You’re Seven Feet Tall Because You Eat Too Much

Is this man seven feet tall because he eats too much? Did he just forget to count his calories? Hardly. Far more likely he’s got an excess of growth hormone, handing him a possible career as a basketball star.

So why do we assume that people with obesity, people who grow horizontally, just eat too much? They too might have an hormonal issue. Too much fat-storing insulin, perhaps?

Credits

My friend Fred Hahn just posted this picture and argument on his blog. And of course the argument is Gary Taubes 101. Still worth repeating though.

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51 Comments

Top Comments

  1. Because you intentionally hide the fact that you can store fat without insulin, which makes your site and your future books essentially pointless, because it means limiting carbs is not the solution, as you still need protein that leads to de facto the same response.

    Limiting carbs clearly lowers insulin by a lot:
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/yes-a-low-carb-diet-greatly-lowers-your-ins...

    There is always some insulin around so sure, it's in theory possible to store fat at any time. But in practice trying to store excess fat long-term without a lot of insulin around is a constant uphill struggle.

    That's why people adviced to eat a low-carb diet lose weight without counting calories.
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/science

    BTW, after two years of blogging I've made zero dollars on this site, everything is free. So your insinuations fall kind of flat.

    Read more →
  2. robert
    @WH: Where's the 'reinvention' you talk about?

    'LCHF and friends' don't reinvent but revert. They just try to UNDO the damage done to our way of eating.

    As far as I'm concerned LCHF (or whatever you want to call it) is basically one thing: the removal of everything that is cheap to produce by the food industry and has quasi infinite shelf life - because not even a simple fungus wants to eat it. But homo 'sapiens' does... and those kinds of foods are the ones that have been introduced to our diet after WWII by the food industry. Grains are everywhere and in everything (as HFCS), even medicine (corn starch).

    Normal food rots quite quickly, because nature doesn't let things go to waste. Take a strawberry and nick its surface. On a warm day it will go bad pretty quickly.

    Normal food doesn't have additives either. White flour has to be fortified, otherwise people get severe deficiencies pretty quickly if they base their diet on that stuff. Some even die.

    Whip-cream gets mixed with Carrageenan (a carbohydrate) to prevent separation of the fatty and watery phase. Why is that necessary? I don't want that stuff in there. I want the real thing, not some franken-food. I'm pretty sure the food industry claims they do it because the customer wants his cream pasteurized, homogenized, perfectly uniform... sounds like a technical liquid from a factory. Motor oil maybe? Most of the younger folk might even not know anymore that natural cream separates to some degree... and think cream that does that has gone bad. The food industry has won in that case.

    If stuff simply doesn't want to rot, don't eat it! Use it to pave roads or fill up sink-holes, but please don't eat it.

    Read more →

All Comments

  1. rita
    I have just started my LCHF food regimen and I feel great. My father has type 2 diabetes and it is still very hard for him to accept this new information. He has a strong emotional reaction to foods high in fat because of all the years being told how dangerous it is. But step by step I'll help him get better as well! Thank you for sharing all this information!
  2. Andrew
    I've lost 70 lbs in 7 months on LCHF. I'm real close to the weight I want to be. I could not be happier.
    I have not restricted calories whatsoever. If I feel like eating a whole side of ribs, no problem. A whole fried chicken, fine. No calorie counting at all.
    I also have not tasted bread, soda, rice, wheat or corn in 7 months. I don't miss them at all. I do indulge a strawberry smoothie an night usually. I also add coconut oil to that smoothie.
    If you have carb cravings then you have not eaten enough fat.
    Eat more fat. Eat avocados.
    Lose the insulin spikes and lose the fat. Another great resource is the book "Eat Fat and Grow Slim"
    I don't know the policy here on links but this can be removed if it's not allowed. http://www.ourcivilisation.com/fat/index.htm
  3. Zepp
    I think he has playing to much basket ball!
  4. Wade Henderson
    Wait a minute... from that site "Obesity is a hormonal issue – not a numbers issue. Repeat after Gary Taubes – It’s biology, not physics."

    I see and those who were born decades ago, before this "change" in hormones, were as a group, able to stay relatively slender?
    Teens in the 50's, 60's, as a group, weighed less.

    One can only imagine if todays teens ate and moved in a similar fashion as those 50 years ago, they'd be of a similar size. What ever you may call that lifestyle and diet back then. Of course even then some folks were obese, but no where near today's levels. Especially in young people.

    Obviously there are genetic and hormonal causes of height and weight, but those same genetic and hormonal attributes were in young people (and older people) back then.
    Back then, very few individuals were counting carbs or fat, and few were jogging.

