surely starts with the character. One must make changes, must decide and follow through. We clearly are not simply slaves to the biochemical processes.

        What of those who eat beyond hunger?

        • FrankG says:

          LeeBase you seem to be fixated on the assumption that eating LCHF means eating EXCESS fat… whereas the beauty of this diet is that you eat to balance your body’s needs. There is no magic where you force yourself to eat more than you need but lose weight anyway.

          Perhaps you need to stop and re-read GC,BC or Why We Get Fat as you seem to have missed some of the fundamental ideas.

          • Warren Dew says:

            To a certain extent, you actually can eat excess fat. If I eat a small low carb dinner, I’ll generally need a sweater to stay warm for the rest of the evening. If I eat a large low carb dinner, I won’t need the sweater, and I’ll sometimes need to take my shirt off to stay comfortable, even with the same room temperature.

            Beyond a certain point, though, excess fat does seem to pass through my digestive system without being absorbed.

        • I once drank a quart of raw heavy cream in one go — about 3200 calories, nearly all from fat. This was in the evening, after three normal low-carb meals that day, so my total had to be nearly 6000 calories for the day. After a couple hours, I started to feel extremely weird. It was late at night, but I wasn’t sleepy at all — in fact, I felt like running around the house a few times, and might have if my stomach wasn’t feeling pretty delicate at that point. So I stayed up half the night doing housecleaning and other odd jobs.

          I think in practice, it’s a lot harder to consistently overeat on fat than on carbs. Dr. Bernstein says it’s because carbs go directly into the intestine, so you can shovel a lot more down before your body realizes you’ve had enough, then it has to find something to do with all that sugar. If you’re eating fat/protein, it has to stop in the stomach a while for processing, so you feel full sooner. Whether that’s the reason or not, I know that I’ve never felt the urge to slam a quart of cream again, but I can’t count the number of times I’ve eaten chips, pretzels, mashed potatoes, or other high-carb foods until I felt sick.

        • Tom of the Missouri says:

          Lee, I recommend you read the chapter titled “Head Case” in Gary’s book “Why We Get Fat”. In it he discusses the science driving (or not driving) those epidemic numbers of mentally and morally deficient weak willed ever more obese gluttons who lie around all day on their couches. I think it would be eye opening for you.

        • Emily H. says:

          Stating that depression is caused by faulty brain chemistry, instead of by a failure to stop whining & cheer up, is also “taking character out of the equation.” That doesn’t make it an incorrect or immoral view to hold. It’s the correct view of most ailments and illnesses. They usually respond poorly to yelling at the patient to improve his/her character.

        • PeggyC says:

          The beauty of LCHF is that you don’t eat beyond hunger. By creating the correct hormonal environment, you enable your natural inborn controls to work the way they are supposed to. That said, I believe over feeding experiments have been done. When the excess calories come from fat, without a lot of accompanying carbs, keeping insulin low, the person either burns off the excess calories (with an increase in metabolism, the urge to go out and run, etc.) or passes it out of the system without absorbing it. There is no weight loss, but no weight gain, either. When the excess calories come from carbs, there is weight gain. There does have to be a calorie deficit between intake and outflow to lose weight. No one would argue that. But with LCHF, one creates the hormonal environment in which stored calories can be accessed to make up the difference and hunger does not ensue. On any other reduced calorie diet, the deficit results in hunger sooner or later and a regain of any lost pounds.

        • Razwell says:

          I just saw this comment now:

          Science has shown us that “character” has extremely little to nothing to do with our body fat levels and body weights.

          It makes people uncomfortable to learn that we have very limited voluntary control over our body weights. As Dr. Michael Rosenbaum has said:

          If everybody lost weight and you lined them up in order from fattest to thinnest that order would be pretty much the same and not change – even though all lost weight. The fattest people naturally would STILL be the fattest- just less so. And guys like REGGIE MILLER ( super thin) would STILL be the thinnest- but even more so.

          A baby elephant will STILL grow to weigh in the TONS – even when semi- starve. The elephant will still weigh far more than even a well fed lion ( 500 pounds)


  12. Steph says:

    When I lost weight (20 lbs) by doing Weight Watchers 12 years ago – cut calories, ate low-fat, ate high carb (saved my points up and ate junk – it really plays with your mind) – I was tired, lethargic, cranky. I thought obsessively about food – all day long – evenings were torture, trying not to snack. I just wanted to lie on the couch even though I had a new baby to take care of. I gained it all back and then some, after developing gallstones and surgery (another fun byproduct of eating low-fat!).

    When I lost weight (25 lbs) eating low-carb 3 years ago – I had energy, mental clarity, my Seasonal Depression went away, and I couldn’t care less about food – all of those obsessive thoughts just stopped. I enjoyed what I ate, but I just didn’t really care about it – a piece of cheese and a pickle for a snack, something easy like ground beef stir fry for dinner – no cravings at all – I could pass by my son’s PopTarts without a glance, something impossible to do on a low-fat, low-calorie diet.

    Why do the CICO proponents never mention that aspect of diet? The mental clarity and lack of obsessing about food are, for me, the biggest benefits of all, even more than the weight loss (which is also great). You just have no idea until you try it, how liberating low-carb truly is. I feel like I’ve unlocked the secret to life, and yet no one will believe me (except my husband, who is a poster child for low-carb living)!!! It’s so incredibly frustrating, and I owe Gary so much for trying to get this alternative view of dieting out to the world.

    Oh – and another thing your friend is missing – almost every woman I know my age – mid-40’s – has some form of autoimmune disease, from thyroid to MS to Vitiligo – except for me – all of my vitals are excellent, no health issues at all. Even my never-had-a-weight-problem-ever friends can’t say the same.

    • Paul says:

      Exactly right.

    • Warren Dew says:

      I think the “CICO proponents” don’t mention that part because they don’t believe it, never having experienced it.

    • Lynda says:

      Oh Steph!!!! you are preaching to the choir here. I could have written this but you wrote it so much better. Ditto to everything you wrote.

    • Seth says:

      My experience has been the same. I adopted the LCHF diet about 5 months ago (and the time has FLOWN by). Had been told at a health screening I was borderline obese, and it helped me remove my rose-tinted glasses and face reality. Yes, I AM that fat. I was 205#, 5’10. My abuses ALL revolved around carbs, and I had all the classic traits—always hungry, snacking all the time, getting overpowering cravings for sugar/candy/starch.

      Now, on LCHF, I feel about food exactly as you describe—I really don’t care that much. My meals taste fine. I’m happy with them. It’s just not a big deal anymore. I eat to provide my body with the fuel it needs, but I have left “gustatory sensualism” (as someone in “Good Calories,Bad Calories” called it) behind. No more “eating as entertainment.”

      Some folks might think that’s sad, but it isn’t. It’s fantastic! I’m never hungry. I never crave food. I eat satisfying meals that my body clearly loves—I have lost over 40#, now at 162#, lost 6 inches on my waist. went from XL shirts to size SMALL!! When it comes to food, I have never felt happier in my life. It’s so EASY. It just brings food down to a lower plane psychologically. It becomes merely a physiological function. Sure, it tastes fine. But I just don’t need it to be more than that. I have hobbies and interests. Food is for fuel, not for fun.

      And I did the right thing and had my bloodwork done, and it all came back IMPROVED ( I was actually pretty good in that area to begin with.)

      I exercise for fun, not for weight loss. I eat to live, not to provide psychological/emotional comfort. I have more energy. Less stress. Better self-esteem. Best thing I ever did with food was break the CARB habit. I can’t imagine ever going back. Totally lost my desire for carbs–and I was an ADDICT.

  13. albert says:

    Interesting thought experiment.

    Let’s take the first one with the twins A and B and now let’s also fiat that over the 20 year time period they also do everything else identically, exact same daily routine, exact some muscle motions, just like two mirror images of each other so that they’re expending the exact same amount of energy for activities.

    If A still gains weight relative to B in this scenario doesn’t that lead to the odd conclusion that the extra sugar in the diet has made A more metabolically efficient in that he can do all the same things as B but somehow is using less energy?

    Or would the thought experiment have reached a contradiction and it would be impossible for A to do all the same motions as B? (He would be too tired, unmotivated, weak, etc. to do so.)

    • albert says:

      Going further, I think that perhaps not everyone believes in calories as a unit of measure the same way or that maybe “food calories” is just not a very good measure at all.

      The problem could be in the link between calories in and calories out. You would think that eating 3000 food calories (as commonly calculated via energy denisty times grams of different macronutrients) should allow you to do 3000 kCal of work (in the physics sense, and adjusted for mechanical efficiency and all that). But perhaps that’s not true, and so we should stop using energy units to describe activity and diet.

      • FrankG says:

        Matching activity levels is all well and good but how would you compensate for the other ways the body has to conserve energy: slowing Basal Metabolic Rate, lowering temperature, less fidgeting etc.. etc…

        These are yet more reasons why the CICO paradigm fails: we cannot possibly control all these variables.

        • albert says:

          This is a thought experiement, we don’t have to control for variables we can just fiat them all to be the same. Except for the ones which we decide we will not control.

          So is the result of the thought experiment that the added sucrose diet will lead to a slowing metabolic rate/lower temperature/less fidgeting?

          That seems like it should be testable.

    • Warren Dew says:

      I disagree with Gary Taubes’ idea of which way the sugar/glucose experiment would turn out, but yes, the sugar eating twin would be more metabolically efficient than the fat eating twin.

      • Mike G says:

        How so Warren? How are you defining metabolic efficiency? In terms of ATP (energy) production, fatty acids are much more efficient than sugars.

        • Warren Dew says:

          The less energy you require to sustain a given level of activity, the more metabolically efficient you are. Specifically, the insulinogenic effect of the sugar eating twin’s diet would result in greater energy storage, such as in fat cells, and thus less energy available in the bloodstream for fuel. Mostly likely, the body would respond by lowering the basal metabolic rate to conserve energy.

          From a weight loss perspective, metabolic efficiency is a bad thing, since it means less of one’s energy intake is consumed and more of it is stored as fat.

          • Mike says:

            If you are turning down basal rate, and muscle repair rate, and a functioning reproductive system, to make up for the energy lost to fat, you aren’t necessarily more efficient, because you may not be able to sustain a given level of activity.

      • Leo says:

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    • Emily H. says:

      Hypothetically, the sugar-eating twin’s body might find ways to expend less energy performing the “same” motions. If a person can eat all the calories they need, their body is more likely to waste energy on excess motion or heat. That person (Twin B, the glucose eater) might walk or run with a more energetic stride, or stay warmer in cold weather. Alternately, Twin A could make up for the missing calories by shrinking his organs and muscle tissue. This is what happens to people in real life who are underfed and don’t have the option of being less active, as documented in Todd Tucker’s book “The Great Starvation Experiment.”

      You could think of this as metabolic efficiency, but it’s really just a starving body’s way of coping with unsufficient energy. It’s similar to how a person making less than living wage will be forced to be more fiscally efficient.

  14. Gary Mullennix says:

    Mr. Taubes…I believe that in time, ‘Science’ is quite likely to prove you right. However, your goal is to change the paradigm of diet now in place. I suggest you read, if you have not, Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. He describes the two means by which we make decisions and act and refers to them as System 1 and 2. System 1 is fast, easy, based on avoiding imminent danger and cued by things like the immediate availability of ideas which support fast thinking. (2×2=? is an example) System 2 is rational, long, tedious and not enjoyable (28×74=? is such an example).
    I’m hoping you can find a means by which the change agent becomes more embedded in System 1 thinking. Your thought experiment described in your article is a perfect example of System 2 thinking…it isn’t fun especially when System 2 is described as lazy. System 1, as in calories are responsible for obesity is fast, wrong, but acted upon even by those who should know better…it’s easy, the bias caused by the constant availability of the thought in TV, Papers, Books, Web sites makes it so. However, if people can begin to hear that sucrose and wheat both have metabolic differences which lend themselves to obesity and coronary heart disease and other pathologies…that becomes a likely System 1 style of thinking. Good luck and thanks for all you’ve done. We’re happy to help support NuSi’s efforts.

    • John U says:

      I think that Gary Mullennix has raised a matter that is quite relevant to the issue of transforming (un-brainwashing, if you like) the vast population into believers of the low carb hypothesis. Perhaps a simpler model might do it (there is no doubt in my mind that the concepts covered in GCBC are beyond the comprehension and therefore the interest of the vast population), but it is unlikely that such a subject could be covered any more simply than GT already did.

      I first read GCBC only about 5 months ago, followed soon after by ‘Why we get Fat”. I was stunned. How could it be possible that so many in the medical profession conspired actively or passively to deceive the people and thereby endanger their health? If they didn’t, then they had to be guilty of gross misconduct. I became consumed with a passion to tell everybody who might listen what I found out only to find that most people either didn’t really care or they considered me to be presumptuous to speak about such a complicated subject without a medical degree. So my success rate in finding and retaining interested parties was quite small. So I wondered about that – is it my presentation that is lacking or is it my qualifications that are inadequate, or is it simply that most people have preconceived notions about eating that are not about to change without a major event taking place to make the change happen. I decided that it was the latter reason since the two former reasons didn’t fit well with my sense of self esteem.

      I believe that what GT is attempting to achieve is very vital and yet extremely difficult to do. I tend to relate the diet issue (that is, what we eat and why) something akin to religious beliefs. For the last several decades we have been brainwashed to believe all these things about cholesterol and fat and heart disease by the media who reported these matters as if they were dogma, and thereby perceived by most of us as issued from on-high by our “medical leaders”, so therefore these reports must be true. How can we blame the people who now believe all this nonsense? We can’t and we don’t. Even if they read GCBC, most of them would not know what to think and would therefore defer for advice to their personal physicians or other confidants who are still part of the problem. BTW, if any of you have not heard of the experiment with monkeys and cold water, check it out at http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_the_monkey_banana_and_water_spray_experiment_ever_take_place. This very interesting experiment shows how we can be brainwashed into believing something without any knowledge of why we believe it. We just do because our parents believed it, our friends, our doctors, and in the case of religious instruction, our religious leaders believed it. Such dogmas become conventional knowledge not to be questioned, so nobody does, and if you do, then you must be a heretic even if you have distinguished medical credentials – as in the case of Uffe Ravnskov and his associates.

      Therefore, IMHO the proponents of the conventional wisdom have a very powerful weapon (dogma) and probably strong financial incentives to maintain the status quo. I am not sure that even serious and very convincing research done by independent and impartial teams of scientists who produced results which challenged the conventional wisdom would succeed in making much of a dent. The way information reaches the public effectively is through Media, and government publication and information dissemination initiatives, because the public sees these channels as credible. What are the chances of these channels coming on board to challenge existing dogma even if new credible research is available? Remember there is a lot at stake, for industries, media giants, research organizations, political parties, and even for the economic welfare of countries.

      So what to do? I am just an engineer, so I don’t know what the answers are, but my reason tells me that a big impact is needed, something that would get the attention of a lot of people and in a way that would capture and maintain their interest. For example, what if a distinguished law firm filed a class action law suit against the US Government claiming that some department wilfully and knowingly misled their citizens and caused them to be sick? Claims could be quite substantial and might interest a deep pockets firm. Could a legal case be made that the government is responsible for falsely recommending specific actions that caused substantial harm to millions of diabetics and other sick people? Has this avenue been considered by anyone before?

      • Warren Dew says:

        Mainstream media is not nearly as trusted as it used to be; its influence seems to be being transferred to social media. Just keep mentioning this stuff on your blog/facebook/google+.

      • Tim Maitski says:

        The most powerful way to have people accept what you are saying and change their thinking is to be a living example for them. I lost 30 pounds this year and it’s amazing how many people stopped me to ask me about what I was doing. I told them that I went “caveman” and told them to do some research on the “paleo diet”. I know that my sister looked into it and has changed her eating patterns. A grand parent of one of my kid’s friend also changed and was so happy to tell me about his success. I know that my kids are watching me closely and are slowly making changes even though they would be the last to tell me that I might be influencing them. Show people live results, not just some words and explanations on how it is supposed to work. Seeing is believing. Living your words is the most powerful way to influence others.

  15. Bob Bramel says:

    The problem of your journalist “friend” and his insistence upon calories-in-calories-out, psychologically speaking, seems to be that he won’t (can’t?) hear the “adipose tissue responding to hormonal stimulus” concept. At least he doesn’t appear to have heard. It isn’t a difficult concept to process. Where is this journalist’s discussion of the role of insulin? This straight-forward model deserves to be discussed/rebutted in order to bolster CICO, because if this model has merit then CICO becomes unnecessary. I observe that there is a more than coincidental neglect of this idea; it’s suggestive, to me, that hidden, deep emotions prohibit actual processing of insulin-adipose-tissue ideas. Studies have shown that conscious thought is not usually the initiator of behaviors; fMRI shows actions are initiated by unconscious processes as much as a second before an individual becomes aware of making an action decision. By extension, it seems to me that an unconscious emotion (fear of being wrong?) may be actually blocking your idea from being processed. Until we hear such people addressing insulin-driving-adiposity this has to be considered.

  16. I can think of another variation; give some large proportion of the calories as alcohol.
    They’re still calories, right? 7 Kcal/gm.
    Alcoholics are a good indication of the truth or otherwise of “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie”.

  17. Steve says:

    Okay, I’m confused.

    The only difference between A & B is 150 calories of fructose for A vs 150 calories of glucose for B. According to the 19th paragraph, the “.. 150 calories of glucose in B’s diet will stimulate more insulin secretion, …”. While for A, the 150 calories of fructose will cause insulin resistance, which, in my humble opinion, will lead to increased insulin secretion. What’s the difference?

    Part II, if fructose is the culprit here why hasn’t Gary been on an anti-fruit bandwagon.

    former biochemistry student,
    current driver of airplanes

    • FrankG says:

      I think you are reading too much into that…

      The point is [simply] that these diets contain identical amounts of calories but that the quality of what they contain (the nutrients) will elicit different biochemical responses within the body.

      The difficulty with any diet study is that it is impossible to achieve the ideal standard whereby only one variable is changed. If you increase fat calories without decreasing carb calories you have changed the overall number of calories — so you have to change at least two variables in order to compensate BUT in doing so you also change the relative macronutrient balance and also the availability of micronutrients (vitamins, minerals etc.. ) contained in the Fat, Protein and Carb sources.

      I read Gary’s substitution of Glucose with Sucrose simply as a way to get as close to that ideal as possible.

      • FrankG says:

        Added for clarification…

        The point is [simply] that these diets contain identical amounts of calories but that the quality of what they contain (the nutrients) will elicit different biochemical responses within the body.So is it reasonable to expect that the outcomes will be identical as is suggested by “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie…” ?

      • Steve says:

        Ya, I got that.

        Gary has presented possible causation pathways as part of his argument. I’m struggling to understand how the two he presented are different. A complete understanding involves understanding how things work. Saying disregard it doesn’t help.

        • Warren Dew says:

          Watch the youtube video on Lustig and Sugar entitled “Sugar, the bitter truth”. It explains how fructose is metabolized differently than glucose, and likely preferentially results in fatty deposits in the liver.

          Of course, metabolic syndrome is about more than just fatty liver, and it’s far from clear that preferential deposition in the liver is actually more closely related to it than general deposition in adipose tissue. In my opinion, Taubes has fallen for an attractive hypothesis and seems blind to its shortcomings.

          • Steve says:

            I’ll check it out. Thank you.

          • Mike G says:

            Lustig makes a mistake, however. Fructose 1,6 bisphosphate is also produced during the glycolytic pathway (glucose catabolism). So it doesn’t make sense that fructose would increase fat production in the liver while glucose would not. Once glycogen stores are full, glucose can contribute to the fat production pathway. That is probably why starchy (glucosy) foods make me fat as well.

    • FrankG says:

      As for bandwagons and fructose IIRC Gary has suggested elsewhere that while sugars and refined starches are the main issue it *may* be chiefly fructose (a sugar) that is the problem — as outlined by Dr Lustig.

      This is yet another question that remains to be resolved by further study but meantime consider that fructose rarely if ever appears in food by itself: fruit has fructose yes, but also glucose; HFCS has both also. Again you see we don’t eat just nutrients (unless all we eat are processed and refined products) but by eating real whole food we can approximate a more natural balance.

      So whether it is chiefly fructose, or all sugars and refined starches: the approach remains the same — eat real whole food.

    • gallier2 says:

      The clearing of the blood glucose is the difference in that case. Only glucose will stimulate insulin, glucose will be shuttled to the adipose tissue, fall back to normal and lipolysis resumes quickly. The other case, a little less insulin -> insulin resistance -> less clearing of glucose -> more insulin -> clearing of glucose, but slower than normal -> lipolysis inhibited longer -> starvation at cellular level -> stuffing its face with snacks.
      The mechanism is in fact a bit more complex than that. The effects of insulin resistance are quite different depending on which tissues are resistant, liver, muscle or adipose tissue, in what state the body is in, ketotic, starving, hyperglycamiae whatever. To disentangle all that and have a better view of the whole is what NuSI is all about.

      As for fruit, it is all a question of dosage. Fresh fruit is mainly water and it is difficult to accumulate high quantities of fructose with them. But concentrate them, like in juices or dried fruit and it’s a whole other story. It was recognized that some fruits were especially fattening from times immemorial, the french word ‘foie’ like in ‘foie gras’ (fatty liver) for example has its origin from the latin word ficae, the fig, which was used originally to fatten geese in Roman times.

  18. Sarah Gabriel says:

    Bravo! I’d suggest one more variable in the thought experiment… Time of day. I know what is true for me: I can eat the same food in a day but if it is after 5pm I gain weight-especially carbs after 5.

  19. Abd ul-Rahman Lomax says:

    If food calories were thermodynamic calories, CICO would make more sense, but would be even more useless. So many have overlooked that food calories have been adjusted *drastically* from thermo cals by correction factors based on metabilizability research from over 100 years ago, the “Atwater system,” which neglect variations in dietary context and much else. CICO may be GIGO, garbage in, garbage out.

  20. Ashby says:

    Why not try one variant of your experiment with 300 calories from slow absorbing complex carbs vs 300 calories of fruit juice? I think that would give you dramatic results…

    • Mike G says:

      Starchy carbs are not slow absorbing – that ia a common misconception. Amylase is a fast-working enzyme that has no trouble hydrolyzing starch to maltose, and maltase then finishes the job of quickly hydrolyzing the maltoses to glucoses.

  21. David says:

    “yes, you can eat pure whipped cream, but not the cake or ice cream you’d normally put it on–so why bother?”

    Why bother? Hmm, let me try – maybe so that we don’t die of heart failure or diabetes complications at 42? Or, no wait, so that we can be happier in our appearance than if we look like the pillsbury doughboy? Or wait, I know I know, so that we actually feel healthier, and like we have energy?

    • Emily H. says:

      Pure whipped cream has a wonderful sweet, delicate flavor. Would definitely eat it if I was hungry & it was the only food around. It’s not terribly appealing if you’re not hungry, but food isn’t supposed to be!

  22. David says:

    CICO clearly makes sense for any complex piece of machinery, that’s why I think it makes no difference if I run my computer normally, vs if I simply push the entire system’s running voltage and amperage across only the CPU .. same amount of energy in, same amount of energy out!

    There may be a few other effects here – e.g. the role water plays in different metabolic paths? I’m not sure – as well as not just (as mentioned) different gut bacteria, but different gut bacteria may release different amounts of energy – e.g. in the form of methane – so different amounts of energy may “escape” the system in different ways. (Then also e.g. sweat, urine … we aren’t closed systems.)

  23. Paul says:

    Two points.
    1) I’ve made it before, CICO is theory of fat accumulation WITHOUT an identitified underlying biochemical mechanism.
    2) Even assuming carb-restriction worked by controlling your appetite and calories taken in, a huge point is being missed. Carb restriction does result in greater satiety and usually a spontaneous reduction in calorie intake without any particular effort of will. HUGE POINT: this spontaneous, hunger-free reduction in calorie intake would by itself constitute a huge leap forward in the science of dieting in which most (low fat) calorie restriction diets are impossible to follow without great determination, the tendency to yo-yo dieting etc. This suppression of appetite which is an inbuilt feature of carb-restriction is exactly the golden goose that Big Pharma is looking for in an obesity pill.

    Of course, you don’t have to restrict calories to lose weight because it is all about insulin. (Though you might slow your weight loss down, the availability of ketones from food would slow the rate at which your fat stores become depleted.) Carb-restriction is effective because it works with the body’s fat regulatory mechanisms, not against them.

  24. Warren Dew says:

    Gary, I think you’re getting overly fixated on fructose with insufficient evidence.

    Take, for example, cancer. Yes, obesity is a risk factor for cancer. And yes, sugar intake is a risk factor for obesity. Remember, though, that risk factors describe correlations, not causations. If you need a reminder of that, you might quickly review the saga of hormone replacement therapy.

    To the extent that there’s a causation, it’s probably not directly from the fat to cancer. Rather, it’s more likely that the sugar itself promotes cancer growth: after all, most cancer cells have no mitochondria and thus rely on glycolysis for energy; they need sugar, and lots of it, to grow.

    Of course, the sugar that cancer cells need is glucose, not fructose. I would bet a fair amount of money that the village getting the glucose drink will have higher cancer rates than the village getting the sucrose drink, especially if the diets contain otherwise adequate amounts of choline.

  25. Paul says:

    Also, here’s the real energy balance

    Calories In = (A) Calories from food + (B) Calories from fat stores + (C) Calories from breaking down protein stores (i.e. muscle)

    Calories Out= (D) Calories consumed by basal metabolism + (E) Calories consumed by spontaneous activity ( i.e. the background level of activity) + (F) Calories consumed by conscious activity (i.e. exercise) +
    (G) Calories deposited in fat stores + (H) Calories deposited in protein stores (i.e., building muscle tissue) + (J) Calories unmetabolized (i.e., excreted)

    Calorie restriction weight loss strategies which don’t control insulin can only affect A and F (maybe H) and usually have counter-productive impacts on every other component of energy balance. Notice that D, E and J being part of energy balance as largely independent (or even negatively correlated variables) means that any attempt to anticipate weight loss solely on the basis of calories in food and calories expended through exercise will be extremely unreliable.

  26. john says:

    I read the first e-mail to you and decided not to continue. These people are boring.

  27. Tom A says:

    I have been giving this some thought after following the LCHF advice with much success over the past 13 months. What really clicked something for me was the analogy of a meter is a meter is a unit of measurement from one of the responses. But there are different measurements for different environments. For example a mile on land is different than a mile on water – a nautical mile. Not to get into the origins of the nautical mile, the radar mile, etc. but why can’t we do the same thing for calories? First I do believe calories matter. I can’t eat 10,000 KCals of fat every day and not gain weight and I could eat as little as 1,000 a day and not drop any weight. This is of course using the Kcal measurements we use today. Why can’t we assign a different caloric value for different carbohydrates since they react differently in different environments much like a lad based mile is different from a nautical mile? Understanding the whole time this is a rough approximation/abstraction? It may make your twins example easier to understand. Maybe we don’t call it a calorie at all because it reacts differently in our body versus the standard scientific explanation of a “Unit of Heat” or “Food Energy”. I’m going to call it a WCal for weight or a TCal for Tom…my name. In any case the frame of reference could be abstracted away from energy towards how it affects your body. Hang with me here. I’m thinking off the top of my head which is dangerous.

    For example and in round numbers: maybe a unit of Fat has 4 TCals, and Protein has 4TCals, complex carbohydrates have a unit of 6 TCals, and simple carbohydrates or sugars have a unit measurement of 12 TCals. Using this example one could determine what their optimum diet should consist of in terms of TCals and sidestep the argument of traditional Calories. If this were refined then you could use this argument in your twins example. it could also be argued (far more accurately) that TCals affect overall health and weight gain more than Calories given the different effects in the body.

    The point is to move to a system that has a reference point of weight and health instead of Joules or energy.

    • FrankG says:

      We humans (like every other form of life on the planet) have been honed by aeons of evolution to manage “energy balance” without the need for nutritional labels, kitchen scales or any other paraphernalia. This system worked pretty much perfectly until we decided to start trusting white-coated “experts” to know better than nature — as if we are somehow different and “above” all that… after-all we have “souls” right?

      The beauty of an LCHF diet is that I don’t need ANY system of measurement and increasingly I can rely on my own innate abilities to eat just what I need… like every other animal 🙂

      • Wowsers21 says:

        “The beauty of an LCHF diet is that I don’t need ANY system of measurement and increasingly I can rely on my own innate abilities to eat just what I need… like every other animal.”

        Except other animals do not have refrigerators and 24 hour supermarkets around the corner. I guarantee if they did have access to food that often (even if it’s only protein/fat), they would be just as fat as any other modern SAD dieter.

        And BTW, are your “innate abilities to eat just what you need” resulting in your being slim now??

        This “just what I need” stuff keeps coming out from the LC crowd and it just seems like a way to deflect the obvious holes in LC/insulin theory. If LC works for the reasons GT says it does, you should be skinny. Period.

    • Paul says:

      In short, you are mistaken. 10K of calories a day as fat without insulin being produced to marshall the fatty acids into your fatty issue, means you will just excrete the ketones. Fat has essentially no impact on insulin levels. Protein does, though in a self-regulating way. Carbs do the worst damage. Btw, the theory of CICO calories out is really just a hypothesis, to my knowledge no one has identified the biochemical basis by which excess calories get stored in fat tissue in the abscence of insulin.
      You are partly right about calories matter when you starve yourself, but no one has really argued to the contrary. But even so, low calorie or starvation diets are very different experiences depending on whether there is high proportion of carbs. Very low carb, low calorie diets are lean tissue sparing and are in general much less miserable experience. Animal models can demonstrate animals putting on fat at the same time their lean body mass is wasting away (actually being cannibalized). Tom, its not about what you “believe”, it’s about the the science.

      • johnnyv says:

        10K Calories a day of fat will mostly be excreted without absorption, possibly in an explosive manor, similar to the 10K Calories of protein case. Only the 10k Calories of carbohydrate really stands a chance of being mostly absorbed.

        • grinch says:

          Unfortunately an overfeeding study of a ketogenic diet has never been done, but hopefully that will be one of the first things NUSI does. I hope all this 10K of fat not getting stored nonsense gets put to bed. Ever heard of ASP? Insulin is certainly not required to any significant degree for fat storage to occur. Low carb diets only work when they lead to a spontaneous reduction in calorie consumption.

          • Mike G says:

            And what is the cause of this “spontaneous” reduction in calorie intake? Do you have any biochemical mechanism to explain this phenomenon? To use the word “spontaneous” makes it seem like “magic,” or at the very least, unscientific. How might leptin be involved? If one is losing weight, shouldn’t the lower level of leptin trigger increased feeding behavior? But it doesn’t. Waving your hand at this phenomenon (by using the word “spontaneous”) saves you the trouble of explaining it with biochemistry and/or physiology. The carb/insulin hypothesis at least takes a stab at trying to explain it.

          • grinch says:

            Stephan Guyenet does a magnificant job explaining it in his latest series on why we eat. Leptin controls homeostatic eating, but its not the full story. You see everyone has a set point, however that set point is more of a “settling” point and is influenced by the environment in which you put the person. Every single person ever to step foot on The Biggest Loser ranch 1) admitted they ate too much food, and 2) lost a ton of weight through diet and exercise. In that environment its certainly possible to overcome homeostatic behaviors but of course send them back home and their environment goes back to the way it was. Some of the contestants maintain at least some of the weight loss because of small changes they do make to their lifestyle and actually stick with. Someone that has the willpower to give up empty calories (ie. hyper-rewarding foods with little satiating properties) will also lower their set point because the foods they continue eating like meat and animal fats and nutrient dense vegetables are more satiating. Read up on what makes satiating, its not just about insulin.

          • Michael says:

            “I hope all this 10K of fat not getting stored nonsense gets put to bed.”

            Have you seen the documentary Why Are Thin People Not Fat? (available on the internet). They follow college students who participate in a overeating experiment and some of them don’t get fat despite eating twice as much calories.

            I too hope NuSI will make a couple of overeating experiments.

  28. Paradigms are funny. The first time I ran across the “hormones drive weight change drives consumption” concept, which may have been in your first article on the subject that grew into GCBC, I got it instantly. It was just so obvious that the causation could run the other way, and it explained things we all recognize without thinking about: a teenage boy eats like a horse because he’s growing; he doesn’t grow because he eats like a horse. Babies and toddlers go through pudgy stages and slimming stages, regardless of what their parents are feeding them. Most people gain weight up to a point, and then level off or slow down considerably, even though they keep eating the same. And so on. It was so clear that I thought anyone who read it would “get it” and we could get on with the business of changing things. If that wasn’t enough, the pictures in GCBC of people who are fat in one part of their body and emaciated in another should have been the final nail in the a-calorie-is-a-calorie coffin.

    And yet, here we sit, probably a decade later, and I still walk through a grocery store full of low-fat “diet” foods made with lots of “healthy” grains. I was just looking for spaghetti squash recipes, and most touted its low-fat benefits, when its real benefit is as a low-carb pasta replacement. Even on alternative “red pill” blogs and forums, I constantly run into the belief that losing weight is just a matter of willpower, smaller portions, and exercise. Low-carb sneaked into the mainstream a bit, but mostly as one fad diet among many that might work for a particular person at a particular time, but not as a change in thinking about food. I can’t tell that anything’s really changed.

    Why did I “get it” when so many very smart people don’t? I don’t claim to be smarter than them, or more knowledgeable about the topic. Probably less so in many cases. So why doesn’t the 5-minute presentation where you turn the equation around and show the arrow going the other way get through to these people whose professions supposedly require open-mindedness? Why do you still have to write thousands of words in an attempt to find a new way to break through their biases? I suppose it’s just a demonstration of how strong conventional thinking can be, but it’s depressing.

