Good Calories, Bad Calories: What Really Makes Us Fat?

Good calories, bad calories. How modern medicine has failed us: Learn why dietary fat isn’t as bad as its rap, how modern medicine and media have gone astray, and what’s really causing our obesity epidemic.
By Gary Taubes
October/November 2008
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Good calories, bad calories? While sugar and soda might be obvious foods to avoid, others such as processed foods, refined carbohydrates and beer should be limited for weight control, as well.
Illustration by Keri Rosebraugh
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Here's how modern medicine has failed us. Good calories, bad calories? Hint: Grandma knew best.

Good Calories, Bad Calories: What Really Makes Us Fat?

If you had asked your mother or grandmother for diet tips, you might have heard, “Every woman knows that carbohydrates are fattening.” In fact, that’s from a 1963 article in the British Journal of Nutrition, co-authored by one of the leading nutritionists of the era. And for the previous 100 years or so, this was the conventional wisdom: carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, sweets and beer make us fat, and, by implication, foods rich in fat and protein do not.

But since then, the nutritional dogma has changed completely, and we’ve come to accept the idea that there is nothing uniquely fattening about carbohydrates. Rather, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, as nutritionists hasten to tell us. This means that the only way to lose weight is to diligently eat less of everything, to exercise more and hope for the best — a prescription that even the experts will admit rarely seems to work.

As an investigative journalist working in science and health, I’ve spent the last decade assessing the conventional wisdom on diet, weight control and disease. My conclusion is that much of what we’ve been taught since the early 1970s — most of which we’ve all come to accept — is simply wrong. This might explain why those same years have seen unprecedented increases in obesity and diabetes worldwide. When I started my research, I had no idea that I would come to such contrarian views. But now I think that certain conclusions are virtually inescapable:

• Obesity and being overweight are not caused by eating too much and certainly not by eating food with “too much” fat.

• Exercise doesn’t make us lose weight, it just makes us hungry.

• Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of heart disease. Rather the same foods that make us fat — easily-digestible carbohydrates and sugars — will eventually cause the diseases that are likely to kill us: heart disease, diabetes and even most cancers. As the late Tim Russert’s physician explained in The New York Times shortly after Russert’s death, “if there’s one number that’s a predictor of mortality, it’s waist circumference.” Because carbohydrate-rich foods increase our waist circumference, then it must be these same foods that shorten our lives.

These conclusions about diet and weight loss aren’t exactly new. A carbohydrate-restricted diet is not a “fad diet” as the American Heart Association has insisted on calling it. Rather it had been the standard medical practice for treating obesity until the 1960s, when the American Heart Association began insisting that we all eat low-fat, carbohydrate-rich diets to prevent heart disease. But then, in one decade, the fattening carbohydrate was miraculously transformed — without benefit of scientific data — into heart-healthy diet food.

So What Happened With Weight and Diet?

Beginning in the late 1950s, a small but influential group of nutritionists and cardiologists decided that dietary fat caused heart disease. First the American Heart Association adopted this position, then Congress, the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the National Institutes of Health. Beginning in the late 1980s with the publication of the Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition and Health, an entire research industry arose to create palatable non-fat substitutes for fat, while the food industry spent billions to market the less-fat-is-good message. The USDA’s booklet on dietary guidelines and its Food Guide Pyramid recommended that fats and oils be eaten “sparingly,” while we were now to eat six to 11 servings per day of the pasta, potatoes, rice and bread once considered uniquely fattening.

Three facts were neglected during this national push for a low-fat diet. One was the upturn in obesity and diabetes rates that emerged as this new nutritional advice displaced the knowledge that carbs were fattening.

The second was that when researchers actually did clinical trials to test the hypothesis that eating less fat or less saturated fat prevented heart disease, the evidence failed to support the hypothesis. This was the conclusion of a 2001 review of “reduced or modified dietary fat for preventing cardiovascular disease.” The review was published by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international organization dedicated to producing unbiased assessments of the science underlying medical interventions. The authors had combed the literature for all possible studies that addressed the question of dietary fat and heart disease. They identified 27 that were performed with sufficient scientific rigor to be considered meaningful. These trials encompassed some 10,000 subjects, followed for an average of three years each. The review concluded that our supposedly heart-healthy diets, whether low in all fat or just saturated fat, had no effect on longevity and no significant effect on the likelihood of actually having a heart attack.

The third fact that was regrettably neglected during the years that we came to believe in the evils of saturated fat was that back in the 1950s and early 1960s, biochemists and physiologists had already figured out what it is that regulates the accumulation of fat in our fat tissue. In other words, scientists have known what makes us fat for almost half a century.

The Skinny on Fat

As it turns out, every hormone in our body works to release fat from our fat tissue, with the singular exception of insulin, which works to put it there. And insulin levels in our blood are determined primarily by the carbohydrate content of our diet. The more carbohydrates we consume, and the easier they are to digest, the higher our insulin. Insulin tells our fat tissue to accumulate fat. So long as insulin levels remain elevated, fat is locked in the fat tissue and can’t escape.

What’s even more remarkable — and completely ignored in all discussions of obesity and weight since the 1970s — is that we must eat carbohydrates to accumulate excess fat in our fat tissue. It’s only by eating carbohydrates that we can obtain alpha glycerol phosphate, an enzyme that is an absolute requirement for storing fat. This enzyme fixes the fat in the fat tissue in a way that it can’t slip back out through the fat cell membranes and escape into the blood stream. This is why the more carbohydrates we consume, the more fat we will store. The less carbohydrates, the less fat.

After a meal is digested, insulin levels should decline. When this happens, fat is released from the fat tissue in the form of fatty acids and these are then burned in cells for fuel. For this reason, another necessary requirement for remaining lean is to have lengthy periods during which insulin levels are low and we burn our fat for fuel. When insulin levels remain elevated, fat can’t escape from the fat tissue. It goes in, but it doesn’t come out, and we can’t use it for energy. A meal without carbohydrates is a meal that doesn’t stimulate any significant insulin secretion. You store very few, if any, calories as fat, and you get plenty of opportunity to burn the fat you had stored.

The reason this science was left behind was a simple one. Diet doctors in the 1960s read the same medical literature that I did decades later, and they then began prescribing carbohydrate-restricted, mostly meat diets to their patients. But a low-carbohydrate diet is high in fat, and fat was thought to be a killer. Indeed, in 1965, the same year that the American Physiology Society published an 800-page Handbook of Physiology describing the recent research in the regulation of fat tissue, the research that implicated carbohydrates and insulin in fat storage, the Harvard nutritionist Jean Mayer was quoted in The New York Times saying it would be the equivalent of “mass murder” to prescribe low-carbohydrate diets to treat obesity. Mayer’s reasoning was that these diets were high in fat and the fat would cause heart disease. That’s how the medical establishment has treated it ever since, even after researchers revealed that high fat diets actually improve cholesterol profiles, rather than worsen them.

