Bestselling author Tom Woods praises low carb

For losing weight: Just avoid sugar and starch (grains), don’t worry about fat or calories. Smart people know it. Here’s another one, New York Times bestselling author Tom Woods.


  1. Wow, this is certainly a collision (synergy?) of two of my favourite internet topics: LCHF and Libertarianism :)

    Ron Paul 2012

  2. Alexandra M
    Oh dear - the embrace of an ultra-conservative Catholic Ron Paul supporter is not going to help this thing go mainstream!
  3. Tom
    @Alexandra M Tom Woods is a freaking anarchist, not an 'ultra-conservative', whatever that means.
  4. Bong Kim
    Having a very small government which does not do anything in practice from unltra-conservatives clicks well with anarchists, I guess.
  5. Alexandra M
    I meant he's an ultra conservative Catholic,

    the kind that makes people think, "Uh oh - you mean like Mel Gibson?"

  6. moreporkplease
    I agree - LCHF will not go mainstream if it continues to be associated with extreme political positions. I do believe LCHF science has now gained a political orientation. As a result, I feel alienated from LCHF and now hesitate to be associated with it.

    By joining a religious and political position, esp. one so far out of the mainstream, the worth of its science will soon be ignored, and a backlash will be impossible to avoid. The progress of LCHF will halt and everyone will go back to ridiculing those crazy people in tinfoil hats who eat "Fatkins."

    LCHF needs to divorce itself from political movements and stay focused on its science.

  7. JAUS
    Interesting, I thought most religious nutjobs didn't believe in evolution over there, yet he follows the "primal blue print". I don't live in the US so my knowledge of American politics is very limited.

    I agree that religion is highly irrational and should not be associated with science.

  8. Alexandra M
    JAUS - That's mostly Protestant fundamentalists you're thinking of. This guy is a traditionalist Catholic (a different kind of nutjob) and Catholics, for the most part, accept evolution (the official position of the Vatican). Even so, there are some Catholics who don't accept evolution, and they're even loopier than the traditionalists.
  9. So what that Tom Woods endorses low-carb diets? Dieting is now limited to certain social/religious groups? Strong logic fail.

    @Alexandra, so what are you? Maybe if you tell us, we can "categorize" you and use that against you endorsing low-carb diets?

  10. @PM My thoughts exactly. Jeepers, there is a lot of unfounded and preconceived hate here.

    Tom Woods advocates individual liberty, not anarchy. There are certain functions a government was designed to handle, and Woods preaches that a government should do those things and no more.

    Don't forget that the nutrition advice that got us into the diabetes/obesity/heart-disease epidemic came from a government program. The foisting of supposedly nutritious lunches on the nation's school children came from a government program. The generous scientific grant money given to nutrition scientists to tell the government what they want to hear (and the suppression of dissenting voices) came from a government program.

    Tom Woods is on our side, people. Who cares what his religion is or whether or not he believes in evolution? They have no relevance to his political positions; if they did, he would be lobbying for a federal ban on gay marriage and abortions like fellow Catholic Santorum. He isn't. He wants you to make up your own mind on what's right as long as it doesn't hurt anyone else, and for government to stay the heck out of it.

  11. Alexandra M
    "Dieting is now limited to certain social/religious groups?"

    Not at all - I'm happy for anybody who loses weight and feels better. But when you're trying to make the case that something is sensible and based on sound science it's better to see the support coming from people who are known for their good sense and sound science, not for having written controversial books about politics and religion. LCHF is just starting to free itself from the taint of quackery that has clung to it since the Atkins days and I'd prefer to see it promoted by scientists and doctors.

    Probably having it promoted by Oprah would really get it going, but it wouldn't make me particularly happy, either - although I'd settle.

  12. Alexandra M
    "if they did, he would be lobbying for a federal ban on gay marriage and abortions"

    Well, he IS supporting Ron Paul who DOES support a ban on gay marriage and abortions. But we'd better not get into that.

    Yes, absolutely, the nutrition advice that caused the problem came from the government - but not because the government was the government, but because the government listened to bad science. There's no reason why a government has to promulgate bad science just because it's a government. That's why we need more critical thinkers!

  13. Alexandra M
    Just in case anyone suggests that Ron Paul supports reproductive choice:

  14. It's only logical that libertarians and anarchists would be in the first wave to discover and adopt LCHF given that their movement is packed with intellectuals that have a long history of challenging conventional wisdom.

