Gary Taube$, Shai-ster

A bump of sorts to an Asylum Classic.  Yes folks, the evil $ appeared in Gary Taubes name for ... what? ... the second time and second-to-last if not the last time, way back when.   I think the title of this post holds ;-)

Since that time, Dr. Eades has used the same analysis in his AHS11 presentation:  Nouvelle Paleo: Caving in to Carbs?   (this begins at the 22:44 mark in the video).  More recently, and the reason for this bump, Nina Teicholz shows this study on a slide in her TEDx East talk (18:50 mark as she says "a tremendous amount of research done"), and makes multiple references to it in her book, The Big Fat Surprise.    I'll be discussing this egregious misuse of science here shortly.  So without further ado,

"you can't eat carbs, you can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want as long you're eating fat and protein"    ~ Gary Taubes

Original Publish Date:  9/10/2010

So there's a new series of YouTube videos available of yet another Taubes lecture.  I haven't had the time (nor stomach) to listen to it all yet, but what caught my eye (or ear) was his invoking of the Shai study.   He does so first towards the end of his formal "tele lecture".

FF to ~ the 6:30 mark in this video where Taubes discusses the weight loss and caloric intake that supposedly supports his theories.

Just to remind you, here is the weight loss graphic for 2 years on the 3 diets:
As you can see, yes, the LC group did sustain statistically significantly more weight after 2 years than the low fat diet, but as you can also see,  there is an insignificant difference between LC and Mediterranean (I'll use MDTN) diet compared to LC after about the 1 yr. mark.

Now Taubes does his typical (intentional?) misrepresentation by implication of calorie restriction.  He notes that both LF and MDTN are CRD's, while LC is not restricted calories.  As I've noted before ad libitum does NOT mean eating more calories or eating to your heart's content and then some.  Taubes even goes so far as to state "you can't eat carbs, you can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want as long you're eating fat and protein" 

GOT THAT?  The next time anyone tells you that Taube$ has never claimed you can eat all the fat and protein you want without gaining and/or perhaps losing, link to this video.  He implies that the LC group ate the same or more calories and certainly implied that you can be a fat & protein glutton.  Yep ... that's what some want to hear.  The magic bullet.  *SIGH*  If only it were true.

So anyway, after listening to this, I was left to assume that Taubes simply looked at the weight loss graphic, presumed the LC group consumed more calories than the LF group and didn't bother to look at the "evidence" fully.  By that I mean, the evidence he acknowledges is missing from Foster (that new low carb v. low fat study where actual dietary intakes were not reported) was reported in far greater detail in Shai. 

You can see the full table at my link, but here's a condensed one (I excised the %'s carb/fat/protein as these have limited meaning for comparison when total caloric intake varies).

IMPORTANT EDIT:  The discussion that follows should be taken as somewhat of a "devil's advocate" position and presumes that the reported intakes in this study are accurate.  This is in deference to Taubes who began putting forth this study in the run-up to the release of Why We Get Fat as supporting evidence for his hypothesis.  Beginning, I believe, with the video that is the subject of this post.  It was later the subject of his blog post:  Calories, fat or carbohydrates? Why diets work (when they do).  In that post Taubes prefaces his analysis of the dietary data with:
Keeping in mind that the dietary records from these studies have to be taken with a grain of salt
... and then proceeds to take them on faith.   Studies such as this one are very poor studies on which to base much of anything in terms of dietary specifics.  But Taubes did, so read the rest of this with "presuming the dietary reporting is accurate, even though there's every reason to believe it is not" preceding each statement.    When you do so, the data end up refuting rather than supporting his hypothesis.


Contrary to his assertions, the group that achieved comparable (average) weight loss while consuming more calories was the MDTN group!  Their mean restriction was roughly half to three-fourths (depending on time point) that of the LC and (surprisingly) the LF groups.  Indeed the caloric restriction was comparable between the LC and LF groups.  Now Taubes goes on to do his condescending number of "if I had an 8th grade education" (please spare us) that this refutes calorie balance theory.  But does it?  I don't think so.   LOOK at those +/- numbers!!!!!   We're talking almost 1800 calories for the LF group at 6 months.  But more striking is that the MDTN group's +/- numbers are consistently smaller -- about half that of LF & LC.  What does this tell me?  Absent raw data, nobody can know for sure.  But this SIGNIFICANTLY different variability in the outcomes indicates a greater consistency/compliance with the more moderate MDTN diet than either of the "extremes".  It is also important to understand that the standard deviation (SD, which is what the +/- values are) can be heavily influenced by outliers and offers no indication as to the distribution.  This supposed contradiction to calorie theory is easily explained by the free-living nature of this study and known issues of reporting inaccuracies anyway.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt he no longer deserves, I presumed that Taubes was being intellectually lazy, not deliberately deceitful.  IOW, he hadn't taken the time to read all of the results and scrutinize the "evidence".  I was (yet again) proven wrong.  I listened on ..... (Part 8 of 8 seems to be cut off at the end, so there's a bit missing, but the "formal lecture" continues in the "Bonus coverage" video).