    The only diet food was Metrecal
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrecal

  5. Margaretrc
    @Wade Henderson, kids--and people--back in 50s and 60s weren't obese because they weren't afraid of fat, so they ate it. And thus they ate far fewer carbohydrates than do people now. If you don't eat fat, you replace it with carbs--you need energy. Too many carbs-->too much insulin-->carbs are stored as fat instead of burned. Less energy for being active, more fat, more hunger, more eating. It's a vicious cycle. It's not that people now eat too much and move too little compared to the 50s and 60s. It's that simple carbs like sugar and starch comprise way too much of the diet, thanks to the fear of fat, and that creates a hormonal environment conducive to gaining fat. Just because the people of the 50s and 60s had the same genetic attributes as young people today doesn't mean they couldn't have a different hormonal issue.
  6. Wade Henderson
    Margaretrc, I agree, kids were not afraid of fat in the 50's and 60's. No one gave it a second thought. Were they eating more fat? I don't know that is factually true.

    I do know they are eating more today. And you are correct that much of the fries, chips, and Cokes are simple carbs, which cause a problem.

    How come there is a such a need to go to extremes when we have such a recent example of the majority people doing quite well on a well demonstrated diet, such as that found in the 50's and 60's.
    Almost no one was counting carbs back then,
    How about determining the carb intake levels back then, and going to that level rather than going overboard on avoidance. (at least for teens and folks who are nearly normal in weight)
    Obviously if someone has a 100 pound problem, or diabetes, they may have to find a more extreme version.

    However I get the impression that many here would advocate a "low carb" diet for most teens.
    Even for those who are of near normal weight.
    No one was concerned about them in the 50's and 60's and they did just fine.
    Seems to me that the best advice for them would be to duplicate the 50's and 60's in diet and lifestyle. Heck, even the music was better back then.

  7. yuma
    This article reminds me of my late mother in law.

    She used to say: "I don't have a weight problem, i have a height problem!"

  8. Andrew
    People eat so many simple carbs today because they are cheap and easy to produce. The government and food industry are heavily invested in them. Do not expect the government nor industry to change the mantra. The medical and drug industries are heavily invested in keeping people sick. If everybody were well there would be little incentive to be a doctor. Just be happy that you have an answer and you can help your family.

    Yes when I realized body fat was purely a hormonal issue was when things began to change.

    @Wade Henderson

    In the 50's and 60's simple carbs were not ubiquitous nor was the sedentary lifestyle teens live today.

  9. bill
    W.H.

    Do you not understand anything about this website???

    And you are not correct about people eating more now. Here's an article explaining this:

    http://todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/03/07/17224260-us-obesity-mys...

  10. Wade Henderson
    Bill and Adrew, I'm not going to debate the exact caloric intake of the 50's and 60's with todays levels... because that isn't the real point I was making. (BTW, that article is about the 70's, not the 50's and 60's.

    What I am saying is IF the young people of the 50's and 60's were eating a particular diet, and being active to a certain level, then if they duplicated that diet and activity today, there would be no need for them to go to exceptionally low levels of carbs in order to achieve the same body weights they had 50 years ago.

    Why not duplicate the past instead of suggesting a different way of eating for THOSE mentioned groups. Now, what might be best in terms of carb limitiations for certain others, is a different matter. A person already experiencing problems may have to do much more than just going back to 1950's and 1960's levels of carbs, fats, and sugars.

    It is still possible to buy the same foods today that most folks ate 50 years ago.
    Why not do so? Why reinvent what tens of millions of young people did before the problems arose.

  11. bill
    ...no, apparently he doesn't...
  12. Ondrej
    Doc,
    I'll tell you why. Because you intentionally hide the fact that you can store fat without insulin, which makes your site and your future books essentially pointless, because it means limiting carbs is not the solution, as you still need protein that leads to de facto the same response. But I get it, business is business, why bother? Why change your own limited view? Why admit those experts who laugh at persuasive amateurs of Taubes type are probably experts for reason? People buy your claims...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTRIWxIq6fE
    Replies: #14, #15
  13. Because you intentionally hide the fact that you can store fat without insulin, which makes your site and your future books essentially pointless, because it means limiting carbs is not the solution, as you still need protein that leads to de facto the same response.

    Limiting carbs clearly lowers insulin by a lot:
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/yes-a-low-carb-diet-greatly-lowers-your-ins...

    There is always some insulin around so sure, it's in theory possible to store fat at any time. But in practice trying to store excess fat long-term without a lot of insulin around is a constant uphill struggle.