  29. Gary

    Let’s have some of that thought exploration into my theory that processed and hybrid sugars and carbohydrates combined with agricultural abundance and availability, being stimulants like speed and cocaine and the core and source of the kingdoms and gods and empires and armies and war. — “Adrenaline like” just like speed and cocaine.

    It’s the only answer anybody has ever come up with for man’s mind and imagination and creativity and lust for more.

    Tom Bunnell

  30. Ash Simmonds says:

    To expand on your “miles are a useful measure of distance” analogy, consider one person getting from A to B on a flat path, vs the other getting there via a mountainous goat-track.

    The end result is the same from one standpoint – ie you have both travelled one mile – however the first guy would have done so without putting any strain on his body, the second guy going up and down hard trails has put significantly more strain on his body, and had a far increased risk of injury.

    A mile is a mile is a calorie is a…

  31. RevTemerity says:

    Any evidence I provide would be anecdotal in proving one thing or another. I can provide hard data, though, on my experience with Gary’s assertion when applied to my life (now closing in on 60):

    Prior to reading WWGF and GC,BC I was at a solid 260#. My diet was something along the lines of 60% carb, 25% protein and 15% fat. I was eating 1500 cal/day. I was riding a bike 3-5 times/week for 45 minutes burning 700 cal. I was always hungry. BP, even on medication (CCB) was often 140-ish/90-ish. Resting heart rate was in the mid 50’s.

    After reading WWGF and GC,BC, I modified my diet to be 60% fat and approximately 40% protein. Carb intake was reduced < 15g/day. I stopped riding the bike (only rode it 3 times during the time period in question). I continued to eat 1500 cal/day. This time my hunger was satiated. My weight is 195#. My BP, still on the same medication is 110-ish over 60-ish. Resting heart rate remains in the mid 50's.

    In my own life, I've reduced energy expenditure AND lost weight. I'm was a rabid calorie counter and I used the same method of portion control as I have more most of my adult life. The only time in the last 20 years I weighed this little was on a 1200 cal diet (still high carb, proportions above are consistent with the data from that time period) and I was swimming for 2 hours/day and bike commuting to/from work for 3 hrs/day. In that effort (where I was always hungry and would just go to bed to prevent myself from raiding the fridge) I did get down to 175 and, oddly enough, 7% body fat (submersion method).

    I now eat no fruit, no sugar, the preponderance of carbs come from leafy vegetables (lettuce, cabbage). There's usually a few cherry tomatoes in the salad, maybe a few slices of carrot. That's it. When hungry I eat a stick of cheese (usually 2). I don't worry about the dressing I use on the salad. I have long tended towards being a pseudo-vegan. Now I'm back to eating beef and pork (which I hadn't eaten for over 35 years). I'm driving my cardiologist nuts and my dietician is apoplectic about the lack of carbs in my diet. This is an odd trip I'm on, pissing off the medical establishment but they cannot argue with the results of the change.

    This idea of limiting carbs and sugar worked for me and I'll be the first to admit I'm a little "hard-core" about what I'm doing. My brain still works, though, despite what people said would happen. I have yet to get scurvy because of the lack of fruit. My energy level is slightly elevated (no longer is a problem to mow the lawn on a week-end). All in all, I'll take the trade-off.

  32. Guillaume says:

    What I find amazing is that this sort of reasoning is not obvious to absolutely everyone who has every thought about the topic. It is truly staggering that these kinds of considerations can elude people educated enough to be able to read them. And it is sad that your friend has enough time to respond to your email, but not read GC, BC. It really is a shame, but the fact is, most people don’t read! I experience this all the time with articles I publish on my blog and friends that keep asking me the same questions about stuff I have explained at length and in different ways in various articles. And this even my closest colleagues. It’s sad, but that’s just to way it is.

    • Warren Dew says:

      Good Calories, Bad Calories is a long read. The friend could start with Taubes’ much shorter NYT article from way back.

      • Ppe says:

        I merely watend to thank you once again for your amazing blog you have designed here. It is full of useful tips for those who are definitely interested in that subject, especially this very post. You’re really all so sweet along with thoughtful of others as well as reading the blog posts is an excellent delight if you ask me. And exactly what a generous surprise! Dan and I will certainly have fun making use of your guidelines in what we should do in a month’s time. Our collection of ideas is a mile long which means your tips are going to be put to great use.

  33. SusanK says:

    Certainly rats have been subjected to these thought experiments? If no, would rats be an appropriate model (hormonally speaking)?

  34. Randal Jones says:

    I have read both Good Calories, Bad Calories and Why We Get Fat and was completely persuaded that if we could avoid carbs the obesity problem would solve itself. However, I recently ran across James Levine’s new book Move a Little, Lose a Lot. His main thesis is that non exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), basically the amount of movement we engage in throughout the day when we are not seated, has dropped dramatically in the last few decades. Due to the changes in technology, we are chained to our desks. Our bodies are not evolved to spend 10-12 hours a day sitting he contends. He describes a large and very rigorous experiment that he along with others conducted and the conclusion that NEAT was what made the difference was inescapable. I was wondering if you’ve had a chance to read his book and if so, what your position is on this idea.

    • Brett says:

      Although sitting down for hours and not exercising is certainly disastrous for one’s health, those who spend the most time at their desks are not the most overweight. Lower-class workers who are much more likely to be overweight and yet their jobs are almost always more physically demanding. Most investment bankers I know are quite lean, whereas most nurses and tradesmen I know, for example, are overweight.

      Here’s what Mr Taubes has to say about exercise: http://nymag.com/news/sports/38001/

  35. Brett says:

    Mr Taubes, I think you really need to consider racial differences when looking at overweight and obesity. East Asians have been practicing agriculture for thousands of thousands of years, and so have been consuming carbohydrates as a staple for thousands of years. On the other hand, Sub-Saharan Africans, Indigenous Australians, Native Americans and various islander populations, for example, have never practiced widespread agriculture until very recently, and so never ate carbs as a staple until very recently. The implications of this are manifest; asians, in spite of their large carbohydrate consumption, are very thin and experience low rates of diabetes, whereas africans etc. experience the greatest diabetes and obesity rates in the world.

    It’s easy to dismiss this given that it is “racial” in nature, but look at lactose. Europeans domesticated the cow and ate dairy products for a long time, and so have managed to develop lactose persistence. Non-Europeans never really consumed milk products and so are largely lactose intolerant.

    If europeans evolved to develop lactose-persistence, then there’s no reason not to assume that east Asians developed partial carbohydrate tolerance. Indeed, such an assumption would have extraordinary explanatory power, and would finally help make sense of the insulin theory of adiposity.

    • Miriam says:

      As someone who has lived in Asia for the last 13 years, I can tell you that the obesity, cancer and diabetes rates in China, particularly in the big cities, are rising at culturally destructive rates. I mean culturally destructive in the sense that society may collapse with sheer inability to provide even basic health services to so many millions of people so suddenly sick. Their obesity rates are almost the same as ours, but this has occurred in barely a quarter of the time it took us to get there. China now has the highest diabetes rate in the entire world, and has surpassed India in having the largest number of diabetics in the world.

      They love to blame American fast food; a convenient excuse. But if you actually know and live among the Chinese you’d know they actually don’t eat it all that much. They eat it the way it was meant to be eaten: as an occasional special treat.

      The real changes actually fit Gary Taubes’ theory better than any other. True, Beijingers, for example, are somewhat more sendentary than 100 years ago. But not much. Beijing was always a capital city, not a farming community. People still walk incredible distances without thinking a thing of it, just to use the very poorly designed public transport. Lots of buildings don’t have elevators, and many, many people still bike everywhere. I do not move around as much as the average person around me, yet even I have completely changed from my former lifestyle. When I go home to visit family, I think nothing of walking down the street 2 miles to get to a store rather than take the car. Everyone who sees me thinks I’m insane. I have to go for a 45 minute walk every evening just to keep from being too jumpy, because I’m accustomed to at least that much walking every day here. So the idea that the Chinese are just not moving enough is silly–they’re moving a LOT more than Americans, yet they are fattening even faster than we are.

      Their are two big changes that have characterized the Chinese diet in recent decades, however: they were finally introduced to white flour and cheap, mass produced refined sugar. Whole rice has always been an important staple, true. So your theory of carb tolerance is something that might bear investigating. It’s certainly an interesting thought, though not something I think we can just “assume.”
      However, what they were “tolerating” were not the carbs they eat today. In the 70s and 80s a concerted effort by American business was made to get the Chinese to buy white flour and start making bread–something they now eat regularly. Of course they did have wheat before, but it was not an important part of the national diet and bread was nearly unheard of. They had some steamed buns of different kinds, but that was about it. And steamed buns are by nature carb-limiting. They expand dramatically in the stomach, so one does not overeat them unless one wants to have serious gastric distress. Once introduced to the delights of freshly baked bread, however, they jumped in with both feet. The other change was sugar. The Chinese have always had sugarcane, and you can buy it on the street corner still as a treat–the actual sugarcane plant, which you then gnaw on as you walk around. But again, it’s a limited treat. They never had the sugarcane plantations developed by Europeans, and their sugar industry actually greatly declined in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. But then they got introduced to the possibility of massive, cheap amounts of sugar.

      After murdering or making peasants out of most of their renowned chefs and closing nearly every restaurant in the country during the Cultural Revolution (a whole other story) they are still working to fully rebuild their cuisine and have not totally gotten over some very bad habits they picked up during that time. One was the overuse of MSG and spice to mask meat that had turned. They developed a liking for it and now use it all the time. The other was throwing a handful of sugar into EVERY SINGLE DISH that they make. Meat, vegetables, rice, soup…no matter what it is, they throw in that sugar. So they talk a lot about how they “don’t like sweet things,” but in actuality they use a lot of sugar now in daily cooking and in most restaurants (except the very best), especially as compared to their previous sugar consumption.

      Their use of fat, however, has not changed dramatically.

      • Warren Dew says:

        Interesting. I would point out that wheat has always been a staple in northern China in the form of noodles. It’s hard to snack on noodles the way you can with bread, though.

        • Miriam says:

          Yes, they do eat noodles a lot more than the southern Chinese, but that is only in comparison. All my friends are northern Chinese, and none of them eat noodles more than 2-3 times a month, for one meal. And their ides of a bowl of noodles is much smaller than ours. And, again, it’s not that they’ve never had wheat in their diet. It’s that it was never anything like the staple it is in ours, nor was sugar, until very recently.

        • Miriam says:

          And in case anyone ever reads this, I think I should also mention that I think most Americans have a very mistaken idea of what it means that the Chinese “eat a lot of rice.” First, rice is a filler. You only eat it when the good stuff, i.e. meat and vegetables, are gone and only if you’re still hungry. It’s quite common to go to a restaurant (or someones home) and see lots of people with no rice at all. Second, I think a lot of people think “a bowl of rice” and they image Chinese people chowing down on American sized cereal bowls full of rice. “A bowl of rice” around here means one scoop into a tiny bowl. The bowl is about 1/3 the size of American cereal bowls.

          And in a related comment, the Chinese adore fat and always have. Fat saves lives in famines. Fat tastes good. Only those with money can afford the fat: the poor have to eat the lean stuff. It’s prestige. Their favorite dishes are absolutely full of meat fat; particularly pork fat. There’s so much fat that typical Westerners find it a bit sickening. And fat they DO eat with gusto, unlike rice.

          • Razwell says:

            Hi Miriam

            You’re right. 🙂

            My brother has been to Hong Kong many times. There is significant animal products like octopus etc. and lots of vegetables. Americans do not understand it is not a ” rice fest.”

            It is only the American Chinese Restaurants here in the United States that feature this sometimes. I know several people from China and they confirmed the traditional diet is different from the Americanized version etc.

            They do love their fat, too.

    • paul helman says:

      You might check out a recent article in the BMJ regarding white rice consumption and type 2 diabetes.

  36. Miriam says:

    When I was younger, we use to kind of roll our eyes at my mother (now passed on), who was convinced that the whole food pyramid was an attempt to get Americans used to the concept of eating like the Third World (as she defined it)–all rice, porridge and other grains with very little meat and fat and only limited ranges of vegetables. She thought this was a socialist plan, designed to eventually “punish” America for it’s success by claiming it was all off the backs of “the workers” and guilting everyone into eating like a starving Chinese peasant.

    I’m not so sure about Mom’s conspiracy, but I would say that at least some of the conventional wisdom blindness we’ve all faced in trying to even talk about this subject rationally with other people is based on what they’ve been taught all their lives by the media and the government. And that media, government and the medical establishment are not willing to consider this could have something to do with the very large amounts of money controlled by companies that would be ruined if these concepts ever gained widespread acceptance–companies that make sodas and fruit drinks; companies that sell cheap-to-produce snacks full of nothing but carbs. Not to mention the whole diet industry, which produces ridiculous low-cal, low–fat edibles that are barely recognizable as food. Not so much a “conspiracy” as just people who want to keep their businesses and jobs.

    Add to that doctors and/or scientists who would never even consider changing their tunes because of the personal humiliation of admitting they were catastrophically wrong (and possibly even the legal liabilities that might come from being sued by every person they taught CICO who didn’t succeed in losing weight and fixing health problems). And even throw in a little schadenfreude, too, as people who don’t have weight issues enjoy delicious feelings of superiority when they see all those fat slobs waddling down to Walmart, who won’t stop stuffing their faces with fat and either can’t or won’t afford gym fees or the time necessary to exercise hard every day.

  37. Bjarte Bakke says:

    Gary, I’m a fan of your clear, structured and logic based writing. With NuSi you and Peter can change the world and if that isn’t living a life of meaning I don’t know what is. Keep up your superb work and do check out the 2-week eating experiment I’ve made at http://www.rethinkingtruth.com. I’m sure you’ll agree with most of the content. I’ve published the results my friends & family have had and they speak for themselves.

    Take care and regards from Norway!

  38. That’s interesting. I have been on a low carbohydrate since about October. A friend objected recently “yeah, of course you’re losing weight, your don’t eat!” But, of course I eat until full. I’m not sure how much I’m eating as I don;t bother to calculate my consumption values. When hungry. I eat. Meat. Green veggies. The fact that I am not always mindful of the next engorgement strikes me as a good thing. A positive symptom of satiety resulting from the elimination of bread, sugar and starches. All to say, that apparently my body has begun to factor how many calories to entertain as opposed to my head and mouth deciding my caloric load.

  39. grinch says:

    There are numerous problems here. First, GT ignores all the contradictory evidence out there. For one, why does he never talk about leptin and set point theory? There is a wealth of literature on how leptin is what likely causes people to regain lost weight, but GT never talks about it.

    Second, GT believes that macronutrient content of an isocaloric diet leads to the body changing its energy expenditure. In the last 70 years, over 20-something metabolic ward studies refute this idea. They have tested diets of all different macro ratios on different populations (obese, diabetics, men, women, etc.). These studies are almost unanimous in showing that the human body does not significantly change its energy expenditure due to different metabolic processes for different types of energy. So the only way GT’s hypothesis can survive is to continue to ignore this fact.

    And finally based on the evidence, it is plausible that macronutrient content does matter a lot for heart disease risk and other health conditions related to diet and lifestyle, but doesn’t mean it matters much for fat accumulation. Its possible that the proximal cause for fat accumulation is excess calorie intake, but we are right to question how humans could randomly over-consume calories, but the evidence shows it is unlikely to be primarily influenced by insulin, but instead a multifactorial condition that involves genetics, conditions in the womb, sedentary lifestyle, increase in added sugar AND processed vegetable oils, lack of vitamins and minerals, stress, the list goes on and on.

    • Warren Dew says:

      Read Taubes’ books. He addresses metabolic ward studies, most of which are far too short to capture the relevant effects. Once you’ve read Good Calories, Bad Calories, feel free to come back and link to any metabolic ward studies he missed that might provide new evidence on the topic.

      • grinch says:

        I have read GCBC, and then watched it get destroyed over and over by authors and health bloggers who can cite study after study that disproves it. The CIH requires the reader to reject the majority of the scientific literature in favor of his cherry-picked studies. It worked when I was new to nutritional science, but have since learned that it is pure nonsense.

        • gman3164 says:

          I suppose that it’s pure nonsense that insulin inhibits lipolysis, while stimulting glucose and fatty acid uptake by adipocytes. Look at any physiology textbook (Keth Frayn’s “Metabolic Regulation” is a good one). Is the physiology of fat tissue nonsense? Is Frayn’s textbook a “cherry-picked study”? I don’t think so. Your opinion, however, is pretty close to nonsense.

          • grinch says:

            Just like we don’t blame our bank when we overdraw on our account just because it facilitates transactions, we shouldn’t necessarily blame insulin just because we eat more energy than we expend.

            When you replace dietary carbs with dietary fat, you end up burning a lot of dietary fat and when eaten in excess, you will still end up with a calorie surplus and added body fat.

            Low carb might help a lot of people spontaneously reduce calorie intake, but it does not work for everybody! Especially people who are only moderately overweight. If it really worked the way Gary et. al. says, then it would work for EVERYBODY.

  40. grinch says:

    And for those who really believe this stuff, the reason Jimmy Moore struggles so much is not because his body is too metabolically damaged…its not because he clearly can lose weight when he puts all his effort into it. Its because leptin is the master obesity hormone that isn’t working right for him. He can eat ZERO carb and will still struggle.

    • gman3164 says:

      It’s the CICO folks who live in the realm of “belief,” rather than evidence. They simply cannot “believe” that any other explanation of weight regulation is possible, because that would be going against their “religion.” And what exactly was Jimmy’s “effort” that he put in? He lowered his protein and increased the fat in his diet, along with doing resistance training (slow burn) in the morning. Slow burn isn’t that much work. He may be leptin resistant, as are most over-weight folks. That doesn’t mean that he can only lose weight through “effort.”

      • grinch says:

        The point is the big LC strawman here is that everybody who doesn’t believe in the insulin nonsense is a strict believer that weight status is 100% CICO and that the body has no role in weight regulation. This is wrong and very close-minded to think this way about people with opposing views. Read Stephan Guyenet’s blog. He believes weight status is heavily regulated by the brain, with leptin being a key hormone. There is lots of evidence for this, and very little evidence for Gary’s hypothesis about insulin. Even with body weight regulation in place, there is still plenty of evidence that people CAN manage their weight permanently with the right intervention. That is certainly independent of their carb intake.

        • Mike G says:

          I would rather read Peter at Hyperlipid’s blog, or itsthewooo’s Scribble Pad blog. Neither of them think too highly of Stephan’s ideas. If you read their material you would get a very different perspective.

          • grinch says:

            ITW’s ideas are LOL. 90% of what she writes is based on her own anecdotes. When asks to prove her claims she speaks the same tiresome and unhelpful line that its proven by textbooks saying that insulin is the primary fat regulator (whatever that means exactly). In other words she doesn’t have any studies to back up her claims, but despite all of her weight problems, she has been thin for the past N years so it must be true. Yeah LOL on citing ITW as a good source of information.

        • Michael says:

          “Read Stephan Guyenet’s blog.”

          :rolleyes: Did you swallow his so-called refutation of the insulin-carb model of obesity as soon as you read it?

  41. Axel F says:

    I think you proved your point very well Gary. I find your method of doing it quite interesting. Designing thought experiments and then tell us what the result will be….

    Maybe a tool for politicians. I know for sure that a great and experienced scientific writer like you could design a thought experiment that would give us the completely opposite result. You would do it in five minutes.

    Using scientific methods/thinking to design thought trials can indeed be very informative and helps us understand how science works. It helps us understand how a hypothesis could be tested. However, using current knowledge and common sense to tell what the result will be, is very unscientific. There are countless examples where results of scientific experiments and trials have been totally different from what was predicted. Therefore, science is so important.

    However, thanks for a great article. I do not disagree on your conclusion. However, you can probably prove anything you want by designing a thought experiment. But, maybe the end justifies the means….

    • Miriam says:

      The purpose of a thought experiment is not to prove anything. There’s nothing shady going on here that we have to pull out “the end justifies the means” to defend it.

      Thought experiments are a valid scientific method of considering a principle or hypothesis and reflecting through its consequences. The purpose isn’t to prove the hypothesis, but to discipline the mind (and draw the minds of others) into thinking about a problem from all angles, and possibly to open up new hypothesis we might have missed. We tend to miss blatantly obvious things without this kind of mental discipline.

      • Axel F says:

        I do not disagree with you Miriam.
        However, if you have a point that you want to prove like GT in this case, you will design a thought trial that is likely to support your case. I am sure that a thought trial could be designed to support the theory that “a calorie is a calorie”, thus giving us an opposite result.

        • Miriam says:

          Of course, Axel F. That’s why I state again: “The purpose of a thought experiment is not to prove anything…but to discipline the mind (and draw the minds of others) into thinking about a problem from all angles, and possibly to open up new hypothesis we might have missed.” Of course Taubes has a case he thinks is right. Everyone does. The point of putting your thought experiment out there SHOULD be to get people to consider things from a different angle. He’s considered conventional dieting wisdom from their angle; now he’s calling on others to consider it from his. From all I can discover of the Nutrition Science Institute he’s been working to help establish, it’s whole purpose for existance is to solve these riddles that no one is saying thought experiments can. All the thought experiment can do is highlight that there are many considerations and possible flaws in a particular hypotheses, such as “calories in, calories out,” and that there are other possible explanations for particular findings than what immediate causality suggests. That’s why there have to be rigorous experiments.

  42. Mike says:

    I hope Gary keeps spelling it out til they get it. At what point will the easy, simple observations matter? Our society has in fact gotten fat. Massively fat. This in an era where fat-free has become the norm. It would be easier to prove and document that a fat-free diet causes obesity than to disprove any of Gary’s research. It makes me wonder if the only people who ever thought the world was flat were the ones in charge, writing the science books…

  43. Mike D says:

    I’m curious, but do you still believe in carbs possibly being the culprit in fat gain? I’m asking because this guy;

    He claims he has a long list of people he has helped lose weight and regain their health by eating a large amount of whatever they wanted — starch and fructose included — via buffet style feasting. he also claims that palatibility, starch/sugar/fat/protein ratios also do not matter and that restricting any macronutrient manually results in unfavorable results be it now or later. Use the body’s natural biofeedback system, he says.

    I would love for you to take a look at some of his stuff and let me know what you think as it flys in the face of the argument I’ve seen you quoted making all these years (especially those ZeroingInOnHealth folks).

  44. Razwell says:

    This is a fabulously written article. I want to show everybody that it is rather obvious now that the Caloric Hypothesis of obesity is a dead horse in the world of science. The EVIDENCE does not support it.

    There are many studies showing you can fatten mice WITHOUT consuming more calories.

    This study is the latest where mice ate at unnatural times and induced obesity WITHOUT consuming more calories:


    There are several more studies like this on Science Daily, as well as a gut flora study where mice became obese by transplantation of gut microbiota with NO CHANGE in activity or food intake.

    I hope this is useful to Gary’s readers. As people know, I support Gary 100 % because he makes honest efforts to try to understand obesity and is a nice person. His methods are very Richard Feynman like. To doubt, to ask, to acknowledge ignorance, to embrace uncertainty. To admit “everything is possibly wrong, let us see. ” With this he leaves the door to the unknown ajar which enables us to make scientific progress.

    I hope everybody now can see that the well known attackers of Gary Taubes ( as well as myself) are unscientific crackpots completely unfamilair with the essence of science taught by Albert Einstein and Richard Feynman. Einstein and Feynman took a completely new and fresh look at a problem. This made them special. We need scientists like them today in obesity research.

    “Nature’s imagination is so much greater than man’s that she’s never going to let us relax”

    – Richard Feynman

    “We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what Nature has revealed to us”
    – Albert Einstein

    ” We cannot solve problems using the same thinking we used when we created them.”

    – Albert Einstein

    The greatest genuis scientists in history were only “fog fighters” struggling mightily to understand the natural world. If this is the case for themthese great genuises , where does that leave these crackpot Internet gurus?

    Remember, our best scientific theories are only approximations of the truth at very best. Some are even wrong. There is nothing in science that is ever final. Nothing. It is a tentative enterprise.

    There is no genuine science at all going on at their blogs. It’s only dogmatic beliefs and the misuse of science. They are fooling gullible people.

    Both myself , as well as my friend Urgelt of YouTube , respect Gary Taubes a ton. He got the ball rolling in the right direction ( away from the Caloric Hypothesis in favor of the evidence) and it’s gaining speed. Most importantly, he understands the essence of science which is the foundation you need to delve into scientific matters. This is essential.

    • gman3164 says:

      Excellent points, Razwell. Gary’s presence at the Metabolism, Diet, and Disease conference indicates that the scientific community has a lot of respect for him.

  45. craig says:

    From the Newyorker..oct22.
    “Germs are us” , by Michael Specter.
    a must read about the effects of antibiotics, and including the rise of Obesity
    as a result of the lack of certain bacteria.

  46. Allison says:

    Such an awesome article! Thank you for continuing to try to help people understand what our food choices are doing to our bodies! Keep up the good work! Loved your book, “Why we get fat…”

  47. JimA says:

    I don’t like the term low carb diet. I prefer low carb lifestyle. 🙂

  48. Paul Eich says:

    Excellent good fun, Gary, thanks.

    One way I’ve been able to make this point with clients is to think of a hybrid car. The car uses power from the generator to charge up the battery, but if the connector from the battery to the electrical motor were broken, that energy would be stuck in the battery, and the car motor is still using energy to “charge” the battery. This can be made into a picture that’s easy for at least most guys to grasp. It’s easy to make the point from this diagram that in such a case, the car will require more fuel, and energy expenditure will never “balance” out with energy coming in, there will always be more energy coming in that going out of the system due to the energy trapping battery. The implications from that point are easy to understand because every client lives the cycle of eating/blood sugar crash/hunger/eating.

  49. Gary

    You got to be aware of the fact that I keep tapping on “the mother lode” and that I am the only one doing so.

    It’s awful lonely living with zero acknowledgement.

    Thank you for your forum.


  50. cire k says:

    time for self-reflection, people. if you think its all about calories–literally, all about calories–then you must also believe the following things: 1) a person will be just as fat eating 3000 calories in sushi, as they would be eating 3000 calories in ice cream. 2) two distinct people with the same skeletal weight will always have exactly the same percentage of body fat if they do everything (e.g., eating, exercising, etc.) identically. 3) if you never change your diet, your body fat percentage will never change, ever. if after finding those beliefs you dont hold ridiculous, you say to yourself, “well, it depends on the metabolism too” or something like that, then you dont think its all about calories, and you should stop saying its all about calories because youre lying. youre a liar.

    • grinch says:

      You should read Stephan Guyenet’s new series about why we overeat. There are both homeostatic and non-homeostatic reasons for doing so. The calorie balance is the proximal cause of weight change, but yes other bodily factors influence eating habits. However macro-nutrients alone do not cause energy expenditure to change to any significant degree!

      • cire k says:

        youre wrong. you can find countless papers published on insulin’s role in obesity; insulin is tied to macronutrients, and not any random calories. this is a scientific consensus. in support of your position, link to any study where weight change is tracked for various people on different diets that emphasize different macronutrients and keep calories constant between them.

        • grinch says:

          Get a copy of The Fat Loss Bible by Anthony Colpo and read Chapter 1. There are over two dozen such studies cited indicating no difference regardless of macros when comparing isocaloric diets. Insulin simply does not dictate weight status in any meaningful way.

          I suggest reading both this book and Colpo’s other book, The Great Cholesterol Con. He explained in great detail and with numerous controlled studies why we should eat certain foods over others. He advocates a more paleo-style diet, but doesn’t make it into a fad like the paleo crowd.

          • cire k says:

            name one study of what i asked, that can be looked up online without someone buying into your sales pitch for a book. provide a link, or a name.

          • grinch says:

            One study doesn’t mean much of anything. I know when people try to say there is a LC metabolic advantage, they often bring up the one study that came out around June this year and ignore the two dozen Colpo analyzes in his book. That is a perfect example of cherry-picking at his best.

            My whole point is you need to avoid the cherry-picking and look at what the bulk of the studies are showing us. What they show us is that in short-term free-living studies, LC wins presumably because it does a better job of leading to spontaneous calorie reduction. But in tightly controlled studies where calorie intake is controlled, there is no difference.

            If you are refusing to even explore other sources of nutrition science information than you will never give yourself a chance to see the real truth. You have to read both sides of the argument and then decide for yourself who is really right. Of all the sources I’ve read, Colpo seems to stick to the science better than anybody I’ve ever read. And this is coming from someoone who was fully on the LC bandwagon a year ago before I knew better.

          • cire k says:

            you cant handle a simple, fair request. no one is going to take you seriously.

          • grinch says:
        • cire k says:

          your study does not disclose caloric intake, only macronutrient composition.

          • grinch says:

            No matter what I post, it won’t make a difference to you. Just do yourself a favor and read what the opposers say about the insulin hypothesis and decide for yourself. You cannot know the truth about anything without weighing both sides. I read GCBC and both art and science of LC books by Phinney/Volek and was still convinced its not true after reading what the others said.

            Read James Krieger’s series called “Insulin an undeserved bad reputation”.
            Read Anthony Colpo’s books and blog.
            Read Stephan Guyenet’s blog.

            Then when all is said and done, decide for yourself if you still believe what Taubes says.

          • cire k says:

            if you post what i asked for, it would make a difference. read:

            “link to any study where weight change is tracked for various people on different DIETS that emphasize different macronutrients and KEEP CALORIES CONSTANT between them.”

      • Warren Dew says:

        Unfortunately, Guyenet is great at hypothesizing, but never has facts to back up his hypotheses.

        • grinch says:

          And Taubes has facts to back up his hypothesis? Please… Taubes’ whole premise is reliant on self-reported intake showing that obese people eat no more than their lean counterparts. However what he won’t tell you is that there are several studies indicating that self-reported intake is unreliable and that obese people underestimate their intake more than the lean, and that they do in fact eat more than lean people.

          • Hester Nash says:

            You obviously haven’t read very much of what Taubes has written, or if you did, you weren’t paying much attention, since he will be first to tell you how weak-to-the-point-of-meaningless any “study” based on self-reporting is. The man is a science writer by profession, going back to before he started writing on these topics specifically, and he understands how good science is done.

          • Miriam says:

            Not to mention that he also discusses the fact that obese people of course eat more than lean people: they have to expend a lot more energy to do the same things. Hence the question: Do obese people get slower and less active because they’re lazy? Or do they become lazy because they literally can’t function on the limited calorie intake with their increasing energy needs as they grow larger? Do they obese people eat more because they are gluttons? Or do they eat more because they are truly and really hungry; because their body demands fuel because of their increased energy needs? That’s the question no one wants to really discuss. They want to assume one side with clear experiments to prove the theory.

            Not to mention that while under-reporting of food consumed may account for some of it, it’s simply impossible that with the incredible focus on obesity and nutrition and exercise, the constant disdain that overweight people come in for all the time, the constant (almost daily) news reports about connections between obesity and health problems, that the whole obesity problem is just fat people aren’t noticing what they eat, or can’t be motivated by anything on earth but food. Of course there are some people to whom food is their god: but you can’t convince me that 2/3 of the America public don’t care about anything else more.

          • grinch says:

            “That’s the question no one wants to really discuss”

            Not true at all. Stephan Guyenet addresses these questions but his hypothesis is ignored by Taubes followers because it doesn’t implicate insulin. Why is it if someone suggests that body fat is regulated by the brain, and can also be overridden by food reward and that the proximal cause of fat accumulation is CICO, that said person thinks obesity is a problem of gluttony? You are perpetuating a straw man against those who oppose your views.

  51. grinch says:

    The vast majority of the evidence available in the scientific literature shows that varying macro-nutrient composition while holding total calories constant has little effect on rate of fat gain/loss. This is exactly why for the purposes of fat-derived weight status, people say “A calorie is a calorie”. It is not a conspiracy people, that is what happens when you control people’s food intake and monitor them closely. For all the people who can remain obese on 800 calories per day as often claimed on the low-carb forums, there is not a single person in the history of scientific study who has been able to demonstrate that in a controlled environment.

    • Stipetic says:

      grinch, this response addresses you comment above and also one previous to this one that mentioned underpowered, improperly design human metabolic studies. Several mice studies–which are easier to control and easier to design to attain the statistical power necessary to draw firm observations–have demonstrated that mice with varying macronutrient intakes, while keeping calories the same between groups, end up at different weights by the end of the study, thus disproving a calorie is a calorie (and thereby demonstrating a metabolic advantage). Are mice not obliged to abide by the they laws of physics, too?

      • grinch says:

        Mice are not humans and have very different metabolisms. So I’m to believe that because there may be inherit flaws in the study design of metabolic ward trials which somehow magically make it appear as though a calorie is a calorie when numerous populations and diets being tested, that somehow the truth is obvious that there is a metabolic advantage to low carb diets over others?

        Gary’s hypothesis needs to be held to the same level of scientific scrutiny as conventional wisdom is. We can’t say that Gary is right because there may be holes or flaws in the other.

        From reading GCBC and reading Gary’s blogs, the only evidence he provided me was cherry-picked studies and anecdotes along with misinterpreted USDA food consumption statistics.

        • Razwell says:

          That is wrong information and is something Colpo and his fellow charlatans say.

          Mice are EXTREMELY like us with regard to obesity and body fat regulation systems. (This is WHY these are used in obesity research as well as several other fields). They are the BEST model organisms we have. Some scientists even refer to them as “furry humans.”

          Stephan Guyenet, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, Dr. leibel, Dr Rosenbaum all know this and would confirm it. They are EXCELLENT choices for obesity research.

          Sorry, Colpo is NOT a valid source of scientic infromation. He’s a crank and a discredited one at that. He gets a lot wrong. ( Von Scacky fish oil, Samburu diet claims, the “mice are not like us as far as obesity” MYTH and much more I have seen)

          You are being conned by non-expert Colpo. His information is discredited and not valid. Watch Dr. Friedman’s lectures. Obesity is extremely complex.