    Ron Paul does not support a ban on gay marriage and abortion, he is in favor of letting the states make these choices, even though as an OB/GYN, who took the hippocratic oath to never do harm to anyone, he is strongly opposed to the killing of unborn human beings.

  15. Mark
    Why not check out Woods's credentials?

    If he's "extreme," that means, the Asia Times, the American Historical Review, United Press International, the Journal of American History, and dozens of similar outlets are equally "extreme," since they've all endorsed Woods's work. His degrees are from Harvard and Columbia. Merely linking me to the Amazon page of a book you haven't read may be intended to scare me away, but you know what? It doesn't. Especially since that book is endorsed by a Stanford professor.

  16. Mark
    OK, I just watched the video. He is totally charming in this video. Why the violent, bigoted reaction? He has 20,000 Facebook fans. He reaches a lot of people. He has been published by very serious publishers. I am thrilled he supports the Primal Blueprint. Lighten up. Be open-minded. Be tolerant. Your closed-mindedness is giving us a bad name. We should welcome people with open arms.
  17. As a long time political nerd I have noted that it seems to be an unproportional large number of libertarians in the US Low Carb/Paleo community. New comers to the high fat diet might start wondering if there are even worse side effects to the diet then the heart attacks and cancer that proponents for the conventional wisdom talks about. Might the diet make you end up a Ron Paul activist?

    The swedish LCHF experience is reassuring on this subject. The Swedish LCHF-community has people from the whole political spectrum, from left to right to green. I am myself a long time card carrying member of the Social Democratic Party and former Swedish primeminister Göran Persson from the same party has adopted the LCHF diet. The party leader of the Christian Democrats Göran Hägglund is on a low GI diet quite similar to LCHF and so is the partyleader of the Liberal Party Jan Björkund.

  18. aviator1945

    Agreed. LCHF isn't limited to certain political, religious or social groups. It's a lifestyle that, for example in my case, doesn't necessarily imply that all its followers embrace evolution.

  19. @Alexandra M, Ron Paul doesn't agree with abortion. However, he supports the rights of states to make it legal if they wish. Apparently you can't see the difference.

    Ron Paul has always been completely neutral toward gay marriage, you should know that. He doesn't even want states to be involved in it.

    I could be wrong, but you sound like a liberal, and if that's so, I can't figure out why you are showing so much hate for the arguably most left-wing candidate for the GOP nomination. Do you prefer one of the other three? Or have you just group-think-dismissed all of them automatically because of their party affiliation?

  20. JAUS
    #8 OK, I don't keep track of all the variations of Christians since I'm a atheist. People can believe in anything they want as long as they don't try to force their religious poison on others.
  21. Alexandra M
    My ONLY point is that it's problematic to have ANY polarizing figure voicing support for an idea that's beginning to emerge from the fringes - I don't care if it's Ralph Nader, Ron Paul, the Pope or Al Sharpton. As it's easy to see here, politics is a hot button issue, and people of one persuasion or the other will (sadly) reject a good idea if it turns up in the baggage of someone they distrust.

    "Especially since that book is endorsed by a Stanford professor."

    Yes, and the low fat high carb diet that got us into this mess was - and still is - endorsed by professors at many prestigious universities. If you automatically believe what people say based on their academic credentials, why are you doing LCHF? ;-)

  22. @Alexandra M, You are probably just overthinking it :) If something is demonstrably true, it doesn't matter who promotes it. It will eventually become accepted. They tried to discredit Atkins, and the movement didn't die with him, it was just a set back.

    LCHF works, the science will always say so, and even if kooks promote it and make it look bad by association, those people who investigate the science will find the fact that it works remains unchanged. You shouldn't be worried that this idea will be relegated to the dust bin of history just because some people you consider odd hopped on the bandwagon.

    That's why the internet is so great: Ideas such as LCHF can spread so much faster than they ever could. And an idea whose time has come cannot be stopped by any army or any government.

  23. Alexandra M
    "They tried to discredit Atkins, and the movement didn't die with him, it was just a set back."

    Exactly, Brian - a 30 year setback during which millions of people needlessly got sick. That's why I worry about any further setback.

    "...those people who investigate the science will find the fact that it works remains unchanged..."

    Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who won't investigate the science if there's the slightest whiff of quackery, and that includes well-respected science bloggers. I was reading a science blog the other day where one of the commenters dismissed (without watching) Dr. Lustig's video about fructose metabolism because - wait for it - Dr. Lustig is at UCSF where they also teach (the commenter claims) acupuncture.

