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!)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Verdict: Guilty as Charged!

Hi all!  I thought for a bit on whether or not to respond to Larry Istrail's Response to Criticism from 'Carbsanity'.  There's not much of substance there to address ... but it is typical of the lack of real substance and mischaracterization that is so common amongst my detractors.  So, I thought I'd address it.

Is this registry a joke?  The verdict is in:  Guilty!  I'm sure that Istrail is serious, and many of those who are registering are serious, and that's not what the joke is.  The joke is that somehow anything meaningful to the purported goal of the study will come about.  Let's take a look.  I'll try to be consistent and put Istrail's words in purple.
From AWLR Home Page:  The Ancestral Weight Loss Registry is an international assembly of people who have tried a carbohydrate-restricted or paleo diet to lose weight or improve their health.
In response to which I wrote in my "cheeky" style:  And I'm an internationally known blogger.
Response:  She describes it as a "JOKE", condemning the fact that I describe it as an "international assembly"
Condemn?? Ha!  I was merely poking fun of the fact that in this age of zee interwebs there is no longer any clout to the term "international", although it is used in that manner, hence the little poke.  I'm going to add this to my list of studies demonstrating that carbohydrate restriction severely impairs humor recognition.   I'm thinking I don't want this guy for a doctor someday, his bedside manner may have him telling me I'm "condemned" to a life of disfigurement due to a pimple on my nose or something.
From AWLR Home Page:  Whether you lost 100 pounds or gained 20, we want to hear about it.
I wrote:  They want to hear if you've gained weight!  Yeah ... right ... LOL. 
AWLR Response:  She describes it as a "JOKE", condemning the fact ... that I am interested in hearing from those who have gained or maintained their weight while eating a carb-restricted diet as well
Note to Istrail: Start with renaming the registry something other than Weight Loss if you are truly interested in the stories of those who have not had positive experiences low carbing, or who have had success, but limited success and now weigh far more than they did prior to trying a low carb diet.   In all my years of weight struggles, I never met a more dogmatic group that is less friendly to even seeing merit in alternative approaches than the low carb internet community. If someone doesn't succeed they must be doing *something* wrong -- not eating enough fat, too much protein, a few grams of blueberries, whatever.  Don't listen to your body, end up in the emergency room b/c you passed out instead of having a few carbs, just eat meat and greens and you'll be OK, and my favorite, the nasty "good luck with that and all the weight you're going to gain"  if you dare entertain another approach.  Heck, even low carbers aren't safe unless they demonstrate their cred by eating at least 60% calories in fat daily, preferably far more.  Dukan dieters are driven off low carb boards by the up-the-fat crowd.  You can say you take all comers all you like, but those who gained or didn't lose or had bad side effects are long gone. 
AWLR Response:  This registry is then compared to the National Weight Control Registry (NWCR), describing how inferior our data is, praising the fact that the NWCR only accepts registrants who have lost weight and kept it off for at least a year.
Does the Insurgency need a new playbook already?  I mean really.  Did Istrail have no clue that Gary was going to hype his registry on his blog?  I didn't make the comparison ... that IS the joke here ... that there is any meaningful one.  But there can be no doubt that AWLR was supposed to be some sort of LC/paleo version of the NWCR.  Note that third letter in each acronym and it's even more ironic.  Here we have the NWControlR who accepts only those who have lost considerable weight and demonstrated an ability to keep it off for at least a year.  OTOH, we have the AWLossRegistry that accepts all comers, losers and gainers, maintainers and yo-yo's.
Repeating from the home page:  As thousands register from all over the world, we hope to uncover the most effective practices for losing weight on a diet high in vegetables, protein and fats.
So if this is not your diet, you need not apply.  Don't tell Gary's friends at JumpStartMD!  Their fat intake is comparable to WW at 18%.   What more is there to the most effective practices?  Just eat meat, eggs and leafy greens and STFU already, right?  This is the advice you get on low carb forums when you ask for help with plateaus or problems.  Or you need to take a whole alphabet soup of supplements ... and when all else fails, you've just got a damaged metabolism so just be happy you're not quite as fat as you used to be and STFU unless your doing your daily "healthy high fat, moderate protein, low carb" chants. 