        • gman3164 says:

          What do you think NuSI is all about? It’s about testing his (and other) hypotheses with rigorous scientific research. The relevant, definitive research has not been done yet. It should have been done, but it has not been – because obesity researchers have been stuck in the CICO dogma.

        • Stipetic says:

          The point is this, grinch. If calories in, calories out don’t apply to mice (a model where variables are much easier to control and standardize than for humans), why are you so quick to dismiss that CICO could also not apply to humans (whether mice are humans or differ in metabolism is a red herring)?

          BTW, Razwell, mice are not used in obesity research because they are a good model for human obesity (you probably couldn’t find a worse model), but because mice are cheap, easy to raise and maintain and have a relatively short lifespan. Actually, that’s why they are used in just about any type of research there is (we, at big Pharma, use this model all the time). But, of course, researchers who’s mere academic existence depends on mice being a great model will tell you differently. But you should ask yourself why they would say this or what bias they might have in saying it. Results from mice studies rarely offer anything practical for humans–they are hypothesis generating (should sorta be treated like observational studies).

          • grinch says:

            CICO meaning calorie balance (deficit = loss, surplus = gain) applies to all living beings 100% of the time. The question here is whether varying macro-nutrients while keeping calories constant yields a significant change in energy expenditure or excretion such that there is a metabolic advantage to eating one diet verses another. In some cases it has been observed in mice that varying macro-nutrient composition does make a difference.

            However over the past 70 years, the vast majority of *controlled* studies have shown it simply doesn’t make a difference in humans. The few non-supportive studies may have been flawed like in some cases they don’t properly measure body composition, or they might have had high dropout rates, or whatever. But when you have like 20+ studies saying it makes no difference and 3 studies saying it does, how can you honestly choose the 3 over the 20+? I can’t no matter how bad you want to say the other 20+ are flawed, the majority rules here.

            If it was so obvious that carbs and insulin influenced weight status, then it should have been detected decades ago but it continues to elude us.

          • Stipetic says:

            “CICO meaning calorie balance (deficit = loss, surplus = gain) applies to all living beings 100% of the time.”

            If defined as such, I agree (and Taubes agrees, too, I’m sure, so maybe this is the straw man statement–it’s all the rage in these discussions to throw this around–you’ve been talking about). But that’s not how you or the CICO people define it. It’s not how you’ve used it. You know it; I know it; everyone knows it.

            Once again, why focus on a model (humans) that you cannot “adequately control” all necessary variables when you have a model in which you can do a much better job at keeping these variables under check? Since we are basically talking math and the mouse model clearly shows that similar caloric intake in different groups results with different weight gains), then we have unequivocally demonstrated a metabolic advantage, as it is defined in these discussion, to a macronutrient group (or fill in any other test variable you want to test). See Gary’s thought experiment for the theoretical side.

            The argument that a majority of human studies are in your favor may be your life preserver in these discussions (I’m not sure when a majority suddenly became the barometer for why something is correct or rules), but the mouse model clearly shows you are wrong about metabolic advantage, whether you like it or not.

          • grinch says:

            If a metabolic advantage cannot be observed, then why should I believe it to be true? I myself have gone on both calorie restrictive diets eating junk food and more healthy LC diets and what I found is that my calorie demands are the same. There is ZERO advantage from a weight loss perspective, but there certainly is when it comes to hunger and satiety. There are studies showing that when people believe they are not losing weight despite very low calorie intake, they are simply underreporting their calorie intake. As soon as you put people in metabolic wards, their weight loss becomes predictable. Is that just a coincidence? I think not.

            I really don’t care that physics *does* allow for the possibility of a metabolic advantage to different diets, because if its not observable, then its not actually happening to any significant degree.

          • Razwell says:

            Dr. Friedman and Dr. Coleman verified the leptin results with humans and specifically said so. I have it on video. Mice ARE very much like us with respect to leptin and body weight regulation. Yes , it is true , that they are inexpensive. However, they ARE excellent model organisms.

            Many scentists affectionatley refer to them as “FURRY LITTLE HUMANS.”
            99 % of genes in mice have human counter parts 90 % of genes associated with disease are IDENTICAL in humans and mice. They ARE EXCELLENT. They are the next best thing to a human. I do not know where you get your info from but it is wrong. Colpo is always insulting mice. Guys like him are laughably misinformed about scientific research.

            See here:

            You can also read that link from the Hoard Huges Institue I put up a few posts back.

            They are EXCEPTIONAL model organisms which is largely WHY they are used in cardiovascular research as ell as several other fields such as cancer, arthritis and much moe.

            Only Internet cranks deny this information. Guys like Colpo, McDonald et al. who make their living conning people that they have” figured out obesity.” The world’s best scientists cannot even do that and are nowhere close.

            Urgelt set me straight about those cherry picking systers who misrerpesent research and do not understand the essence of science years back.

            Crank science is thriving on the Internet. Please protect yourself by atching this video by Urgelt who understand science extremely well:


            Please watch this video. Lyle McDonald et al are NOT AT ALL obesity experts. They are cranks making a massive profit off of gullibkle people who do not udnerstand science.

            Drs. Coleman and Friedman ARE. And they themselves embrace uncertainty and have TONS to learn about neural circuitry and even feeding behavior itself.

            We know understand that over 10 % of human morbid obesity is caused by SINGLE GENE DEFECTS.


    • Razwell says:

      Dr. Rudolph Leibel’s CURRENT research has shwon why people can remain obese on 800 calorie semi starvation type diets. Some lose weight but they are still fat. ( Bariatric surgery is another example. Average BMI of a successful patient is 32 on 1,000 claories a day or less).

      The body is not static. It does not sit there and “take it.” It responds aggressively to weight loss attempts. It DRAMATICALLY lowers metabolsim FAR more than would be expected from weight loss itself. Exercise also now burns far less calories – far less than would be expected from the weight loss.

      Colpo is way outdated.

      Linda Bacon also cites research where people REGAIN DEPSITE maintaning everything they did. BIOLOGY is the reason people regain.

      Weight loss is NOT what you might expect. Learn from Dr. Leibel and his current message. OBESITY IS FAR more COMPLEX than Colpo type crackpots let on. it is very complex. Dr. Friedman is valid. Colpo is not at all.

      • grinch says:

        So why doesn’t Taubes routinely cite your cutting edge researchers that you always praise all over the internet? Instead he cites 1960s textbooks and says that the reason he is right is because the outdated textbook said so, even though he can’t cite any controlled trials that actually prove his case?

        • Mike G says:

          Keith Frayn’s textbook, which Taubes cites, is from 2010. The material also happens to be in the 1960s textbooks. Fat tissue has been regulated by insulin for quite a while now…

          • grinch says:

            Where is your evidence that “fat tissue has been regulated by insulin” has anything to do with overall calorie balance and/or obesity?

  52. Hester Nash says:

    Gary, as I’ve told you many times, you give me hope. You are so clear, so rational, so free of agenda… you are like a long drink of cool clean water on my sugared up palate.

    I don’t think the world (or the USA) will get it SOON, but they WILL get it. Science will get it. And once science gets it, big pharma will get it, and they will start working on the only “diet” drug that really has any hope of fixing the problem: a drug to alter the way the body actually handles nutrients. And good luck with that.

    Although human beings are a clever bunch, especially when there’s very big money at stake, and in this case, it’s Midas’ fortune. Be fun to see the Big Pharma cartel duking it out with the Big Agra cartel over who gets to kill us for the most money over hte longest period of time. Although by then they willprobably be the same Big Thing so it won’t matter which way you go…

  53. Larry Clapp says:

    When ever I read the CICO argument, which basically argues that your body metabolizes all energy sources the same, I wish I could ask them to drink some gasoline. It’s high energy, right, they should be fine.

    Oh, but your body can’t digest gasoline? It’s bad for you? Imagine that.

    Why can’t they see that fat and sugar are also different? *sigh*

    • grinch says:

      Because scientists have not observed major differences in energy expenditure or waste when comparing diets of fat and sugar. What decades of research shows is that calories are the main predictor of weight status.

      • cire k says:

        is that why youre so fat, carbsane?

        • Mike G says:

          Good call. I was wondering how long it would take before someone pointed out the identiy of the “grinch.”

          • grinch says:

            So I guess I should be convinced that Taubes is right because gasoline is too toxic too consume and because all dissenters must be carbsane in disguise?

      • cire k says:

        your brand of lunacy is distinct, irreplicable.

        • grinch says:

          Keep it up with the normal LC approach of personally attacking anyone with an open mind who believes there may be more to the story than just carbohydrates and insulin.

          • Stipetic says:

            But, grinch, you just said a few posts up that it’s all about calories, end of discussion. Where’s the open mind (in one ear, out the other–is that what you meant)? Where’s the rest of the story?

          • grinch says:

            What exactly did I say is all about calories? I’m ready for the straw man so bring it on.

          • Stipetic says:

            Your words: “What decades of research shows is that calories are the main predictor of weight status.”

            If that is not closemindedness and based on cherry-picked studies, then hypocrisy needs redefining.

            “Your words once again: “If it was so obvious that carbs and insulin influenced weight status, then it should have been detected decades ago but it continues to elude us.”

            How about the research, anecdotal evidence, biochemistry, etc, from Banting to Brillat-Savarin to Yudkin to Adkins to Lustig to the millions who’ve benefited from low-carb dieting? Or is that a straw man, too? People who want to see, see; those who don’t, don’t.

          • grinch says:


            Cherry-picking is only accepting studies that support your conclusions and ignoring or rationalizing away all non-supportive studies. The vast majority of studies show that calories are the main arbiter of weight status over any other factor. Period.

            We already know why low-carb diets work and its 1) protein is the most satiating macro and people tend to increase meat consumption on low-carb diets, 2) LC diets eliminate most unsatiating foods such as soft drinks and other highly sugary refined foods with little micronutrients.

            LC is both better and healthier than LF for a number of reasons, but it is simply unecessary and not sustainable over the long term for most people.
            Read Anthony Colpo on what constitutes a healthy diet because he largely agrees with the LC and paleo communities except for the demonization of carbs per se which is wrong.

          • Stipetic says:

            “The vast majority of studies show that calories are the main arbiter of weight status over any other factor. Period.”

            The vast majority of studies show that saturated fat is bad for you. Does that make them right, too?

            For sh!ts and giggles, google this one: Hyperinsulinemia Drives Diet-Induced Obesity Independently of Brain Insulin Production.

          • grinch says:

            The studies showing saturated fat is bad are not controlled studies. Researchers like Ancel Keys used cherry-picked epidemiological studies to support the lipid hypothesis. Its amazing that his work had such an influence on public policy given all the criticism he was receiving at the time. But still one could argue Taubes is doing the exact same thing with insulin hypothesis given the available evidence in support of it. Just because conventional wisdom regarding saturated fat is wrong, doesn’t mean it is for calorie balance being a causal factor for obesity. Calories only answer half the question. They answer the question of how obesity can occur, but they still don’t answer the question of why. And the way its been presented, GT’s hypothesis only works if you believe that insulin causes energy expenditure to decrease such that a calorie surplus occurs even on lowered calorie intake, which the evidence overwhelmingly shows does not happen.

          • cire k says:

            you keep talking about calories and expenditure when taubes does not subscribe to the idea that calories and expenditure (e.g., exercise) matter like you think they do. you havent been able to so far, but until you can name a study where calories are constant for diets emphasizing different macronutrients–that supports your position–youre just arguing with yourself (strawman).

          • grinch says:

            what’s wrong with the study I already posted that James Krieger explains?

            Anyways of course Taubes DOES subscribe to the idea that calories and expenditure matter. What Taubes incorrectly presents is how they are dependent on one another, meaning how calorie intake can alter expenditure. Actually he is partially right on that and I’ll explain why. When you lower calorie intake, you lower expenditure and when you raise calorie intake, you raise expenditure. This is part of the body’s defenses against starvation and overfeeding (although moreso against starvation). However Taubes is wrong when he says that macro-nutrients have a similar effect. Taubes entire hypothesis is dependent on the action of insulin on fat tissue causing energy expenditure to decrease such that a calorie surplus is possible even on lower calorie intake. And there is countless evidence suggesting he is WRONG on this point.

          • cire k says:

            is it the same as that other study you posted, where they did not say they kept calories constant on the different diets? most likely, otherwise you wouldve posted it instead, when that was the only thing i asked for.

          • grinch says:

            I don’t have access to full text studies that will please you. That’s why I say get a copy of The Fat Loss Bible, read chapter 1 where Colpo analyzes about two dozen studies in great detail and you can see who is full of it. You can’t read all your nutritional information from LC gurus. You gotta read the opposing views.

          • cire k says:

            why dont you just post an excerpt from the book instead of beating around the bush. or let me know when you find a controlled study.

      • Razwell says:


        That view all changed when Dr. Douglas Coleman. Dr. Rudolph Liebel and Dr. Jeffrey Friedman came on the scene. These great men completely changed the view of obesity held by scientists and the public alike – going from the erroneous, unsupported “character flaw” ( view of CarbSane et al) to being an ORGANIC BIOLOGICAL PROBLEM.

        “Our research clearly shows that when it comes to our body weight, the body has a mind of its own. ” This is the conclusion of Dr. Liebel and Dr. Michael Rosenbaum. They ran this back and forth and back and forth. Over 100 subjects were studied closely.

        Dr. Liebel ( who is a co-discoverer of the hormone leptin and worked on Dr. Jeffrey Friedman’s team in 1994) has conducted some of the very best research and detailed research on the metabolic consequence sof weight loss on this planet. His information ( RECENT and not from 1930) , as well as his collegaues’ easily discredits CarbSane, Anthony Colpo and Lyle McDonald. Their obesity information is laughably inaccurate and outdated misinformation and NON- science. Who are these people to criticize Gary Taubes so virulently? Gary is a good guy and a professional.

        These worthless gurus only do this to get notcied and drum up sales to gullible, scientifically illiterate people.

        Colpo’s, CarbSane’s and McDonald’s own information could not be more wrong.

        Dr. Friedman and Dr. Liebel would not behave that way .

        Here is a lecture from Dr. Liebel discussing some of this :


        Look into these scientists and their lectures, grinchy. You will be happy you did.

        • grinch says:

          Razwell I know that you have praised Stephan Guyenet recently so how can you defend both Gary and Guyenet when their hypothesis are completely contradictory?

          How ironic is it that while defending Taubes you cite Drs. Friedman and Coleman who discovered leptin, which is completely discredited by Taubes as a “downstream” effect of obesity which is instead caused by insulin.

          Since I’ve already been accused of saying “its all about the calories”, let me say for the third or fourth time that leptin has a critical role in obesity. Leptin implements our set point which is the primary reason people cannot maintain reduced weight status in the long term. Leptin resistance and/or food reward may be a good reason why we become overweight in the first place, and once we gain the weight, our leptin thermostat in the brain resets to defend the higher levels of fat. This explains perfectly why people tend to gain fat permanently each year around the holidays where we consume much more food than the rest of the year.

          But in the end, the proximal cause of weight gain is the calorie balance. Its not about insulin locking away fat because obese people have more free fatty acids floating around than the lean do.

          • Razwell says:

            Gary and Stephan are gentlemen. I respect that Stephan is an upstart in the research world. I respect that Gary has always been a great science writer even back when he did the physics stuff.

            How are their differences in obesity views ( which are uncertain even to Friedman ) relate to what nice people they are? Obesity is FAR from figured out, grincy.

            We are ALL struggling to understand obesity . Only shysters like Colpo, McDonald et al think they have figured it out. This may take several lifetimes to figure out.

            Dr. Friedman is a genuine genius. He himself is ONLY a “fog fighter.” Where does that leave your Internet gurus salesmen heroes?

            Honestly, gricny , you need to ditch those guys. They are about as UNSCIENTIFIC as you can possibly be.

            Excessive insulin production HAS been identified by SCIENCE to be bad for fat cell regulation. Internet cranks cannot handle this because their livlihood is dependent upon blaming the individual. Dr. Douglas Coleman debunked that decades back.

            Just because Gary’s own hypothesis MAY be incomplete does not negate thatchronic and excessive insulin secretion will negatively affect fat cell behavior.

            There are enomous unknowns abut fat cell regulation. Did you know we have no idea about he chemical regulation of fat cell receptors yet?

            Urgelt think McDonald has done an exceedingly POOR job refuting Gary. Gary is correct that the Caloric Hypothesis is a DEAD HORSE in the world of science. The preoblem is we need a REPLACEMENT hypothesis.

            I hope you can understand. 🙂

          • Miriam says:

            “This explains perfectly why people tend to gain fat permanently each year around the holidays where we consume much more food than the rest of the year.”

            Since the majority of traditional American holiday food is extremely high in sugar and refined grains (gingerbread, cookies, coffee cake, fudge, candy canes, popcorn balls, sweet potato casserole covered in brown sugar and marshmallows, mulled wine, apple pie, cranberry sauce, a gazillion types of candy in colorful wrappers, eggnog, apple cider, hot chocolate, fancy chocolates), this phenomenon is also perfectly explained by the carbohydrate theory.

            Additionally there are many other factors at holidays beyond “food reward” that cannot be controlled for or explained by just that or any other theory. There is the dish someone brought that you must eat lest they be offended. There is the pie you used to make with your now-passed mother that brings back memories of her. There is the peer pressure effect of everyone around you eating. There is the need to participate in the group activity in the spirit of the holidays and good fellowship, which at times is eating. There is the need for extra energy to deal with the constant unusual demands on time and energy with parties, children’s school pageants, church socials. There is the “once a year” effect: i.e., we only make fudge once a year, so I really should have some. There is the sometimes desperate desire to forget about the daily grind; get away from everyday concerns like dieting. There is the constant distraction of being at parties, concerts, plays, etc where food is just sitting around everywhere and you don’t even notice what or how much you are eating as you wander around. The holiday season is a unique time, and a superficial glance at it can’t support anything.

          • Mike G says:

            The reason they have more fatty acids floating around is due to their adipose tissue being insulin resistant. Thus, hormone-sensitive lipase finally goes to work, TAGs are hydrolyzed and fatty acids are released (instead of being re-esterified). Peter at Hyperlipid explained this in detail last year or the year before that.

  54. Razwell says:

    I would like to say one more thing, grincy:

    We did not know anywhere near what we know today in 2012 about obesity compared to the studies Colpo cites from 1930. Science moves on.

    Dr. Rudolph Leibel has conducted world class research on this issue and ran it back and forth about 6 tims in his own words carefully with Dr. Rosenbaum. His VERY RECENT work showed that chronically dieting obese individuals DO EAT LESS than skinny people BUT CONTINUE TO GAIN WEIGHT. NEW studies shwo this. Remember, science needs to be current. NEW information is learned monthly.

    remember this is very carefully controlled, measured and monitored.

    Obese people who had dieted and lost weight had 25 % LOWER metabolsim compared to control patients who had not lost any significant weight.

    I seen MANY 5 feet 100 pound women eat at mcDonalds as I travel internationally a good amount. I assure you they eat quater pounders and meals that are fairly big. They all must be eating less and exercising more, right? Wrong. Many thin peole are lazy and eat until full- quite a lot in fact. THIN GENES keep them leaner. Meanwhile there are maids at hotels working their buttocks off and they remain fat. This is consistent with Gary’s book and what I have seen extensively in the real world internationally.

    The information in “The Fat Loss Bible” is discredited outdated invalid infromation – like all of his books. Colpo is LYING to you and does not keep up to date on the current obesity research.

    Do yourself a favor and ditch these Internet gurus.

  55. Gary

    Did you hear the one about the seven plus billion people on the planet earth that are ingesting stimulant drugs in the form of food and drink on a daily and almost hourly basis, without ever once knowing it!

    Yup, hybrid carbohydrates.

    Every single one of us and all who follow.

    Never once knowing it.

    Until now.

    Right now, right here!

    The simplest and most important unknown fact there ever was.

    Pure sugar!

    Pure carbohydrates!

    Pure stimulants!

    Look around you!

    It’s all you will see.

    Forever and ever..

    Thank you.

  56. Carlos says:

    Non-Sciebtists have known that the change in macronutients in your diet can have a dramatic effest on your body composition for years. Just look at the body building industry. They have been on the advanced front of this for decades – even ahead of sports nutritions. Not only do they know that what you eat makes a difference but that when you eat it makes a great difference too. It’s like fueling a high performance vehicle. Your personal metabolism and what you eat are the primary factors in your body composition. Your activity level and the amount you consume are both still important but they are secondary – followed closely behind by when you eat certain things. I lost about 50 lbs (and have kept it off for about 2 years) while increasing my muscle mass. I did it by going to 5 smaller meals a day to help regulate blood sugar and get my metabolism kicked up and watching when I eat certain things. For example, after a workout I ingest simple sugars but I do not after a meal. My calories have actually gone up from what they were when I was heavier. I am more active than before? Yes, but my increased calorie burning is less than my increased calorie consumption.

  57. Fats, even saturated fats, are essential for optimal health.
    http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/334271 (Research: Saturated fats are good for you )

  58. Razwell says:

    I forgot to add:

    We know from scientific experiments that chronic excess insulin secretion is very likely a very bad thing as far as obesity and even general health. We know fish oil is very likely a good thing.

    A lot of the rest is very uncertain.

    The disruption of the Hypothalamic- Pituitary- Adrenal – Axis is a HUGE factor in developing obesity (especially abdominal obesity which is the most dangerous kind) as well. I applaud Gary for speaking out about hormones. We are all struggling to learn more about obesity.
    HPA Axis Disruption is not well known among the public.
    Here is a study:


    Science has discredited the outdated “blame the patient” blame game. Organizations like NuSi will further research this and get the message out to the public. This , in my opinion, is the greatest achievement of Dr. Attia ‘s and Gary’s efforts- debunking the Caloric Hypothesis and letting the public know about it.

    • grinch says:

      Researchers have known for decades that hormones and even genetics play a huge role. That doesn’t mean Gary’s insulin hypothesis has any validity whatsoever.

      It is nothing but a giant straw man to suggest that anybody who disagrees with Gary’s hypothesis doesn’t believe hormones play a role. And that seems to be the reaction here on this forum which shows the true lack of critical thinking skills.

  59. Geoff says:

    Your assumption about A becoming insulin resistant is wrong and out of line with the reality of how insulin resistance happens; insulin resistance is caused by excess calorie intake.

    A better example would be to replace 300 calories of glucose in the control with 300 calories of Doritos or Lays Potato chips or Pepsi-Cola. Do you see the difference? Sucrose is for all intents and purposes in line with foods that would be found in the natural world, foods that our reward circuitry in the brain has evolved to be able to receive and interpret the survival value of. On the other hand, Doritos or potato chips or pepsi are examples of foods that have been engineered with the specific property of being hyper-rewarding for the purpose of increasing sales. Despite the fact that these foods are nutritionally vapid, the brain interprets them through the ancient reward mechanisms to be extremely healthful foods, and makes room for them for this reason.

    With that said, even in this example, it is unlikely that there would be much of a difference between these two participants UNLESS at some point participant A gets the opportunity to eat the hyper-rewarding foods ad-libidum. In the absence of this condition, homeostatic mechanisms will be mostly reset every day when the individual consumes the other 2700 calories of whole foods. His adipostat will continue to function properly.

  60. Marsha says:

    I’m currently reading _Why We Get Fat_. It’s the latest in a long and rather tedious list of books on this topic that I’ve read over the last couple of years, although refreshingly, this book takes a very different approach to the issue. I had a heart attack in 2010 at age 57, which came as a big surprise to everyone who knows me, since I’ve been a health-conscious vegetarian for many years. I was told by the cardiologist and several other “health professionals” to change my diet. The only problem was, change it to what? I’d already long since eliminated almost everything they said was unhealthy. I know as much about nutrition as any doctor I know, and more than a lot of them. I don’t eat junk food, fast food, processed food, Franken-food, none, nada, zilch, and those things have not been part of my diet for 30+ years. My friends have teased me for decades about being a health-food nut. I buy organic veggies and fruits, cook for myself regularly, and previously ate little to no meat and very little oil (an occasional piece of baked fish or some sushi was about it.) I even make my own granola and salad dressings. I read labels fanatically, rejecting anything with too many fat grams or too much sugar.
    I have been slightly overweight since my children were born, and they are now 40-ish. Over the years, I put on an additional pound here and there, but still didn’t think of myself as obese. After a botched hysterectomy in 2001, I lost 45 pounds while recovering from that episode (and we’re talking a lengthy period of no exercise at all.) I subsequently regained all of that weight and another 40 pounds to match. No more estrogen, and I ballooned up to something almost unrecognizable. They don’t warn you about that.
    I can exercise religiously, cut my calories to 600 a day, even fast, and the scale does not budge. Tests don’t reveal any thyroid issues (my mom had thyroid disease) or anything else that would explain why I cannot lose weight. A few years ago, desperate to drop some pounds, I tried Atkins, and finally had some success with weight loss. I’m not really crazy about meat though, and my doctor was horrified, so I gave that up.
    Since my heart attack, I’ve read all the no-fat, no-meat propaganda for cardiac health (and there’s plenty of it) and I’ve tried to embrace that lifestyle. It’s been quite a challenge, I can tell you. I bought an exercise bike and a treadmill and I spend plenty of time on them. I bought a juicer and tried the juice fast thing, but I can’t maintain that for more than a few days — I feel as if I’m starving all the time. For the last 18 months I’ve eaten primarily a vegan diet, complete with lots of oatmeal, rice, and whole-wheat pasta (and green veggies, of course), based on the prevailing wisdom that heart disease and pre-diabetes (yes, a new one has been added to my list of diagnoses) can be reversed by such a diet, and according to the “experts,” the pounds should vanish like magic. Just a few problems with this: I haven’t lost any weight at all, and I’m almost always hungry. My skin and hair are showing the effects of fat deprivation, as is my disposition. One other problem is that my test results consistently have not shown any substantial improvement in blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. — no surprise to me, though — I didn’t really make that many changes, since I already mostly ate that way to begin with. I actually kept a food journal for several weeks, because when I told my doctor what I normally eat, she didn’t believe me.
    Now I’m about ready to toss out all my Dean Ornish – Joel Fuhrman cookbooks and start eating steak and burgers and lamb chops. I may die fat, but by God, I’m not going to die hungry. I’m finding the logic presented in _Why We Get Fat_ to be very convincing, and it would certainly explain why my long-time diet of veggies and pasta and rice (and no meat) has caused me to put on so much weight. I feel like I’ve been snookered by “experts” I trusted, and that makes me mad. I should have stuck with my old books by Adele Davis; she was advocating for high-quality protein and organ meats way back in the 40s and 50s. Apparently she knew what she was talking about.

    • Miriam says:

      But Marsha, according to the anti-LC folks on here, what you’re saying is impossible. Obviously you are lying. You must have been consuming Dingdongs and Coke in your sleep. Or possibly you are split personality, and your evil alter-ego Mandy is consuming candy bars and Big Macs when you aren’t aware of it? Or it’s your set point. You must have increased your set point every few years when you weren’t looking, maybe at Christmas, and then 11 1/2 months of organic vegetarianism simply wasn’t enough.

      • grinch says:

        Most humans, myself included, are incapable of accurately reporting our calorie intake and exercise output when we are trying to improve our healths. We are pretty good at fooling ourselves. There is no recorded evidence that a person could eat 600 calories a day, and not lose weight, especially when exercising like the poster claims. If any of the LC claims about being unable to lose weight on higher carb diets were true, then they would be observed at least once in the past century in a controlled study, but of course hasn’t happened yet.

        • cire k says:

          this is groundbreaking, carbsane: “If any of the ___ claims about ___ were true, then they would be observed at least once in the past century in a controlled study, but of course hasn’t happened yet.” science is over, ladies n gentlemen; simply replace the blanks with anything youre considering studying, and you will have your answer. if it hasnt been shown in a study in the past century, its not true. i hope this isnt the only blog you post on, carbsane, because it would be an absolute shame for others to miss out on your brilliance.

          • Mike G says:

            She’s been kicked off of the other blogs I read, so this is the only blog that tolerates her type of “brilliance.”

          • grinch says:

            newsflash, carbsane doesn’t use alter egos. Carbsane ALWAYS posts as herself.

            With that being said, so cire k what you are suggesting is that I should believe in unicorns because I haven’t been able to disprove their existence?

          • cire k says:

            you would know her behavior wouldnt you. news flash, i think your view here is superb. i will repeat myself:

            “If any of the ___ claims about ___ were true, then they would be observed at least once in the past century in a controlled study, but of course hasn’t happened yet.” science is over, ladies n gentlemen; simply replace the blanks with anything youre considering studying, and you will have your answer.


        • grinch says:

          Can you get to the point here? You aren’t making any sense.

    • emelee says:

      Marsha, Go for it. I am 54 years young. Been a “health nut” since college, when I stopped eating meat, and started shopping organic. Do the math- that was when organic apples were little and wormy. My entire life I struggled with my weight. I was never obese, but ALWAYS had betw 10-20 #s that just wouldn’t budge longterm, no matter what I did. And I did everything over these past 30+ yrs: veg, vegan, macro, raw, fasting, cleansing, ayurvedic, plain calorie restriction, etc. I NEVER ate junk or processed crap. Only thing I never did was Atkins – thought it was dangerous & ridiculous. (Ha!) I’d lose 5#s, relax a little, and gain 7. About 5 yrs ago, my body started SCREAMING for meat. Really threw me, and I started looking at all the reasons I didn’t eat it. I simply could not ignore what my own body was communicating VERY clearly to me! So I had a little steak, and boy it went down like silk. Started eating (clean) meat again, and lo& behold, my gym workouts (I’d always exercised, too) became productive (I could see muscle for the first time!), and I lost a tiny bit of weight that stayed off. Miracle! I’m a research junkie, so started trying to figure out what was going on. Eventually, I went LC, then very LC and HIGH FAT! The last 10# I’d NEVER been able to shake (I’d given up) MELTED off, and haven’t come back. Today, I consume waaayyyy more calories now than ever (at this age!!!), and I feel great, I’ve got muscle, endurance, strength, my bloodwork is awesome. (5’7″, 123#) (Recently got preferred PLUS rates on a new life ins policy.) Set-point? I blew right thru it on LCHF. Sorry Grinch — certainly not my experience. I tend to side with GT so far….

  61. Wendy M says:

    What is it that makes me stay at the same weight no matter what I eat? I am female, 168cm in height and I weigh 58kg. All my adult life (apart from my pregnancies) I have weighed between 58-60 kg. If I try to go below 58kg, my body rebels, and brings me back to 58kg, and similarly after Xmas, I might go up to 60 kg, but by mid Jan, I’m back at 58kg. I know this is known as the body’s set point. I was wondering whether it’s possible that somehow when we are overweight or obese for a sustained period of time, the thing that keeps our bodies at their optimum set point somehow breaks, so that our bodies adjust to a new, higher set point, making weight loss almost impossible. What is the thing that breaks the set point mechanism?

    • grinch says:

      Set point increases when new fat growth occurs due to a sustained caloric surplus. Whether this happens or not is highly determined by genetics and varies from individual to individual. When fat stores increase, the hormone leptin also increases. Leptin tells the brain the status of fat stores, and it is up to the brain to determine whether to increase or decrease hunger as a result.

      • Razwell says:

        Obesity is NOT “the passive accumulation of calories”, grincy. This is well known among real scientists. There was an excellent Harvard article about this.

        We know this much at least.

        Dieting itself raises setpoint. Dieting is one of the biggest predictors of long term weight gain. Look up the studies of international samples of monozygotic twins reared apart . Lifestyle and environment made very little difference at all. The heritability of obesity is EQUAL to that of height. it far surpases ANY other medical condition and is only a smidgen behind heihgt and possibly equal to it.
        Dr. Friedman studies genetics. This scuience is very well supported and of TOP quality.

        There is nothing more I can say. You will have to look into this yourself. But there is caveat: You must find genuine scientists’ articles written by them or their lectures on YouTube , NOT McDonald et al. You will see what I am saying then.

        I wish you well

        • grinch says:

          What does any of this have to do with GT’s hypothesis that refined carbs and sugar are the root cause of any of this? That is the point I’m trying to make, that there is not adequate proof that refined carbs and sugar and their effect on insulin has anything to do with obesity except that those same foods also tend to have poor nutritional profiles (ie. empty calories). The evidence shows that when people consume excess calories (due to whatever reason) and fat tissue grows, it eventually becomes insulin resistant and hyperinsulinaemia results, not the other way around. People can become obese even with normal insulin levels, jus like people with hyperinsulinaemia can also remain slim.

          And the analogy about height and weight is laughable. Taubes always says that you can’t overeat your way into growing taller, and that fat stores work the same way because its all determined by hormones. WRONG. If you can affect your fat stores by eating more or less (even just temporarily) and you can’t in any way shrink or grow taller by eating more or less, than clearly there is no comparison between the way height and weight are regulated. Weight is heavily regulated by leptin, et al, but it is not 100% regulated. Lifestyle and diet (independent of the insulinogenic property of the diet) can affect weight over the long term. I have family members that have maintained 50+ lbs of weight loss over 10 years by taking on long distance running permanently and also eye-balling their meal portions. They still eat junk food, but their metabolic health has improved simply from all the exercise. It can be done, but of course its harder for some than others depending on their genetics.

          You seem to do an okay job defending the notion that obesity is not, at least over the long term, a behavioral problem, but you’re arguing a straw man here. My argument is that Taubes is incorrect on where the causation lies because there is so much evidence indicating so.

          • jamesgd says:

            you missed the point taubes made. the analogy serves to invert the causal relationship between eating and growing (fat or tall). we hunger because our bodies are growing.

