The Taubes and Guyenet show goes on

Gary Taubes is back from a long blogging hiatus with an interesting post. As usual, when Gary writes he writes a lot. Even the title is long:

Within about five minutes Stephan Guyenet had his own new post up, detailing why Gary Taubes is wrong again:

They both have a few good points. But is this really just about the science?

Science and emotions

As far as I can see the refined carbs/sugar->hyperinsulinemia->obesity theory makes a lot of sense and gives us an explanation to why low carb diets work better than other diets for weight loss. Attempting to very prematurely “falsify” this theory with nothing else to replace it with seems like a bad idea. At least if the goal is to help people lose weight.

On the other hand, defending this theory by claiming that people who see things differently are “operating with suboptimal intelligence”, while misrepresenting your opponent’s ideas, that does not help either.

So I don’t think this debate is just about science. No. There is flesh and blood and emotions (arrogance? wounded pride?) in this debate.

Luckily that makes it all the more interesting.

Earlier

Guyenet, Taubes and why low carb works

AHS showdown: Gary Taubes vs Stephan Guyenet

More about the free updates that people get.

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Reversing Diabetes After a Visit to the Emergency Room 38
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50 Comments

  1. It's a shame because both sides make good points. But this is well beyond the science at this point. I'm working on interviewing them on my podcast.
  2. FrankG
    OK I'm not sure if Gary Taubes post was read clearly but Stephen (and maybe even yourself Doc) are perhaps mistaken in assuming that he *said* anything abut "suboptimal intelligence" in his actual response to the Q&A at the PBRC Faculty...

    As Stephen has it...
    "...in response to the question "Mr. Taubes, is it fair to say that one subtext of your talk is that you think we are all idiots?", he said: "...I think a large body of otherwise very smart people, Ph.D.s and M.D.s all, were operating with suboptimal intelligence". Wow."

    As Gary wrote in his blog...
    >>
    In the Q&A session following my hour-long presentation, a member of the PBRC faculty, a distinguished-looking gentleman who I’d guess was in his mid to late sixties, raised his hand and said, “Mr. Taubes, is it fair to say that one subtext of your talk is that you think we are all idiots?”

    Is it fair to say that I think they are all idiots? A surprisingly good question.

    Certainly one subtext of my talk (and my work) is that a journalist is getting it right and sixty-odd years of nutritionists and obesity researchers got it wrong (with maybe a half dozen exceptions who were marginalized for their beliefs.) So, yes, it was fair to say that I think a large body of otherwise very smart people, Ph.D.s and M.D.s all, were operating with suboptimal intelligence. Certainly in a pursuit — science — in which the one goal is to get the right answer, getting the wrong answer on such a huge and tragic scale borders on inexcusable.

    That isn’t, of course, how I responded at the moment. I smiled, and I said, no, what I believed was that researchers of his generation – those who would have started their careers in the 1970s – had inherited a paradigm of obesity from the generation that preceded them. And this paradigm seemed so obvious (we get fat because we take in more calories than we expend) that they never thought to question it.
    >>

    "That isn’t, of course, how I responded at the moment. I smiled, and I said, no..." the comment about suboptimal intelligence was maybe thought out later but never voiced as suggested above.

    There is sometimes a big difference between what I may think of someone and what I will say to their face in polite society. :-)

  3. @FrankG - Thank you for that clarification. I can't help but feel that this is getting weirdly personal and it's all playing out on a public platform with some gross generalizations being made on both sides.

    As for that picture, Dr. Eenfeldt, it perfectly sums up how I feel about it too. :)

  4. p01
    My grandfather had a saying:
    "Bread makes you fat and stupid". He did not have a Ph.D., as he was a peasant. Still, he knew what he was talking about. Unlike some Ph.D.s nowadays. Oh, forgot to add: about sugar, he and all the village knew it was poison.
  5. FrankG,
    You are right, Taubes apparently did not say that to their faces but he wrote it now on his blog. I think he is wrong, I think people can be very intelligent and still come to the wrong conclusions. I think the last decades of obesity research/treatment pretty much proves that.

    I changed "saying" to "claiming" in my post.

  6. Jeff
    "The shaggy dog story is one of the oldest forms of joke, probably dating back till when humans could first talk, or at least could sit round a fire of an evening and entertain each other by telling stories. This is because the point of a shaggy dog story is that it is a story, in that it is not a quick-fire joke or riddle, but a narrative that can last for several minutes or longer, sometimes having other stories and jokes embedded within it. What is traditional about such a story is that the ending is disappointing, and thus often more funny because of that. For example, the ending could be a corny pun or the story could just stop, with nothing really happening. The skill in telling is to build up the expectation of the audience for a suitable climax and then to let them down. The humour is when the audience realises they have been had; thus never start a shaggy dog story by announcing that is what it is. Though the original shaggy dog story was about a dog, as is the example below, shaggy dog stories can be about any subject."

    http://steverogerson.suite101.com/what-is-a-shaggy-dog-story-a282523

  7. FrankG
    Thank you Doctor Andreas and I hope it does not look like I am rushing to Gary Taubes's defense (he is quite capable of looking after himself ;-) ) but I think he agrees with what you say "...people can be very intelligent and still come to the wrong conclusions."

