Good Calories, Bad Calories: The Mythology of Obesity, or The Mythology of Gary Taubes?

In my last post on Gary Taubes and his book Good Calories, Bad Calories, I stated that I would do a chapter-by-chapter critique of the book, starting with Chapter 14, "The Mythology of Obesity".  In this chapter, Taubes begins to create a mystery that doesn't actually exist.  He does this through a combination of logical fallacies, selective quotation of out-dated scientific data, and leaving out existing data that conflicts with his statements.

Taubes opens the chapter with this sentence: 

"Critical to the success of any scientific enterprise is the ability to make accurate and unbiased observations."

He then goes on to say:

"...if the initial observations are incorrect or incomplete, then we will distort what it is we're trying to explain."

Taubes is correct in these statements.  Unfortunately he doesn't follow his own advice.  He notes the hypothesis that obesity is due to excess calorie consumption and/or inadequate physical activity, and then says that this hypothesis fails to explain the evidence and observations. 

However, what Taubes fails to realize is that it only fails to explain the evidence and observations when you leave out important information regarding that evidence or those observations.

Taubes's First Big Boo Boo

Taubes makes his first big mistake on the very first page of this chapter.  He writes:

Lean people will often insist that the secret to their success is eating in moderation, but many fat people insist that they eat no more than the lean - surprising as it seems, the evidence backs this up - and yet are fat nonetheless.  As the National Academy of Sciences report Diet and Health phrased it, "Most studies comparing normal and overweight people suggest that those who are overweight eat fewer calories than those of normal weight."  Researchers and public-health officials nonetheless insist that obesity is caused by overeating, without attempting to explain how these two notions can be reconciled.

The last statement in that paragraph is blatantly false.  These two notions have been reconciled over and over again in numerous studies.  It is well established that overweight people underreport their food intake on average.  In fact, there is a huge volume of literature of on this...so huge that it is surprising that Taubes missed it all.  The underreporting is quite severe.  One study comparing obese twins to their non-obese twin counterparts indicated underreporting of 764 calories per day.  Another study indicated obese subjects to be underreporting their calorie intake by over a thousand calories per day.  This is just a fraction of the data that is out there.  Yet, Taubes selectively quotes out-dated research that relied on self-report of food intake.  Taubes's reliance on out-dated and low quality data will be a consistent theme through the remainder of his book.

The phenomena of underreporting is verified when you supply overweight people with the amount of calories they claim to be eating.  In one study, women who claimed to be eating 1200 calories per day were supplied with that actual amount of food intake.  What happened?  They lost 1.7 pounds per week.  George Bray reported on a similar clinical experience.

My own clinical experience also verifies this.  For example, we had one individual who was not losing weight.  She swore to the dietitian that she was following the program.  One day, her husband came into the dietitian session with her.  He ratted her out and said she was eating 8 tablespoons of peanut butter per day and wasn't recording it in her food log.  That's over 800 calories per day of food intake that she wasn't reporting.  It is no wonder why she was not losing weight.  This is not to say that everyone who underreports food intake is blatantly lying about it.  Many people simply do a poor job of estimating their food intake.  But the fact is, people underreport their food intake.

Taubes, through selective cherry-picking, tries to create a mystery where there is no mystery.  He calls the idea of energy imbalance a "hypothesis", yet fails to consider not only the data mentioned above, but all of the controlled studies that demonstrate experimental overfeeding to create weight gain.  Researchers insist that overeating causes obesity because that's exactly what the data shows, despite Taubes's attempts to spin it otherwise.

The "Carbohydrate or Calorie" False Dichotomy

Taubes moves on to discuss data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) survey.  From 1971 to 2000, this data showed an increase in calorie and carbohydrate intake (as a percentage of calories) in the U.S. population, while fat intake decreased.  Taubes then states:

This increase in energy intake...was "attributable primarily to an increase in carbohydrate intake."...The NHANES data suggest that either calorie or carbohydrates could account for the increase in weight...

Taubes creates a false dichotomy here by asserting that either the increased calorie intake, or the increased carbohydrate intake, was responsible for the weight gain.  However, it's not "either/or" because the two are not independent of each other.  The increased carbohydrate intake IS the increased calorie intake, so you cannot separate the two.  Taubes creates a dichotomy where none exists.

Anecdotes and Newspaper Articles are Not Scientific Evidence

Taubes goes on to discuss physical activity.  He talks about the "exercise explosion" of the 1970's and 80's, implying that Americans were more active than ever.  However, what does he cite to support this?  Some anecdotes and newspaper articles from the New York Times and the Washington Post.  He also cites statistics on the revenues of health clubs.

It is absurd to imply that physical activity is high based on some newspaper articles and gym revenues.  For example, many people join gyms but don't go, or go infrequently.  And no matter how many Americans were supposedly partaking in the "fitness revolution", it is not statistical evidence of how truly active Americans were.   Also, formal exercise only represents a small portion of total daily energy expenditure.  When it comes to physical activity, we are concerned with all physical activity throughout the day, not just formal exercise.  Gym memberships and the "fitness revolution" are not indicative of 24-hour energy expenditure.

If you look at the science rather than anecdote, you get a different picture.  While there isn't good survey data regarding physical activity from the 1970's and early 1980's, the CDC does have data on leisure-time physical activity trends from 1988 to 2008:

Now, this is just leisure time physical activity, and not 24-hour activity.  However, you can see that the trend was mostly flat, with a slight downtrend in this decade.  This data indicates that 1/3 of Americans participate in no leisure time physical activity at all.  Taubes's numbers on gym memberships are meaningless, and his claims of a "fitness revolution" do not hold when you look at the data.

There is also data out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area between 1980 and 2000.  The percentage of individuals engaging in physical activity for 30 or more minutes, at least 5 times per week, was only 8-12%.  Only 1% participated in 60 minutes daily.  While this is not national data, the results were similar to what has been observed on a national level, and contradict Taubes's implication of an "exercise or sports epidemic" in America.