You can pretty much listen from the beginning of the next video HERE.  Surprise, surprise!  Taubes DID look at the table of intakes after all!!   Basically he says that whatever the small losses achieved by the LF group, it was ultimately due to the fact that they, too, restricted carbs!  That's right.  Expecting his audience to develop a blind spot for the right hand column (where those without bias induced vision impairment can see that the LC group DID in fact restrict calories, if not purposefully), Taubes puts the graphic on a slide in all its glory.  He focuses on the fact that of the about 60% of the caloric restriction in the LF group (at 2 years) can be attributed to an approximately 80g reduction in carbs.   So Taube$ concludes that the carb restriction is responsible for the weight loss.  If one compares just the LF and LC columns, they might buy into this deception.

But ...

Gary, Mr. Taubes, however you prefer to be addressed.   Do YOU have a blind spot down the center of your field of vision????  There's a center column on that table that you've ignored, and in doing so you you've shot yourself in the foot.  Comparing the MDTN to the LC or LF groups, and applying the very same benchmarks from which you drew your conclusions we find that:
  1. MDTN restricted calories to a lesser degree than LC and
  2. MDTN restricted carbs to a lesser degree than LF and a far lesser degree than LC

And yet .... ta da!!!  They lost the same amount of weight on average as the LC group and more than the LF group.  To repeat:  MDTN restricted BOTH carbs and calories significantly less than the LF group, but lost more weight.  They also restricted the calories similarly less and carbs much much less compared to the LC group, and lost the same amount of weight. (They also didn't have an extended period of weight regain, their trajectory looks far more optimal).  If I had a 2nd grade education ...  (sorry, couldn't resist the sarcasm) ...

I'm not done.

Taubes apparently also has a blind spot down the right side of his field of vision that prevented him from critically reviewing just the LC results.  Before I go into this ... it bears repeating the date of Shai's study:  July 2008.  OK, not in time for GCBC, but certainly predating innumerable $peaking engagement$.

Notice anything??  Supposedly, the LC group FURTHER restricted BOTH calories AND carbs between 6 months and 12 months  (OK, not by much, and admittedly not statistically significantly, but work with me here :) ).  What did this coincide with on the weight loss graphic?   Weight GAIN.  

Also note that the LC group even reduced absolute fat intake (albeit to a very modest degree and with huge variation about the mean).

To be fair, averages obscure actual results.  Perhaps a weight differential/caloric intake ratio for each individual would be a better measure.  BUT,  we need to be consistent.  

Bottom line, Taubes is full of Shai-t!  This "evidence" is flimsy at best.

Other posts on this study:


James Krieger said…
This is not to mention the fact that energy expenditure (the other part of the equation) isn't even measured here, so I don't see how anyone can claim that somehow caloric balance is violated when one important component of caloric balance isn't even being determined.
CarbSane said…
True James! But most of the studies I've seen come out a wash on energy expenditure as relates to diet composition. I would love to see a scatter plot and/or regression analysis for all of the participants for intake level vs. weight change, and just for shits & giggles for carb intake (and maybe fat intake too) vs. weight change.
CarbSane said…
I would also add that Taubes' "extensive research" rarely includes the types of controlled studies that refute just about every one of his alternate hypotheses. His use of free-living studies -- where he can read his own biases into the results -- is telling. This is not science folks.
David Isaak said…
"The next time anyone tells you that Taube$ has never claimed you can eat all the fat and protein you want without gaining and/or perhaps losing..."

Umm, I know plenty of people on restricted carbohydrate diets who in fact do "eat all the fat and protein [they] want" while losing weight. The operative word there is "want."

I lost more than 50 pounds (more than 60 pounds of fat, according to hydrostatic weighing)and kept it off eating all the protein and fat I wanted. I never counted calories. I never denied myself anything if the carb count wasn't exceeded. I never avoided snacking, or eating late at night, or anything else. I ATE EXACTLY AS MUCH AS I WANTED and still lost weight. And I know plenty of other people who have done the same.