Now, Larry didn't take kindly to my description of the quality of the data he's likely to collect.  He keeps focusing on self-selection and self-reporting.  Yes, there are inherent limits to this type of data as he admits:
Of course, people can "pad their stats", saying they've lost more weight than they actually did. They can lie, or they may enter false data. This is a simple fact that plagues all self-reported data.
I would simply hope that the same criticism be conjured up when describing the NWCR data. The fact that the NWCR require their registry members to mail in a packet of information and provide their home address does not necessarily improve the quality of self-selected, self-reported data. 
If Istrail truly believes that data collected in a survey where you have to provide a real name, physical mailing address, spend significant time to fill out the materials sent, sign that the information is truthful and supply supporting evidence is no different than an online survey that can't even limit entries to one per email, where not even a fake name is required, where followup is optional .... a huge *SIGH* is all I can say.  In a "gotcha" moment, Istrail links to one publication using NWCR data to show that my memory "may not be entirely correct".  He says: You can give a visual verification of your weight loss (before and after pictures), as you can with the AWLR, but it is not required. As Dr. Wing explains , "19% (145 subjects) were unable to provide any source of documentation" verifying their weight loss.   Awwww c'mon Larry, did you really think you'd get away with that cherry picking?   As I don't have my packet handy I can't say exactly how it was put, but NWCR is big on providing some kind of documentation.  It is understandable why some might not have that and return it anyway, I'm a bit surprised 19% were so bold as to do so, but that's 19%.  ALL of that 19% provided more verifiable information than AWLR can ever hope to obtain.  But let's look at the whole paragraph in the NWCR article, shall we?
Entry into the registry was based on self-reported height, weight, and weight change, which have been shown to be quite accurate in other studies (9, 10). To increase the veracity of self-reports in this study, subjects were asked to provide documentation of weight loss (either “before and after” photographs or names of individuals able to verify the weight loss).  Thirty-five percent (274) of the sample provided “before and after” photographs; 42% (332) provided names of doctors, weight-loss counselors, or other individuals able to verify that the weight loss had occurred; 4% (33) provided both photographs and names; and 19% (145) were unable to provide any source of documentation. Subjects unable to provide documentation did not differ significantly from others with respect to the primary variables under investigation; therefore, they were included in the sample.
So ... 81% of the registrants DID provide some verification of their self-reported data.   More importantly -- and conveniently not included by Istrail, the authors analyzed the data separately and determined that they were similar enough to be included in the analysis.  Ultimately you have to rely on honesty of the participants, but the same goes to self-report data from any study including those on his cherry-picked list.  Some low carbers don't have the best record of their online pictures matching their current state of affairs ... let's leave it at that and color me skeptical.  Can I nominate some cases in the public record for inclusion in the registry?

Back to the inclusion/exclusion criteria.  I have to give Larry an "A" for effort here ...
Me:  Let's see what we need to join NWCR. For one thing, you have to have lost a minimum of 30 lbs and KEPT IT OFF for at least a year. The criteria for joining the AWLR? Laughable -- we don't care how much you've lost or gained, we want to hear from you? This IS a joke ... right?