There is also data estimating the cost of mechanization (dishwashers, elevators, cars, etc.) to our daily energy expenditure.  It is estimated that we expend an average of 111 calories per day less, which, if not compensated by lower food intake, would result in substantial weight gain over many years.

In the usual fashion, Taubes creates a physical activity paradox where none exists.

The Poverty/Obesity Relationship:  Not A Contradiction After All

Taubes moves on to address another apparent contradiction...that obesity rates tend to be higher among the poorest members of society.  Taubes considers this a contradiction for two reasons.  First, he presumes that the poorest members of society are also the hardest-working, have less access to labor-saving devices, and thus are the most physically active.  Second, he presumes that they are undernourished and do not eat very much.

Of course, these are both assumptions.  Interestingly, Taubes criticizes advocates of the thrifty-gene hypothesis for making assumptions.  Perhaps Taubes should take a look at his own assumptions.

When you actually investigate the scientific data, you will find that Taubes's assumptions do not hold.  First, let's look at the presumption of low calorie intake.  There is a wealth of data that shows that the calorie intake of people living in poverty is not low.  In fact, people in poverty are more likely to consume energy-dense foods, because energy-dense foods are much lower in price.  There is an inverse relationship between the energy density of foods and price.  Here is a chart showing food prices from Seattle supermarkets in 2006:

 

You can see that the least expensive foods are both the fats and the refined carbohydrate foods, so one cannot simply point a finger at carbohydrates here.  In fact, there is a several thousand percent difference between the cost of vegetable oils and sugars compared to fresh produce.  It is very easy to overconsume calories when eating energy dense foods.  In fact, the energy density of foods plays a role in regulation of food intake, and high energy-density foods lead to passive overconsumption (meaning you consume more calories without noticing it, or without adequate feelings of fullness).  For a given volume of food, the greater the energy density of your diet, the more calories you will eat.  Thus, you can actually spend less and eat more.

People in poverty are more likely to underreport their food intake.  They are also  more likely to skip breakfast, which can result in appetite dysregulation and greater daily energy intakes (interestingly, adolescent breakfast skippers also have lower carbohydrate intakes).  Also, low-income urban neighborhoods have a high density of small food stores, which carry mostly energy-dense foods.

Let's also look at the presumption of high activity.  This does not hold when one looks at the data.  According to NHANES, leisure time physical inactivity is higher in people below the poverty line compared to people above the line.  This is particularly true among women, where obesity rates also tend to be higher.

On top of all that, Taubes fails to consider that obesity rates for higher socioeconomic classes increased at a higher rate than lower socioeconomic classes from 1976 to 2008.

The bottom line is that poverty does not mean chronic energy deficiency or high physical activity.  In fact, impoverished populations with true chronic energy deficiency have almost no obesity.

Pima Problems

Taubes continues to get it wrong when he moves to discuss the Pima Indians, again relying on old data from the 1800's and eary 1900's, including journals and anecdotes rather than rigorous scientific research.  He discusses how the Pimas went from food abundance to poverty when placed on reservations, along with a corresponding rise in obesity.  He implies that it could not have been due to an increase in energy intake or a decrease in physical activity.  His support for that?  Anecdotes from anthropologists.  Taubes relies heavily on anecdotes from anthropologists Frank Russell and Ales Hrdlicka.  Taubes comments how obesity was most prevalent among the Pima women, who also (supposedly) "worked considerably harder than the men", and mentions how Russell was not particularly confident that the Pima were no longer active (I'm not sure how Taubes can infer Russell's level of confidence from written words).    He mentions the low fat intake of the Pima (24% of calories, according to data from the physician Frank Hesse), and the high intakes of refined flour, sugar, and canned fruits.  The implication, of course, is that it's the carbohydrates causing the obesity, not elevated energy intake and/or reduced energy expenditure.

When one looks at more modern, higher quality scientific data, we get a different story.  There is a group of Pima Indians living in a remote region of the Sierra Madre Mountains in an area only recently accessible by road.  These Pima have experienced little change in environmental conditions, and continue to lead the traditional lifestyle of the Pimas of the 1800's.  A number of studies have compared these Pima Indians to the U.S. Pima Indians living on reservations.  Rates of obesity are dramatically lower among the Mexican Pimas compared to the U.S. Pimas, while physical activity levels are 2.5-7 times higher.  Direct measurements of energy expenditure using doubly-labeled water have shown the energy expenditure of the Mexican Pimas to be 600 calories per day higher than U.S. Pimas.  The Mexican Pima Indians have a diet of over 60% carbohydrate, and around 26% fat.  Estimates of the traditional Pima diet before the influx of the white man place the carbohydrate intake even higher at 70-80% carbohydrate.  So much for carbohydrate causing obesity!

Chapter 14:  Nothing But Mythology

The bottom line is that the vast majority of the information in chapter 14 is misleading and based on very selective reporting of mostly old, low quality data.  Unfortunately this journalistic style of Taubes continues through the rest of the book.  Supposedly Taubes did 6 years of research for this book, yet it took me only a few days of PubMed searches to find better research.  Chapter 14 is more an exercise in confirmation bias than true scientific inquiry.

I will discuss Chapter 15, "Hunger", in a future blog post.


Get the latest science on muscle gain and fat loss every month

Keeping up with the research is tough, so let me do the work for you. Consider signing up for the Weightology Research Review. I cover 8 studies per month and break everything down for you, so you don't need a PhD to interpret the data. You also get access to an archive of nearly 300 video and written reviews, evidence-based guides, Q&A's, and more. Click here to learn more.

Want some sample content before you buy?

Get Instant Access to Free Research Reviews!

 
0 0 vote
Article Rating
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
382 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Renard
Renard
9 years ago

I’m reading, I was hoping you would continue.

Hector
Hector
9 years ago
Reply to  Renard

I’m also reading along.

