Carb-loaded: the best low-carb movie ever?

This might be the best low-carb movie ever. It’s just been released and you can watch it online:

Watch Carb-Loaded

Back in August 2013 the readers of this blog (and its Swedish cousin) helped kickstart production of Carb-Loaded.

The creators, Lathe Poland and Eric Carlsen, have since done a terrific job of interviewing almost everyone in the low-carb community – like Gary Taubes et al (and me) – plus many other experts in food and nutrition, like Drs. David Katz, Marion Nestle and Yoni Freedhoff.

They’ve done loads of interviews, but that’s not what’s most impressive about this movie. What’s most impressive is how funny it is. I’ve basically heard all the information covered before, but I still found myself sitting with a silly grin on my face through much of the movie.

There’s some pretty impressive animation work lightening up the film too. But my favorite is the obnoxious doctor who sort of represents the conventional “wisdom” of our time. Reportedly the character was inspired by “dr Spaceman” in the TV series 30 Rock – if you’ve seen him you know what to expect.

Here’s a sneak peek of Carb-Loaded:

Did you like that? Check out the whole movie online here:

Watch Carb-Loaded

If you’d rather order a physical DVD or Blu-Ray disc, or if you want to check out other Carb-Loaded merchandise (like T-shirts) have a look at their online store. I you’d like, you can use the coupon code “DIETDOCTOR” for a 25% discount.

What do you think about the movie?

Note: I have no financial interests in the video streaming or the merchandise above.


  1. bill
    I had been looking forward to seeing the movie Carb Loaded ever since they posted the preview. I just finished watching it with some LCHF friends. Though it did have some good points, the first two thirds were bogged down in rehashing eat less, move more, fast food is bad, portion sizes are too big, so eat less, food is too palatable, and other discredited myths. Somebody in the movie said “don’t eat anything with a barcode on it.” Barcodes are not giving us diabetes. Others said “don’t eat fast food.” That theory was completely demolished by Tom Naughton in FatHead, the Movie. Carb Loaded was closer to Supersize Me.

    Whenever they talked about eating real food, they showed fruits and vegetables as if they are equivalent. There was one graphic showing a pineapple and broccoli as if they are just as good for you. Whenever they talked about junk food, they showed a hamburger as if that’s as bad as an ice cream shake and they showed throwing away the whole hamburger. One can eat at fast food restaurants and get good food. Why didn’t they interview Steve Phinney who is known to stop at fast food restaurants and get lettuce wrapped burgers? Just because it’s fast, doesn’t make it bad.

    They talked about eating real food as if that’s the ultimate decision to be healthy, and yet they used a picture of a little girl proudly carrying a pineapple as an illustration of good eating. Pineapple is the absolute highest sugar fruit on earth.

    They only in passing talked about eating good fats, and left them out of the graphics and illustrations altogether. They showed a chicken breast as being better than what appeared to be chicken tenders or nuggets. Yet the chicken breast appeared to be skinless and had little if any fat on it. Although Andreas did say, “I’m not afraid of fat”, the dinners and grocery items that they purported to be healthy appeared to not include any fat whatsoever. Someone watching this movie who is not already up on the LCHF issues would come away thinking that they should eat fruits and vegetables. It did not make clear that if you give up carbs, you should increase fat intake or you will be hungry.

    They even had one of their interviewees saying that sugar is fat. We rewatched that statement on the video 3 times. It is clearly there. That’s clearly wrong.

    The message that there are three things a person can eat: fat, carbs or protein and the carbs must be limited and replaced with fat was neglected, overlooked, or given short shrift in this movie.

    To say that it was a disappointment is an understatement.

  2. NS
    Personally, I'm more impressed with this documentary:

    Has LCHF "cured" any type 1 diabetics?
    How about difficult to treat inflammatory autoimmune diseases, like MS or Lyme?
    There are at least seven documented cases of type 1 reversal on this regimen, up to this point.
    Insulin no longer required.
    Imagine that.
    Published results apparently forthcoming.