  24. Alexandra M
    Here's the quote:

    "That video is straight out of UCSF's department of woo (acupuncture, guided imagery, Ayurveda, and "traditional" chinese medicine). Can you find something from a more reputable source?"

  25. Murray B
    People who are hostile to LCHF will always find a pretext. Better to celebrate the insights of high profile people of any stripe.

    Woods has influence. Glad to have him on board. And as I understand his position, it derives principally from the Austrian economist/thinker Friedrich Hayek. Although I have my issues with Hayek's work, there is a lot of good stuff there. Woods is no flake.

    Atkins was attacked for a variety of reasons, some political, some financial. None of it was personal to him. Anyone who actively promoted low carb at the time would have been a target. He just happened to be the most successful and highest profile low carb advocate at the time. The McGovern committee did not go low fat because of Atkins; Atkins was attacked because he bucked the government line and there were powerful financial interests that profited from those guidelines. Gary Taubes in 1980 would have been slaughtered by the nutrition establishment and their media lapdogs.

  26. moreporkplease
    "None of it was personal to him."

    Let me disagree, Murray B. It was highly personal - Dr. Atkins, bless him, was a New Yorker with strong New York opinions that he expressed in a New York style. You bet his combative personal style hurt the message with the general public and certainly with fellow doctors and scientists.

    We see the same with Taubes, also a New Yorker. They both were and are constantly attacked for their personal style, which consistently overwhelms their message.

    Taubes personal anger often overwhelms his message - this is exactly what happened at the AHS. Taubes said nothing wrong, but his angry style doomed him. As a result, most paleo/primal folks are no longer low-carb, and most ignore the insulin theory.

    Go to any of the popular paleo forums and you'll see people eating 100+ carbs a day and telling each other that insulin spikes are good because high insulin makes you lose fat. Of course no basic medical textbook agrees, but this fact is now forever buried by Taubes' anger.

    The messenger matters, the presentation matters. The truth doesn't automatically win out - PR, popularity and politics count for a lot. Andreas here seems more successful, largely because of his softer, more humorous style.

  27. Maggan A
    It does not matter WHO advocate LCHF - IT speaks for itself due to good results!
  28. Jen
    moreporkplease, Taubes was not particularly angry. His point about Guyanet was well-taken, and it was one that would be made (in that same manner) at ANY scientific or medical conference.

    Where Taubes badly miscalculated was that the people in the audience were NOT scientists or doctors! They were a bunch of bloggers and lay nutrition buffs, and few of them had been to a medical conference before. So they were shocked by Taubes' question, because it seemed "mean" to them.

    What's kind of fascinating is that one exchange, and the perception of Taubes' supposed rudeness, like a butterfly flapping its wing on the other side of the planet, has metastasized into a tidal wave of support for the idea that "starch is just fine, even in huge quantities, as long as it's not wheat."

    ie, the low-carb movement is throwing low-carb out the window. Without any real evidence, other than Taubes' supposed meanness.


  29. Alexandra M
    "Taubes said nothing wrong, but his angry style doomed him. As a result, most paleo/primal folks are no longer low-carb, and most ignore the insulin theory."

    That's terrible! But many people are not rational at all. Some of my friends listened to an interview with Taubes, and a couple said they didn't believe him because he "sounded arrogant."

    Sometimes I think we shouldn't have bothered coming down out of the trees...

    Is this watershed encounter on a video somewhere?

  30. Jay Wortman MD
    I'm used to this where I come from. In Canada it is more important to be nice than it is to be right.
  31. Bernardo
    About Taubes. I think he was right. Maybe low carb and paleo are better off separated. That palatable theory doesn't match reality and if you look at it, as Taubes said, it's just an explanation to why we overeat, not abandoning the calories in-out paradigm. Also, what's with the definition of palatability? Again, as Taubes said, yeah if you define palatable as carbs that theory may work, but if palatable is tasty, please explain to me meat, bacon and cheese. And how come potatos are not palatable? Go eat fries! Really.

    I think Paleo people, as someone said on Jimmy Moore's page, aren't really fat people trying to be normal. They are mostly normal people trying to look very nice in swimsuit. I'm just saying in general. I find myself between both groups but frankly this new trend in paleo disapoints me for its lack of science and logic.

  32. Jen
    I think Paleo people, as someone said on Jimmy Moore's page, aren't really fat people trying to be normal. They are mostly normal people trying to look very nice in swimsuit.

    Yes. Frankly, I'm sick of all the 25 year old bloggers who think they own dieting just because they ran a "meatshare" when they lived in Manhattan.