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago

Fred: “Pizza? Give me a break. That’s shit food chock full of antinutrients.”Antinutrients!lol.You’re a scaremonger extraordinaire! “And how do you know if he is healthy James? DO you know this guy personally? His entire story could be BS. That ever occur to you?”No, I assure you it’s not BS.God, that would be so pathetic, to lie about losing weight on the Internet to try to impress somebody or win an argument.That would be so sad!I would never do that.I really have lost 55 pounds- actually about 57 pounds now.I’ve been tracking my weight loss on Twitter since December 30, you… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

Jean Paulo, thanks for mentioning this!

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Fair enough James.

Patrick N.
Patrick N.
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

I’m reading ! 🙂

Jordan D.
9 years ago

Fred: “Pizza? Give me a break. That’s shit food chock full of antinutrients.” Antinutrients! lol. You’re a scaremonger extraordinaire! “And how do you know if he is healthy James? DO you know this guy personally? His entire story could be BS. That ever occur to you?” No, I assure you it’s not BS. God, that would be so pathetic, to lie about losing weight on the Internet to try to impress somebody or win an argument. That would be so sad! I would never do that. I really have lost 55 pounds- actually about 57 pounds now. I’ve been tracking… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

“Antinutrients! lol. You’re a scaremonger extraordinaire!” Really? Take a look-see http://thepaleodiet.com/articles/Cereal%20article.pdf “As for health, I haven’t gone to the doctor and taken any tests. All I know is that I feel great. And that’s all you know, too.” How old are you? There are lots of people who “feel great” and are not in good health. I am not saying this is you. But the way you are eating is not the most healthful way to eat. But if yo’re young, you can get away with a lot. “I’ve gotten stronger.” So you are strength training and recording your progress?… Read more »

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Anything is healthier than a typical westernized diet. Oh by the way, have you ever read Mark’s daily apple’s blog about importance of refeeds? He’s a paleo guy by the way: http://www.marksdailyapple.com/carb-refeeding-and-weight-loss/ People keep on looking at the data that carbohydrates being not essential in human survival. The means of survival isn’t always what’s optimal. What about the people who engage on moderate to high amounts of streinous physical activities everyday? Let’s take strength training for example, sure the body is capable of deriving fuel from fatty acids through gluconeogenesis but the conversion of fatty acids to readily usable energy… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

“People keep on looking at the data that carbohydrates being not essential in human survival. The means of survival isn’t always what’s optimal.” This is directly from the DRI: “The lower limit of dietary carbohydrate compatible with life apparently is zero, provided that adequate amounts of protein and fat are consumed. However, the amount of dietary carbohydrate that provides for optimal health in humans is unknown. There are traditional populations that ingested a high fat, high protein diet containing only a minimal amount of carbohydrate for extended periods of time (Masai), and in some cases for a lifetime after infancy… Read more »

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Yes because a requirement for a nutrient to be essential is our body being unable to manufacture on it’s own. But in my understanding of physiology, our body can manufacture glucose from pyruvate, lactate etc during the absence of carbohydrates. Since our body’s preferred fuel source is glucose(which can be derived easily and faster from carbohydrates than conversion of protein and fats into energy), during the absence of carbs, gluconeogenesis will take place that’s why endurance athletes, physique athletes who reduces their carb intake to maximal level increases their protein intake to support further gluconeogenesis. When you feed people more… Read more »

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

On my personal experience, I have nothing against low carb diets, I once tried Targeted ketogenic diet as well but my performance during my strength training during those times suffered. I can’t sustain my workout intensity, strength gains has stalled. So much with the anecdotes, besides fructose can refill hepatic glycogen stores which is the critical signal to the brain to prevent catabolism. I’ve never seen studies that cite fats being anabollic

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

On my personal experience, I have nothing against low carb diets, I once tried Targeted ketogenic diet as well but my performance during my strength training during those times suffered. I can’t sustain my workout intensity, strength gains has stalled. So much with the anecdotes, besides fructose can refill hepatic glycogen stores which is the critical signal to the brain to prevent catabolism. I’ve never seen studies that cite fats being anabollic   I didn’t say fats were anabolic. Insulin is anabolic and can be raised after a workout by eating protein alone. You don’t need the carbs. Read Dr. Jeff… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

I can’t follow your logic Jean – I’m sorry. Your not explaining the science right. Maybe it’s a language issue?

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Energy balance is the science I follow

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Fred: “How old are you? There are lots of people who “feel great” and are not in good health. I am not saying this is you. But the way you are eating is not the most healthful way to eat. But if yo’re young, you can get away with a lot.” I’m 29. As Jean alluded to, anything is better than the way I was eating before! I was a pig. Some people actually believe that overweight people eat the same amount or less than people of normal weight. Not me! I ate more, a lot more. I’m sure my… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

“I’m 29. As Jean alluded to, anything is better than the way I was eating before! I was a pig. Some people actually believe that overweight people eat the same amount or less than people of normal weight. Not me! I ate more, a lot more.” Thought so. And this means you are not insulin resistant. Those that are often do eat the same amount of food as lean people and become fat. “Fred, you also have to keep in mind that weight loss is temporary, it’s not a permanent state. I only have 20-25 pounds to lose, it’s not… Read more »

Mike Howard
9 years ago

One last thing, Fred.

It’s curious that your criteria for a “scientist” is either;

a) “Employed as one, usually if not always with a PhD in the sciences”
or
b) A professional journalist. (We’re left to assume that academic background doesn’t matter).

Do explain why you think GT is more of a scientific authority than James.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Howard

Mike – Did you read GCBC?

Mike Howard
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Yes. Just once though.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Howard

You did read it? OK – tell us what Gary’s premise is?

Mike Howard
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Premise? There were quite a few… allow me to give you a very breif review of what I thought.

It is quite possibly the most thorough dismemberments of the lipid hypothesis I’ve seen.

I really thought GT did a great deal of historical research and I found the chapters on how our current dietary guidlelines came to be very enlightening and well presented.