    Replies: #6, #7
  3. Kristen
    Like "bill", I eagerly anticipated the release of this film. But I was disappointed, as well. I'll try not to repeat "bill's" points, which I agree with, but I want to emphasise one thought. It seems American film-makers are hesitant to explain the role fat needs to play in a healthy (carb-reduced) diet. If someone without prior knowledge of the LCHF way of eating came away from this film deciding to change their diet, they would have been given little direction. "Carb-Loaded," "Fed Up" as well as the HBO series "The Weight of the Nation" don't give their audience enough information to succeed on a low-carb regime. Unfortunately, I have to disagree with Dr. Eenfeldt on one point: I don't think the humour was helpful. The graphics can facilitate the viewer's understanding of complicated biochemical processes, but I think the overall topic is too serious for the comedy the makers tried to inject. I watched the film with two health professionals who had never seriously looked into the research on LCHF (one has an athletic boyfriend, they eat "healthy" HCLF, and he's just been put on statins, much to their shock). I was hoping the tone of the film might match the seriousness of the HCLF problem.
  4. Eddy
    LCHF has be used extensively to treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Huge numbers of people have gone on LCHF diets and no longer require taking insulin (especially for Type 2). LCHF is also highly effective for treating MS, Lyme's disease, autoimmune conditions like arthritis, etc.
    Look at the testimonials on any Low Carb or Paleo website to see how many people are cured by eating real food. It doesn't have to be raw.
  5. Mike
    I'm sorry but i think I'll pass on looking at it, Andreas. Judging by what Bill (post no. 1) says, it sounds like the film is misguided and a bit besides the point.

    I really wonder who it was aimed at. It sounds like the film makers didn't think this out. The looneys (see post no. 2) will condemn it anyway, probably sight-unseen, just on the offchance that it might tell them something they need but don't want to know. On teh other hand, people who actually know something about LCHF/Paleo/WAPF diets are going to be less than impressed with people tiptoeing around a major societal problem and not confronting it. As for the general public, will they really be eager to hear, yet again, that they must eat less, exercise more, and avoid fast food? Even if these propositions were not disputable, they have, true or false as they might be, been aired too many times to be interesting.

  6. robert
    Lots of green vegetables might have helped along, but I wonder if all the "food" they weren't eating (SAD crap) was the main contributor to the improvement. If you've got a problem with sugar overload, stop the sugar. If you then replace it with essentially sugar-free food (salads...), that's fine.
  7. jim
    You know, going raw means going low carb. You just cannot ingest such masses of starch and sugar from unprocessed, raw food (fruit is only ~10% carbs). Plus more vitamins and minerals.

    If you don't go high fat or munch fruit all the time, you will end up in a calorie deficit, though. Calorie deficit has some health benefits on its own, but don't overdo and starve yourself. :-p

    I really don't see how anything of this documentary contradicts LCHF real food.

    Besides, 90% of diabetics are type 2 diabetics. This documentary is about type 2 diabetes. LCHF can very well manage T2D. And a few weeks of controlled starvation can even reverse T2D.

  8. Vicente
    What we need are free movies, so the "message" spreads.

    What is the point of low-carbers paying to watch a movie about low-carbing?

    Who, outside of the low-carb sphere, is going to watch a movie like this? Donations would be a better option to fund such a movie.

    And besides that, the movie doesn't seem to be that good.

    NOTE: a movie featuring David Katz is never going to get my money.

    "In the absence of clear evidence that low-carbohydrate diets are more healthful than alternatives, their potential liabilities in other areas are noteworthy."

    "Ethical concerns have been raised about meat-eating in general"

    Not with my money.

    Reply: #13
  9. murray
    I thought the movie was okay. It was fun, but then it was preaching to the choir with me.
    I think it over-emphasized Katz and the we-are-getting-fat-because-processed-food-is-yummier mantra. That is one view, but a misleading one, in my opinion. If I eat handfuls of yummy soaked, salted and lightly roasted nuts, I will simply not be hungry for a longer time. You have to explain the appetite over-ride on a longer term basis, and for that LCHF is explanatory where yummy-food-hypothesis is not. Just yesterday I gorged on a whole package of yummy soaked and roasted walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds, coated with lots of salt, rosemary and garlic. The net effect, I skipped the next meal and ate a light dinner, because I was simply not hungry. So one can engage in all the behaviouralist gimmicks one wants to limit portion size at a sitting, but what really matters is the regulation of appetite over the longer term. Enter metabolics. Exit Katz and the behaviouralists. Carb Loaded did start to take the next step, to explain insulin and leptin, but the point was left under-developed and not demonstrated in a curative biography.

    I preferred Cereal Killers and My Big Fat Diet for this reason. Both are more biographical and demonstrate the curative effect of LCHF for real, open-minded people. The people and results are real. Although Carb Loaded started as a biographical, it ended up closer to Fed Up. Fed Up was better at the emotional impact of the tragedy of what is happening to children. I was outraged at the producers, though, for not setting the kids straight and getting them off high-carb eating. Carb Loaded was much clearer and consistent on the underlying science. One cannot do everything in one film.