Meanwhile, the last decade has witnessed a renewed interest in carbohydrate-restricted diets as obesity levels have risen and a new generation of clinicians have come to question the prevailing wisdom on weight loss. These studies have all confirmed what the underlying science of fat regulation tells us: cut out carbohydrates and you lose fat. Seven independent teams of investigators set out to test low-fat, low-calorie diets of the kind recommended by the American Heart Association in randomized control trials against “eat as much as you like” Atkins-like diets. Together these trials included well over 900 obese subjects. In each case, the weight loss after three to six months was two to three times greater on the low-carbohydrate diet — unrestricted in calories — than on the calorie-restricted, low-fat diet.

In 2003, the prestigious medical journal JAMA published an article that its seven authors from the Yale and Stanford medical schools considered to be the “first published synthesis of the evidence” in the English-language medical literature on the efficacy and safety of carbohydrate-restricted diets. They concluded that the evidence was “insufficient to recommend or condemn the use of these diets,” because it lacked long-term randomized trials that could allow the safety of the diets to be established beyond reasonable doubt. Nonetheless, they did report the average weight loss from 40 years of trials and research. “Of the 34 of 38 lower-carbohydrate diets for which weight change after diet was calculated, these lower-carbohydrate diets were found to produce greater weight loss than higher-carbohydrate diets” — an average of 37 pounds when carbohydrates were restricted to less than 60 grams (240 calories) a day, compared to 4 pounds when they were not.

What Is for Dinner?

The ultimate question is whether a protein- and fat-rich diet lacking virtually all starches and sugars can be a healthy diet, since one conclusion of my research is that to remain lean we would have to follow such a regimen for life. If we give up carbohydrates and lose our excess weight, but then go back to carbohydrates, the weight will come back as well.

Is it possible to eat red meat in any quantity without it being bad for our hearts? This is one question of many where the experts have simply failed us. If you actually look at the fat content of a piece of red meat (or eggs and bacon), you’ll find that the principal fat is not saturated fat — which is supposedly bad for the heart — but the same monounsaturated fat as in olive oil, which is supposedly good for the heart. And much of the remaining fat is still what nutritionists would consider heart-healthy. Consider a porterhouse steak, for example, with a quarter-inch layer of fat. After broiling, this reduces to almost equal parts fat and protein. Of the fat, slightly more than half (51 percent) is monounsaturated, which lowers the (bad) LDL cholesterol and raises the (good) HDL. Slightly less than half (45 percent) is saturated fat, some of which raises LDL, but all of it raises HDL. A third of that saturated fat is stearic acid, which raises (the good) HDL, and has no effect on the bad LDL. The remaining fat (4 percent) is polyunsaturated, which lowers LDL but has no meaningful effect on HDL. (You can look up the numbers yourself in the USDA National Nutrient Database.)

Although nutritionists don’t like to talk about this in an era that considers fruits and vegetables to be the sine qua non of a healthful diet, animal products happen to contain all the amino acids, minerals and vitamins essential for health, with the only point of controversy being vitamin C. And the evidence suggests that the vitamin C content of meat products is more than sufficient for health, so long as the diet is indeed carbohydrate-restricted, absent the refined and easily digestible carbohydrates and sugars that would raise blood sugar and insulin levels and so increase our need to obtain vitamin C from the diet.

Moreover, carbohydrate-restricted diets, as they have been prescribed since the 1920s, do not restrict green leafy vegetables, but only starchy vegetables such as potatoes and refined grains and sugars — only those foods that are virtually absent any essential nutrients unless they’re added back in the processing, as is the case with white bread. A calorie-restricted diet that cuts calories by a third, as the British nutritionist John Yudkin pointed out in the early 1970s, will also cut essential nutrients by a third. A diet that prohibits sugar, flour, potatoes and beer, but allows eating to satiety of meat, cheese, eggs and green vegetables, will leave the essential nutrients, whether or not it leads to a decrease in calories consumed.

If you’ve been trying and failing time and time again to lose weight by dutifully eating less and exercising more, perhaps its time to try your grandmother’s diet instead. Stay away from the fattening carbohydrates, stop worrying about how much fat you eat and see what happens. Let your weight and your waist circumference tell you whether the diet you’re now eating is a healthy one.


Weight and Health: Grandma Knew Best

As far back as the 1820s, the French gastronome Jean Brillat Savarin in The Physiology of Taste, insisted that the roots of obesity were obvious. He had spent 30 years, he said, listening to one “stout party” after another proclaim their love for bread, rice and potatoes. His conclusion: obesity was caused by a natural predisposition to put on weight, conjoined with the “floury and feculent substances, which man makes the primary ingredient of his daily nourishment.” And the effects of this fecula — i.e., “potatoes, grain or any kind of flour” — he added, were exacerbated by eating sugar.

For the next 140 years, when physicians discussed weight loss in the medical literature, the two constants were the ideas that starches and sugars — i.e., carbohydrates — must be minimized to reduce weight, and that meat, fish or fowl must constitute the bulk of the diet. “The great progress in dietary control of obesity,” wrote Hilde Bruch, considered the foremost authority on childhood obesity, in 1957, “was the recognition that meat … was not fat producing; but that it was the innocent foodstuffs, such as bread and sweets, which lead to obesity.”

This was also what Dr. Spock taught our parents and our grandparents in five decades, eight editions and more than 50 million copies of Baby and Child Care, the bible of child-rearing in the latter half of the 20th century. “Rich desserts,” Spock wrote, and “the amount of plain, starchy foods (cereals, breads, potatoes) taken is what determines, in the case of most people, how much [weight] they gain or lose.”


Gary Taubes is a investigative science journalist and author of Good Calories, Bad Calories.


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Post a comment below.

