In defense of low fat – Denise Minger vs. Dr. Fung

The “magic” theory, à la Minger

Is low fat a great idea? Do you have a few hours to spare? Then check out the new & massively long blog post by the always-entertaining, controversy-seeking and brilliant Denise Minger:

In Defense of Low Fat: A Call for Some Evolution of Thought (Part 1)

The post is a longer and more developed version of her 2014 AHS talk Lessons from the Vegans (worth watching, and it will only take you 30 minutes).

The general idea is that while low carb seems to work great for metabolic problems – like obesity and diabetes type 2 – so too can very low-fat plant-based diets sometimes work fine. Why is that? In Minger’s words it’s because of extreme low-fat “magic”, which presumably is another kind of magic than low-carb magic.

Interesting, but not necessarily true.

Dr. Fung’s reply

Enter Dr. Fung, with a much shorter but still interesting post on the controversy:

Dr. Fung: Thoughts on the Kempner Rice Diet [and the Minger post]

In Dr. Fung’s view the extreme low-fat diets (like the <10% fat rice diet) sometimes work well because you really eat the same amount of carbs but avoid everything else (almost no protein and no fat). This is because all reward from eating disappears, due to the extremely monotonous diet – people only eat when they are truly hungry. The rest of the time they are, in effect, fasting.

My comments and criticism

While I tend to agree with Dr. Fung about most things – and his comments here make a lot of sense – there are also interesting points in Minger’s long post. For example, that the “macronutrient swampland” of Western junk food – high carb, high fat – tend to be where we find massive food reward (think chocolate, ice cream or donuts), leading to overeating. It’s clear that whole-food plant-based diets avoid this problem.

I also have some criticism of Minger’s post. For example she spends tons of time attacking the idea that Ancel Keys started the low-fat movement. This feels very misleading. While it’s certainly true that he did not invent low fat, like Minger says, he was still the dominant figure transforming low fat – earlier a theory that not many people cared about – into officially accepted dogma. Quite a feat.

It’s like Dr. Robert Atkins and low carb. Dr. Atkins took a concept that had already been talked about and tested for over a hundred years – low-carb diets for weight loss – and made it famous and known by everyone. That’s why decades later the word Atkins is still synonymous with low carb. While Dr. Atkins did not invent low carb – not even close – he still had an important role to play. Nobody would seriously argue otherwise.

To summarise I find Minger’s post interesting and – as always – entertaining in her unique way. But I can’t help feel that she’s sometimes seeking controversy more than enlightenment. And there’s no magic in that.


The History of Low-Carb Diets

The True Story of the Man Behind the Atkins Diet

Asian Meat Eaters Are Healthier!

Weight Control – A Question of Calories or Insulin? – Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt
1 2


  1. bill
    George J.:

    Thanks again. I like your analysis.

    Dr. Eenfeldt has taken to ignoring any questions
    I post. I guess there's just too much cognitive
    dissonance there.

  2. Eric
    Eat what nuts or peanuts or cashews you like BUT it might not be the same result
    Read what doctors with many years of clinical experience say or warn about nut or cream

    Richard k bernstein writes and says too much nuts or cream are often the derailed ng element for some diabetics. dr. Fung has the same observations, Maybe tone down the rhetoric and accept variation in metabolic results.

  3. Eric
    Ms mingers review is worth reading. It may result in interesting questions.
    Could a rice diet be better than a SAD for most? But compare Rice diet with strict HFLC? Would fasting one to five days change the result for some? With blood work and large n of 1 to look at gene and epiggenetic and blood chemistry and maybe other markers like heart rate variability more light and less heat?
  4. Tor H
    Psst. Rainbow Dash is a she, not a he :)

    Sugar in their diet affects them the same way it does us, so if grass, maybe at a certain time of year contains easily accessible sugars, I would think their blood sugar would indeed rise from it.

    But since their gut bacteria feed them lots of fat, would those sugars really make it low fat, high carb?

    I still think she's on the wrong side, there has to be some other beings more suitable to represent the low-fat side. Maybe Discord?

  5. Murray
    I did the same experiment and did not gain weight. The reason is rather simple. On low-carb, high-fat, excess dietary fat passes through into stools because bile production is regulated with feedback on energy balance. This makes sense from an evolutionary adaptive perspective. Hominids ate bone marrow and fatty meat. Plainly they did not count calories.