Insofar as the carbohydrate hypothesis, more and more I’m seeing just how he has used selective citation to align with his biases.

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Howard

That about sums it up for me too, Mike.

Mike Howard
9 years ago

And I have to give a +3 on the comments regarding Taubes leaving things out due to space constraints. There is a glaring difference between leaving out irrelevant or superfluous citations and leaving out well designed studies that don’t jibe with your conclusions.

I don’t see how anybody can see GCBC as an “objective” manuscript. Like James said, perhaps your education would be best served by reading other books/research rather than a 3rd run at GCBC – unless of course your 3rd run involves an objective look at his research.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Howard

Mike please – I’ve read many other books on the subject pro and con. I’ve even written two. Do yourself a favor and don’t act like James accusing me of not reading. It’s just plain weird to accuse others of things that you have no knowledge of. Really weird. Do you really think that the only book I have read on the subject is GCBC? So why say something like that? And do you truly believe that Gary wrote the book to hood-wink the entire scientific community and the population at large? That is so utterly ridiculous it’s laughable. I… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“But books aren’t original scientific studies. They are someone else’s interpretation of studies. So by limiting yourself to books, you are limiting yourself to someone else’s interpretation rather than your own.” James stop. My god. You’re making a fool of yourself saying stuff like this. Think before you speak. Your instant nay-saying of everything I say no matter what it may be just to nay say is becoming ridiculously transparent. Stop already. If you came to my office you’d see a pile of research papers on my second desk that I have read and read on a continual basis. And… Read more »

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Fred:
“And the fact is we don’t know the actual cause of obesity. No one has nailed it down.”

Then why are you so certain that it’s all about insulin and carbs?

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

Oy vey. I am certain that it is a plausible hypothesis which seems to be a better explanation than just too many calories.

From GCBC:

‘Even if it could be established that all obese individuals eat more than do the lean – which they don’t – that only tells us that eating more is associated with being obese’.

Let that sink in. Let it ruminate in your mind along with the idea that obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation.

Watch this video. It is essentially correct.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNYlIcXynwE

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Fred: “From GCBC: ‘Even if it could be established that all obese individuals eat more than do the lean – which they don’t – that only tells us that eating more is associated with being obese’.” Obese individuals don’t eat more than the lean? LOL! You’re kidding, right? Please tell me you’re joking. That’s so laughable. Talk about intellectually childish. Sorry, it’s just so hard to fathom that there are actually people out there who believe in an idea that is so incredibly stupid. It’s like someone who believes that the earth is only 6000 years old. It amazes and… Read more »

Oneoff
Oneoff
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

I’ll say it: (some) obese individuals don’t eat more than the lean.

Note that many obese individuals are not actively gaining weight. Why would you expect them (all) to be eating a lot more than a lean person, if their weights are stable? Fat is metabolically low-maintenance.

Your reaction isn’t uncommon, however. It illustrates a harsh, reflexive rejection of a slightly counter-intuitive reality — of what, on reflection, is quite reasonable — that has been part of the problem.

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Oneoff

I interpreted the quote from GCBC as meaning that overweight people didn’t eat more in order to become overweight, which I think is ridiculous. That’s what I meant. I didn’t say that they eat “a lot more” all of the time, and even if they’re not “actively gaining weight,” they’re still maintaining a higher body weight. Of course, James is right that an active lean person can burn as many or more calories than a sedentary overweight person. But all else being equal, a person at a higher body weight is going to burn more calories than a person at… Read more »

CarbSane
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

I interpreted the quote from GCBC as meaning that overweight people didn’t eat more in order to become overweight, which I think is ridiculous. Amen! I know full well that I ate too darned much to get as fat as I did. There’s no other way folks! When I was 255 pounds, and sedentary, I ate a lot of calories to maintain that weight.When I ate less, guess what, I lost weight! But I had to go pretty low, lower than I thought I would have to. That’s what scares/ angers people. Weight loss requires real sacrifice, effort, and discipline,… Read more »

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  CarbSane

Well said, CarbSane! 🙂 I must confess, I lost a lot of weight on low carb years ago, and then gained most of it back. I think the problem was twofold: one, I didn’t fully internalize the necessity of a calorie deficit. Two, I created temptations that I couldn’t resist in the long run. (I cheated a lot on my low carb diet, until I eventually scrapped the whole thing completely and went back to my “eat a lot of everything” diet. lol.) Now that I’ve understood and *accepted* the reality of a calorie deficit, and now that I have… Read more »

CarbSane
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

I must confess, I lost a lot of weight on low carb years ago, and then gained most of it back.I think the problem was twofold: one, I didn’t fully internalize the necessity of a calorie deficit.Two, I created temptations that I couldn’t resist in the long run.(I cheated a lot on my low carb diet, until I eventually scrapped the whole thing completely and went back to my “eat a lot of everything” diet.lol.) No need for “confessions”!! 🙂 For me to lose a lot of weight LC was the only way to go. I’m honest enough with myself… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Oy vey. I am certain that it is a plausible hypothesis which seems to be a better explanation than just too many calories. From GCBC: ‘Even if it could be established that all obese individuals eat more than do the lean – which they don’t – that only tells us that eating more is associated with being obese’. Let that sink in. Let it ruminate in your mind along with the idea that obesity is a disorder of excess fat accumulation. OK, going by GT’s quote, if eating more is associated with being obese, is eating less associated with not… Read more »

Hector
Hector
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

“James stop. My god. You’re making a fool of yourself saying stuff like this. Think before you speak.” With the way you have responded, disregarded your own comments, and contradicting yourself, it seems like you are the one who is making a fool of yourself. “Your assessment of the book and Gary’s character is just that – your subjective assessment and nothing more. Given the fact that you are on a crusade to debunk, your bias screams out loud and clear.” What is the point of James’ website again? If you didn’t read it, then I’ll reiterate it for you:… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Hector

“With the way you have responded, disregarded your own comments, and contradicting yourself, it seems like you are the one who is making a fool of yourself.”

