Hold the Hoax! The Dreamfields Dilema - SCAM UPDATE

"I've been on a Dreamfields kick lately and I love having a low-carb alternative to pasta that actually tastes like pasta. It's a nice treat I enjoy eating when I get the opportunity. Some think you shouldn't ever have these kinds of foods, but I disagree. If this keeps me from the real thing that is LOADED with carbohydrate, then what's the harm I say? It's not making me go out and binge on the real thing or sugar or any other carbage."
~ Jimmy Moore 1/16/10
Yes, I've had these spoof blog titles swirling in my head and they are too apropos to pass up.  Hold the Hoax!  Livin La Vida Low Clue (not my original idea) started this, clearly a take on Jimmy's blog/podcast/etc.  Hold the Hoax! is spoofing on Dana Carpender's blog/podcast/etc. titled Hold the Toast!  I don't know if it's been more than the usual amount of time on my hands, or reminiscing over the events of the past year, if Jimmy has been posting some particularly annoying commentary of late, or a combination of the three, but recently Jimmy posted the following:  Considering The Reliability Of The Dreamfields Pasta ‘Low-Carb’ Claim.  Perhaps I'm the only one offended by Jimmy's newfound holier-than-thou view of frankenfoods, the manufacturers of them, and the validity of the nutritional information on the purported content.  Perhaps not.  I think his participation in the Dreamfields hoax is worthy of mention.

Don't get me wrong.  I think Dreamfields is a hoax and always has been ... and ultimately this is on their heads for marketing a product with false claims.   I started seeing questions about DF when I found Jimmy's forum in March/April 2009.  As a result, or perhaps to secure a sponsorship, Jimmy secured his podcast interview with Dreamfields CEO that aired 8/6/09.   This would be funny if it weren't so preposterous.

Dreamfields sponsored the podcast!   And offered $1 off coupon through Jimmy.
Yep, that's right.  A podcast where Jimmy was going to ask "all the tough questions" is sponsored by the controversial product itself.  You can't make this stuff up.  Here was the thread on his discussion board about the podcast:  Got Questions About Dreamfields Pasta? Hear What President Mike Crowley Has To Say!

I think the lesson here is enjoy in moderation, cook according to the label, eat all that you cooked (no reheating!), and make sure it doesn't impact YOUR blood sugar levels.
Well, Jimmy Moore had owned a glucometer for at least a year at the time (in June-ish 2008 he was doing a lot of testing).   But maybe he just didn't eat it and was warning his readers and just had a DF banner and coupon.  That's not so bad, right?  Eh ... not if your making YouTube videos about the product, like this one from Oct. 2009 (complete with plugs for using his coupon):


I'd call this pretty darned enthusiastic support for the product.  Jimmy didn't think to check what it did to HIS blood glucose levels?  Look up to the top of this post at that 1/16/10 quote of Ignatius ... I mean Jimmy.  Ahhh ... so DF must be really low carb because it didn't stimulate Jimmy's phantom carb monster to go on a binge like the real thing that's LOADED with carbs.  It's funny, if you listen to the podcast or read through comments on LC forums (sorry I'm too lazy to look, but this is where my memory kicks in from the approximately two years as a regular on Jimmy's) you find many statements like "I can eat  a small serving of it once or twice a month" or "I only eat like 1/4 c. of the stuff and mix with veggies and sauce", etc.  This raises one of those things I truly believe in -- many of our trigger foods are because of some perceived trigger.  Because we come to find out from Jimmy's own n=1 jokesperiment that DF elicited almost the exact same blood glucose response as normal pasta.  So ... I must say, that I just don't understand some people who can control their DF intake and not complain about portion sizes and extreme hunger, yet give them a pasta primavera made with regular pasta and they report all sorts of hypoglycemic carb addictive effects?  I don't doubt for SOME these things are real, but -- as a former binger of the highest magnitude -- I just can't help believe this is much more in folks' heads than anything.  I know saying that offends some people because I just don't understand.  Maybe I just don't.  One more thought, though.  Pasta is carby -- oooh 35-40g per serving.  Here's where folks pipe up -- but who eats just one serving!!  True, but if one can be soooo careful to cook up just enough of the more-expensive DF to consume (or is it that the stuff is self limiting because you'll be rather distressed if you eat much more) what's the harm in a serving of regular pasta every now  and  then if you're one to still include wheat in your diet?   This is the LC *insanity* I decry, because one can easily work in some good old fashioned -- cheap -- foods one misses, in moderation, occasionally, and I think in many ways this approach is a better one.  But back to the DF. 