    As for salted and roasted nuts, yes I eat more, because I need salt and roasted nuts are less gut-challenging from phytates, etc. but I never gain weight from eating more nuts. The only downside of eating plenty of more fulfilling nuts is reduced hunger for bacon.

  6. Murray
    I should add that eating lots of nuts or other sources of fat did not result in any weight loss for me. Not gaining weight and losing weight are quite different things. If I were seeking to lose weight, I would limit dietary fat consumption to better enable consumption of stored fat.
  7. Tor H
    I would cut carbs down to zero, limit total protein to about 70g a day and increase fat as much as possible.
  8. Christoph
    I also tried that experience and after 14 days I stopped because my weight increased by almost 10kg. (carbs below 40g, protein below 120g, rest of it butter, lard etc.). Then I switched back to "only eat when hungry" and everything normalized again after some weeks.

    I think calories are nonsense as I was gaining with 2000cals on whole-grains and losing on 3000cals on LCHF (even lower exercise on LCHF), but stuffing yourself will definitely not work (for everyone) on the long run. Learning to listen to your body again is the key in my opinion. The lower you keep insulin during it, the better your hunger-control will work.

    So I personally too think that the "food-reward concept" is not completely wrong. The whole thing is definitely a bit more complicated as "cut the carbs, that's it", to share my experience with you at this point.

    Replies: #59, #63
  9. Pierre

    Thank you, for your comments you prove my point.

    "I think calories are nonsense as I was gaining with 2000 cals on whole-grains and losing on 3000 cals on LCHF"

    The first law of thermodynamics is that of "conservation of matter and energy," which
    states that matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed.

    It is because calories are not all the same, your body will have to burn calories to process the food before its nutrients and energy can be absorbed.

    Also you have negative calorie food.

    @Tor H

    "And how does the body go about storing the excess calories?"

    Fat and lean mass is you are using your muscles (lifting weight).

    Reply: #60
  10. Tor H
    I'ts not storing fat when you eat no carbs and lots of fat, something Sam Feltham showed in his experiment.
    Instead he gained muscle mass on LCHF. The amount of training was the same, so was calories, yet he stayed about the same veight, but reduced his waistline on LCHF and looked more defined, but gained weight and increased his waistline on both the low fat and vegan diets.

    He started to look a bit coach potato-ish :)

    Reply: #66
  11. Eric
    Looking at the rice diet data it seems overweight people can eat an undernourishment or malnourished diet and lose body weight. Seems to me that Doctoe Fungs point of removing most of the fat and protein while keeping carbs the same is the best that can be said about a Kempner rice diet or high starch diet. Reading Doctor Richars K Bernstein and my own N of one I see no advantage to the low fat kempner or Minger or vegan style diet. What's the point? Evidence it lowers insulin or glucose or a1c as much or more than strict hflc? Eric
  12. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor

    In your opinion, is it impossible to gain weight if you eat let's say 500 grams of fat a day, on a real food, low-carb, high-fat diet?

    Replies: #64, #92
  13. Murray
    Christopher, I don't understand how your experience supports the food reward conjecture. As I understand the food reward conjecture, it is the rewarding nature of certain foods that cause us to eat inappropriately and excessively. Your reported experience was that listening to your appetite (responding to food reward signals from real foods) brought things to normal. That is the opposite of the food reward hypothesis.

    My view is that the food reward hypothesis reverses cause and effect. Its adherents would do well to read the "Four Great Errors" section of Nietzsche's Twilight of the Idols, the first great error being reversal of cause and effect. Ludwig understands this when he wrote that we do not get fat because we eat too much, we eat too much because we are getting fat.

    The widespread problem is that food reward has been crossed by processed foods which extract flavours from real food and add them to products containing calories that distort metabolic feed backs. So when your body naturally craves nutrient X, it may eat a processed food that contains an added flavour extract associated with nutrient X in the subliminal mind (due to the flavour-nutrient association in real food) and so eats the processed food until the craving is satisfied, which does not happen. So the person overeats the faux food due to the LACK of food reward. It is LACK of food reward that causes overeating. Once someone eats rewarding food, the craving to eat dissipates. I crave liver weekly. I eat liver; the craving dissipates. If I ate liver flavoured potato chips, I would keep eating and the metabolic-altering potato starch would cause havoc.

    The food reward conjecture is 180 degrees pointed in the wrong direction. It reverses cause and effect.