Might my caloric intake have dropped? Quite possibly, as I find fat and protein quite satiating. Did my activity levels rise? Most definitely.

Would I have lost this weight if I ate low carb and consumed as many calories as I could force down? Almost certainly not.

There's a difference between a huge caloric surplus and "all you want." Attack the idea of losing weight in massive caloric surplus if you like. That says nothing about results in an "all I want" scenario.
James Krieger said…

I would say that the key word here is "gluttony". Taubes didn't just say eat as much as you want. He said:

"you can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want as long you're eating fat and protein"

This certainly implies that you can eat unlimited calories and still lose weight.
Miki said…
If you listen to the whole lecture you will see that Taubes doesn't argue with the first law of thermodynamics. His point is that carbs cause you to eat more. This can not be denied by anyone who has tried to limit carbs. You can be as gluttonous as you want - you won't get fat!
Also - Shay used a questionnaire to asses calories and macro-nutrients. I wouldn't read to much significance into the numbers. It is well known that meat and fat tend to be under-reported in these situations.
CarbSane said…
David, Taubes is the one who repeatedly misrepresents ad libitum intake. I did not deliberately restrict my caloric intake when I lost my weight, but there may well have been days I ate around 500 calories! There's a success story on Mark Sisson's site who also journaled on Jimmy Moore's LLVLC forum. This man lost a remarkable amount of weight in a very short time. But he started out pushing 400 lbs, logged his foods for three months, and although he felt like he was eating more or not restricting at all, HE was surprised to find his average caloric intake was under 1200 cal/day -- a caloric restriction no reputable nutritionist or doctor would recommend for a "balanced diet", and not deliberately sought by this man. Just imagine the caloric deficit this guy was in. If you were to compare his results to those putting him on a CRD -- which for a male of that size would probably have consisted of 2000-2500 cal/day -- he no doubt would have lost less weight, and calories would have had everything to do with it. And yet the duplicitous Taubes would convince you otherwise.

Taubes specifically states that Shai demonstrates that calories have nothing to do with weight loss. He does this by implying that the LC group ate MORE calories than the LF group and lost more weight. That is patently false, and he knows it. I mentioned this habit of his in the Ad Libitum post I linked to. This is also the point in the lecture where he inserts his condescending smear "if I had an eighth grade education" against those who believe in the energy balance. But he is WRONG to imply that ad libitum = no reduction in caloric intake, and he is deceitful in doing so because it is there plain as day on his other slides that LC did reduce calories. He questions what calories have to do with it. This is mad and maddening!

Furthermore, as James points out, he even ups the ante by using the term gluttony. Gluttony is overeating by definition. I can't count the number of times I've heard LC'ers claim you can't gain weight eating fat unless you eat carbs and attribute that to Taubes. Then a Taubes apologist will chime in that Taubes never says that. Well, he did in this lecture. Hence my statement calling him on it.
James Krieger said…
His point is that carbs cause you to eat more. This can not be denied by anyone who has tried to limit carbs.

I would really like to see scientific support for the statement that carbs actually cause you to eat more.

There is strong scientific evidence that increasing protein intake will cause you to eat less...dramatically less. But this has nothing to do with carbohydrate.

There is evidence that decreasing carbohydrate to ketogenic levels can cause a further reduction in appetite, but nowhere near the effect that protein has (i.e., a 1000 kcal reduction in food intake by increasing protein intake, vs a 200 kcal reduction by placing carbohydrate at ketogenic levels). And there is no evidence that variations of carbohydrate within non-ketogenic levels will affect appetite.

It is well known that meat and fat tend to be under-reported in these situations.

Do you have scientific evidence for this statement? I do not know of data that indicates that meat is underreported. Yes, there is data that fat is underreported, but this is because people under-report "bad" foods such as cakes and ice cream (which aren't consumed on low carb diets). In fact, there is evidence that people under-report their intake more on high carb diets than low carb diets
CarbSane said…
Welcome to my blog Miki!

If you listen to the whole lecture you will see that Taubes doesn't argue with the first law of thermodynamics.

Sorry but if you listen to his analysis of Shai he specifically states that calories have nothing to do with the weight loss because he implies that the LC group ate more calories but lost more weight (or the same amount of weight in the case of MDTN). Any unbiased analysis of the data would indicate otherwise.