Larry:  No it isn't a joke. Only allowing people who have lost 30 pounds and kept it off for over a year is like only allowing you to review a restaurant if you are going to give it 5-stars. Excluding those who may have been less successful biases the data to immeasurable proportions. Those people who are most successful at losing weight and qualify for the NWCR may be systematically different in ways uncaptured by the registry questionnaire, further confounding the already weak data these questionnaires can provide. 
I've already addressed this, but it bears repeating.  Even Taubes says it's easy to lose 100 lbs by almost any means, the problem is being hungry all the time and thus gaining it all back.  Jimmy Moore lost 170 lbs once before.   Again, if this is an all inclusive registry -- RENAME IT NOW -- Somehow the word Loss in the name isn't going to be attracting gainers if that is truly your intent.  Larry asked for suggestions to improve his registry over on PaleoHacks ... I'd say changing the name would be a good start.  I wonder how many people who weigh more now after low carbing than before would want to admit that and join up.  I find this notion that the NWCR members may be systematically different (from who, in what way?, confounding?) odd.   How thick can this person be to not get the purpose of that registry?  I may well be jaded, but I don't get excited by success stories and before/afters any more because too many of them have regained and ridden off into the anonymous internet horizon never to be seen or heard from again.   Do you expect cautionary tales to come from the AWLR about how for some odd reason, many people tend to regain not just a bit more post low carb, but a lot?  How will including people who gain weight on low carb help us find more effective ways to lose weight by restricting carbs.  Oh ... yeah ... might bring the truth that calories count out, but somehow I doubt this is going to be stressed.  Surprise me.
Larry writes (bolding his):  What I do hope it can be is a lens by which the clinical data can be viewed.
Isn't that what GCBC, WWGF, and a gazillion blog posts by Taubes, Eades, Eenfeldt, Feinman, Moore, Dungan, Carpender, Naughton, Dolson, etc. etc. have provided?  That uber myopic lens.  He goes on to list various studies where LC produced more weight loss than LF.  Folks, this is SO tired at this point.   Long term fat loss comparisons are a wash at best.   Humans do not undergo genetic transformation when they check into a metabolic ward.  Ward studies have looked at all manner of macronutrient compositions and if anything higher carb/lower fat comes out a teensy bit ahead.  Look there is NO doubt that for many, particularly on their maiden voyage, LC leads to a significant spontaneous reduction in caloric intake usually above and beyond that prescribed by intake-restricting regimes.  But even here we can't get a coalition amongst the factions of the Insurgency.  For everyone who acknowledges this, and claims no hunger ... you have someone claiming they are apparently more hungry because they eat more now than before.  Otherwise why are they eating more? 
And now for the ultimate strawman:
While I agree with Carbsanity [sic, it's CarbSane or Evelyn thanks] that the strength of data created in the Ancestral Weight loss registry is weak, I don’t think Rose or Jackie or the hundreds of people throughout the world signing up to AWLR each day, many of which have tremendously inspiring stories of weight loss and improved health without calorie counting and devoid of hunger, would agree that carb-restricted eating is a “joke”.
I never said carb-restricted eating was a joke Larry.  To even suggest that makes you a joke.  If you can't be bothered to learn the most basic things about your critics, it would behoove you not to respond, because you only make a fool of yourself.  Also, call me jaded, but weight loss stories are rarely inspiring to me anymore.  And it's not one thing like anonymity or visual confirmation or whatever ... it is the whole matter of so many disappearing acts and lack of follow up.  It matters not the means by which these transformations occur any more, the maintainers clubhouse is always sparsely populated and you rarely get the straight scoop from those who have fallen off the face of the earth with nary a quick post to say they'll be away.    "Losers" who inspire me are those like Princess Dieter of Happy Weight After who are putting it "out there".  And I'm oddly inspired by the forthright approach to regain by Diet Girl.   I don't need to name names of low carbers who could learn a thing or two from these ladies.  If you think the web really needs another repository for success stories and pictures, more power to you, but the web is littered with pictures and stories of success from yesteryear, and there's no lack of representation in that virtual trash bin for the carbohydrate restriction approach. 


Beth@WeightMaven said...

I'm in the camp who think that Istrail is well-meaning, but that's not enough in this day and age.

Evelyn doesn't think the comparison to the Guyenet/Kresser fail this past fall re their low-reward study is valid, but I think it is ... the point is that it's NOT ENOUGH to be well meaning. Your work HAS to withstand the scrutiny of an academic community that has rules and a certain bar in terms of quality of data/research.

As I've pointed out, the answers to the "how long have you maintained your weight loss" question showed a fundamental problem with the quality of the survey.

It's nice that Istrail added a "Please specify how long you have been able to maintain your weight loss, if it has been more than 1 year:" question after this was pointed out, but the entire survey should be reviewed.

For example, if the questions are still going to refer to a "carbohydrate-restricted diet" or "low carb" then call it what it is, the low carb weight registry and change the name/domain, or accommodate the fact that not all ancestral dieters will be eating Istrail's definition of low carb.

And just for grins, here are some other questions I'd quibble about.

1) Why combine walking, running, or biking under the exercise question?

2) Google docs has useful "if/then" capabilities. It might have been worthwhile to ask folks if they remembered side effects while transitioning and only if they answered yes, ask the specific questions.

3) The answers "No side effects, and I immediately felt better" suggests the questions might better have been stated as "response" to the diet rather than "side effects."

4) Is "improved mental health" the right answer to the benefits question? Or is "improved mood" a better choice? Or perhaps something that ties into a more standard measure?

5) The blood cholesterol question might benefit from a "check all that applies" instruction.

6) Ditto with the comparison of VLC and low-cal, though it might be more helpful to split energy and hunger into two separate questions.

7) Re cravings, might have been helpful to tease out cravings specifically, e.g., in response to stress, all the time, only when tired, etc.

8) Not sure why the proteins question has a "All meats were fair game" option in a serious survey when presumably a "check all that apply" exists.

9) Ditto the veggie question.

10) The grains or starches question seems to omit a lot of foods, such as baked goods other than white bread, other grains besides rice or wheat).

11) An "ancestral" registry and the fats question doesn't include coconut oil or tallow or lard or various nut oils?

Now these are just my questions after a couple of glasses of chardonnay and with a 10-year-old memory of statistics & research from my masters study. Someone who does this seriously would likely have other (more relevant) questions or concerns.

Anyways, I hope that the AWLR or its descendants may be made useful, but out of the box, it's really essentially one guy's blog.

