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!)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Addressing Andreas (and Taubes): On Relevancy, Reality, Inconvenient Facts, and Internetiquette

OK ... Just so you know, dear readers, I thought a bit on whether Andreas Eenfeldt's response to my post was worthy of responding to, and on the best way to do so.  To respond to comments on his blog or a separate post here.  As you can see, I chose the latter, largely because he has allowed his comments to devolve with various and several scurrilous accusations of stalking, questionings of my mental capacity and stability, etc.  To engage in this environment is not appealing to me, and shame on you Dr. Eenfeldt for publishing such disgusting commentary on your blog.

I'm hoping this will be the last post on this particular topic, but who knows ... It seems a blogger's work is never done trying to debunk LC mythology, and for now Andreas is the only (somewhat?) credible voice speaking up in Taubes' defense.

For those not following the chain of events thus far, a linked summary:  Gary Taubes lost his cool a bit at the AHS and walked off after attempting to school Stephan on the proper way to research one's hypothesis.  Stephan first clarified his responses to Gary's questioning, and later addressed the science behind why it was that no major endocrinology/metabolism researcher takes TWICHOO seriously.

I believe that last post has garnered well over 400 comments as of publishing this one, with surely more to come.  I summarized my thoughts on many of those comments HERE.   I left off with Andreas' assertion that we don't want to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  I thought it was important to address these specifically since he seems to be the only prominent LLVLC'er stepping up to the plate in defense of Gary Taubes.  This I did HERE. I was left with a few impressions from Andreas' comments on Stephan's blog:
  1. Let bygones be bygones Stephan.  Play nice.
  2. The TWICHOO is the only working hypothesis we have to explain the obesity epidemic so don't be too hasty to discard it when there's nothing better, and 
  3. We have no idea what causes insulin resistance (thus MetS and T2 diabetes).
This particular statement left a bad taste in my mouth:
The failure of obesity and metabolism researchers during the last decades is of epic proportions. It makes the Hindenburg look like a success story. Please don't tell me we should care what they think.

I was reminded of this interview Andreas did with Gary sometime in 2010.  Around the 9:15 minute mark.


Taubes is asked about how well his message is being received since GCBC was published in 2007.  You get the feeling, at least I get it, that Taubes is frustrated that after all these years and lectures, that  he can't seem to get the researchers to listen to him.  It depends on the audience and how they are prepped.  He tells of getting the stamp of approval by a prominent person at Dartmouth so they took him seriously, and everybody but one guy loved him.  Then at USC when he was introduced as a journalist who wrote a big book ... not so much.   

I think Gary Taubes forgets sometimes that he is, ultimately, just a journalist and author with a physical science background.  He doesn't get the luxury of being considered a respected authority in the field -- that is earned through years and decades of doing actual high quality research.  Not skimming a bunch of articles and texts and conducting a few interviews while taking five years to compile the results.   I've always wondered why institutions of higher learning have him speak to medical school students, but such is the pop culturalization of science these days?   When we're talking relevancy, Andreas and others, we have to start with whether Gary Taubes' works themselves should be considered relevant.  Stated another way, the onus is on Taubes to demonstrate that what he has to say is even worth considering.  This seems to bother him, thus his condescending attitude to those who do not.  Being factually correct is a prerequisite for such consideration Mr. Taubes.  You fall down on that count.

So anyway, Gary goes on to lament that since he was the last lecture of the day at USC and his audience was not sufficiently "prepped" to take him seriously, he mostly wasn't.  As he tells it, about 45 minutes into the lecture the researchers flocked en masse for the door and the awaiting low fat cheese and cheap wine.  (I think he meant his description to mock the scientists for being drawn to tasteless hors devours and cheap wine, but I think it speaks more to the quality of his presentation that even cheap wine was better than sitting through it any longer.)  Ahh ... but the physicians who don't keep company with rodents all day long, they were more convinced and stuck around for more of the wisdom of Taubes.  You see, these doctors live in the real world unlike those scientists.  They actually deal with humans.

The responses to the Guyenet v. Taubes debate have been rife with personal experiences, and indeed real life clinical results are most certainly pertinent to the debate on how best to treat obesity.  If something works for me, that's great.  I may shout from the rooftops that you should try it too!  What is unconscionable, however, is spreading untruths as to why it did work -- especially in the name of science.  It is not acceptable to say:  well it works, who cares if we get it wrong about how.  Mark Sisson's "buy in" ends-justify-the-means strategy is not morally defensible.  Sorry.  Perpetuating untruths -- especially in the face of readily available facts to the contrary --  is not a defense (much like that old adage about ignorance of the law goes ...).