    Replies: #65, #67, #81
  14. Vicente
    Hi Bjarte,
    that's a good question.

    My short answer: not impossible. It depends on the metabolic status of that person and on the specific diet.

    I have a huge load of work right now. I will come back with an elaborated answer as soon as I can. Please excuse me.

  15. Murray
    I would also dismiss the silly palatability and bliss point conjecture. Bacon is supremely hyper palatable. Every other day on Facebook I see a paean to bacon. But a few slices of the wonder food is supremely satiating. The world's oldest woman craves bacon and salted pork which she has eaten daily for over a century, usually more than once during the day. Yet she did not overeat. She got real nutrient signals from real food. Food reward has been her guide to not becoming obese and not plagued by chronic disease caused by Western diet.

    So chefs and foodies can take heart that there is nothing wrong with making food hyper palatable, so long as the added flavourings are real foods, like finely ground real vanilla bean rather than vanilla extract.

  16. Pierre
    "but reduced his waistline on LCHF and looked more defined, but gained weight and increased his waistline on both the low fat and vegan diets"

    To gain lean mass you need complete protein.
    It is related Biological value (BV) of protein.
    Low fat and vegan diets are missing a lot of nutrients for optimizing lean mass gain. They both content grains (wheat ) and wheat make you fat.

    Here what happen when you binge on bad carbs.

    Reply: #70
  17. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor

    Interesting comment. Even though Nietzsche isn't on of my favourites I do love philosophers and Philosophy.

    Based on your above comments, how confident are you that rewarding foods (IMO foods that the subconscious perception machinery make us experience as highly pleasurable) are completely irrelevant to weight gain if you only eat a real low-carb high-fat diet?

    Personally, I think it is dangerous to say that we eat too much only because we are getting fat. Sure, that could be the main reason, but isn't it possible that there could be other reasons too?

    Replies: #68, #72
  18. Vicente
    Hi Bjarte,
    how do you define "eating too much"?
    Reply: #74
  19. chris c
    I have no doubt that SOME people have evolved an adaptation to high carb low fat diets, just as some of the world's population have adapted to lactose, and alcohol.

    I know without doubt that I am not one of them, as decades of low fat prove. I know without doubt that I am but one of millions. What the others do is of no personal relevence.

  20. Tor H
    The carbohydrates and vegetabe oils made him fat on both the low fat and vegan diets.

    The reason that he didn't get fat on LCHF is that the body has trouble storing fat without carbs, and his insulin levels were low and normal.
    Its possible, but not very efficient, and the body tends to keep just what it needs and get rid of the rest.

    So a calorie is not a calorie, at least not for the body.

    Reply: #71
  21. Pierre
    " the body tends to keep just what it needs and get rid of the rest."

    If that was true human species would have been extinct long time ago.

    If you believe excess calories disappear into thin air, then do an experimentation by yourself.

    Just drink 1/3 of cup olive oil after breakfast, the same at noon after your dinner and another one after supper.

    That will give you 1 cup /day or 216 gr of oil for an amount of 1909 calories.

    Do it for a week, I bet you will gain ~ 2 kg.

    Reply: #73
  22. Murray
    Bjarte, Nietzsche is especially difficult as he is an esoteric writer. It takes a lot of time and effort to get behind the veil. Nonetheless, he is unsurpassed on causation to my mind, even in his exoteric text. It helps to have studied chaos theory, self-organizing criticality and complex adaptive systems, after which Nietzsche makes a whole lot more sense, especially Book Five of Joyful Science. A breakthrough for me was reading in a biography that he had checked out a book on Cantor's set theory from the Basel university library over 30 times. He was no doubt fascinated by and thought through the diagonalization proof, from which he inferred the inherent incompleteness of language and logic, anticipating Godel's incompleteness theorem. In Birth of Tragedy he refers to logic biting its own tail. Elsewhere he referred to logic as a scorpion that stings itself with its tail. Anyway, he became remarkably prescient on causality.

    I wouldn't say food reward is irrelevant. It's just something one need not think about on a real food, low-carb high-fat diet. It is not the fundamental causality driving food consumption..

