las

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!)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Note to My Readers

I've been struggling a bit of late with the content of this blog.  On the one hand, I'd love to keep it all science, all the time.  I clearly have a contingent of readers that are interested in just that.  But you know what?  I like to think that even in those science posts, my personality peeps through my writing and has some people reading (and hopefully learning) despite the otherwise rather bland content of said posts.




But a large number of my readers seem to see me as some sort of disgruntled anti-Gary Taubes, anti-LC blogger - and that this is the single focus of this blog.   It is unfortunate, in a way, that my posts concerning him garner so many views, but there's nothing keeping anyone who stumbles upon this blog from reading the vast amount of other content if they're interested.  In other words, to those of my detractors who criticize the manner in which I criticize Taubes, you need to move past your own motives for reading those posts and actually read the criticism of his "science".    A goodly number of posts have ended up focused on debunking this man's work.  I'd like there to be fewer, really, but at the same time -- as a good friend reminded me recently -- were it not for this effort, I would never have learned all I have from such pre-eminent researchers as Keith Frayn and so, SO, many others.   It is unfortunate that so many can read various posts on what the scientists and Taubes' own references say that outright states the opposite of what he represents them to say, and still conclude he is a man of integrity, but ....  

And then there's the Big Guy Jimmy Moore's LLVLC franchise.  My outright calling out of this community and it's friends' promotion of Atkins-style LCHF has me being criticized about the web as some sort of  hate monger lacking compassion spewing hatred.   It took a bit to post some of those posts but I get a crapload of emails about this "movement" in my Inbox from people who find my blog and have moved past LC to continued progress (vs. stagnation or worsening health) that I basically feel who the hell are you to define compassion or dictate what is helpful?   To channel Bob Grant (a broadcasting legend) - Someone's gotta say it ... It might as well be me.  Well, since I've been kicked out of LLVLC forum for mentioning such blasphemy as that carbs don't cause IR, calories count, and such, I've made the decision that there was no more reasons to hold my tongue on what I see as a hijacking of a lifestyle and a community that can only be described at this point in one word:  Cult.  This movement is replete with hypocrisy and misinformation.  You deserve the full story before deciding if LCHF is right for you.  

So anyway, I suspect that many who come here for the pure science may well have been bothered by my posts on Taubes and my more recent series exposing the Atkins-style low carb community, but I think it is important that this gets discussed.  Many have accused me of hateful motives for merely naming names and shining a light on these things.  Mind you, I'm not highlighting anything that's not public knowledge or published in advocacy of this WOE, but somehow pointing out inconsistencies is crew-el.  I've thought on this a lot and I can think of nothing more cruel than to set oneself out as an example of the wonders of LLVLC, all the while struggling with persisting eating disorders and encouraging others to follow your path.  A person with a binge eating disorder is not helped by being cheered on in their latest quick weight loss efforts or even the 2oz water weight loss with butter dripping down their lardo-soaked arms.    Bottom line, this community is filled with career yo-yo dieters and overweight/obese people advocating their WOE as "deliverance" from obesity and yo-yo dieting that resulted from ELMM (low fat of course) or at the very least had nothing to do with EMML (Eating More Moving Less).  This offers up pie in the sky expectations for those seeking a solution to their own situation.  Sickening really.  Obese folks hustling other obese folks.  As if the obese need more hucksters to separate them from their hard earned money.

So anyway, I have decided that I will be continuing some version of this series along with a few open letters to the community as a whole and Jimmy in particular.   (Just remember folks, Jimmy asked ME to appear on his podcast).  So if these end up "tearing down" anyone, I'll only suggest in advance that you shouldn't have been up on the pedestal to begin with.  Your readers deserve better, and they shouldn't have to delve back into your past writings to discover who exactly it is and how they're faring while promoting a lifestyle with a "look how well it's working for me!" message.   

So ... the future of this blog?  I've hinted at some changes ... and they are a'coming.