 

cazza60
1/21/2014 10:19:17 AM
Hi just found your site, very interesting and though provoking!!

mls_2
5/11/2009 4:46:22 PM
Fantastic Article! I think the author does a terrific job analyzing and exposing methods used by groups to promote their agendas for "diet and health". Very interesting. Personally, I don't think this article is problematic for vegans and vegetarians. The author isn't promoting a meat-diet, simply making us aware of what really causes fat to accumulate. Bread, flour, potatoes, simple carbs. I'm vegan and this didn't bother me at all. I consume bountiful greens and other vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds. I limit grains like wheat because it bothers my digestive system. I follow the “listen to my body” approach to wellness. It’s been a journey and I’m very happy with my health status and am preparing for another triathlon. I would think vegans and vegetarians are used to making conversions, even mentally, to apply dietary information to themselves. I’m sure no insult was intended in this article, just that a large population eats meat; therefore, it’s a simple way to get the point across. The closer our food is to its origins, from the earth, the better it is for our bodies. Obesity didn’t become an epidemic until food became a hugely prosperous industry. People’s attitudes about food changed, portions grew, which brought in more money. Food is for nourishment, plain and simple, and the human body doesn’t require a huge volume each day to thrive. In the past portions were smaller, as were plates. Nowadays people feel they’re too busy and therefore purchase preprocessed foods. That’s their choice and their right, AND they are responsible for the resulting impact on their health. What gets old is the lack of responsibility; when people can’t understand why they’re unhealthy, yet it’s right in front of them at every meal, every snack. This article, among many, informs consumers because knowledge valuable. Use it to your advantage. Only you can make yourself healthy and fit, nobody else can do the work for you. To yo

Ramona Herner
12/23/2008 12:41:01 PM
Thank you Mother Earth News for your diversity. Thank you for not being single minded and only printing what you the editors feel is in the "best interest" of your readers accourding to "your opinions". I find that many magazines and television shows have an agenda behind them and promote that agenda only. I myself would rather eat a plate of beef than a plate of quinoa or sprouted grains, soybeans, tempeh and tofu. Thank God for "choice". I have no idea what tempeh is really, I'm sure one day I'll read about it in the archives and articles in Mother Earth News and be completely thrilled about it! For now I am just enjoying the "down to earth" articles about makeing soap, raising chickens, rabbits, growing a bountiful garden for food and herbs, building chicken coops and other structures. The world has gone so far from our grass roots. We are so far away from simplicity (I say this tying on my computer!) But really we have become so busy with our day to day lives that we have lost alot of the good things in life. Away from my babbeling and just emphisizing the "freedom of choice". I have been eating much potatoes and rice recently due to financial hardship and I'm fat. I didn't used to be, but now I am. I don't eat much butter, I only use brown sugar if I use ANY sugar, I eat salads with a small amount of olive oil and lemon juice. Tofu and Tempeh? How much does that cost and would that be in the deli in an average grocerie store? The "average" person cannot afford to shop at organic health food stores. And the printed version of this article being followed by brewing your own beer? BRAVO! If you want to brew your own beer free of any form of preservatives or God knows what else goes into commercial beer, do it! It's about choices and not censorship. No one is deciding which articles we should read but ourselves! Just because they are there, does not mean we have to read

Andy_2
12/10/2008 7:28:22 PM
Wow, so many people attacking the author of pushing an agenda because it doesn't agree with their own agenda... Take the trouble to read his book before you accuse him of quackery - what he's done is to complete an exhaustive investigation into the actual scientific research out there and found out that many of the so called truths(like dietary fat causes us to be fat) that we are told about nutrition have very little, or very poor science behind them. And equally there is a large body of evidence pointing towards the conclusions that Taubes summarises here. Just because it's pro meat does not make it incorrect, and for the people criticising his article on these grounds I would suggest that you perhaps are more biased than he is. His conclusions come from spending the best part of ten years following where over a hundred years of scientific literature leads him to. Where do yours come from?

butterflygirl_1
11/7/2008 9:49:16 PM
I am so glad to see all the other readers responding to this article. I too was very diappointed! Not only does the author advocate a high animal protein diet, but neglects to inform readers of plant based complete proteins. YES, there are plant based complete portiens, quinoa for example. Also sprouted grains-choked full of vitamins, and soybeans and all its products including tempeh and tofu. Besides who wants to eat a plate full of animal protein every meal? Its simple to create a meal containing all essential amino acids and get more vitamins and minerals ounce for ounce. Just add rice to beans, (beans also contain all or most of essential amino acids). The author also forgot to mention the low rates of cancer in vegatarians. And that our bodies digest food at a slower rate than meat eating aniamls. Carnivors have short bowels. And in my opinion produce second hand nutrients. Too much protein is also as dangerous as too little protein. It can cause leaching of calcium from bones which can lead to osteoperosis. As for carbon foot prints. Meat production requires twice as much land to produce the same amount of useable protein. I think Mother Earth readers would like to take Mother Earth into thier consideration of the information in this article.

Gary_3
10/31/2008 6:41:47 PM
Just 1 hour ago I signed up for e newsletters from MEN. Perhaps it is just my bad luck, but the first article I chose to read on this website was "Good Calories Bad Calories" by a Mr Taubes. This article has concerned me enough, that I will shortly be unsubscribing. Clearly there is little in the way of "moderating" on this website otherwise this article/advert would never have made it on to the page in the first place, or perhaps MEN just don't have staff qualified to judge such a piece. A brief comment on diet: Comparing to what we used to eat 1000's of years ago is pointless. We don't lead the same lives as our ancestors and certainly do not require the same diet. We no longer require lots of body fat to keep us warm as we did in the past. We no longer exercise as we used to whilst either hunting animals or gathering fruits/nuts/seeds etc. Both of these points mean that we need a lot less calories than we did back then. However, we still need all the nutrients that keep the body functioning correctly, these being vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, hormones etc. What we need to do (in my opinion) is to work out how to get all these nutrients in the correctly sized package of calories. If we go with meat and dairy (low nutrient values) we will eat way too many calories trying to get all the nutrients we need. If we reduce these to a minimum in order to still obtain vitamin B12 and switch to lots of fresh fruit, veg, and legumes + complex carbs (that Taubes has never heard of) like WHOLE rice, WHOLE pasta, WHOLEmeal bread, WHOLE everything in fact, we will be just fine. You will know if the calories are correct or not by watching your waistline. Good luck and goodbye.

Jimmy_1
10/30/2008 6:24:02 PM
I'm not sure that a low-carb diet is particularly commonsense, as he's suggesting by alluding to hypothetical advice from a grandmother. (Most grandmas I know love to serve bread and potatoes.) There may be some wisdom in here, but that comparison is just stupid. Other stupid things in this article: Bashing exercise and suggesting that animal products are chock-full of vitamins (they're not). And, not that this has anything to do with the author, but in the print version of the magazine, the very next article is entitled, "Brew Your Own Beer." Ridiculous.

