Welcome all seeking refuge from low carb dogma!

“To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact”
~ Charles Darwin (it's evolutionary baybeee!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Interview with Jimmy Moore


WOW, thanks (not) Jimmy for your characterization of me as a low carb skeptic.  I'm not.  I'm a skeptic of the so-called science.

{Stuff in these parentheses were updated ~2:40 pm 1/21/11 ...  Seems I'm being taken to task a bit over at Jimmy's blog for "trashing" him when apparently I should be thanking him profusely.  I did thank him in an email, at the end of my interview, and previously on this blog, but I did neglect to do so once again here.  Probably because at the time of this post I was a bit miffed by Jimmy's lead ins in the podcast and what I consider mis-characterizations of me.  Kevin over in the comments who actually writes the show notes has claimed authorship for part of this so I won't blame Jimmy for that.  Thanks Kevin for correcting that.  I have since been labeled a "taunter" and essentially had words put into my mouth by Jimmy himself such as fraud though I'm not sure I ever used those words.  Anywho, there's no need to waste good cyberink on minor quibbles.  I do thank Jimmy for the opportunity and commend him for bringing voices counter to low carb dogma to the wider audience.   So, I'll leave the rest of this intact.}

I don't really appreciate how Jimmy characterized me as anti-low carb on his blog either:
Coming up Monday, we’ll hear from an enthusiastic anti-low-carb blogger who calls herself CarbSaneto talk about why she thinks bestselling author Gary Taubesis a fraud and that the low-carb diet is not the whole story. Take a listen for yourself and decide whether she has a point or not. 

I guess your headlines might generate more hits which is fine with me.  Hopefully more will see the truth.

I heard this for the first time today too which made me nervous as I typed this post out.  Just listened.  I'm OK with it except for the nervous laughter at times.  Better than getting a case of the Ummms I suppose.

Some links {fixed them, thanks flo!} to things I discussed with Jimmy with regards to GCBC that were the impetus for the interview:

GCBC Reference Check ~ Part I of ? ~ Metabolic Adaptability & Energy Balance

A summary of my differences with GT's premises:  The 11 Critical Conclusions of Taubes

{Edited to add}  This is the post that got this ball rolling:  Glyceroneogenesis v. Taubes.  The question on that Reshef paper remains unanswered by Taubes.

Have at me gang!


James Krieger said...

I'm amazed how people will accuse you of being "anti-low carb" when you're very clearly not.

In my Taubes book review post, I stated clearly that I was not against low carbohydrate diets and that they were an effective way for people to successfully lose weight. But people glossed right over that and took it to mean like I was saying that low carb doesn't work.

What I am against is bad science (as well as the misrepresentation of current science), and unfortunately Taubes and others have used bad science and the misrepresentation of research to promote low carb dieting. The problem with this is that it creates a lot of misconceptions that ultimately lead some people to failure. As you have mentioned, you get people who become scared to death to have carbohydrates out of the fear that it will stop their weight loss. Or, you get people who go on low carbohydrate diets and don't lose weight and can't understand why they aren't losing weight, and then they think that they're destined to always be overweight. Unfortunately they've just been fed bad information.

On top of that, you have Taubes recently stating in his interview with Tom Naughton that if you don't lose weight on low carb, then maybe you're destined to be that way. Again, this thinking is derived from an incorrect understanding of the physiology of weight loss and obesity. In the clinic I used to be at, we had plenty of people that had failed with low carb approaches that had success with our approach. But it's because our methods were based on proper science, not physiological mythology.

Muata is a perfect example of someone who had some success with low carb, then hit a plateau. But rather than thinking he was destined to be that way, he learned that calories DO count and he continued to make much more progress:

CarbSane said...

The more I think on this the more this bothers me because I think at least my husband, who has had to suffer through my many long very low carb stints, would BEG to differ! It is unfortunate that a goodly portion of this blog has necessarily been focused on LC myths, but I've lost probably 100 lbs and kept it off for going on 3 years now staying mostly low carb so how I can be anti-how-I-eat befuddles me!

Taubes' recent interview has lit the fire on a whole new wave of despair in LC circles. I myself do struggle with where I'm at and wanting to lose more but I know it has everything to do with ME and what I'm willing to do moving forward (balanced against the fact that I look and feel pretty darned good now) and not some hopelessly damaged metabolism.

For anyone reading this who thinks otherwise, go find a mirror, look long and hard at yourself and how you live and tell me, are you REALLY doing all you could to lose the weight? I know the answer to my reflection is no at this point. That doesn't make me a bad person, it makes me human. And it doesn't make anyone else a bad person or necessarily lazy or whatever character flaw someone ELSE wants to attach to you. It's just reality.

scall0way said...

I'm looking forward to hearing the Jimmy Moore podcast. I'm one of those stalled low carbers who is still looking for answers. I'm perfectly willing to believe that low carb is not the whole answer, even though it's the only thing that's ever worked for ME (I actually HAVE lost over 100 pounds on low carb, but alas I still have another 100 to go and been stalled for about 15 months now with no weight loss).