    1. Nutrient craving. As I mentioned, if I crave a nutrient I will have unsatisfied eating until I eat a food with the nutrient I crave. A child craving minerals will, given a choice, consume highly palatable bone broth soup over stuffing clay in his mouth while playing in the garden. Yet young children who need minerals will eat soil in the absence of yummy slow-cooked bone broth. What causes the eating of the bone broth: the fact it is yummy or the fact there is a nutrient craving that it satisfies? If the child eats clay, there will be no craving for bone broth. It is the subliminal awareness of a nutrient deficiency and association to appropriate flavour that drives the eating. That is the food reward. Yumminess is secondary: I choose bone broth over clay. I stop eating soup when the mineral deficiency abates. The yummy of well-crafted bliss point soup becomes irrelevant as a causal factor, unless there is flavour deception and the bliss point soup lacks minerals to sate the craving. Then I keep eating the yummy soup, because I still need minerals. If I get the minerals, yumminess is irrelevant, if I am flavour-deceived and don't get the minerals, I keep eating. Not because it is yummy, but because I am being flavour-deceived.

    2. Energy deficit. The rate of extraction and deployment of energy from fat cells may be too slow to fulfill current expenditure. This will drive consumption of energy-dense food. Again, the yummiest available alternative will be picked that satisfies the craving. Once the craving is met, the yumminess becomes irrelevant. The problem is where the food chosen disturbs the appetite homeostasis, which again is a feature of faux foods, including foods with processed sugar or flour. But again, it is not the yumminess that drives the causality, but the appetite and metabolic-disturbing effect of the manufactured faux food.

    I agree there is more to account for than the metabolic drivers of getting fat that Ludwig refers to, although I tend to think that it is the main driver of obesity as an epidemic. There are other factors, creating different subgroups. Here are just three examples:

    1. Addiction. There is increasing evidence that sugar affects dopamine in the brain unlike other foods. So it is not because an addict is getting fat that they crave sugar hits: it is the addiction. of course the sugar will disturb the metabolism and appetite regulation, so the addiction causes getting fat which causes overeating. Going LCHF with real food should cure both the metabolic state and the addiction, although the difficulty of overcoming the addiction will make the LCHF diet much more difficult to achieve.

    2. Bridging. Many people need an externally induced state change continually, a distraction. For some people, food fills this role. Again, it is not the fat-storing hormonal state driving the eating, although this can also become present depending on the type of food eaten. (I suppose eating butter will keep one from having elevated insulin continually, but who does that?) Going low-carb, high-fat with real food will not address the underlying emotional/psychological issue causing the person to eat continually.

    3. Self-sabotage. An alarming proportion of the recidivism in obesity patients is among people abused sexually in childhood. There is now a field of study linking recidivist obesity to frequency of childhood psychic trauma events. It is hypothesized that when the sexually abused feel threatened from unwanted attraction, the subconscious brain (applying immature logic laid down into the subconscious during childhood) drives them to eat in order to gain weight to appear unattractive to deter the unwanted attention. Obviously reversing this requires therapy beyond the realm of real-food low-carb high-fat diet.

    Reply: #79
  23. Tor H
    Only 1/3 cup? I used to eat more coconut fat than that before bed. Still no weight gain, actually my weight slowly went down.
    At the time I ate LCHF with lots of fat. Eggs cooked in loads of butter, meat with lots of fat on it etc. in big portions. Still no weight gain.

    If ones insulin sensitivity is normal, it's very hard to gain weight on real food.

    Reply: #75
  24. Bjarte Bakke
    Vicente: I don't. Used Murray's words from comment #63.

    Murray: Interesting answer, appreciate your thoughts. Weight gain (and loss) has a number of drivers and I agree some are significantly more important than the effect of food reward, especially if you eat a real food LCHF diet. With regards to Nietsche, I'm open to the possibility that I haven't understood him well enough.

    Replies: #78, #82
  25. Pierre
    Energy Balance Equation

    Energy In (corrected for digestion) = (BMR/RMR + TEF + TEA + SPA/NEAT) + Change in Body Stores

    "I think when you read articles decrying the energy balance equation as invalid or incorrect, you’ll find that they ignore (or simply are unaware) of all of the above.

    The equation is perfectly valid and humans are as subject to the laws of thermodynamics as anything else in the universe. Physics is not just a good idea, kids, it’s the law.

    Most claims that the energy balance equation is invalid are due to people simply not knowing what they are talking about. The equation is valid, it has to be, what’s invalid are people’s assumptions about how things should work."

    Reply: #77
  26. Tor H
    Sam Felthams experiment showed that when eating the same amount of calories from different foods, the body reacts very differently.