Joanna Cahill
10/21/2008 11:54:04 AM
I always think its funny when people, much like taubers, present information as fact to support their opinions. In general, people are likely to accept information presented in intelligent ways as fact. Mainky for instance supported Taubers article by claiming that Inuits have been thriving off mainly meat diets, However, in 1991, life expectancy in the Inuit-inhabited areas was about 68 years, 10 years less than for Canada as a whole. From 1991 to 2001, life expectancy in the Inuit-inhabited areas did not increase, although life expectancy rose by about two years for Canada overall. If you do not believe me look it up on Canada's website---and...just be very critical when reading or viewing information-anywhere as facts are often skewed (just look at current political campaigns) to support agendas. I am not trying to attack you mainky--nor anyone else I just think it is vital that Americans take a more active role in verifying information. I even encourage you to research my information about Inuits. On a lighter note--I just ate some sunchips....and those carbohydrates tasted soooooo goood! (bad for me or not... ;)

chirp
10/21/2008 7:02:59 AM
this article was interesting. i agree that the author could have done better at getting rid of carbs without advocating such a densely MEAT diet. even referring to the inuit was somewhat off because don't they eat mostly raw fish? which is much different than a diet of cooked red meat. processed foods DO bite us in the butt, in the end. nutritionally intact med. to low starch vegetables, greens, and occasional small servings of fish or HUNTED meat seems to be the way to go. the middle of the road. as always.

kerry_1
10/20/2008 6:26:08 PM
The bad carbohydrates are simple carbohydrates, such as sugar and white flour. Good carbohydrates are whole grain carbohydrates. Preferably organic. There is a dfference. The bad meat is factory farm grown meat. The good meat is grass fed meat, or with any given animal, the feed and surroundings they evolved in. Unfortunately, most food is commercially grown and has nothing but poisons. There are many articles about the difference between organic food and factory grown food. This article does not differentiate between them

Richard Nikoley
10/17/2008 11:55:50 AM
Taubes is right, simply because what he's advocating takes an evolutionary approach. That is, eating in a manner similar to what we evolved on (meat, fish, animal fats, veggies, fruits, nuts). Principally: no grains, minimum or no dairy, no processed or junk food, no sugar or sweet substitutes, no vegetable oils, and keep the really starchy stuff like potatoes to minimum. It's worked wonders for me, and I have photographic evidence: http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2008/09/periodic-photo-progress-update.html And, if you think such a diet relatively high in saturated fats is bad, well eat your heat out. I'll put my lipid panel up against any grain eater or vegan / vegetarian: http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2008/07/lipid-pannel.html And here's my wife's, where you can see the change over a year, since I put her on my diet: http://www.freetheanimal.com/root/2008/09/more-results.html She used to eat lots or tortillas, tamales, beans, rice, bread and so on. Now she eats real food. If it didn't exist before 10,000 years ago (pre-agriculture), try to avoid it. Big thanks to Mother Earth for publishing this. I'm going right over to do a blog entry to point my own 500 readers per day right over here.

Mainky
10/10/2008 11:08:59 AM
I was absolutely excited to read this article. I'm sorry for the crackerjacks that want to fly off the handle and dismiss what Mr. Taubes was trying to convey. Obviously the "science" of healthy eating is not working in the least. On the other hand, the Inuit have been not just surviving, but thriving, on a diet of meat and fat for their entire existence. Historically, people ate more meat and less carbohydrate. It was a fact of the lifestyle of a hunting people. We live now in a preprocessed world. One which touts the benefits of low fat, low salt (high carb, by default) tv dinners over a cut of beautiful pastured meat. As for the argument that eating animals is not sustainable - I couldn't disagree more. Feeding animals in feedlot environments with grains is not sustainable. Feeding animals pasture throughout their lives is not only sustainable, but environmentally friendly. (If you do not agree, you should look into the research that has been done on intensive grazing rotation and carbon sequestering.) There is a beautiful and needful circle the exists between man and cows. I loved the simplicity with which Mr. Taubes explained the whys of bodily fat storage. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. Oh, and wasn't it interesting that people in the 70's consumed less processed grain then people in the 50's? Makes me think of all the little skinny people running around the beach in "Jaws". I always marveled at the small number of obese people in that film. Just a few older females, but everyone else was quite trim.

Mainky
10/10/2008 11:08:39 AM
I was absolutely excited to read this article. I'm sorry for the crackerjacks that want to fly off the handle and dismiss what Mr. Taubes was trying to convey. Obviously the "science" of healthy eating is not working in the least. On the other hand, the Inuit have been not just surviving, but thriving, on a diet of meat and fat for their entire existence. Historically, people ate more meat and less carbohydrate. It was a fact of the lifestyle of a hunting people. We live now in a preprocessed world. One which touts the benefits of low fat, low salt (high carb, by default) tv dinners over a cut of beautiful pastured meat. As for the argument that eating animals is not sustainable - I couldn't disagree more. Feeding animals in feedlot environments with grains is not sustainable. Feeding animals pasture throughout their lives is not only sustainable, but environmentally friendly. (If you do not agree, you should look into the research that has been done on intensive grazing rotation and carbon sequestering.) There is a beautiful and needful circle the exists between man and cows. I loved the simplicity with which Mr. Taubes explained the whys of bodily fat storage. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. Oh, and wasn't it interesting that people in the 70's consumed less processed grain then people in the 50's? Makes me think of all the little skinny people running around the beach in "Jaws". I always marveled at the small number of obese people in that film. Just a few older females, but everyone else was quite trim.

Mainky
10/10/2008 11:05:51 AM
I was absolutely excited to read this article. I'm sorry for the crackerjacks that want to fly off the handle and dismiss what Mr. Taubes was trying to convey. Obviously the "science" of healthy eating is not working in the least. On the other hand, the Inuit have been not just surviving, but thriving, on a diet of meat and fat for their entire existence. Historically, people ate more meat and less carbohydrate. It was a fact of the lifestyle of a hunting people. We live now in a preprocessed world. One which touts the benefits of low fat, low salt (high carb, by default) tv dinners over a cut of beautiful pastured meat. As for the argument that eating animals is not sustainable - I couldn't disagree more. Feeding animals in feedlot environments with grains is not sustainable. Feeding animals pasture throughout their lives is not only sustainable, but environmentally friendly. (If you do not agree, you should look into the research that has been done on intensive grazing rotation and carbon sequestering.) There is a beautiful and needful circle the exists between man and cows. I loved the simplicity with which Mr. Taubes explained the whys of bodily fat storage. Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. Oh, and wasn't it interesting that people in the 70's consumed less processed grain then people in the 50's? Makes me think of all the little skinny people running around the beach in "Jaws". I always marveled at the small number of obese people in that film. Just a few older females, but everyone else was quite trim.