I'm not exactly sure of all the specifics as of yet, but I'm zeroing in.  I've considered merging the Chronicles here.  I'm weighing some options for some premium content or ways to financially support some of what I do here.  I'm going to be writing a book or two.  These will not be diet books, that much I promise!   In doing so I'll be putting a name to the face but rather than piecemeal changes I'm working on one "unveiling", likely over a weekend.  Probably next, if I can get it done before hosting Fathers' Day BBQ at my house.

So that's that.  Just some thoughts I wanted to share.  As always ... feedback is welcomed and encouraged - even if critical of my work/writings.  If you prefer email, carbsane at gmail.com.  Thanks in advance!

28 comments:

Tonus said...

I think that you have reached the point where you have a better grasp of what you've gotten yourself into, and it seems that you've thought about it and decided how to proceed. Good for you! The internet can provide instant recognition, with all of the good and bad that can come with it.

I'll be happy if you continue to write blog entries in the same style and with the same substance as you do now. I'd also understand if you decided it was more trouble than it is worth. Whatever you decide (and it seems more the former, with a vengeance :) ), I wish you the best of luck going forward.

Jeff Borsato said...

this is a good development,
it is ironic that a community such as the LC/Paleo folks delight in attacking the dogmatic rigidity of the low fat camps but lack a robust vehicle for self-examination and rigorous science.

its not easy believing you are wrong, nor is it easy believing youre part of a group that's grown to resemble a sycophantic community reliant increasingly on charismatic leaders instead of objective scientists.

faith welcomes questions, dogma shuns them.

Sanjeev said...

makes for an interesting psych study:

"I refuse to read your scientific studies showing low fat may work and high fat may be unhealthy because high fat worked for me"

then later

"high fat worked for me in the past so even though it has now failed I refuse to read your scientific studies showing low fat may work and high fat may be unhealthy because ...

????
because why, folks? is there actually a sensible justification now or have you retreated completely behind some reductio-ad-absurdum parallel-universe event horizon?

Sanjeev said...

addendum: at one time they had a sufficiently open mind to go against the low fat grain;) and try Atkins.

(leave aside for the moment the question of whether there an open mind, or was there some attraction to Atkins)

What happened to the open mind?

Reminds me of the sociology studies that followed true believers of some doomsday cults; many don't strongly seek converts before the doomsday date, but after the doomsday predictions FAIL they became huge proselytizers, spinning the failure as redemption and a second chance

read more here

CarbSane said...

Sanjeev, what I find more troubling is that even back when they first went against the grain (chuckling at the pun) doing low carb, and had success, many were also extolling the virtues of exercise. Then along comes a new guru, same as the old guru?

CarbSane said...

Thanks Jeff & Tonus! Yes, a lot of what has transpired came through my interview with Jimmy. Many probably don't realize that he initiated the request early on in my Taubes-busting posts, the interview was conducted on Nov. 9 if memory serves, and then wasn't aired until mid-January. OTOH, it's clear that Gary had an opportunity to hear what I had to say before "responding" and it also appeared those interviews were conducted only shortly before airing. And things progressed from there on that front. It's been quite a ride so far. :D

@Jeff: I think the most telling thing lately is the repetition of "healthy low carb". As GT wants to permeate the language with "fattening carbohydrate". Rinse. Repeat. Engrain.

Jeff Borsato said...

@CarbSane,

i suspect the same sort of extreme's will be used now in the low carb world that many low carbers had to endure when explaining atkins to people.

