Gary Taubes speaks ...

If you're in the mood for a little torture ;-)

He knows more than all those bloggers out there about those Pima!  (~21:30)  If this is the case, why does he still use them as examples?

He discusses AHS/Stephan Guyenet (~34:30).  Of note, this was obviously recorded recently.  He could have taken the opportunity to apologize publicly to Stephan.  Since he didn't address that specifically, the ticker stays.

Well folks, meal to meal issues are irrelevant to obesity.   Nice to know.

Towards the end he says he wants to write a book about how sciences should be done.  I'm sure legions of actual scientists are waiting with bated breath.  

Gary's new tack is to focus on sugar.  Fructose.  He said in a recent lecture that w/o sugar it may not even be possible to become obese.  Since fructose does NOT elicit an insulin response, however, it almost seems like he's discrediting TWICHOO to me!

I'll leave you with words of wisdom from Gary: (~1:06:45)

Speaking about a conference panel of nutritionists and such, Gary says:
They're arguing that it's really important that we all give the same message because the public will be confused and anarchy will break out...
And my comment was, let me get this straight, it's more important that we all appear to agree than that one of us  be right.
Seems there's some great advice in there for the greater LC/paleo/ancestral crowd struggling with cognitive dissonance and where almost diametrically opposed views exist.  Rather than defending fundamentally flawed science put forth by the likes of Taubes (and others), in favor of putting forth some sort of cohesive message for the cause, it's better that one of us is right.
That one, of course, is me (grin!)


martensite said…
OK, this is a pure ad hominem, but: wow, he is smug. And utterly condescending towards his critics. His primary defense against his critics is that he's far, far too busy to read anything his silly, trivial critics write.
CarbSane said…
Welcome martensite! Yeah, folks kept saying I needed to listen to this or that lecture even after I'd finally broken down and read GCBC. I don't think it's really any wonder the scientists at USC (he related this in an interview with Andreas Eenfeldt on YouTube) walked out en masse and headed for the cheap wine after listening to him smear them for 45 min.
Diana said…

My theory is that Taubes suffers from the disease known as "Einsteinitis." I worked for physicists once. Great guys but there's one thing you have to know about them - at one point in their lives they were THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM, or the SCHOOL, or whatever. And every one of them at one point was positive he would be the guy to top Einstein, to Figure It All Out. I'm really not kidding.

When they go to college, they discover that they aren't THE SMARTEST GUY IN THE ROOM, and for some, it is a shattering experience.

Regarding the evils of sugar, I do realize I am repeating myself here, but I think my little n=1 is relevant here.

This lifelong sugar addict and fatty ate small doses of sugary foods for one solid week and gained no weight. In fact I think I lost weight, but I won't go into that here for brevity's sake.

Long story short: I worked real hard. Expended a LOT of calories.

Perhaps the obesity epidemic can be explained as a glitch between the time that the human race stopped working hard and before it realized that the foods we like to eat during our hard-working phase just can't be eaten in the same amounts (or perhaps at all) when we aren't working hard.

I prefer the word "work" to "exercise."
Christopher said…
I agree, Diana. Most recent case in point: Jimmy Moore's dramatic announcement that he's switching to paleo, eating huge portions of 'real, whole food' (photos provided), and making the statement on his blog that he "[doesn't] buy into the concept that eating 'to excess' is the problem".
Todd said…
Diana, what foods that we like to eat are you referring to? How do you explain all the overweight people at the gym or working construction? And working hard doesn't make you hungry?
Duffy Pratt said…
Overweight people at the gym are easy to explain. A significant portion of them are trying to start a regime to lose weight, but have not yet made very much progress. Another significant portion of them simply don't work that hard. Another group (mostly men) spend most of their time lifting weights and doing other non-aerobic activity that simply won't help very much with losing weight. And then there are the people who think that they "earned" an 800 calorie Smoothie, and then dessert later on, simply because they burned 150-200 calories in 20-30 minutes on the treadmill.
Diana said…
@Christopher, LOL, I dropped by Jimmy's joint and saw what you saw. My eyes nearly popped out. I said to myself, "here he goes again. He's gonna be eating huge portions of excellent food and wondering why he hasn't lost weight/gained 60 pounds or whatever his current yo-yo is."

"what foods that we like to eat are you referring to?"
Anything. I didn't mean any specific kind of food. Just whatever an individual likes, which he now eats to excess. Admittedly in many cases these are carbs, but not everyone.

"How do you explain all the overweight people at the gym or working construction?"

What Duffy said,

Also, this last week of trail work has truly driven home the difference between the piddly shit we do in gyms and REAL hard work.

We lifted logs, stones, dirt-bags, etc. Some of it was done in 50 mile an hour winds. We did 7 hours a day. I was just doing it as a volunteer. Imagine working hard like that every day, for 10 hours?