    • Warren Dew says:

      Unless you are over 50, do not assume that the fact you have been weight stable so far means you will be forever.

  62. Suzanne says:

    I thought you might like to see a comment on how your old adversary met his match recently:


  63. Olle says:

    Interesting experiment, I think I see your point, fructose acts as a nutrition partition agent. If twin A was given clenbuterol I guess it would have the opposite effect, more muscle and less fat.
    If fructose causes systemic insuline resistance without caloric surplus then I assume it will give resistance even with caloric deficit? If we continually reduce the calorie intake for twin A to match his declining metabolic rate (but still keep the fructose), will he still become fat?
    Is there a settling point, or will twin A starve to death with several hundred pounds of fat locked away in his adipose tissue?

    • grinch says:

      Nobody ever starves to death due to locking away fat. There certainly wasn’t any reports of obese people dying of starvation in concentration camps. There is no such thing as “locking away fat” because fat is always being released by the adipose tissue.

      • Olle says:

        >.wasn’t any reports of obese people dying of
        > starvation in concentration camps

        That’s not a sustainable argument; one could argue that they just didn’t get enough fructose to get the fat locked in.

        I’m trying to understand the complexity of insulin resistance (IR).

        1. Are there any scientific consensus regarding the degree of IR in adipose tissue compared to muscle tissue?
        2. Which studies/research supports the “fat locked-in” hypothesis?

  64. Stimulants exaggerate and distort everything! — TB

  65. Dave Kutz says:

    Dear Gary,

    You will one day have to face the fact that many low carbers are still fat (Jimmy Moore, Mary Vernon, Robert Atkins and even anti-fructose and Atkins-funded Robert Lustig is pudgy).

    You continually dodge this question, and sometimes I hear excuses like “they’re broken from years of carbs”, etc. from your brainwashed readers here.

    I guarantee you will NEVER face this question, since it means the death of your theory.

    • cire k says:

      so you think taubes’ position can be summed up by:

      consume 0 carbs = have 0% body fat

      • Dave Kutz says:

        No, his position is carbs drive insulin drives fat production. If it isn’t anymore, or if this has been changed to something like “lower insulin means less hunger, therefore you eat less”, this only means 1) he’s waffling now since GCBC and WWGF, wherein he definitely states this (yes, I’ve read them both) and 2) calories in/calories out is true after all. Either way, he’ll desperately look for any way he can to make insulin the centerpiece of the equation.

        Therefore by the logic he’s used to make millions in book sales over the last 7 years, if one does not raise insulin, the “fat storing hormone”, these low carbers should not be fat.

        • cire k says:

          you said no. so you disagree with this characterization of taubes’ position:

          consume 0 carbs = have 0% body fat

          now think about that for a while, and try to reconcile it with whatever it is youre trying to say.

          • Dave Kutz says:

            Huh? “No”, as in “No, I don’t think consume 0 carbs = have 0% body fat”.

            And BTW, why do you feel it necessary to respond to a question posed for Mr. Taubes?

            Why are you people so defensive when anyone asks him to be responsible and explain these obvious conflicts in his theory?

          • Dave Kutz says:

            Just to clarify: my characterisation of Taubes’ theory is Carbs Drive Insulin Drives Bodyfat. Is that clear enough?

        • grinch says:

          cire k your logic makes no sense. It is quite obvious that Taubes ignores all contradictory evidence. You could sum up his explanations of protein’s effect on insulin, ASP, and leptin in about a sentence or two because he’s literally put no time into understanding where they fit in to the equation. Taubes also has nothing to say about omega-6 fats and their health implications. He clearly has made up his mind that insulin is the root of all evil and can’t be swayed.

          The only thing left that low carbers have to defend is this notion that insulin somehow causes them to eat more. But of course there is a satiety index of foods and insulin secretion from foods is not correlated with satiety.

          • Mike G says:

            A satiety index of foods? And just how is this quantified? The satiety index is pseudoscience at best. There is a biochemical reason why insulin would cause us to eat more. If more of our glucoses and fatty acids are being stored and “locked” into our adipose tissue, then the rest of the body is lacking in fuel. If there is less fuel available, then our hunger would increase and cause us to eat more. Tom Naughton does a great job expalining this in his documentary “Fat Head.” And even if our fat tissue is increasing, and it secretes more leptin, it might not have it’s usual effect on our brains (less hunger) if the brain is leptin resistant.

          • grinch says:

            There’s no proof that insulin locks away fat and causes excess hunger though. If that was the case, then there should be a correlation between carbohydrate intake and weight status, but there isn’t. Whether its entire cultures or done through lab experiments, people don’t necessarily have trouble losing weight when their carbs are high. Calories on the other hand are highly correlated with weight status.

    • Every single person on the planet earth is addicted to hybrid carbohydrates without knowing it. — Including all of the fat and skinny and average people alike.

      This of course includes all of the people you mention.

      These addictions are almost impossible to break.

      Especially when we don’t even know we have it and refuse to acknowledge it.

      That being the case it’s no small wonder, the existence of what you are referring to.

      Look how hard you fight to maintain your addiction, without ever once knowing it.

      Sugars and processed and hybrid carbohydrates become stimulant drugs like cocaine and amphetamines in these quantities we consume.

      These stimulants have adrenaline like effects on our minds and bodies.

      We like and want these effects.

      Resulting in addiction but never once knowing it.

      Man has taken natures, natural foods and hybrid them into sugar factories.

      Nobody knows what I have just told you.

      Nobody that is told, believes what I have just told you.

      It’s my discovery and it is pure fact.


  66. Five years ago I discovered that I have a “disease” called lipedema. At least 12 million American women have it, so statistically, some of you do too. Men and children aren’t even diagnosed at this time. I started an information website that bumped along for 4 years. Last month I had 3600 visitors and 147K hits. I have also co-authored a book which includes findings of Gary Taubes’. I am one of his admirers. What’s on my mind? That lipedema, which resided in the same lipids as diabetes is being virtually ignored my the medical community. Hundreds of us bombard the media daily . In Emgland, our sister community was able to get NIH (England’s Medical system) to accept and now get excited about it. It TOTALLY frustrates me that probably Gary Taubes hasn’t head of lipedema and we are the most classical example of what he is trying to describe. We are dying without support and no one seems to care because we appear to be fat non-compliant eaters UNTIL you read: lipedema has no known cure that causes peole to come fat. Exercise and diet do not affect lipedema sufferers. The biggest kicker? Many of us become completely immobile in late stage even though a simple lipo surgery (now preformed in Germany) early on would have prevented decades in a wheel chair. This is so life and death for us and not even our fellow beyond calorie counting friends. And we are dting from medical ignorance.

  67. Five years ago I discovered that I have a “disease” called lipedema. At least 12 million American women have it, so statistically, some of you do too. Men and children aren’t even diagnosed at this time. I started an information website that bumped along for 4 years. Last month I had 3600 visitors and 147K hits. I have also co-authored a book which includes findings of Gary Taubes’. I am one of his admirers. What’s on my mind? That lipedema, which resided in the same lipids as diabetes is being virtually ignored my the medical community. Hundreds of us bombard the media daily . In Emgland, our sister community was able to get NIH (England’s Medical system) to accept and now get excited about it. It TOTALLY frustrates me that probably Gary Taubes hasn’t head of lipedema and we are the most classical example of what he is trying to describe. We are dying without support and no one seems to care because we appear to be fat non-compliant eaters UNTIL you read: lipedema has no known cure that causes peole to come fat. Exercise and diet do not affect lipedema sufferers. The biggest kicker? Many of us become completely immobile in late stage even though a simple lipo surgery (now preformed in Germany) early on would have prevented decades in a wheel chair. This is so life and death for us and not even our fellow beyond calorie counting friends. And we are dting from medical ignorance.

    • Razwell says:

      EXCELLENT comment , Maggie, and it fits in eprfectly with what my friend ,Urgelt , has been saying for years. Science is headed towards fat cell behavior/ disregulation . :))))

      Physicists I have spoken with say those commercial diet industry gurus who always mention the first law of thermodynamics are taking it out of context and attemting to simplify an extremely complex medical and biological phenomenon. The physicists told me the diet gurus want to make their product APPEAR scientific so they use this tactic to appeal to gullible people.

      Much remaisn to be learned about energy and matter. As we learn more about Dark Energy , it will illuminate our understanding. The first law may be a special case – applying only under very specific conditions and not others. It’s even possible the first law will be discarded eventually.

      In General Relativity, energy is NOT conserved. In fact. at the cosmic scale the first law does not apply. The universe is expanding at a ridiculous speed. Energy is NOT conserved in the expanding universe. This is known by physicists.

      Here is an article by Dr. Sean Caroll called “Energy Is Not Conserved”

      The playing field is not level for everybody. People who have obesity in their family cannot lose the weight that that personal trainer guy did who is naturally LEAN ( and he only had 60 pounds to lose). The same does not happen for a vicitim of severe obesity.Many obese poeple have GREAT habits yet remain obese. What that personal trainer guy did ( stuffing and gorging senselessly and laying around) is NOT ncecassarily what many obes e people do. I see many active obese people and observed their eating at restaurants. Many of them eat normally . I have seen 5 feet 100 pound women eat more than me ( I’m 6′ 3″ 220)

      As Dr. Friedman pointed out bariatric surgery still leaves poeple obese ( although less) They are still obese with average BMI of 32 . They remain obese only only 800 calories a day. This alone should let scientists know how hellishly complex obesity is. Friedman made a great point.

      Real science is over the caloric hypothesis. it is headed in the direction of FAT CELL BEHAVIOR.


      Many studies have shown you can fatten mice WITHOUT the consumption of more calories. At least 3 or 4 to my knowledge.

      • grinch says:

        The point to be made about the personal trainer who became obese intentionally is that insulin / fat metabolism does not have to be out of whack for obesiy to occur. How do we know Guyenet’s hypothesis that obesity is a problem residing primarily in the brain is incorrect?

  68. Razwell says:

    “You need to be CREATIVE to do good science. Otherwise you’re just repeating tired old formulas. You aren’t doing anything new.”

    – Stephen Hawking

    Einstein and Feynman were also huge advocates of imagination and creativity. It was at the very top on their list. It’s where it all starts.

    Gary is creative. NuSi will be creative too.

    His well known attackers on the Internet are not doing anything new. They’re doing poor science, (if you could even call it that).

  69. Razwell says:

    Hi, grinchy

    About calories and weight status:

    It’s MUCH more complicated that that. As Dr. Jeffrey Friedman points out in his lectures ” naturally thin people do NOT become fat just because portions sizes increase. It does not make any scientific sense. ”

    The only people simplifying the enormously complex phenomenon of obesity and summing it up to “calories are everything” are the crackpot Internet gurus whose information is not valid. You won’t find this when listening to Dr. Friedman or his colleagues.

    • grinch says:

      Go to the website fit2fat2fit.com where you read about a personal trainer who gained 70 lbs over 6 months intentionally to see what its like to be in the shoes of his often overweight clients. Now if you need a broken metabolism and high insulin levels to become overweight, how did he do it using a behavioral approach of eating at a caloric surplus? Then when the latter half of his experiment was to lose all the weight which he also did successfully with diet and exercise. How can you explain this phenomenon?

      How do you explain that people like him can stay skinny pretty easily, but then when they choose to overeat they can such that they will gain the weight? No broken metabolism, just excess calories.

      • Razwell says:

        There are many people in the “fitness world” with good bodies ( and naturally ectomorphic mesomorphic types) who are scamming the public with false information. It is done all the time.

        That guy has no business treating the biological and medical phenomenon of obesity. My brother and I have good builds. Does that mean we can help obese people or that THEY would get the same results doing what we do? Nope. Moreover, my brother’s results are good genetics fist, and a bit of voluntary factors to enhance slightly. Athletes like Asafa Powell are naturally jacked to start with. Asafa’s build was awesome long before his sprint workouts. There are plenty of fat amatuer sprinters and marathoners. The pros look like that to START with. Lance Armstrong is a naturally lean man.The PROS are all weeded OUT. I see overweight weekened amateur cyclists all the time. None of the pros will be pudgy. They have superior genetics. And it is enhanced a bit further by extreme exercise and performance enhancing drugs. Many NFL athletes take these drugs.

        Obese people who lost a fair amount of weight have a drop in metabolsim by at least 25 %. ( Dr Libel Dr Rosenbaum et al) Their bodies are fighting them as if its life depended on it- HELLACIOUSLY.

        Massive Overfeeding studies cited by Friedman and DR. Linda Bacon show how people with obesity do not lose like the rest do- not nearly as easily and not nealry as much.

        That ( naturally lean) guy’s personal results do not apply to people with DISREGULATION of fat cells. A main point of Dr Friedman and Libel is that obese people are not on the same playing field as normal people.

        Invalid info from these sites like fit2fatetc. They prey on GULLIBLE people. Look at me, “my build is great you can have it too” – FALSE.

        • grinch says:

          “Obese people who lost a fair amount of weight have a drop in metabolsim by at least 25 %. ( Dr Libel Dr Rosenbaum et al) Their bodies are fighting them as if its life depended on it- HELLACIOUSLY.”

          This has nothing to do with insulin though. They are leptin deficient once losing weight. This is what people like Stephan Guyenet will tell you, but are ignored because people so desperately want it to be about insulin for God knows what reason.

        • dinnertime says:

          I am naturally very skinny, and always have been. I eat lots of carbs because I don’t eat a lot of meat. However, I wouldn’t say I am very physically active. Right now I sit at a desk all day, never “work out” and rarely play sports. My question is where is all that food energy going? I mean I would say that I like to fidget/bounce my leg more than the average person, but can that really use that much glucose?

  70. grinch says:

    You should always get a second opinion.


  71. grinch says:

    I have my own little thought experiment. I like many unfortunate souls have a credit card balance. Every month I make a payment on it. Its always much larger than the minimum required. Makes me feel good paying extra. The problem is every month the balance is greater than it was the previous. How can that be, I’m paying extra? When I think about it, I can’t fathom mathematically how my balance keeps growing despite my large, responsible payments. So I whip out the calculator and add everything up and somehow the numbers are right. This can’t be right, I know I’m being scammed. Whenever I ask a financial planner what is going on they recommend that I reduce my spending and pay more towards my balance. I tell them I’m not spending barely anything, that somebody is cheating me. All the financial experts tell me the same thing. This problem of people having growing credit card balances turns out to be a nation-wide problem that is growing ever so fast. It would appear to be an epidemic of irresponsible consumer spending.

    But I read about this guy (Greg Torres, the financial whistleblower) who claims the banks are subtly modifying the charge amounts of unsuspecting customers and basically stealing from them. Since people don’t necessarily hang on to their receipts, its easy for the bank to up a charge by $5-10 without ever getting caught. As long as the itemized charges all add up to the account balance, nobody will ever know. Greg has pointed out that it is absurd that so many Americans would have trouble managing their debt and that it must be the banks at fault here. After all they are the primary bank account regulators. Without the banks, it is impossible that a credit card balance could increase! They regulate every transaction, both in and out of the account so they are the only ones who can dictate what the balance is at the end of the day. Let’s wage war on the banks! We want our money back!

    Its not clever marketing that seduces people into spending money they don’t have.
    Its not this materialistic lifestyle of having the biggest house, biggest TV, and exotic vacations that is driving more consumers into debt.

    No ladies and gentlemen, your bank is stealing money from you.

  72. JA says:

    Some folks are so invested in a particular notion that it essentially is a pseudo-religious belief system; nothing, absolutely nothing at all – facts, experiments, data – will dislodge them from their belief.
    And scientists are just as prone as “regular” folks to have unshakeable beliefs irrespective of any evidence to the contrary.
    Gary – your friend will never change his mind; move on, forget about him.
    Oh yea, he probably did not read you book because he would be confronted with evidence that his whole life’s efforts were trumped by what exposed in your book.

  73. Razwell says:

    This is even MORE evidence against the Caloric Hypothesis of obesity that I missed :

    Mice exposed to DIM LIGHT over an 8 week span had a body fat gain that was 50 % MORE than controls that lived in the DARK light setting EVEN THOUGH THEY ALL had the SAME AMOUNT of food and exercise.

    Here is the link, everybody of some of the ScienceDaily studies I was referring to. The Caloric Hypothesis is done.


    Gut flora studies, the University of Penn study from Garret Fitzgerald I linked to plus this is only scartching the surface. There are more.

    Lastly, fish oil supplements , as well as anti- oxidant supplements and vitamin supplements are largely not that effective in an affluent population according to Garret Fitzgerald . Anti-oxidant supplements actually do harm.

    Fish oil data is limited and mainly shows benefit for SECONDARY prevention. That does not stop the Internet guru salesmen from recommedning you but them etc. Eat well is the message.

    • grinch says:

      I’ll ask again. What does any of this have to do with the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis? The argument that me and many others make is that this condition is not a disorder of insulin locking away fat and inhibiting its release such that a chronic caloric surplus is the end result. The cause more likely lies elsewhere such as in the brain and not only that, but is also multifactorial. Leptin is a key hormone that is all but ignored by Taubes and his followers. Why do people find it so hard to believe that the brain can influence weight status?

      • Razwell says:

        Hi, grinchy

        I was just posting this to show the extreme complexity of obesity and to refute the Internet gurus’ false claims and show what genuine scientific experiemtns have demonstrated. I acknowledge that the brain is a central player involved in all of this through complex feedback loops.

        It was a post refuting the erroneous views of the “calories are everything ” type people. This particular study does not have anythng to do with the insulin hypothesis. I never understood why the standard media caloric hypothesis model type peole who avoraciously attack Gary such as Colpo, McDonald, CarbSane do not realize their OWN caloric hypothesis view is wrong and erroneous. It is in disagreement with experiment as Feynman would say.

        Science knows enough now to discard the simplistic caloric hypothesi., Whether the insulin hypothesis is true or incomplete has NO bearng at all on the caloric hypothesis being wrong.

        it is my view that Gary Taubes gretaest accomplishment is not even the insulin hypothesis, but rather pointing out that the caloric hypothesis is wrong. He got the ball rolling AWAY from the caloric hypothesis. I commend him for that. Many people commend him for that.

        • grinch says:

          Both Colpo and McDonald acknowledge that there is far more to the story than just calories. What they rightfully say is that strictly for the purposes of weight status, calories are king.

          Colpo has two books which are mostly devoted to using scientific evidence to demonstrate what are healthy foods, unhealthy foods, and what constitutes a healthy or unhealthy lifestyle. If Colpo truly believed that the only thing tha mattered was calories, then why would he put all this effort into discussing vitamins and minerals, cholesterol, and of course even making recommendations about fat and carb intake.

          Lets face it, most of the attacks against conventional wisdom by low-carbers are straw men that simply attack a very small subset of the population. It is almost like you are either low-fat + calories are all that matter (although low-fat and calories are all that matter are contradictory), or you are low-carb. There is apparently no middleground.

          • Razwell says:

            Colpo is so misinformed about obesity that I do not know whwere to even start. Look up Dr. Arya Sharma, the head of The Canadian Obesity Network.

            . His articles debunk McDOnald and Colpo completely. They are not experts AT ALL , grincy. I have no idea WHY people think they are. They are undereducated and over- opinionated laymen who have obviously never listened to a word of Friedman’s and Liebel’s lectures.

            You will not find science in their books. You will only find complete certitude. They only try to SOUND scientific to fool people.

          • grinch says:

            “They are undereducated and over- opinionated laymen who have obviously never listened to a word of Friedman’s and Liebel’s lectures”

            So has Taubes listened to Friedman and Liebel lectures or does he cite any of their research?

      • gman3164 says:

        One reason is that leptin’s mechanism of action does not explain how large amounts of body fat can be lossed with LCHF eating. According to the leptin folks, the loss of body fat should reduce leptin levels, which should decrease energy expenditure and increase hunger and feeding behavior. But that’s not what’s observed. The carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis does explain our observations about LCHF eating and large amounts of body fat loss, at least tentatively (increased lipolysis, decresed lipogenesis). Let’s let the science take its course. That’s what NuSi is all about.

        • grinch says:

          The insulin hypothesis doesn’t explain millions or even billions of people who do just fine on high carb diets. How do you explain people in the national weight loss registry who maintain weight loss for 10+ years even while continuing to eat high carb diets? I have extended family members who have maintained permanent weight loss of 50+ lbs simply by going from sedentary to active lifestyles and eye-balling food portions, and still eating pure junk food that is high in refined carbs and sugar.

          Leptin deficiency explains pretty well why most of us regain lost weight over time (even low carbers), however leptin is a “settling” point that adjusts based on the environment. If it is too inconvenient to eat unsatiating, yet calorically dense foods, then that person will lose weight, and it will be permanent if they remain in that environment. If someone who was sedentary for their entire life suddenly starts running marathons, they will likely permanently lose a good amount of weight as long as they maintain the lifestyle and hormonal improvements that contribute to reduced food intake.

          leptin resistance is also more closely correlated with obesity than insulin resistance is. Although scientists aren’t exactly sure what leads to leptin resistance, that is where I think the more promising research will come out.

  74. Razwell says:

    Hi, grincy

    Although I cannot say for sure, I would imagine Gary has investigated this from all angles. He probably is familiar with Dr. Friedman and Dr. Liebel. However, he has his own specific hypothesis.

    The difference between Gary and people like Anthony Colpo and Lyle McDonald is that he is a respected writer on the topic of science. He studied physics too. Numerous (unknown) diet gurus on the Internet are attacking him because they want to make a name for themselves and are going about it in a dubious way . These gurus are just jealous most likely. It’s politics, not science.

    Trust me, all of my physicist aquaintances do not think much of Colpo , McDonald etc. Intelligent and experienced people are not fooled by their shenanigans. My buddy ,Urgelt ,NEVER was taken in by them. He saw it from the start . These non- expert Internet gurus do not at all admit to unknowns or uncertainty. They are absolutely 100 % sure- and never wrong.

    Gary is making an honest and creative effort to understand obesity , which is far more than his attackers are doing.

    Anybody with the words “Bible” on their book cover should tell you immediately that the author does not understand science. McDonald has the same attitude. Everything is tentative in science. it changes month to month sometimes.

    There is nobody outside of the tight knit Interent circles ( whihc are comprised of males age 20 to 30 who are gullible) that gives either of these two gurus any type of recognition for obesity expertise at all. Colpo and McDonald and the rest of them ( there are many more) all are making claims that respected scientists cannot do.

    There is really nothing more I can say. I hope you understand.
    Happy Holidays to everbody.
    Take care,


    • grinch says:

      Is it true that you used to hold Colpo in high regards until he failed to respond to an email of yours within 12 hours? Seems Colpo has a lot to say about you.


      • FrankG says:

        …and you’re the one who claims Carb-Insane doesn’t troll using alter-egos?!? LOL I think it’s time to take your medication Evil-Lyn 🙂

        You really must have no idea how damaging to your credibility it is to reach for character assassination. So much for reasoned discussion…

        • grinch says:

          So its okay for Razwell to bash Colpo and McDonald post after post, but when someone puts him in his place, suddenly its character assassination?

          Why would carbsane post here anonymously when she is already bashing Taubes and the LC community on a daily basis on her blog that probably has a lot more visitors? Given that Taubes only posts maybe once every 3 months, I don’t think too many people are paying much attention here.

          • Gimme A. Break says:

            Grinch, anyone who disagrees with Taubes is Carbsane (Evelyn) to Frank. He sees her everywhere, isn’t that sad?

          • FrankG says:

            Seeing Evil-Lyn everywhere… now that is a scary thought ugghhhhh! :-0

            So why do you guys even bother posting over here in this backwater? Such a waste of your obvious “talents” LOL

          • FrankG Is Still Fat says:

            this is for you, fatboy. i heard you were diabetic and you lost 100 lbs or something. how’s the weight loss going now? can you get your pecker up now?


      • Razwell says:

        Colpo completely misrepresents me. You were not there. You do not know the history. Colpo uses people for financial gain. He altered the email, left out several important emails, and LIES about the time lag. It was 2 or 3 days. This is what scammers do- they misrepresent.

        I was green way back then. I did not understand the essence of science back then. Had I known what i know now, I never would have been taken in. I credit URGELT for that. He is a very intelligent man and very nice.

        I must have struck a nerve, gincy. I was polite to you the whole way through. My points are extremely good. All of my physicist aquaintances do not think much of Colpo. They think he is an idiot, in fact. His is the antithesis to genuine science. Anybody using the word “Bible” on their book cover should tip you off. He is not at all famialir weith the COMPLETELY TENTATIVE nature of science.

        The man makes claims to be able to do what genuine, respected scientists cannot. Perhaps you would do well to Google “Urgelt Internet scammers video”. Watch the video. “Healthy Eating #8”

        If you want to know more, private message me. This is all I will say here about this topic out of respect for the blog.

  75. Paul says:

    after following a ketogenic diet for almost a year after reading your book whilst on my skiing holiday.
    Never did I belive what I was reading could be so true, 3 stone lighter and so much life in myself, I could never go back to the food I once ate, I generally check to see that I am in ketosis every 2 months. I eat until I am full at every meal and know that if I want to loose more weight I pour the fat from my fried breakfast onto my plate in a morning, this gives me an energy boost , who would have thought it ,,,,Everything you know is wrong, everything you have been told is wrong, its time to pick up the book and learn to belive the truth, its almost like we have been kept from the truth, I keep on reading the book as I learn something new every time, and even f I don’t lower my risk of the western disease`s I will have lived a slimmer more fulfilled life due to the extra energy and leaner body

  76. Derrick says:

    Taubes mentions how in some population observational studies, there is a paradox of obesity/emaciation (e.g obese parent, emaciated child) which works against conventional calorie balance (as the diets are found to be pretty low calorie, well below ‘average’ requirements). What is the explanation for this phenomenon?

    • grinch says:

      Derrick, does Taubes cite a source for this observation? I remember him talking about this in his lectures on youtube, but I don’t buy it. Why, because when put it to the test in a controlled environment, calorie balance theory holds quite well. I’d be rich if I got a nickel for every internet user who claims they can’t lose weight on low fat or high carb diets even with very low calorie intake, yet nobody seems to have trouble losing weight in controlled trials when calories are kept low.

      As you can see, people cannot be relied upon to report their own calorie intake.


      • Derrick says:

        Yes it didn’t get referenced, and I had my strong doubts about that. Thanks for the references.

        • gman3164 says:

          I believe Taubes did cite a study by Benjamin Caballero during his Berkeley lecture, where Caballero observed obese mothers with emaciated children. Try searching the New England Journal of Medicine 2005. “A Nutrition Paradox” is the title, if I remember correctly.

      • Razwell says:

        Yes they DO have trouble. As I mentioned BEFORE, Dr. Rudolph Liebel’s studies show that obese subjects ATE LESS than thin controls YET continued to gain or could not lose. These are far more RECENT than the JUNK from 1930 Colpo refernces. Furthermore, Dr. Liebel has conducted the MOST thorough studies to date on this topic as well as volumous.

        Lastly, calories were controlled strictl;y here and guess what? Mice became OBESE WITHOUT- WITHOUT consuming more calories. Four more studies like this.


        Don’t ASSUME grinchy, that people are eating too many calories. The body ADJUSTS and ADAPTS to anything you throw at it. After an obese person loses weight, the metabolism DRAMATICALLY slows 25% less at least. A 300 pound person reduced to 200 will now have to eat MUCH, MUCH less thasn a natural 200 pounder who has been 200 pounds his whole life.

  77. Ran says:

    It seems that calories don’t matter on the first order. I fully agree with Taubes, Atkins et al. The first time I went on Atkins more than 10 years ago I lost more than 20 lbs of fat while gaining a little lean mass. However, as years passed and I maintained a lower carb lifstyle at between 50 and 150 g of carbs per day my weight drifted up and stabilized at higher fat % than desired. So I understand the concept that hormones, particularly insulin polay the major component of fat content. Also, I believe that calories don’t count that much.

    However, if calories really don’t matter at all, why is it that bodybuilders cut way back on ALL food in order to get stupidly cut? If calories don’t matter, why couldn’t they just eat steak to their fill and get down to <6% body fat?

    I ask because I have actually gained weight while in ketosis.

    I find that as I age (over 50 now), I actually must reduce total intake, even when eating less than 20g carbs /day.

    Any sane, non-inflamatory feedback?

    • grinch says:

      Calories do matter and ALL diets work ONLY when they lead to reduced calorie intake (assuming no increase in physical activity). If someone is eating a ketogenic diet where they are oxidizing mostly fat and ketones, their weight status is still determined by calorie balance. Sure their hunger may be suppressed but their calorie demands will largely remain the same, so they lose weight by eating less. However this doesn’t even work for everyone, probably because leptin is a major regulator of fat tissue and even ketogenic diets are not enough to blunt the power of leptin on hunger. That is why if you visit a low carb forum you will read about dozens of people stalling each day, thinking its because the splenda packet in their morning coffee must’ve caused too large of an insulin spike. But nope, its actually because they are eating too many calories.

  78. This is worth a quick look today Gary. — Capsulated and mindful.


    Thank You, Tom Bunnell

  79. Gimme A. Break says:

    Gary Taubes, you are hereby exposed as a liar, charlatan and fraud:


    Give back your millions made off readers’ suffering and apologize to all of us. Same goes for Lustig, Eenfeldt and Mary Vernon. You are all just slime, and you should be ashamed.

    • gman3164 says:

      Gimme, you’re the one who should be ashamed. I think I lasted about three minutes into PP’s talk. That effeminate voice is rather annoying. He’s the same guy who attacked Colpo. And Colpo crushed him over on his blog. While I’m not a fan of Colpo, his replies to PP were thoroughly entertaining. And why would you attack Lustig, Eenfeldt, and Vernon? Do you realize how many people they’ve helped? How many people has PP helped? My guess is zero. And you’re an IDIOT for calling these people liars, charlatans, and frauds. Learn some biochemistry and endocrinology, and then get back to us. It’s not that difficult.

      • Dave Kutz says:

        Aren’t you the same “gman” who threatened another commenter with physical harm once here for suggeting your guru could be wrong? You people get so defensive and angry when anyone questions your belief system here. How sad.

      • Gimme A. Break says:


        It seems someone has reading comprehension problems. Is your name Gary Taubes? Do you think he needs his little asslicking lackeys to respond for him?

        I won’t even bother with your ridiculous claims here, but the fact that you didn’t watch the clip says it all: Brainwashed.

        But if you ever grow up and get the balls to challenge your belief system someday, and actually try to learn something instead of just reinforcing your beliefs, here is PP’s response to Colpo:


        Until that day, it’s a waste of time to argue with you. (That means goodbye, if you didn’t get it.)

        • gman3164 says:

          Dave and Gimme,

          Both of you are idiots. Why do you call our views a “belief system?” It’s called “science.” Here’s the definition for you: “A body of knowledge gained through observation and experimentation.” A “belief system” is in the realm of religious faith, rather than in the realm of science. That’s why I told Gimme to go and learn some biochemistry and endocrinology (scientific fields). Are you actually going to argue that those fields are in the realm of religious faith? And Dave, I never threatened anybody. I merely stated that it was physically possible – that at age 47 and in the best shape of my life due to low carb nutrition – that I could defeat Jocko in a boxing match. And that was only after Jocko (aka Carbsane) resorted to personal attacks. And I don’t need to listen to some flaming vegan to learn anything about the science that I already know and understand. I consider Taubes, Eenfeldt, Vernon, and Lustig knowledgeable people. They don’t have everything 100 % correct, but they are in the scientific realm, rather than the CICO folks – who misunderstand the laws of thermodynamics.

          And Gimme, if this is goodbye, then it’s fine by me. But if you are Carbsane, you won’t be able to help yourself: you will need to respond to try to get in the last word.

          • Razwell says:

            I agree, gman3164.

            These people do not understand that human beings are an OPEN system. We can exchange energy with our surroundings, but we can also exchange matter. For example, when we breathe, we are changning the number of atoms/molecules in our bodies.

            The caloric hypothesis people are wrongly invoking the first law of thermodynamics in an attempt to oversimplify an extremely complex biological phenomenon. The first law says absolutely nothing about the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors or how food is used to epair our bodies, to be excreted, stored as energy or used to power our muscles.

            Further, the guru shysters do not understand that scientists have reason to believe it may be a special case, applying under certain circumstances and not others. This is especially the case with the discoveries of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. MUCH remains to be learned about energy and matter. Even gravity for that matter.

            Real physicists just roll their eyes when they hear the latest diet shyster invoking the first law or what have you. They have zero inteterst in what they are peddling. These salesmen are trying to SOUND scientific to a gullible non-physicist public to sell books.

            In our rapidly expanding universe energy is not conserved. Here is a great article by Dr. Sean Carrol:


            By all means spread that article around to the diet guru shysters talking about physics – especially CarbSane.

            Take care,


          • Dave Kutz says:

            Yeah Gman, you’re really tough, threatening someone who disagrees with you anonymously from your computer from 1000s of miles away. I love your idea of having the “science”. You’re a real brainy one, you.

            If you were really so right, as you claim, you’d be able to withstand critique. But instead you’re defensive and fly off the handle like a wacko, immediately insulting those who disagree with you. And lastly this comment, and I think the last one too, wasn’t even directed at you, but at your PimpDaddy who you worship. So fuck off, tough guy.

          • gman3164 says:

            OK Dave – we really ought to get together and iron out our differences. It would be a healthy thing for both of us, that is, to sit down and have a rational conversation. Maybe we could meet for coffee across the street from Madison Square Garden. And then, after our conversation, we could walk across the street and take in a boxing match. Let me know when your schedule opens up.

    • Razwell says:

      Happy New Year 2013 everybody. 🙂

      Actually, SCIENCE, thus far, supports what Gary Taubes says. He does quality work. The low glycemic diet was featured by Discover Magazine recently as the BEST way of eating for weight MAINTENANCE. This is a peer reviewed JAMA study from June.