"oh youre doing atkins, yeah i heard you can eat 6 packs of bacon a day and smoke as much as you want, what BS"

or

"yeah but atkins died of a heart attack"

this used to anger me to no end simply because people who thought very little of what they eat were so eager to accept the dogma of how to eat and how to treat those who disagree.

low carb has become much more mainstream than people like to admin in the LC community, despite what the fluffy nutritionists and feel good pamphlets tell us about "healthy eating" there are no shortage of people who believe in low carb but likely fail to follow it.

ultimately i suspect it is so much less about the amount of carbs in the diet than it is about adherence to being a sane eater, not an out of control "eat till it hurts" types that many of us are for better or worse.

i empathize with the drug addict so far as i know how hard it is to avoid stuffing myself at any given time. it is a constant fight no matter what i eat. its just somewhat easier when i avoid carbs, but that's me. others feel satiated after eating steak. go figure.

our minds play such a larger role in food than we give it credit for. all this talk of 50 grams vs. 60gram, of whole grains vs. white flour is ultimately one of petty details that push aside the stronger forces that determine hunger: the mind.

we often eat out of emotional stress, happiness or simply availability. does anyone really believe that focusing strictly on the content is the key? again its akin to alcholics sitting around wondering what kind of booze to consume to minimize their drunken rages...

i am becoming more of a believer that Stephan G's food flavour idea's are a milestone in the diet world, for me i can eat twice as much bread when its covered in butter. this runs contrary to the idea that rats eat more chow if its diluted with water to achieve the same # of calories.

our caloric intake is not equal as the mind gets in the darn way, it loves flavors and encourages us to consume more of them. im learning to cook a bit more plain in hopes of seeing if it makes a difference.

Charles L. Peden said...

My two cents...

I'd like to see a forum. I like that format.

I think the new blog should be less focused on "carbs". Something more about the universe of human diets. Like the show "Cosmos" but dipped in soy sauce and served with a fortune cookie.

Seriously, I have no idea what that means but I want to see it.

I saw Low Carb Cheater's account closed on LLVLC and I wondered WTF?

Charles L. Peden said...

I have an ongoing experimental diet on LLVLC and it is certainly not low carb. I'm now worried that my documentation is endangered of being lost. I was counting on the integrity of Jimmy as the protector of my data. But if he kicked off LCC, who is next?

This is very disturbing to me. I did not think of low carb dieting as a religion. In hindsight, I guess I was being pretty naive. This is a dilemma for me now. I now feel like an unwelcome guest disturbing their sanctuary. I wasn't planning on that.

Crap.

Sanjeev said...

There's always the risk that any specific site will close, regardless of your own stance

if you really are set on posting your progress and experiments online you could try the logs on Lyle's forums

AFAICT He's only ever kicked off the extremely abusive or those who lied about Lyle's own words.

Sanjeev said...

CarbSane wrote:
many were also extolling the virtues of exercise
_________
Even Atkins never bad mouthed or minimized exercise.

This only goes as far as I know - his company may have gone that route to make the diet / lifestyle more attractive.

It's especially interesting in that some low carbers claim one will have much more "pep", "energy" and motivation to exercise because supposedly, on low carb

"the body is now primed to use energy, not store energy"

or the equivalent

"your body is now a fat burner not a fat accumulator"

They use other questionable rhetoric that's slipped my mind at the moment ... anyone who remembers, please post.

eulerandothers said...

Sometimes, I'm on a message board that has to do with plain old 'middle-of-the-road' dieting (calories count, include variety and the different food groups, drink water, exercise, etc.) and a member will pop up with an Atkins/Taubes/low-carb explanation of what we're all doing wrong.

It reminds me of strolling through the park and suddenly coming upon a person on a soapbox with a sign that we're all doomed unless we recognize the way, the truth and the life. Or perhaps, instead, a bevy of dancing Hare Krisha guys, with a sign inviting all to come to their house for a dinner - and a lecture.

Religion or diet - call it a cult, call it a religion, call it a WOE!

Harry said...

@ CarbSane

All the best with the new ventures. I have no doubt it's going to be interesting, fun and imbued with your inimitable style...I'm looking forward to it.

@ Jeff Borsato

The focus on food reward started before Stephan with David Kessler's book "The End of Overeating" in 2009...and was going on the halls of academia for many many years before that...but it's really starting to gain some popular traction now.