Speaking of Thermodynamics, he uses a force balance mechanical example and presents it as a a thermo dictate, which is rather odd.

His point is that carbs cause you to eat more. This can not be denied by anyone who has tried to limit carbs.

No, that wasn't his point in this lecture. I limit carbs most days, but have no need to overeat carby foods when I choose to. Carbs did not make the traditional Pima overeat (look at that slide in the lecture, those aren't rump roasts on the lean Pima heads!) or even the children of the 60's and 70's. Carby/fatty/sugary/salty processed foods are easy to overeat.

You can be as gluttonous as you want - you won't get fat!

Yes you can. The LC community includes a few prominent ambassadors who have regained significant poundage despite eating low carb.

Also - Shay used a questionnaire to asses calories and macro-nutrients. I wouldn't read to much significance into the numbers. It is well known that meat and fat tend to be under-reported in these situations.

I'm not the one who used the data to try to refute calorie theory. I look at the caloric restriction values and note the standard deviation of almost 3X the mean at times and conclude that, even if accurately reported, we can draw no scientifically sustainable conclusions regarding caloric restriction and weight loss based on those means. But, the fact remains that the LC group did report a -- supposedly sustained -- caloric restriction comparable to the LF group. Taubes is essentially lying to his audience when he claims that calories had nothing to do with weight loss because the group that didn't restrict calories lost more weight than the group that did. BOTH reDUCED intake.

As to meat & fat underreporting, this may well be the case for the LF group, but, especially for first time low carbers, it is actually common to overreport what one is eating, and since meat and fat are not restricted, there would be less reason to "cheat" on this. This alone could explain the results, but that would be speculation, NOT "evidence".

Self-reported data is imperfect but it is what we had to work with in this study. The fact that Taubes will cite such imperfect data at all while ignoring the plethora of rigorous controlled studies that actually monitor intake and measure fat mass is indicative of the exceptionally low quality of his research aside from his warped interpretation of the actual numbers.

By HIS analysis, the group that consumed the most calories and restricted carbs the least (MDTN) lost more weight than either the group that consumed fewer calories and slightly fewer carbs (LF), and lost the same amount as the group that consumed fewer calories and fewer carbs (LC). One might conclude that neither calories nor carbs had anything to do with weight loss! ;)
LynMarie Daye said…
I don't like the word "gluttony" being used either. To most people it means eating beyond satiety, well beyond. It's also a term with a lot of moral judgement attached to it - it is one of the seven deadly sins after all! I find it kind of humorous that a person who believes hunger is totally physiological would even use the word since gluttony implies a conscious choice to be greedy and disrespectful of the body's needs. Can you tell I'm the product of a Catholic school education. ;~)
CarbSane said…
Not to mention that gluttony would go against what even Atkins preached in his first book, and certainly what the New Atkins discusses (e.g. their Savor Don't Smother section).

I've gotten into dust-ups over interpretations of Taubes vs. what he actually says. Usually this goes something like this:

Person A "According to Taubes you can't gain weight eating all the fat you want if you don't eat carbs", Me: "That is not substantiated by science", Person B: "Taubes never says that, read the book.", Me: "Unfortunately that's how too many people interpret what he says".

Well, now we have him on tape saying it in no uncertain words -- GLUTTONY. The only possible misinterpretation of that statement would be to ignore the word. It has clear meaning, and I didn't get that Catholic school education! :D
David Isaak said…

I would say that the key word here is "gluttony". Taubes didn't just say eat as much as you want. He said:

"you can basically exercise as much gluttony as you want as long you're eating fat and protein"

This certainly implies that you can eat unlimited calories and still lose weight.

Does it? My understanding of "gluttony" is that it means eating greedily or self-indulgently. I don't know how you get from there to "unlimited calories."

I have lost a considerable amount of weight on a low-carb diet (I'm down from 39% body fat to 12%.) I never counted calories and I never denied myself anything that didn't take my carb level too high. I ate until I felt no desire whatsoever for another bite of food.

Some people would call eating all you want at every meal "gluttony."

I don't understand the distinction between eating all you want and "exercising all the gluttony you want" (your quote). "Gluttony" is a loaded word, certainly, but to deliberately redefine it as "excess calories" is disingenuous.

I have heard people eating three ounces of caviar referred to as being "gluttonous." That amounts to 213 calories, not "unlimited calories."

If you want a statement that you can attack, try this one: The Butter Diet. My premise is that for a week, if you eat only butter, you can eat all the butter you want and still lose weight. In fact, you can eat butter as gluttonously as you want and still lose weight.