P2ZR said...

Don't know how much I agree with the 'well-meaning' part (more like hapless LC t[rhymes with fool])...but I acknowledge it may be politic not to sh*t on the motives of the uber-defensive ;)

Re: the comparison to the Guyenet/Kresser FR study. I think it's tenuous because the FR study wasn't being trotted out as a comprehensive, statistically rigorous [anything]. Just a way of organizing tester experiences to be a bit more systematic, a bit less informal than simply anecdotes. Maybe they had plans to nail down the details later, but that wasn't covered in the blurb. OTOH, we have the AWLR, which has pretensions of being as thorough and clean a body of data as the NWCR. Whether it's aspiring or posing, it's doing miserably on both counts.

"1) Why combine walking, running, or biking under the exercise question?"
Well, they're all 'chronic cardio' that will fatten you, duh! BTW I absolutely love how paleos parrot Sisson in saying that running is for wusses. *He* has the right to denigrate distance running. He had something like a 2:20 marathon, a pace better than my 5K PR (granted I'm a girl, but still). Most of his gander of groks probably couldn't even run 800m at that pace.

Swede said...

"good luck with that and all the weight you're going to gain"

Also gotta love the typical response of: "get back to me in 25 years and we'll see how you are faring then..."

Galina L. said...

If they would register only people who lost more than 30 lb, then it would be redundant of NWR and they would miss some of the data (like people who lost 20 lb but solved some health issue, somebody who regained, or somebody who lost only 10% of a body fat but keep it without an effort). When I started LC more than 4 years ago, I was happy to just stop the weight gain which I couldn't control at that time. I think the idea to register people who went on LC diets is a good one. I personally wonder just out of curiosity how many turned Paleo.

bentleyj74 said...

Seems like they are lacking a clear goal.

Princess Dieter aka Mir said...

Ooh, I got a shout out. Cool.

I also am NOT inspired by "Hey, I lost X pounds in Y months" stories. And since the start of my "commitment to lose at last" in 2010, even as I found that higher protein WORKED for me, and lowering/moderating carbs HELPED oodles, what I kept looking for were those who KEPT IT OFF. What I saw, time after time, from those bloggers who were morbidly obese or severely obese and who got it off and were keeping it off was that they kept up a consistent regimen of portion control/calorie control and exercise. Some LOTS of exercise (as in marathons, 5K training, lotsa gym visits or DVDs, walking/hiking, swimming, etc). Almost all had to watch calories. The ones who didn't seemed to find a portion nirvana--ie, they might eat high fat or low carb, but when you saw the pics of their meals, they were not humongous servings. Maybe the appetite suppression was from the lower-carbing, but it still was not mounds and mounds of fat-dripping food.

So, one way or another, it did come down to eating less and moving more...for the long-termers I see.

I mean, clearly, Jimmy (who's a nice guy and I wish him no ill at all) and some other low-carbers who have come under fire here (Eades, etc) cannot eat ad libitum. If they could, why regain? The struggles of notables tells us there is no easy gig. It's always hard, one way or another.

And I won't count those who were never obese as being experts at maintenance...sorry. If you were always lean and you wanna eat a Mammoth a day as you jog on the beach...go for it. Your body can handle it. Mine can't.

And I put the pics out there for accountability and documentation. If I succeed at maintenance--and that's a big if in this crazy diet gig--I plan to fill out the pain in the butt survey for NWCR.... :)

I hope the Ancestral registry peops read your critique and actually revise their vision and requirements and make it a really good registry. I do. I figure the more info--as long as it's usefl and well-documented and properly collected--helps those trying to learn and choose a path for themselves out of obesity and toward health.

Your critique is valid. It doesn't seem to have been thought out fully. It can be fixed. Hope they do that and...make it work, as the wonderful Tim Gunn would say.

Tonus said...

I think that's deliberate. Without a clearly defined goal and specific criteria for reporting, you can eventually take whatever you want from the information that is submitted.

It's no accident, IMO, that they designed it to imply that they want weight loss stories, but when Evelyn mocks them for it, they explain that they had no such goal in mind and they'll accept submissions from people who gained weight. With such a loose and disorganized system covered by a vague promise of accountability (their fancy statistical magic wand, which I don't think they even mentioned in their response to Ev) they can easily discount the entries they don't want when the time comes to crunch the numbers.

Tonus said...

The problem with people reporting that they "solved some health issue" is that it will be near-impossible to verify, and dietary changes can provide one heck of a placebo effect. It's not uncommon to read from people who changed something in their diet and they have a list of things that they were suffering from that they no longer suffer from, but there is no doctor's record and thus no verification.