The real change of late is that, where people used to see food reward as "just one of" the contributing factors that lead to disregulated eating, the evidence is now starting to coalesce that it is a big DRIVER of the moderns obesity epidemic (post 1970s).

I've always found that deliberate avoidance/control of high sugar/high fat foods (especially engineered concoctions that also contain flavour enhancers, emulsifiers, food acids etc.) generates very powerful results in my clients. I'm really pleased it's starting to come to the fore now...but I can just see the push-back from industry on the horizon (they'll probably retreat to some nutritionism, claiming that all dietary choices are equally valid, so long as they contain folate ;-) ).

@ Charles

I like your suggestion...a shift away from strictly carb-related discourse seems to be the go (seeing as it already happens in practice anyway, as the intersection between all things nutritional is quite complex).

Cheers
Harry

Steph said...

I'm on board, CS, wherever you take this blog.

You got me a little nostalgic! Before I found you, I heard you referenced on LLVLC''s show "GT responds to critics" and I thought, who is this who dares question the LC ambassador? Then I listened to your interview, a few times, and it was clear to me who was worth following...so thank you. Let us know if we can make your transitioning of this project go more smoothly.

MM said...

CarbSane,

I hope you won't abandon science content entirely. I feel like I've really learned a lot from your posts. It seems to me that most of your "anti-GT" posts certainly aren't lacking in science. However, I also enjoy your personality, and I think it shines through even in your most hard-core science writings. :) Looking forward to reading whatever you feel like writing about.

Diana said...

CS,

Do what you feel like doing. If the mood strikes to go all scientific, do that. If you want to be more personal, do that. It's your blog, and you can cry if you want to. Or not.

I do have one piece of advice offered with the highest of respect for your intellectual abilities: don't take things personally, even if they are meant that way. The majority of what's directed towards you comes from pipsqueaks. "Consider the source."

One of the reasons I read blogs is because sometimes you need validation for one's sneaking suspicions. For example: "low carb has become much more mainstream than people like to admin in the LC " - is something that occurred to me but I didn't want to admit it. I have read so many things in your posts that I didn't have the courage to admit.

However you want to run this blog - Keep blogging! We need you: a voice of sanity in a wilderness.

pattisays said...

Carb Sane, I REALLY appreciate your debunking of nutrition science and hope you continue to do this. It’s needed! What I don't appreciate and would not be willing to pay for is the format of your attacks on others. They are done in a childish and gleeful manner that is truly painful to read. They make your work seem far less professional and that's a shame because you have much to offer that is not readily available elsewhere.

I am hoping that you can take this in the constructive manner in which it is offered. In order to get paid for what you do (and you do a lot that is worth paying for), I see two things that would need to be done differently:
1. Write more professionally, without the personal attacks. This is am complete turn-off and lends a less than rational flavor to your other arguments. Unfortunate.
2. Explain the science more clearly to those who do not have your background. It’s often difficult to follow your arguments without a deep science background. If you are primarily writing for those who share your background, you should state this.

I write about other sciences for a living.

And you should use your real name to be taken seriously.

Patti

CarbSane said...

Hi Everyone! Thanks for all the encouragement and input. I'm working on some stuff behind the scenes so don't have time to address each comment so far individually. But:

1. I have no intent to stop or curtail the science blogging. Ideally, I'd like to get back to more of it rather than less, however

2. The amount of nonsense surrounding low carb and the trends in such circles - mostly put forth in the vein of "we know the true science" can no longer go unanswered, especially considering the sources with increasingly dubious credibility and credentials. So,

3. Shining a light on the messengers is fair game and needs to be done. It ain't pretty frankly, but it is what it is and it's not a "personal attack" of any sort to do so. Anyone who is somehow shamed by my highlighting of their writings and pictures of their "success" stories should perhaps consider whether their advocacy/sponsorship of their high fat diets is even sincere at this point.