Note that I didn't say that if someone were forced to eat a hundred pounds per day of butter that they would lose weight (though they might, as I suspect they would vomit most of it up). I said "as much as you want," or even "as gluttonously as you want."

As to whether it is unfortunate that so many people interpret Taubes as saying that you can eat unlimited calories as long as you avoid carbs, I haven't yet witnessed any adverse consequences from this supposed interpretation--that is, I haven't seen anyone start on a strict low-carb diet and gain huge amounts of weight because they over-ate.
CarbSane said…
Sorry David, but that sounds like a whole lot of rationalization. In another comment you questioned my interpretation of a word that, as James pointed out, does have different meanings (singularly). Gluttony is pretty universally defined as excess. It is not a term used to imply eating to satiety.
David Isaak said…
And this sounds to me like a whole lot of deliberate skewing of meaning so you can complain about what you infer someone must mean.

Yes, gluttony definitions often include the word excess--and this is usually clarified in the definition as consisting of greedy or self-indulgent behavior. I looked up the definition before I posted. I don't see any mention of absolute calories. But all the definitions I find in real dictionaries (rather than quick Google scans) mention greed and self-indulgence.

Can you find a reference that defines gluttony as "eating more than you want?" I doubt it. Most people think that just eating all that you want is greedy and self-indulgent and excessive.

Does Taubes mean "deliberately eating more than you want?" I doubt it.

Outside of a laboratory, does anyone--even a "glutton"--eat more than they want?
CarbSane said…
Sorry, David, I don't want to appear argumentative, but you are the one skewing a term.

glut·ton·y (gltn-)
n. pl. glut·ton·ies
Excess in eating or drinking.

Derived from the Latin gluttire, meaning to gulp down or swallow, gluttony (Latin, gula) is the over-indulgence and over-consumption of anything to the point of waste.

glut·tony noun \ˈglət-nē, ˈglə-tə-nē\
plural glut·ton·ies
Definition of GLUTTONY

1: excess in eating or drinking
2: greedy or excessive indulgence

EXCESS is in every definition I've seen of the term. Did you listen to the lecture? He means excess.

As to "Outside of a laboratory, does anyone--even a "glutton"--eat more than they want?" I'm not sure how you define what someone wants. One could play a semantic game here to where every morsel that goes into my mouth was clearly "wanted" right? I would quibble a bit because, as a reformed binger, when one is shoving food in one's mouth, the person really doesn't want to eat the food, they are not in control of that temporarily.

Enough word games. Taubes is on tape now claiming that you can "exercise as much gluttony as you want" -- IOW eat to excess as excessively as your little heart desires. Think entire recipe of LC cheesecake.

I think it is more difficult to exercise gluttony in the absence of carbs because most the high protein content of most LC foods is self-limiting.
LynMarie Daye said…
People infer meaning from the words others use. If someone doesn't want to be misunderstood, then he or she shouldn't use ambiguous words like gluttony.
CarbSane said…
I think you meant unambiguous there LM! ;)

Anyone who thinks there is any ambiguity here should listen to that statement again (in context with a few sentences before and after). There really is no other way to interpret it, and given that about 80% of the lecture (this had some new stuff in it) he's given many times before, there's a high likelihood that this was a Freudian slip, and not a poor choice of words, on his part.

There is a considerable contingent of people who read GCBC and/or listen to one or more of Taubes' lectures who come away with this very message. They then spread this like the Gospel. This time, Taubes actually said what many have interpreted his message to be all along.
James Krieger said…
I think this thread shows the damage Taubes's erroneous message creates:

There are people there that think they are destined to be fat for the rest of their life, because they went low or zero carb (while ignoring the need for an energy deficit, and/or the benefits of activity) and have not been very successful with weight loss.
CarbSane said…
Yes, and it also highlights how he should NOT be looked to as any sort of weight loss expert.

Reversing obesity is more difficult the more obese one is and the longer one has been obese, but I think this is as much for psychological reasons as for physiological reasons. It is daunting to have to be disciplined enough for long enough to lose 50 lbs 100 lbs 200 lbs or more. When one weighs 400 lbs and loses 50, they're still obese and looking down a long road. It is difficult to exercise to any degree that will make a difference initially. This was why I gravitated to LC because I realized it was a way for me to cut intake and lose weight fast enough to stay motivated. I could have done WW or Nutrisystem or whatever else, but I know I wouldn't have lost weight fast enough to stay motivated and, for me, the effort (as in planning and counting) would have been prohibitive in the long run or eating planned meals (ala JC,Nutrisystem, etc.)