    That's why people adviced to eat a low-carb diet lose weight without counting calories.
    http://www.dietdoctor.com/science

    BTW, after two years of blogging I've made zero dollars on this site, everything is free. So your insinuations fall kind of flat.

  14. FrankG
    "people buy your claims..." because apparently for many of us THEY WORK!

    I'm still waiting to see all the unsolicited personal success stories on sites for so-called "low-carb debunkers"... success stories like Andrew's above, that Dr Andreas and others like Gary Taubes blog and Ted Naughton's Fat Head get on a regular basis. So many people finally get it... many without even having to buy a book.

    I don't know (nor care) what your problem is but faced with my own significantly improved health after a multi-decade struggle with obesity and metabolic disorder -- all the while following the conventional wisdom -- there is no way in heck that your snide comments are going to convince me that LCHF is not good advice for many people.

  15. Ondrej
    Well, browse a vegan site, it will be the same framework. "But it worked for me!! Never coming back!" For how many years, do I ask, before you went nuts? And how much of it comes from you being proud of how much clever and morally superior you are because you read clever blog, and how much from diet itself? How many arguments did you have with your mother over grain-fed chicken she prepared for you? Was it really worth it? Those are some of the questions you need to ask.
    For the record, I did Paleo, I did ketogenic diet, I did fasting, and it took some time to get over this and come a full circle back to sensible eating, to conventional wisdom of our mothers and grandmothers, that is grey, boring, and effective. No ebook for that, though.
    By the way, many methods bring results. Every charlatan has results. There is always some percentage it works for, and they are the loudest. Ask homeopatic doctors. They honestly believe they help people.
  16. Ondrej
    Doc,
    why do you use flawed logic then?
    "Is this man seven feet tall because he eats too much? Did he just forget to count his calories? Hardly. Far more likely he’s got an excess of growth hormone, handing him a possible career as a basketball star.

    So why do we assume that people with obesity, people who grow horizontally, just eat too much? They too might have an hormonal issue. Too much fat-storing insulin, perhaps?"

    How much sense does this post make in light of evidence you can still store fat without insulin? The evidence that calories count...well, is there. How much sense does it make to focus on insulin then? Yes, it plays a role, for sure. And what are the long-term effects of limiting food groups on mental state of participants? Are all doctors in the world stupid if they don't recommend LCHF already, if it's superior? Why do they stay in the grey zone of "diversity"?

    Replies: #19, #25
  17. Ondrej
    Or maybe triathlete Sisson and journalist Taubes are more intelligent than Alan Aragon, who actually educates doctors about diet. Who knows? Let's listen to triathletes and journalists first..and then maybe some podcast with that guy, Jimmy Moore, who walks the talk and is educated on the topic.

    Alan Aragon has over 20 years of success in the fitness field. He earned his Bachelor and Master of Science in Nutrition with top honors. He is a continuing education provider for the Commission on Dietetic Registration, National Academy of Sports Medicine, and National Strength & Conditioning Association. Alan has lectured to clinicians at the FDA and the annual conference of the Los Angeles Dietetic Association. He maintains a private practice designing programs for recreational, Olympic, and professional athletes, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Alan is the nutrition advisor of Men's Health magazine.

    Reply: #48
  18. FrankG
    Ondreij -- you seem to have a warped sense of reality if you think that the conventional wisdom is that offered by "our mothers and grandmothers" rather than the last 30-50 years of dietary advice from nutritionists and other so-called "experts"; who have been admonishing us all to limit a food group called fat... look around you if you want to see the mental and other health effects of that advice.

    I welcome any move back to eating the way my Parents and Grand-Parents ate 30 - 50 years ago... real whole food, home prepared, usually bought fresh, local and seasonally.

    Check out the TV and food ads you see today and look at what is available in the stores... how much is processed, packaged (long shelf life), low-fat this that or the other, no added this or that etc... how much is out of season, or brought in from far away lands by plane or container ships? Is this how your Grand Mother ate? Not mine.

    And what I eat (and have done so for over 4 years now) is far from "grey" or "boring".. it is tasty, varied AND effective at providing all my nutritional needs while keeping me healthy.

    ...

    Oh here we go: you've tried sarcasm. snide comments, insinuations about financial motivation and no we get the APPEALS TO AUTHORITY... oohh impressive credentials! Shiny!

    Where is the substance of your argument?

    Please give it a rest because you are really not convincing anyone. If you don't like this blog go find another that suits you :-)

  19. Ondrej
    http://greatist.com/health/fitness-reborn-real-truth-about-carbs

    FrankG: What I meant that grey zone is not sexy, but it's good. I agree that low fat craze is a mistake. Should we replace it with low carb craze?