It's one thing to say that since starting a diet, I no longer suffer from a particular problem that plagued me for years. It's entirely another to submit my experience for data gathering purposes when the only thing I have to go on is that experience and no verification from a doctor. Food, after all, is far from the only factor that affects our health and well-being.

However, I admit that one thing I am interested in is seeing just how far people will go in reporting the benefits of LC in that register. I've read comments on various sites from people claiming an extraordinarily wide range of benefits from LC, most of which are of the purely personal observation variety. The potential list of "cures" that we'll see in the AWLR could be very amusing indeed.

Galina L. said...

I have medical records to verify all my claims. I guess I am not alone. Just couple months ago my doctors asked me why I didn't request any more prescriptions for asthma, migraine and diuretic, also he comment that I stopped having ones-a year flues at winter time. The only thing I changed was my food. It seems you assume that people like me are delusional or lying.

CarbSane said...

@Galina: Here is where the self-selection will make this information useless. Folks who have had negative experiences will not be signing up, and, for example were I to register to mention the "heart issues" I had on my previous stint, I wonder if my data might fall prey to the "special statistical tricks ... erm ... methods" and be discarded for lying anyway.

Tonus is spot on here. When I went VLC in 2007, my adult acne cleared. I didn't have a breakout to speak of for like 2 years ... I considered this due to low carb. Now granted I did a lot of experimenting in 2009, but it was mostly low carb (and no more carbs here or there than I used to get on my "cheats") -- but I started getting some breakouts here and there. I've gotten them periodically ever since. So, it's not just the carbs (or wheat or sugar or whatever).

Lerner said...

I stumbled across this and didn't see it mentioned here, so:

It's The Calories, Not The Carbs
by Ph.D. & Karin Kratina, PhD, R.D Glenn A. Gaesser

Publication Date: July 6, 2006
While the number of fad diets increase, so do our waistlines. No matter what the latest claim, calories do count, as Americans have found out the hard way. It's the Calories, Not the Carbs was written to set the record straight and show you how to make healthful lifestyle changes... and say goodbye to fad diets for good.

[out before the monstrosity of GCBC]

and one of his vids:
Dr. Glenn Gaesser responds to Dr. Oz

...which was surprising to me because from what I'd seem Oz is reviled by LCers, so I never would have thought Oz would claim that carbs are addictive like drugs, etc

Lerner said...

speak of the devil, here is that same Gaesser writing on the National Weight Control Registry:

I'd write to him to invite him to drop in, but that'd require violating my vow of never having a Facebook account :)

Tonus said...

I don't think it is delusion or lying. Delusion implies that you are being fooled, and lying is a deliberate act. I have no reason to accuse you, or anyone like you, of either. I am pointing out that without independent and professional verification, the results are not reliable. And the AWLR is not asking for any verification (apparently because they have a super-secret algorithm that will weed out the cheaters).

For example, when I changed my diet after watching Naughton's video, I experienced a number of health improvements. Most were minor, but they were noticeable and I was very pleased, and convinced that they were due to going on a diet that was lower in carbs and higher in fat. And maybe they were! But I never got it verified by my doctor, and over time it seems that the real cause of many of my health issues were grains and certain sugars, and not low-carb or high-fat per se. But even these observations have not been verified. I'm glad that I feel better, and I'm happy to share what worked for me with others, but that doesn't mean that I have established a definitive cause/effect relationship.

When we find something that works for us, we can fall victims to confirmation bias. And it's something you can find in almost any diet/exercise forum on the internet. People who have just made sweeping changes to their diets and lifestyle will credit one or the other with solving a host of problems, even though it might be something else that did the trick, or simply the placebo effect at work.

If you can provide verification for your claims, I think that's awesome, and I hope you contribute to the AWLR. But my expectation is that you will be among a very small number of people who can provide verified and reliable results, and that most of the input will be highly-unreliable anecdotal self-diagnosis designed to tell the site owner what the submitter thinks he wants to hear.

Lerner said...

Hi, Galina. Weight loss also can result in symptoms disappearing. But those you describe seem more related to allergy triggers being eliminated - not macronutrient ratio. Do you have any known non-food allergies?

Btw, since you experiment a lot, have you ever tried being deliberately dehydrated? I know that when I'm low on water, I have no appetite at all - except for fantasies of watermelons, peaches etc :) Sure, it's not a healthy way to exist long term, but it might make for an interesting experiment.

bentleyj74 said...


"I think that's deliberate. Without a clearly defined goal and specific criteria for reporting, you can eventually take whatever you want from the information that is submitted.