    It's great that they can look really hot when they eat potatoes and yams all day. I probably could too, at their age.

    Not any more.

  33. Michael Cohen
    @moreporkplease- Gary Taubes is not a new Yorker I believe he was raised in the midwest. He did live in New York City for bit. I dont think he is at all angry. I think that many times especially in his writings he is too laid back. Some of the facts he gives about the bad science and bad conduct of some scientists deserve 72 pt bold type and a row of exclamation points. But I was born and raised in the South: the Southern part of Manhattan. My favorite riddle...
    "How many NYkers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
  34. Moreporkplease
    Gosh Michael only a person from Manhattan would call Rochester "someplace in the Midwest." The facts of Taubes' life are easily ascertainable: And you have just proved my point about the arrogance & obnoxiousness of condescending New Yorkers. You all don't even hear it when you do it. Sorry. Taubes at least has realized it, which is why he's apparently appointed Attia his PR man.
  35. NM
    I agree that this pseudo-scientific swing to high-carbery in the Paleo world is highly depressing. People are ignoring the science behind high blood-sugar, chronically elevated insulin and are simply basing this whole pendulum swing on the worst aspects of N=1 ("ooh, I ate some sweet potato and I felt happy. Therefore carbs are good!"). God forbid these people should ever try an N=1 on crack - suddenly highly-refined poppy-seeds will become the apotheosis of the paleolithic!
  36. Jen
    Moreporkplease said:
    you have just proved my point about the arrogance & obnoxiousness of condescending New Yorkers. You all don't even hear it when you do it.

    Do you hear it when you do it?

  37. Alexandra M
    "God forbid these people should ever try an N=1 on crack - suddenly highly-refined poppy-seeds will become the apotheosis of the paleolithic!"

    Except that crack doesn't come from poppy seeds, that was very funny! :D

  38. NM
    Alexandra M: Sorry - you are correct. I should have said "God forbid these people should ever try an N=1 on heroine: suddenly highly-refined poppy-seeds will become the apotheosis of the paleolithic!"
  39. Alexandra M
    It was still funny!
  40. I'm always glad to see sharp people like Woods getting on the LCHF path, but I do wish he, like so many others, would quit saying you don't have to count calories, it's simply not true for everyone, even if it applies to the majority. I lost weight on low carb not counting calories, but then soon stalled, which was discouraging. Especially since I exercise faithfully walking 2-4 miles a day. I finally realized, after lots of research, that for several reasons like age and insulin resistance I could easily take in enough calories to prevent my body giving up my stored fat. I keep at about 1500kcals/20-30cb per day to maintain, so clearly to lose I have to go lower. I eat over half my calories in fat, so the old "just eat more fat" response doesn't apply in my case. We are not all the same physiologically; the old bell curve is just as applicable to calorie counting on LCHF as it is elsewhere.
  41. Michael Cohen
    @moreporklease How could you possibly say I was arrogant and condescending.? I thought that I was at least light and fizzy...

    P.S. you didnt answer my riddle

  42. JAUS
    #35 Thumbs up. Pseudoscience is harmful and should be avoided.
  43. Daniel FE.
    been doing keto for 5 months, discovered this site 3 months ago, and i am having a really hard time explaining to my family that fat is actually beneficial. My cholesterol is better then when i was on a low fat diet, i showed them both a before and after, but they keep saying "its because of your age" im 24yrs old. same goes to my co workers at my job, and my nutriitonist i work with(i work at a hospital) they all say im going to die of a heart attack.

    i just cant get thru to them, i been reading "good calories bad calories" tried to show them the documentary "fat head",i give them facts about insulin and how crabs and glysimic index ect, but nothing, it is really frustrating.

  44. Michael Cohen
    One thing that I have learned in 60+ years is that one cannot change people by "telling" them.
    There is a story in Martin Bubers "Tales of the Hasidim" where one of the masters says something like..."When I was young I wanted to change the whole world...I saw that that was too much so I decided to change my village, I saw that that was too much so I decided to change my family..I saw that was impossible so I decided to change myself".

    I guess one can only set an example and hope for the best.