Now, while admittedly my post on Andreas' comments was redundant and overly long, I believe it was respectful and did not misrepresent Andreas' beliefs in any way.  I spelled his name correctly, I read his post in its entirety, and carefully, and I offered my position/response on a point-by-point basis to direct quotations.

I was rather struck by a few things in Andreas' response.  First, the title:  Diet Doctor: Rising star or fraud?.  Of course at the end, after what I thought were robo-generated links (my Related Posts are robo-generated based on labeling here), he snuck in a P.S. "Regarding the title of this post: I have not been called a fraud by CarbSane yet. But judging from earlier events that may just be a question of time."  We'll get to those "earlier events" in just a moment.


Andreas begins his post as follows:
I just got a long blog post devoted to me by the blogger CarbSanity. I suppose I should feel honored, especially since she calls me a “rising star” promoting low carb diets. Unfortunately her blog seems mostly concerned with proving that everything Taubes says is wrong. Thus, of course, I must be wrong.
I really wasn't going to make anything of this, but considering that (1) I updated the Google ID to reflect "Evelyn aka CarbSane" prior to my post, (2) I've only ever posted anywhere as CarbSane for well over a year now (I was just "Me" prior to that with a very short foray into one or two others before settling on CS), and (3) this blog is headed by a big banner with "My Carb Sane-Asylum", it seems rather deliberate or indicative of hurried negligence that Andreas should address me as CarbSanity.   That term appears nowhere except in the URL for the blog.  I don't think it reflects well on the Doc to be making such errors right from the get-go, and he hasn't bothered to correct the name either.

On to his "evidence" that my "blog seems mostly concerned with proving that everything Taubes says is wrong".  Rather than at least citing the number of posts bearing a Taubes fact check label, Doc posts a Google search on, get this, the keywords "carbsanity" and "Taubes".  Would anyone be surprised that none of the almost 400 posts here at this blog that do not mention Taubes (or relate enough to his theories to warrant using the "fact check" label) came up in such a search?  It almost sounds to me as if Andreas checked with his buds on how best to misrepresent my work so the fewest of his devout followers would take it seriously.  As of this post, there are over 530 posts on my blog.  Around 150 of them use a GT fact check label, but I'd venture to guess that most of those merely contain that because they discuss peer review scientific research that just so happens to debunk TWICHOO.  But let's look at what came up on that Google search when I checked his link yesterday.  Keep in mind Google searches are fluid so it might not be what you get today.  Screenshots are below as these things tend to change.


In any case roughly half of the hits were not even posts on this blog!  Real "scientific" assessment of the content here, eh?  I contend that had Jimmy and Gary actually read my blog back around a year ago, they would not have risked the plot they hatched to bring me down.  It has backfired so beautifully on them, and I couldn't be happier for that, but I digress ...  Bottom line, Eenfeldt grossly misrepresents the content of my blog to his readers knowing full well they'll eat up the red meat he just threw them.  It's a nice diversionary tactic to prevent those few of his readers with the slightest of open minds from scrutinizing his commentary.

OK ... and so he continues:
I found the arguments amusing.
Nice way of putting it to set that constructive tone we're to expect from venerable medical practitioners and such.
Inconvenient facts are by definition “irrelevant”. On the other hand, facts that support your position “falsifies” the alternative. Here are a few striking examples
And now, rather than quoting from my post directly, in the same manner he employed with Stephan before me, Andreas reduces the posts to what I'll call "Eenfeldt summary form".  In doing so, he is misleading his apparently less-than-curious audience who will not bother to read and consider what was actually written.
Irrelevant facts?