Heck I'm even willing to believe calories should count. I even checked out Muata's website and his basic loss philosophy. He claims to lose weight you should consume 10-12 times your weight in calories. Heck, that's nothing new. That's exactly what we used to tell people to do to lose weight on the old usenet group back in the late 90s. I'm sure you could find posts with my name on them telling people to consume 10-12 times their current weight to lose, and having to drop the number as you drop your weight. Except it didn't work for me back in the late 90s. Lost 80 pounds, got to the same weight I'm at right now, and then stalled there for 2 1/2 years without losing another ounce, even when rigorously counting carbs AND calories.

So when you are only consuming 7-8 times your current weight in calories (which is about where my own caloric intake falls when I eat to appetite) and still not losing an ounce it does tend to get depressing. :D

Rose said...

So, Jimmy didn't catch that whole part at the top of your blog that reads, "I'm a two-years-and-counting low carb weight loss success story . . . " You provide a much needed balanced perspective on the low carb diet. I sincerely appreciate how you dispel low carb myths out there and you have helped me personally gain a more balanced perspective. Keep being awesome.

CarbSane said...

@scall0way: Hope you enjoy the interview. I thought I would cringe more listening to it LOL. Ya know, I probably average around 8 times my weight in calories to maintain. It IS depressing at times that I have to restrict more to lose, but I think I can do that if I get my mojo going. I'm hopeful that perhaps since I've been eating more carbs of late that if I do a stint of VLC and IF it might knock some pounds off. Now to get motivated to do that!

@Rose, THANKS!!! I'm not quite sure why Jimmy focused on those points, but probably because a bit of sensationalism draws an audience. If it makes more folks listen I'm OK with that!

_flo said...

CarbSane, links don't work in the above post.
BTW, thanks for the work you do, kudos :D

CarbSane said...

Hi flo and Welcome! Ughh ... when I changed the text size blogger nixed the links ... SIGH :( I'll fix 'em in the morning! Thx for the kudos :)

whimsymoon said...

I really enjoyed your interview with Jimmy Moore. I found what you said to be very helpful and inspirational. It's great to hear from someone that has has to work through the ups and downs of weight loss. Continued success to you! Thanks again...

Lucas Tafur said...

Nice interview. Great that Jimmy invited you when you dont buy into Taubes. You mentioned in the podcast the study regarding "nutrient fates after absorption". Have you posted your response to my comments yet? I havent found it, looking forward to it.

All the best

Muata said...

@James - Thanks for the compliment and the link;)

@scall0way - No, I make no claims. I was simply using very old guidelines that, as you've noted, folks have been using for years, especially bodybuilders. Also, I strongly believe that sustainable fat loss happens in phases. Sometimes, it's best for a person to maintain their losses for months or (gulp) years before trying to reduce further. If you've maintained the same weight for 2.5 years, that is outstanding!! I know you want to lose more, but you are part of a very small crowd. BTW, I've found that progressive resistance training does wonders to reshape your body after losing a lot of weight...

@CS - Very good job. I'm glad that you were able to share your personal history with LC diets and how your current LC program works for you. I think that it was clear from the beginning that you're not anti-LC. Also, I like the way that Jimmy just sat back and let you go because you gave out a lot of good information. Oh, and I love your accent ;)

Jenna said...

Hi, I really enjoyed listening to your talk. It's quite clear to me where your priorities are! I think it's a shame that there weren't any callers to give you more specific questions regarding the science angle. But perhaps you will be asked back, or even to another site. I really wish that someone like Taubes were to see the effect that blogs like yours have on individual well being. I know that for me it is really helping to take the pressure off by giving me a bit of much needed perspective. I think I am now questioning my approach/view of food in a positive way. So looking forward to hearing/reading more!

Lillea said...

I like the interview a lot! It's great to hear your voice and get a strong sense of how much you care about exploring the truth about LC, and all things weight loss related.

I'm glad that you were on Jimmy's show because he has a LOT of listeners, so even if you weren't characterized correctly, it's great coverage overall. :)

M. said...

Hi Carbsane,

I liked the interview, but I would have liked more time devoted to the science. I think I understood some of your points better after listening to you summarize it for Jimmy.

Jin said...

I just listened to the interview, thank you.

I wish I had a better grasp of the science! I'm curious about the role of malnutrition in obesity.

CarrollJ16 said...

Hi Carbsane, I enjoyed your podcast. I hadn't spent much time around your site, so had the misconception that you were anti-LC.

It is disappointing about Taubes. Not having a science or medical background, readers like me rely on others to interpret the research. I have a load of doctor friends and I had hoped that GCBC would be a scholarly work they could take seriously. Most of them aren't even prepared to take the time to read it, which maybe is just as well given the cherry-picking and misrepresentation.