    He acknowledges them as "...a large body of otherwise very smart people..." He acknowledges their professional qualifications and experience but goes on to say that in this question he feels their intelligence has let them down. Despite everything else, they got this one wrong... and its a big one.

    I'm not trying to make this an English language issue... although I'll admit that his choice of words leaves me struggling somewhat in this case and I have no doubt he has "made a rod for his own back" with this one.

  8. Paul
    Having a pop at GT assures plenty of attention. Especially if he bites.
  9. I think what both are missing is that both are probably right to some degree. I've taught anatomy and physiology for many years now and one thing is crystal clear - the workings of the different systems of the body are complexly intertwined and I'm not sure anyone will ever be able to decipher them fully. Instead of spending their time on this silly blogfight, they might think about working together to add some more pieces to the puzzle. Is restricting carbs alone the answer? Obviously not when you see the many complaints from very-low-carb paleo dieters about their weight loss stalling out. Is a bland, low-reward food diet the answer? Ugh, a lifetime of bland food is not my idea of fun. I think the person coming closest to any kind of answer these days is Jack Kruse with his idea of a "Quilt." There is no one linear answer.
  10. Tony
    In the big scheme of all things science this little tiff is quite tame actually. I've both seen and been involved with far more intense and vitriolic arguments. I prefer it because niceties don't get to the truth. Someone is wrong here and politeness and deference are the types of crap that let Ancel pull the wool over the public for decades. Let these two duke it out and a consensus will emerge. The winner gets the spoils and the loser will be forgotten and shamed. This is a good thing.
  11. Steve L
    Excellent photo, Andreas. Of course these kittens may not be really fighting, just playing.

    I hope SG and GT don't descend to personal attacks. I made a comment earlier about this (propensity for many bloggers and commentators to impugn motives of opponents and make personal attacks).

    "The problem with science is that it id done by people,' I thought one day when contemplating how science works (with good qualities, but also egos, politics, power plays, character assassination etc).

    As one of your commentators said, there may be elements of truth in both 'camps': i.e. fat is both peripherally (insulin) and centrally/neurobiologically mediated. Who knows?

    As for me, I'll stay until I know better with the Paleo approach, which is fairly low carb anyway.. (no sugars, grains, starches, no milk).

    SteveL

  12. Steve L
    Tony said:

    " Someone is wrong here and politeness and deference are the types of crap that let Ancel pull the wool over the public for decades"

    Deference maybe but not politeness. A person who needs to be confronted can be dealt with politely and firmly.

    You can 'duke it out' without personal attacks on the opponent. Attack the issues.

    SteveL

  13. This most recent post by Taubes is just a preamble, albeit a long and rambling one. He says as much, and promises more to come. I look forward to him engaging with Guyenet's ideas. It should be fun. I say that as a professional rhetorician who enjoys arguments, especially written arguments. But even though I love arguments, I know that arguments have limitations. An argument can be well-crafted, even beautiful, and not represent the truth. So we may need some science, after all.
  14. JAUS
    Wishful thinking has nothing to do with intelligence. It doesn't matter how intelligent you are if you let wishful thinking instead of rational reasoning determine what you think is right.

    There are very intelligent people that want to eat carbs and lie to themselves. It's important to always check if you believe something just because you want too or not.

    If I actually belived that I could eat pasta without it affecting my health I would switch back immediately, but I'm not a slave of wishful thinking.

  15. mezzo
    Laurie: I think you point is most important. I have only a laywoman's knowledge of anatomy, physiology and do not know a lot about biochemistry but in these past thirty years I have seen a lot of theories come and go. Especially in the field of nutrition. And they all claimed to have found the philosopher's stone, stated their case convincingly. Most of them had it wrong because they taught religion and not science. They cherrypicked bits here and there and blew them up. I fully agree: we still know precious little about how the body's complex systems work together - think brain chemistry! A little humility may be in order here both for SG and for GT else they will end up where a lot of self-styled preachers and Gurus have ended: in the pit of arrogance and self-delusion, guided only by wounded pride and self-defence. That would not only be a shame in itself but a great loss for science.
  16. Martin
    Sigh - "calories"

    New food nutrition labels from FDA coming

    The Food and Drug Administration wants to revise the nutrition facts label — that breakdown fats, salts, sugars and nutrients on packaging — to give consumers more useful information and help fight the national obesity epidemic.