It's no accident, IMO, that they designed it to imply that they want weight loss stories, but when Evelyn mocks them for it, they explain that they had no such goal in mind and they'll accept submissions from people who gained weight. With such a loose and disorganized system covered by a vague promise of accountability (their fancy statistical magic wand, which I don't think they even mentioned in their response to Ev) they can easily discount the entries they don't want when the time comes to crunch the numbers."

My reply function says "not today" but I was getting the same impression.

Galina L. said...

It is possible, of course, that most benefits came, for example, from a wheat or even grain elimination. Before LC I couldn't eat eggs often, now it is 2 almost every day. My fish allergy got better but not disappeared.I still can't eat oranges. Allergy on cats is much better, but on dust is the same. I have multiple allergies, the list is very long.

@Muatu, I lost weight several times before without a reduction in asthma or decreased susceptibility to infections. I didn't try deliberate dehydration so far. I am not getting so easily hungry as before now even after eating something like banana or potato without protein. The food that I found to be really problematic for hunger increase was a dairy (for me). Greek yogurt recently made me hungry till the rest of the day. I decided to give up all milk products for 4 weeks and see what happens. With coffee with heavy cream being my only indulgence, it is a sacrifice. Wish me luck.

P2ZR said...

*gaggle of groks, as in, 'take a gander at that gaggle of groks'.
Oops. Stoopid goose terminology.

P2ZR said...

@Tonus - "The problem with people reporting that they "solved some health issue" is that it will be near-impossible to verify, and dietary changes can provide one heck of a placebo effect. It's not uncommon to read from people who changed something in their diet and they have a list of things that they were suffering from that they no longer suffer from"

Got two words for ya: Matt Stone.

P2ZR said...

Not sure it's even a 'vague promise' of accountability--seems like the magic wand is supposed to supplant any need for accountability whatsoever!

P.S. You couldn't reply above because Tonus replied to another comment, and this format for some reason won't allow nested replies. Nothing wrong with reply function on your end.

Muata said...

Good luck Galina, and even though you meant to respond to Lerner, I agree that self-experimentation trumps anything you read on a blog or forum of how "your" body is supposed to react.

For instance, I'm lactose intolerant, but I'm a Greek Yogurt freak! I can eat the full fat versions and may feel a little bloating but nothing major. However, if I try that with milk, or even too much ice cream or shake, I fill like someone is slowly inflating my belly with a straw.

However, if I drink full fat milk after a moderate to intense resistance training session, I rarely get any bloating! I'm sure someone on here much smarter than I can explain why this is the case (and I'd really like to know), but it's much more satisfying when you "discover" something about your body on your own ...

Anonymous said...

Eric Westman mentions the National Weight Registry in this:

CarbSane said...

Yeah, 2 deep or maybe even 3 would be better w/o it going to long, skinny, 6 character wide, unreadable comments. Still things can be kept in context by replying to the root comment which is better than full-flat IMO.

I'm finding with Chrome it still doesn't work and I checked that no script thing Beth suggested and that's not it (or I can't find where I've got that feature). With Firefox it's about 75%, but if I click multiple times eventually I get the right reply box. Hopefully they'll iron out these kinks soon.

CarbSane said...

Re: Matt, ya gotta love the guy, but he's impossible to keep up with! Just when one new experiment takes hold, he's off on another way of eating. If the sheer volume of posts and comments weren't enough to make keeping up difficult, these shifts sure are. And as someone pointed out to him once, with each new dietary scheme, a list of symptoms from the last one seems to disappear.

CarbSane said...

The Active Low-Carber Forums (ALCF) is an on-line support group started in 2000 which currently has more than 86,000 members. Data collected from posts to the forum and from an on-line survey were used to determine the behavior and attitudes of people on low carbohydrate diets. Members were asked to complete a voluntary 27-item questionnaire over the internet. Our major findings are as follows: survey respondents, like the membership at large, were mostly women and mostly significantly overweight, a significant number intending to and, in many cases, succeeding at losing more than 100 lbs. The great majority of members of ALCF identify themselves as following the Atkins diet or some variation of it. Although individual posts on the forum and in the narrative part of our survey are critical of professional help, we found that more than half of respondents saw a physician before or during dieting and, of those who did, about half received support from the physician. Another 28 % found the physician initially neutral but supportive after positive results were produced. Using the same criteria as the National Weight Registry (without follow-up) – 30 lbs or more lost and maintained for more than one year – it was found that more than 1400 people had successfully used low carb methods. In terms of food consumed, the perception of more than half of respondents were that they ate less than before the diet and whereas high protein, high fat sources replaced carbohydrate to some extent, the major change indicated by survey-takers is a large increase in green vegetables and a large decrease in fruit intake. Government or health agencies were not sources of information for dieters in this group and a collection of narrative comments indicates a high level of satisfaction, indeed enthusiasm for low carbohydrate dieting. ...