"And working hard doesn't make you hungry?"

It sure does, and that's why I had to control myself. I ate way more than I usually do but not as much as I would have if I hadn't lost 16 pounds in the previous months and wanted to maintain the loss.

But Todd, don't you realize there are so many places in the world where people have to do brutal hard physical labor, and ad libitum eating is out of the question because food is short? That is why they are so skinny. And this is what the Church of Low Carb denies.

PS I truly wonder whether burning 200 calories on a treadmill is the same metabolically as burning 200 calories hiking on rough terrain.
I believe Jimmy will eventually come to the epiphany that no diet will let him eat AS MUCH AS HE WANTS ALL THE TIME. And when that happens, and he regulates quantity, he will get to goal weight.

In the meantime, eating real food, as Paleo advises, is always better than LC Frankenfoods, which no one should be consuming in vast or maybe even so-called moderate quantities. :)

I think the roads that lead to obesity are varied, and part of the problem IS our increasing sedentary ways. Folks who had to hoe or reap or chop or hammer or walk from daybreak to sundown burned a lot and could eat a lot (if a lot was available to eat). We get up, sit, sit, sit, stand a bit, maybe walk a bit, sit, sit, sit, and sleep. Some of us try to walk or jog or move more, but mostly, we sit. Drive. Tv. Computer. Video Games. We sit.

My dad, never in his life more than 130 lbs, would walk 8 blocks to buy one load of break, walk back, sit to have some with his eggs. He'd climb to check the roof. Putter in the garden. Putter with the electronics. Maybe walk 8 blocks again to get some milk for his coffee, walk 8 blocks back, have his coffee with sugar. Have his fried chicken with rice and plantains and beans. And then, when the day was done, sit to watch an hour or two of television.

How many hours of tv or computer do we watch now? How often do we sit. A LOT. And that has to be part of the issue. We have access to tons of easily digested food, but we aren't burning off tons of calories getting through a day. Well, unless we're high-activity professionals (athletes, roofers, physical trainers...)

As far as Mr. Taubes: He seems to forget the rule that the best listened to debaters are the gracious ones. I would walk out if someone was ridiculing my deeply held beliefs. I will sit and listen with an open ear and mind if they are GRACIOUS as they debate against my deeply held beliefs.

A respect for others and a gracious manner and a winsome personality can make an enormous difference when one is proposing challenged ideas.
Todd said…
No I guess I didn't realize. I think the body compensates for grueling work. I don't think lack of exercise accounts for America's obesity epidemic. The average American didn't exercise that much thirty or forty years ago. Physical laborers seem to be pretty overweight in America. Have you read much about the Kitavans? They apparently don't work too hard physically. I'm confused by your comment regarding global laborers with food in short supply. Wouldn't these people be really hungry if they worked really hard and food was in short supply? Wouldn't that situation make it difficult for them to work hard?
CarbSane said…
Oh that is so sad Christopher. A little over a year ago I was listening to lots of Jimmy's podcasts all in a row while painting my former home. In those, with the likes of Dr. Dansinger, Dr. Westman and so many others, you couldn't help but notice that the concept of calories and quantity came up repeatedly and nary to a one the answer was always the same: calories ultimately count. And still, coming off of a successful bout of calorie restriction -- where his intake had clearly crept up b/c he wasn't measuring and added in certain foods with the predictable gains -- Jimmy said something like (paraphrase) that he still was unconvinced calories had anything to do with body weight.

This is insane. I cannot see how anyone could say that unless they've deluded themselves into believing the myths. Someone who just reads on Jimmy's forum and websites like Fat Head I can excuse from reality (but not from their own self-imposed ignorance of the facts). But Jimmy, having interviewed hundreds of experts really has no excuse.

Princess I had tried for over a year to nudge Jimmy towards that epiphany. As did so many others in the comments of his (now defunct) menus blog over the past 3.5+ years. I'm not sure if even Gary himself told him he needed to eat less and move more if it would help at this point.

What is really sad now is that Jimmy is playing a "damaged at 40" card. Please. That is insulting to a goodly portion of his followers who are older women that can't lose weight at 10 lb/week clips even when they go on his eggfast or whatever. He should be so grateful his metabolism seems to NOT be too damaged at all and he suffers none of the mobility issues many others do. If only he'd exercise with more reason (e.g. not this haphazzard all or nothing a little of this a lot of that crap).
CarbSane said…
@Todd: I don't see how activity or lack thereof doesn't play a part. Yes, hard physical work will increase the appetite, but it is self limiting to a degree. These folks don't tend to binge eat and get fat because that would make doing the job more difficult. However labor aside, as I'm not sure all that many more Americans were doing the sort of work Diana is describing in the 70's, activity is a key. Everything from cordless phones to remote controls to microwave ovens to actually having something to watch on TV 24/7/365 that's exactly the entertainment you're looking for ... these all add up. Activity and exercise have been shown to forestall gaining.
Diana said…
@Evelyn, Todd,

True, Americans in the era before the obesity epidemic (BOE, howzat for another acronym) were not doing heavy physical labor. They were eating less, as Evelyn has pointed out so many times on this blog.