Probably the biggest impact GCBC had on me was the rehabilitation of saturated fat. Hopefully there is nothing dodgy about his research there!

I've just finished reading Perfect Health Diet by Paul and Sou-Ching Jaminet. It is the only book in the low carb spectrum which has given a clear rationale for why some safe starches should be included in the diet. I now eat some white rice, gluten-free bread, pototoes and other starchy tubers.

jeff said...

I think the interview went well. You are doing some great stuff here at your blog. Keep up the good work! Also, I am baffled by how some people respond to clear and well-supported arguments, particularly when it goes against a commonly held view point or an "expert", i.e., Taubes and the LC community (in general).

Brian said...

Wow. Just found your blog via your comments somewhere. And just listened to your interview with Jimmy Moore. Great stuff.

I think you have done more to discredit Taubes' hypotheses than anything that I have heard thus far. I was stunned when you read from the reference that he cited. What the heck was he thinking?

Or what was I thinking? I read GCBC and found it compelling, but didn't have the intellectual curiosity (or background) to go to the source material and check it out. Thanks for doing the heavy lifting.

BTW--I have also found a low-carb approach to work very well. It has been nothing short of amazing. But it is nice to know how it really works rather than engaging in magical thinking.

Looks to me like low carb works (for those of us that it does) because it leads to greater satiety and lower overall calorie consumption.

Now that I know this I'll be less freaked out by occasional cheats. I'll probably put some carrots into my stew. And I'll add exercise back into my routine.

Love the blog. Thanks again.


benn686 said...

Great podcast.. and nice to put a voice behind the words!

What is the egg / cream-cheese recipe? Sounds delicious

BTW, I personally find it very difficult to stay under 75g of carbs. I love me some purple potatoes, loaded with antioxidants, but have over 60g of carbs each.. and I usually have 2 small baked ones every other day! Sweet potatoes are also my carb-achilles heel.

If something has fiber, do you subtract the carbs?

Jin said...

I read GCBC, in part because I had heard Taubes interviewed and he favorably mentioned the work of Weston A. Price.

So, I was surprised when I read GCBC that there wasn't more emphasis on the damage caused by the adoption of white flour & sugar around the world.

I'll admit I'm guilty of reading GCBC with my own editing eye. I don't believe carbs are evil. I believe sugar and flour are evil, magnified a hundredfold when they replace other essential nutrient dense real foods.

It seems to me it's not just what we're eating that is breaking us, it's what we've stopped eating, too (ie, organ meat, fermented foods).

I've often wondered if part of what makes lower carb diets work is not only the appetite suppression but an increase in food quality and nutrient content.

Melchior Meijer said...

Hi CarbSane,

Reading you 5 in the Dutch Mountains too! You did a great job, especially considering the flood of catecholamines that must have been gushing through your system. Thanks for the heart hazardous fight (even if Jimmy is the nicest person in the world)! I hope this wider exposure will lead to more discussion about the whole NEFA conundrum.

It will be interesting to hear Gary Taubes' reaction in a few weeks. BTW, did you listen to Jimmy's interview with Dr Kurt Harris? If not, please do. He seems to no longer adhere to the carbs raise insulin leads to disease model, but blames (excess) sugar, wheat and n-6.

M. said...

Re: Dr. Harris

It appears that Dr. Harris has really moved on past much of the Carbohydrate Hypothesis. He changed his blog page to explicitly say there is nothing wrong with starch. Hopefully more Paleo will move in that direction and stop all the Taubes guru-ism. Here are some recent comments Dr. Harris made on the Free the Animal blog:

“Like many, I did indeed start by believing that macronutrient ratios (high fractions of starch) could per se cause metabolic derangement.

However I no longer believe this as it quickly became apparent to me that the anthropological and ethological records simply do not support this assumption, nor does it fit with what we know about insulin function, pathological insulin resistance and what we are learning about leptin.

Discussion of “carbohydrate” as a class of foods is as uninformative as discussing the merits of ‘fat’.”

Here is what he said in reply to a commenter at the LLVLC podcast page:

“The point was to NOT worry about the insulin effects of milk proteins, not to start worrying about it. High insulin is from insulin resistance, not from eating foods that demand insulin.”

Melchior Meijer said...

Yes M, and the prolific Richard Nikoley seems to be moving in the same direction. He enriched his paleo diet with tatties, ‘but’ his numbers kept improving. If we are not somehow wrecked, we are probably very well adapted to starches, given all that amylase we produce. I did a ‘surviving experiment’ a couple of years ago, in a Swedish forest/wetland area. Guess what fueled me? The starchy roots of the Typha latifolia. I also caught some fish, but I was to much of a pussy to kill a rabbit ;-).

Karen said...

Thank you Carb Sane for a great podcast.
You have talked about NEFA's before on your blog. What does one eat/do if the NEFA is wrong? You have the same concern I do. What if LC is not so healthy. Helps my blood sugar but what about the rest of me. Heard it said once and at the time I dismissed it that there are more organs than the pancreas tho we diabetics seem to focus on it and the liver pretty heavy. Thanks

Brian said...