    My point is it's better to listen to someone who actually understands what might be going on, who sees the complexity and yet is humble in offering easy solutions, not to someone who has a nice collection of letters from readers and makes statements like "It's insulin, baby!" or "Pasta is bad."

    Reply: #22
  20. FrankG
    Dr Andreas is a practicing physician with real life experience of helping folks (like myself) with excess fat mass and related metabolic health issues. Real live human beings... not genetically modified mice.

    He practices what he preaches, with his family eating this way.

    What he writes makes sense to me and my own experiences over many painful and unhealthy years of personal trial and error.

    The advice is offered here, fully and freely -- take it or leave it, there is nobody "forcing" anyone.

    How any of this makes him any less of an authority on the subject, let alone a money-grubbing charlatan is beyond me.

    I've made my choices carefully... I suggest you do likewise.

    In my view Dr Andreas (among others) IS "someone who actually understands what might be going on, who sees the complexity and yet is humble in offering easy solutions". And I thank him for promoting this message because I just wish I had heard it many years sooner.

  21. FrankG
    Ondreij you keep posting links.. why is that? Do you expect me to read what you are recommending? Do you think I trust your judgement in these matters, over my own?

    Or maybe you can't sum up your position in a pithy one liner, taken out of context like "It's insulin, baby!"... maybe you think I need to read beyond just the catchy headline to the actual substance and nuanced detail of the post to get the real point... is that it?

    In terms of insulin I have several years of experience, both injecting insulin and testing my own Blood Glucose (BG) several times each day. I have several years of charts and spreadsheets tracking my progress day by day. Can you say the same? I am living proof that it IS the insulin "baby". I know what different foods do to my BG and by association my insulin levels.

    Carbohydrates -- especially sugar and refined starches, raise the BG far more than does Protein. But even so that is why I eat low-carb high-fat NOT low-carb high-protein

    ...its probably one of those detailed, nuanced things that you only get if you read beyond the headlines and don't try to make a big deal by taking something out of context :-)

  22. Ondrej
    FrankG:
    Yes, I expect that you keep an open mind, read the articles and then decide. Is it too much to ask in this sacred temple of low carb? It's nice that you have charts and you are dedicated to something you believe to be true, ready to defend it. But that doesn't say anything else than you are already lost, emotionally attached to "your way". I don't show the way. I just destroy those myths that could harm anyone else badly. And LCHF is one of many ideologies...
    Reply: #26
  23. Ondrej
    I am a medical student and it's really said when a site called DietDoctor doesn't bother with evaluating counter-evidence and gives space to people like Taubes or Sisson, with no proffesional knowledge whatsoever, who are only commercial products, not researchers, experts...their intention may be good but they do more harm than good although they are great at marketing. That's probably why I post here.
  24. How much sense does this post make in light of evidence you can still store fat without insulin?

    Actually, without any insulin you can't. Ask anybody with type 1 diabetes.

    For healthy people there's always some insulin around. But sorry, the world is not just black or white. More insulin means you'll store more fat.

  25. FrankG
    I definitely DO keep an open mind. When I mentioned above multiple decades of trial and error what about that led you to think that I had not tried pretty much everything and read pretty much everything I could on the subject? And I still keep reading and experimenting.

    Your assumption that I am some kind of ideologue could not be further from the truth.

    On the other hand as a Medical Student you seem particularly closed-minded and I am dismayed to think that yet another generation of folks like me may end up getting poor advice from the health establishment.

    I wonder how many more Type 2 Diabetics will die shortened and painful lives with blindness, amputations and/or renal failure due to such advice. That is the road I was already on if I had continued to follow the mainstream advice I was getting.

    Fortunately there ARE people like Gary Taubes (and myself) with enough of a background in science and enough interest to go out and find out things for ourselves without relying on the sacred gatekeepers of knowledge, who might deign to dole out crumbs of wisdom to we, the great unwashed masses.

  26. Ondrej
    If you try to cure everything with a fad diet, good luck with that. But that's typical...people believe in homeopathics, herbs, that diet will save them. It can help, but t's potential is limited, and you can accuse doctors that they hide the cancer treatment from you, they want you to be fat and hide the genius of Taubes/Sisson/Moore, that you can't get sick on LCHF/Paleo, but you are just lying to yourself.

    The very same kinds of people come to doctor's office and refuse vaccination, because they read on blog it's unncecessary. Then they sue the very same doctor if anything happens as a consequence of their stupid decision.

    Reply: #28
  27. FrankG
    My position would be that the establishment's low-fat "heartheathlywhoelgrains" diet is the "fad" and that LCHF more closely resembles what has been eaten by humans, as recently as my Grandparents generation and for a very great deal longer before that.