      Next up, longevity and staving off aging. The low glycemic diet is fabulous for this. Geneticist, Cynthia Kenyon, from the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California , San Francisco specifically follows a low glycemic way of eating. She is 55 and looks damn good. She eats very minimal pasta, bread , potatoes and rice as these foods quickly convert to sugar causing an INSULIN SURGE. This is bad news for longevity and health. Insulin surges DEACTIVATE the centenarian gene.

      Here is Dr. Cynthia Kenyon, Please remember she is a genuine scientist who studies longevity:

      Gary is on firm ground with a general recommendation of a low glycemic diet. Science thus far supports it very strongly. Despite what the laughably misinformed Internet guru salesmen shysters think, actual biologists are taking note of the health damaging effects of insulin surges as evidence from my link.

      • gman3164 says:

        Thanks for the support – you are a voice of reason, while many others around here are not. Communicating with these people is analogous to arguing evolutionary science with creationists. They simply “deny” every step of the process, despite overwhelming evidence. And then they try to support their “beliefs” with biblical quotations, as if the quotations have equal weight. Dr. Sean Carroll explains this dynamic quite well in the 2006 HHMI “Evolution: Constant Change and Common Threads” DVD. He’s a terrific speaker as well as a talented writer and scientist. Thanks for that article, by the way (and the link).
        Worse yet, when I point out their mistakes, they insult me and call me a Taubes “worshipper.” I guess they want to project their mindset on everyone else. I’ve never met Gary, and I’ve never corresponded with him. I lost my 60 lbs. of excess fat back in 1999, well before his 2002 NY Times Magazine article was written. I had researched the science of metabolism, biochemistry, and endocrinology well before GCBC was written in 2007. I was, in fact, encouraged to write my own book on those subjects by family members (several of whom are medical doctors who agreed with me that field of medicine got it “wrong” with dietary fat). But I was too busy with my job to sit down and write a book – but I’m glad that Mr. Taubes has done so.
        Granted, calling someone an idiot is insulting. But they feel it’s OK to call well-respected people “frauds, liars, and charlatans”, even when the science supports Taubes, Lustig, Vernon, and Eenfeldt. And when I call them idiots, they respond with profanity and say I’M the one who can’t handle criticism. And the funny thing is that they expect Gary to respond to their ridiculous claims (how DARE I hit the reply button to their comments). Unbelievable.
        Carry on,

        • grinch says:

          “I was, in fact, encouraged to write my own book on those subjects by family members (several of whom are medical doctors who agreed with me that field of medicine got it “wrong” with dietary fat).”

          So are all dietary fats healthy to eat in abundance? What does Taubes say about omega-6 polyunsaturated fats?

          “Granted, calling someone an idiot is insulting. But they feel it’s OK to call well-respected people “frauds, liars, and charlatans”, even when the science supports Taubes, Lustig, Vernon, and Eenfeldt”

          That’s just it. The science doesn’t support them. If it did, then why is Taubes’ entire theory based on the idea that all researchers are incompetent?

          • FrankG says:

            Still setting up those straw men grinchy?

            Show me exactly where Taubes says that ALL fats are healthy to eat?

            and you state that “Taubes’ entire theory [is] based on the idea that all researchers are incompetent” — show your working! It seem to me that he shows a great deal of respect for a great many researchers in GC,BC and his other work. Just because he discredits the idiots that you slavishly parrot does not mean he has no respect for science of scientists… if that were the case why set up a foundation to support further research?

            But YOUR entire argument falls apart unless you cling on to these absurd straw men.. so I understand why you have to rely on them so much… ‘COS YOU GOT NOTHING SUBSTANTIAL!

          • FrankG says:

            As I recall Dr Peter Attia of NuSI has even approached your much vaunted Stephan Guyenet to be part of the process… although I seriously hope they reconsider the sense of that move after his recent tantrum on Hyperlipid

        • Razwell says:

          You’re welcome , gman3164.

          If only these followers of CarbSane Lyle McDonald and Anthony Colpo et al knew how badly they were being conned by their shady guru heroes. Colpo et al have been misusing physics for years in an attempt to oversimplify the extremely complex biological phenomenon of obesity so they can blame the victims and sell their worthless books.

          Every single thery and law in science has a “scope of applicability.” I don’t understand these shady scammers’ references to the first law of thermodynamics with regard to obesity and the human body.

          These dimwitted charlatans do not realize that the human body is clearly an OPEN system. Whoever says that it isn’t hasn’t a clue about what open and closed systems are.

          And energy is constantly being input and being lost in open systems; so the total energy at any moment is constantly changing……it is not constant.

          The conservation of energy law does NOT apply here.

          I hope all of the CarbSane trolls read my statement above. The response to this information was huge attacks and vitriol at several sites I frequent. I exposed all of these shady diet guru scammers ( CarbSane, McDonald et. al) and their lack of knowledge about science and physics to everybody. So, I guess it is no surprise I got a huge amount of vitriol in response. LOL !

          Take care, gman3163. 🙂


          • grinch says:

            If the laws of thermodynamics aren’t applicable to humans, then why do the higher quality metabolic ward studies (those where calorie intake and expenditure is more controlled and better measured) tend to illustrate that macro-nutrients don’t matter with regards to fat-derived fat status? Is this merely a coincidence? Is this a grand conspiracy among researchers?

          • FrankG says:

            Metabolic Wards change humans in to a closed system… don’t you know anything stoopid?!?

            We are ALWAYS in energy balance unless we are dead or dying.

            I DON’T live in a metabolic ward.. do you?

          • grinch says:

            Metabolic ward is NOT a closed system. Do you even know what a metabolic ward is, or maybe you are confusing it with a metabolic chamber?

            Regardless, how does a metabolic ward somehow change the energy dynamics of a human body? Why would it somehow lead to both fat and carb intake ratios having little to no effect on energy expenditure? Why would things be different in the free living world?

          • FrankG says:

            Now you are simply highlighting your own ignorance grinchy. I have gone into greater detail of metabolic ward studies is a reply to you below… in short they are not true metabolic wards unless EVERYTHING is measured — including respiration — which of course means using a sealed chamber, as opposed to wandering off-campus as in some of your bible-studies. There are systems like doubly labeled water, which may come close but don’t necessarily get the whole picture.

            THAT is what artificially creates a closed system… while free-living humans exist in an open system; where every ketone we breathe out (for example) is not captured and measured.

            Energy balance is a prerequisite for life, without it WE DIE.. big whoop..! you can show that at the end of the day we are in energy balance! You are not convincing me by constantly repeating something which I already know.

            Tell you what.. set up a sealed metabolic chamber/ward/whatever you want to label it today, over feed, under feed, whatever the heck you like… at the end of the study, the amount of energy eaten and released from body stores, will EXACTLY match the amount used/released/wasted or added to body stores

            I personally GUARANTEE this result… on an whole stack of bibles if you like 🙂 So what?!?

            The human study I cited below (but you summarily dismissed because you disagree with it) shows that macro-nutrients DO make a change to resting energy expenditure.


          • FrankG says:

            And to follow up and add weight to this one study: there are others (some of which I know you have been made aware) which show metabolic and health marker changes resulting from different macro-nutrient changes.

            Even in your own ramblings you deny that macro-nutrients make any difference to you but then go on to expound as to how meat is now less satisfying while potatoes are more so! Which is it? You can’t have it both ways and still make sense.

            I find people more convincing when their story is consistent… even if that story continues to evolve and change over time; as their knowledge grows.

  80. Ed Reilly says:

    I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes with an A1C of 8.6 in June of this year. I cut my carbohydrates way down by eliminating any fruit juices, soft drinks, potatoes, rice, bread, corn and so on. In September, my A1C was 5.4, my TriGs were 75, my cholesterol was normal, my blood pressure is 110/77 and I lost about 40 pounds. I did this without any drugs. All of this was against the advice of my doctor’s office which contended that carbohydrates should be a part of the Type II diabetic’s diet.

    I don’t understand the medical community’s attitude about carbohydrate restriction for Diabetics. Your vid’s and books helped me with the courage to continue. Thanks.

  81. Gary,
    I think you need another lesson about thermodynamics for Jillian Michaels. HAHA. GC,BC and all of your work has planted seeds that are growing! We’re eternally grateful!

  82. Professor Terry J. lovell, Ph.D. says:

    I am listening to your fine book, (WHY WE GET FAT) while doing my daily 3 miles on the TREADMILL and must say that I agree with you, not only as relates to the issue you so completely explode (“nutritional science” or more properly the absence of REAL SCIENCE in research on nutrition). What strikes me so profoundly about this fine book is how wrong the medical mainstream is and sadly almost always has been!
    One of the courses I have taught for the past 30 years is an introductory statistical analysis course, (three credits, and undergraduate) REQUIRED for your degree in Business. The level of quantitative ignorance and incompetence is truly shocking and each new class of freshman is (on average) worse! The students arrive on day one, knowing (notice I did not say believing or persuaded by research-but rather KNOWING) that everyone is equally valuable and that Global Warming is real caused exclusively by us and will kill us all.
    Other than those “FACTS” they know little and often ask what they “should think about” a particular subject. I always answer that my job is to teach them “HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY-NEVER WHAT TO THINK”. On many occasions I have had earnest, honest, “nice” young people say to me, “It would be much easier if you just told me what to think-thank you very much!” When I ask these students if C02 has ever been higher than it is today->they answer automatically “YES & DANGEROUSLY SO!” When I then send them to the Geology Department and have them inquire as to what the level of C02 was in the Pre-Cambrian Era, they are shocked to find out it was 22 higher than today! When I ask them how much of atmospheric C02 is human caused, they often claim “ALL OF IT-IT IS OUR FAULT THE GLOBE IS BURNING UP!” When I send them to the Biology Department to ask about human-caused C02 they come back shell-shocked with the knowledge that 93% of all C02 occurs from NON-HUMAN sources. When I ask them WHY they never asked these questions of their teachers over the past 13 years as they were repeatedly told they were destroying the planet, they say “WE BELIEVED!” When I ask them how many Polar Bears were residing in North America in 1960 versus today, they stare at poor old Professor Lovell, the relic, the square, the artifact and state FERVANTLY: “The Polar Bear is being wiped out by AGW and it is DENEIRS like you that allow this species-side [their term for selecting killing an entire species by I guess asking questions]. When I send them to research done by Dr. Taylor (http://polarbearscience.com/tag/mitch-taylor/) they are stunned to find out that Polar Bears have gone from 5,000 in 1960 to 26,000 in 2012…over a 500% increase. They do not have clue!
    In addition to my teaching I also do a daily talk radio show and I have had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Geoffrey C. Kabat, an epidemiologist at the Einstein College of Medicine, on health issues and he is a constant source of wonderful research stories that have de-bunked many “scientific truths”. His website is: http://www.hypinghealthrisks.com/
    Thank you for your excellent book-I will add it to the suggested reading list for all my courses.
    I would love to see you go after the false God of “Evidence-Based-Medicine” and explode that false methodology and spend 300-400 pages debunking the way modern Medicine abuses the process of research! I would especially like to see SOMEONE say that the double-blind clinical study for a new drug-is wildly inadequate to answer the question of BEST TREATMENT. Just because a “new”-drug beats the placebo does not mean it is better than current practice. Until all drug testing goes through a two- step process of FIRST beating the placebo and then beating the “best drug” in the field-I will be very skeptical of any new miracle drug!


  83. Lee Dise says:

    Mr. Taubes, first of all, let me express my appreciation and gratitude for the work you do. I converted ten months ago to a low-carb regimen. Actually, the only change I made to my diet was to avoid sugary and starchy foods, and cut back maybe a little on the alcohol. I have rewarded with (so far) a forty-pound weight reduction, from 240 to 200 (5’10” 58-year-old male). I’m certainly no lightweight yet, but it is still a work in progress.

    As I recall from your discussion of the law of thermodynamics in your book “Good Calories, Bad Calories”, you revisited the older “set point” theory as an explanation of why our bodies seem determined to maintain a certain weight, and how it tends to confound the best of intentions to get thin and stay thin.

    Naturally, I’m hoping that doesn’t happen to me once I’m down to my “fighting weight”, whatever that turns out to be (I’m shooting for 160, will happily settle for 180). There’s no question in my mind that an addiction, so to speak, to carbs was my downfall. But I find the notion disturbing that my body will try its hardest to undermine all the work I’ve done to shed the pounds.

    Here’s what I’m wondering: what if the hormonal mechanism by which we maintain our weight (presuming the set point theory is more or less accurate) is upset or distorted by the presence of certain sugars and carbs? Using myself as the guinea pig, since I have restricted my carbs, I have had no desire to binge on carbs, other than an occasional craving for ice cream (which I say ‘yes’ to, about once every two months). Since researchers are discovering that the low-carb diet works best for long-term weight loss, wouldn’t that lend credence to that hypothesis?

    As you pointed out in your book, it would not take a large distortion of the (hypothetical) set-point regulatory mechanism to ruin one’s best-laid plans for perpetual thinness. Like a rifle scope that is off just a wee bit, for a target that is a couple hundred yards away, one tiny little millimeter can mean the difference between bullseye and off-target. Maybe adding fructose or Dunkin’ Donuts back to a metabolism that has undergone the shock of a massive weight loss causes, in effect, a resetting of the set point.

    As a former fatty who wants to stay that way, I sure hope that’s the case! Has any researcher been looking at that?

  84. Lee Dise says:

    BTW… it’s interesting how many grateful former fatties *and* angry skeptics follow your threads. They can’t both be right, can they?

    Nutrition, as a science, of course lacks one thing the other biological sciences lack: white rats. You can’t treat people like white rats. So the science of nutrition will always be questionable as long as people can cheat — that is, as long as they’re not under Dr. Mengele’s immediate control.

    This renders nutrition not really a science, at least not with humans. What to call it then? How about, I dunno, a practice? Like medicine. Science ought to be able to help out, but it is not the definitive voice.

    Apparently, any practitioners of a practice that is not a science get upset when you point out they’re not really scientists.

    And any practice that is not a science is open to dogmatism.

    Anyway, I read the comments of your vociferous critics with something in between amusement and irritation. Since the low-carb approach is working for me, the debate seems pointless. What it reminds me of, in fact, to stray completely from science, is a story from one of the Gospels…

    “So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, ‘Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.’ He answered and said, ‘Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.'”

  85. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know so much about this, like you wrote the book in it or something.
    I think that you can do with a few pics to drive the message
    home a little bit, but instead of that, this is magnificent blog.
    A fantastic read. I will certainly be back.

  86. John says:

    You obviously destroyed the attempt of your friend to belittle your breakthrough research. My problem is the end of the article when you state firmly that calories don’t matter. I can’t believe this. Yes, I believe and have proven to myself that a ketogenic approach to diet is the way to good health but I just can’t believe that if I eat 3000 calories of keto food opposed to 4000 calories of keto food it won’t affect my weight loss. Isn’t this the same logic you used above to educate your critic?

    • FrankG says:

      Gary Taubes writes “I believe that calories are a useful measure of the energy contained in the foods we consume and a useful measure of the energy our bodies expend. (Just as I believe miles are a useful measure of how far I have to travel to get, say, from Oakland to Los Angeles.) Yes, I believe in the laws of thermodynamics and I believe, as I say in both my books, they always hold true. That’s why we call them laws. But, no, I do not believe that we can learn anything useful about why people get fat or why they get the diseases that associate with getting fat, by focusing on the calories they consume and expend. It’s not about the calories.”

      John summarises that as “…you state firmly that calories don’t matter”

      I think that most of the folks who read here can tell the difference 🙂

      • grinch says:

        John you are right to question Taubes on this. Taubes believes that if you eat the optimal diet (ie. keto), then your body’s expenditure could *magically* increase (from say 3000 to 4000 kcals/day) to support such a large intake, but this is pure fiction. Study after study has shown that overweight people cannot accurately count calories, so they often believe they are gaining weight on starvation diets (< 1000 cals) or losing weight while eating massive amounts of low-carb foods. The reality is that when put in controlled environments, the calorie balance becomes predictable. No human in the history of mankind has been able to demonstrate the nonsensical claims all over the internet about calorie intake being extraordinarily high or low while in a metabolic ward. Why, because these claims are false and these people are delusional or outright lying.

        Calories matter, and if you are eating a lot of calories, then you better be exercising or you will gain weight. If we lived in paleolithic times where junk food wasn't available in unlimited quantities and we had to work for our food, then I guarantee calories would be of no concern. But in today's environment calories are a concern. However by eating cleaner foods and exercising, we can help ourselves avoid the need to count calories, but it doesn't work for everyone, especially those who have already gained weight and have a high set point. They may still need to count calories.

        • Razwell says:

          Completely FALSE infromation. it is time you looked at CURRENT research ( not the 1930’s misinterpreted crap Colpo struts out) from Dr. Liebel as pointed out before. NOBODY has done more thorough or tightly controlled studies on this topic. Obese people CONTINUED TO GAIN despite EATING LESS than thin controls. No “lying” could happen. Dr. Liebel “measures” everything.

          And maybe you should LOOK AGAIN at THIS study where mice became OBESE WITHOUT eating more claories. There are about 4 more similar to this that show you can make mice obese WITHOUT fedding them more claories.


          It is called EVIDENCE. The caloric hypothesis you DESPERATELY cling to is in its death throes.

          • grinch says:

            “Obese people CONTINUED TO GAIN despite EATING LESS than thin controls.”

            It is WELL ESTABLISHED that people in a weight-reduced state expend less energy than people who are naturally in at a comparable weight. So I fail to see how this changes anything.

          • grinch says:

            Oh and its also well-established that varying macros can affect mice, but doesn’t look like it has the same effect in humans. Unless of course those humans tend to visit LC forums, in which case the laws of physics go out the window.

          • FrankG says:

            An human trial…

            “Among overweight and obese young adults compared with pre–weight-loss energy expenditure, isocaloric feeding following 10% to 15% weight loss resulted in decreases in REE and TEE that were greatest with the low-fat diet, intermediate with the low–glycemic index diet, and least with the very low-carbohydrate diet.”

            Low GI diet (that means low sugar and refined starches) lead to the smallest decrease in resting energy expenditure (REE). That means: at rest those on this diet (all diets eating the same number of calories) were burning more energy (up to 300 calories per day IIRC) than the others ALL due to a difference in macro-nutrient ratios.

            Once again: facts get in the way of your story 🙂

          • FrankG says:

            Correction: clearly that should read “very low-carbohydrate diet” for all the difference it makes when I expect that i am wasting my time on you.

          • grinch says:

            This is just one study of questionable quality. Until I start seeing these types of results replicated in further studies, I’m going to side with the majority of studies conducted thus far. Just look at the individual subjects’ graphs and you see people who have EE all over the place. In some they do poorly on both LF and LCHL, and well on low-GI. The data is certainly not showing me a clear pattern. Low carb group cortisol levels were bad.

          • grinch says:

            I thought this quote from James Krieger was interesting, although I have not subscribed to his blog so I couldn’t read his critique. Although I do consider him a reliable source on nutritional health so I remain skeptical.

            “I did a thorough critique of this study for my Weightology Weekly subscribers, uncovering 23 major problems with it. Bottom line is that I do not consider the study results reliable at all, and it should be taken with a grain of salt. I’m surprised it actually made it past peer review, especially in JAMA.”

          • FrankG says:

            Right so we should accept your agenda-driven dismissal of a study published in a prestigious peer-reviewed journal NOT forgetting some thinly veiled but completely vague doubts raised by “your personal weightologist“..! LOL sure… made-up words always impress the heck out of me 🙂

          • grinch says:

            One study should always be taken with a grain of salt. One of the principles of the scientific method is reproducibility.

          • FrankG says:

            I guess you may find me reminding you of that next time you actually cite a source…

            Based on my own n=1 experience and apparently that of many others I have conversed with: macro-nutrients make a significant difference to hunger, satiety, reductions in excess fat mass, health markers and energy levels in the real world too 🙂

          • FrankG says:

            But I’m sure that Guyenet would be so proud of his disciple for using the exact same tactics as he did to try and discredit this piece of scientific research.

            Polly want a cracker?!?

          • grinch says:

            Based on my own n=1 experience, macro-nutrients had zero effect whatsoever on my body’s calorie demands or my energy levels. I ran marathons on both high and low carb diets just fine. On LC I did eat less for about 6 months until my cravings started coming back as it seems my body adapted to the diet. I find meat a lot less satiating than I did when I first started, that’s for sure. I find baked potatoes more filling than most LC foods.

          • FrankG says:

            Were you in a sealed metabolic ward when you did this trial??? Has anyone independently reproduced it?

          • grinch says:

            The major red flag with this diet for me was that it killed my libido. So the question is, why would an optimal / healthy diet cause me to have no sex drive?

          • FrankG says:

            You may have associated this with the diet but can you prove that was the problem? Not very scientific is it? Probably should take it with a grain of salt I’m thinking.

          • grinch says:

            I was on a cyclical ketogenic diet and it only happened while I was eating ketogenic. As soon as I started adding in the carbs it came right back. The only time I’ve ever experienced this symptom was on this diet.

        • jamesgd says:

          you have no sex drive as a newborn babe. sex drive =/= healthy.

      • FrankG says:

        Questioning is one thing (and — here’s a clue for you — it usually has a interrogative mark ‘?’ at the end) Misrepresentation is quite another 🙂

      • John says:

        Taubes- “It’s not about the calories.”
        which I reasonably restate as “Calories don’t matter.”

        Are you a lawyer? An elitist wannabe? Take your fake smiley face and stick it
        you pretentious prick.

        • FrankG says:

          Except that was not ALL that he said on the subject.. so by leaving out the preamble and context you were seeking to misrepresent. A ploy common to those who seek who seek to knock holes in his theory. Fortunately, and like I already said, most here are smart enough to see the difference 🙂

          • grinch says:

            Taubes clearly says that the order of causation is reversed, so if someone eats 10,000 calories per day, then it doesn’t matter as far as fat stores go and that something in the body must be making the person eat 10,000 calories per day. Taubes thinks that a energy expenditure is greatly affected not only by total calorie intake (which it is), but also macro-nutrient ratios (which its likely not). So in essence if reducing insulin makes fat storage difficult, then the person could eat seemingly unlimited calories without gaining weight. Of course we know that doesn’t happen in the real world when insulin pathways are intact (as opposed to genetically altering mice), and while some people are resistant to weight gain, it has nothing to do with insulin or macros of the food they are eating.

            I have read enough from Taubes to know what he says about calories and I don’t think John is too far off.

          • FrankG says:

            Why would someone eat 10,000 calories a day. How about we keep the discussion in the real world.. or maybe you should stay over at WHS with his short-term studies of genetically mutated mice and 100x doses of insulin to decide on human health?

            Same question for John WHY would I eat 4,000 calories of “keto” food?!?

            The only reason I can see for this kind of argument is to set up yet more straw men. You’ve still GOT NOTHING!

          • grinch says:

            Its called being hypothetical. The point I was trying to make is that Taubes considers calorie balance to be a function of insulin and that Cals IN and OUT are not at all independent, but the scientific literature says otherwise. Studies have repeatedly failed to show any link between insulin and calorie balance. It seems insulin levels are only high after people are already obese and/or insulin resistant. And there’s no proof that insulin or carbs causes IR.

          • FrankG says:

            No it is called taking something to an extreme to make it seem ridiculous… well you are succeeding at that! 🙂

          • FrankG says:

            “And there’s no proof that insulin or carbs causes IR.”

            But no doubt your overwhelming burden of evidence is widely reproduced? Should I just take your word for that???

            Here is the text of a comment that was posted to WHS in the last day or so but mysteriously disappeared shortly afterwards. Please check out the references

            “Raising insulin only improves insulin sensitivity short term in the same way that opium improves opioid sensitivity short term by increasing the size and number of protein receptors for that chemical on the cell membrane. Long term use of opium will eventually cause the protein receptors to shrink and die off, leading to opioid resistance. That is why drug addicts continually need a higher dose to get the same ‘high’ that they used to get at a lower dose.
            The same thing happens with insulin – in the short term raising insulin improves insulin sensitivity. However long term exposure to chronically raised insulin levels eventually leads to insulin resistance. Here is the proof –

            Raising glucose, raises insulin, increases insulin resistance…
            Beta-cell dysfunction and glucose intolerance: results from the San Antonio metabolism (SAM) study.
            Diabetologia (2004) 47:31–39
            “Conclusion/interpretation. When the plasma insulin response to oral glucose is related to the glycaemic stimulus and severity of insulin resistance, there is a progressive decline in beta-cell function that begins in “normal” glucose tolerant individuals.”

            Barbara B. Kahn and Jeffrey S. Flier, Harvard Medical School
            The Journal of Clinical Investigation, August 2000 | Volume 106
            Hyperinsulinemia per se can cause insulin resistance by downregulating insulin receptors and desensitizing postreceptor pathways, as was confirmed by overexpression of insulin in livers of otherwise normal transgenic mice. This transgene resulted in an age-related reduction in insulin receptor expression, glucose intolerance, and hyperlipidemia without any primary genetic defect in insulin action or secretion.”
            And again…
            Alternative Approach to Treating Diabetes Tested
            ScienceDaily (June 10, 2011)
            From; Deletion of Insulin-Degrading Enzyme Elicits Antipodal, Age-Dependent Effects on Glucose and Insulin Tolerance.
            Plos One June 2011 | Volume 6 | Issue 6
            “It’s an example of too much of a good thing [insulin] becoming bad for you…chronic hyperinsulinemia seemed to actually cause diabetes. As they aged, the mice appeared to adapt to the chronically high insulin levels, for example, by reducing the number of receptors for insulin in their tissues. These adaptations make the mice less sensitive to insulin, which is the exact cause of type 2 diabetes.”
            And again…
            Insulin: In need of some restraint? Salk Institute
            Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,March 07, 2007
            “the study reveals the “dark side” of high insulin production, the kind that results from over eating and obesity. “Insulin is very effective at lowering blood sugar, and promotes fat storage, preparing the animal for times when food may not be available,” he says. “But when the hormone [insulin] is produced at too high a level for too long, the body becomes insulin resistant and blood sugar and certain blood lipids gradually creep up, which can cause progressive damage to multiple organ.”

            And of course insulin resistance goes hand in hand with leptin resistance. Gary taubes’ preoccupation with insulin was a tad myopic, and apparently he did not know how it interrelated with leptin resistance.
            But his conclusions were still probably sound; I see nothing in this critique to refute that.”

        • Fred Hahn says:

          You restate incorrectly. And you’re rude.

  87. Razwell says:

    Counting calories is a false illusion, Grinchy. As mentioned before, calorie labels are ENORMOUSLY inaccurate – 10% to as much as 80 %

    In this fantasy we call “calorie counting” you would have to believe that humans can count the millions of calories they consume over a year to as much as a decade and balance them almost perfectly. What a joke. NOBODY could do this EVEN if claorie labels were accurate- which they are not- and not by a long shot.

    The whole caloric hypothesis is a bad joke. Obesity is about the REGULATION OF MAMMALIAN FAT CELLS.

    The conservation of energy law doe NOT apply. Numerous physics professors I spoke with ALL told me they do not understand WHY I would be applying this law to the human body which is CLEARLY an OPEN system.

    Maybe your heroes Colpo and Lyle McDonald should spend a little more time learning physics. Maybe you should stop reading them and listening to what they have to say. Never ever trust a diet guru. They are laughable to the physicists I spoke with( who are FAR more eductated than Colpo). And the numerous physicists I have spoken to also told not to listen to a word an Internet diet guru says. They are the shadiest of the shady.

  88. Razwell says:

    Let me explain this to you one more time Grincy and by all means take this to L:yle mcDonald, CarbSane and Anthony Colpo – as well as their trolls:

    No result in science in ever final. Einstein himself said this and stressed this. He included his own work. Although the Theory of General Relativity is well supported it is incomplete.

    You and you heroes do not seem familair with this concept in science. What you are doing is like saying but Newton ‘s results said this about gravity when confronted with what Einstein has found. Einstein was “less wrong ” than Newton . And Newton was” less wrong ” than the Ancient Greeks. Newton’s laws ( which are fine for NASA rockets etc.) are not good enough for various situations and do not apply under certain circumstances – SCOPE OF APPLICABILITY. Einstein showed this. The NEW BREAKTHROUGH will be less wong than Einstein. We will use THIS NEW INFORMATION when it comes available for many things and certain situations that Einstein’s theory cannot explain. We now know General Relativity ( although it has held nicely under the right circumstances) is not complete. This is also where QUANTUM MECHANICS comes in. NEW SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION sheds light and we either reject or modify the previous , or we gain a much deeper understanding and what circumstances it is not applicable to. Dark Energy and dark Matter will illuminate our understanding of physics once we learn abuot them. How little we know is readily demonstrable by all the work going on at the Large Hadron Collider.We learn NEW THINGS almost every day.

    Dr. Liebel has done work FAR MORE CURRENT and even more precise than the 1930’s. That man is meticulous to the extreme. Dr. Fitzgerald has also done work (with mice ) such as the study I showed you where mice became OBESE WITHOUT eating more calories- this study was carefully controlled. Dr. Fitzgerald is TOPS in the biomedical research world.

    Science does not stand still- only to your heroes. Only Colpo references OUTDATED material. We now know enough to DISCARD the caloric hypothesis of obesity.

    Do you remember what I said about SCOPE OF APPLICABILITY? ( an extremely importanrt concept in science)

    Firstly, the conservation of energy law does NOT apply to the human body. Secondly, We cannot infer from the conservation of energy law the behavior and regulation/disregulation of mamallian fat cells.

    Well the human body is CLEARLY an OPEN system. The consevation of energy law does NOT apply to the human body. All physicists UNDERSTAND this .

    Here is your explanation. Be sure to forward this to your heroes and fellow trolls. I want their ignorance exposed to the masses:

    YOU are NOT a closed system; so you take on and lose energy continually. BUT IF you were a closed system , your energy audit would include exercise and motion (ke) , fat and sugars (pe), and temperature ( pe). And those weight loss programs are trying to show you how they can convert that pe ——> ke, turning fat into vitality, while maintaining your total energy level.

    Did you know when we breathe we are changing the numbers of atoms/molecules in our bodies?

    I do not understand your heroes ‘ references to the HUMAN BODY. The conservation of energy law does NOT apply here.

    • FrankG says:

      And a properly run* metabolic ward study measures EVERYTHING including respiration — in effect turning humans into a closed system.. so at the end of the day they can say with confidence that: everything going in and released from stores, balances against everything coming out and put into stores — with even that being a gross oversimplification of the huge list of variables involved.

      No surprises, no magical metabolic advantage… this HAS to be so…. this is the First Law of Thermodynamics BUT it does not have any useful application to humans in the real world BECAUSE we do not live in a closed system.

      What those same studies also show is that (despite still all balancing out at the end of the day) differing macro-nutrients WILL effect how much of that energy is used vs. stored

      *I’d point out that at least one of the “bible” studies included “trustees” who were allowed “off campus” and so really don’t count as properly done metabolic ward studies… but as ever when do you care about the facts getting in the way of a good story eh grinchy?

      • FrankG says:

        Interesting to note that grinchy has made no clear response to these challenges of the metabolic ward studies (as quoted in the gospels of st culpable) and yet he continues to use them as the basis of his arguments? Curiouser and curiouser 🙂

  89. Razwell says:

    Another very important point I meant to type was this:

    Thermodynamics does NOT define system. WE define the system. Thermodynamics helps US PREDICT the processes a system defined by US can undergo.

    I would love for Dr. Lawrence Krauss to go visit all the Internet diet guru forums and give them an education. I’d pay to see ( or read) that.

    • gman3164 says:

      Well said, Razwell and FrankG. I couldn’t agree more. The science that both of you present flies in the face of the belief in CICO. And therein lies the problem for grinchy et. al. They are living in the world of “belief,” rather than evidence. I am SO looking forward to the forthcoming studies from NuSI, which will hopefully support the carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity. And since it will be done by its skeptics (in a perfect world), it will put an end to the debates with grinchy et. al. The research will also support the large amount of anecdotal evidence of folks who’ve lost huge amounts of body fat without hunger (and why we’ve been able to prevent re-gaining the body fat).
      Now I’ll wait for a profanity-laden response from Dave et.al….

      • Razwell says:

        Thanks, gman3164

        I just got done speaking with more obesity researchers by email who further confirmed to me that the caloric hypothesis is far too simplistic to explain obesity. That was this scientist’s exact words “the caloric hypothesis far too simplistic to completely explain” He then went on to say that “it clearly is not just calories in and calories out or this would have been solved years back.”

        People like James Krieger, Lyle McDonald ,Anthony Colpo and CarbSane are all jealous trolls – non-scientist salesmen -virulently attacking Gary Taubes for no reason. A professional researcher who had issue would present his views but not attack him. These “gurus ” not only attack him , but are especially venemous. And all of them initiated things and all of them are mean spirited.

        The commercial diet industry knows their business days are numbered and the public is becoming aware. Even the very best medically supervised weight loss programs from the best hospitals in the United States have an ungodly failure rate of 90 % after 1 to 2 years and 98 % or more after 3 or more years . This says it all.

        The commercial diet industry are not going to like what NuSi is doing- honest investigation and thinking outside the box because it will derail the 100 billion dollar scam they have had going for about 50 years. New wrinkles appear all the time in science. NuSi is about finding these “new wrinkles.”

        I support and applaud and respect people making an honest effort to understand fat cell regulation. Gary Taubes, Peter Attia, Dr. Jeffrey Friedman etc. are all people trying to do this. All three of them are gentlemen.

        CarbSane et al only want to defend dogma. That is what their sites are all about. They are the antithesis to the scientific endeavor yet have hundreds of fans thinking they are scientific. How bizarre is that?

        But it does not matter much- none of them are as well read by the public as is Gary.