Really liked your comment about eating a pound of cookies--that you can't gain more than a pound by eating a pound of cookies. Never had thought of it that way before, but it is totally right. Just ran the math. A pound of chocolate chips weighs in at roughly 2100 calories.

CarbSane said...

Hey all! Thanks for all the nice comments. I'm a bit backlogged at the moment since I got sidetracked by a little project (when you see my next post you'll understand!), but I will respond to each of you in due time (while I still can!).

Brian, since you did mention the cookie thing, I did do a post on this back just after the interview:

Greg said...

@CS: You shouldn't be that surprised at Jimmy's characterizations- you did speculate that Gary Taubes intentionally misrepresented science for financial gain. That isn't science (no one can see into the mind of another). Listen to Chris MasterJohn's LLVC interview if you want to hear (an unfortunately long rant and) an avoidance of personally attacking someone.

I enjoyed the rest of the interview though, thanks!

BoganPrincess said...

Love your work Carbsane. Thank you for your perspective on calories in calories out, I'll be keeping tabs on my calorie intake from here on in, as I am also one of those stalled low carbers.

Jimmy's introduction had me primed into thinking I would be listening to a person opposed to low carbing instead of someone who is indeed a low carber and this, from an aficionado of the low carb lifestyle, go figure.

Thank you for your research.

Leo said...


Of course he did. Let's be honest, no one would write a book on health and he/she didn't had financial gains in mind. In fact no one would ever become a doctor if it wasn't for financial gains. So everyone does his/her best to sell his/her product or skill or service. Something was expected from Gary because of his New York Times articles and so he did what actually almost every diet guru does, cherry-picking the data to suit a preconceived position. And there's no other reason for this except writing a book with a specific message hence trying to seel as many copies of that book as possible hence trying to earn as much money as possible.

Leo said...

In the forum Jimmy now characterizes you as anti-Taubes and that's a bit more appropriate I think. I'm anti-Taubes too and it's not just because of bad science, The Zone Diet and the Paleo Diet have lot of that too but because I don't like the man himself. Taubes seems to me like a very arrogant, offensive, snob and sly person who isn't even particularly healthy or fit despite what he promotes. If someone as open-minded and nice as Jimmy was promoting such bad science I would be less critical because at least it would be a bona fida mistake from a humble person not the dogma of an haughty and bitter individual.

CarbSane said...

@whimsymoon: Thanks & welcome to the Asylum. I gotta chuckle that with the small avatar I thought you were an interesting looking person there, turns out you're a doll! I hadn't expected to spend as much time discussing my personal history, but I'm glad I did get to. Hopefully anyone who wonders over whether I'm some sort of "poser" low carber will conclude not. Also, I always read success stories and almost universally they were highly disciplined people regardless of plan. Hopefully I can inspire the less perfect amongst us that we can do it too!

@Lucas: It's next on my plate. Apologies for getting side tracked on the Todd Becker piece. Sometimes that happens :(

@Muata: Thanks buddy! I have an accent? LOL

@Jenna: Jimmy has now created a (paying) fan club who can submit questions for him to ask, but other than that it's not his podcast format. I wasn't really expecting to spend as much time on personal stuff so the science stuff got cut off a bit, but s'OK. Hee hee, I doubt I'll get asked to be on too many other LC podcasts. Kudos to Jimmy for hearing out contrary opinions. He seems to be one of a kind on that note. It give me much gratification when folks like you gleen positive information from this site that has been helpful in your lives. Thanks for your kind words :)

@Lillea: Glad you liked it, thank you! Still a little cringy here over my voice on tape, but at least I didn't sound like a 6 year old as I sometimes do. Gotta work on the nervous laughter now, LOL, but heck, it was my first ever thing like this so ... I hope listening to me will dispel some of the notions many seem to get from my writing.

Christian said...

So I listened to the Podcast and read a few blog entries on your site afterwards - in particular the recent entry on "Countering Anti-Energy-Balance" and "The 11 Critical Conclusions of Taubes". When referring to "people who argue against this basic physical law" in the former blog entry I guess you implicitly refer to Taubes as a major villain. Please correct me if I'm wrong. The thing is that your responses to #5 and #6 of Taubes’ conclusions show me that you haven’t really taken away the main point of Taubes’ criticism about the interpretation of the first law of thermodynamics.