Let's please please get real about this. We are eating more. The OE is in my opinion the nasty interregnum between the old ways of eating and moving and the modern onslaught of total lack of physical work plus the opportunity for 24/7 365 food bacchanalia. No wonder there is so much obesity. It is in short a disequilibrium.

Also we ARE exercising less than in the 50s. I live a 1950s lifestyle, tech-wise. I don't own a car, I shlep up 80 steps a day, I have to carry my laundry to a laundromat 4 blocks away. This adds up incrementally and as Taubes (yes!) points out, and as Evelyn hints (I found an agreement between them, let's celebrate), you can't get fat if you depend on having a normal weight for your livelihood or lifestyle.

Anecdotally, most of the construction workers I see here in NYC (mostly union laborers, with a growing number of Hispanics) are not fat. They are pretty lean guys. (The white ones also seem to smoke a lot, alas.)

"I'm confused by your comment regarding global laborers with food in short supply. Wouldn't these people be really hungry if they worked really hard and food was in short supply? Wouldn't that situation make it difficult for them to work hard?"

What is confusing about it? Yes, Todd, they are hungry. Yes it makes it difficult for them to work hard but they work hard anyway. For crissakes, this is the lot of most of humanity outside our privileged world.

A lot of the world goes hungry. And they are thin as a result. Why is this so hard to fathom?

I am thinking of the majority of people in India. No, I haven't been there, I just look at the pictures. But there are many such pictures. I remember when Bill Clinton was Prez, he visited Rajasthan and had some photo op with low-caste women in Rajasthan. Clinton was going through a thin period, but he's a big dude, and I remember the visual impact of this big white guy surrounded by painfully thin brown women in gorgeous saris.

Apart from the top 20% of the pop'n that we see written about all the time, India is mostly rural, poor - and skinny. A low-caste woman in an Indian village must walk miles to gather wood, haul water, cook with antiquated methods, all usually carrying a child on her back. I do not know how many calories she is eating in a day but could it possibly be more than 1200, if that?

Again, Todd, please, when I speak of exercise it isn't the hour a day volitional stuff we do but constant physical effort, sometimes backbreaking.

BTW if any of the Indians on this board disagrees with my assessment, please say so. According to Wikipedia, obesity in India is "epidemic" -- 5% of the pop'n is obese! Wow, what I would give for 5% of Americans to be obese.

(I wonder what accounts for differences among states? I don't know enough about India to venture a guess.)


"This is insane."

Oh God, you said it and one of the reasons it is so painful to watch Jimmy is because I've been exactly where he is.

I think the whole low carb thing proceeds in stages. You begin by "giving it a try". Initially you do realize that calories count. You get a bit of success, you make friends in the movement and pretty soon you are a bought and paid for cult member.

The man need to be deprogrammed, but that won't happen until he begins the process himself.
Anonymous said…
I had to learn the hard way that too much "healthy" food causes weight gain, what a bummer that was. Diana, I agree with you here: "you can't get fat if you depend on having a normal weight for your livelihood or lifestyle". I managed to get fat, but never so fat that I couldn't ride a bicycle. At this point, I eat mostly what my version of healthy is, but I can eat a bit of not-so-healthy as well, as long as I don't overeat, and don't do it too often (this is subjective, obviously). My metabolism seems to not be damaged, at this point.

I don't read Jimmy Moore's blog, as fanaticism and irrationality are some of my turn-offs, but I think the guy will get back to his original, high weight, because he just likes to eat, and is in some serious denial of caloric reality. As for Taubes, as soon as someone mentions his name, I shut down. Like Jehovah's Witnesses, won't even engage. Blah blah blah bs.
Alan said…
Carb Sane. How much do you weigh? Can you attract people to your blog without slagging Gary Taubes?
CarbSane said…
Why are you here "Alan"?
Alan said…
It is irritating isn't it. Doing the same thing to you that you do to Gary Taubes. Saw a link on twitter and couldn't believe that you are still using his name and notoriety to get people to look at your blog.

Here is a blog that manages to use actual talking points and respectful counter arguments to refute Gary Taubes.