    A proposal is in the works to change several parts of the label, including more accurate serving sizes, a greater emphasis on calories and a diminished role in the daily percent values for substances like fat, sodium and carbohydrates.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/09/03/national/main20101420.shtml

  17. Nina
    Andreas you say that UK has no LCHF, but look at this contribution to the current debate:

    http://high-fat-nutrition.blogspot.com/2011/08/i-have-read-good-calor...

    Nina

  18. FrankG
    @Nina many thanks for posting that link... well worth reading and the delightful infant enjoying 90% cocoa chocolate (yes 90% !) confirms everything I understand about us being born with an innate ability to determine what nutrition our body needs.
  19. Galina L.
    My husband told me about lunch content of some lady with PhD in nutrition who came to work as a consultant for a short period of time at his company. The lunch consisted of mostly blueberries for preventing Alzheimer, also cherries for preventing arthritis and a fat-free salad. He told me she was very intelligent and thin and he brought the lunch content as an example of healthy eating because he worries I eat animal fats and meats(also veggies) and limit carbohydrates, even fruits because I picked some bizarre theories on the internet. .

    I find the therm "Carbohydrate theory" in slightly misleading. "Insulin theory" would be better. I based my weight-loss strategy on it. Yes, you have to limit your carbs first. For many obese people it is not enough. Step 2 - you have also practice IF - eating window no more than 8 hours, meals are spaced by at least 4 hours, no snacking, each meal lasts no longer than 45 min.Such eating pattern affects reword quality of the food you eat as well. It is more rewording without fancy preparation. So, the "food reword" is in the picture, but LC comes first, and if you base your strategy on lowering your insulin level , the problem of extremely rewording food is being solved without additional thoughts in that direction, just by itself.

  20. Lewis
    Stephan Guyenet has now removed his post.

    Just as well really. It contained gems such as "I sent Taubes a number of review articles on food reward so that he could at least minimally educate himself prior to this debate".

    That is really directly and personally rude. He is certainly a very prickly customer when someone disagrees with him. Taubes was perhaps somewhat condescending to people in obesity research in general, but he offered no personal rudeness in that post.

    Perhaps Stephan should have re-written the post rather than actually remove it—and, moreover, replace it with a rather self-satisfied everything-I-said-was-true-but comment. It was *useful* for him to put on record that he did not agree with people who have advanced the calories-in/calories-out hypothesis.

  21. Mike
    But essentially, as I understand it, the food reward is a calories in calories out argument. It just describes the mechanisms in the brain that make the palatable food hard to resist and leaves out the fat storage mechanisms that preferentially store and keep fat in fat cells. True, a large part of the advantage of the low carb diets is that one spontaneously eats less but the argument that this happens because the food is less palatable is ridiculous. A well marbled t-bone is as palatable as a chocolate bar in my opinion but does not have the attendant blood sugar rise and drop.

    When I read stephan's argument that insulin promotes satiety and the evidence sited being the result of injecting it directly into a baboon's brain, I realized he was stretching incredulity there.

    I'd encourage all to read hyperlipid's critique of guyenet's post about low carb(referenced earlier). He makes excellent points about insulin that frankly destroy guyenet's asssertion the insulin promotes satiey and weight loss, especially in the metabolically damaged obese. I especially liked two points: if insulin promotes satiety then why are the obese with chronically high insulin hungry and those who eat low carb with low insulin not always hungry; and the argument that insulin is excreted with protein and therefore it cannot be the insulin causing obesity ignores the glucagon that is also excreted.

  22. JGW
    A couple points:

    (1) I don't necessarily agree that we need a substitute (or replacement, as Doc phrases it) before we can falsify something.

    (2) Personally, I appreciate the back and forth between two very passionate scientists. I like the granularity of these viewpoints. With that said, I think these types of debates begin to work against what we all hope: an engaged audience of people who may not consume a "perfect" diet, but consistently make better decisions and ultimately work toward a healthier lifestyle.

    I've heard a number of people (and we're not even talking about the masses, but still the "exercise freaks" and other "fringes") express their discontent with this type of back and forth. They do not become disengaged because of the viewpoint disagreement, but because, as some have said on here, it becomes a back and forth about more than just the substance.

  23. Zepp
    I also think that this fight is a shame, its no longer a science debate, its about personal pride!

    Hyperinsulinemi is one of the major reason to obesity, so saying insulin has nothing to do whit it is to denay the biologocal mecanism.

    And palality of food an food reward is a major mecanism for us to eat att all, and to form our eating behaviors.

    Both of those is probably some survival mecanism that make our ancestors adapt to different habitats and the food thats come whitin those.