Here is a version of the “carbohydrate hypothesis of obesity” that I agree with:
Excessive amounts of carbohydrates (especially refined carbs / sugar) increases insulin and results in fat gain.
CarbSane does not agree. She apparently does not believe that the hormone insulin is an important factor in common obesity. Conveniently enough, these facts are judged irrelevant in her post:
  • Giving insulin by injection leads to fat gain.
  • Taking insulin away (type 1 diabetes, octreotide injection) leads to rapid fat loss. Probably it is also “irrelevant” that at least 14 studies of the highest quality have shown more weight loss with low carb diets, and that these diets lower the insulin levels.
  • Obese people normally have very high insulin levels.
  • Thin people normally have low insulin levels.
First, I think we get what the TWICHOO is that Andreas agrees with, and hmmm ... he suddenly got my moniker correct ;-)   My judgment of irrelevancy is not based on convenience, or the alleged inconvenience of facts.  Let's deal with the last two bullet-pointsnee first.  There is no doubt that basal insulin levels correlate with level of obesity.  I have presented evidence that points the direction of causality in the correlation between obesity and insulin to be opposite to that proposed in TWICHOO.  Does Andreas deal with those in his "rebuttal"?  No.   How about it Andreas.  What is your opinion of the work of Keith Frayn that I presented?    Are you interested in understanding what causes insulin resistance ... or at least the most up-to-date information we have?  Or rather, it appears you're more interested in perpetuating the notion that nobody has a gosh darned clue and Neels 1982 (pre-obesity epidemic, almost 3 decades old) hypothesis in GCBC is the best we've got.  I did not dismiss the correlation between obesity and hyperinsulinemia as irrelevant.  I did, however, point you in the direction of vast quantities of well designed peer review research on this topic. But who cares what they think, right?  Instead of Google searching silly keywords, why not use the labels or search features here, and read the many, many posts on insulin resistance.  Or might doing so bring some inconvenient-to-you facts to light?  

Let's move on to the relevancy of weight LOSS studies.  If a good scientist wants to demonstrate that A causes B, (s)he will design a controlled experiment where A is manipulated, controlling for as many potential confounders as possible, and measure B.  Studies where the carbohydrate content is increased -- a 1:1 swap with fat, controlling for calories -- and see if weight gain ensues.   Still, one could offer up some substantiation for TWICHOO with weight loss studies demonstrating that carbohydrate -- and thus insulin -- reduction irrespective of caloric intake produced weight loss.  Again, I have presented the inconvenient facts in this regard.  I think Shai is a very poor study to look at for any of this, but in as much as it is on Andreas' "List of 14", and it is part and parcel of Gary's latest schtick, it is important.  The inconvenient fact is that the group who restricted carbs least lost as much weight as that who restricted them most.  And the diabetics in that study had improved markers of insulin resistance to boot.  Inconvenient I'm sure.  Which is why when Dr. Eades regurgitated this spiel at AHS, he, too, left out one-third of the data.  

I still contend that weight loss studies are irrelevant to a hypothesis on the cause of weight gain.  But even giving them that, Andreas is the one who, like Taubes and countless others, is ignoring inconvenient facts.  Grey & Kipnis being a classic in this regard.  Properly controlled studies have repeatedly demonstrated that with calories held constant, macronutrient variations (even varying protein in some cases) do not result in weight gain or loss.

As to insulin therapy and diabetics, I did cover that in my post with a concise explanation.  And a question for Andreas ... ignored of course.  Here's what I said about that:
Carbs and proteins elicit a very complicated insulin release and other hormones.  Furthermore, when an obese person progresses through type 2 diabetes to the point of requiring insulin, why doesn't their weight plummet? 
Preferential fat deposition at injection sites where local insulin levels bear no resemblance to those produced physiologically is helpful in looking at insulin's action *out of context*, but it is irrelevant to TWICHOO.  That hypothesis claims that the postprandial insulin spike from a person's pancreas makes your fat cells accumulate fat.  Key word is accumulate.  So I ask again, why doesn't the fat of T2's who progress to insulin dependence  spontaneously deplete as their disease progresses?  Indeed one way we can look at this is that a prediabetic obese person should hasten their progression to beta-cell demise ... that would lead to effortless weight loss right?  *sigh*

The Doc moves on with "Flimsy Falsification":
Basically CarbSane’s “falsification” boils down to the fact that weight reduction instead results from a calorie deficit (stated in big green letters towards the bottom of her post). Well, duh, of course. That’s just stating the obvious, that the first law of thermodynamics exists.
It’s like saying that to get to the North Pole, you must move north. That is indeed true, but platitudes like that do not help anybody.
This is the sum total of my evidence that carbohydrate restriction and/or the resulting change in insulin levels (basal, postprandial or whatever) does not produce weight loss.  For that, you need a caloric deficit.  Manipulating insulin levels through diet has no ... repeat NO ... impact on fat mass unless and until whatever you are doing ALSO lowers intake.  Just a little inconvenient fact for Andreas and Co.