Please. I have done none of these things. Give me specific examples.

“I would be interested in reading about this round table between the different experts on the subject if it ever happens.”

If and when we can arrange it (the lipophobes are usually reluctant to engage in “battle”) I’ll let you all know. It will be made public on the Nutrition and Metabolism website http://www.nmsociety.org

Mike Howard
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

“With the way you have responded, disregarded your own comments, and contradicting yourself, it seems like you are the one who is making a fool of yourself.”Please. I have done none of these things. Give me specific examples.“I would be interested in reading about this round table between the different experts on the subject if it ever happens.”If and when we can arrange it (the lipophobes are usually reluctant to engage in “battle”) I’ll let you all know. It will be made public on the Nutrition and Metabolism website http://www.nmsociety.org   When you say “lipophobes” to whom are you referring?

Mike Howard
9 years ago

Fred – a few things. 1. You outright lied about something you claimed not to have said, and it is there for all to see. At least have the decency to tell us it was an error on your part and clarify accordingly, rather than trying to deny you said it when the evidence is there for all to see. 2. You are running in circles a bit. You claim that calories aren’t as important as carbs and yet when you are finally shown evidence of Okinawan eating patterns you hypothesize that it was because of their hypocaloric state. In… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Mike Howard

Yes you’re right I LIED. I cannot keep up with your bias. Believe what you will. Enjoy.

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

I’m actually interested in hearing what you have to say to his second point Fred …

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

I’m actually interested in hearing what you have to say to his second point Fred …   Referring to: “You claim that calories aren’t as important as carbs and yet when you are finally shown evidence of Okinawan eating patterns you hypothesize that it was because of their hypocaloric state. In the same breath you claim that hypocaloric diets are effective due to carb reduction – NOT calories.” They don’t eat a lot of carbs in total. I’ve already explained this. You are not going to become insulin resistant even if you eat 100% of your calories as carbs if you… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

”They don’t eat a lot of carbs in total. I’ve already explained this. You are not going to become insulin resistant even if you eat 100% of your calories as carbs if you barely eat anything at all. If I eat 1000 calories a day and 70% are carbs I’m only eating 175 grams of carbs. If most of those carbs are fibrous, then its even less digestible carbs. This makes my diet low carb. I hope that’s clear.   So, let me understand this. If, I need to lose weight, and I consume less energy than my body needs, then… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

Muata – you are not at all reading what I am writing to you. First, you don’t necessarily want to lose weight – you want to lose fat. Big difference. EX: 5 years ago I weighed 165. I now weigh 175 and have the same level of body fat on me now than then. If you eat less calories than your body needs you will, nore than likely lose weight – for a while anyway. There are several factors that can happen when you deprive your body of significant energy. Your metabolism might slow, your physical activity might diminish, you… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

If you eat less calories than your body needs you will, nore than likely lose weight – for a while anyway. There are several factors that can happen when you deprive your body of significant energy. Your metabolism might slow, your physical activity might diminish, you might lose lean tissue, etc. Your goal is FAT loss and maintenance of lean tissue. Your goal is NOT NOT NOT weight loss. So, do you believe in the energy balance equation Fred? Also, I’ve gone from 44% BF down to as low as 10%, so I understand the main goal of fat loss.… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

“Fred, it’s not a knee jerk reaction. Actually, what’s funny is that even though you are contradicting yourself by saying that ingesting 175g of carbs can be a LC diet, ” That’s not what I said. I said if you are eating a 1000 calories diet and 175 grams are included and MOST of the carb grams are fibrous, this decreases the total digestible carbs dramatically to net a low carb diet. And I found two papers by the same author that indicate that the diets of the Okinawans were assesses in 1949 – AFTER WWII. The Okniwans would not… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

No I agree with Mike. It is not low carb. It is neither high carb. And as I said, if a large portion of the 175 grams is very fibrous, then you are eating a lot less than 175. I said:

“If most of those carbs are fibrous, then its even less digestible carbs. This makes my diet low carb.”

Did you miss that I said this or did you create a strawman argument on purpose?

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago

How about fat overfeeding? We all know that a gram of fat yields 9 kcal/g while a gram of carbohydrate has only 4kcal/g. Itis a lot easier to consume massive amounts of energy dense food such as fat than of carbohydrates without mentioning the lag time of dietary fat before CCK kicks in telling the brain we’re full.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7598063

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

Yes, I have seen that study before. The problem is as Fred pointed out with a quote from R.Feinman: “The deleterious effects of fat have only been measured in the presence of high carbohydrate. A high fat diet in the presence of high carbohydrate is different than a high fat diet in the presence of low carbohydrate.” In the study you mentioned, the excess fat intake was ON TOP of the carbohydrates being consumed. I dont know if I am not good looking at studies but they didnt mention the macro distribution or grams in both groups. Again, the study… Read more »

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

Exactly! That’s why I don’t buy Taubes’ assumption that carbohydrates alone makes people fat regardless of calorie balance thus if we look at the nutrient oxidation and storage, the oxidation of carbohydrates is almost equal to the intake, when people consume more fats, the oxidation does not increase therefore it’s much easier to get fat on a high fat diet but still what matters most is the total calorie intake.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

Jean – It’s not a matter of “buying it.” It’s a matter of testing the hypothesis. Science keeps an open mind. Q: Did you read Good Calories Bad Calories? I have to say it doesn’t sound like it. Gary does not suggest that carbs alone make people fat. That is not what he is proposing. To quote Dr. Jeff Volek: “You are not what you eat. You are what your body does with what you eat.” I’ve read GCBC twice and into a 3rd reading in fact. There is a huge amount of information that requires a good deal of… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“No, Fred, the problem is that you limit yourself to this book (obviously because you’re closing in on reading it 3 times), and never actually investigate further. You don’t read the studies he cites. You don’t bother to actually look up research on your own and read studies on your own. Yes, it’s no wonder you find him so convincing because you have little knowledge of the wealth of data that exists outside of your low-carb world.” You sound like you’re stomping your feet in frustration James. I do so read the research James, I do so! (There I’m stomping… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“Thank you for proving what I’ve been saying all along. You limit yourself to the low carb world of research and researchers.”