Walter Adamson
10/9/2008 7:10:53 AM
As type 2 diabetic who has worked hard to bring the disease into control (it's not gone away) and having read widely in that pursuit, I applaud Gary Taubes' common sense and "back to basics" article. I see from the comments that there is a whole lot of dogma and "causes" which pervades the majority of them. That's fine by me since we all have our own self-interest to push. I'm for Taubes and thank MEN for publishing it, and if more adult diabetics had have understood this when they were not diabetic then they would have been better off, and even now this kind of realistic advice can help them. It makes a lot of sense to me and how I manage my diabetic food plan. Walter Adamson http://www.diabetorati.com

Joanna Cahill
10/7/2008 9:11:36 AM
I thought it might be useful to note the fact that Taubes has no training in Nutrition or medical science.

Joanna Cahill
10/7/2008 8:56:24 AM
Wow, When I read this article in Mother Earth News I was shocked--like the many others who commented before me. At first I didn't know what to think--I kind of still do not know what to think because I have always trusted just about everything printed in the pages of M-E-N. However the lack of balanced information (like listing why high meat diets are often high in atibiotics ect) disturbs me. I guess I'm still sitting here with my head spinning--I would really like a response from MEN on why they printed this article.

NicoleS
10/2/2008 9:09:38 AM
I love Mother Earth News and the type of articles it contains on gardening, sustainable living, homesteading, etc. and I was thoroughly disappointed that they printed an article on nutrition at all, let alone an article that runs counter to well balanced nutrition. Besides the fact that exercise does help people lose weight, eating that many animal products is bad for the environment and your kidneys, no sound nutrition plan calls any one type of macro nutrient bad (they are all essential), and our brain uses carbohydrates as its primary source of fuel, there is one fact that the author seems to be forgetting. Just because the American Heart Association has been advocating a diet low in fat and high in fiber (from whole grains, fruits and vegetables - not refined foods), he is assuming that people across the country follow this diet. Look at drive through lines or checkout lines and you can easily see that this is not true. Just because people know what they should do for good health does not mean that they do it - so yes, average weights have gone up, so have the number of calories consumed from both high fat foods like porterhouse steak as well as highly processed foods. The author is preaching to the wrong audience - many readers of Mother Earth News eat locally, grow their own foods, and care about consuming sustainably. Perhaps this article was best pitched to a group who only cared about their outward appearance and losing weight, not their overall health and the health of the environment.

Satyavayu
10/1/2008 6:37:21 PM
Part 3 - (see below) - His article has the ambiance of "rebellion" but its the same propaganda the meat and dairy industries have been pushing through advertising and lobbying for decades. It raises the question of whether the author himself is involved with these powerful interests. Healthier and more sustainable and compassionate alternatives for weight loss are easy to find - generations of grandmothers in many cultures have been demonstrating and living a healthy plant-based diet for centuries - all we have to do is listen.

Satyavayu
10/1/2008 6:31:47 PM
Part 2 - Meanwhile, Taubes ignores enormous amounts of evidence about the dangers of high protein, high fat diets that are accumulating everyday - the China study is perhaps the most comprehensive diet study ever and its conclusions are clear - increased heart disease and increased cancer rates among many other problems. Even more disturbing is the complete lack of environmental concern - a high meat diet is incredibly damaging to the planet, as well as contributing to world hunger (again , see Robbins). The cruelty of industrial meat production is a whole other issue to consider (and organic is not necessarily much better). I, for one, certainly don't want to simply "let (my) weight and (my) waist circumference tell (me) whether the diet (I'm) now eating is a healthy one". Eating is a sacrament that includes the whole world. Of course, everyone agrees that an excess of refined carbs and white sugar is bad for your health - no news there. But a whole-grain based diet with an abundance of fresh veggies and low protein has proven to be extremely healthy in cultures around the world for thousands of years. John Robbin's new book, "Healthy at 100" shows that the cultures with the longest lived healthy populations eat just such a diet - and weight problems were virtually unknown. (He also compassionately points out the fallacies in Weston Price's research, the basis for Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions"). Losing weight fast can, of course, occur on the diet Taube suggests, but the risk of other, long term, health problems steadily increase. Most importantly, his diet is unsustainable for the earth and impossible for the poor the world over. His article has the ambiance of "rebellion" but its the same propaganda the meat and dairy industries have been pushing through advertising and lobbying for decades. It raises the question of whether the author himself is involved with these p

Satyavayu
10/1/2008 6:04:32 PM
I am really surprised and saddened that this article was published by Mother Earth News, an otherwise trustworthy and inspiring source of alternative info for many people. It is not that it is controversial - controversy is great and alternative views are essential to get out there - rather, this article is filled with falsehoods, and its conclusions are harmful both for longterm health and for the health of the environment (which I had hoped Mother Earth News was concerned about). There are so many baseless and misleading claims in this article that it would take another of the same length to point them out. "Exercise doesn't make us lose weight", "being overweight (is) not caused by eating too much", and "dietary fat is not a cause of heart disease" are three obvious ones right at the beginning. Of course nothing is the sole cause of anything, there are many subtle and mutually interacting causes and conditions that lead to deteriorating health, and to improving health, but these claims are clearly irresponsible. Taubes backs them up with completely misleading evidence: 1) an increase in obesity and diabetes during the time low fat diets were being advanced does nothing to show that they're a bad idea - people were eating more junk food (including fat) so of course obesity increased. Also, the population was eating more high protein, high fat meat during this period, which Taubes conveniently excludes (and heart disease was skyrocketing). 2) Taubes uses a single study to boost his points - always unreliable - and in this case (the Cochrane Collaboration) strongly opposed by many other studies (see any of John Robbins books). 3) describing the role of insulin and its stimulation by carbs is a small part of a complex picture and does nothing to show that calories ingested as fat won't be stored as fat. Meanwhile, Taubes ignores enormous amounts of evidence about the dangers of high protein, high fat die

SMoody
9/28/2008 8:07:57 AM
As a human biologist earning my education in the 1960 and 1970's in anthropology and biology (and then teaching at a medical school for two decades) I realized then that the paradigm shift of villifying empty carbs to animal fats by the medical community was not only wrong but just plain stupid. They had not examined nor tested the assumptions of these new models (hypotheses) derived initially from the infamous Framingham heart studies - basically incidental correlations became causations for which there was no evidence. The comments posted by many readers suggest that they did not read carefully the article by Gary Taubes, for example, the argument is not a LOW CARB diet but a LOW "REFINED SIMPLE STARCH" CARB diet. Vegetables, fruits and indeed a significant component of meat contain complex carbohydrate molecules. For those who would continue to ridicule the Atkins Diet as being a LOW CARB simply have not done their homework - large amounts of vegetables and fruits even more than the percentage of meats were always recommended. The only critique that I would post would be not to hammer the high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) component to the obesity epidemic especially for children. Obesity levels for children remained fairly flat at circa 3-5% during the period 1950 to 1980 and only after 1980 began the steep rise in obesity in children. The soft drink and fruit juice "cocktails" switched from cane/beet sugar (sucrose) to HFCS in the 1980's. The statistical correlation suggests strongly causation especially as we know that fructose will be shifted to fat (triglycerides) more readily than glucose (shifted to glycogen).