Let me rephrase #5 for you because Taubes is actually only stating that the energy balance equation is misinterpreted (not wrong). The first law (differences in energy storage = energy in - energy out) postulates the coincidence of two events: overeating (right hand side of equation >0) and obesity (left hand side >0). But by saying overeating causes obesity because of this law the logical fallacy “cum hoc ergo propter hoc” is being made. The equation contains no information about cause and effect. The logical error then does not lie in the resulting statement (which could be true anyway) but in the deduction from the equation. The first law of thermodynamics only postulates that for a person overeating and weight gain always occur together (by definition). This can mean that someone gains weight because he overeats or that someone overeats because he gains weight. None of the latter statements can be deduces logically from the first law of thermodynamics. That I think is precisely the meaning of conclusion #6. In vertical growth we “know” that the cause is hormones causing the “tissue/organ” to grow and the result of that is overeating. You deny to call it this way and ridicule Taubes for doing so but this is his main point: What if horizontal growth actually works by the same mechanism? The first law cannot tell. It is correct but useless here.

And the overfeeding studies are also useless here. Of course you can gain weight when being overfeed and you can lose weight by semi-starving. This shows that overeating by itself CAN be (one) contributor to the problem as a cause. The question is what happens if you “set loose” and just eat till your full, wait till your hungry again and repeat. Because that is what everyone else is actually doing. Why are then some people fatter than others? You would say, duh, they overate, and Taubes would answer that that is a tautology and therefore meaningless.

Btw I am not saying that I agree with all of Taubes’ conclusions. In fact I find most of them misleading and wrong when read out of context. But it startles me that you call conclusion #5 “the single greatest point of contention” because I personally think it is very eye-opening and thought provoking. The problem is that Taubes claims that he found the real cause of obesity: carbohydrates and insulin. Well here I disagree and would say this is too simplistic. But I think you fail to see that those two ideas (The misinterpretation of the first law and insulin as the main cause of obesity) are not the same thing. The first idea only implies that there can be other causes of obesity apart from overeating.

anonb said...

Hey CarbSane - Congrats on the interview. I also read most of the comments following the interview and I'm very impressed by the thoroughness and clarity of your answers. Anyway, here is why I'm writing. It is so frustrating for me to hear the low carb people gushing over GCBC as if it GT has uncovered previously hidden truths about cholesterol, saturated fat, and that he has proved that calories don't matter. I was thinking about creating a blog just about GCBC and his latest book, but I see that you are already doing a great job.

The latest Taubes nonsense coming with the new book promotion makes my teeth grind: Things like the twinkie guy lost weight because he reduced his carbs, and not his calories; and that Lance Armstrong is compelled by his carb consumption to train for hours.

Haven't read much of your blog yet, but I'll be getting to it shortly.

MikeEnRegalia said...

Hey CarbSane,

I share much of your criticism of Gary Taubes. I listened to the interview, and I liked it a lot.

Specifically, regarding the glycerol-3-phosphate thing: I remembered that I recently watched one of Taubes's lectures on YouTube, and when it came to this topic, he made some interesting remarks:
(beginning around the 2:20 mark)

"... although in all honesty whether it's doing it as much as I believed it was when I wrote my book is now in question because some very smart young biophysicists who read my book went back to the literature I've never found and said that both what I'm saying and what the [endocrinology textbooks] are saying may indeed be a bit skew"

I'm sure that you'll find this very interesting. :-)

LynMarie Daye said...

I enjoyed the interview as well!

I read in the post-interview comments that some folks chided you for not explaining your stance on the science thoroughly enough. Well, with half of the interview focusing on your personal story, how could you? This stuff can be rather complex. I could tell you had a lot more to say, but Jimmy put a time limit on you, so that was that. I would have loved for you to have gone on for another hour. Maybe next time!

CarbSane said...

@M.: As I've commented over on Jimmy's blog, I was a bit caught off guard by so much focus on my story, but I think we got to most of what I wanted to discuss (had to push to get the IR stuff in though). On the other hand, it does appear that some open minded folks changed their minds a bit about me when they learned how I low carb, etc. But you just can't win with some people :-) Glad you liked the interview!

@Jin: Welcome to my blog! The malnutrition/obesity paradox is an interesting one that could (just my thoughts here) be explained quite simply. First, malnutrition is akin to long term fasting/starvation that leads to (a) a dialing down of metabolic rate to conserve energy, (b) overcompensation when food is available often accompanied by hyperinsulinemia, and (c) possibly impaired thyroid function. Secondly, malnutrition will necessarily lead to deficiencies in micronutrients involved in/regulating any manner of biochemical processes in our bodies that can impact our feeling of well being that would impact both eating and activity behaviors.

@Carroll: Glad to here you enjoyed the podcast and that it changed your view of me somewhat. I really cringe every time I hear someone say this should be required reading for med students, and having a science journalist - ANY science journalist - lecturing at medical schools just seems so bizarre to me. Why not Dansinger, Westman or somesuch instead, even Dr. Eades! Yeah, I think the sat fat thing is solid, but there is some evidence that it can impact insulin sensitivity more than unsat fats, and Dansinger (if memory serves) does caution on sat fat consumption while losing weight or when consuming a few more carbs because body fat provides enough of it. However body fat contributes MUFA's too, so ... For me? I tend to believe that it's all alright so long as I'm not gaining weight. Fat in excess is not a good thing. I'm almost done with my review of PHD. Great book, that I will be recommending highly. I joke a bit that Paul has given me "permission" to eat starch!