    Why dose it go so wrong then.. maby becuse the food to day isnt that sutible and our bodys aint adapted för that.

    There is a Swedish professor thats writen a bok about eating and our rewardsystem, "Brainwatch on the weight", in translation.

    Is he a hardcore lowcarber.. no he is not, he says that you cant eat food thats reward you to eat moore if you need to loose weight.. especially sugary stuff and high GI food.

    And he also admit that the LCHF comunity have a lot of good points, but that a healty person dont need to go that hardcore.

    We do recomend his book to read especially for those thats sugar addicts.

    And my contribution to this debate is, that food reward is a behavior modifying element, but hyperinsulinemi is a major fat storing mecanism.. its a debate about what comes first, then hen or the egg!

  24. FrankG
    I don't think that Stephan Guyenet is saying that we eat more of a food because it is palatable, and this is what leads us to obesity... is he? If so then I disagree; because that is making it a behavioural issue rather than a biochemical one.

    We may like to think that as sentient humans we make all our own conscious choices -- we are "in control" -- but I am convinced that our "animal" bodies have more control than we may admit... imagine you were hungry after a long session at the gym, you went to a restaurant and were tempted by the smells, tastes and textures of the chef's special and ate a large serving... would those same smells, tastes and textures still excite as much after you were no longer hungry? Why not, if it is all driven by conscious desires? Surely the food is just as palatable as it was before?

    When an heavily pregnant woman wakes at 3AM with a craving for pickles and ice-cream do we dare to tell her it is all in her head and to go back to sleep? Not likely if we want to survive the night! :-0 This is not a psychological drive, not a behavioural motivation but a biochemical signal from her body that she needs certain nutrients -- remember that we eat for more than simply energy.

    With that in mind why is it the hard to accept that we eat to nourish our body (just as any other animal does) and if we eat poor quality food (with few nutrients) we remain hungry until our nutritional needs are met.

    There are people who live on low-fat "foods", packed with cheap fillers like HFCS and corn starches who -- in the midst of apparent plenty -- are malnourished and hungry. Add to that the unique hormonal result of all the refined carbohydrate (what it does to insulin levels and also to leptin and maybe an half dozen other hormones etc...) and I am convinced that obesity is a biochemical issue and NOT a behavioural one.

  25. JGW
    FrankG said: "There are people who live on low-fat "foods", packed with cheap fillers like HFCS and corn starches who -- in the midst of apparent plenty -- are malnourished and hungry. Add to that the unique hormonal result of all the refined carbohydrate (what it does to insulin levels and also to leptin and maybe an half dozen other hormones etc...) and I am convinced that obesity is a biochemical issue and NOT a behavioural one."

    ...or a combination of both. I typically say it's a biochemical issue that is exacerbated by behavioral issues.

  26. Michael Cohen
    "A tempest in a teapot" The ONLY question is: What really works?
  27. Bernardo
    Stephan Guyenet should get fat and then research it. Truth is when I read GCBC It was like I could finally leave a dark cave where I had been for 20 years.

    I'm 35 years old and I can track my weight every 6 months since I was 15. I never got super fat but food was a constant concern in my mind throughout the day (24/7). I woke up telling myself I was gonna eat less that day (to make it up for the excess I'd eaten the day before) and went to bed thinking that I'd start a REAL diet the next day. And the whole day I was controlling myself...

    When I read GCBC I saw for the first time a theory that would cover all my symptoms in a way that made complete sense to me. Simple direct, elegant.

    When I read Stephan Guyenet website I had to stop reading at a certain point. The only thing that could go through my mind was "this guy doesn't know what he's talking about". Like we sometimes see experts talking about how video games influence violence in teenagers or how dangerous marijuana can be, this guy is too far from the problem to understand it. I couldn't identify one bit with that theory. And I couldn't identify there the behaviors of people I know who have been like me, for years and years. The problem is now that Stephan Guyenet's career depends on this and I trully think he's wasting research money. I'm sorry.

    A "Craving" is a word that describes a feeling. Words can have many interpretations. Maybe the "Craving" Stephan Guyenet is referring to is not the same most fat people feel. I don't think every obesity scientist must be a fat or ex-fat person but I do believe Stephan Guyenet's missed the point for this reason. I still see Taubes as honest and if he is being tough is because he can and maybe because he needs to be in order to shake and wake up the whole community. I don't like how Stephan Guyenet tries to discredit him and how he hides behind the scientific community. Come on, be a man.

    To me Robert Lusting + Taubes = Something very very close to the whole truth.