Sounds like we already have the LCWLR! Why didn't the 1400 or at least some of them join the NWCR?

CarbSane said...

Complete with success story gallery!

Lerner said...

"I'm finding with Chrome it still doesn't work..."

google is to geniusness as Taubes is to geniusness, a widespread but fictional belief

The 'reply' doesn't work with (privacy invading) Chrome and works spottily with Opera.

CarbSane said...

Re the Greek yogurt, see ... this is where sharing can give people ideas to find solutions or to create phantom problems. I honestly believe that part of the hunger carbs supposedly cause for low carbers is psychosomatic. You hear enough times that insulin release stimulates appetite and you start to believe it. The 0% fat Greek Yogurt from Costco is my new best friend. A bowl of that in the morning with my coffee and I'm not hungry all day. The same goes for a bowl of steel cut oatmeal. I make it with almond milk (like 40 cals carb and protein and a wee bit of fat if memory serves, don't have any onhand at the moment) cinnamon and (don't tell PaleoHacks) a drop or two of sucralose/Splenda. I have a hard time finishing a serving sometimes and it keeps me full for hours.

Galina L. said...

I think it is a very little left of lactose in the yogurt, so it shouldn't cause much reaction in a lactose intolerant person. Sometimes I buy a Keffir or a Fermented Baked Milk in a Russian store and the manufacturer claim it has a zero lactose content. It sounds like it is mostly protein product.

Lerner said...

First off, are you sure the problem is from the lactose, and not an allergy to a milk protein?

Once upon a time, I'd thought I was lactose intolerant. But Lactaid etc didn't turn out any better for me. So I figured it might have been the casein, which is the usual allergy suspect. But my bad reaction (not only GI effects but also immediate, faint dark under-eye circles) didn't always occur; it was an off and on kind of thing. When it did occur, it was associated much more with low fat milk and not with full fat (but never with butter). So I'd figured the fat somehow ameliorated the problem - but I don't know why.

It also occurred much less frequently, if at all, with yogurt. IIRC the fermentation denatures the proteins, theoretically making them less allergenic.

The bacteria turn some of the lactose to lactic acid, but apparently not all - because when I was making my own, I sometimes experimented with letting it go on longer than usual and it'd get much more acidic, very sour.

I once knew a Greek girl and learned about some things Greekie. Their yogurt is more fatty than the US style, so that fits also.

If there is now zero-fat Greek yogurt, they must just make make it creamier somehow without fat.

P.S. AFAIK a casein allergy can supposedly cause gas/bloating. But I myself haven't had any reaction now for years. I presume something was making my gut permeable back then, and now its not.

CarbSane said...

RE: 0% Greek Yogurt, it is my understanding Greek full fat yogurt is fattier than regular full fat yogurt because it is strained. I was very skeptical about the fat free yogurt ... regular fat free stuff is awful and runny and ... just yuck. You can keep fat free sour cream and cheese too (low fat I may or may not entertain depending on the type/brand). But the fat free Greek yogurt is thick and creamy, high protein, a few more carbs than the full fat, but tasty (not too tart). Ingredients read cultured non-fat milk. Period. I'm sure full fat is creamier, but this is pretty darned good. I make creamy salad dressing with it too.

Lerner said...

I'd opine that you haven't had yogurt unless you make it yourself and you eat it unflavored and while it's still warm. The first time, I was somewhat of a weenie about that :) Now I wouldn't want it any other way.

It's also a good way to test if any yogurt that you buy from a store really has the live culture. Just put a spoonful in milk, keep it warm and see if it lives. It is always amazing to me that the good bacteria so powerfully keeps the milk from going bad.

Lerner said...

While still propelled by opining inertia, I'll say that the national registry seems in my admittedly largely-unread-on-it opinion to be casting a wide net to see what works out in the wide world. It's meant to be a fact-finding expedition.

But once somebody else establishes a registry for one particular decided-on diet approach, then you are de facto just establishing a cheerleader site. There's nothing wrong with that as long as you call it a cheerleading site and don't call it a science site.

Also, from what I've seen of diet-advocates, they start out by grudgingly disclaiming on the weakness of the approach (it's self-selected or it's an observational study, etc.) but then blithely and instantly go on to discuss the results as if they are valid - as if the disclaimer never happened.

CarbSane said...