  10. Paul the rat
    Yet another study showing no association between dietary saturated fat and heart disease

    Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2014 Sep 25. pii: ATVBAHA.114.304082. [Epub ahead of print]
    Dietary Fatty Acids and Risk of Coronary Heart Disease in Men: The Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study.
    Virtanen JK1, Mursu J2, Tuomainen TP2, Voutilainen S2.
    Author information

    The epidemiological evidence of the role of dietary saturated fatty acids (SFA) in the development of coronary heart disease (CHD) is inconsistent. We investigated the associations of dietary fatty acids with the risk of CHD and carotid atherosclerosis in men with high SFA intake and high rates of CHD.
    In total, 1981 men from the population-based Kuopio Ischemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD), aged 42 to 60 years and free of CHD at baseline in 1984 to 1989, were investigated. Food consumption was assessed with 4-day food recording. Multivariate nutrient-density models were used to analyze isocaloric replacement of nutrients. CHD events were ascertained from national registries. Carotid atherosclerosis was assessed by ultrasonography of the common carotid artery intima-media thickness in 1015 men. During the average follow-up of 21.4 years, 183 fatal and 382 nonfatal CHD events occurred. SFA or trans fat intakes were not associated with CHD risk. In contrast, monounsaturated fat intake was associated with increased risk and polyunsaturated fat intake with decreased risk of fatal CHD, whether replacing SFA, trans fat, or carbohydrates. The associations with carotid atherosclerosis were broadly similar, whereas the associations with nonfatal CHD were weaker.
    Our results suggest that SFA intake is not an independent risk factor for CHD, even in a population with higher ranges of SFA intake. In contrast, polyunsaturated fat intake was associated with lower risk of fatal CHD, whether replacing SFA, trans fat, or carbohydrates. Further investigation on the effect of monounsaturated fat on the CHD risk is warranted.

  11. Thinky
    How about "FatHead" documentary:
    Reply: #22
  12. Kristen
    I just watched this short clip by TIME magazine and was very impressed with how they condensed a lot of the information found in docos like "Carb-Loaded". I was impressed until the end, that is, when the "solution" diet - where fat is supposed to be friendly - was a grilled, skinless chicken breast with pretty dry looking asparagus. Another example that the media isn't quite prepared to tout high(er)-fat as a solution.

  13. Justin
    From what I can tell from the website for the movie, the plan is for it to get on Hulu, and I'd imagine, also on Netflix.
  14. Eddy
    going gluten free to lose weight...not so fast...or fat gluten free causes mega probems

  15. Elenor
    I'm of two minds about this movie. I contributed to the Kickstarter because it's important to get our message (LCHF) out as many ways as we can! I thought the movie was BEAUTIFULLY done -- truly these two guys are master film makers (no surprise, it's their vocation!) ... the problem was they are/were not master documentary writers, at least not in this field!

    I've been trying to assuage my dismay with: hey, it will at least start SOME people off onto the journey into our world... And don't forget: most of us commenters are already immersed in and quite educated about LCHF -- so we are seeing gaps and misdirections, where "normal" people (with their SAD-blunted brains) won't. (Important old tai chi saying: "start where the student is." Most "students" will find this movie shocking enough... let's get them started in the right direction, and THEN they can find deeper knowledge -- and quit eating a pineapple a day! {wink})

    And Kristen? Tom Naughton did the most amazing documentary (two, actually) -- filled with delightful humor and all science-based! Both his "official" documentary called "Fat Head" and the (shorter, funnier) one I start new "recruits" off on, "Science for Smart People," are available on YouTube. WAY better to reach people with humor... keeps their defenses down while they learn that fat is not the enemy!

  16. Darag
    Thanks for the input folks. Saved me watching the movie and gave me some others to watch instead:)

    I agree that not connecting the message of reduce carbs increase fat can send people down the wrong path for years.

  17. Paul the rat
    Most of us here would not 'suffer' from "..poor compliance () to dietary carbohydrate restriction", so we are OK.

    Cancer Res. 2014 Oct 10. pii: canres.0385.2014. [Epub ahead of print]

    Long chain fatty acid analogs suppress breast tumorigenesis and progression.