    LCHF - no weight gain in the form of fat. The body didn't store the excess energy.

    LFHC - massive weight gain in the form of fat. The body did store much of the excess energy.

    Vegan - a bit less massive weight gain in the form of fat. The body stored a bit less of the excess energy.

    Calories and exercise was the same for all three.

    And it works the same for myself, overeating doesn't lead to weight gain if I eat real foods with little or no carbs, but loads of fat.

    Reply: #89
  27. Murray
    Pierre, what about feces and urine as "calories out"? One of the recent NUSI studies is measuring calories very carefully in a metabolic ward and measuring calories out via feces and urine is an important part of the measurement. On a LCHF ketogenic diet, there will usually be ketones in the urine and floating feces (from fat content), so a good portion of dietary fat are calories out but are not accounted for in the formula you quoted.
  28. Murray
    Bjarte, much of my Ph.D. thesis was on Nietzsche. It took a year of intense reading and rereading of all his published works, along with his letters, biographies and commentaries on him and lots of physics books on nonlinear dynamics before I could develop a coherent reading of him. Discovering what Nietzsche discovered about the esoteric structure of Shakespeare's works was a major event in my life. Nietzsche used this structuring in his works following Beyond Good and Evil. Nietzsche's view was that Francis Bacon helped Shakespeare on the causality (the physics of self-organizing criticality and complex adaptive systems). It is interesting to read Ted Hughes's book on the esoteric structure of Shakespeare's plays, which he came to independently of Nietzsche and intuited that there was some sort of physics behind it, although Hughes knew nothing of physics and didn't pursue the point. (Hughes, Shakespeare and the Goddess of Complete Being)
  29. Apicius
    Murray, you have inspired me to do some Nietzsche weekend reading.
    Reply: #88
  30. Murray
    Apicius, Nietzsche's first example in the Four Great Errors is the meager (i.e., low-fat, vegetarian) diet.

    1 The error of confusing cause and effect. There is no more insidious error than mistaking the effect for the cause: I call it the real corruption of reason. Yet this error is one of the most unchanging habits of mankind: ...

    Here is an example. Everybody knows Cornaro's famous book in which he recommends a meager diet for a long and happy life — a virtuous life, too. Few books have been read so widely; even now thousands of copies are sold in England every year. I do not doubt that scarcely any book... has done as much harm, has shortened as many lives, as this well intentioned oddity. Why? Because Cornaro mistakes the effect for the cause. The worthy Italian thought his diet was the cause of his long life, whereas the precondition for a long life, the extraordinary slowness of his metabolism, was the cause of his slender diet. He was not free to eat little or much; his frugality was not a matter of "free will" — he made himself sick when he ate more. But whoever has a rapid metabolism not only does well to eat properly, but needs to. A scholar in our time, with his rapid consumption of nervous energy, would simply destroy himself on Cornaro's diet. Crede experto — believe me, I've tried.

    Reply: #84
  31. Chris D
    Murray, I think you are spot on based on my own personal observations. I lost weight and restored health with LCHF, but after adding back "safe starches" my weight and lipids levels did not change even without counting calories or tracking carbs. I still eat mostly LCHF because those foods are the most enjoyable to me. My personal take is that your taste is evolved to crave the most nutritious foods in the correct macro nutrient ratios (which do change based on needs). Processed foods mimic these patterns but do not provide the nutrients expected, thus driving up hunger (weight gain) to seek nutrients meanwhile the vegetable oils, refined sugar and fortified grains directly damage your glucose metabolism, thus making eating any carbs harmful. To me this explains why LCHF is therapeutic and restores health, but at the same time explains the blue zones and all other paradoxes, they don't eat those harmful foods. Mr. Taubes, you were right it's food quality and hormones, but sorry you were wrong on insulin. Insulin is elevated because your glucose metabolism is damaged (by harmful foods) not because carbs per say elevate your insulin.
  32. Vicente
    Hi Bjarte,
    you said "Personally, I think it is dangerous to say that we eat too much only because we are getting fat. "

    That's why I asked what was your definition of "eating too much".