I will go now. Continue with your head in the sand routine.
CarbSane said…
I'm glad you like Melissa's work. Please confine yourself to reading her blog then. No sweat off my back.
Duffy Pratt said…
There's another aspect of activity that hasn't been mentioned here. A while back I saw a report about obesity in children. This one looked at what the kids did after school -- in particular at video gamers and kids who watched lots of TV. Both of these are pretty sedentary. But the report said that the gamers tended to have less obesity than the TV watchers. Why? The guess was because they spent most of their time using their hands. It wasn't the calories burned from using the hands that made the difference. Instead, while they were using their hands, they weren't eating. The TV watchers tended to graze continuously on the worst junk imaginable. The gamers didn't have the free hands to do the same.
CarbSane said…
Hi Duffy, This is interesting. I also wonder if there isn't something to brain activity and/or the cognitive sensation of activity. I seem to recall a study on gamers v. TV (maybe same study?) that the gamers ate less after gaming than the TV watchers. It is said our brains consume somewhere between 100-150g glucose/day -- I've not seen a definitive figure, but this is pretty constant for most adults across the board regardless of body size/composition. That's 400-600 cal/day just for the brain to live. It's conceivable that heightened brain activity can burn quite a bit more than we think it would.
Galina L. said…
Yes, we should move more for better health. Unfortunately, it is very easy to find good examples of how well people compensate their activity.
Speaking of Jimmy, I think , he doesn't understand how big his problem is. Peter the Hyperlipid eats less without a need to loose an ounce. If something is stimulating Jimmy to eat excessively, it is better to find the root of the problem, not an excuse. LC worked for me because it killed my appetite, but if extra appetite is present, something else should be done. It was my comment about his food looking like constant feast, on which he answered that overeating was not a problem. Everybody else was cheering. jimmy needs something drastic. Probably, the Woo is right about leptin injections.
Duffy Pratt said…
Another thing to throw into the mix is the old conventional wisdom about heat loss. I've often heard that we lose something like 90% of our body heat through our heads. That's why it's so important to wear a hat when its really cold out, much more so than, say, wearing long pants. I don't know if the brain is pumping out all the heat that's coming out of our heads, but maybe so.

Has anyone ever studied the metabolic consequences of doing extra mental activity?
Duffy Pratt said…
Interesting article about heat loss. I kind of wondered about that too. That's why I called it "old conventional wisdom."
M. said…
I really haven’t seen much authoritative either way on the head/heat thing. I did read something years ago where a researcher was talking about the heat discharging capability of the blood vessels in the back of the head and neck were important for the development of walking in pre-humans. There was something about how walking upright would require more heat dissipation, and the evolution of the blood vessel system in the neck and head was important to this. It was a book, not a scientific paper, so not sure if it means much (or if it is even related), but I thought it was interesting.
Diana said…
Re video v. TV, let's throw in race and class, too.

Regarding Jimmy, he's young yet, from my perch. I hope by that the time he's 50 he'll have learned after all these n=1s, to try a calorie deficit n=1. With his 6'3" frame he could still eat a lot of calories and lose fat.
Tonus said…
@Evelyn: "What is really sad now is that Jimmy is playing a "damaged at 40" card."

"Damaged metabolism" is the catch-all excuse for a lot of low-carbers who hit a sticking point, is my impression. Over and over you see them dismiss CI/CO and insist that if you eat the right diet, your body will manage your calorie intake and you will eat only as much as you actually need. When they inevitably fall short of their goals or even begin to regain some weight, they blame their broken metabolisms.

They have absolutely no proof or even evidence that their metabolisms are damaged, and they couldn't begin to explain what the phrase means or how it would be determined that someone has a damage metabolism. But in their minds, that just means that it can't be disproved! It is the equivalent of explaining away a religious contradiction by telling us that "God works in mysterious ways."

When you've effectively staked your reputation on the idea that calories don't matter and that proper nutrient management is a panacea, some people find it hard to back out. Being able to point at a factor that sounds legit (but for which no direct research is available) can keep them from having to admit that they backed the wrong approach.
CarbSane said…
Hi Galina & Tonus: I think this comment goes also to the disconnect between the messenger and the receiver that seems particularly discongruent in LC circles. That being "if you eat XYZ or don't eat ABC" your body will naturally (magically) revert to a normal healthy weight. So folks keep seeking out exactly what that alphabet soup should be. And yet many of the so-called experts were never even overweight (Peter, Kurt, Stephan, Taubes, Sisson, the list could go on ...) let alone obese. Then some have dramatic results, because who wouldn't switching from the SAD. It's almost comforting to think, well, I've done my part, this is as healthy as I can be because I'm broken.

We have quite a few broken folks here at the Asylum who've managed to fix things after all.
Diana said…
"We have quite a few broken folks here at the Asylum who've managed to fix things after all. "

Yep. I still have the email I sent Taubes and exchanges with Jimmy Moore about my damaged metabolism. Somehow that damaged metabolism miraculously cured itself as a result of ELMM. I still remember the time I cooked up a whopping 70 grams of carbs, in the form of white rice (evil! horrors!), ate it, and lost weight the next day.

That's not supposed to happen, but it did.