Skye_1
9/25/2008 6:49:33 PM
I had been a vegetarian and vegan alternately since 1991, but about 6 months ago started following Sally Fallon's "Nourishing Traditions" guidelines (NT is somewhat similar to what author Taubes laid out in this article). I'm finding that there are two highly beneficial side effects to simply eating healthy, organic/local, real food in reasonable amounts: I'm not snacking between meals anymore, and I'm not having food cravings anymore.

Brigit-Carol
9/25/2008 9:09:10 AM
I couldn't believe my eyes when I received my MEN yesterday and found this article. Way to go, Mother! Yes, it is controversial, but MEN has always been countercultural, and for that I am grateful. After following the "conventional wisdom" way of eating for 30 years (low fat, high carb, lots of sugar), I ended up 50 lbs. overweight and with diabetes. Lots of research later, I started on a low carb diet by at first cutting out all grains, sugar, and transfats, and increasing low glycemic veggies and dairy. Since losing most of the excess weight, and reducing my blood sugar, I am gradually adding back in a few grains -- mainly steel cut oats and barley. But I will never eat the way the food pyramid states. BTW, the human food pyramid is almost identical to what is fed cattle in feed lots to fatten them up for slaughter! For me, it's a matter of survival. I don't want to lose limbs or go blind from diabetes. Carbohydrates raise blood sugar, meat, dairy, and green leafy veggies don't. I do not eat any more meat now than I did in the past. The primary difference is I eat 4 times the fresh veggies and healthy fruits. Almost all of which I grow.

wifezilla
9/8/2008 9:39:09 AM
caducus - For the record, Dr. Atkin's died of a HEAD INJURY. He was in his 70's, walking to work, and slipped on some ice, falling and striking his head.

Lauren_2
9/6/2008 11:58:37 PM
THANK YOU for publishing the truth about carbs and calories. The proof is in the pudding--look at how well Americans are doing trying to "watch their saturated fat" and eat "lots of whole grains." WAKE UP AND SMELL THE SUGAR, people. We are a nation addicted to the white stuff. And of course all of the highly processed corn products can't be helping our waistlines either. Eating a completely natural diet is LOW CARB BY DEFAULT. Our ancestors didn't worry about trimming the fat from their wild game. They also didn't drop dead from diseases of civilization like we are in droves. They didn't even have access to super sugary fruit or "whole grains." Those have come about after years of select breeding for sweeter fruits, and developing efficient methods to process grains. 99% of foods in the wild are LOW CARB. I having been eating a low carb diet for about a year now, and haven't looked back at my sugar-laden calorie counting days once. I eat more vegetables than ANYONE I know, and enjoy real butter, cream, and grass-fed steak as often as my budget allows. I am not controlled by food or working out--my appetite regulates itself because I am not fooling it with seratonin-triggering carbs! Drop the excess carbs, drop the food obsession, eat from the perimeter of the grocery store, and get healthy, America! THANK YOU for publishing such a timely piece, Mother Earth.

AG_1
9/6/2008 7:40:36 PM
Most vegetables contain little or no carbohydrates, Dan. My son is a type 1 diabetic and we follow the information laid out by the diabetic clinic very carefully. The only thing I would wonder at is ... the diabetic clinic tells us that it is only carbs that fuel brain function. Without carbohydrates you could not think properly ... how do we reconcile this information?

caducus
9/6/2008 5:48:36 PM
Also, Dr. Atkins, contrary to popular belief, did not die from a heart attack. He died from Renal kidney failure. When you consume an excessive amount of protein guess where it goes?

Martin_1
9/5/2008 5:46:49 PM
Kudos to Mother Earth for having the courage to publish this article! Yes, it is controversial. But, this is inevitable, given the fact that the myths it challenges are so widely believed. I know of no scientist or researcher who has investigated this topic as thoroughly, and presented the evidence as honestly, as Gary Taubes has. His book is the magnum opus on the science behind diet, weight control, and nutrition. It should be required reading for anyone who purports to be an expert in the field. Most of the points of disagreement in the earlier postings below are already addressed in his book, in great detail, with extensive references to the scientific literature. Four years ago--after doing some of my own research in the field--I went on a low carbohydrate diet. The result was akin to a miracle: I quickly lost 50 pounds, improved my health, and have remained at a normal weight ever since. If I had known 20 years ago that carbohydrates are fattening, and that dietary fat is not, I would never have become overweight in the first place. These days I relish in the knowledge that the predominently fatty-meat diet I am eating keeps me slim and healthy. Let's hope that these topics continue to be discussed and debated, and that, over time, conventional wisdom (and so called "common sense") will change for the better.

APhotoWizard
9/5/2008 3:13:41 PM
Lisa - I have found that people are different. You may be a person that can handle carbs while your husband can not. I can not nor can my wife. You need to just add enough whole grain and other good carbs to your fat and protein to make things work for you. Gene -(1) I have found that HFCS is one of the worst of the refined carbs. It like Trans fats must be avoided at all cost if you wish to maintain a healthy diet. Gary says so in other parts of his writings. (2) I can find no evidence that there is any connection between cancer and meat in the diet IF you are eating grass fed meat. If you eat the stuff in the grocery store there is no telling what you will get. They even feed the cows left over chewing gum with wrappers. See jas.fass.org/cgi/content/abstract/77/12/3392#_jmp0_. If you do not believe. The cows that are raised on grass have even better fat ratios that what Gary listed. Just the thoughts of an old cattle farmer.