I've been considering trying to add some sort of forum/discussion to this blog or elsewhere for that matter for quite a while. The web seems sorely lacking in a forum to discuss the topics we do here. Discussions y'all can start and have. With no restrictions on being "whatever label" etc. It's worth trying out and will be part of the "changes" ...

My thoughts on doing some sort of premium content and/or writing any sort of book come down to the fact that I've been doing this more frequently for roughly a year now and invest a lot of time in it. What started as a hobby/labor of love/for the fun of it because I had the time has evolved into something bigger than I ever imagined w/o even doing the social networking thing or revealing who I am.

What I don't want to do is rely on Google Ads promoting products that I would never support or marketing supplements and such. For starters, I'm just going to be adding a "donate" button for anyone who wants to help support me in what I do and reveal my identity.

OK, that's it for now. :-)

pattisays said...

Shining a light on the messengers *is* fair game. But the way that you shine it and the language you use to do it is unprofessional. *That* was my point.

Sanjeev said...

Please don't use your real name.

Force folks to look at the arguments, or make the invalid argument "you don't use your real name so you're not worth listening to"

Sanjeev said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sanjeev said...

PS - we know Gary Taubes' name. so what?

We know Jenny McCarthy's name. Andrew Wakefield's. The names of many homeoquacks. Fill in 10 million more names if you want.

That makes them credible, huh?

Sanjeev said...

> Please don't use your real name.

clarify: it's completely your choice, I just wanted to cast a vote against what I consider an invalid "argument"

CarbSane said...

@Sanjeev: Thanks for sharing your thoughts. As a longtime contributor I very much value your input. I've thought on this for a while. The funny thing will be that when they know my name, the anonymity argument goes away and then they'll still be picking on the messenger. I find it odd that somehow my writings are subject to critique while nobody would challenge certain far more "flowery" bloggers out there who are often cited as authorities. I'm not so sure I've ever seen people telling other bloggers how they should write! LOL

@Patty: I'm amused that I'm receiving writing advice and that I should use my real name for credibility from someone who claims to write in the other sciences posting under an anonymous profile. Perhaps rather than your broad criticism, you can give specific examples of what you think is "unprofessional" here. Lots of awful thin skinned professionals out there who react very poorly to criticism. Dare I say in an unprofessional manner?

LynMarie Daye said...

CS, since you were in the trenches as an actual researcher, I would like to see you write a little more on the day-to-day life of a scientific researcher. It's any area shrouded in mystery in a lot of ways, and because of this a lot of conspiracy theories arise about the motives of those in scientific research. Specifically, I'd like your insights on the motives of researchers and, of course, how they deal with funding issues.

Good luck in whatever you do!

Layla said...

CarnSanity wrote:
"@Patty: I'm amused that I'm receiving writing advice and that I should use my real name for credibility from someone who claims to write in the other sciences posting under an anonymous profile. Perhaps rather than your broad criticism, you can give specific examples of what you think is "unprofessional" here. Lots of awful thin skinned professionals out there who react very poorly to criticism. Dare I say in an unprofessional manner? "

That last sentence is a fallacy and you should not use that. Just because others come off as unprofessional, does not mean you should, on the contrary!
I think a lot of people have noticed: Your articles are sound and interesting, but you seem to act almost childishly in your person-to-person written contact, when that person is not all too positive.
People with brains are above that. It's not something about you that could use some changing, it's your behavior.
You are fine as a person, but alas, our behavior will need tweaking for the rest of our lives ;)

CarbSane said...

Thanks LMD :) I've been meaning to write a bit "in defense of scientists" because they seem to be so reflexively maligned in the renegade nutrition movements. The same folks who get their panties and boxers so wadded up over a $ in a name have no compunction at accusing scientists of some of the worst "criminal negligence", being absolute morons and idiots, etc.

CarbSane said...

@Layla: I've not had time to respond to your other recent comments, but would like to welcome you. Thanks for your criticism. Please do consider being more specific about exactly what it is that is "childish" and "unprofessional".

Inquiring minds want to know.

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