    Well, just my 2 cents :P

  28. Tom
    Beautifully said, Bernardo.
  29. Alexandra
    @Bernardo I agree. All my life I felt driven to eat and lived every day preoccupied with thoughts of food. Once I removed the carbs ( thanks to Atkins,) all such preoccupation vanished. These days, I am 120+ lbs lighter and eat 2-3 low carb paleo meals per day, rarely snack and can happily forget about food for 6-8 hours at a time. I have read both of GT books on the subject and feel that I have a clear understanding of what had been going on in my body since I was a child. Atkins+Good Calories, Bad Calories+The Paleo Solution= vibrant slender healthy me!
  30. Suzanna
    The photo you chose for the article could not be more perfect for the Tabues-Guyenet altercation!
  31. moreporkplease
    Oh, by the way - I forgot to ask this earlier - what if any pharmaceutical company is Guyenet associated with/funded by?

    Is his emphasis on "reward" merely the background to develop or extend anti-opiate drugs such as naxolene into the treatment of obesity? Has he ever stated any intention in this direction?

    His whole "fight" may be really a stage in his plan to do the research necessary to patent and sell via Big Pharma more prescription drugs, yes? Thus it would be very important to him to knock down all diet-and-lifestyle-based treatments, correct?

    Just curious if anyone has any information on the forest here, instead of just quarreling about the trees.

  32. Tom
    That's completely nutty, moreporkplease.

    Guyanet just got his panties in a bunch because Taubes implied that Guyanet wasn't acting like a scientist.

    In retaliation, Guyanet's on a quest to prove Taubes' point.

    I have to say that I'm kind of getting sick of the wackjobs and camp-followers coming out of the woodwork on this issue. It's like 7th grade, but with condescension.

    Or as Henry Kissinger once said, "University politics are vicious precisely because the stakes are so small."

    Anyway, as for the science, Peter at Hyperlipid is good enough for me.

  33. Tom
    (He's also funnier than Taubes and Guyanet put together):

    Hyperlipid blog: Should we abandon the carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity?

  34. FrankG
    I just listened to Gary Taubes on Angelo Coppola's "Latest in Paleo" Podcast. I'd recommend it if you have the time to take a listen... http://www.latestinpaleo.com/blog/2011/8/29/latest-in-paleo-30-gary-t...

    Perhaps I have misunderstood the time-line but weren't Gary Taubes "Science" and then the "NY Times" article -- followed by GCBC -- the first to bring this major questioning of the "conventional wisdom" to the arena? Or did Gary Taubes jump onto someone else's bandwagon? If nothing else (and there is plenty more), surely Gary should be thanked for bringing out these questions? The biggest lesson for me in reading GCBC was that I no longer take any "science" at face value... it has to stand up to scrutiny.

    Science is supposed to be about questions and I am grateful that the scientific debate is ongoing (although I could care less for the personal attacks)... if it ever stops, that is when I would be be worried

  35. Mike
    Much has been said in this blog and other's about Gary Taubes 'suboptimal intelligence' comment. Frankly, one just needs to look at Ancel Key's foisting the cholesterol myth on us or on the headlines in any health section saying 'High Fat Diet Addictive' when the diet they discuss is high sugar. Or any other headline or study using epidemological data not as a clue but as a declaration of truth to realize that many in the nutrition field are using 'suboptimal intelligence' and the consequences of this has been the obesity epidemic. Good calories bad calories is FULL of examples like this of nutrition researchers drawing the wrong conclusions from the data because of bias. Or simply not publishing studies that do not result in the pre-conceived conclusions.

    It may be harsh language that raises some eyebrows but before dismissing the comment, let's check if people are operating in this way. Nutrition seems to be an area where there are ALOT of thin skinned people. Taubes blog post is not (as I see it) personal. He really is just holding Guyenet to task for what he perceives as being bad science. Frankly, reading Guyenet's so called 'critique' of Taubes' carbohydrate-insulin theory using insulin injected directly into baboon brains and ignoring things like glucagon release with insulin when ingesting protein, I think Taubes is correct in his assessment.

  36. Placental Mammal
    Guyanet just got his panties in a bunch because Taubes implied that Guyanet wasn't acting like a scientist.

    In retaliation, Guyanet's on a quest to prove Taubes' point.

    The recent attempt to to find volunteers to test Guyenet's Food Reward hypothesis looks laughable, to put it politely, especially how short it will be, a mere month. Taubes wants his hypotheses tested, but obviously understands it needs the kind of studies that take at least a decade, and is more aware of the importance of separating and being careful about variables.

    Good calories bad calories is FULL of examples like this of nutrition researchers drawing the wrong conclusions from the data because of bias. Or simply not publishing studies that do not result in the pre-conceived conclusions.

    Exactly. In fact I think it's hypocritical for the paleo people to say no one is taking Taubes seriously, thus Taubes must be wrong, when it's not like the paleo and real food people in general are taken seriously in general either in the mainstream when it comes to topics like raw dairy, meat and saturated fats, and the trouble with grains.