BTW, for doctors, I recommend: Low carb nutrition and metabolism. Although the research part of The New Atkins is pretty solid, I really wish Westman, Phinney and Volek had collaborated on a book that didn't bear the Atkins name. For one, Atkins will probably always be associated with "fad" diet, and unfortunately there is a fair amount of gimmicky theories in that *diet book* (I was referring to one in the interview when I spoke of "metabolic bullies").

CarbSane said...

@Christian: I'm going to C&P your comment to the 11 Conclusions post and will respond when I get a chance.

Christian said...

@CarbSane: I wasn't quite sure where to post the comment because I stumbled upon your blog via the podcast. But indeed content-wise the comment belongs to the "11 Conclusions post" so I reposted it there. I would really appreciate a sincere comment on my claim that Taubes work about general relationships regarding physics, obesity, causes and effects (which I think are fundamental and brilliant) have absolutely nothing to do with his work about what he thinks IS the actual cause, i.e. the whole issue of insulin, carbohydrate, alpha-gp (which I think is flawed and oversimplified).

Nigel Kinbrum said...

For some unknown reason, your avi pic made me think that you would sound like Denise Minger! :-D

Anyway, great interview. It's certainly stirred things up. Things need to be stirred up.

CarbSane said...

@jeff: Thank you! And welcome :-) I think that Taubes' contrarian persona is contagious. LC'ers seem to get caught up in being rebels. Just look at the rationalizing that goes on ... in the end, if the science behind their beliefs is shown wrong, there's always the "well it works, so I don't care" attitude.

CarbSane said...

@Brian: Welcome and thank you for your kind words! It has been a looooong time since I took a biochem or physiology course, but when I first found the LC community on the web, I kept reading that insulin is required for fatty acids to get into fat cells. That just didn't sit right with me from my memory. I looked into it, and at the time there wasn't much out there that didn't eventually trace back to GT, even though I don't think he ever said exactly that.

So after getting into several debates over all of this I gave in to reading the whole book. It is a very convincing tome, and seemingly well referenced. But here's where I started to get highly suspicious. Taubes makes liberal use of footnotes to present a more compelling argument in the text where the whole story tends to make the argument far weaker. Someone with a hard copy of the book is not likely to go flip to the footnote and back to reading, but with my ebook, I click on the footnote and can read it then click and I'm right back to the text. So one such instance is #103. In the text Taubes cites an analysis of 34 of 38 lower-carb diets and weight loss the LC diet produced greater weight loss, and averaged 37 pounds when carbs were below 60g/day. Sounds pretty amazing huh? Well, the footnote states that when only randomized controlled studies were included in the analysis there were only 7 VLC and 75 higher carb diets. The average losses were 8 pounds and 4 pounds respectively, or a difference of 4 pounds lost. Doesn't sound quite so great, huh? For someone who is SOOOOOO critical about controlling variables and all that, he makes liberal use of the "worst" science, relegating the better stuff to footnotes.

Another thing he does is intertwine facts with fiction. I don't want to waste time looking for the exact citation but he'll say something true, like insulin increases glucose transport into cells, and reference a textbook or such, and then say something else in the remainder of the sentence. The reader presumes said reference relates to the entirety of the statement when it does not. My critics say I'm nit-picking at just a few references out of hundreds. I would say that it matters not if he had 1000 references, the whole of his "Adiposity 101" is only referenced by a few citations. IOW, I'm exposing what the only references that matter REALLY say.

to be continued...

CarbSane said...

@Brian, contd.: My discovery of glyceroneogenesis really got my ball rolling, because I wondered if Taubes ever considered that. By this time I was aware of ASP and, although didn't know too much about it, was aware that Taubes essentially ignored its significance. When I saw Taubes skipped over GlyNG in a lecture while having it on the slide it got me more suspicious. My first "fall off the chair" moment came when I searched my ebook for glyceroneogenesis, and found that 2003 Reshef paper in the references!!! Did he read that paper? He can't explain this one which is why he would prefer to speak by phone or private emails and resorts to making it personal.

What was he thinking re: Newsholme & Start? I have no idea. Perhaps he didn't think anyone would spend $1 to get a dog-eared copy of this rather obscure older text? Or perhaps he only read the part of it that supported his theory and stopped there. That would be incredibly shoddy research. I was shocked to read what I did. I'm even more shocked that ANYONE considers this man credible anymore after learning the truth about this topic.

I find it interesting that so many will commend Colpo's work on cholesterol (that agrees with Taubes) but claim that he's apparently gone crazy for his work on the so-called "metabolic advantage". Colpo may not be the most polite voice on the internet, but his literature research is far superior to anything Taubes has done IMO.