Hah. What a joke. These are scientists and physicians James. Not “the low carb world.” Give it a rest. A group you were invited to but refused to join.

By the way, you should set up your blog to open links in a different window. It’s annoying to have to leave the site to check a link.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

And are you going to answer the question I asked RE insulin resistance? A,B,C, D, or E?

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

I’d rather read Alan Aragon’s Girth control book 10 times or purchase any of Lyle McDonald’s books than read unscientific biases of an author who treats one single macronutrient such as carbohydrate like some sort of tool of the devil. It may be a good read for people who likes science fiction. As far as anecdotal experience is concerned, how come I can reach sub 10% body fat using a moderate carb based diet? I hate to use personal experiences as an example because it is bias and unscientific since it wasn’t conducted in a lab but I cannot really… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

Good. Read that which confirms your bias. Enjoy.

Jean Paulo
Jean Paulo
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

What is bias about that? Alan’s book is well researched thus he never emphasized any superior diet over another. He only explained the physiology of macronutrients, how to setup personalized fat loss/ muscle gain diet and other good stuff from Girth control book. Oh, he even wrote the details on how to critically analyzed research and studies I highly recommend that you read his book. Lyle McDonald, being the author of ketogenic book (which is a low carbohydrate diet) and Rapid fat loss never said anything that low carb dieting is superior than moderate carb diet. It always depends on… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Jean Paulo

I’d like to also add Greg Ellis’s Ultimate Diet Secrets; the title does the book a great injustice because this guy is a nutritional scientist who is pretty buff for a man in his 60s! Also, and I know that most LC’ers hate him, but Anthony Colpo’s Fat Loss Bible provides a lot of studies that compares LC diets to other dietary approaches. Oh yeah, I read GCBC when the first week it came out cover to cover btw …

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Ellis and Colpo, visit Mike Eades blog and read his critiques of both these books. I have both and have read both and like James has pointed out they are just books. Ellis makes several fundamental errors WRT the laws of thermodynamics and Colpo’s book is just all over the place. There are many parts of both that are pretty good however and seem to be saying what is so RE: muscle building and eating healthfully. Ellis is buff but that proves nothing. Not that he is but many men his… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

I agree with you Fred that folks should definitely read Eades’s critique of these guys and also the responses! Never just read one side of any debate; read both and decide for yourself … Good point about the GH too; I’m not sure if Ellis is or isn’t, but after reading his training book, I can see that he understands more than just the basic principles of resistance training. So, it’s not hard for me to believe that he doesn’t use anything. Also, considering that Steve Maxwell considers Ellis one of his mentors, has to carry a little weight, at… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

I agree with you Fred that folks should definitely read Eades’s critique of these guys and also the responses!Never just read one side of any debate; read both and decide for yourself … Good point about the GH too; I’m not sure if Ellis is or isn’t, but after reading his training book, I can see that he understands more than just the basic principles of resistance training.So, it’s not hard for me to believe that he doesn’t use anything.Also, considering that Steve Maxwell considers Ellis one of his mentors, has to carry a little weight, at least in the… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Yet there is a lot Ellis says that is not founded in science. I don’t consider Steve an expert in strength or muscle building. But in Jujitsu, yes. He’s an expert.   I know folks have accused him of using animal studies for some of his assertions, but not founded in science. Well, folks can google him, read his books, and decide for themselves. However, Steve Maxwell only BJJ? Fred, you’re joking right? He’s a strength and conditioning coach. Have you met Steve? Do you know his background in training professional athletes? Also, he wouldn’t refer to himself as an expert… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Fine swig a few shot glasses of olive oil instead.

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Might be, but represents a typical meal during LCKD. Most natural protein sources come with fat.

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago

There is little solid scientific evidence that a low carb approach is any better than moderate intakes regarding health.In fact, good health can occur across a broad spectrum of macronutrient intakes.   Low carbohydrate always do best than other diets. For a more “real world” evidence, please look at (probably you have seen it before): http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/reprint/297/9/969 There are plenty of studies done that show the same results. And by the way, the benefficial effects are independent of weight loss. Fat overfeeding (without extra carbohydrate) causes insulin resistance. And in this study, carbohydrate overfeeding decreased insulin resistance! “Subjects were then studied after… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“Fred Hahn claimed that carbohydrate, and nothing else, was the cause of insulin resistance.”

That is not what I said James. You’re not reading what I’m saying, your just reacting.

I said that though there are other factors that can contribute to insulin resistance they will not result in insulin resistance if on a very low carbohydrate diet. Moreover, when on a low carbohydrate, real food diet, it is unlikely that you will not sleep well, or overeat calories since blood glucose will be normalized and your diet will be rich in nutrition.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Wrong. I never said what you said I said so deal with it.

And I stand by my statement that it is virtually impossible for a healthy person to become insulin resistant if they are eating a VLCD. Do you have evidence to the contrary?

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Wow, I can’t believe he’s denying that he wrote that. Amazing. Baffling.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

If you can’t see the difference, fine.

Have you read GCBC?

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Have you read your post that you don’t seem to believe exists?

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Jordan D.

Let me try to explain this again. My point was that if you are eating a nutrient dense, real food, low carb diet, you won’t sleep poorly, be overly stressed out, over eat calories, etc. YES – other factors can cause IR however, these factors are found in the presence of a high carb diet. It’s like saying lung cancer is caused by many factors, some of which are buying cigarettes, lighting a lighter, tearing off a wrapper, etc. None of these are possible if you don’t smoke. If you are following a real food, low carb diet, you are… Read more »

Jordan D.
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

Fred: “My point was that if you are eating a nutrient dense, real food, low carb diet, you won’t sleep poorly, be overly stressed out, over eat calories, etc. ” What if someone is eating a LC diet and still suffers from those maladies? Can they still develop IR? Or do you believe that the LC diet is a silver bullet, 100% effective in every case, and for a multitude of conditions? “YES – other factors can cause IR however, these factors are found in the presence of a high carb diet. “It’s like saying lung cancer is caused by… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

No one overeats fat calories on a low carb diet. But this is quite common on a high carb diet. Again, you fail to look at the entire picture.