    Gluschnaider U1, Hertz R1, Ohayon S1, Smeir E1, Smets M2, Pikarsky E3, Bar-Tana J4.
    Author information

    Obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) are associated with increased breast cancer incidence and mortality, whereas carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diets ameliorate T2D and suppress breast cancer. These observations suggest an inherent efficacy of nonesterified long-chain fatty acids (LCFA) in suppressing T2D and breast tumorigenesis. In this study, we investigated novel anti-diabetic MEDICA analogs consisting of methyl-substituted LCFA that are neither β-oxidized nor esterified to generate lipids, prompting interest in their potential efficacy as anti-tumor agents in the context of breast cancer. In the MMTV-PyMT oncomouse model of breast cancer, where we confirmed that tumor growth could be suppressed by a carbohydrate-restricted ketogenic diet, MEDICA treatment suppressed tumor growth and lung metastasis, promoting a differentiated phenotype while suppressing mesenchymal markers. In human breast cancer cells, MEDICA treatment attenuated signaling through the STAT3 and c-Src transduction pathways. Mechanistic investigations suggested that MEDICA suppressed c-Src transforming activity by elevating ROS production, resulting in c-Src oxidation and oligomerization. Our findings suggest that MEDICA analogs may offer therapeutic potential in breast cancer and overcome the poor compliance of patients to dietary carbohydrate restriction.

  18. Nick
    Personally, I liked the movie. I think steps like this are necessary to get people interested in LCHF or at least in moving away from high carb diets. The movie is not meant to LCHF porn for die hard paleo and low carb connoisseurs, It's meant to show interested people an alternative to the conventional wisdom. However, i didn't like the lack of emphasis put on fats and how much fats you need to consume. Personally, I'm very active and I need to eat a lot. If i were to eat nothing but vegetables, nuts, berries, cuts of meat from the grocery store, etc. i don't feel like it would be enough fat to replace all the energy coming from carbs in a high carb diet. What I want to know is, does anyone else besides me have a "bucket of fat" approach to low carb? literally, I have the 37 lb bucket of grass fed beef tallow in my freezer and I put it on lots of stuff, and I go through so much butter and olive oil. I probably eat 3500 kcal a day and I just don't see how I would get even half of that from fat if i were relying on regular cuts of meat, nuts, milk/cream etc. So, is there anyone else out there eating chunks of tallow like ice cream? Whole stick of butter on a sweet potato for breakfast?
    Replies: #19, #20
  19. Galina L.
    Many people find they shouldn't eat too much fat (drinking heavy cream is a good example) even on a LC diet if they want to continue loosing weight or not to regain the fat, lost already. It is especially true for the people who lost a lot of weight, went on diets several times already before, menopausal females. It is possible to gain weight on a perfect LC diet. Probably, eating beef tallow from a bucket would kill desire to eat for the most individuals, stick of butter is way more palatable.
    Reply: #27
  20. bill

    How is eating pineapple "...moving away from high carb diets." or showing " alternative to the conventional wisdom..."?

    Reply: #21
  21. Nick
    I agree that of all the foods they could have shown, they highlighted the pineapple which is very high carb, clearly not a good choice for diabetics or weight loss. But, i would rather see a kid eating a pineapple than eating sugary processed food snacks (fruit rollup, fruit by the foot, gushers, fruit snacks, all the imposter fruit products sold to parents as something good because it contains a tiny bit of fruit). I would have liked to see them emphasize that you can eat healthy stuff on a budget (not just saying that you will pay more in medical bills down the road). I know Rob Wolf's website did something to this effect, how much his grocery run cost. I think that was a great idea because it's a lot easier if you can see how someone else shops on a budget. A lot of people I've talked to about health food immediately think you have to go to the whole foods store, buy organic/grass fed/sustainably harvested super special stuff, which is great if you can afford it but not necessary if you cant. They could have had like a grocery shopping run on a budget kinda thing to prove you can feed yourself for less than the fast food prices. cooking some chicken leg quarters which are super cheap (0.85 $/lb around here, i dare you to eat $5 worth in a sitting, and fast food value meals are now over $5), but hey, making a movie is hard and everybody has their own opinion about what kinds of food they want to see in an anti-carb movie. I will admit that I occasionally eat pineapple, i put some in a milkshake with 3-4 raw eggs and a cup and a half of heavy cream and some vanilla extract (milkshakes suck without some kind of sugary something).
  22. Vicente
    Excellent movies (worth paying):

    - Fat Head
    - Cereal Killers

    Both are really good. I love "Fat head", but "Cereal killers" is perfect. I can't choose between them.

  23. Martin
    I paid to watch the documentary yesterday.

    I have to say I liked it because it reinforced and consolidated what I already knew. It didn't provide me with any new knowledge or information. The best bits of the documentary are summed up in the YouTube clips.

    The documentary is not LCHF specific and some are treating the pineapple example too literally. The film makers skilfully packaged a low-carb diet in a fun way and are trying to sell it to the converted. The end product defies the grassroots approach to LCHF which is a lifestyle and not something for sale.

    The promotion of extra virgin olive oil as a healthy alternative without the warning that most olive oil on supermarket shelves is adulterated with vegetable oil is a worry.