    You mentioned humility above and I suggest that as a medical student, it is something you still need to learn. If you think that taking a superior attitude and trying to brow-beat your patients with your "professionalism" is the answer then you are sadly mistaken.

    As for accredited professionals you clearly disagree with your position: might I draw your attention to Peter Attia MD, Robert Lustig MD, John Briffa MD. Andreas Eenfedlt MD.... should I go on?

    BTW have you actually read Gary Taubes Good Calories, Bad Calories -- and I don't mean someone else's "cliff notes" version but the whole book. If not, then maybe you should... in the spirit of being open-minded as you said above. Otherwise you are just parroting what others have told you, without thinking for yourself.

  28. Ondrej
    FrankG: I know them all. As I say, I used to be intriqued by their cherry-picked stuff. Not anymore.

    You think the establishment is low-fat nowdays? I don't think so. You are still stuck fighting the enemy Atkins fought decades ago when we didn't know so much, but it's 2013. Low fat? Hardly. My Pathology textbook from 2007 describes the underlying processes behind atherosclerosis just about right...
    By the way, do you know Atkins first book had to be rewritten for many absurd claims, like calories don't count? Yes, he actually said as long as you eat fat and protein, you won't be fat.

    I've seen Taubes destroyed so many times I don't even bother counting anymore. Not that hard acutually.
    Lustig? The guy who fears sugar to death yet eats baguette at work, as he admitted?

    Reply: #49
  29. Jo tB
    Ondrej, I was a teenager in the 50's so know a little about the eating habbits of the time. We ate very simply: meat from the butcher, vegetables and potatoes from the greengrocer. We ate white bread for breakfast and lunch (we didn't know any better). Supermarkets were unheard of where I lived, but were a new phenomenon in the USA. None of the girls in my all girls-school were overweight. Laurel of Laurel and Hardy was considered obese at the time! He would be considered slightly overweight by today's standards. Food manufacturers didn't have the stanglehold on the food chain it has today. Soup was made fresh and not out of a tim. Pizza was unheard of unless you had been to Italy for a holiday.
    As the years progress I get an ever increasing hankering for my mother's simple cooking and not being bombarded with all the advertising telling me how "healthy" product X or Y is. How convenient it is on our busy lives. We do'n't have the time to cook anymore, so we are losing the art of preparing our own meals from scratch. Would you know how to make bone broth? I can because I remember how my mother made it.
    That's whats wrong with our society today, everything has to come in a bottle, package, tin, or plastic wrapping.
    At least the paleo movement is trying to get us back to basics, where we should be.
  30. sten bj
    Doc, it is so sad to see how one guy comes in on a good site like this and just expect everyone to listen and read his senseless bulldozer comments. The discussion stopped, apart from Frank that thinks he can get through....!

    I read his first comment and your sensible reply on that and after his second post I gave up.
    Imagine a party where a guy like that is invited, by mistake....
    Since he wont stop, turn him off, please!

  31. Ondrej, you seem to be very angry.

    I am an editor who works on many diet books and most of them are based on calorie counting and are quite depressing. They give the calorific values for every piece of sugary rubbish you can buy, as if it makes sense to include them in a weight-losing diet.

    A low-GL diet on the other hand made a great deal of sense to me. That particular diet, by Patrick Holford (yes, the man so many scientists love to hate) has been very successful for many years and has even been used at a GP's practice in the UK, with excellent results. When my weight crept up as I reached a 'certain age', I decided it was time to follow the diet myself - I only had a stone to lose. It worked. Since then (2008) I have followed a low-carb diet, but it's not extremely low carb - more moderate carb really. It suits me and my weight is stable.

    I have also found the information in this blog, and many others I have followed, interesting because it means I can stop worrying about eating fat. I don't overload on it, but I eat it sensibly. I am also a cookery editor and I enjoy good food. I've always cooked from scratch. I now don't eat grains except some rice. It's no big deal. I've always eaten loads of vegetables so I have plenty of fibre. Are you suggesting that what I'm doing is wrong, or harmful, or that I'm just misguided?

    I was a child in the 1950s, a teenager in the 1960s. Very few people were overweight. If people needed to lose weight they just cut out the potatoes and bread. We ate meat, poultry, fish cheese, eggs and bacon, butter (marge as well, because it was cheaper). We also walked a lot to school, the station for trains to work - as do many people today who commute by public transport.

    Why people are so enthusiastic about low-carb is because it works and they lose weight. And if they have a lot of weight to lose they're understandably really enthusiastic about it when they reach their goal.