And a high carb diet only “works” when eating a reduced calorie diet. By default this is a lower carb diet then what the subjects ate prior to the study. You keep evading this fact.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

At a quick glance they went from 200 grams to 250 grams of carbs/d, increased their fiber by 5 grams but decreased energy intake by ~700kj/d and you use this as proof?

And how did they assess macronutrient intake James? What have you in the past criticized as an inferior method for accurately determining true food intakes?

You like to criticize studies that you don’t like but use others to support your position even though they are both fraught with similar problems.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Fred Hahn

“all other values were assessed by analyzing food records with NUTRITION DATA SYSTEM 93.”

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

“It doesn’t matter if it’s not “low-carb.” That’s not the point. It’s an overfeeding study to test the effect of fat overfeeding, while keeping carbohydrate at a baseline eucaloric level (i.e., no increase in carbohydrate intake beyond baseline).”

It doesn’t matter? Of course it matters! As Dr. Feinman has said:

“The deleterious effects of fat have only been measured in the
presence of high carbohydrate. A high fat diet in the presence
of high carbohydrate is different than a high fat diet in the
presence of low carbohydrate.”

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

This study clearly showed that fat overfeeding, without additional carbohydrate over the baseline eucaloric level, will cause insulin resistance. Yes, but a good amount of carbohydrates and not the best food choices were present in the same group. Reduce the amount of carbohydrates and you will get competely different results. Fat overfeeding, in the ABSCENCE or limited amount of carbohydrates will not cause insulin resistance. The glyceroneogenesis pathway is an alternative pathway for the production of glycerol-3-phosphate and no carbohydrate is needed. Thus, fat overfeeding will cause fat gain just as much as carbohydrate overfeeding will, even in a low… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

So, consider that for fat gain to occur during very low carb or low carb conditions you have to be almost in a vegetative state (no physical activity so all the FFA and glicerol released arent oxidized and get re-esterified), eat very large amounts of fat and protein (so you can produce G3P, and the increased protein can increase Gluconeogenesis), chose the wrong kind of fats (polyunsaturated oils come to mind) between others. It might happen (it happens) but its harder. Im not saying that you can eat 10,000 kcal of fat and protein and dont gain fat BTW. So,… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

The “metabolic advantage” seems to be around 300kcal. But is highly individual. 10K calories is an exageration I used to make my point. Its highly unlikely that someone can eat that amount of calories only on fat and protein. But what usually happens is that people on LCKD spontaneously eat less calories. But with the same amount of calories, you see better results with a LCKD than on high carb diet.

Muata
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

But what usually happens is that people on LCKD spontaneously eat less calories. But with the same amount of calories, you see better results with a LCKD than on high carb diet.   “Some” people will spontaneously eat less; it’s highly individual like the “metabolic advantage” you mentioned. However, what do you mean by you “see better results”? Do folks on a LCKD lose “significantly” more weight/fat than folks following a high carb diet of equal calories? Are there studies showing this? I’m asking because the vast majority of studies I’ve read show that after water weight loss is accounted for,… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

I dont have the studies at hand right now, but once I get back home I can send you some links. And by “better” results I mean better health effects. Weight loss, again, is just the tip of the iceberg. LCKD effects on lipids, atherosclerotic markers, glucose, insulin are independent of weight loss, contrary to low calorie-high carb diets.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

It seems you’ve stymied James Lucas. He is unable to respond to your previous post save to criticize the amount of extra caloires utilized via a MA.

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

“But what usually happens is that people on LCKD spontaneously eat less calories.”

True Lucas. And this is because more fatty acids are available for energy on a VLCD. You put less food in your head, but you’re not “eating” less.

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

You seem to be saying that glyceroneogenesis will be minimal when one becomes “fat adapted” on a low carb diet because gluconeogensis will be reduced. I can see an argument along those lines being made for the liver since that organ is a site for both gluconeogenesis and glyceroneogensis. But adipose tissue is not a gluconeogenic tissue – it can not produce glucose because it lacks several of the terminal enzymes necessary for gluconeogenesis. Fat cells produce the enzyme PEPCK-C, originally identified as the key gluconeogenic enzyme in the liver, strictly to produce glycerol phosphate for triglyceride synthesis. In fat… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  LynMarie Daye

Fat cells produce the enzyme PEPCK-C, originally identified as the key gluconeogenic enzyme in the liver, strictly to produce glycerol phosphate for triglyceride synthesis. In fat tissue, gluconeogenesis and glyceronogenesis are NOT related.

Piruvate (and other substrates) is not made in adipocytes and piruvate is a substrate for PEPCK-C. That there isnt gluconeogenesis in adipocytes doesnt means that gluconeogenesis and glyceroneogenesis arent related. This figure might help you:

http://www.biochemsoctrans.org/bst/031/1125/bst0311125a01.gif

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

Oh my… Pyruvate *is* produced in adipocytes. Glycolysis occurs in fat cells and the end-product of glycolysis is pyruvate. As counter-intuitive as it may seem, fat cells do use glucose as a metabolic fuel even though they are filled with fat. Strange but true! The substrate for PEPCK-C is oxaloacetate, not pyruvate. Maybe I’m just not understanding your point, but if you are implying that glyceroneogenesis in adipocytes is somehow dependent upon gluconeogenesis (which does not and can not occur in fat cells), that is incorrect. The two processes have no direct effect on each other although they both are… Read more »

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  LynMarie Daye

And also…

The figure that you posted (http://www.biochemsoctrans.org/bst/031/1125/bst0311125a01.gif) is just a schematic tool (which I’ve seen before btw). It’s not meant to stand alone; you actually have to read the paper it’s presented in. If you were relying just on that picture, I can see how you got so confused.