I am really glad I didn't find the LC web community because I may well not have lost the weight. Why? The whole "up the fat" movement seems relatively new. Combined with Taubes' fallacies, it is enough to cancel the spontaneous caloric reduction that increasing protein tends to cause. And now that folks know protein triggers insulin and CAN be turned into glucose in the body, another macronutrient has been added to the paranoia over consuming it. There are lots of LC'ers who won't even eat a (naturally) low fat meal (like cod fish) without adding lots of fat.

I'm a streaky eater. Perhaps 5 days a week during my period of rapid weight loss I probably ate only one meal a day. That meal was a salad with a can of tuna, some olives and oil & vinegar dressing. I didn't add more oil, tons of creamy dressing, etc. just because the tuna is low fat. I also ate a lot of low fat (2%) cottage cheese. It has like two more grams carb per serving which the LC community equate to added sugar. There's NO reason that low fat dairy needs to be excluded from low carb -- and I'm not talking about the fat free franken-cheeses and sour creams.

It is difficult NOT to create a calorie deficit eating lean meats/fish/poultry and green veggies. But there are, as you say, legions of low carbers who can't go any lower (we're talking 80 calories going from induction level (20g) to ZC). This is where I was a year ago.

Low carbers also seem to expect rapid losses and will except nothing more. When they lose a couple of pounds a month instead of a week, they conclude it is not working and give up.

If you don't lose on low carb, that means it doesn't work as a TOOL to reduce calories for you. Other measures are needed and bariatric surgery and/or appetite suppressants and the like may be required for some in this group. That and the good old fashioned tricks (fiber!) of the low fat approach to caloric deficits. It may not seem fair, but obesity CAN be reversed if one can stick to a plan. Perhaps these folks should sign up for Biggest Loser.
J4 said…
"Other measures are needed and bariatric surgery "

Guess what kind of diet they put you on if you go to get this surgery.
CarbSane said…
Yep, I'm aware it's LC -- to which many say "why bother?" if one can lose the weight w/o the surgery. But if one is not losing on LC it is because they are still eating too much to meet their needs. If diet alone is not enough to achieve restriction, and exercise is often not practical, then by "other measures" I mean things like counting calories, etc. Instead of the "and" in your quote, I meant to say "including". (Can't edit comments here).

Bariatric surgery almost always results in significant weight loss. Whether or not that is maintained is another matter ... but it demonstrates that these people CAN and do lose weight.

Welcome to my blog J4!
Anonymous said…
James Krieger is not an obesity expert at all. He is part of the dieting industry - where they exist precariously on false assumptions about obesity. To James Krieger the truth is cretain and simple.

The TURH is obesity is extremely complex, abd has vast unknowns and uncertainties. We are still figuring this thing out.

We are NOT in control of the mythic energy balance equation. DIETS DO NOT WORK. 98 % of all dietiners FAIL over a decade. SOMETHING is VERY wrong with what James Krieger promotes........

I do a complete take down of him at my blog. Look at what Dr. Linda Bacon has to say- a real expert.
CarbSane said…
Razwell, we certainly disagree on this point. The truth of the matter is there is no "effortless" or "high calorie" or "eat as much as you do now" way to lose excess weight. One MUST create an energy deficit to lose fat mass, it's basic conservation of matter stuff. I've seen what Dr. Bacon has to say. IMO, she's thrown in the towel. That's sad, because for each of us, there is a level of obesity that can never be healthy. Seems she's more of a size-acceptance movement person.

Stipetic said…
You said: To repeat: MDTN restricted BOTH carbs and calories significantly less than the LF group, but lost more weight.

I agree with you--calories in/calories out is a crappy theory. It sure can't explain what you just said repeatedly.
CarbSane said…
I'm not saying that this refutes calorie theory which is a matter of physical law despite what LC Gods would have you believe. They all come back to making first law arguments in the end, just contort them to unrecognizable form to baffle you with bullshit. So now LF diets work because they restrict carbs? Clearly comparing just LC & LF one might think so.

Welcome to my blog Poisonguy! Might I direct you to the GCBC Fact Check Label in the right sidebar. Lots of scientific studies there and irrefutable evidence of Taubes misrepresenting the facts.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
There are no "calories out" figures in the Shai study, so it doesn't disprove calories in/calories out.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
I should have written "calories out from all causes" above.
CarbSane said…
True Nige, as was James' first comment!