        P.S. To give you an example of how science works, professor Susskind of Stanford recently said that if you asked him back in May about what we know about Black Holes he would have told you something very different than what he understands currently. New wrinkles appear all the time in science. Susskind is a genius and always is talking about how much we have to learn. Never mind CarbSane et al. They’re laughable.

  90. Razwell says:

    The way science WORKS is that it is TENTATIVE and NEW , quality INFORMATION and evidence changes views. Namely , Colpo et al’s 1930 view of obesity that today we know is NOT true.

    Here is an analogy. It is like a man criticial of the Theory of General relativity asking Einstein “where is your discussion of the Ancient greeks’ model of gravity?” I hope the public sees how silly the Grinchy, CarbSane and Colpo crowd are. To those crackpots science stands still.

    Scientific American has a great article here: The Hidden Truths About Calories


    • gman3164 says:

      Thanks again, Razwell. Another good article explaining the errors of the CICO crowd. Keep ’em coming! Tomorrow I have to sit through the film “Forks Over Knives” at our school. I am going in armed with Denise Minger’s critique. I will pass out the critique to the discussion group and see what happens.. Likely more “differences of opinion” will be expressed, rather than looking at the film as “belief” vs. “science.”

      And FrankG, wow – you were spot on with your comment about Stephan Guyenet’s meltdown over at Hyperlipid! Unbelievable!

  91. Anna says:

    Have been an avid followed of your work for many years now. Was wondering if you could comment on this post regarding your stance on ketosis and thermogenisis. Hyperlipid has also recently posted a link to the same entry. See: http://hereditarian.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/327/

  92. Bruce Evry says:

    Excellent though experiments.

    How about a thought experiment where we have the government convince people that eating fat is dangerous and 300 million Americans spend 30 years reducing their fat intake from 40% to 30% and making up the calories with fast food and sodas?

    Oh, wait, we already are doing that one, aren’t we?

  93. Vanda says:

    Dear Gary,
    I’m writing from Croatia. Today we had the eposode of Dr.Oz who tried to show to pople how your advices about food are not good. I was so angry watching that. Everybody knows how in every tv show he is suggestin more and more pills and vitamins to get people “healty”. We are not stupid, we know who are his sponsours. We know that he wouldn’t have not one show without pharmaceutical industry.
    Me and my family are eating “paleo” food for almost a year. My sister and I had a irritabile colon. My sister, who was on the egde of anorexy gained few kilograms and didn’t lost them for months. I had like 10 kg more than I needed, I lost 6 in first few months and now I’m loosing slowly more. My mum, who is diabetic is using much less of insulin since we are eating as you are suggesting. We all feel much better physical and psychical.
    And, we’ve done a blood tests because we are eating lot’s of animal fat and we were told that’s not good etc. Our blood is better than ever before.
    It’s not easy to go to the “war” against the rich pharmaceutical industry. But, slowly, people like you, who are brave and are interested in common health, are talking louder and louder and we are listening and doing ti. We are trying to educate our friends and family and all of those who tried it feel much better and are saying they will never go back to the old eating habits.
    Thank you for doing that!

  94. Razwell says:

    Adipose tissue is the largest ENDOCRINE ORGAN in the body. The outdated idea that it is just a passive storage resevoir is no longer valid.

    Adipose tissue is involuntarily defended against losses extremely agressively. This includes ( but is no way limited to) a 25 % DROP in metabolism following fairly significant weight loss as Dr. Rudolph Liebel demonstrated

    The “first law of thermodynamics” does NOT EXPLAIN obesity at all. It is pointless to mention it. It EXPLAINS NOTHING.

    There are many things beyiond its reach:

    * normal weight obesity ( a real medical condition)

    * the chemical behavior of fat cell receptors

    *lipodystrophy ( where both emaciation and obesity manifest on the same patient)

    *the process of gaining mainly muscle rather than mainly fat

    *calorie partitioning ( a central issue) : whether calories are excreted, used to repair cells and organs, used for fuel, or shuttled to to fat mass or muscle tissue

    Gary is 100 % right. He makes an excellent point. Stephan Guyenet also made a similar point. Both of these gentlemen are bright. 🙂

    The crackpot Internet guru salesmen ( Krieger, CarbSane, Colpo) do not like this because it discredits their positions.

    The first law of thermodynamics EXPLAINs – EXPLAINS – EXPLAINS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about obesity. NOTHING WHATSOEVER.

  95. Here’s one for the study group.

    We all know that our lethargic lifestyles are a big player in obesity.

    Here is little looked at facet in this.

    Most of us have thermostats to regulate our household heat, most at sixty or seventy degrees or so.

    Our bodies don’t need to burn fat because we are comfortably and healthfully warm because of our house heat.

    Turn off the thermostat and burn fat all night long.

    In the daytime too.

    You never hear anything said about this.


  96. Razwell says:

    Great point, The Bunnel Farm. You’re correct on both counts. Most people never mention this. That is true.

    My buddy, Urgelt, of YouTube, has talked about keeping air conditioning off in the summer and heating lower in the winter etc. The both of you are smart to suggest this.

    I want to further lend support to Gary Taubes’ message about obesity and how fat cell disregulation/behavior is a key issue. Here is an example that he is on the right track:

    This lab at LSU has many scientists specifically investigating and studying adipocytes and their complex regulation. Professor Jacqueline Stephens understands the caloric hypothesis is far too simplistic to explain obesity and fat cell regulation by itself. She told me as much.

    Here is the link:


    I hope that people may eventually realize that they need to stop reading “Lyle McDonald” ,CarbSane” and other nonsense commentators in favor of SCIENCE. The work at this lab is honest and genuine SCIENTIFIC work.

  97. FrankG Is Still Fat says:

    You low carbers are all fat. It’s obvious Gary just restricts calories to stay slim.

    Here are the bodies of the people doing the thinking for you:


    • Razwell says:

      It is interesting to note :
      CarbSane and Muata Kamdibe (stubborn caloric hypothesis “eat less, move more ” adherents) are still very overweight to obese . Lyle McDonald’s and Anthony Colpo’s ( both natural ectomorphs exploiting this for financial gain) books have not solved obese people’s problems at all. That is what they don’t tell you .

      Furthermore, many obesity researchers are fat themselves. This means nothing at all. Their personal condition is irrelevant. They are trying to figure this thing out.

      There were some overweight genuis physicists I know of. In fact, at some points Einstein was overweight. Do you really think those people did not understand physics? of course not.

      Body weight regulation is complex. Disease states themselves, medications etc. all contribute. You need to look into Urgelt of YouTube to educate yourself on the matter.

      It’s over for the commercial weight loss industry. More and more people are learning what goes on. Of course there is going to be many insults directed toward NuSi etc. because NuSi is exposing how the simplsitc caloric hypothesis and subsequent ineffective EXTRAPOLATION callled “eat less, move more” is a massive failure.

      Dr. Jeffrey Fredman himself said eat less, move more “is NOT a scientific approach to obesity. It is NOT a scientific approach.

      • Lewis says:

        No, I think the commercial weight loss industry will be just fine – like a good politician they will just take on the new “facts” and gradually adapt them to their regimes, and as they do the results will improve, and their business will boom – just as the USDA is replacing the food pyramid with the slightly less worse “my plate”…. We are amazingly good at justifying to ourselves why what we believe now is different to what we used to believe…. Hopefully this will happen, and the weight loss industry will take on the “new science” and reverse the horrible trend of worsening health in our modern society. All the best of luck to them! The better they do, the healthier the planet ehhh?

    • Lewis says:

      Frank G. Do you really think the “plethora” of people posting their own personal experiences of dramatic improvement in health (weight loss & many other benefits) are lying? What would stimulate them to do so? Most of them seem like pretty genuine people who are understandably very proud of turning their lives around in a very clear and significant way….

      In studying such topics you need to look for the “free reads”, and unless someone is paying all these people to enthusiastically post their life changing positive reactions to Low Carb diets I think you have to accept there is at least something to it. Also I see a huge amount of new/recent published “stuff” in favour of Low Carb diets, led by the Robert Lustig/Garry Taubes of the world, but very few out there pushing the opposite bandwagon any more. Why is that?

      It seems to me that any of these guys promoting the “anti establishment” views (or at least they used to be (:-)) would have to be pretty “squeaky cleann=” with their science and facts. No doubt they occasionally get details wrong, but again I’d say the “free reads” tell me that most of what they say is right….

      It occurs to me that you might just be wanting to popularize the video you posted (that I only bothered to watch part of as it seemed pretty meaningless) or perhaps have some other agenda…..??

      • Lewis says:

        so much for “squeaky cleann=” details ehhh?? (:-)

        • gman3164 says:

          Lewis, just to be clear: that video was not posted by FrankG, but someone attempting to criticize him (FrankG Is Still Fat). I’ve never met the real FrankG, but I’ve read his stuff on this blog as well as other blogs, and he is scientifically accurate in his posts, unlike the vegan propaganda in that video. So I agree with your characterization of that video being meaningless. T. Colin Campbell’s “China Study” has been thoroughly debunked by Denise Minger and others (such as Anthony Colpo, who I don’t agree with). And John McDougall is an unscientific moron. Robert Atkins crushed him in the Great Nutrition Debate back in 2000.
          So keep on questioning the gurus, Lewis – enjoy the journey!

  98. Dave says:

    I recently tried going low Carb these past two weeks. There was a strange observation I noticed after eating every meal, and I think one poster hit on it when he drank the heavy cream. I literally could not stop moving, and my body felt on fire. I have never felt that way after a meal that was high in carbs. I think there is something to the argument about what happens if you eat 10k Cal of fat. I think that your body would continue to burn the calories any way it could. I think there would be a release of CCK and it would slow digestion way down. Body temp would increase along with physical activity. Just my opinion, but I feel very in tune with my body. Oh and I lost weight still made progress at the gym, and I could see more tone. I actually received comments about my leaning out without bringing the topic up.

  99. jerrymat says:

    I like to explain the situation by comparing the energy units in gasoline (a fuel) and crankcase oil (a lubricant). In a new car that does not have worn rings (thereby beginning to burn the lubricant) only the energy units in gasoline count for computing efficiency of the vehicle. Now imagine a car of the future where I can pour all fluids into one opening and the computer mechanism of the car moves them to where they are needed (even the windshield washer fluid, cooling fluid, etc.) That begins to resemble the human body ingesting everything through the mouth. If our body handles different materials (protein, fats, carbohydrates) differently then the energy units may not be equal in our energy processing (which includes storage as fats) Thus a BTU is not a BTU and a calorie is not a calorie – depending upon usage.

  100. To the”Taubes Study Group”, Cinderella, USA

    The mental/psychological effects on our “beings” and “minds” as well as our feelings and senses and thought processes of sugar, sucrose, fructose, glucose, galactose,lactose and other, as being “stimulant drugs”, similar in nature to amphetamine and cocaine, because of the high consumption ratios we consume daily and because of hybridizing, farming, transportation and marketing by modern and pre-modern man, it’s the reason we “thought up” gods and built armies and became kings and rulers of man.

    Enslaving millions and murdering hundreds and hundreds of millions more.

    Still going on today.

    Egypt and Aztec the earliest hybridizers of animal and plant life that I know of, I’m sure there were others before them.

    Stimulated man.

    OJ and Adolph Hitler and Charles Manson and others, being most visible today.

    Self richious beings both when in, as well as, out of control.

    “Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the most richious of them all.”
    -Snow White

    Only the “King” of England was allowed to own Diamonds.

    The “adrenaline like” effects of these and other stimulant drugs, mostly alcohol, caffeine and nicotine.

    The Aztec ‘High Priests” who raised and nurtured on high plateaus, the Cocoa Plant and pulverized the seeds and ingested same and considered the high to be a “link to paradise”.

    The same chocolate we feed our babies today.

    When in an adrenaline state our senses are enhanced and sometimes charged, in order to better protect ourselves in times of crises and need or when breeding.

    Our adrenaline in nature goes back to normal as soon as the incident passes.

    These drugs keep us constantly in an adrenaline like state but we don’t know it.

    It’s why cows are sacred in India and goats as dowries in Africa.

    Shawn Penn “Fast Times at Ridgemont High”.

    Everything we perceive, as more.

    It’s our natural emotions run amok.

    Sugar and hybrid carbohydrates.


  101. White man has convinced himself and everyone else out there that his takeover of the Planet Earth, including Africa and Australia and America and India, and most of this Worlds Islands and other Land, as to being some distant past event that he had no control over and that there is nothing he could have done about it and certainly doesn’t apply today.

    That was about 125 years ago that most of our great grandfathers fought and supported the Indian Wars, and that the last of the “American Indian Wars” were fought with Kit Carson, the remaining land taken.

    After the Civil War with the United States Calvary and thousands of soldiers on horseback with guns and swords and wagon trains of supplies and support staff, to feed and care for them.

    Killing and beating the American Indians into submission.

    Mostly English, French and Spanish, including Scandinavia and “all” of Europe.

    “White People”.

    “The Kingdoms”.

    The winners of thousands of years of war and conflict themselves throughout their, and their neighbors lands.

    Million man armies hell bent on killing everything in sight and taking all they had.

    Taking by force and parceling up the land masses and installing religion and governments and taking all, were nothing new to him.

    “The American Beaver,(his tail, called felt)” made great “Top Hats”.

    High Hats and later Derby’s for the English and other Aristocrats.

    The vast virgin forests and plant life and animals unimaginable.

    All for his “harvesting” and splitting up of the “bounty”.

    Randolph Hearst, of newspaper fame and wealth, did a Sunday Editorial that ran all across America in his newspaper chain in the early 1970’s, his granddaughter Patty Hearst had been abducted and captive to the SLA.

    Thought to be a “Black Liberation Front”.

    A revolutionary group.

    I believe that not wanting to further incite violence with his granddaughter still captive, that he chose the American Indian to lash out against in his editorial, rather than blacks.

    LA Times, Denver Post, New York Times, etc etc.

    Randolph Hearst, Sunday Editorial

    I will paraphrase this editorial as best I can.

    I was living in Los Angeles, California and worked for the government at the time this whole thing took place.

    He lashed out at the American Indian getting settlement checks and allotments from the government amounting to millions and millions of dollars in ongoing payments and settlements.

    Payments to the Indians for the land taken from them.

    He said these Indians lived a life of poverty and death and disease and ill health and filth before white man came here.

    They had nothing.

    Dirt and sticks.

    They were lucky to live much past thirty or forty years old and with staggering infant and early childhood mortality.

    They had nothing.

    A life of hell.

    “White man brought them an abundance of wealth and health, they should be thankful for all we have done for them”.

    That’s the “white man’s view then” and that’s the “white man’s view” now.

    Say what they may.

    Facts are the American Indians lived a perfect life on a perfect planet on a perfect land, and lived to be over a hundred years old commonly and with near zero, infant and early childhood death mortality, and lived a perfect and healthful abundant life.

    A perfect people on a perfect land, just like all of the rest of this worlds people.

    Point here of course, is to see what the “European lifestyle” and mentality with his “Food” and “Drink” and what they have done to this planet earth.

    Getting “back too” as close we can, to this perfection that we once had, is my goal and desire for all.

    White, green, black or brown.

    Leave these people alone.

    Leave them “fix” themselves or help them as they desire.

    We haven’t made a better world, we have destroyed the world.

    This is where our food and drink has taken us.

    Let’s make it better.

    Thank you

    -Tom Bunnell

  102. Let’s call this an hypotheses, or a theory, or concept, or a thought.

    We can even call it a wild, off the wall, “out their”, pile of crap, rant and rave if we want too.

    But it isn’t.

    It’s the simple truth.

    Take a globe of the earth and put it in your hands like a beach ball.

    Now turn it around and look it all over.

    Throw it up in the air and catch it again.

    Now visualize.

    The water, the sky, the earth,

    The land masses,

    The mountains, the valleys.

    The forests and rivers and the deserts and plateaus.

    Now lets inhabit this earth with all of it’s natural life forms.

    All things.

    Everything from the tinniest microbe, to the largest elephant and dinosaur.

    Every tree and every plant and every bush and every insect, everything there is.

    The sky and the clouds, everything below ground and above ground, everything.

    Everything in the water.

    Just as it was before mans alterations.


    We are looking at perfection in all things.

    Weather patterns and climate changes, everything.

    Earthquakes and forest fires and droughts and famines.

    Anything and everything that existed way back then and even now.

    Now lets put another earth just like it, only it being just now, only.

    You might ask how all this relates to diabetes and obesity and heart disease.

    I answer this.

    Starting with perfection, which we know to be real if we just look around at what is left in this perfection.

    Starting with perfection in body and health and mind and spirit, just like all of the creatures out their.

    Everything living it’s life span as nature intended.

    Some trees living for five hundred years or more, others much less, some more.

    Lots of bugs living for weeks or months only, completing their cycle.

    Worms, I”m not sure.

    Turtles and man each having theirs.

    Longevity and perfect health being the common denominator here, if you didn’t get stepped on or eaten by another creature or struck by lightening.

    Not sickly and feeble towards the end.

    Perfect health.

    Man just like all of the other species the world over living his out life span and to be in the hundred year range and in near perfect health all the way to the end.

    Routinely and commonly.




    Africa, Asia, America, Australia, everywhere.

    The entire planet earth.

    The earth was like a garden of eden.

    Obesity and heart disease and cancer unheard of.


    Now you say, how can I know this.

    This is not what we have been taught.

    This is not what we have learned.

    No, it isn’t.

    We have been taught that modern man and industry and prosperity have made a better earth and a better existence for all.

    The marvels of modern science.

    Just look around you, it is everywhere.

    “How many times can a man look up and still not see the sky”.

    How many seas must a white dove sail before he sleeps in the sand.

    How many ears must one man have, before he can hear people cry.

    Bob Dylan

    The answer my friend, is blowing in the wind.

    “The answer is blowing in the wind”.


  103. The Damned Human Race

    I have been studying the traits and dispositions of the “lower animals” (so-called), and contrasting them with the traits and dispositions of man. I find the result humiliating to me. For it obliges me to renounce my allegiance to the Darwinian theory of the Ascent of Man from the Lower Animals; since it now seems plain to me that that theory ought to be vacated in favor of a new and truer one, this new and truer one to be named the Descent of Man from the Higher Animals.

    -Mark Twain

  104. Kelly Carter says:

    In the sentence that begins: “But the fact is even their weight’s can differ…” there is a dreadful mistake: It should be “weights” not “weight’s”. There is an epidemic today that is apparently contagious, and even accomplished, respected journalists are vulnerable. It’s the pluralization of words with the “apostrophe s”. Please, everyone get vaccinated against this.

  105. dlr says:

    Another important issue that needs to be addressed is the placebo effect. Everyone now ‘knows’ that, for instance, saturated fat kills, so eating it (or refraining from eating it) no doubt has as much of an effect as taking a sugar pill. This is no doubt true of a wide range of foods, from broccoli to chocolate to red meat. Once you really, truly believe, the prediction of health or illness becomes self fullfilling. The only studies that are going to be worth anything will have to be double blind, although it is hard to see how you will be able to deceive the participants without extensive use of a blender.

  106. Razwell says:

    Gary and Dr. Attia are correct about exercise.

    Exercise has many benefits, but weight loss specifically is generally not one of them .

    Obese and overweight people who exercise for an hour or more a day actually demonstrated a DECREASE- a DECREASE in resting metabolic rate by 5 % to 15 %. ( Phinney reviewed studies from 1982 until 1997) This is yet ANOTHER example of how the body exerts control involuntarily. The body fights weight loss hellaciously. These were studies were conducted “inpatient” by the way, or “metabolic ward” as McDonald and Colpo say. Do you think McDonald and Colpo would TELL EVERYBODY about THESE studies? Of course not, it won’t support sales . They are the biggest cherryy pickers on the planet. Sadly, they have a following among uneducated Internet males ages 19 to 40 .

    They want to blame the patient just like the rest of the fraudulent commercial weight loss industry does. “They simply are lazy “or “they simply have no willpower” claim commercial weight loss industry marketers. Nothing could be further from the truth. $100 billion dollars are made annually by this scam ripping off unknowing consumers.

    • gman3164 says:

      Interesting, Razwell. I was a firm believer (there’s that word “belief” again..) that resistance training should increase metabolic rate. Fast muscle fibers (as well as slow) should increase their mitochondria, allowing for more beta oxidation of fatty acids, even while in the resting state. Toned muscles are indeed performing cross-bridge cycling at rest, thus the increase in tension at rest. My thoughts were that beta oxidation would feed the ATP required to maintain the resting tension. And when the muscle runs low on fatty acid supply, they could get their fatty acids from adipose tissue (especially with lowered insulin). But apparently that is incorrect (does the metabolic rate of other tissues decrease to compensate?). I’m not surprised. Most of my “beliefs” have proven to be incorrect over the years – that’s why I try to stick to the science whenever possible. Too bad Colpo and McDonald (and Carbsane) cannot do the same. Carry on.

      • Razwell says:

        Hi gman3162 🙂

        Thanks. Good points.

        When I look around the Internet I see many gurus misusing and abusing what science is (e.g. people such as Anthony Colpo, Lyle McDonald and James Krieger). All of these people criticizing Gary with mean spirited intentions ( and crank arguments) are cranks and crackpot Internet “gurus” with huge followings from equally stupid people.

        Real scientists do not act this way. I have spoken to many scientists. They realize it’s complex and not black and white.

        If a genuine research scientist wanted to discuss research on his or her blog and mention NuSi that is fine. They would be polite and use and approach of “trying to figure this thing out.” For instance, ( hypothetically) if somebody such as Dr. Liebel thought somehting was not correct, he would at least be a valid source of debate. But even Dr. Liebel stresse we need to keep an opne mind . He was intrigued by the JAMA low carb study and did not automatically dismiss it like Colpo. There is a YouTube video of him talking about it. He remains open minded from what I can tell in the video.

        Remember Hawking vs Susskind? They were friends, they just had intellectual battles. But, they remained personal friends. They both were interested in learning more. And when Susskind won the debate, he still did not want people to focus on that he won. Both Hawking and Susskind learned new things they never would have known about Black Holes by having their debate in the first place. In other words, both acknowledged all of the good that came out of it and neither would gloat “winning.” Hawking humbly ceded.

        But , the Internet gurus are not like this. They do not understand that science is not black and white. It’s gray.

        I propose to everybody here that they completely ignore what Colpo and McDonald et al write. It’s not valid criticism. It is not even worth reading. It’s nonsense written by crackpots with monetary agendas. I have never seen two people more uneducated about what science is. Even physics is NOT exact. And this is especially true of biology. Discussion is good, but engaging with crackpot scammers like McDonald et al is a waste of time. Never engage scammers. Urgelt taught me this a long time ago. He and I both think McDonald CarbSane and Colpo are scammers.

        Their blogs are the crankiest of the cranky. These individuals are laughably uneducated. I can see this more than ever from speaking with various scientists.

        Best Wishes, gman.

  107. Razwell says:

    Dear CarbSane, Richard Nikoley, grincy, Lyle McDonald, Anthony Colpo, James Krieger :

    I am going to publicly give you an education and expose your lack of knowledge about the details of “thermodynamics.” “Fitness professionals” ( whatever that is) need to stop talking about this topic. They do not at all understand the details of this subject.

    The human body is an open system. It is also one of the most complex open systems. Furthermore , the human body is also NON – equilibrium. This area of science is NOT that well understood and a work in progress compared to the much more established classical equilibrium thermodynamics. This area is NOT – NOT an established edifice.

    The conservation of energy law does not apply to open systems where UNKNOWN amounts of energy can be gained or lost from it.

    There is NO equation on ANY- ANY commercial weight loss site that is correct, including Lyle McDonald’s which is full of laughable misinformation. My Oxford scientist source was NOT able to even give me a roguh idea of what it would look like and admitted so.

    ANY equation that would even attempt to apply the conservation of energy law to the human body , which is an open and non – equilibrium system , would be E-X-T-R-E-M-E-L-Y complex. This equation would be much, much, much, much more complex than for a closed system in equilibrium classical thermodynamics.

    My source? Oxford scientists who specialize in this area.

  108. Razwell says:

    Hormones. They are everything. We don’t appreciate them when we are younger ( 21 to 28 ish) But, once we start to get above 34 or so. LOL !

    When I was 21, I took it for granted. Fat cells are governed by HORMONES.

    What is the best possibly way to gain fat- particularly belly fat and saddle bags? Comprise your diet of potatoes, white bread soda and pasta. Have these items comprise 80 % of your diet. Your belly will be big in no time, even if you don’t pig out. I have done these experiments. Calories in/calories out is dogma. Whay we are interested in is body recomposition and losing body fat specifically. ( although not to extreme 3 % levels etc.) It does serve a purpose .

    Gary and NuSi have done excellent work. Anybody interested in truly trying to figure out obesity will support NuSi’s efforts. It’s honest effort.

    • bec says:

      I am finding these discussions very interesting – I have been dieting since my teens and have tried many things LCHF and was a even a slimming consultant for Slimming World (UK) whose primary diet was high protein eat as much as you like with limited carbs. These had always worked for me in the past but at 36 I found out I was going through the menopause (FSH in the 80’s). No matter what diets I tried even LCHF I could not shift the weight. This made me miserable. I weighed 248 and did not want to become diabetic, even though my resting blood sugar was normal I was not prepared to take that chance. So, last Augusr I decided to pay privately and have a gastric band. This was based on the assumption that 3500 calories = 1lb of fat and that restrictions in calories would ‘have to work’. So far I have lost 46 (7 months) and I feen great! I love the band but, and this is a BIG but over the last month I have not lost any weight, I even went for another ‘fill’ to restrict my calorie intake further 2 weeks ago and still nothing, not an ounce. So I went on the internet and found Gary’s thought and recalled my past and how that had worked for me and looked back at what my calories have consisted of over the past month and surprise, surprise, they are probably 90% carbs. Not refined sugars like chocolate, cake, breads or soda, but they are carbs. So I am now re-evaluating what type of calories I eat to see if this will now make a difference. Obviously I have lost weight by restricting what I eat – that is a fact. But like what has been said in many posts before, other factors are at play. No two bodies are exactly the same. There are millions of functions occurring in our bodies each and every day. No one has the same hormone levels as the next person (even we don’t in our bodies each and every day). Eating high protein has always made sense to me (we do have canine teeth after all).

      • It’s the “high fat” that so many have such a hard time getting a grip on.

        It’s LCHF, not LCHP.

        Lot’s of animal fat with quite a bit of protein and little carbohydrate.

        Dairy fat is a different bird and not equated in that statement.

        Zero dairy is a good number.

        That’s the answer, bypass surgery or anything else.

        Incidentally, we are all very much alike, rather than so different as is so often quoted to be a “golden and factual truth”.

        We are all the same would come lot’s closer to the truth.


        • bec says:

          Zero dairy is false as butter and double cream are allowed on many ‘Atkins’ style diets even if they are limited, a lot of people in these posts enjoy a spoon or two of either of these and can be added to dishes to make them more palatable.
          Also say ing we are the same just does not make sense, how can my 40 year old body be reacting the same as another woman who is 40 when I have an FSH of over 80 and her’s is under 10? Have you read the section in the book on oestrogen and it’s importance. If we were all the same then no man would go bald and everyone would be the same height or weight etc! Why do some races of people have a higher prevelance for certain disease? There has to be something more going on.
          I love fat on meat and in meat so none of my diets have ever been low fat, it’s so much juicier and flavour full. But high protein diets have to include some fat there is no escaping it if you eat animals.

          • 99.999% of this planet earth do not believe in HFLC.

            Dairy universally agreed to be wholesome, normal and natural, healthy, food.

            Fruits, grain and vegetables, the same.

            Sugar and carbohydrate addiction, unheard of.

            All of these, along with caffeine and alcohol and nicotine being potent powerful stimulant drugs, effecting our minds as well as our bodies profoundly, a complete unknown.

            We ARE essentially “all the same”.

            The effects of all these stimulants and addictions on our minds and bodies, being so varied by regional and economic and global conditions and customs, being the prevalent difference.

            If what I’m saying is true, that we are being profoundly effected by these stimulants, we are in a world of trouble.

            Handed down from generation to generation quite by accident.

            That war and greed and “the lust for power and money and more” are all stimulant driven.



            Seven billion people pointing nuclear weapons at one another, all perfectly normal.

            A natural thing.


    • gman3164 says:


      Once again you are correct! My diet back in the 90’s was: pizza for lunch, a hoagie for dinner, and I washed ’em down with pepsi or gatorade. Didn’t realize things were out of control until I hit 225 lbs. Most of that fat was indeed around my belly. As soon as I cut the crappy carbs out, my weight went down 60 lbs in one year. It’s tough to look back on those days – and realize how foolish I had been. But rest assured I am not going back to eating that “low-fat” diet. I am seeing a cardiologist tomorrow. I wonder what advice he’ll give me??? It will be yet another MD that I will have to educate… Carry on.

  109. Mitchell says:

    I love the what-if way of testing ideas.
    A thought I had is that subject A becomes a couch potato possibly because his brain receives a signal that less energy is available for expenditure (being locked away in fat cells) and so devises a way of conserving. It exposes a great vulnerability because the brain never informs that this is what it is doing. The conscious mind doesn’t see it coming. Maybe some type of depression is a tactic used by the brain to cause a conservation of energy.

  110. Razwell says:

    Hi gman,

    Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂 I hope all is well.

    I have in on TOP authority that fat loss/gain are extremely complex BIOCHEMICAL PROCESSES. It is not a basic thermodynamics problem. This is from some of the best physicists and biophysicists out there.

    After many years , I am glad this phony issue and the gurus promoting it have been debunked from reputable sources.

    I want everybody to remember these key points:

    *The human body is an open system

    *The human body is a NON- equilibrium system

    *This makes things hellishly, ungodly complex

    *There is no singular equation. If this equation could be done at all , it would likely be many. And no scientists I ever spoke to could do it. Humans cannot understand equations that complex.

    Best Wishes,

  111. Bruce Mollison says:

    I am an Animal Nutritionist. We measure calories using Gross Energy (GE), Digestible Energy (DE) Metabolizeable Energy (ME), and Net Energy (NE). In the order these are listed, the accuracy of the measure of useable calories for a specific ingredient /foodstuff (corn, wheat, meat, peas, fats, etc.) and for a particular species of animal (pig, chicken, cow etc.) increases. As an example, two foods / feeds can have an equal caloric content as measured by Gross Energy, but will have quite different caloric content when measured using Net Energy. It seems to me that the use of Gross Energy values for human foods in human weight loss trials over rates some foods and underrates others in effective (net) calories and therefore influences the results and recommendations of what to eat and what not to eat. Comments please.

  112. Gary,

    I continue to greatly appreciate and routinely recommend your work, both to clients who come to me directly, via HealthTap.com (open source potential medical assistance for the public) & in other ways.
    I introduced myself to you when you were in San Antonio, TX, speaking at UTSA last year, invited by the head of the science department for the Provost Lecture. (I was not surprised that you had not been invited by people at the UTHSCSA.)

    Referring to thought experiments: in person with clients who have often been deluded by the calories in vs. out concept (while valid from a thermodynamic viewpoint), I review with them how calories are measured, i.e. how the small calorie, & the 1,000 times larger K-Cal values are defined, what a calorimeter is, how a calorimeter is constructed, works and leads to a measurement result.

    Then I ask them what this measurement, from burning food in a calorimeter, has to do with eating the same quantity of the same food. With this background, I not found anyone who does not seem to get it.

    Respectfully and with Admiration,

  113. Gary,

    Our tongues are hanging out waiting to hear from you and your discoveries.

    Hoping all is well.



  114. Pam Smithson says:

    While I would love to see these thought experiments actually done, I realize that there are ethical as well as temporal restraints. However, there’s no reason why they can’t be done with dogs.

    By long association with humans (tens of thousands of years), dogs are able and willing to consume almost anything that we do (there are a few exceptions, such as chocolate), and are no longer obligate carnivores, as are cats.

    Further, they’re prone to almost all of the same degenerative diseases that we associate with human aging, from arthritis to diabetes (and I believe this has happened largely since cereal companies began making dog food as a way to make money from their floor sweepings).

    As their lives are shorter, the experiments would have results within a friendlier time frame. And there’s no reason that anyone should object to it as unethical, because the dogs could have all the comforts, activities, and interactions with humans and other animals as any well-cared-for pet, as long as both groups had the same amount.

  115. Kaylen says:

    I just read Why We Get Fat and am in the progress of reading Good Calories, Bad Calories — great work. I’m giving a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet a try, while staying lacto-ovo vegetarian. I found it interesting that you addressed vegetarians in your book, although I disagree a bit with your conclusions there. Obviously vegetarian sources of fat are easy to come by, and low-carb vegetarian sources of protein (beyond the obvious eggs and cheese) are less difficult to find than you might think. For example, this fake chicken http://www.gardein.com/products.php?t=fresh&p=13 has 19 g of protein for 2 net carbs. (Yes, I get a big kick out of coating it with flavoured butter before I cook it.) I’ll have to keep an eye on labels, but I found an extra-firm tofu with 10 g of protein for 1 net carb.

  116. Gary

    You do know that the human “thought” and the human “mind” are derived from sugar and hybrid carbohydrates don’t you.

    In a non-adrenaline state, the “mind” and “thought” sit idle.

    When stimulated by drugs or adrenaline the “mind” and “thought” kick into high gear to protect or “enhance” our survival.

    They mimic and exaggerate our true senses.

    We have been stimulated by sugar and hybrid carbohydrates for so long now and for so many generations and so continuously, that we think that they are a normal “always” part of our existence, these mind and thought processes.

    They are not.

    They are man made.

    We live in a constant state of “adrenaline like” existence.

    Completely abnormal and unnatural.

    All because we are stimulated by our massive sugar and hybrid carbohydrate consumption.