    Although this blog is about low-carb/high-fat I suspect many people are just eating fat in the kinds of quantities we ate in the past without getting neurotic about it. Are you worried that everyone that follows this diet successfully is actually making themselves ill?

    Or are you worried that these people believe they lost weight for the wrong reasons? That it has nothing to do with insulin but it's all about calories. Does it matter? What presumably does matter, though, is that if people are able to come off their diabetes medication because low carb helps their blood sugar it must be good.

    Also, as you get older, you can find you gain weight even though you're exercising regularly and doing everything 'right'. There's nothing wrong with people eating real food and losing weight. Low-fat is not real food, so it has to be good news to disregard it.

    And when it comes to cherry picking there seems to be enough of that going on among conventional medical and dietary organisations. More openness would be a great help. You say that the establishment is not low-fat. Well, we only just had a study the other day (about processed meat) going on about how fat and cholesterol lead to heart disease, so I don't see a lot of change there.

    There are other doctors who follow this blog and agree with Andreas. His patients and those of other doctors are losing weight and getting well. That's good enough for me. There's nothing wrong with a debate, but we should be civil to each other and not try to tell people who have made big changes to their lives that they are misguided, or accuse people of making money out of sharing what they have discovered.

    There is an obesity problem, but I don't think that people are very overweight because they don't exercise enough - nobody I knew went to a gym in the 1960s or ran marathons, and they seemed to do just fine. There's something else - and that something seems to be the huge amount of carbohydrate, especially sugars and HFCS, that we didn't have in those days. I simply can't imagine tucking into such large amounts of white-flour foods that many people do today, washed down with endless fizzy drinks. Why are they doing it? Those are the discussions that lead to this blog. If carbohydrate is addictive - and I think it is - then cutting it out (or the worst aspects of it) must surely be a good thing.

  32. Wade Henderson
    Don't reinvent...Tweak the 50's and 60's. The very same foods can still be purchased almost everywhere.
    Stop paying that gardener, throw out the power mower, and use a push mower.

    A few simple changes and your lifestyle can be 1955.
    Within a few years your wasitline should be in the 1956 to 1958 mode and range.

    Why not? Certainly the genetic makeup of our population has not changed in 60 years.

    Duplicate....Don't reinvent.

  33. robert
    @WH: Where's the 'reinvention' you talk about?

    'LCHF and friends' don't reinvent but revert. They just try to UNDO the damage done to our way of eating.

    As far as I'm concerned LCHF (or whatever you want to call it) is basically one thing: the removal of everything that is cheap to produce by the food industry and has quasi infinite shelf life - because not even a simple fungus wants to eat it. But homo 'sapiens' does... and those kinds of foods are the ones that have been introduced to our diet after WWII by the food industry. Grains are everywhere and in everything (as HFCS), even medicine (corn starch).

    Normal food rots quite quickly, because nature doesn't let things go to waste. Take a strawberry and nick its surface. On a warm day it will go bad pretty quickly.

    Normal food doesn't have additives either. White flour has to be fortified, otherwise people get severe deficiencies pretty quickly if they base their diet on that stuff. Some even die.

    Whip-cream gets mixed with Carrageenan (a carbohydrate) to prevent separation of the fatty and watery phase. Why is that necessary? I don't want that stuff in there. I want the real thing, not some franken-food. I'm pretty sure the food industry claims they do it because the customer wants his cream pasteurized, homogenized, perfectly uniform... sounds like a technical liquid from a factory. Motor oil maybe? Most of the younger folk might even not know anymore that natural cream separates to some degree... and think cream that does that has gone bad. The food industry has won in that case.

    If stuff simply doesn't want to rot, don't eat it! Use it to pave roads or fill up sink-holes, but please don't eat it.

  34. sten bj
    To Robert #34
    You are right and there is more to it than being "just cheap", it is bad too:
    What kept real food from being mass produced was the limited shelf life on many products. Take ground flour. When oils that could go rancid in freshly ground flour was taken out with "technical advances", the problem was solved for big food industry at the time to get much bigger by "increasing the shelf life". The fact that the white flour that was left became very low in vitamins and nutrients was inconvenient but then made up with "fortification". Yet (mainly ?) synthetic vitamins could be used as others could have the same problems as those that were taken out... Some lost minerals were also replaced after political pressure, yet again just "nominal minerals" .
    The result was very happy mass produces and retailers that could stock the cheaper flour for months instead of weeks, and consumers didn't mind because taste could be compensated with a little sugar. Diseases (see Weston Price!) that would follow from long term use of the comparatively inferior foods , white flour and refined white sugar, took many years to develop and links back to white flour and white sugar was rarely even thought about, except Weston Pric in the 1930's that was able to connect these to markers of civilization - white flour and white sugar - with rottening teeth, poor skeleton development and sickness and early death.