Oh lookie there, I went on a bit of a rant ;-) Today is going to be a carby day for me. I made beef stew yesterday with potatoes, carrots, peas, corn and lima beans. There's going to be like 80 g carbs in my bowl! Uh oh!!

notrace said...

Corn and Lima beans! Ugh. LOL

MikeEnRegalia said...

Hey CarbSane,

did you read the comment I posted two days ago? I don't want to be a pest, I'm just curious about your thoughts on Taubes's statement in that lecture.

CarbSane said...

Hi Mike! Welcome to my blog :) I'm a bit backlogged on comments on this thread as I do tend to get distracted by other topics (not to mention real life!).

Anyway, I'm aware of his various mea culpas on this issue, probably best summarized in
And FWIW, my issues with him on this started here:
It's maddening really how many people do not seem to understand or will simply dismiss (there just HAS to be an innocent explanation!) the Newsholme & Start "evidence" I read in the interview. That is the Part III link of this post.

MikeEnRegalia said...

That's very interesting - I hadn't listened to that Jimmy Moore interview, it's interesting that he also used the word "skewed" there. Still, the wording in the lecture is interesting since especially when you listen to him it's obvious that he almost said "I was wrong" but then stopped and essentially turned it into "the textbooks are wrong".

Well, another GT interview coming up at Jimmy Moore's show ... I'll certainly listen to those. I wonder whether Jimmy will address some of those issues ... let's hope so. :-)

CarbSane said...

@benn686: The eggs & cream cheese is simple. Jimmy does it country scramble style I guess, I just use the microwave. Two or 3 eggs depending on my appetite (usually 2) with a splash of half&half and water, scramble and throw in the microwave for ~1 min. I cube up ~1oz cream cheese and then stir those in to the half set eggs. Nuke till done. This varies, just keep an eye on it. It IS delish! But as I mentioned, unfortunately eggs cooked this way in a bowl stick too much. Gosh that sounds good and I haven't had it in a while. Sounds like "breakfast" for today, but I'll use a pan. As for carb counting, on my VLC days I just ate VLC foods w/o bothering. The only carbs I counted were to make sure to only have 1 LC tortilla, and for those I consider net carbs. To be fair, I'm not sure what I'm doing these days would have worked for weight loss, but it's working like a charm to keep it off. Thanks for reading and contributing to the Asylum!!
@Jin: I think Taubes is saving his sugar attack for his next book. That's another knock on GCBC that he's having a rough time of in defending WWGF, he doesn't distinguish the carbs. I've no doubt that part of the magic of LC is eliminating wheat & sugar from the diet, and eating veggies most never ate before.

@Melchior: Thanks! Yes, LOTS of stuff gushing through my veins. I do hope to see more on NEFA from others in this field. A simple: I don't think there's anything to worry over just doesn't cut it. I would actually love nothing more than to ultimately be shown wrong on this! Yes, it will be interesting to see his response. {{bracing for impact}} I'll give that Harris interview a listen. I was delighted to see him drop a comment or two here and hope to hear more from him.
@M.: I, too, hope that Paleo will move past this. I'm seeing a bit more tolerance of starches lately which is a good sign IMO. One thing that always bothered me about Sisson is that readers would ask him about a certain food, like buckwheat, and he would go into a fiber v. starch analysis - if it was very high = good, starch was high = bad. Somehow I never envisioned our ancestors foraging around for the plant food sources that contained the least energy!

CarbSane said...

@Melchior: "if we're not somehow wrecked" It seems to me that far too many people believe that we can permanently damage our metabolic ability to process carbs to a far greater extent than is true. I've no doubt that some people fatten on carbs because they were initially predisposed towards handling them poorly. Those folks would never be "fixed". But absent permanent beta cell damage (and an 83% cure rate of diabetes with WLS indicates that folks give up on their pancreases too soon), there is no reason we can't "fix" our damaged metabolisms. Us women of a certain age (and while I'm not quite of that age, I consider myself in that state due to early menopause) tend to presume we have hopelessly damaged metabolisms. I don't believe that any more based on my n=1 and seeing small improvements and such.

Hi Karen! Glad you liked it. I don't really know what to eat to control NEFA per se. But it seems we want to maximize whole body insulin sensitivity: reducing fat mass (which you've done as I recall) should improve fat cell sensitivity. There is one class of diabetes drugs that stimulates turnover and younger fat cells, unfortunately that can cause weight gain :-( But still, I wonder if it might not be a strategy for some to have a course of such and then diligently lose any gains. Also for insulin sensitivity, seems the occasional fast, use of MCT's and good old fashioned exercise (HIIT mostly, but I've seen the standard 3X 45 min/week moderate cardio doing the trick too). The NEFA seem to do their damage when they hang around too long.

