We've discussed this lady before here at the Asylum, but I was recently made aware of some additional information about her that folks might find interesting in assessing the information she promulgates or to counter those who tout her work in LC circles.
Zoe Harcombe is the author of a few diet books who hopes to take the world by storm and fix the obesity epidemic in the UK. She has a story to tell about weight loss after a history of eating disorders in college and 15 years of maintenance. But as commendable as conquering ED's is, there's no indication this woman ever had significant excess weight she had to lose.
As I've highlighted before, Zoe has been lauded as a proponent of LC, and she's clearly a disciple of the Church of Taubes where insulin is concerned. But aside from the fact that she's basically a parrot of flawed science, she is also a model of inconsistency. Specifically:
- She advocates an animal based LC diet but lost and maintained her weight for 15 years as a practicing grain eating vegetarian.
- She rails against fruits & veggies but ate lots of veggies and prefers dark chocolate to fruit
- She considers (or considered) wholegrain bread and pasta as real whole foods.
- She claims to have made the switch to animals and cut out the butternut squash curry in Spring 2010, but still mentions that meal in a Fall 2010 interview in which she discusses her conversion.
- She wants to fight obesity touting maintenance yet advertises and celebrates the "records" for weight loss in the first few days on her program.
- She claims to eat a ton but does not appear to.
- She says she never claimed to be a low carber in Jan 2011, but just the month before said "if insulin is not a villain then go trigger some! We don’t care! Us low carbers will stay full, fit, healthy and hunger free eating only real food and managing our carb intake."
And now, thanks to a comment on Diet Blog (many thanks for the shout out Mike Howard!!) we learn that she does not have the credentials she claims.
Zoe Harcombe sells diet books. This week in the Daily Mail she was explaining that fruit and veg are actually no good for you. There’s a fascinating conversation to be had about the evidence base on the relationship between diet and health: would you start with Zoe’s work?
We all rely on heuristics, or shortcuts. Trusting an authority is one. Zoe boasts in the Mail that she is “studying for a PhD in nutrition” but she admitted to me, tediously, inevitably, that she’s not registered for a PhD anywhere (although she is thinking about doing one in the future).
~ Ben Goldacre, The Guardian, Saturday 29 January 2011
Just thought I'd pass this along as my latest "Consider Your Sources" PSA*
*PSA = Public Service Announcement