Marilyn_1
9/5/2008 2:04:15 PM
Eating meals focused on factory grown meat could not possibly be considered a healthy diet here, could it? If so, I'll be getting my advice elsewhere.

wifezilla
9/4/2008 1:15:42 PM
Following the "widely recommended heart healthy diet" has resulted in higher levels of obesity, increased rates of type 2 diabetes and more heart disease over the last 30 years, not less. If you actually follow the research that lead to the current recommendations (less fat, fewer animal proteins, cut calories, exercise more), you would see that they were based on wishful thinking and not sound sicence. All Gary Taubes has done through his articles and his book "Good Calories Bad Calories" is expose the faulty research while illustrating where more study needs to be done. It's a shame that so many people find this upsetting.

Dan_2
9/3/2008 6:35:37 PM
As you can see from most of these letters, Mother Earth has made a mistake to publish such a controversial and still hotly debated point of view by a self described investigative science journalist. If it was the month of April I would think it was an April Fool's joke. So, if I follow this advice, I guess I should just abandon my vegetable garden since carbohydrates are a key component in all vegetables. This is clearly an article with an "Atkins Diet" agenda (note: see Mr. Taubes entry in Wikipedia). Common sense in diet has to prevail - balanced diet with a mix of complex carbs, protein and fat, moderate exercise at a minimum, and don't over eat (don't "supersize me")! I am disappointed in the editorial board of Mother Earth for printing this. You clearly have lost several notches in credibility from my perspective.

Dan_2
9/3/2008 6:35:01 PM
As you can see from most of these letters, Mother Earth has made a mistake to publish such a controversial and still hotly debated point of view by a self described investigative science journalist. If it was the month of April I would think it was an April Fool's joke. So, if I follow this advice, I guess I should just abandon my vegetable garden since carbohydrates are a key component in all vegetables. This is clearly an article with an "Atkins Diet" agenda (note: see Mr. Taubes entry in Wikipedia). Common sense in diet has to prevail - balanced diet with a mix of complex carbs, protein and fat, moderate exercise at a minimum, and don't over eat (don't "supersize me")! I am disappointed in the editorial board of Mother Earth for printing this. You clearly have lost several notches in credibility from my perspective.

Eugenia
9/3/2008 11:12:14 AM
I too am disappointed that this biased article was published by this magazine. It sounds so much like the hundreds of diet books out there, each one of which lists numerous 'facts' as to why their one particular diet works best and is the ONLY healthy diet out there. Is it possible that different eating habits are healthy for different people? Maybe the reason the data seem constantly contradictory is because there is no one diet that works for everyone, so that one person is most healthy on a vegan diet, while another is most healthy on a diet heavy in animal protein. The author's diet may be healthier for certain individuals, but certainly not for all. Also, it seems a huge oversight to completely ignore whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, barley, and oats, which have a completely different nutritional value than refined grains but are still carbohydrates.

Bob Forbes_1
9/3/2008 10:25:47 AM
Don't know where to begin. "Exercise doesn't make you lose weight, it only makes you hungry." Where in the world does that come from? It is a simple equation-use more calories than you consume and you lose weight. And how does one use calories but by exercise and work. Also, let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. Not all carbs are bad for you. Avoid processed carbs as they are the bad ones. Use protein in moderation because too much protein is very unhealthy. This rampant use of meat is bad for health in so many ways. Why is it that in Oriental countries heart disease was unknown until the Western diet rich in meat and animal products showed up? And their diet is rich in carbs! Think rice and pasta. For more on this read the already recommended book The China Study.

Sandy Cobb
9/2/2008 8:03:59 PM
I could not believe I was reading this ridiculous article on Mother Earth News. Aren't the editors concerned that this extreme opposite view from the widely recommended heart healthy diet might lead some people in the wrong direction and actually cause them harm? I am a person with mild CAD and my cardiologist recently suggested I read "Reversing Heart Disease" by Dean Ornish. Since I am already a vegetarian, the Ornish lifestyle changes would not be a big leap for me. His recommended diet for reversing heart disease excludes all fat and the book tells of many trials and studies that prove this is an effective option. To anyone considering following the advise of the article in quesion, please give equal consideration to this one as well: http://www.ahealthyme.com/topic/dietandheart

Brett Adams
9/2/2008 6:36:57 PM
Congratulations to Mr Taubes for having the integrity and ambition to identify the truth about carbs and to state it with confidence!! As a triathlete and a Naturoptahic Doctor, I struggled for years with poor health, excess body fat, and poor athletic performance, while eluded into consuming a high carb diet. I was even foolish enough to try years on a vegan diet, before I did adequate research to determine what comprises the natural and healthy diet for humans. Facts: 1) A low carb, high protein animal based diet is our natural diet based on millions of years of evolution. The Paleolithic diet is appropriate for us. 2) High carboydrate intake is unnatural and almost certain to destroy our health (diabetus, obesity, heart disease, cancer etc.) 3)Especially high GL (Glycemic load) carbs are extremely unhealthy and unsustainable 4) If you aim to reduce body fat, you can accomplish it with a high protein diet. A low calorie high carb diet will leave you fatter and waste much of your lean muscle tissue. 5)Grains are the scourge of human health and unnatural for humans and most animals. It is our agricultural society (commencing 10,000 years ago)that brought us our cereal grain diet, and much disease.

wifezilla
9/2/2008 6:31:48 PM
Thanks to people like Gary Taubes I have gone from being an overweight vegetarian with high blood pressure and a serious risk of type 2 diabetes to a slimmer meat eater with normal blood pressure and no diabetes risk. I spent over 20 years of my adult life trying to cut calories, eliminate meat, exercise more and reduce dietary fat. All that did was make me sick and exremely obese. With a low carbohydrate, high fat, animal protein diet, I lost 40 pounds in less than 6 months and cured my hypertension. Bless you Gary Taubes.

Kay_2
9/2/2008 11:37:32 AM
Is this sponsored by the meat industry?!