Lastly, Andreas' closing paragraph is entitled "The problem with reality".  As if I have one?  Here we are treated to the classic regurgitation of how CICO is not only obvious but meaningless.  And then the excuses:
It works fine in a lab, but in reality people can’t know how many calories they are eating. And they certainly do not know how many they are burning. And even if they could know these numbers, they may not like having to stay hungry indefinitely to artificially reduce calories in below calories out.
*cough* ... bullshit! ... *cough*
This is absurd at this point folks.  Of course there are differences in intake and expenditure, but even as loosely as I monitor such these days, I have an idea of the amounts I can eat to maintain my current weight with a given activity level.  This myth that folks must be indefinitely hungry on "normal" diets, but never experience any hunger pangs on LC is ridiculous.  And since Andreas does not look like the sort who has ever had a weight problem, he should defer to those who have.  Ask around of the low carbers who remain significantly overweight or obese despite heralding the magic of LC.  A common sentiment is how at least they are not hungry all the time.  Many ... some might even say most ... are also not lean.
The interesting thing when it comes to weight loss is not that a calorie deficit works. It’s how we can best accomplish this calorie deficit in the real world. Ideally with no unnecessary hunger involved. The best answer so far, demonstrated in quite a few studies: remove the sugar and the starchy foods.
Well, I'll be darned.  I agree!  This does not tell us anything about how we get fat.  Many have successfully created that deficit through exercise only, or eating a low calorie-density high fiber diet, etc.  Potato diet guy reported not being able to eat his daily potato allotment thus effortlessly implementing a greater than intended caloric deficit.

And, I'm afraid Andreas is hopelessly mired in this notion that obesity cannot be cured because folks can't lose weight.  Again, next time you're amongst the LLVLC gang, ask them how many times they have lost weight in the past.  In my interview with him, I stated that I didn't have problems losing weight in the past it was always keeping it off.  Andreas, Jimmy agreed!  Indeed in 1999 he lost 170 lbs in 9 months time on a low fat diet.  That one value meal at McD's (according to his own relating of the story) set off a monumental binge to put the weight on and then some in a matter of a few months had nothing to do with normal hunger, insulin, leptin, schmeptin, ...
Incidentally this also reduces the insulin levels. And whether this has an effect on the fat cells (à la Taubes), or by reducing leptin resistance (à la Lustig), or both, it seems to work pretty well for most people wanting to lose weight. Especially people with metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension etc.). A condition that incidentally comes with abnormally high insulin levels to start with.

Of course, all this will be considered “irrelevant” by people who know that it just ain’t so.
So silly Andreas.  Let me get this straight.  Researchers who try to understand how and why things work are worthy of your contempt because they haven't delivered that magic pill to you.  You don't care what they think, rather prefer to ignore it, because you know what works.  In your world, who really cares why?  This is not science and it is in the name of science that Taubes proposes his TWICHOO.

Let's revisit that quotation from the beginning of this post:
The failure of obesity and metabolism researchers during the last decades is of epic proportions. It makes the Hindenburg look like a success story. Please don't tell me we should care what they think.
In other words, you don't care what "they" think.  But since Stephan is one of them.  So for all your buttery (grass fed of course) flourish, you don't care what *he* thinks.  What a pathetic defense of the flawed science of Gary Taubes.


28 comments:

RichieRich said...

I'm interested that you write

I still contend that weight loss studies are irrelevant to a hypothesis on the cause of weight gain.

Weight loss studies (e.g. Grey and Kipnis) show that if CO>CI, weight loss occurs. Are you saying that from this one cannot legitimately infer that if CO<CI, weight gain occurs? If one cannot so infer, then presumably one actually has to do weight gain studies which demonstrate that when CO<CI, weight gain occurs?

Sorry if this is a rather basic question, but I just wanted to clarify your meaning.

PS Any chance you could enable the blockquote tag?!

Princess Dieter said...

Well, what worked for me, and what I also agree with is this:
The interesting thing when it comes to weight loss is not that a calorie deficit works. It’s how we can best accomplish this calorie deficit in the real world. Ideally with no unnecessary hunger involved. The best answer so far, demonstrated in quite a few studies: remove the sugar and the starchy foods.~~~~

Every obese person needs to look at that a few times and absorb it. :)

But I do want the studies and causes of the effects to be discovered, as complex as they may end up being. I'm a fatty who's lost a lot and wants to keep it off and wants to know, as I go on, the best ways to manage appetite/hunger/ghrelin/leptin/insulin, etc, and still be a normalish person at the dinner table. No one wants to live on 900 calories or even 1200 calories.