    The drama does remind me a lot of what I loathe about the worst of academia, institutional arrogance and worship of people with degrees, and assumptions that people PhDs somehow have god-like intelligence and perfect critical thinking skills. They don't, and science, like any other discipline, is done by people who are very often flawed, and with all the inevitable mistakes throughout many careers that can occur. Gary Taubes has spent many years studying this, and has every right to comment on it.

  37. AC
    Taubes was just calling a spade a spade, in my opinion. Sometimes that's necessary.
  38. Mike
    I don't think all the paleo people are saying that no one is taking Taubes seriously, I think it's mostly Guyenet. There have been a couple who are a bit more neutral on the disagreement between the two but generally I think most of them tend to side with Taubes' theory then Guyenet's.

    BTW, I find it funny that many of those who decry Taubes and say he's wrong because obesity is a complex and many-factored problem go on to prescribe basically the same tired solution: eat less and move more. Sometimes there is consideration for the quality of food but that's about it. If it is complex and many-factored, then the solution would have to be personalized to counteract the causes a particular individual is facing, wouldn't they? So if someone has a broken metabolism, the bland food solution if it contains a lot of carbs, probably won't work. For someone whose metabolism isn't damaged, maybe it would.

  39. Placental Mammal
    I don't think all the paleo people are saying that no one is taking Taubes seriously, I think it's mostly Guyenet.

    I didn't mean to imply all of them were, but it wasn't just Guyenet, but some of his most vocal supporters.

    BTW, I find it funny that many of those who decry Taubes and say he's wrong because obesity is a complex and many-factored problem go on to prescribe basically the same tired solution: eat less and move more.

    The perfect solution for thyroid problems! Odd this is coming from people who tend to be critical about soy consumption. (One can also have weight gain if they're on certain types of medications, but since some of them are lifesaving, I'd rather not discourage the use of them).

  40. Dave
    While "idiots" is not a nice term, what goes on in a scientist's mind when he/she claims a causal effect between red meat and colon cancer (to mention but one of the many outrageously bad science studies) based on some other study based on questionnaires sent to people asking how many pizzas (dough and all) and hotdogs (bun and all) they had eaten in the last 10 years?

    Not to mention the number of deaths and amount of suffering Ancil Keys is responsible for, there is no defending his actions.. (I'll hold back my further opinions on him.. )

    Bad science is just that.

  41. kim
    Taubes is Mr Cherry picker & Low Carb Diets are delusional. Funny 40-50 years ago moms made apple pies,we ate French Fries,burgers with buns,cereal,white toast etc yet obesity was low. I myself would regularly eat Cocoa Puffs for breakfast.Children moved & played more,People were involved workwise in alot of manual labour. Sorry Taubes,but the fact is the more you move,the more energy your body requires & the more calories burned. You didn^t have x-tra large fries,1,200 calorie shakes etc. Meat was often a luxury because it was expensive & indulged in not too much. Funny one idiot here curses bread. Jesus fed the people with Loaves(bread) & fish,God fed his people with manna(bread) when starving in the desert. Bible doesn^t say carbs make you fat but it does mention Gluttony(oops I forgot if you eat all the protein u like & go past what your body requires that x-tra calorie magically dissapears...yea right). If u look at Taubes now & compare him before he went low carb he looks so different.When I saw him in pics & interviews in 2001 he looked young,vibrant,healthy. Now at 55 he looks more than 65,ageing,bad complexion etc. This is what can happen when you sacrifice the many healthy carbs loaded with flavanoids,anti-cancer,anti-heart disease,anti-ageing,properties vitamins & minerals. Get real,he thinks eating Bacon everyday is healthy but a apple is suspect. can you say quack ?. As far as Low Carb goes,your body prefers to run on carbs(your brain loves them),when you deprive it of carbs it has to break down necessarry proteins to carbs to run your body.This sacrfices the protein needed to repair your body.Without muscle you lessen your ability to store glucose/glycogen is lessened,this trends u to diabetes.There is a increase in the lypogenic enzymes that store body fat. What this all means ? instead of getting thinner....your actually getting fatter. Notice how Atkins was never involved in long term results of his diet,he had 40 years to do so
  42. Tom
    Kim, I think you took the wrong offramp off the information superhighway. Let me get you back on your way: http://www.30bananasaday.com/
  43. Milton
    Apparently, kim's twitter account has no character limit.
  44. Jim
    I suspect that the real historical workings of the sciences is being overlooked.

    We progress in various ways.

    There is the "ideal way" in which ideas are perfectly formed, and perfectly described, and then perfectly verified and perfectly accepted.

    The "real" ways of science are partly objective and partly politics and or other persuasion.

    The "real" process often involves conflicts.