It's hopeless to try to persuade cult-like followers. I only hope to reach those who haven't already bought and drunk the stevia sweetened Kool Aid.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Look at Table 2. (Continued). Your link at the top of the page doesn't work, by the way.

The MDTN group had the lowest physical activity of the three groups, (though the P value is rather high) and still had about the same weight loss as the LC group.
CarbSane said…
Thanks Nige, I fixed the link. It used to work! I forgot about the second part of that table, IOW they did attempt to quantify deliberate changes in CO. Mediterranean is magic I tell ya! < /sarcasm >
Unknown said…
My group of best friends have always been 'naturally thin'..I was the "fat" Friend in the group. Watching my thin friends for over 15 years to try and figure out what I do wrong..there are a few points to make concerning your aurguments here. As I have always felt odd - as in - how come my skinny friends can eat what they want and I can't? How come they feel great about food and I feel guilty about every meal I think about? Why does God hate me?(JK) And so forth and so on...Here is what I have observed:
1. My thin friends do not count calories
2. My thin friends do not workout or go to the gym
3. My thin friends do not drink diet coke.
4. My thin friends do not go out of their way or exert any Extreme effort whatsoever to stay thin. They are just themselves.
5. ALL the FAT People I know drink diet coke, exersize at least off and on, count calories, join WWatchers, obssess about food, go to the gym, sign up for yoga, eat fat free products, name it.
WHAT DO My Thin Friends Do Then? Other than being genetically blessed..I noticed the following:
1.They do not crave, desire or especially like alot of sugar and carbs. Naturally. My friend Rachel eats turkey and fish and salads and other veggies and meats because she just prefers them. When wanting a cookie..she saves one for a week and eats one when she feels the desire. But she doesnt "crave' it. It's a take it or leave it kind of thing.
2. Soda is a treat..something you have once in a blue moon..thus regular soda is fine.
3. They eat small amounts every 2-3 hours and actually get quite 'GRUMPY" if they cant get their small meal every few hours....****I on the other hand, can go a whole day without eating and feel fine.

My Point: I often feel that I am a victim of Addiction to sugar and carbs and processed foods. My thin friends just naturally do low carb eating...just because they crave different foods. So I think the low carb diet is (for me) a good way to kick an addiction to sugar and carbs and feel full and not deprived and not like I have to 'Suffer" at every turn feeling hungry. The way I view Society...They make us "overweight people" feel that we DESERVE to suffer and starve for our evil "gluttonous" ways. What BS. I eat less quanities then my thin friends...and they notice and comment on their confusion about it.
So I started doing low carb and it has worked so far..for me. I will say though...that because protien makes me full and I feel like I am eating something "naughty"..I get full faster and do not consume, naturally, as many calories as when I eat carbs and sugar. So it may be a little of both.
But it's easy, uncomplicated, you feel normal, you have energy, you don't feel like you are suffering, there are no calorie counters and totally time consuming things to figure out..none of that can be bad.

Anyway - no science here. Just personal observations. Stephanie
Anonymous said…
@Stephanie: I wouldn't call myself "naturally thin", but I have never been overweight and am usually (and currently) quite lean.

1. I crave, desire, love and lust after sugar and carbs, either alone or (better yet) mixed with fat in a 50:50 or so proportion by calories, which is the sweet spot, so to speak, hit by ice cream, cheese cake, cookies, brownies, potato chips, pastries, candy, and all the other forbidden foods. I eat healthy foods (salmon, salads, oats) not so much because I love them but because my love for sweets is outweighed by my hatred of being fat. The oats allows my diet to be high-carb, and my metabolism is high enough that I can afford one 200 to 500 kcal snack of forbidden food per day as a treat. (Cheese and nuts are also forbidden foods for me.)

2. I never drink soda nor do I have any desire for it.

3. I seldom eat more than two meals per day and I can easily go 24 hours without eating or feeling hunger. Most of my eating is concentrated in the 6 hours between lunch and dinner, so I naturally tend to intermediate fast.

So 1 and 3 don't apply to me though 2 does.

My own impression is that people who are "naturally lean" have evolved a pattern of thought and behavior regarding diet and exercise that naturally tends to lead to leanness. That is, "naturally" lean people who lust after sweets (like me) have some sort of system in place to manage this lust. Naturally obese people lack such a system.