I'd love for Taubes to read this blog, to read your and other critiques, and correct faulty passages and report HONESTLY and CLEARLY as possible on the obesity research. The biggest service he could do as a science journalist would be to be the guy who tells it truthfully, always, and not out of contextly or preferentially, in order to help us layfolks sort out what's really happening in obesity research.

His book did help me. It may have errors, but what's in there still helped me. For that, thanks. But I'd like to see him move to a high plane of reporting and help us MORE with the whole truth.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Hi RR: Sorry, I have no control over bloggers allowed tags :(

And I thank you for bringing some confusion to my attention as to what I'm saying. CICO is supported by both overfeeding/weight gain studies and underfeeding/weight loss studies. What I'm saying is that weight loss by eliminating carbs does not necessarily support that carbs made us fat to begin with. I addressed this in a prior post. Because I lost weight once eating cookies and milk ... does that imply that meat is fattening?

For the LC weight loss to be relevant, it would at least have to demonstrate that carb restriction alone (calories constant) led to fat loss. It doesn't so all the low carb weight loss successes in the world do not lend anything to the TWICHOO on how we get obese to begin with.

@Princess: I see your point and indeed I've been able to implement the strategy to lose a shitload of fat myself so .... I too would love to see him come clean and, since obesity is now his self-proclaimed "schtick" provide correct info for everyone to have the best information to find what works for them. I doubt that pipe dream will ever be realized. :(

Tonus said...

I'm thinking of starting a pool on how many comments will worry that you're being too hard on Gary by claiming that he "[lost] his cool a bit."

The over/under is currently at 3.5.

In a more serious vein, this whole debate is becoming fascinating. I also think it's very necessary to have it at this point in time, at least in part because so many people do not seem to WANT to have it. Sometimes progress has to be made one messy, bloody inch at a time.

eulerandothers said...

'I think Gary Taubes forgets sometimes that he is, ultimately, just a journalist and author with a physical science background.'

'Every obese person needs to look at that a few times and absorb it. :) '

Could NOT resist...

Duffy Pratt said...

I don't know how many tags you use. But the leading tag on the site is Insulin Resistance, followed by Gary Taubes Fact Check. Both of those have over 100 posts. Then there's NEFA/FFA at 75. That's a subject you say you are obsessed with. Then Obesity with 62, and then rounding out the top 5 is GCBC Fact Check at 60 .

This very quick survey might lead one to think that there's a fairly strong focus on debunking Taubes. It might not be the majority, but it seems to stand out as one of the strong leaders. I've only been reading the blog for a couple of weeks, and if I had to guess, I would say that half or more of the posts in that time have involved at least a snipe at Taubes, and often more.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

OK ... you have no idea how many tags I use, but you have a summary of the highest used labels? C'mon Duffy! There is a huge difference with spending some time on debunking the prevalent theory circulating in LC circles, and Andreas' claim that my blog is "mostly concerned with proving that everything Taubes says is wrong"

I'll cop to being more diligent in attaching the Taubes label whenever a study happened to go against his dogma. That, is more a testament to how wrong he is on many different counts thn anything else.

@Sue: thanks for your efforts over there. Poor poor marylinb, aka mhb here, is troubled over me having a bit of fun with the song. So sad mhb. First my picture is weird and now this! Oh wait ... see ya all in a few days, the folks with white coats are at the door again.

Frank said...

What is sad is that no one seems willing to look through what they don't like from the blog, and simply look at the fact that you present, and then adress them.

I'd like Andreas and Andreas reader to adress the Grey & Kipnis study (and other watd studies) and the work of Keith Frayn on IR. I'd like them to tell me why these evidence are not convincing.

It looks tho that the major argument still in use is that LC reduce hunger hence reduce calories. If that is it well it's getting much better already, and we're far from the ''I can eat 1000 calories more on LC and still lose weight''

Frank said...

@Princess

But here is the question that keeps coming back in my mind : what if removing starchy food was not the real way it works; that removing starchy food could cause problem.

Let's say you've got a car problem and to fix it I told you to do one thing, that would indirectly fix your problem, but in the end that thing could cost you more, whereas it would have been possible to fix directly what is wrong?

What if, when people go low-carb, they start eating more protein and more quality food? Why would it not be possible to eat more protein, more fat, a little less carbs, higher quality food, without going extreme and saying carbs are bad, bad, bad?

I have presented various reasons why I think LC is sub-optimal for many indviduals on the comments section of Andreas post. So, if we can figure out that reducing carbs per se is not necessary, and can even be detrimental, why would we do it?