    Reply: #85
  33. VIcente
    "if we get fatter and heavier, more energy enters our body than leaves it. Overeating means we’re consuming more energy than we’re expending. It’s saying the same thing in a different way". Gary Taubes

    Getting fatter and heavier = overeating

  34. Apicius
    This is excellent, Murray. It really hits home for me. A few months ago, my brother was diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It shocked everyone, because he is slender, athletic, always been the top athlete amongst his friends. I on the other hand can put on weight just looking at a donut from 50 metres away. I swear my buttocks could develop fat by just me inhaling the smell of sugar. However, Because of my propensity for weight gain, it forced me to seek a better feeding protocol (which for me LCHF with fasting works very well). I used to get angry how my brother could eat pizza, and then make himself a sandwich, and then enjoy a plate of cookies, and not put on a single kg. But, just because he did not accumulate fat like me didn't mean he was not getting sick on the inside.

    I agree with you that seeking the root cause is key. From my point of view, it is insulin dynamics. While my brother and I share similar biologies they are not identical. For example, I get sunburned very easily within minutes in the direct sun. My brother gets a tan, and takes him hours to sunburn. While I guess you can point to the sun and declare that it is the root cause of the sunburn, I would otherwise point to the different capacities that our skins have to protect ourselves from burning. Maybe my propensity to burn easily is a good thing, because it makes me extra cautious and I frequently protect my skin. Maybe since people like my brother who do not bother with the extra protection and then put themselves in greater danger for developing skin cancer.

    Reply: #95
  35. Bjarte Bakke
    Vicente, yes, I was referring to Murray's comment (63) where he mentioned the cause of eating too much was getting fat.

    Not sure about the definition for over eating you present. What about muscle gain? You could make the argument that over eating is required for muscle gain but would that be over eating or smart eating?

    Reply: #87
  36. Bjarte Bakke
    Murray, what is your work these days? Would be interesting to hear how you've applied your PhD.
    Reply: #96
  37. Vicente
    Muscle gain is the result of a positive energy balance (increased energy intake and reduced levels of activity). It is caused by a nutritional disorder.

    Thermodynamics don't lie.

    Reply: #90
  38. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Me too, although this week is Nassim Taleb week. ;)
  39. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Agreed Tor, with a minor addition to what you're saying; what Sam Feltham's experiment showed was what happened to him, given his particular genetics, history, and current situation. It could be possible that different people would have different results.
    Reply: #91
  40. Tor H
    Check what Jason Fung says happens to muscles during fasting.
    The body builds muscles during fast, which is pretty smart evolution-wise.
  41. Tor H
    Yes, and I think insulin resistance might even be the biggest factor.
    Sam is in pretty god shape and I would think his insulinresistance is minimal.
  42. Vicente
    Hi Bjarte,
    my elaborated answer to your question.
    Reply: #101
  43. bill

    Followed your link. Great blog.

    Reply: #94
  44. Vicente
    Thank you bill :)

    I am glad you liked it.

  45. chris c
    Yes we have a similar diversity in one side of my family. Many people live into their nineties or late eighties and basically die from being worn out. The others die in their sixties or so from CVD. The latter are often the skinny and superficially fitter ones, like me - but we have far worse test results. My aunt was told she had the blood pressure of a 30 year old when she was 80, I was the exact opposite.

    I ate a low fat diet most of my life and failed to put on any weight. I suspect that my excess food made YOU put on weight through psychic transfer.

    Well of course that would be silly, but is it any sillier than many of the beliefs of dieticians? I suspect we go through all the stages of gaining weight except for the bit where the fat cells take in the fat, so it remains rattling around in the blood as dyslipidemia, whereas your fat cells are much more insulin sensitive.

    In BOTH cases reducing insulin levels and hence IR and hence further reducing insulin levels seems to do the trick.

    The distribution of genes and/or their effects is weird though. My mother lived to be 95. Her brother wan't much older than me when he had his heart attack. I had what I now know to be mostly symptoms of diabetes and conditions "common in diabetics" since early childhood, which got significantly worse on an even lower fat diet than I was previously eating, and resolved pretty much completely on LCHF. His son remains relatively healthy after nearly 50 years of a HCLF vegetarian diet which was slowly killing me.

    I suspect different genes shunt the effects of the same diet in different directions, and vice versa. Gerald Reaven among others used to plot the individual results of his subjects rather than using statistics to mash them. You could see a similar pattern with a different amplitude between many subjects, then some which would go in a different direction. I'd like to see a LOT more research like that - nutrigenomics and pharmacogenomics.