    That growing numbers of people now start to realize what's gone wrong is great but late, and action to correct can at least be taken on private levels.

    I guess one must then mill the flour at home, just before baking. But are there not bakeries
    that can mill just prior to baking, from GMO free grains? Love to get back to eat SOME real carbs, that is IF they come with old time real nutrition. But that may be hard these days when too much top soil is thinned down from lack of proper livestock keeping, yet in need to be remedied by Alan Savory technology that does not at all apply only to deserts as far as I understand! So part of our current low carb craze is most likely due to inferior quality of the long-life carbs many of us ate for years and still fill our supermarkets.

  35. Cheneen
    It seems I missed quite a bit yesterday, being Sunday. So my addition to the above is as follows: I attended a wellness day that my medical organised.

    Good news: My bad cholesterol is down from 6.1 to 4.7.

    And that is not following a LCHF "diet" but changing to a LCHF "lifestyle". It has to become a way of life to continue enjoying and reaping the benefits it so obviously provides.

    Thank you Tim Noakes and thank you Dr Andreas Eenfeldt.

  36. yuma
    Ondrej, you can make appeals to your "experts" (i.e. Aragon) ad nauseam but as long as people have lost weight and improved their health markers with LCHF (i.e. FrankG) you are making a fool of yourself.

    What would a sensible person believe? What he/she has accomplished with LCHF or what a an auto-denominated "expert" claims?

    Will you be a doctor that prescribes what Big Pharma dictates - while getting kickbacks from the drug reps - or what works for your patients?

  37. Laura
    I'm not saying I don't agree that hormones are involved in weight gain, but to answer the question raised in your post...

    People can (and do) lose weight by eating less food. Tall people don't get shorter by doing the same.

    Reply: #39
  38. FrankG
    As a general rule you are correct Laura but human growth can definitely be stunted by a lack of nutrition.

    And in another species (remember we are all from the same genome) it has recently been discovered that the Galapagos Marine Iguana actually DOES "grow" smaller and shorter (skeleton and all) during times of famine...

    http://www.asknature.org/strategy/5cf6551b8a506fef798fb383cffbfaac

  39. bill
    Laura:

    You are thinking about the issue from the wrong direction. If a human lacks growth hormone, they will not grow tall.

    Get it now?

  40. grinch
    People can grow fat, then diet down to skinnyness, then grow fat again, then repeat over and over and over again.

    People cannot cause themselves to shrink by changing their diet. Once vertical growth happens, that's it, its permanent.

    I think it is absurd that this argument keeps being made about obesity being a growth disorder. Overfeeding studies have demonstrated that obesity is possible without a growth disorder. Leptin deficiency by itself can cause people to overeat to the point of obesity simply because of calorie balance since they lack the internal cues to stop eating.

  41. bill
    grinch:

    Isn't leptin a hormone?

  42. FrankG
    "People can grow fat, then diet down to skinnyness, then grow fat again, then repeat over and over and over again."

    Yes it is called "yo yo dieting" and has become a way of life for way too many people who struggle against their body by starving it.. all the while relying on the flawed conventional wisdom approach.

    You make it all sound so simple and yet it really, really isn't. Invariably we grow even fatter on each iteration, or at the very least it becomes easier so to do. Perhaps in part due to the proliferation of adipose cells (more fat tissue) which once grown does not go away... "its permanent"... much like vertical growth eh?

    Vertical growth CAN Be stunted by underfeeding. And anthropologists point out that: as a species we became shorter (AND less healthy) when we made the move from hunter gatherers to farmers of grain.

    We can lose muscle mass and bone density through improper nutrition also. Like say a traditional calorie-restricted diet :-P

    As for overfeeding studies: check out the Vermont Prison studies and the BBC documentary "Why Are Thin People Not Fat" which documents how it is NOT so easy for everybody to become obese simply by overeating.. even when well motivated to do so -- like by the promise of early parole. Probably because the CICO paradigm is WRONG!

    I think it absurd that you keep harping on about overeating as if that were the root cause rather than a symptom.. as if huge parts of the population, in every part of the world suddenly decided to force-feed themselves!

    Details of the Vermont Prison studies here...
    http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.ca/2008/10/first-law-of-thermodynamic...