Princess Dieter said...

Frank, before going lower carb (the lowest I ate was 60 grams, but usually was closer to 100 at the start of my SUCCESSFUL weight loss journey which began last June), I had gone through vegetarian phases, raw phases, low-fat/high-fiber. I began eating REAL food years ago, joining a CSA coop.

However, the lower carb journey included a lot of crap Frankenfoods along with fresh veggies and some fruit. DIET DIRECT stuff--low cal, soy-filled, whey-filled, dehydrated, salty, fake sweeteners crap. It's like a less so y Medifast, only I didn't do it by the letter, I just used their shakes/bars/fake dehydrated soy-based foods. That was not high quality stuff. BUT...it reduced my appetite so that I was able to really lose. When I segued OUT of that to fresh food in a primarian style of eating in January, I felt GREAT along with continuing to lose.

So, reducing starches/carbs worke with fake/crap products and wit fresh foods/whole foods. For me, it WAS reducing the carbs. Only a one-person anecdotal experiment, but there it is. I never did VLC (ie, less than 40 g or 20 g). But I had many 60 t0 100 carb days in there.

For me, a binge-eater, reducing carbs allowed me to stop binge-ing, and as I continued to tweak and improve the diet, eat fewer calories without undue hunger. THAT made the difference: appetite suppression that allowed me to keep to lower calories and lose weight.

Whatever the mechanism(s) and pathways, using tips from THE END OF OVEREATING, from Taubes, and later from Paleo/Primal/Primarian folks did help me, a very badly insulin resistant/pre-diabetic person. For me, yes, the carbs. When I am tempted and add back in taters and rice with more frequency and up the fruit, appetite creeps back up. I've learned this. FOR ME.

Princess Dieter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Princess Dieter said...

Sorry for the previous one. Insanely riddled with typos. Hey, it's late! Retry:
Oh, and I don't say carbs are bad. I eat lots of veggies and fruit and minimal starch on various days of the week--non-gluten ones. When I tried the RDA diet after lower-carbing at a moderate level of about 90 to 120 carbs a day, my weight loss stalled AT 1200 calories(it was high carb,l ow fat). I went to a dietitian, explained my situation, was put on a no-more-than-1-starch a day plan at the SAME caloric level as the RDA high carb diet (1200 calories). I not only lost weight, I lost it at a better rate. I felt BETTER. Reducing C's invigorated me and reduced my appetite so some days I ate 800 calories and felt satisfied. What can I say? I've given variations a shot. I event tracked and found once I hit the 40-30-30 type level of the Zone, I lost better than at the higher carbs, too, even at the SAME calories. My body is not a controlled experiment, granted, but what Taubes described in WWGF was who I was when I ate carby--always fatigued, lethargic, hungry, and obese, bingey. When the carbs went down, energy went up to a level near hyper, even, I could exercise, and I could restrict food as appetite decreased. That's why I do appreciate the discussion. Taubes' theory and examples served me well, even if flawed or skewed to his vision. I'd rather have truth and honest reporting, ALWAYS, and further inquiries/research, but I cannot discount what the "watch the carbs" folks are saying. I saw myself in those books, tried their tips, and found it changed my life.

eulerandothers said...

'I saw myself in those books, tried their tips, and found it changed my life.'

I'm all for finding one's self in a book!

It changed my life when:

I realized that, by counting calories, I can eat anything I want. I lose weight carbing it up (I averaged around 250 grams of carbs a day for the past two months, and that included one blow-out Indian wedding with around 400 SLIM vegetarian Hindu guests).

I realized that when I low-carbed - for almost 5 friggin' years, on the other hand, I had gained weight consistently (Atkins, Protein Power - I was an absolute fool not to ever check the numbers on the scale and 'connect the dots')

Just goes to show ya.

Sanjeev said...

> 400 SLIM vegetarian Hindu guests

Traditional Indian food? Kidney beans? Chick peas?

Gulab Jamun[0] (see here ... and I'm doing my HOmer immitation at this ... my mouth is watering & I can feel my cephalic insulin coming on)


Oh man ... I hope the place was well ventilated ... and no open flames or source of sparks.

oof


[0] better known as "incredibly tasty, irresistable form of compressed gas"

eulerandothers said...

'Traditional Indian food? Kidney beans? Chick peas?'

There was so much! I tried a little of everything. I spoke to one of the guests, who told me the challenge is serving food that is acceptable - and enjoyed - by people from different parts of India.