Frances Fabriola
9/1/2008 11:25:55 PM
I can't believe you published this, for so many reasons. I struggled with my weight for years, until I became vegetarian and exercised regularly. I don't eat a lot of processed foods, and I eat a moderate amount of fatty foods (if I want a cookie, I buy one -- not a whole package). When I eat fatty foods, even if they aren't processed, I reliably gain weight. Our ancestors didn't eat a lot of meat, because it was a lot of work to produce it or get it. My grandfather who grew up on a dairy farm in the upper midwest ate much less meat than we do today. Factory farms made it cheap, and caused all kinds of pathogen and contamination problems in the process. Tortured animals aren't healthy food. If you're an environmentalist, you don't want to increase your meat consumption either. It takes so much land to grow the food for animals to eat, and so much water for irrigation, and for the animals themselves. If people didn't eat meat, there would be much less land planted with crops, and much more wild land and wildlife (because they agriculture and meat production kills so much wildlife). Plus, meat taxes your organs because they have to process much more toxins. A friend of mine tried the Atkins diet, and I said to her, in a srangely prophetic moment, be careful you don't get a kidney infection. Sure enough, she did! Please check out these books: The China Study, Eat to Live, Becoming Vegan (which lists the results of decades of studies comparing the health of vegetarians and meat-eaters -- practically every disease is much much lower in vegetarians). Some quick facts: http://www.vegsource.com/how_to_win.htm#hunger I gave up meat because I like animals, not for my health. But when I applied for a sizable life insurance policy at middle-age, and they ran all kinds of tests on me first, I came back with their very highest health rating, which is extremely rare for anyone to get. A scan of my arteries showed zero plaque a

Angel_1
9/1/2008 10:39:52 PM
Ok folks. Let's get back to basics. All things from nature in moderation. (ie. sustainably/organically raised without added hormones, antibiotics, chemicals. NO GMO!!! NO PRESERVATIVES!!!) Grow as much of your own food as possible, or if it's not possible then get your booty to the nearest natural food co-op and purchase your whole foods from local and seasonal sources. If it recently grew from the earth relatively near you, and is still in a form recogniziable as the original product then buy and eat it. If it recently gave it's milk or life for your dairy, meat or eggs and was lovingly and humanely raised without chemicals, then buy it and eat it. And heck, if you need to get somewhere to purchase it, why not ride a bike or walk? Move the body you have and be gratefull for another day of life!

Ana Marseille
9/1/2008 10:00:41 PM
To the editors of this magazine, if you are interested in articles from a writer who will back up the information with proven scientific studies that can be followed up on and not just the word of the writer, please contact me. Also, let me say that I do believe that you should stay away from white flour, white bread and processed sugars, cereals, etc., but whole grain breads, potatoes and starchy vegetables and fruits have such amazing health benefits they should be included in everyone's diet.

Ana Marseille
9/1/2008 9:54:16 PM
FAT! It's meant to do just that. Think about it. Cow's milk is meant to turn a baby cow into an adult cow at an alarming rate! It contains hormones that make the baby crave it so that it will eat more and the fat content will make it grow fast. Think about it. Do you really want to "grow" like a cow does? Dairy products also contain pus and blood from irritated utters being pulled on all day. Not to mention all of the antibiotics, artificial hormones and pesticides in most milk. Is it any wonder why all of our girls are maturing at such an early age? Being fed hormones will do that! Go to milksucks.com for more information. And why do you not mention all of the harmful additives, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, pesticides, antibiotics and hormones in processed foods and practically any meat? These are PROVEN to bring disease and obesity to those who eat them, yet you don't even mention them. For one to be healthy, you must have a balanced diet with variety. The best way to accomplish this is to eat as many different colors of fruits and veggies as possible and then eat whole grains such as quinoa. Exercise in moderation and drink plenty of chemical free water as possible. It would take too long to respond to every point that is wrong about this article, so I'll just say that if you truly want to lose weight and be healthy for a long lifetime, do your own research and learn what you really need to do. Find studies that will back it up and then make a change forever. Don't just go on a "diet" and then go back to eating poorly again. If you want the truth, go to foodmatters.com. I have no interest in the company except that I have studied food and nutrition thoroughly for years and they present the truth well. If you want to shorten your life span, listen to this guy. Honestly Gary, I don't know how you sleep at night. To the editors of this magazine, if you are interested in arti

Ana Marseille
9/1/2008 9:50:54 PM
I'm a registered nurse and specialize in nutrition, especially homeopathic nutrition and how it can affect the body and let me say that I am absolutely APPALLED by this article. I can't believe that such a great magazine would publish this! First off, "investigative science journalist" sounds like a self-proclaimed title to me with no experience or expertise to back it up (as evidenced by his ridiculous claims in the article itself!) Anyone who is well read knows that 99% of this article is an absolute fabrication created for the sole purpose of selling to make money. I cannot tell you how upset I am that you are publishing this. I hope that those who read this will do their own investigations and find the truth and not waste time following the claims of this article. I am 38 years old and look 25, I have always been slim and healthy and I am vegan. I have always followed a predominantly veg based diet and exercise in moderation and it absolutely works if you look at it as a life change and not a "diet". Low carb diets only put your body into acidosis which is VERY hard on your body. The human body is more susceptible to disease in an acidotic state and will resist disease when in an alkaline state. Animal meat is link to a whole list of diseases, but I won't even go into that. Let's just talk about your claims that exercise "only makes you hungry". OMG! You're a nut! EVERYONE knows that you need some form of exercise, no matter what diet you follow, to remain healthy. Muscle burns fat even at a resting state! You can absolutely get ALL amino acids that your body needs from plant sources and side-step the cholesterol in the process! Just look at the World Health Organization's reports on a grain called Quinoa. And as far as dairy? We are the ONLY species that continues to drink the MOTHER'S milk after weaning age much less that of ANOTHER SPECIES!! It isn't natural and it WILL make you

Gene_2
9/1/2008 2:52:25 PM
I'm not in complete agreement here. I think it would be more correct to "condemn" processed foods and not just carbohydrates. And no mention of HIGH FRUCTOSE corn syrup? Truth is, we can trace our obesity ramp up to the introduction of that food additive. Fast food combines the worst; high fatty meat, processed white bread and high fructose sugar drinks. And there is much evidence pointing to the ill effects of a high meat diet (gout, anyone?). It's not just about the heart either, colon cancer is believed to be encouraged by a high meat diet. My wife and daughter are vegetarians -- my wife is heavy, my daughter not, yet they eat nearly identical diets. Hormone and energy levels are more pertinent differences (we are increasingly sedentary as a species, so yes, REGULAR exercise does help to tone muscle mass and burn excess calories). But I do acknowledge that this is a many faceted issue and the "conventional wisdom" has been less than correct on many occasions. In our culture, moneyed interests have shaped our "truths" and we are left needing colonoscopies, insulin and high blood pressure medicine in our old age.

Lisa_1
9/1/2008 10:05:31 AM
I have tried this low and no carb diet to no avail. I gained more weight and I was always hungry and grumpy. I need a little whole grain with my meal. Low blood sugar runs in the family and I have never had a weight problem (unless you count the weight I gained when I tried this diet), I am not sure if that effects the need for insulin or not. My husband on the other hand does much better on a low or no carb diet. He does have more of a weight issue and any carbs or sugar put him to sleep and add on the weight. I think the key is finding what works for your body and eat a well balanced meal.








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