Dreamfields has been around since 2004.  In the podcast the CEO said they tested each batch on a group of people for glycemic index.  Regular pasta has a GI around 40, DF averages 13 according to the company.  For all the flowery rhetoric on the variations of GI that came after, the nutritional content of the pasta -- that "net digestible carb" count of 5g -- was not determined by any testing of, say, feces to check for undigested carbs.  When you see a nutrition label, you presume the content has been analyzed (or produced from standard ingredients for which agreed upon averages of content are available).  When I see "protected" and this notion that they are not digested and this has been tested, I would not think this convoluted GI/GL to determine an equivalent of 5g carb.  Not when the direct measurement of nutrients that passes through undigested is the "no brainer" test.  If they're doing GI testing on each batch, I can't imagine an absorption study would be any more expensive or impractical.  I think this is why Atkins ran afoul the FDA in trying to get glycerin (just another name for glycerol, that backbone of triglycerides that is absorbed and can readily serve as a substrate for gluconeogenesis) classed as a fiber.  It wouldn't pass the undigested test.  Neither would these "protected carbs".

But it took until Jan 2011 to see any "independent" testing of the product (still with blood glucose levels) by respected researchers, published in a peer review journal article.  Whoa boy ... I see the article has been withdrawn because "some of the data was obtained prior to receiving IRB approval".  In any case, Jimmy's article has the graphics of the head to head comparisons for the pastas.  Virtually identical.    This gets Andreas Eenfeldt to do a study and ... finally ... Jimmy Moore, late to the party, FINALLY tests his blood sugar in May.  Here's what he says then:
Needless to say, this result floored me. I suppose I was hoping the claims regarding the “protected carbs” were true, but it doesn’t seem to be that way for Jimmy Moore either. The only way YOU can know how the Dreamfields pasta is going to impact you is to simply do the test for yourself. Some smart low-carbers like Tom Naughton made the wise decision to never touch the stuff, but others of us are a bit more hard-headed and hopeful that there are alternatives to our former favorite foods. Honestly, though, I haven’t missed pasta one bit and that experiment I’ve done the past couple of days with Dreamfields yesterday and traditional pasta today reminded me why–I was so ravenously hungry and craving food the entire time I was testing my blood sugars as early as 10 minutes after eating. That same reaction happened with BOTH the Dreamfields and the traditional pasta. Not good. Both days after the three-hour testing had concluded, I was immediately eating something so I wouldn’t pass out. It wasn’t a pretty sight and my blood sugar wasn’t even in hypoglycemic levels either. Sure felt like it though.
So NOW he's ravenously hungry within 10 minutes, but remember: 

Then: If this keeps me from the real thing that is LOADED with carbohydrate, then what's the harm I say? It's not making me go out and binge on the real thing or sugar or any other carbage.
And now:  Both days after the three-hour testing had concluded, I was immediately eating something so I wouldn’t pass out.

Now:   Honestly, though, I haven’t missed pasta one bit
Then:  I've been on a Dreamfields kick lately and I love having a low-carb alternative to pasta that actually tastes like pasta. It's a nice treat I enjoy eating when I get the opportunity.

So, either Jimmy is being a drama queen to try to cover his butt, or hoping nobody remembers reading and listening to him extol the virtues of the Dreamfields that he did consume quite a bit of for a while there.  (Even the occasional reader of Jimmy's menus would notice in short order that streaks of consuming certain foods correlated with product promos -- IOW he likely got a stash of free stuff.)

This doesn't excuse the Dreamfields folks.  And yet despite that article  of a year ago January and the rumblings through the low carb community since, I've seen more and more of the stuff on the shelves in more outlets.   I wonder when the claims will be challenged by some advocacy or regulatory agency.  Given that the concept of "net carbs" has remained such a nebulous concept all these years, I doubt we'll see much action.