The appetizers (with open bar - which was open all night), before the meal, seemed to be fried and spicy vegetable-type fritters. Many fried foods! They had a lamb dish and chicken dish that were sauced (spicy) for the non-vegetarians. Then the meal was, it seemed to me, variations of the appetizers, but more sauce. White rice, of course! Two or three kinds of bread (fried). Then, the wedding cake. There was lots of food, served buffet style.

It sounds like an open bar for 7 hours would be expensive. For 400 people, I guess it was, but, except for the wine poured at each table - for the toast to the bride and groom - not everyone was drinking.

Really fun wedding - lots of dancing! Gorgeous saris (if that's the correct term for the Indian dress of the women). Love the ceremony, too.

Princess Dieter said...

Eulerandothers: I am envious. I'd rather have aloo chole and matar panir and Ezekiel toast and cheese than steak, frankly. I could easily be an ovo-lacto vegetarian. And often had vegetarian days. But my appetitie at 150-250 carbs was insane. Sigh.

But me loveth the legumes and pasta.

David Pier said...

Not disagreeing with the major points of this post, but Taubes '96 article in Science, "The (Political) Science of Salt" changed my life for the better. Not just opening my eyes to the lack of evidence against dietary salt, but really giving me a beautifully illustrated lesson on many ways that bad science can affect the world. I think he makes some statements, about entrenched authorities, in that article that could now apply to him.

eulerandothers said...

I agree that bad science can affect the world. The difference is I would never look to Taubes to tell me what 'bad science' is. The 'beautifully illustrated lesson' is an example of Taubes' journalistic skills. Journalism is not science. It's - journalism.

I read an excellent article years ago on the benefits of exercise. No diet, no nutrients, just the effects of physical activity on health. Powerful article. Written by a journalist. Whether he is an authority on the science behind what he wrote does not matter at all. It still changed my idea of what it means to age and why you need to spend more time moving your body from place to place. I'd have to say it changed my life for the better, and I don't even remember the journalist's name. Doesn't matter! There are lots of great journalists, and they just keep churnin' it out. They give you something to think about (and send you to pubmed to find thousands, literally, of abstracts dealing with just that topic). Journalists are the bloggers of the print world - or is it that bloggers are the journists of the Internet world?

Rad Warrier said...

"I realized that, by counting calories, I can eat anything I want. I lose weight carbing it up (I averaged around 250 grams of carbs a day for the past two months, and that included one blow-out Indian wedding with around 400 SLIM vegetarian Hindu guests)."

"I read an excellent article years ago on the benefits of exercise. No diet, no nutrients, just the effects of physical activity on health. Powerful article. Written by a journalist. Whether he is an authority on the science behind what he wrote does not matter at all. It still changed my idea of what it means to age and why you need to spend more time moving your body from place to place. I'd have to say it changed my life for the better, and I don't even remember the journalist's name. "

As a Gulab Jamun loving, Chhole eating vegetarian Hindu, and a middle aged type 2 diabetic, here is how I am controlling my diabetes with no diet, no nutrients, but physical activity. It is just an n=1 experiment, but read on: http://www.diabetesdaily.com/forum/type-2-diabetes/58091-let-me-brag-boast-whatever-right-english-word

Regards,
Rad

Sam Knox said...

"even as loosely as I monitor such these days, I have an idea of the amounts I can eat to maintain my current weight with a given activity level."

This is an egregious, but common, logical error.

You know only that you "monitor" your food intake and that your weight remains stable.

You don't know that the monitoring is responsible for the weight maintenance.

In fact, the chances that you can match input to expenditure with sufficient accuracy to maintain a stable weight are of two kinds: Slim and none.

My Dad smoked three packs of cigarettes a day until he was sixty, then lived to be ninety-nine. Are the cigarettes responsible for his longevity?

Sam Knox said...

Also, the Grey & Kipnis results are irrelevant.

The salient variable when evaluating the efficacy of carbohydrate-restricted diets isn't the effect on weight-loss, but the effect on appetite. It's the effect on appetite that will determine the success of any dietary intervention "in the wild".

Sam Knox said...

One more thing.

You make the same logical error here:

"Manipulating insulin levels through diet has no ... repeat NO ... impact on fat mass unless and until whatever you are doing ALSO lowers intake."

Reduced caloric intake is indeed associated with weight-loss. Depending on the nature of the intervention, however, reduced caloric intake could be either the cause or the effect of weight-loss.