  45. Murray B
    For my part, I welcome the Paleo movement, although I have some difficulties with it. It seems much of it is ideologically driven and result-oriented, plagued by confirmation bias. Reading Kurt Harris's blog, for example, he makes numerous excellent observations, but his take on Nietzsche was, for me, a touchstone for caution about his interpretive skills. And sure enough, I find many of his interpretations ideological and dismissive. Regarding Paleo generally, I accept that whatever has been a diet pattern for a million years has been presumptively adapted to. But presumptions are presumptions--they are defeasible by empirical evidence. I find, for example, they are near-religious about dairy, without much for evidence that can withstand critical scrutiny. The dairy-consuming Masai were among the healthiest pre-Westernized peoples found by Weston Price. Nonetheless, fighting Paleo is not a battle worth fighting. It's benefits outweigh its shortcomings. Speaking to a baker the other day, he said in his experience almost no high-performance athletes in this area eat gluten-containing grains any more.

    People seem to assimilate credo (Paleo) more easily than science (Taubes, Phinney, et al). Better to learn from Paleo than carp about it.

  46. Daniel FE
    Thanks Michael, for the wisdom. I guess you are right, i just have to wait a little longer and not lose hope.

    A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.

  47. Margaretrc
    I've seen the video clip of Taubes and Guyanet at AHS. To me, Taubes did not come off as mean or angry, just correct. Sometimes, if you don't like what someone has to say, you may interpret their attitude as angry or mean. The truth does hurt--and cloud one's judgement about the attitude of the person saying it.
    To me, it's about science--and results. I have to hope that the science will win out in the end. I understand the wish that only people of a certain reputation be associated with it because there is a tendency by some to dismiss an idea just because of who is promulgating it. (I can't deny that I myself am always glad to hear when a doctor or scientist is the one promoting LCHF, but that's because I know how many will receive it if it's not someone of those credentials, not because it makes it more believable to me.) However, that's wrong--and their loss--and it's our job to stick to the science and leave emotion, religion, politics, out of it. Eventually, if it catches on like it should, there will be people from all walks of life and all political and religious persuasions singing its praises. And that's a good thing.
  48. Alexandra M
    "i just cant get thru to them..."

    I know how you feel! My friends won't even look at the peer-reviewed journal studies I've directed them to, and they're all great believers in science. And it's particularly strange because they're the sorts of people who are always looking for a rational, physical explanation for everything. But when it comes to the obesity epidemic, they seem to think that a world-wide epidemic of mass hysteria and magical thinking somehow caused people to stop caring what they looked like and start eating far more food than they'd ever eaten before - as though the developed world suddenly stopped being on the brink of famine in 1985.

    Every time they insist that overweight people MUST be gluttons, I could just scream!

  49. @DanielFE--The best way is to lead by example. People are always interested when they see the results. After years of "agreeing to disagree" with several family members, now several are getting on board.
  50. ICDogg
    Well, I'm no libertarian, but I am right there with Taubes and LCHF.
  51. Actually, I would be pleased if lchf did get some conservative publicity! Liberal myself, I don't think health is a partisan issue--or at least shouldn't be.
  52. Daniel FE
    yup, i guess i just want people to believe me now, since i started Ketogenic diet 6 months ago, i have showned them my first results and will show my next resuts for my other 3 months on it. My sister wont look at any science bc ovbviously im not a doctor and she is a nurse and believes doctors. she says im not going to make it to 30yrs old eating like this, which is funny because my results are better then everyone else in my house. (i just dont get their logic)

    the ignorance is just what makes me rage, im trying to tell my family how good this could be and i am belittle at every corner.
    everyone wants to lose weight, but no one wants to put in the time and effort

  53. @DanielFE- there's the old biblical saying about a prophet not being respected in his own land. Leading the way can be lonely, but it's better than the alternative. One day they will see we are right--at least the ones still around.
  54. Michael
    "Maybe low carb and paleo are better off separated. That palatable theory..."

    that Food Reward theory has nothing to do with primal/paleo, it's S.Guyenet's pet theory. At first he said it was part of the obesity problem but now he seems to insist it's all there is to it. And yes, he has a clique of annoying fanboys/trolls who think there's nothing wrong with insulin because at one time they injected it in monkeys' brains and their satiety was increased.

    But the fact that there is a subset of primal/paleo bloggers who are hugging Guyenet does not mean the two concepts are linked, it only means independent minds are rare even among people who won't eat what the government tells them to eat. It looks like there are plenty of people who are tribal minded one way or another. And it also mean some people enjoy wasting time in pointless debates and intellectual dead-ends. When I want to read about rat studies I read Petro Dobromylskyj's blog Hyperlipid, not Guyenet's.

    BTW I sometimes eat potatoes and it's fine if you tolerate them well. You have to find out for yourself what your carb intake level can be. It's nothing new, Atkins said that 30 years ago.

  55. gallier2

    haha, funny at least someone who agrees with me. ;-)

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