@Greg: Welcome to the Asylum! I do think Jimmy "set me up" a bit with "why I'm a taunter" and the shyster thing. Folks who hadn't read my blog would not be familiar with where that last one came from. It was a play on words on his misrepresentations of Shai - so I didn't really call him a one so much as I was playing on words Shai'ster. A small difference I suppose, but the lead ins did result in several listeners accusing me of attacking him *in the interview* which I simply did not do. Ya know, the sum total of my "ad hominem" attacks on GT has been that he's intellectually dishonest - a charge I back up with solid evidence that cannot be ignored and he has made no attempt to counter with an explanation - and I've speculated that it is financial interests that cloud his judgment. I honestly don't know why there's such a brew ha ha over Taube$, especially from the holier-than-thou in the low carb community who slam diabetes doctors and the medical establishment as a whole as clinging to the ADA diet so they can make money off of sick people. I'm only expressing an opinion. Based on his emails to me, and his sneering attitude in interviews and lectures, I've come to personally dislike the man. But that doesn't drive my postings here no matter what anyone wants to read into my content.

CarbSane said...

@BoganPrincess: Welcome to my blog, and thanks for your kind words! Yeah, that anti-low carb stuff has been fixed now, and apparently it was the doing of JM's producer, but I still don't know how that could be either. Did Kevin not listen to the interview? Water under the bridge ...

Good luck with the weight fight! I've long had this theory that LF/CRD types that succeed struggle with those last 5-10 lbs b/c if they get where they're going they had to be somewhat disciplined for the long haul and know what intake level is appropriate. But LC'ers seem to plateau out and struggle with the last 20-30 pounds or more. That makes perfect sense because eat when hungry/stop when full would lead to some degree of "extra padding" the body would settle to. SOME degree of deliberate restriction and a bit of hunger may necessarily be a part of getting truly lean.

@Leo: Welcome! As I commented to Greg, I don't get how some are SOOOOOOOO offended by my suggestion that GT's judgment is clouded by financial interests! I mean you get an advance to write something and along the way discover the data don't exactly fit your thesis, but you find enough stuff that does taken out of context, what are you going to do? I think GT has made his situation worse by not acknowledging the factual challenges to his work previously. The evidence just keeps mounting and mounting so if he admits it now he's totally sunk. I would have loved to see the body language in his admissions to Jimmy over G3P ... the hesitation, voice inflections and clearing of the throat indicate that even with a friendly interviewer, he was *highly* uncomfortable.

That GT acts like the whole GCBC "franchise" is some sort of side job is a joke! Folks, check out his blog. Those two posts were all about selling WWGF, which is fine! Just don't read more into it than that. He has answered very few posts and questions. Don't hold your breath waiting for him to get to those "headier" scientific topics or address the errors in his theory.

Yes, just about every diet book has errors in it, exaggerations and whatnot. But the authors rarely come off in such an arrogant fashion as Taubes who basically says all those scientists working on this issue for half a century got it wrong and he's got it right. Only he didn't even bother to read much if any of the research more recent than the 60's. As Jimmy pointed out that was "by design", but Taubes DID also claim he follows the trail forward and clearly he did NOT. That is really indisputable though his cult-like followers don't seem to care. They have their answer and they're just not going to go back to believing what he told them wasn't true.

A true glimpse into Taubes'personality/character is how he trashes his former best friend's critique of his book - it must be because they had a falling out over a girl! LOL. If he addresses me specifically in the upcoming interview I won't be surprised if he pulls something similar assigning some personal motivations on my part. Heck, from like 3 blog posts specific to him out of hundreds preceding the email he already accused me of stalking!!

CarrollJ16 said...

Hi there

I agree with your comment on this thread about the weirdness of science journos lecturing doctors. Have you heard of Joel Kauffman. He gave a critical review of Susan Allport's Queen of Fats. She's a science journo like Taubes who got thing horribly wrong. For a slim volume Joel reckoned there were more than 70 errors of science. His review:

Anyway Joel is a retired professor of chemistry whose hobby is exposing bad science. His book Malignant Medical Myths is worth a read. He has a good grasp of statistics not just science, and does his own analysis of the data at Pubmed.

Chemistry professors seem pretty good value. I love the website of 2 old professors who've been putting out a free monthly newsletter on the net for the last 18 years. It's a quality review of the scientific research, plus their own research reports.

Sanjeev said...

M. said...
Re: Dr. Harris
It appears that Dr. Harris has really moved on past much of the Carbohydrate Hypothesis.
Doesn't surprise me.

1st time I came across Dr. Harris he had never heard of ASP.

I provided some links. He read the links and thanked me. Did NOT concoct BS self-justifying objections.

Compare and contrast
1. GT's reaction to ASP
2. Dr. Dean Ornish's reaction to Atkins

Sanjeev said...

On the Jimmy interview, I liked it.

gives you a realness & personality that's missing here.

low carb skeptic: It's like the conservatives having to live with Christopher Hitchens. somebody there decided a misleading label would evoke the least cognitive dissonance.

putting myself in the shoes of a Taubes reader with an open mind, those folks may not know where to start

Did JM give you some hints as to what might resonate with some of his audience?

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