For many people, low-carb may be a workable system, getting back to David Isaak (and Taubes before him). People don't overeat if all they are allowed to eat is butter. "Butter is the only allowed food" is the system in this case. This system will clearly not last, because it lacks protein. But even the system "meat and leafy greens are the only allowed foods" is going to be quite difficult for most people, in the long run. There is a reason the Eskimos gave up their diet of seal meat dipped in a flask of rendered seal blubber in favor of imported potato chips and donuts and whatnot--the latter are much tastier!

Someone else recommend "Mindless Eating" by Brian Wansink (2006). I second the recommendation.

Also highly recommended is "Diet Evolution" by Steven Gundry (2009), which suggests (as I do) that low-carb is a good system for losing weight, but low-fat is the way to keep it off. Living La Vida Low-carb had an interview with him. Jimmy Moore apparently didn't know that Gundry recommends low-fat as his permanent solution, because he made a few wisecracks about how low-fat doesn't work.

This is a great blog, by the way. I'm working my way through the archives.
Pedro said…
I do not get the point. You only mention calories in. How about the 'out'?
dancer80 said…
Oops did not look at date of comments :)

I see many young women go down the LC road and the bad things it leads to.
carbsane said…
No probs ... just didn't want you to think you were being ignored. I agree. Young women should really not go LC unless there is a compelling therapeutic reason for doing so.
Pepper Culpepper said…
I like how you just basically bash people who don't share your "opinion" and don't even back your opinions up with scientific studies. In fact, I did a study on my own fat. I tried starving it. I tried going low fat. I tried doing the Zone. Tried running. Tried body building. Tried it all. But when you're insulin resistant, non of that works. I walk 5 miles a day, every day, but if I'm consuming what is considered "healthy" amounts of fruit, I will actually gain fat. Not muscle. Fat. I'm sure you know the difference.
carbsane said…
I like how you read one post and comment here on your n=1.

Sorry, IR = no weight loss? Not. You want a scientific study for that? Here ya go.
I have another one that I blogged on where IR lost more weight. I'll find it for you later.
Pepper Culpepper said…
No, I read a lot more than one post. I only chose to reply to this one because I get the impression that arguing with you would be tantamount to arguing with a Creationist and I don't have time to waste here. I have IR and I have had all my blood work done. I am pre-diabetic and if I so much as touch fruit, (not candy or processed food) I gain weight. If I maintain a caloric intake of about 1800 calories, even with walking 1 hour for 5 miles, if I eat grains and fruit at the "recommended doses" by the FDA, I gain weight like crazy. But when I eat fresh fish, vegetables, and plenty of healthy fat, this crazy thing happens, I lose weight, my depression and anxiety disappear and my insomnia goes away. I'm not going to live a life taking pills for all those disorders that are caused by poor nutrition. And I do know about biology, I've even authored published articles in women's magazines about the mitochondira- the powerhouse of the cell. But I hate to inform you that hormones such as letpin, ghrelin and insulin over ride every other process in the human body, especially when one has eaten a diet of processed food in the the form of wheat and sugar. These things do not belong in the human diet. Period. Now you can sit here and write me a lengthy response, but I won't go back to eating that crap- EVER. I am doing what is right for ME. Low carb isn't for everyone just as Paleo isn't for everyone. But I'll be damned if I'm going to eat in a way that causes panic attacks, anxiety and depression and severe weight gain as well as inflammation and makes every bone in my body hurt. Should I take more narcotics to mask the pain of my Cervical Osteoarthritis or should I just eat healthier? The answer is obvious.

You want to know what I think? You are part of either the sugar or wheat industry feeding lies to poor unsuspecting people who are gullible enough to believe your lies. And BTW, your tone and attitude are one of negativity, judgement and blame. Maybe try some yoga and biofeedback to get rid of all your angst. Also, all the curse words don't lend you ANY credibility. Would you write a thesis, term paper or abstract paper that way? Did you use that language in your college work? I think you need to grow up and practice acceptance.
Pepper Culpepper said…
And BTW, I read that study you referenced and it didn't say WHAT they ate, just that they ate fewer calories. And nearly half of the participants were weight loss failures. FacePalm. I'm not going to continue to respond to your comments, because you are clearly of the same mindset of those crazy Creationists.
carbsane said…
You came here. Call me a crazy Creationist. Whatever. I hope this makes you feel better Pepper.

You might do well to read some of the stuff from this past year on insulin resistance. If you cannot eat fruit without gaining weight it is not due to IR, sorry.

I'm a shill for Big Wheat and Big Sugar? LOLOL

Have a nice day.