    “Put that in your pipe and smoke it”.


  117. fred says:

    I eat only meat fish chicken eggs water and green vegetables. Breakfast is 2 or 3 eggs. Lunch and dinner are soup or salad made of the same things – the ingredients above. I eat as much as I want and am the same wt – 145 @ 5/9 as I was in HS. Blood pressure is 110/70. Pulse 70. I do not exercise. I am nearly 70 years old.

  118. Leon Kasperski says:

    Clearly macros play a role in weight regulation. Though I haven’t done a scientific trial, I can support that despite maintenance caloric need of 2500, I would not lose weigh by eating a steady diet of only 1800 calories of cake and beer (actually I think I have tried that and failed). So at its core, we must agree that Macros do play a role on how the body responds.
    I do have 2 questions however:
    1- Do other things cause a significant enough spike in insulin to affect weight loss… i.e. a large meal vs. 6 small meals. I seem to see research that supports how large meals of even protein and fat cause insulin spike and if true wouldn’t that have an adverse effect on weight loss?
    2- If reducing carbs to decrease insulin spike leads to the mobilization of fat, wouldn’t we benefit from increased exercise to burn that fat faster? Example: If you have a bunch of mice scattered behind several locked doors, wouldn’t it be easier to catch them if all were forced into an empty, sealed off hallway?
    Once the fat is not trapped in the cells, can we burn it faster with increased energy output?

  119. LREKing says:

    As I understand it, the calories in a piece of food (or a piece of anything, for that matter) represents the amount of heat that would be released if that thing were _totally_ consumed as fuel to raise the temperature of a volume of water.

    But if I eat piece of paper and a piece of steak (each of which contains the same calories), isn’t it likely that I would digest the meat more completely (and thus derive more calories from it) while most of the paper (being cellulose — something my body cannot use but makes a great fuel) would be a waste product?

    That being the case, does it mean that using caloric values to describe food is meaningless without also knowing what percent of the potential calories can actually be digested?

    • grinch says:

      It is true that different foods have calories absorbed differently. For instance, protein is the least efficient calorie to absorb when it comes to the thermal effect of food. That is why there is a tiny metabolic advantage to eating high protein diets. But at the end of the day, the majority of calories are absorbed and used to either fuel the body, build muscle, or get stored as fat. So we can say that the calorie theory is BS because 100-200 out of 2500 in a day are lost, but I say those 2300-2400 calories still being absorbed matter.

      • LREKing says:

        So are you saying that if a person eats, for example, 5,000 calories worth of meat in a day, the body will take in all 5,000 calories — in other words, the body takes in everything one eats, regardless of how much it is?

  120. LREKing says:

    Another thing I wonder about… How much of insulin release is controlled by the body and how much by the mind?

    If merely thinking about eating something sweet results in the release of insulin, what is the magnitude of that release compared to what gets released when one actually eats the anticipated food? And can merely thinking about artificially sweetened food also release insulin? And once you’ve eaten the artificially sweetened food, how soon before the body catches on?

    If you think about eating sugar but have a piece of fat instead, does the anticipation of sugar create enough insulin that the fat is stored rather than digested?

    Silly as it sounds, can you actually think yourself fat?

  121. Gary

    You got me to thinking that your going to come with something really good in your discoveries, like how significant and important my “discovery” is for one thing.

    If mine is the truth Gary, nothing is more important.

    Sugar and hybrid carbohydrates being powerful stimulant drugs like amphetamine and cocaine.

    It’s the purest of truth but not comprehensible to the average man until acknowledged by the “learned” and intellectual.

    Then everybody will see it.

    Thanks for letting me speak.

    Tom Bunnell

  122. It’s the concentrations and availability and consumption.

    An orange has alcohol in it but it’s so minute an amount as to be a non issue.

    Concentrate that by a factor of about a thousand including availability and you would have pure alcohol.

    A whole different matter.


  123. I being the only person on the planet earth to reach out and put his finger on this is remarkable.

    Not another living soul has ever made this connection.

    Had I not made this connection it is hard telling how long more it would have gone, unnoticed and undiscovered and untold.

    It’s incomprehensible to most.

    Tens of thousands of intellects and geniuses and tens of thousands of years and not one person having picked up on this until right here right now.

    My unique set of life’s experiences and the time frame I came up in made this possible.

    Dumb luck having made for the worlds greatest discovery.

    It’s effects on our worlds future remains to be seen.

    My estimation is that this will have a huge impact in our understanding’s and goals and values.

    A greater than huge impact would be better said.

    It’s immeasurable.

    Before it’s too late.

    Have a good day.


  124. Please take a serious look at what I’m saying.

    Let it soak in.

    It’s real and it’s important.

    It’s everything except true nature.

    All stimulant driven by man.

    We are consuming and destroying the planet earth.

    There is nothing good about it.

    We have the opportunity to alter this path drastically.

    It’s going to happen no matter what we say or do because it is the truth.

    Everybody will see it once it gets understood.

    Thanks, Tom

  125. Here I am with the most important discovery the universe has ever known, and begging for this message to be heard.

    The greatest discovery there will ever be and nobody can understand it.

    We are all “spooked” and fearful from all of the stimulants we consume.

    Handed down from generation to generation and we do the same.

    We think that this “speed” mentality is the correct one.

    Let no man set “asunder”.

    Superiority and “all knowing” very much a part of speed.

    We are made in “gods image”.

    We great ones.

    We are all “on stage”.

    Everything is a “show” and we are the “stars”.

    “See me”,” see me”, “see me”.

    See my possessions.

    I am beautiful and handsome too.

    ..in this “adrenaline like state” where I live.


  126. We “White” people were taken as child slave soldiers and killers for our rulers and empires and kings, not unlike what is going on in parts of Africa today.

    Rape and murder.

    Public executions have a way of persuading the masses to not only honor and obey but love and admire the kings and queens.

    They would kill babies by the thousand in order to get total obedience and admiration from their captive armies

    Never once knowing they were insane and doing insane acts.

    It worked.

    The same thing is still going on today and we are none the wiser.

    “Long live the King”.

    “All the Kings Horses and all the Kings Men”.

    “Your Highness”.

    “Your Majesty”.

    “Your Honor”.

    It’s called “stockholm syndrome” today.

    “Natural Leadership” distorted and exaggerated and made cold blooded and blood thirsty by all of the stimulant drugs consumed by both slave and slave holder, alike.


  127. Gary

    I am the only person to have ever discovered the true “origins” of god and the devil and everything that has followed in the name of god and the devil, and I am completely ignored.

    Complete fabrications of the mind.

    Not mine.

    Mine are real.

    “God and the devil are complete fabrications of the mind and spirit”.

    Stimulants make humans feel “godlike” and all knowing and superior.

    Ruthless in their quest to control.

    Of course they know nothing of this.

    They think it’s real.

    Imaginations and dreams.


    The lust for power and more and greatness are “hallmarks” of stimulant usage.

    Wars and kings.


    Exaggerations and distortions but thought to be real and necessary.




    Build armies for protection from fabricated enemies, or created enemies.

    Lust for more and greed for power and wealth and fame.





    Hybrid carbohydrates.




    How all this relates to our minds as well and bodies.

    This is my discovery.

    It’s all one big accident that nobody knows to have happened and be happening.

    Nothing is more important than getting to the bottom of this.

    You are our man Gary.

    Go get ’em.

    Who would have dreamed that you would have stumbled onto this.

    Not you, not me, and not anybody else.

    It’s dumb luck but we were fortunate enough to have made this discovery.

    History will be rewritten and our future altered dramatically.

    All for the better because we now know that much of everything we have done is related to stimulated desires and stimulated responses.

    Completely unnatural to our minds and bodies.

    Good luck.


  128. Which of the stimulants came first and which ones followed those thousands of years ago, is a complete unknown.

    The “adrenaline like” effects of these stimulants is also a complete unknown.

    Until now.

    Increased alertness and energy along with increased vision and hearing and speed and strength and agility to name a few.

    Mental focus and zeroing in on an object or thing with acute vision and perception to better understand what it is and is it the enemy.

    If it turns out to be a non threat our adrenaline goes back to normal.

    Unnatural stimulants the way we consume them, keeps us in this state of “high” at all times and we don’t know it.

    Caffeine probably came first and probably from Asia.

    Alcohol either before or after that.

    Nicotine some areas and cocaine others.

    Hybridizing and farming of plant life and the sugars and starches came into being somewhere along the line.

    Grains and fruits and vegetables and everything else.

    Hybrid and consumed at a thousand fold.

    Marijuana probably plays in there some where.

    We became addicted to almost every one of these substances.

    Milk could have been first, it’s unknown.

    The one thing we do know is that these “once natural” to their own element “things” became potent stimulant powerful drugs the way we consume them.

    We have all been unnaturally high since infants.

    Our mothers milk is perfect but then she unknowingly began feeding us the above.

    In this “self preservation and self interest mode of high” our natural leaders became kings.

    Waring factions followed, or probably more likely stimulated fighting started from exaggerated emotions and natural aggressions exaggerated, and kings were then made.

    Superior warriors admired as always but now exaggerated with both real and unreal adrenaline beyond belief.

    He not knowing any better believing himself to be more than he is.

    Everybody followed.

    Willingly or forcefully.

    Empires and kingdoms were born.

    Gods soon followed.

    The thinking mind had come into being.

    Separate from self.

    Cunningly fulfilling ones exaggerated desires.

    Never once knowing.


  129. Robbo says:

    An elegant and clear article, Gary,. Thank you

    A question:
    You say “And if food reward characteristics are meaningful, they have to manifest themselves via the periphery — increasing fat mass, for instance, through central nervous system stimulation of adipocytes — not merely by making us want to eat more.”

    Are you saying that, if ‘food reward’ makes us eat more it still may not make us fat if, for example, the extra calories 😉 are excreted or burnt off by one of the body’s homeostatic processes and don’t go through to fat mass ?

    A typo:
    Improper apostrophe in “But the fact is even their weight’s can differ, because we’ve only fixed caloric intake”.

  130. As far back as I can get on this is the Egyptians, maybe something close to ten thousand years ago.

    Six thousand at least.

    Others probably go back fifty thousand years or more.

    These were monstrous horrible murdering self righteous people.

    Enslaving all of Israel.

    Murdering thousands of babies at a time to maintain discipline.

    These “superior” beings.

    Culturally so brilliant and intelligent and sophisticated.

    Feeding and drinking on hybrid fruits and hybrid grains and hybrid vegetables and other sugar and starch sources and no doubt alcohol and caffeine and milk.

    Marijuana fits in here somewhere.

    Stimulated out of their minds without knowing it.

    Building with slave labor monuments to themselves and gods, hundreds of years in the making.

    It’s interesting that in about that same time frame, something like ten thousand miles away and across oceans and in unknown land except for those who livd there, a very similar culture.

    Also enslaving and murdering and sacrificing innocent people fulfilling their greatness and gods.

    The Inca, Mayan, Aztec of the Americas.

    Also feeding and drinking the same food and drink and other as the Egyptians.

    “Caffeine considered a link to paradise”.

    Ingested by the “High Priests”.


  131. Wendy says:

    I just found your blog. I have a Motivation Monday link up and we all get together with weight loss tips and progress. Will you join us today?


  132. Jerry says:

    Love this article and Good Calories, Bad Calories. The fat-storage mechanism (net calories vs macronutrient composition) is probably the worst mistake the mainstream nutrition industry makes. Gary makes a ton of excellent points here. The one problem is that he goes on to conclude that if you don’t eat carbs, you can eat unlimited fat calories. That is absurd, because even with lower insulin, your body will need to store huge amounts of extra calories. Energy is still energy. That’s why the Paleo diet recommends mainly meat/produce with higher but still sensible use of fats/calories. If you eat Atkins with 0g carbs and tons more fat calories, you will lose just as much weight but will do long-term damage your body through ketosis. Much better to get 20g carbs through fruit/veggies everyday, stay out of ketosis, and still lose tons of weight. Read, learn from, and enjoy Gary’s excellent book. But if you’re going to use his info as a basis for diet, please look at Paleo/Primal. Compare their results to Atkins if you don’t believe me.

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  134. Razwell says:

    Hello Everybody,

    I want to say that Gary’s restaurant room analogy is brilliant. My analogy was the “bank account model”, but I like Gary’s a lot more. He is correct. It is pointless and meaningless to invoke the First Law of Thermodynamics. The First Law of Thermodynamics is blatantly being misused by the Lyle McDonald et al crowd so they can sound smart to a gullible public. They make many, many erroneous extrapolations. It says absolutely nothing about the causes of obesity. Yes, the conservation laws are valid for life, however, the First Law’s scope and reach are extremely limited.

    I have spoken with many, many, many top level physicists, including biophyscis scientists and nuclear physics scientists – and they all agree with Gary on the physics issue. He is on solid ground. All it says is that if somebody gained mass they had to have a consistent positive energy balance over a certain period of time SOMEHOW. That is it. That is the extent of it. Many involuntary factors affect this. Poor hormones will affect this, as well. There are dozens of reasons.

    So, as a group, let’s never let these Internet Bloggers defer to or invoke thermodyanmics again in any obesity discussion. Real scientists understand it is a totally meaningless action. Real scientists are in agreement with Gary on the physics issue. They are saying the same thing.

    But, as we know ( and the scientists know) obesity is a biological problem, not a physics problem. It deals with complex biochemical processes. The human body is ridiculously complicated.

    This is all more clear than ever. Spread the word.

    Take care,

  135. Kyle says:

    I can buy that Twin A and B will certainly have different body compositions due to the altered metabolic and hepatic function that Gary explains here. Perhaps I missing the big picture though—if energy intake is equal, and if tissue is essentially stored energy (maybe this is where I’m off?), how can one twin weigh more than the other if they consume the same amount of calories? If you put it in there, it should get stored, right?(WHAT it is stored as is a different matter…adipose, lean tissue, glycogen, etc.) Therefore, why would their absolute weight be different? Unless we are assuming that their energy expenditures are altered due to the metabolic effects of the diet. In this case, it still is a calories game, it just gets deeper: the metabolic and hormonal effects of certain types of food, etc.

    Furthermore, diving back into the thought experiment, as the sucrose ingesting twin gains fat mass due to elevated serum insulin levels, he or she expends more calories to support the increased fat mass, as Gary states. He also states that two things can happen from here: one option is that his or her energy expenditure could fall in response to this because it is coupled with a constant-calorie diet (300kcal). Why would overall energy expenditure fall in response to fat gain?

    Gary also states that another option is that he or she can metabolize his or her own lean mass in order to offset the calories absorbed into the adipose tissue due to elevated insulin, and that absolute weight would stay the same (of course–body comp. would drastically change and this is bad, I’m not overlooking that). I am respectfully curious why this option is basically mentioned but overlooked by Gary and most (if not all) of the people commenting on this blog. I tend to think that this would happen rather than BMR falling to preserve the lean tissue and offset the calories abnormally devoted to fat. At some point, of course, lean tissue must be spared, but a diet that consistently supplies the same amount of calories and generates constant, abnormally high insulin levels, I tend to believe will lead to muscle metabolism and thus weight loss, and I think that the pounds in fat gain will equal the pounds in fat loss. I believe there IS something to be said of calories here. But perhaps dietary protein will offset the amount of lost lean mass? Saying nothing of the fact that insulin increases protein synthesis…hmmm….another though experiment in itself.

    All in all, it is obvious that diet can affect body comp. Nobody is questioning that, I don’t think (maybe they are?). I simply don’t understand how the calorie IS NOT an effective way to determine weight loss and gain. What goes in must go out, right? (again, this is ignoring the long term effects of diet on body comp and RMR/BMR/REE). I’m not being facetious here, this is more like a cry for an answer.

    In any case, I hope I get some responses, and I have certainly learned a new perspective from Gary and the many comments on this article. Thanks to all for the insight.


    • Razwell says:

      Hi Kyle, 🙂

      Because the First Law does not address ANY of that in any way shape or form as Lawrence Krauss, dr. Susskind and numerous non-equilibrium thermodynamic experts themselves personally told me. Those are extremely complex biolgical and biochemical matters.

      The body itself is regualting “energy bal;ance” Gut microbita plays a huge role, calorie partitioning is huge. These things vary in individuals-especially obese people who have unfortunate gut flora and poor calorie partitioning. It does not matter that they ate the same calories. How they are partitioned and processed are different in different people- even of the same weight and height. You can stay fat on 800 calories a day with hypothyroidism and/or low testosterone.

      The First law does not at all address that the body has compensatory mechanisms- all of which affect energy balance.

      If a twin has low testosterone he generally will be fatter ( stomach and triceps usually ), less muscle etc. Hormones are everything. They are super significant.

      Yes, the conservation laws are valid for life. The First Law is true, but totally irrelevant. I hope this helped.

      As Dr. Michael Rosenbaum told me – everybody is different. There are STAGGERING amount of factors involved in body weight regulation – both involuntary and voluntary. Many of these involuntary factors affect voluntary factors. it’s a hellishly complex mess that we must figure out.

      P.S. All the top physicists I spoke to agree 100 % with Gary’s assesment about the First Law saying nothing. They all told me this topic is far better udnerstood in the context of biochemistry, and they all admitted they were not biologists. Making obesity about physics is beyond absurd and silly. The First Law says no more about fat cell behavior and obesity than it does about coronary artery disease. It never should be mentioned again. Keep in mind these are the very top experts in the world on physics.

      Take care,


    • Razwell says:

      HI Kyle

      I forgot to mention body mass ( fat and muscl;e) are tightly regulated in the hypothalamus. Every individual’s body mass if defended voraciously, this includes thin people. The hypothalamus interacts with many other systems. The system is called the “adipostat.” There is a “thermostat” in the hypothalamus that determines your individual set point. If you stray much over, it seeks to return you to normal . The same thing happens when you lose too much weight. All of these involuntary defense mechanisms and biological safeguards respond to all of your conscious efforts and attempts. The further you stray fom this ” thermostat level”, the more fierece the resistance.

      Lose 10 % of your body weight and the body lowers energy expenditure dramatically ( 25 %) and even will make muscular contractions efficient so you do not expend much energy. Every little movement you make is much more efficient. The tricks seem limitless and are not even all discovered yet.

      The overfeeding studies who how there is huge variations in repsonses to over feeding. Some gain a lot, some a little and some hardly at all. Some very skinny Asian kid gained mainly muscle after eating 4,000 calories a day more over the course of the study. It’s on YOuTUbe. He looked better.

      Two people of the same height, same weight and gender could eat the exact same calories and do the same workout but have different results as far as body fat percentage. Thermodynamcis never, ever was meant to address this. Never ever. And it doesn’t. None of this contradicts it either. This is where Lyle McDonald et al lie.

      Fat tissue itself is a genuine endocrine organ. It is also very metabolically active. The past erroneous view of fat as ONLY energy storage is completely incorrect.

      The problem with morbid obesity is that the biody views the obese state as the correct weight and “normal state” THEN “defends it aggressively as if your life depended on it” in Dr. Liebel’s words. This is a HUGE problem. It fights itself. This is newly gained knowledge and it is truly bad news.

      To treat obesity effectively long term- far better than the ineffective solutions of today- we MUST discover how to dial down that thermostat.

      If you had Reggie Miller, Mike Tyson and Larry Allen ( NFL) all lose weight on a desert island Survivor episode (short term), and lined them up together – they all would be thinner, however the order of fattest to thinnest would remain the same. The reason? Genes have a riduculously large say in how we all look. None of this contradicts thermodynamics wahtsoever. Obesity is a biological problem. Only these Internet Bloggers make it out to be somehting it is not.

      Gary has a degree from Harvard in physics. I cannot believe the nerve some of these Internet Bloggers have suggesting he ioes not know thermodynamics. It is THEY who do not.

      I hope this helps.


    • Vance says:


      Great points. Counting calories is still a great way to shed excess pounds. That doesn’t mean that macronutrient composition doesn’t matter; I think the evidence indicates it does. Nevertheless, one cannot get away from the mass/energy relationship.

      It is not possible for one of the twins (A or B) to experience an increase in body mass if the amount of energy expended is equal to the amount of energy consumed. (Additional mass has to come from some place.) Body composition changes may be possible, but if muscles and bones and everything other than body fat remain the same, body fat *cannot* increase.

      Now, if each twin increases his energy intake by 300 calories above the amount he expends, then body mass increase is possible. However, the macronutrient composition of the additional energy intake may affect the quality and quantity of the body mass increase, if there is an increase at all.

      • Razwell says:


        “Counting calories” is an illusion. There are tweo major problems:


        The body is doing that (counting calories) for us and far more accurately than we ever could. Over the course of a decade most people remain remarkably weight stable as Dr. Friedman has commented. Studies from South Africa, Sweden and elsewhere confirm this. Nobody could ever balance the energy taken in to expended over this amount of time. It’s literally about 12 million calories. Yet, the body does this with an astounding precision rate 99.6 %.

        Second: Even if we could ( whjich we cannot) calorie labels are off by as much as 10 % to as much as
        85 % ! These labels are WAAAAY off. This is from data from Dr. Friedman’s lecture.

        You could say a significant reduction in portion size leads to SHORT term weight loss. Even Dr. Linda Bacon acknowledges this. But, actually “counting calories” is a losing strategy and completely unnecessary. The body eventually catches up. Long term it is a failure.

        Tom Hanks , for his role in Castaway, did not count calories at all. He simply grabbed a handful as big as he could of food and that was all he had for the day. The whole calorie counting thing is a big illusion.Even when we are, we’re not ( accurately).
        Take care,

        • Vance says:


          I suspect you’re right about calorie labels being off, but I would guess that most are in the ball park. When I count calories, I usually go by the information on the USDA website. I have lost weight by counting calories (i.e., measuring/weighing food items carefully and keeping up with the number of calories), but I usually go by portion sizes, always with an awareness of which foods must be limited due to calorie content. That’s still a form of “counting (estimating) calories.”

          My main point in the previous post was to point out that the energy content of food does count when it comes to increasing or decreasing body mass. If we could accurately measure the amount of energy we use in a given period, and if we took in that exact amount of energy in the same period, it is not possible to increase body mass–regardless the macronutrient breakdown of the food we took in. If, however, we took in more energy than we expended, then it would be possible to increase body mass. Here’s where macronutrient content may make a difference. It is possible that one’s body fat “eats” more of the energy from diet A than from diet B.

          Back to counting calories: I do know that counting and estimating the caloric content of foods has worked well for me. I have lost weight on ketogenic diets and on high-carbohydrate diets. I have also gained weight on both ketogenic and high-carbohydrate diets. The key to losing body fat, at least for me, has been reducing the calories I take in. I can do this by carefully measuring and weighing and keeping up with the (supposed) calories of the foods I eat, or by simply keeping serving and meal sizes reasonable (based on my own experience in dieting).

          • Kyle says:


            So you’re saying that the idea of a calorie is completely wrong? I never did understand how we can light a food on fire outside of our body, measure the heat it produces, and compare that to the digestive process…..you’re saying that you don’t believe in calories at all?

          • Kyle says:

            My previous message was intended for Razwell, not Vance.

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  138. Jeffrey Silverman says:

    Let’s run another “thought experiment”.
    Suppose you wake up after a long long sleep and you are in what seems like the garden of Eden. There is ripe fruit laying around everywhere to be eaten. Bananas, grapes, etc. There is a huge jar of wild honey for the taking. There is an unlocked but full starbucks for you to raid. There are whole grains and garbonzo beans to be eaten. You eat to your hearts content. What season does your Metabolism think it is? Of course your body knows it is “Harvest time”… So what comes next after Harvest Time. Winter, of course. so what will your body do? It will up-regulate your appetite and down regulate your activity level to store energy for survival needs in the coming winter. You will gain weight like crazy.

    Next you go on a diet, you cut calories to the bone. You cut fat. You fight your hunger and you force your weight down. What does your body think when you are feeding it lettuce with lemon juice? Hey your body thinks it is winter. What does it do? It shuts down calorie burning and up regulates your appetite. You can lose weight for a while, but then it comes back with a vengeance.

    Finally you read Gary Taubes, you read Protein Power, you read Atkins and Agatston, you read Mark’s Daily Apple and go on a version of the Paleo Diet but low carb and 16 hour daily fasts with HIIT a couple times a week. What does your body think? It thinks it is Spring Time. It thinks you are a great hunter bringing great food with lots of good fats in it. It sees the sprinting and decides to allow your weight to drop to facilitate getting away from predators and help you to hunt quality foods….

    That’s what I have been doing for 5 months. I have lost nearly 40 pounds. Dramatically changed all my labs and blood pressure. Inflammation way down. Fasting blood sugar went from 100 to 55. It would have been interesting to have tested arterial ketone levels.

    In other words, your body and metabolism is not a CICO counting machine. It is a very primal reptilian brain running your metabolism. If you tell it that winter is coming it will put on weight. If you tell it that winter is here, it will fight losing weight. If you tell it that you are a great hunter and its springtime, it will facilitate you losing weight. It’s that simple. All the science fits this experimental thought model I have created.

    Jeff Silverman

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  140. Vance says:

    If each twin uses 3,000 calories per day, and each takes in 3,000 calories per day, then neither of them would experience an increase in body mass regardless the composition of their diets. It’s not possible, as the additional mass (weight gain) has to come from some place. If the energy in the macronutrients is being used up, how can the body accumulate new mass, each ounce of which represents a certain measurement of energy. Can energy (and hence, mass) be created from nothing? No!

    Now, if each is expending 3,000 calories a day but taking in 3,300 per day (with A getting the extra 300 calories from sucrose and B getting the extra 300 from glucose alone), then it is possible that, by the end of the experiment, one of the twins will have experienced a greater change in body mass than the other due to the differences in the composition of their diets.

    The question is not whether or not calories count. Of course they do. The question concerns whether or not (and the degree at which) different diets promote storage of energy over and above the amount expended.

    • Razwell says:

      Hi Vance

      The twin situation- The First Law of Thermodynamics does not address the individual variation in how calories are partionioned in individuals and how they are processed. That is the problem. Nor does it address how voraciously body fat is defended to different degrees in different people. Nor their hormonal profeiles whcih affect body fat testosterone, theyroid etc.) All of this will affect energy balance.

      Energy is excreeted in feces as well. The figure has been as much as 7 % as Dr. Bacon has said. There is huge variation in how different people respond to overfeeding and underfeeding. Some gain tremendously others very little. There are also plenty of overweight and obese peopel eating well and exercising, yet remaining fat. There are many thin people living terrible lifestyles and remaining thin. None of that contradicts thermodynamics. It only contradicts the phony understanding and erroneous extrapolations of thermodynamics that peopel like Colpo and Lyle McDonald hold).

      Thermodynamics does not at all address the factors that keep people thin or obese- biology , hormones and and genes do.

      All the First Law of Thermodynamcis says is that *IF* there was a postitive energy balance *somehow* ( and many involuntary things affect this “somehow” ) – then that person would have to have gained mass ( fat or muscle). The body itself is largely in control of energy balance involuntarily. The point most people miss is that our voluntary efforts do not affect this energy balance that much- *(it is limited as Dr. Friedman has said). This is especially true over the very long term- 10 years or more.

      Two people of the same gender, height and weight can eat the same number of calories, same workouts etc. but have very , very different results regarding weight loss and body fat levels.

      None of this contradicts the First Law of Thermodynamics in any way, shape or form- not in the slightest. I have spoken to Dr. Susskind directly about this. He agrees that Internet saslesmen ( people such as Colpo et al.) are grossly misrepresenting the scope of this law. Its scope and reach are extremely limuited and it does not say what these salesmen say it does.Susskind is a genius with physics and beat hawking in the Black Hole debate.

      I have spoken to Dr. Friedman , Dr. Linda Bacon and Dr. Fitzgerald about the biological part of it. There are MANY paths energy can be led to, as they all told me. All researchers I spoke to agree that the caloric hypothesis is far too simplistic to explain body weight regualtion (by itself). The caloric hypothesis and the First Law of Thermodynamics are different things. The second is a wrong headed extrapolation of a valid law. Things such as “eat less, move more” are extrapolations that do not take into account the body adjusting and responding to things.

      However, they all agree that thermodynamics is valid for life. It is just none of this info contradicts thermodynamics. Internet salesmen act as if it does to sell products. Lyle McDonald has erroneous physics and biological information. I see that clearly now after my converstaions with these brilliant scientists.

      I wanted to refute these Internet salesmen so bad that I took it upon myself to talk with scientists such as Dr. Tyson and Dr. Susskind myself directly by email.

      I hope this helps.

      Best wishes,


    • Razwell says:

      In other words, what gets absorbed, excreeted even eaten up by gut microbiota. Obese people have different strains of intestinal flora than that of very lean. Unfortunate gut flora can be a huge problem in why energy bal;ance remains positive. Gut flora and its affetcs on weight is an exposing new area of research. In fact, we have so much to learn about human gut flora and the effect of different diets on it that we are all “flying blind”

      How these claories are handled are different in different people . If somebody with moderate to severe hypothyroidism ate only 800 to 1,000 calories- they could remain fat. Whereas , if a healthy young male with no disease or homonal trouble ate the same amount, he would likely be too thin.

      My main point is that the First law of Thermodynamics is being grossly miusused and abused tremendously by the commercial weight loss industry. It’s all based on a phony understanding.

      To blame all obese people for being fat, to chastise them, all in the name of thermodynamics is about as scientifically erroneous as erroneous can be. Thermodynamics cannot in any way shape or form be used to justify the stigmatization of obese poeple or be used to assign blame. It is a biological/ biochemical issue- not a physics issue and this comes directly from non- equilibirum thermodynamics expert ( humans are non- equilibirum systems) Christopjer Jarzynski himself. He agrees with Gary about the physics issue albiet indirectly.

      Jarzynski knows his stuff. The guy is a genius.

      MIT guys recommended him to me. I encourage everybody on here to read “Life’s Ratchet” by Peter Hofman to learn more about this subject. I am gratefulto Dr. Jarzynski.

      Best wishes,

      • Vance says:

        I agree with all that you’ve said. (I could be wrong, but I think Lyle McDonald would agree with it, as well.) And, as you said, none of it contradicts thermodynamics. All the biological systems and factors you mentioned affect how much of the energy we take in is used, stored, or excreted — so it’s still a matter of “calories in/calories out” (i.e., energy in energy out). To state it simply, many biological factors affect how much energy an individual’s body fat “eats,” and these biological factors differ from person to person. That’s why each person has to discover what works for him or her where reducing body fat is concerned.

        • Razwell says:

          You’re right, Vance. 🙂 It will be different methods for different people. As Dr. Michael Rosenbaum specifically told me “Everybody is different.”

          Take care,

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  143. Razwell says:

    Hi Kyle

    Yes, I am saying that I believe the First Law of Thermodynamics is valid for life. However, as the scientists told me, the caloric hypothesis is overly simplistic and cannot explain the regulation of body weight by itself. This regulation is hellishly complex.

    The caloric hypothesis people make many grossly erroneous extrapolations of this law. This study, as well as many others, shows how the claoric hypothesis is far too simplistic. There are aSO many things it does not address. Circadian rythyms matter. Energy partiotioning and pathways matters. But, it does not refute any thermodynamic laws.

    I know because Dr. Fitzgerald told me himself. The Salk Institue ( very respected research center) also has slain the calorie god back in May 2012:



    lastly, when I was sick with mononucleosis, i had severe weight loss. I am 6’2″ 186, but got down to 140 pounds. Everybody was balming me. But I had zero control over my weight back then,. I was simply skinny. I did nothing special, no exercise or diets. I ate what I wanted. I did no exercise. None of this violates thermodynamics.

    If you really want to see how these Internet salesmen are incorrect about physics and that Gary IS correct on the thermodynamics issue, I would suggest this book:

    “Life’s Ratchet” by Peter Hoffman Both M.I.T. scientists as well as others recommended this to me personally to read in detail about this interesting ( and often misused) subject.

    Best wishes,

  144. Razwell says:

    The scientifically well supported evidence ( from Dr. Jeffrey Friedman, Dr. Michael Rosenbaum and Dr. Rudolph Liebel) that “our bodies seem to have a mind of their own” regarding our weight and body fat levels does NOT in any way , shape or form contradict thermodynamics- it is a biochemical and biological issue. “There is no singular equation that can characterise the loss and gain of body fat” “The loss and gain of fat and muscle are extremely complex biochemical processes and best understood within the conext and framework of biology rather than basic physics.” as Dr. Christopher Jarzynski told me personally.

    Any top physicist would tell you this- as they have told me.

    Here is Dr. Friedman talking about how calorie count label mistakes are absolutely absurdly enormous:


    Here is Dr. Friedman talking about the limits of voluntary factors to affect our body weight- especially over the very long term.


    Guys like James Krieger and Lyle McDonald are discredited salesmen.

  145. Gary

    You got seven billion stimulant addicts and were trying to figure out why we are going to hell in a hand basket.

    Try that on for size.



  146. Will Lanich says:

    It looks like the mainstream medical community might be catching on:


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  150. Gary

    I didn’t set out to make this “discovery”.

    It just fell in my lap.

    I don’t know what else to do with it but try to bring it forward.

    “It’s so easy to see once looked at that a blind man could see it”.

    It does take a look though.



  151. Sarah says:

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  154. Harry James says:

    Everything you speak of rings a bell with me. Way back when I stood in front of the refrigerator drinking ice cold NONFAT milk, gulk-gulk-gulk, thinking it would not affect me because it was non-fat, little did I know all milks are approximately 20 grams of sugar per 8 ounces. I am now 59 years old and my 9 month baby I am carrying is proof-positive of sugar. I am NOT diabetic and I have worked very hard this past 2 years to avoid that happening. My last blood panel was excellent with a GI of 75 and my LDL down to 160 lowest in history. So, I am on the right track, and I am beginning to believe this will take years, like the years it took for me to build the belly I am complaining about. But a part of me wants to believe that if this insulin resistance is true, then isn’t there some way to intervene and reprogram the body to STOP storing fat altogether? In order to assist the loss of fat?