    Reply: #24
  24. Nick
    Wow! somebody else noticed this too! I have noticed in recent years that extra virgin olive oil doesn't have the extremely strong taste that it used to. I wondered if they were rinsing the pressed olives with vegetable oil to make more money. I was hoping I was imagining things but now that you brought it up, i'm becoming more suspicious. 5-10 years ago, i remember being turned off by the mouth-bite that extra virgin had, it was difficult to incorporate in some foods because the taste was sooo strong. Now, the extra virgin tastes remarkably like soybean oil or canola oil! I just told myself that it must have been my taste has changed and the olive oil is the same, but its pretty hard to keep telling myself this.
  25. Martin
    Nick I am not sure where you live and from whom you buy your Olive Oil. I'm in the UK and most of our Olive OIl comes from Italy and other parts of Europe. The laboelling system is a meaningless exercise. Italy imports olive oil from Algeria, Morroco and Tunisia and is labelled in Italy as an Italian product. The procedure between the extraction of the oil and the bottle that ends up on the supermarket shelf involves many different buyers and sellers and somewhere in between I believe it is adulterated. This is a very lucrative crime which is not tightly policed.

    I've tested some extra virgin olive oil that I bought by placing a small amout in a clear glass in the fridge and to my surprise it did not turn cloudy which it should if it is pure. So I now only buy olive oil if I can see that it is cloudy or has a sediment in the shop that it is being sold.

    I am not even sure that turning cloudy in cold temperatures is 100% proof that the oil is genuine. But there seems to be no point in drizzling oil on food that turns out to have a high percentage of vegetable oil added to it.

    I am still hoping to resolve my dilemma on Olive Oil and until then I am mostly sticking with beef dripping, cream, butter and coconut oil.

  26. robert
    The last bottle of olive oil I bought (and consumed) turned into a very viscous sludge when I put it into the fridge. It was a pretty cheap one. One might conclude that the composition of that oil couldn't have been predominantly PUFA, but I'm not so certain if this congealing can't be faked somehow. There have been very many olive-oil scandals in the media, and I've never been sure if the "mouth-bite" of these supposedly extra-virgin oils is due to actual quality or rancidness / admixtures of other oils and "stuff". There's got to be some difference between a bottle for 5€ and 20€ - both claiming to be extra-virgin etc. Fortunately my needs for these oils are rather minimal, cream works for salads as well :-)
  27. erdoke
    Sometimes weight gain is fine and it does not necessarily correspond to building up fat storage. My weight has been stable since mid July, but my waist line continues to slowly shrink. I might have regained some muscle mass lost during the quick weight drop phase or it is simply bone strengthening. I trust the mirror more than rigorous weight measuring.
    At the same time I understand that one size does not fit all, so even if I can continue to indulge in whipping cream and plenty of the fattiest cheeses it does not mean everybody can afford to do that without paying the heavy price of excess fat accumulation.

    Regarding the other discussion about olive oil, I prefer the cold press variety and it never fails. Some sediment is already present in the supermarket and the taste is still the usual and typical olive. It's a bit more expensive, but that happens with most of quality food types...
    Olive oil should consist of close to 80 % MUFA.

  28. Catharsis
    Lot of opinions without actually seeing the film. Its always a good thing to invest for a beer instead a movie. Your opinion is sharper...
    I liked the film, being almost a four year on LCHF and getting my diabetes under control without the drugs. This is a starter, not the main meal.
    Reply: #29
  29. Vicente
    So, people who don't pay to watch this movie are morons that prefer to buy a beer than a movie... With friends like you this movie doesn't need enemies.
  30. Catharsis
    Pardon. Didn't know that only you can have the opinion of the film (without seeing it) and how to (for example) finance the fee.
    Reply: #31
  31. Vicente

    "Its always a good thing to invest for a beer instead a movie. Your opinion is sharper..."

    You are so funny.

  32. Vicente
    I have Watched it.
    No surprise: it is a lost opportunity. Or worse than that.

    They talked about portion sizes, fast food, mindless eating (e.g eating in front of the TV), sedentarism, the low price of food, and not eating alone as factors involved in the obesity epidemic. Seriously?

    But they also talked about unnatural flavors that stimulate the appetite so you can'stop eating (sugar, salt), sugar addiction, hormones, saturated fat not being bad, and cuting carbs as an option.

    Two reasons more not to watch the movie: Marion Nestle and David Katz.

    Marion Nestle: "To lose weight, reducing calorie intake below expenditure works every time." The truth: Caloric reduction never works

    David Katz is a "genius" who says a bowl of wheat is healthier than a chicken breast. That is an expert you can't include in a movie.

Leave a reply

Reply to comment #0 by

Older posts