    Reply: #99
  46. Murray
    Bjarte I'm a research lawyer. My thesis examined both Nietzsche and Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., who were in many ways twin intellectual offspring of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
    Reply: #100
  47. Eric
    Denise needs to produce the evidence like
    How many calories per pound of starting and ending body weight and fat mass and lean mass and glucose and Insulin

    What is available via Internet shows a low calorie diet lowers weight and glucose! So what,
    Compliance. Other biomarkers? Result if calories are At Maintainance, according to. Kempner one tablespoon of added fat could ruin the effectiveness
    Kempner is interesting but not persuasive

  48. Eric
    Better yet why not a smash the carb 35 day rice and fruit pig out of 5000 kcal per day and let us know your start weight and biomarkers to start and along the way weigh weight gain or loss!

    If carbosis is insulin increase or decrease glucose increase or decrease weight? A1c

  49. Apicius
    I see your points, Chris. I guess I have to embrace and thank my insulin it forced me to find LCHF and fasting. I hate to succumb to saying that I'm blessed about tendency to get fat very easily...but, now I know it's true.
    Reply: #102
  50. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Nice Murray. Let me know if you can recommend a book that summarises the key views of contemporary philosophers, let's say from 1900 onwards. I prefer to first understand philosophers main views before digging into one in particular.
  51. Bjarte Bakke Team Diet Doctor
    Thanks Vicente, interesting post.
  52. chris c
    Well I wouldn't go THAT far! But the point is, once you know what genes you carry you can get a better notion of what to do to switch them on and off using environmental factors, ie. diet. In my case (and I'm far from alone) the "low fat" did more metabolic harm than just the "high carb" in terms of causing me to disintegrate faster. Reverting to arterycloggingsaturatedfats and avoiding "heart healthy" Omega 6s laced with trans fats put up my HDL and decreased my LDL by about the same amount. Will this unclog my arteries? Probably not now, but it would have done if I'd started decades ago. Keeping my carbs down to what dieticians and doctors have assured me will lead inevitably to deficiency diseases and a lack of energy has actually killed most of my symptoms and *improved* my energy.

    Yet I'm still prepared to believe that there exist people with a different gene set who have become adapted to HCLF, almost certainly NOT a majority of the population - YET.

  53. Caroline
    But what is the biochemistry behind ultra low fat diets? We know a great deal about nutritional ketosis and insulin resistance. We've seen images of fatty liver and 24 hr blood glucose graphs. We have glycemic index/load for just about every food. But how does a scientist explain what is going on when fat intake is less than 10%? Dr. Fung's stab at an explanation falls short because of the diets where people eat until they are full (ex. Starch Solution). I know Fung disputed Kempner's claim that people on the rice diet ate >2,000 calories but that devolves into "he says, he says." Would someone please explain the magic behind 80-10-10? Thanks.
  54. Jack McAnespy
    I can assure you, low fat works for weight loss and you don’t have to fast to make it happen.

    This is coming from a 14 year low carb veteran.

    I was goated into doing a raw food plant based diet for 14 days. It worked out to be 10% protein, 5% fat and 85% carbs. I did not eat at a deficit. I stuck to my normal 2200 to 2400 cals a day.

    I was totally expecting to gain weight knowing that carbs make you fat.

    I lost 7 lbs. I was devastated but I am now enlightened.

    It makes complete sense though if you really take the time to look at how metabolism works and think about energy storage systems.

    We have a fair amount of glycogen stores. We also use a lot of energy in a day.

    If I have 1,000 cals of glycogen stores and use 1500 cals a day as BMR that is 2500 cals I can pack away without storing anything as fat.

    If you eat no fat what are storing if you don’t exceed glycogen stores and BMR?

    Makes sense right?

    Reply: #105
  55. Van Doren
    "Makes sense, right?" Jack, it does make sense, and it absolutely doesn't matter. Almost all fat is stored anyway, and FA go in and out fat cells all the time. Storage means absolutely nothing. Lipolysis _always_ exceeds body needs for fatty acids, and much of the freed FA comes back to the adipocytes to be esterified again.
    Just look at the biochemistry of fat metabolism: it's packed into chylomicrons in enterocytes, then you need lipoprotein lipase to get TGs out of chylomicrons. And look where LPL is expressed: very strongly in fat tissue, weak in muscles, heart, and some glands. So, most fat always go straight to the fat tissue, some goes into muscles, very little into heart/glands.
    Storage doesn't matter because this storage is very dynamic and is always in use.
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