    Harry James

  155. Lazeo says:

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  162. Razwell says:

    Anthony Colpo is back again bashing Gary Taubes in his new article. Let me reiterate to all readers here that Colpo’s understanding of obesity’s underlying biochemistry and physiology, as well as his understanding of physics is beyond laughable- actually non- existent.

    I want to reiterate that ALL of the 30 plus scientists I have personally communicated with from M.I.T., Cal Tech, Oxford, Harvard and Cambridge are UNANIMOUSLY IN FULL AGREEMENT with Gary Taubes’ assesment of the first law of thermodynamics and how it is being misused by Blogoshpere salesmen.

    The human body is an open, non-equilibrium dissipative thermodynamic system.

    Generally, naturally thin people are very good at wasting a lot of energy in the form of diddipated heat.

    Naturally thin people also have radically different strains of intestinal microflora in their large intestines compared to that of obese individuals. Hormones affect energy balance as well ( e.g. low testosterone, low thyroid and more). Recent research shows gut microflora’s role in weight AND health in general is ENORMOUS.

    All of this powerfully affects energy balance. NONE of it contradicts the first law of thermodynamics as the dimwitted Colpo claims. The first law has a very limited scope and reach as all laws do. It does NOT adress gut microfolora’s effects, nor hormones, nor tendency of thinner individuals to waste substantial energy in the form of disspated heat . It is COMPLETELY SILENT on those matters. It is only the crank salesmen who extrapolate it and abuse it. Yes , it is valid for life, but explains NOTHING about the many causes of obesity. Let us never even mention it again.

    Dr. Jarzinsky is a world renowned expert on this area of physics. He is a leader in the field. He personally told me what Gary says. Namely , “that obesity deals with hellishly complex BIOCHEMICAL processes. It is NOT a problem of basic physics. It is best understood within the context of physiology.” Words to that affect.

    Colpo has no credibility whatsoever and has been called out on his ridiculous rhetoric by scientists from the Scripps Institute , various cardiologists, as well as many others. He is the laughing stock of the scientific community and publishes in JPandS which is a well known (political, not medical) crank journal.

    Recently, he has been busted and caught red handed giving completely phony and bogus references to Dr. Ornish’s work to support his crackpot agenda in an attempt to mislead and fool his gullible and uneducated readers. Misrepresenting studies, taking them out of context – it is all part of his game.

    Gary Taubes’ work is of top quality and attracts Ph.D. readers. He also has a degree from Harvard in physics.

    Anthony Colpo’s writings attract the lowest common denominator types who do not even understand the basics of science, let alone physics.

    In summary, ignore his nonsense articles. It is total garbage. Every other month he has one bashing Gary for no reason.

    It is very common for scammer salesmen to do complete turnarounds and supress what they used to write about by trying to get past articles deleted- which is just what Colpo tried. He is not an intelligent person at all.

    NONE of the scientists I communicated with are saying what Colpo( or CarbSane, Lyle McDonald or James Krieger) is erroneously claiming about the first law and/or obesity.

    My research was 4 years in the making to discredit theses charlatans. I am very happy to have done so publicly .

    Take care,

  163. Razwell says:

    I’d further like to add that Gary Taubes’ position that exercise is NOT a particularly effective or reliable treatment for obesity. This IS true and it IS supported by real experts such as :

    Dr. Jeffery Friedman

    Dr. Michael Rosenbaum

    Dr. Rudolph Leibel

    Dr. Linda Bacon

    This has been tested and it fails- especially over the long term. Exercise does not even burn that much energy- not what your body ‘s organs do. it actually small. Calories burned during exercise are DRAMATICALLY overstated. This is new information.

    In weight reduced obese people the body will INDUCE A SUPER CHEMO-MECHANIC EFFICIENCY. Your muscles will not waste anywhere near the amount of energy that a normal naturally thinner person’s muscles will . Autonomic activity is ALSO DIALED DOWN significantly. ( sympathetic denervation)

    This is what Dr. Leibel refers to as a “NON-PHYSIOLOGIC STATE” Reversing this is where the research is headed- NOT on how many calories you burned during exercise etc. The FORMER is productive. The latter is NOT productive. This is only one example of many, many, many examples . Your body is not static. It does NOT “sit there and take it.”

    This is a matter of the PHYSIOLOGY of how your body PROTECTS fat mass aggressively by ALL sorts of tricks. The first law is NOT contradicted by this information WHATSOEVER. It was NEVER even meant to address it. It says NOTHING about this. It says NOTHING about your body’s powerful defensive compensatory biological safeguards.

    These charlatans cannot get their piddly dimwitted brains around this BECAUSE they EXTRAPOLATE the first law, as well as abuse it and misuse it.

    We see weight regain ( some gain more, some gain a little less) EVEN in people who rigorously maintain and adhere to their regimens. It’s BIOLOGY, NOT willpower OR physics.

    Professional obesity researchers ackniowledge this. This is well accepted. I have NO IDEA where Colpo et al get their information from but it certainly is NOT recent top quality science from some of the best scientists in the world on the topic.

    Colpo, Krieger, CarbSane- their information is complete garbage and their understanding of the complex physiology of obesity is beyond laughable. “eat less, move more” has NOT been shown to be effective from genuine scientifci inquiry.

    Dr. Friedman explains here:


    Further, Gary is CORRECT that counting calories is an illusion and nonsense. Calorie labels are off by as much as 85 %. Yes 85%!

    It is my wish that ALL supporters of NuSi will challenge CarbSane et al. with the information I provided.

    Who has more credibility? A pioneering scientist who made one of the greatest discoveries all time about obesity and body weight regulation OR a lowly Internet Blogger ( with a proven record of bogus references) publishing sensationalist articles to an uneducated audience? Colpo et al DEBUNKED by a real, world class expert.Dr. Friedman IS the real deal and respected worldwide as a scientist. he lectures all over the world and is a leader in the field. Friedman does NOT support “eat less move more” as a solution to true morbid obesity because 21st century science CAN DIO MUCH BETTER than Hippocrates’ suggestion.

  164. Tom Boyer says:

    If the studies haven’t explained why low-carb high-fat produces excellent results for so many people, that is probably a reflection of the poor quality of the science, because the result itself is undeniable at this point. Just one small example — the exhaustive attempts to prove CICO never seem to take into account the energy value of stool. What we excrete is actually loaded with unused calories — animal poop has been used as fuel for thousands of years. Is it possible that’s where the calories are disappearing to when people do LCHF? If you’re not burning 3,000 calories a day, and you’re also not storing it, well then where’s it going? There’s a lot of jabbering about the laws of thermodynamics by people who never even think about the energy value of what’s excreted.

    • Razwell says:

      You’re correct, Tom. Great comment.

      Poop has calories. About 7 to 9 % of energy is excreted in the form of solid waste. What’s more is that none of these dopey Carb Sane et al gurus talk about the fact that the human body produces a very substantial amount of dissipated heat- lost energy.

      Colpo et al do not even know that humans exhange energy and matter with the surrounding environment. When we simply breathe we are changning the numbers of atoms / molecules in our bodies.

      How ridiculous it is of Colpo et al to bash Gary Taubes about thermodynamics when none of them even have a degree in physics, let alone from Harvard University. They are not even laymen who have studied it intensively.

      Add to this that even though the first law is valid for life, as the world renowned physicists I communicated with told me- obesity is not a physics issue, it’s biochemical and biological.

      I guess carbSane et al cannot get their piddly minds around this. They are undereducated idiots. They ” do not know what they do not know” as one of the scientists told me.

      Excellent comment 🙂

      Take care,

      • David says:

        But those on a high fibre diet which usually has more carbs. excrete more solid waste than carnivores.

        This new institute should include thin people in its remit and focus on health, not obesity. This is fairer on the thin minority who never gain weight but still develop the same diseases as the obese and die a long way short of age 100 or 110.

      • Material Guy says:

        Classical thermodynamics is devoid of detailed atomistic mechanisms. It focuses on State Variables (pressure, temperature, volume chemical concentration….). That gives it seemingly great power.

        It does not focus on complexities such as how food becomes fat and gets into the blood stream and migrates through call walls to become body fat. It was largely developed with no knowledge of enzymes or hormones.

        It is commonly poorly taught and misunderstood. The first and second laws of thermodynamics, the conservation of energy and the necessary increase of entropy are fundamentally accounting principles.

        If these accounting principles are not satisfied, then either the proposed process cannot happen, there is an error in the data, or something is overlooked.

        Put another way, the energy and entropy principles are NECESSARY BUT NOT SUFFICIENT to claim that something WILL HAPPEN.

        There are thousands of processes that satisfy the energy and entropy principles, but do not actually happen in real time.

        Diamonds are thermodynamically not the equilibrium for of carbon at room temperature and pressure, graphite is the equilibrium form. Kinetics of this transformation are exceptionally slow and your diamond ring is safe. METASTABLE is the word to describe the status of diamond.

        Virtually all of the biochemical processes in your body will not proceed unless the appropriate catalysts are present. These typically are enzymes.

        Time is not an explicit variable in classical thermodynamics. That is one reason that classical thermodynamics cannot predict rates of processes, and the subject of chemical kinetics exists to try to fill that limitation of classical thermodynamics.

        To claim that something actually happens because it satisfies both the first and second law of thermodynamics is a mark of not actually understanding the limits of thermodynamics.

        Most explosives are thermodynamically predicted to spontaneously react, but in actuality, something is needed to kick off the kinetic processes involved and make an explosion.

        A common demonstration in Chemistry class is to have a balloon filled with two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen floating through the lecture. Near the end of the lecture, a small spark or flame is applied to the balloon and the explosion occurs instantly. The (explosive) mixture of hydrogen and oxygen was stable throughout the lecture, but no reaction occurred in any practical sense. The reaction of hydrogen and oxygen to form water satisfied both the first and second laws of thermodynamics (“spontaneous reaction possible”) but did not spontaneously occur.


        Thermodynamics also can differentiate impossible process from those that are possible, but reactions that are possible may need catalysts to occur at reasonable rates.

        • Razwell says:

          Hi Material Guy,

          EXCELLENT! That was a great article. Thank you.

          Every link in the chain must fit. It is the thing that does NOT fit that is most interesting to scientists. They welcome and want their world views completely uprooted.

          These various Internet hucksters ( Armi Legge, James Krieger, et al) – who rail on Gary all the tim- do not understand that the caloric hypothesis cannot even BEGIN to explain “normal weight obesity.” This condition does not at all fit. THIS is where we MUST investigate.

          Dr. Garret Fitzgerald ( a top biology researcher) himself told me that “the caloric hypothesis is far too simplistic by itself to explain the regulation of body fat mass which is highly complex”

          I have seen many women who appear thin or at least normal weight, yet have cottage cheese type fat riddled all over their bodies- surprisingly high body fat percentages. ( I am not criticizing them, if anything I am sympathetic).

          There are all sorts of erroneous extrapolations made by these hucksters about the first and second laws of thermodynamics to sell their worthless products. People like Richard Feynman had a scientific mindset when dealing with problems science can address. He advised to “Think Like A Martian” when dealing with an especially complex problem. We should never predecide what we are trying to find as Krieger at al do.

          Both Feynman and Einstein would NOT have been happy with these scammers’ anti-scientific mindset. Krieger et al are only interested in defending a failed idea based on their erroneous extrapolations and phony understanding of “thermodynamics.”They are in no way shape or form interested in getting closer to the truth. They are the antithesis to genuine scientific inquiry.

          It is perfectly logical and rational when trying to understand obesity to :

          * understand fat cell regulation

          * understand the chemical bnehavior of fat cell receptors

          *how this interacts with the brain

          to even BEGIN to treat obesity successfully. Without that, there is nowhere to start. Science does not at all understand the latter, and the former only a little bit. It is no suroprise we have not treated it effectively. All we have are dogmatic doctors and Internet salesmen.

          What could potentially explain normal weight obesity? The fat cell disregulation/ chemical behvaior of fat cell receoptors proposal may.

          Some of the very top physcists in the world have kindly told me by email that obesity is a biological /biochemical matter, NOT a physics or basic thermodynamics problem. ( Jarzynski, Filppenko , Susskind etc.)

          Both Einstein and Feynman suggested looking at a problem completely ANEW as if we never saw it before- unlearning all we think we know .This is what Gary Taubes is trying to do and has done well. 🙂 I sincerely commend him for it.

          I will leave everybody with a great video featuring the great Richard Feynman talking about “Thinking Like A Martian.”

          Anybody who watches this video will clearly see how James Krieger and CarbSane are the epitome of an anti-scientific mindset and the antithesis to genuine scientific inquiry.


          Take care,

        • Razwell says:

          Excellent article. 🙂 Very nice.

          As Dr. Friedman has also noted ” Access to adequate energy(calories) in some form is necessary, BUT NOT SUFFICIENT for severe morbid obesity to occur.” A hugely important point.

          Normal people cannot reach 800 or 1,000 pounds no matter hard they try. In people such as Manuel Uribe, something went very, very wrong with the systems that regulate body size and fat mass. It is genuine disregulation.

  165. Gary

    I keep hoping and thinking that maybe after your’s and your colleges putting together such a distinguished group of scientists and researchers and being funded to the tune of millions of dollars, even though in todays world this is in reality, only what we would call seed money, that your group would possibly be scratching the surface into the mental aspects in all this, the sugar and carbohydrate consumption dilemma that we are all facing as it effects the mind as well as the body.

    The adrenaline like effects on our minds, the stimulant drug factor.

    The inertia in the making of kingdoms and waring nations.

    I hope that’s what we’re waiting for anyway.

    Not to minimise the obesity and diabetes and heart disease study.

    We need help bringing this mental message forward.

    It’s being left untouched as it stands.

    A sin,

    I believe for something of this importance, to not even be looked at.

    Much less discussed.

    Hoping your onboard.

    Thank you and best

    Tom Bunnell

  166. Gary

    This is Harvard Graduate, Peter Breggin, discussing medications.

    I know your busy but the first two minutes please.

    This guy is a fantastic discovery.


    Thank you, Tom Bunnell

  167. Patti says:

    This blog feels like a ghost town. No posts in almost a year. Where is Gary?

    • He has been studying The Bunnell Farm Theory and Hypothesis, regarding how Stimulants effect our minds, as well as our bodies. — He will be making his announcements and findings here shortly. Fully collaborating The Bunnell Farm and Tom Bunnell and The Bunnell Farm Discovery, that sugars and hybrid carbohydrates and caffeine and alcohol and nicotine, are indeed powerful stimulant drugs like amphetamines and cocaine and causing similar adrenaline like effects that are having profoundly effected the earth and our societies and cultures. The cause of war and rape and greed and banishment. Stay tuned!

  168. Based upon my studies as a certified sports and exercise nutrition counselor, and what I have seen in my practice with clients, your thought experiment is spot on.

    The only additonal distinction I would make is the difference in human soma types and their relative insulin dominance. People can be distinctly different in their insulin responses to identical carbohydrate consumption and therefore store more or less.

    Also, Dr. Mark Hyman sites weight loss experiments in his book “Ultra Metabolism” in which subjects were fed identical calorie meals with differing macro nutrient composition. The results were totally consistent with your thought experiment. The high carbohydrate subjects lost weight at a much slower rate than their higher protein and fat counter parts. Even though their was a significant negative energy balance in each group.

    Keep at this. You will eventually melt the glacier of obtuseness in the world of nutrition “experts”.

    Mike Bucalo
    New Braunfels Texas

  169. I beg you to watch that PBS Documentary regarding King Henry Vlll in it’s entirety.

    Profound doesn’t begin to describe it.

    Thank You, Tom

  170. Susan says:

    Gary, I completely believe what you’re saying about insulin, calories, etc. Thought your books made a great deal of sense, along with Davis’s “Wheat Belly”. However after years of hearing all about “creating a calorie deficit” to lose weight, I have a question. If you do eat more calories (energy) than your body needs on any given day, what happens to the excess calories? I guess it doesn’t matter…that energy is just ‘wasted’…since calories are not, in fact, nutrients or actual molecules of whatever, the body doesn’t metabolize molecules of ‘calories’ but grams of the actual “nutrient”, protein, carbohydrate, fat. That makes sense. But then what happens if you eat more protein than you need? or more fat? I’ve been sticking to my 20 gm net carbs daily, but when I see how much fat and protein I’m eating (it sure adds up fast), although I truly believe it’s not a problem, it still makes me a bit uneasy. Any thoughts about these questions?

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  172. Wednesday, October 30, 2013
    These are the monsters that came across the waters to what we came to call “America”… The New World. These 500 Years Ago, North America and Central and South America (These are the two contrasts side by side and true)(A remarkable history)
    (Before and After, Carbohydrate Consumption).

    “High” on sugars and sweets and starches and caffeine and alcohol and then added nicotine from the “New” World.

    These marauding armies took over the whole world.

    The entire planet earth was either boxed in or taken.

    White Europeans.

    The Kingdoms.

    They themselves having “risen” and formed armies themselves to fight and kill “other” invading armies throughout the centuries and millenniums before.

    Armies from Africa and Asia.

    Hundreds of thousands and million man armies on horseback with guns and swords and killing everything in sight

    Taking all.

    “All the kings horses, and all the kings men”.

    Beheaded themselves if they didn’t fight merrily and gallantly.

    Nobody knows for certain which came first or who was the first to go crazy from the stimulants.

    Which came first, the chicken or the egg.

    It was fast and spread like wildfire for hundreds and then thousands of years.

    Whole races and nations falling before these armies.

    Men, women and children and babies.

    No one spared.

    Just like “Hitler”.

    Killing all.

    The “Americas” and much of the rest of the world was still “virgin” and unscathed five hundred years ago.

    1492 to 1992

    521 years to be exact from 1492 until 2013.

    North Africa and Asia and Europe had been going at it for some thousands of years at this point but for millions of years they had been pristine and virgin.

    The Egyptians,

    The Roman Empire,

    The Mongolians and Genghis Khan.





    The Church of England.


    What makes this timeframe so important to me is the contrast between the two and the “what the next five hundred years brought”.

    Historians are a lot better at this than I am.

    I just see the big picture.

    The big picture and the small picture actually.

    The forest and the trees.

    These whites that came across those waters then became slave breeders and farmers in the new country.

    Turning the whole earth into their “profit” frontier.

    Taking everything from the indians and brutally killing them all.

    Slaughtering the trees and buffalo herds.

    Taking all.

    Ruthless insanity from the beginning to then end and still today.

    Rewriting laws and transferring wealth about.

    Slaughtering the remaining earth.

    Say anything and you are “blasphemous”.

    To speak against the king.

    To be beheaded.

  173. Mark H says:

    It would be interesting to see the reaction to the
    very simple experiment of a low fat group and a low carb group under the same “eat until you are satisfied” rules.

    The difference between the effects of a low fat and a low carb diet where neither group was calorie or portion restricted might be quite dramatic.

    How would “calories are calories” advocates explain the difference? Are carbs without fat just somehow more “interesting” than fat without carbs? Is there any supporting evidence whatsoever for this?

    Would the folk who conduct diet studies using calorie restricted low fat vs. unrestricted low carb argue that it’s somehow unfair to apply the same standard to both groups? Why exactly?

    How would they explain the results?

  174. Jesse Barnes says:

    So how about it, Gary? Will we get a post this year or have to wait until next year? How are things going with NuSi? Any preliminary results yet? Have you read any interesting studies recently you’d like to share with us?

  175. HowardW says:

    It’s really quite simple. Carbs like wheat and rice are essentially weeds. If you eat a lot of weeds, your highly evolved wild body thinks that you are desperate and on the verge of starvation because you can’t get meat, marrow or roots. Therefore, your metabolism slows down and you pack on the fat to get you through the lean times. As the weed diet continues, your gut flora starts to get septic, causing auto-immune, low immunity, inflammatory, etc, leading to cancer, heart disease and stroke.

  176. Bubba Smith says:

    Happy 1-year anniversary since the last blog post!!

  177. Peter Jensen, MD says:

    I had known about Gary Taubes and his books for a couple years and had always believed in carb over fat restriction, but was always “too busy” to read them. Then I read this article last year and then realized I needed to read them. I have now read them both, several times, Good Calories, Bad Calories a total of 6 times now thanks to Audible.com. The 6 reads of GC,BC were due to the immense volume of material and nature of the work. Those of you who have only read Why We Get Fat need to try to take on Good Calories Bad Calories. It is my far the most comprehensive, in depth, thoroughly researched treatise I have ever read on any subject in my life. It is a true masterpiece. I’ve been a practicing family physician for 35 years and have struggled with these issues, watched with skepticism as the studies Gary cites ie Framingham, LRC-CPPT, MRFIT came out and wondering at the time how the government could make the claims they did with such poor data as they had. Taubes took those studies and countless more and put them all into perspective as well as meticulously laying out the physiology of obesity, weight gain, as well as the the causes of all chronic disease, and the history of how this science was proven as well as the amazing resistance of the academic community to accept this science. Good Calories, Bad Calories is the definitive piece on diet and disease ever done. There is nothing out there that comes close. That is basically what I said in the review I put on Amazon (which I need to redo). I truly believe Gary Taubes deserves the Nobel Prize for the lives he is going to save as more academic people of influence read it and get on board, like Eric Westman, Tim Noakes etc.

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  179. J Johnson says:

    Gary Taubes is a fraud. Please do not play games with your heart, people.


  180. John Clarke says:

    Dear Sir,
    I should like to sign up to receive your messages, but I cannot log into Google. My son working in Japan informed me of your research two years ago. He had learnt of it from a Puerto Rican collègue, also working in Japan, whose father is a doctor of medicine in San Juan. My son had been suffering from migrine headaches ever since he was a boy. Upon practicing a low carb diet, he no longer suffered from them. He thus told us of the benefits of a low carb diet, describing the research you, Gary Taubes, have conducted. Last year on vacation in the states I bought a copy of your book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, and read it from start to finish. Your reseach was spellbinding. Really. And my son thanks to the low carb diet no longer had migraine headaches. So since August my wife and I have been on a low-carb diet in France. We have lost several pounds and now feel that we have a lot more energy than we had a year ago, when we were on a typical French diet (sorry I forgot to mention that we live in France) of bread, pasta, and potatoes.
    We have no ‘scientific’ proof of the effectiveness of a low carbohydrate diet, but empircally we are benefitting from the rewards. Needless to say, we have banned white-refined sugar forever from out diet. In France the trouble is that the sugar-refining (distillary industry) is huge and therefore it is not likely appreciate our findings.
    All the best,
    John Clarke

  181. Razwell says:

    Some of the world’s very best physicists – the best of the best- the cream of the crop- unanimously and emphatically agree with the Harvard educated Gary Taubes’ assesment of the first law of thermodynamics and how it does NOT explain the BIOCHEMICAL causes of morbid obesity. While they DISAGREED with CarbSane’s, Anthony Colpo’s and Lyle McDonald’s assesments- stating they are erroneously extrapolating this law far beyond its scope and reach. These world renowned scientists specifically stated to me that :Obesity is a biochemical matter best understood within the framework of physiology. It’s NOT a matter of basic thermodynamics.” ‘Nuff said. I, Razwell, should know because I communicated with them.

    Extrapolations of laws in science is a no-no and the result is almost always going to be a wrong conclusion. All laws do is give us “if this, then that.” Laws are are only descriptions of Nature’s behavior under very specific conditions and circumstances. They are not “immutable” as commonly ( and erroneously) believed. Laws are open to revision, ammendentment or to being overturned. They are open to the possibility of being wrong- as ALL things in science are. Everything is tentative in science. As Feynman said, ” We are trying to figure it out. “Everything is possibly wrong , let us see.”

    Down this road CarbSane et al do not want to go with me as I have investigated it intensively for 4 years straight. I have issued them public challenges. They know I have gone to exceedingly great lengths over the last 4 years to discredit them.

    Best wishes,

    • gman3164 says:

      Keep up the good work! I have a colleague who teaches chemistry, and I was trying to explain the value of low-carb eating to her. Her first response was “You can’t get around the first law.” She is a logical person, but she was “stuck” on this issue. I said to her “The first law only states that IF you are gaining mass, then you had to take in more matter than you expended. And IF you are losing mass, then you had to expend more than you took in. Period. It says nothing about HOW the body does either one of those phenomenon.” Her next response was that it was impossible to lose body fat if you were eating low-carb/high fat, because of the calorie difference between fat and carbohydrate. My reply to that was: if you believe that, then you would also believe that it is impossible to gain body fat by eating low-fat/high carb (because of the calorie difference), but we know this is not the case. The calorie difference between fat and carbohydrate (9 cal/g for fat and 4cal/g for carbs) is only relevant in calorimetry – it says nothing about how our cells use these molecules. The whole world has been getting fat by eating low-fat/high carb. She still said it was impossible to lose fat while eating fat. My simple question was “then how to explain the observation that people do lose body fat (60 pounds in my case) while eating a high fat diet?” I told her that you cannot simply wave your hand and deny the observations. Science is supposed to explain the observations, not deny them. She thought about it for a few hours, and then admitted that there are hormones and feedback loops in biological systems that she clearly does not understand, and that overly simple explanations like “calories in/calories out” are not adequate to explain the obesity pandemic. And believing in simple explanations is just plain wrong. Thus, her logical mind “won” in the end. So even though she was a science teacher, and should have known better, it was hard to make a dent in her beliefs. How about the general public? This will be a long road indeed…
      And anyone who discredits Carbsane is a friend of mine… Carry on,

      • Razwell says:

        Hi Gman 🙂

        I have good news. After about 4 tries over the last 1 to 2 years Professor Stephen Hawking gave me a reply briefly. He basically agreed 100 % ( but indirectly) with Gary’s assesment and generally stated that “This is not exactly my area. Fat and muscle loss/gain are extremely complicated biochemical processes understood within the context of physiology .The first law is valid for life, however, this is NOT (emphasis mine) a mater of basic thermodynamics.” THis is the same thing Dr. Jarzynski said in so many words.

        You’re right Gman. Simple caloric deficits will not make us look like Evander Holyfield. Gastric BYpass patients are still pretty fat – body fat percentage wise after 800 calories etc. Normal peope are far leaner. Fat cell dysregualtion explaisn this far better than calories ever could. i

        There is FAR MORE going on than calories. Add to this humans generate SUBSTANTIAL disspiated heat. They aklso poop out claories – up to 9%

        Tell your collegaue to read my comments :))

        I hope everyone tells Anthony Colpo and Lyle McDonald that ther equations and formulas are incorrect. NO SINGLE equation could ever account for the human body. If it could be done it would be many. We are OPEN non – equilibrium dissipative thermodynamic systems . I have this from some of the best physcists in the world. Hawking and Dr. jarzynski agree with Gary.

        Lyle McDonald and Colpo are not principled scientists such as Hawking. They are arm chair Net surfers and self proclaimed authorities. Nothing more. I bet it chaps their butt to read what I just wropte that the BEST physcists in the entire world agree with Gary Taubes’ assesment of the first law. Pass it along to these charlatans.
        Wishing you the best,
        Raz The Antitheses To Lyle McDonal;d and His Nonsense

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  183. Razwell says:

    Hi Everybody: 🙂

    The caloric hypothesis of morbid obesity is indeed dead. Urgelt and I suspected this back in 2006. There are too many observations that it cannot explain.

    Here are the main examples that are extremely “weighty” evidence against it :

    * The failure of gastric bypass surgery to alleviate the elevated body fat percentage. Sure, in some, there is some prgress, ( less in size) but they STILL remain very fat . FAR fatter than even a regular never obese person, let alone a truly lean individual such as Allen Iverson etc. All this DESPITE eating 1/3 of what a normal person eats ( 800 calories) . All that suffereing for such a poor result. Smaller in mass or overall mass but STILL very high body fat percentage. I have people I know who underwent this and they feel soft as pillows literally playing basketball against the, Athletes and regular people feel hard as rocks etc. or firm

    These “successful” patients would be a “fatty piece of human meat ” to aliens who ate huamn beings etc. even if they were “smaller” than before. ( funny hypothetical analogy) They are basicvally smaller versions of their former fat selves. ( not a criticism- rather an indictment of modern medicine’s failed dogma). I sympathize with these patients. They have triled hard.

    *Normal weight obesity ( a genuine medical condition that is recognized)

    * Gary’s example of Progressive Lipodystrophy- where patients manifest emaciation and severe obesity together. For example: They have rail thin upper bodies and severely obese lower bodies

    * Lastly, TOP Olymp[ic and professional atheletes ( endurance athletes,, triathletes and swimmers nonetheless! ) who underwent LIPOSUCTION ofr STUBBORN FAT in the upper arms and abdomen completely unresponsive and resistant to hellish exercise regimes and proper nutrition of these top stars. Their videos are on YouTube.

    ALL of the examples above could be explained by FAT CELL REGULATION/DYSREGULATION hypotheses. THIS, UNLIKE the caloric hypothesis , is a hypothesis WITH LEGS! Science is moving far away from the caloric hypothesis in favor of the chemical behavior of fa cells’ receptors. VERY little is known currently.

    “There are MANY pathways energy can be led to. The caloric hypothesis BY ITSELF is MUCH too simplisitic to explain the regulation of body fat and body mass which is highly complicated”
    – Several top biomedical researchers have personally told me this in so many words, including Dr. Garret Fitzgerld’s lab.

    CarbSane, Lyle McDonald, Anthony Colpo et al? They have been DISCREDITED by principled scientists who are advancing human knowledge. The former only have sites that are aimed at sensationialism promotion – and it is lapped up by the ignorant , uneducated and scientifically illiterate easy-to-fool public.

    Until these ignorant arm chair net surfing fraudsters ( carbSane) can EXPLAIN the above observations using the calioric hypothesis they have ZERO argument for defending a failed hypothesis.

    Feel free to this information to combat the charlatans. :)) Please use all of it. I spent the last 4 years investigating this- talking to the best of the best in physics and biology. Challenging these charlatans such as McDonald and CarbSane et al and publicly discrediting them is important. They do a disservice to the public by confusing them.

    Take care, everybody. 🙂

  184. Tom Bunnell says:

    Please tell me how one could watch this BBC Documentary, King Henry VIII, and not see all of the excesses caused by all of the stimulant drugs, and then cross the sea.


    Sugar, hybrid carbohydrates, milk, alcohol and caffeine.

  185. Razwell says:

    Here is a thought to ponder for several of the dimwitted charlatans who constantly make public personal attacks against Gary Taubes such as James Krieger, Anthony Colpo, CarbSane and Lyle McDonald:

    One of the founding fathers of quantum physics, Werner Heisenberg , OBSERVED THAT :

    “What we observe is NOT Nature itself, but, RATHER, Nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

    Tell those scientifically illiterate charlatans to put that in their pipes and smoke it….

    Those snake oil salesmen are so full of 100 % absolute certitude- which is a no-no in science.

  186. Tom Bunnell says:

    Albert Einstein 1879 – 1955 — During the final stage of his life, Einstein transitioned to a vegetarian lifestyle, arguing that “the vegetarian manner of living by its purely physical effect on the human temperament would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind”.

  187. Razwell says:

    Hi Everybody,

    Here is something very worthwhile to think about :

    “It’s the nature of science where if you have independent methods that give the same result, your confidence in things grows and grows and grows.”

    – A quote from one of the greatest current cosmologists

    This same principle can ( and should) be applied to the science of obesity and fat cell regulation/dysregulation etc.

    I hope most people now can see how silly James Krieger and CarbSane et al are with their personal attacks and worthless articles. None of those “gurus” understand science. They ‘re not at all genuinely interested in peering into the nature of our natural world.

    Learning how science works has been very rewarding for me. 🙂 It’s something that nobody can take from you .

    Take care,


  188. Tom bunnell says:

    The Bunnell Farm on January 15, 2014 at 11:48 am said:
    Dr. Jay

    Here is a very important discovery.

    I happened upon this on a on and off basis over these last several years, these last few days it has come into full fruition.

    About an hour ago, this morning to be exact, right now, the light came on as to what I have just fully discovered.

    I got on my scale this morning and was two pounds down for the day.

    Having lost fifty pounds these last four months or so.

    I turn my heat off each evening about an hour or two before bedtime.

    Zero heat in my house from six PM in the evening, to about six or eight AM in the morning.

    Being in ketosis by being on 100% Atkins 1972 Induction, for several months, helps.

    I’m already burning fat for energy and heat and life in general, by being in ketosis rather than feeding off from carbs and intake as most routinely do.

    It’s -20 Below Zero F nights here, and about zero days right now.

    My house is ice cold at night.

    Freezing ice cold.

    I love it.

    I do not have running water in my house and my food is kept frozen until near the time I cook it so my house being about zero degrees and below at night doesn’t cause me any problems at all.

    My energy costs come in at about half.

    The green and footprint aspect in all this is significant.

    That’s why I do it.

    We could cut the worlds energy consumption by half.

    But that’s not my discovery.

    Being already in Ketosis and now sleeping in my goose down sleeping bags,two of them, one on top and one on the bottom, and goose down comforters on top of that and a wool blanket on top of everything and a goose down pillow to go with it.

    Sleeping on a queen size mattress and box spring off the floor in a bed frame.

    I am warm as toast.

    We know that goose down or blankets and clothing does not heat us.

    It keeps our body heat close to us and keeps it from escaping and we stay warm in our body heat in the process.

    Like the Eskimos and Inuits with furs and feathers and whatnot and with little outside heat source.

    Like a seal.

    My house being wind proof makes a big difference.

    I’d rather be in a TeePee or Earth Home and have some wind, but I don’t have these available to me right now.

    I’m looking at building both in the near future.

    This summer I hope.

    A great existence.

    Mine is a trailer house right now