Sanjeev said...

The way that many people on the long term weight control registry maintain for long periods is, they monitor themselves using a fixed size belt or a scale. When it gets a little over they cut back calories.

Observe out of bound result, act to fix it. Observe, act to fix; repeat, repeat, repeat.

works.

These are successful maintainers of significant loss for many years.

I'm sure the fact that some of them smoke helps them maintain their weight too. Maybe something to do with the quantum effects of smoking. Oh, wait ... that's a plainly non-sensical non-sequitur.

If it's being pushed / promoted / sold for weight loss it ought to be judged on weight loss

And yeah, funny how today's weight loss has a causative action reaching backward in time causing yesterday's decreased intake. Low carb works in mysterious ways, doesn't it?

Sanjeev said...

"moving the goal posts"

non sequiturs

confusing cause and effect

assertions stated as proven fact but offered with zero backing

Tonus said...

@Sam Knox: "Depending on the nature of the intervention, however, reduced caloric intake could be either the cause or the effect of weight-loss."

Are you referring to possible psychological effects of losing weight (ie, the person who has lost weight becomes encouraged and begins to eat less)? Otherwise I'm not sure I follow. What would be the nature of weight loss in the absence of a caloric deficit, and how would it lead to a lowering of calories?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Princess: In my ED days, sweets were the preferred binge food, but stuffing with burgers & fries was not unusual. Although I was pretty well cured of the binging prior to doing Atkins, the one additional thing Atkins "cured" me of was obsessions with food amounts/eating/calories/etc. The ad libitum nature of the diet is very freeing -- until it stops working and/or one develops a carbophobic "diet mentality". While I didn't binge on carbs, the first time I had an all-or-nothing approach to Atkins, and this was fostered by Atkins himself -- he stressed more than once that so much as a bite of potatoes could undo DAYS of weight loss. I bought into his theory which was essentially that we peed out huge amounts of energy as ketones. In any case, and for whatever reason, after that first stint, my preference for overindulging was starch v. carb.

I have found that this time after eating like I did for so long, that I react totally differently to all foods. I think many might find themselves equally surprised. It's worth the experimenting when you get where you're going :-)

@Frank: The way many deal with cognitive dissonance is interesting ...

@Sam: Where is there any support for decreased intake being the result of weight loss? I find this whole thing so illogical. Humans are not passive black boxes. We actually have choice and have to exert effort to take in nutrients. When we consciously reduce, we lose weight. When we consciously overeat, we gain weight. The SAD leads to subconscious "passive" overeating. This was seen in the CAF rats. In most LC leads to a subconscious undereating. That's the beauty of the diet for many but it has limitations. These are clearly on display at any LC function. Adherence to dogma and flawed science keeps these folks perpetually painted into a dietary corner.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Sanjeev & Sam & Others: It seems that from the get-go Andreas moved the goal posts. TWICHOO is clearly a flawed theory on how we get fat. Andreas wants to talk weight loss. If such studies tell us anything, even Taubes repeatedly lectures us on controlling variables, which many of those 14 studies he cites "fail spectacularly" to do. In order for weight loss studies to be used at all WRT TWICHOO they must demonstrate a clear relationship between fasting insulin and weight loss. If there is none, as was demonstrated in spectacular fashion with G&K, this needs to be explained. G&K, MDTN group in Shai, Krauss, so many other studies ... all ignored. This is not science.

scall0way said...

"Eulerandothers: I am envious. I'd rather have aloo chole and matar panir and Ezekiel toast and cheese than steak, frankly. I could easily be an ovo-lacto vegetarian. And often had vegetarian days. But my appetitie at 150-250 carbs was insane. Sigh."

Princess Dieter, I have to agree with you there. I could happily be an ovo-lacto vegetarian. I'm not a huge fan of meat and never have been. I used to say that if presented between a dish of mac and cheese and one of filet mignon I'd take the mac and cheese every time. Really it was the cheese I loved. I've never been a pasta fan.

But after 30+ years of failed dieting it was finally low carb that has enabled me to lose 120 pounds and so far keep it off, and even slowly inch off a few more pounds here and there. I don't think carbs are "the devil". But like you, if my carbs get too high I get insane appetite and want to eat everything not nailed down. If I keep my carbs lower my appetite and my desire to binge are under control.

At this point I don't really care if Taubes is right or wrong. But I do credit reading GCBC with saving my life - so I owe Gary that forever, whatever else one might say about him now or in the future.

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