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  LynMarie Daye

Im sorry I didnt make my point clear. I wasnt referring to gluconeogenesis in adypocites. What I meant was that hepatic gluconeogenesis and glyceroneogenesis are related to WAT glyceroneogenesis. Glyceroneogenesis is a necessary mechanism to control excessive lipolysis and ketoacidosis (so the rate of lipolysis and activity of PEPCK-C would be correlated). If glyceroneogenesis is one of the culprits of fat gain during VLCKD, you are assuming that upregulation of PEPCK-C during low carbohydrate feeding is what causes the fat gain. Following this assumption, you would expect the same during fasting. So accordingly, fasting would increase fat mass because of… Read more »

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

Well, I’m not sure I agree with you entirely but thanks for taking the time to explain your position better. I’ll just leave it at that. 🙂

CarbSane
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

LMD: “Glyceroneogenesis occurs in the fat cells themselves – no liver required.” Lucas: In fact, glyceroneogenesis takes place in several tissues. These are not contradictory statements. GLyNG can occur in several tissues, but it occurs in adipocytes. Therefore fat cells need not rely on GLyNG from external tissues to generate all the glycerol needed for esterification. Lucas: If glyceroneogenesis is one of the culprits of fat gain during VLCKD, you are assuming that upregulation of PEPCK-C during low carbohydrate feeding is what causes the fat gain. Following this assumption, you would expect the same during fasting. So accordingly, fasting would… Read more »

LynMarie Daye
LynMarie Daye
9 years ago
Reply to  CarbSane

If you eat too much fat, even in the absence of carbs, it will accumulate not because you ate pyruvate (or precursors) but because the body is programmed to remove dietary fat from the blood stream relatively rapidly. Therefore it will get the G3P needed to do so by whatever means. In the end, it will accumulate if your energy needs are exceeded by intake. That’s a great way to look at it: the body doesn’t want a high concentration of fatty acids in the circulation b/c it can have harmful effects (lipotoxicity) so the body has developed means for… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  CarbSane

These are not contradictory statements.GLyNG can occur in several tissues, but it occurs in adipocytes.Therefore fat cells need not rely on GLyNG from external tissues to generate all the glycerol needed for esterification. Yes, but that statement could lead to confusion. Absent caloric intake, that energy comes from fatty acids and fewer are re-esterified even as glyceroneogenesis as a source of G3P increases.Thus fasting = loss of fat mass and lean body mass. Im assuming that you are referring to prolongued fasting, not <24-48h fasting. If you eat too much fat, even in the absence of carbs, it will accumulate… Read more »

CarbSane
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

Im assuming that you are referring to prolongued fasting, not <24-48h fasting. If you’re referring to short term “energy shortages” coming primarily from glycogen, OK, but our bodies are constantly turning over fats and constantly using fats for some part of our energy supply. Yes, carbs are the priority energy source so consuming them downregulates fat metabolism, but it never shuts it down completely. You are forgetting that adipose tissue is not the only tissue that takes up FFA. As the uptake of FFA in several tissues increases, lipolysis and beta-oxidation also increases. There’s no evidence that beta oxidation (the… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  CarbSane

Sorry, I meant:

“Regarding IMT, you are right. But consider that obese women develop that situation by a high fat/high carb diet.”

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  Lucas Tafur

If you’re referring to short term “energy shortages” coming primarily from glycogen, OK, but our bodies are constantly turning over fats and constantly using fats for some part of our energy supply.Yes, carbs are the priority energy source so consuming them downregulates fat metabolism, but it never shuts it down completely. I never said that fat metabolism was completely inhibited by high carbohydrate feeding. If this was the case, there wouldnt be fat loss in subjects consuming hypocaloric high carb diets. My comment regarding short term fasting was because of your assertion of “abscence of calories = loss of lean… Read more »

Lucas Tafur
9 years ago
Reply to  James Krieger

Despite the problems of observational data not being able to establish cause/effect, I feel that observational data is much better when looking at very long-term health outcomes of diet.When one looks at populations that show good health over the long-term, we find a variety of macronutrient distributions, such as moderate carbohydrate intakes of the traditional Mediterranean diet, or extremely high carbohydrate intakes of the Okinawan diet.What we do find in common among all these diets is a reliance on unprocessed, unrefined, whole foods.   I agree with you in that short-term biomarkers can be tricky (some times the wrong biomarkers are… Read more »

Muata
9 years ago

After reading Taubes’s response to Bray’s critique of GCBC, it’s clear that Taubes was indeed familiar with the doubly-labeled water technique and consciously elected to ignore the plethora of research using this technique: “Much of Bray’s critique hinges on his assertion that I believe that obese individuals do not eat more than lean individuals. He quotes a line from GCBC, but by doing so out of context directs attention away from the critical observation that must be explained. ‘Even if it could be established’, I wrote and Bray quotes, ‘that all obese individuals eat more than do the lean –… Read more »

Fred Hahn
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

As I mentioned before, there is still research that is needed to perform before we can say that we know the cause of why some people become obese and why others do not. To think we know the answer is unscientific.

I encourage you all to try an experiment. Reduce your carb intake by 500 cals a day and replace with ~3 shot glasses of olive oil (meaning equal calories). Try this for three weeks. Report back here and let us know what happened.

Oneoff
Oneoff
9 years ago
Reply to  Muata

Gary Taubes cites a series of 50 to 150 year old publications because he is writing not only about the *science* of nutrition, but about the *history* of that science.

It isn’t laziness that leads him to find a decisive paper that dates to 1915. Quite the opposite. He’s dug deep to show that crucial, well-confirmed facts had been established early in the game.

To suggest that he’s trying to fool us by citing extraordinarily old, false (“outdated”) data — or that he himself has been fooled by it — would be absurd.

382
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x