    One of the more famous examples of confilict, historical, was between Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton. Hooke would regularly take personal swipes at Newton making claims that Newton had done nothing original or that Hooke had done the same thinking years earlier, of that some kind of detail of Newton's was wrong, thus invalidating much of Newton's work.

    I unfortunately don't know what Newton's public reaction to Hooke was, but Hooke managed to be a giant pain in Newton's life.

    One of the secretive aspects of Newton's work was the Calculus (fluxions was what he called his variables). He used the Calculus to obtain his results, but then would laboriously re-derive the findings in terms of algebra and geometry for publication. He was keeping the new mathematics to himself.

    The Calculus was his pride and joy, and he has been quoted as having said that he wouldn't publish it till Hooke was dead, because he didn't want Hook trying to tear it up and discredit it as he was customarily prone to do with Newton's other published work.

    There is a well known story of how Newton was eventually persuaded to publish the methods of the Calculus before the death of Hooke.

    I see a lot of "low carb diet experts", who are attempting to play the role of Robert Hooke, setting up Taubes as the "Newton" to be disproven or discredited.

    They possibly have the same motives that Robert Hooke had, whatever they were.

    I don't know why, but this isn't really just historically limited to the current era, and it isn't restricted to dietary science either.

    Maybe it is like the news media. They know that negative stories get more readership than positive stories (disaster stories vs success stories or those wonderfully happy stories and so on....), and so they emphasize the negative stories.

  45. t-bird
    In this case, "operating with sub-optimal intelligence" means making decisions without the best information. It *could* also be a clever insult, but I didn't read it that way.
  46. JerseyAC
    Kim, let's look at your argument.

    "Funny 40-50 years ago moms made apple pies,we ate French Fries,burgers with buns,cereal,white toast etc yet obesity was low. I myself would regularly eat Cocoa Puffs for breakfast."

    This was the onset of our road to diabetes, if you can tell me that your bowl of sugar coated starch will let anyone lose weight or maintain a healthy body I'll eat my shoe. Also, We had a fundamental change in the definition of obesity, look up the numbers before the BMI system was used to define who was obese and who wasn't.

    "Children moved & played more,People were involved workwise in alot of manual labour. Sorry Taubes,but the fact is the more you move,the more energy your body requires & the more calories burned. You didn^t have x-tra large fries,1,200 calorie shakes etc. Meat was often a luxury because it was expensive & indulged in not too much."

    Labor for one, but yes we did have more physical play and movement in our lives so I'll agree that people burned more. Yet we still do have people who are manual workers and work damn hard every day yet they are struggling with weight. Mr Taubes isn't arguing that movement doesn't burn calories. He is arguing that movement in and of itself will not make your body choose to burn it's own fat, it will instead make it tell you to consume more and if what you consume is sugar and high carbs those in turn will cause insulin to spike which will drive those calories into your fat cells and produce the vicious cycle of hunger and eating without satiation.

    Also, if just reducing calories in/out was the perfect solution everyone could just dial it down and lose weight regardless of what they eat, which anyone who has tried this can tell you. It never works that way.

    "You didn^t have x-tra large fries,1,200 calorie shakes etc. Meat was often a luxury because it was expensive & indulged in not too much."

    An interesting argument considering you stated previously that we did eat fries "Funny 40-50 years ago moms made apple pies,we ate French Fries,burgers with buns,cereal,white toast etc yet obesity was low." and meat. Was this magic meat not a luxury? Were these fries somehow different and dietetic? If you think that slice of apple pie won't be just as much a bomb as a shake I think some people may have words with you.

    "Funny one idiot here curses bread. Jesus fed the people with Loaves(bread) & fish,God fed his people with manna(bread) when starving in the desert. Bible doesn^t say carbs make you fat but it does mention Gluttony(oops I forgot if you eat all the protein u like & go past what your body requires that x-tra calorie magically dissapears...yea right)."

    So let's just not bring the religious fervor into this, that's a bad idea in a scientific discussion.

    Eating all the protein you want? Never heard Gary say that once, now High Fat, moderate protein and low carb. Yes, that I've heard him say and nowhere did he say you could be a glutton and consume endlessly. What I did hear is you would eat to satiety and not gain weight. In fact that the consumption of LCHF would end up netting you eating less BECAUSE you would feel satisfied longer and not be go back 1-2 hours later wanting to eat even more.

    "If u look at Taubes now & compare him before he went low carb he looks so different.When I saw him in pics & interviews in 2001 he looked young,vibrant,healthy. Now at 55 he looks more than 65,ageing,bad complexion etc."

    Um, I've seen pictures of him from 2001 and recently his ancestral health lecture in addition to his appearance on Dr Oz where Oz called him a good looking and fit man.