    And part 1/7 of the BBC documentary...
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-A0iHSdcA

  43. Jennapher
    Sad.. people here in the US have always been particularly rude about overweight people... now with the epidemic a common argument I see is people getting all RILED UP about individuals that are obese driving up healthcare costs.. Lame.. If conventional wisdom is right then that means that in addition to work, school, and taking care of my kids and house I ALSO need to exercise for about an hour everyday and eat pretty much nothing. NOBODY has time to do all that.
    HFLC makes sooo much more sense, not only do I have the energy now to get everything done that I need to I have lost 25lbs and no longer have arthritis or pain in my knees and shoulders :D

    I feel bad for people that are still trapped under conventional wisdom... My coworker attacks my diet quite often and I just smirk to myself because unfortunately they probably wont understand until they follow the diet themselves and find out what amazing things it can do. So until then it's like I have this secret to great living and eveyone else just doesn't get it

  44. Wicked chicken
    I am a dietitian and I follow a lot of nutrition blogs.

    I see that people get very self righteous about the diet in which they believe. I understand what ondrej was attempting to do, to encourage people to examine the exact opposite arguments to lchf (through your own researching) so that they could actually argue with whole understanding. Thats what I do, that is what medical professionals are trained to do so that you can give an arguement for or against something, with more certainty.

    Vegan websites, raw foodists, and those very low fat high carb ornish followers have the exact same trails of conversations that are here. 'It worked for me I've lost X pounds and what he says makes sense after years of struggle. To view your mirror-image opposite-world twin stories I encourage you to visit the link below.

    http://happyherbivore.com/2013/01/herbie-week-2012-recap/

    Same weight loss and miracle changes in health. The potential of food is unmistakable.

    Lchf may well be one of the best natural way to reverse diabetes type 2 through loss of central obesity and with concurrent healing of the pancreas. At a lower weigh at with a well functioning pancreas i don't think such strict carb avoidance is necessary. That's my 2 cents but please do continue on with any sustainable way of life that keeps you healthy and happy whether its this or the plant based dieters on the linked page above. Just stay open minded.

  45. @ Wicked chicken: As I said in my post earlier, I think a lot of people who follow this blog amend the low-carb (or even moderate carb) to suit themselves. I think there's lots of good stuff here and people are helpful to others. For me anyway, I don't feel the need to follow a very low-carb/high-fat lifestyle but all the contributions of people on this site are useful. I don't see the point of rudeness though, I have to say. The main point for me is that we don't need to be scared of eating fat (the right kind, of course).

    Those of us who have been interested in diet for years have indeed read about and lived the opposite argument. I'm not convinced that most medical professionals study the opposite argument, however, but I'm glad that you do.

  46. Susan Harmony Ph.D.
    grinchy:

    *The human body is an OPEN SYSTEM

    *The human body is also a NON-EQUILIBRIUM SYSTEM

    These two facts make the situation ungodly hellishly complex to the maximum.

    Now tell your laughably misinformed gurus, Alan Aragon and Lyle McDonald.

  47. Susan Harmony Ph.D.
    Alan Aragon is so misinformed about obesity that it is beyond laughable. The unknowns about obesity are far greater than any knowns.

    Science has shown gut flora, genetics, medications, infectious disease, malnutrition, in utero nutrient exposure, toxins are all involved. That is ONLY scratching the surface.

  48. Susan Harmony Ph.D.
    And I have seen Alan Aragon DESTROYED in an academic argument. Namely, by the TOP scientists I have spoken to about thermodynamics. He has NO CLUE what he is saying.He is applying a closed system equilibrium thermodynamics approach to the human body WHICH IS COMPLETELY WRONG.

    Lyle McDonald's "equation" could not be more WRONG.

  49. But you can't stop your growth hormone, or prevent yourself from being excessively tall. However, you put in more effort (than an average person ) to control your weight issues!
  50. Guest
    To those who argue against low carbs -

    What is the problem? If you don't like it, don't do it. No one's forcing you to. Say if low carb eating turned out to be dangerous and harm us all who are doing it, I don't see how it's your problem. Is it actual concern for others or do you all just enjoy presenting "valid" arguments against everything you see just to fulfill your large egos? Is this a new age of trolling?

    Diet Doctor makes no money with this blog. He is just giving us free advice that we can chose to heed or ignore. If you don't think it's healthy then don't do it. If you are concerned for your loved ones who are doing it, then preach to them. I have personally lost weight even just being on a liberal LCHF diet and my chronic problems are disappearing, which I am very thankful of the Doc for.

    Yes there might be a lot of people trying to debunk this lifestyle with their own facts and figures but the LCHF diet is actually helping people for real... why can't you just be happy for them instead of trying to disprove something that helped a lot of lives?

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