In the comments on this post Jimmy reiterates that he doesn't miss pasta anymore now that he's gone paleo (baybeee).  I have a news flash for you Jimmy, the ingredients of Quest bars are not paleo, even the new supposed all natural line, nor are they any more consistent with "real foods" than regular pasta.  The latter is more real than the former could ever be.   One just wonders why Jimmy keeps reminding his readers of his lapses in integrity where his income sources are involved while alerting them to some supposed issue with celebrity endorsements.    Is it any wonder that the n=1 experiments were suspended?  

Jimmy, put your sponsorship money where your mouth is and perform the n=1 experiments on Quest bars as originally scheduled next month.  Not that a low glycemic response would mean anything in terms of their appropriateness for a very low carb lacto paleo advocate, but at least it's something ,so that two years from now, you're not writing another one of these blog posts questioning the claims of yet another one of your sponsors.  Presuming ...


Man, there are so many inconsistencies over at Casa Ignatius, it's hard to know where to start. Good on you fer tryin'. I'm sure a lot has to do with the way the ad market has changed; I support myself with my main blog (fashion/lifestyle) & the CPM model has is now a total disaster. I've been at it about 7 years now and where I was making $25 CPMs not that long ago, $2-3 now seems generous. Actually, where advertisers are currently paying "big bucks" ($250-$1500) is for advertorials, which is why I'm surprised Ignatius isn't doing them; I'd think advertisers would be lining up to buy them given that the diet niche (as compared to fashion) is such a mega-niche. Which then makes me think even the advertisers are skeeved out by the weird flip-flopping & faux controversies of late which are nothing more than excuse to put celeb names in your post title in order to drive traffic (like Jessica Biel & Charles Barkley).

Readers know when you're authentic or full of it about what you're posting. I can only think Ignatius's loyal minions are loyal because he's as self-deluded about weight loss as they are & and you know what they say about birds of a feather.
You write: "This raises one of those things I truly believe in -- many of our trigger foods are because of some perceived trigger ... this is much more in folks' heads than anything."

As the lion's share of the blog post was about something else, I just wanted to make a couple o' quick comments (I think this deserves a blog post of its own ... on both our sites!).

One, this is certainly true for me. Two, re it being in folks' heads doesn't mean that physiology isn't involved. I think triggers are basically our lizard brains kicking in, only it's not "fight or flight" ... it's "fight or flight or food."
Unknown said…
@Beth and Evelyn: The "Reply" link wouldn't work this time. Anyhow, Beth, I agree that the lizard brain is a driver of cravings/emotional hunger. In my case I don't think it's saying "fight or flight food" though--I think it's saying "stress-need comfort/calm/high."
Nance, exactly. But since the lizard brain is the "fight or flight" system, I just like the alliteration! In any case, triggering is essentially a learned response.
Tonus said…
If I'm reading it correctly, one of the possibilities that Stephan has mentioned is that the brain may be improperly resetting our 'fat storage parameters' (for lack of a better term) so that we are driven to try and maintain a higher body fat percentage than we might under normal circumstances. So it would indeed be an effect of the subconscious mind pushing us to eat enough to maintain fat reserves that we don't need, and which might even be unhealthy for us to keep.
Tonus, yes, a raised fat set point would do what you suggest (though I'm not sure I would attribute that to the "subconscious mind" ... though the brain certainly).

But when we talk about triggers, I believe we're talking about a different mechanism that's more related to, as Nance says, relief from stress. My point about it being a learned behavior is that the act of giving into triggers that reinforces them.
Fleur said…
I've never tried the Dreamfields pasta. For one such products are usually so much more expensive than the regular pasta.

If "protected" carbs doesn't sound like a gimmick....I don't know what does.
CarbSane said…
Fleur, this is how I felt, but I did try it once just to see what the fuss was about. I made one serving and it didn't agree with me too well. I'd rather have regular pasta ... though it does taste identical to the real deal.

To me, any sort of "protection" that is lost with slight overcooking and/or reheating can't be all that good. Too many variables. It's too bad there's not more regulation of carb claims in LC products. Frankly, I do not see how Julian Bakery got away with it (and sticks by its claims) -- just looking at their ingredients list we KNOW their fiber v. net carb counts are PURE fantasy!!
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