    "This is what can happen when you sacrifice the many healthy carbs loaded with flavanoids,anti-cancer,anti-heart disease,anti-ageing,properties vitamins & minerals."

    Mr Taubes never advocated eating nothing but fat and meats, his books are fine with leafy greens, and the non starchy veggies. Fruits are something you should view as a restricted food and even then you should be looking at the berries which tend to have the lowest insulin response as well as the biggest punch in the vitamins, minerals and flavanoids you mention.

    The paleo people here would also agree that if you think like a hunter gatherer, meat would be the thing you hunt for most, gathering the leafy greens you could find along the way and finding the occasional berry bush since after all there were no orchards and farms of endless fruits to be had in those times.

    In the end your body will run on just about any fuel you put in it. How well it runs on that fuel is determined by allot of factors genetics does have a role to play in it. Some cultures run better on more carbs and he has acknowledged this. You may be able to have more carbs then I can, or she can.. or that guy over there can.

    The important thing is this, pick the fuel that works best for you. For me it is low carb high fat with plenty of green veggies in there, the occasional fruit in berry form with special events I will still avoid the pastas and starches cause I know what they do to me. They make me hungry... all the damn time. I do get my nice piece of dark chocolate but it's a treat and not daily... or even weekly at this point.

    The health benefits of LCHF diets have studies showing what they do to your Cholesterol profile, your energy as well as your weight. Look it up, this site is a good place to start.

    More important then anything is judge it on yourself, I feel better then I ever have so for me he is not a quack. He is a godsend of understanding why the other ways never worked for me.

  47. Mike Ellwood
    Talking of humour in blogs, Dave Dixon at the Spark of Reason can be pretty funny sometimes and his science seems razor sharp. Like Taubes, he is from the school of "hard science", not the hand-waving world of nutrition:

    http://sparkofreason.blogspot.com/2011/08/comment-on-guyenet-vs-taube...

    As for no LCHF in the UK, well, I can understand why Andreas might think that, but there has been a small but dedicated band of low-carbers in the UK for quite a while, as I discovered when I discovered low-carbing about 3½ years ago, but don't get much of a hearing in the mainstream media.

    I wish that Gary had done a lecture tour in the UK as well as the ones he has done in the USA, but I guess he's never had the time.

    And we have our own "diet doctor", Barry Groves:

    http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/

    And we had our own "Doctor Atkins" years before the actual Doctor Atkins, in the shape of the late Doctor Richard Mackarness:

    Somewhere, there is a full text of his book "Eat Fat and Grow Slim" (1958) online, but in lieu of that, here is a summary:

    http://www.lowcarb.ca/atkins-diet-and-low-carb-plans/stone-age-diet-m...

    Hmmm...."Stone Age Diet" - This was in 1958, before the term "paleo diet" was born.

    Some people might be interested in this preface to his book, by the wife of someone readers of GC, BC will know about:

    http://forum.dirtycarnivore.com/index.php/topic,1100.msg54355.html?PH...

    Ah, ok, I think this is (more or less) the full text:

    http://www.ourcivilisation.com/fat/

    I am lucky enough to have an original 1958 edition on my bookshelves.

    There should be an obituary of Doctor Richard Mackarness on the Independent website, but the link doesn't seem to work at the moment. Anyone interested might try googling for it later. It's well worth a read.

    People should remember that the UK is a very conservative (small "c") place, and we are very slow to adopt changes, and then even slower to unadopt them.

    Thus we were a bit slower than the US to climb on to the low-fat, cholesterol-phobic bandwagon, but once we did, it seems we decided to stick with it for the long haul, and it will be a long time before we (as a nation) jump off it (if we haven't fallen over the cliff of 100% obesity before then).

    Oh yes, but flying the flag for the UK again, another of the good guys was Dr John Yudkin, who wrote sensible things about sugar long before Dr Robert Lustig, and to be fair, Lustig has given Yudkin credit for this.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-john-yudkin-1593131...

  48. Mike Ellwood
    Sorry, too late to edit my previous post: I think this is a better link to that preface (by Mrs Stefansson) to Richard Mackarness's 1958 (actually a 1959 US edition) "Eat Fat and Grow Slim":

    http://forum.dirtycarnivore.com/index.php?topic=1100.0

    Read down the page and there are some interesting comments and links.

    I think it's cool to find an unexpected, indirect connection between someone Taubes wrote about (Stefansson - who is a hero of the "Zero Carb" movement - Charles Washington), and Richard Mackarness, who was an early low-carb pioneer in post-war Britain.

    Not the first low-carb pioneer, of course, which would be William Banting.

  49. JerseyAC
    Nice finds, truth be told in some of the lectures Gary has given he has mentioned that low carb as a medicinal cure for a slew of diseases is very old and I believe if we had even better record keeping or written history we would find it is even older then we think.
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