Even with the misstatement I almost spit out my tea when I read that!

Sanjeev said...

them there's two FIGHTIN' words missy ... let's take this outside so we don't break some furniture, or some metabolisms.

Sanjeev said...

on a more serious note, what does MS say when this is pointed out to him, and has he ever taken steps to correct for his tendencies?

Muata said...

Good question Lerner. Since I have been having a love/hate relationship with milk for sometime, I would go between using the almond or soy versions. I've been thinking about giving Lactaid a shot to see if I am actually lactose intolerant. I have another half gallon of soy milk to finish before I start my "n=1" experiment with Wallyworld's version of Lactaid ....

As far as the full fat vs. non-fat versions of Greek Yogurt (Dannon rules btw!), I found it interesting that there's only a 20 - 30 calorie difference between the two. Dannon's (blue container) zero fat versions taste a lot like regular yoplait, but with a lot more protein.

Lerner, how do you make your own yogurt?

bentleyj74 said...

[coughs and shuffles feet]

Yogurt makes me hungry. I don't know why but I know that I avoid it if I'm not going to be able to eat again soon after or I eat it with other food as part of a meal. It's a slightly ill sort of hunger feeling. I don't eat yogurt super often. ;P

bentleyj74 said...

PS I agree about the psychosomatic insulin response.

CarbSane said...

Reminds me of Taubes' Shai study debacle. The intake data was self reported 24 hour recall -- one day at each eval (3,6,12 & 24 months) -- and he says it's to be taken with grain of salt ... then launches into a long diatribe how it shows that the LC group cut the same calories but more carbs and lost more weight so this supports his BS. (Of course he had to ignore the Mediterranean group as every low carber who cites Shai tends to do). Free living studies like this are USELESS for testing his hypothesis. Now metabolic ward studies ... oh if only they would do them. Turns out they have. I could save NutSI a ton of money -- tell me the experiments you want done and I'll find where they already have been.

CarbSane said...

@Lerner: About those good bacteria. I'll never forget a Microbio lab where we were supposed to look at some of those from yogurt. Unfortunately it had gone bad and it took the instructor an hour to realize why our staining or whatever we were doing was producing such erroneous results!

@Muata: Growing up my mom got this "sponge" from my Aunt and she would put it in milk -- it turned to yogurt in a few days (and would grow a bit too) when she would spoon it out and plop it into new milk. Eh ... I never much cared for that yogurt but Mom loved it. I have to ask her what that was someday and maybe try it myself.

Lerner said...

E says: 'my mom got this "sponge" from my Aunt and she would put it in milk'

sounds like kefir

Muata says: "how do you make your own yogurt?"

glad you asked :)

the only hard part is keeping it at the right temp, which IIRC is 110F. I found that in summer the pilot flame in the gas oven was enough to keep things at about 96F, which was just high enough - though the fermentation process took longer. So you just get the culture (I used it from acidophilus capsules), stir that into the milk (which I'd microwaved to heat it to where it wouldn't burn you to touch it) and just let it sit. Technically, you don't even need a lid. I used one but a tight screw-on kind might not be a good idea (CO2). After a day or so I'd look at it and it was yogurt! Millions of tiny creatures were dutifully slaving away the whole time. There's also the thermos method, but for me it only kept the heat in long enough to make acidophilus milk, which of course you drink.

I knew a Lebanese girl, and their method was to use a very big and heavy earthenware bowl to retain the heat. Boil the milk, let it cool to where "you could put your elbow in without burning", then cover with towels.

I know there are electric devices with little heaters, too.

I suppose you could then save some and make a new batch, and go forever. But possibly that ends up with one bacteria strain dominating, to where the other strains eventually won't appear in the results.

Originally, they would put milk in a leather saddle-bag and the horse's heat would keep things going. That might be the most burdensome method these days. I don't know if using a dog or cat would work :)

CarbSane said...

@Lerner: Then I don't like homemade kefir ;) though I do like the stuff from the store. Someone posted here a while back that they use a reptile mat from the pet store to keep something at a certain temp -- I think they were talking soaking beans or something. Makes no difference. I thought that was a great idea, and relatively cheap too.

Galina L. said...

@Evelin, @ Bentley,
Still the Reply function ignores me. I am not convinced about psychosomatic reason for being hungry after the yogurt. I didn't expect to be hungry. Tom Naughton interviewed some guy who wrote another LC book. In general he said many things in the interview I didn't agree with, but he advised to get more lean proteins, especially for breakfast, like adding egg whites to eggs. It sounded for me as a wistfulness, so I just add 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt that I keep buying for my husband in a BJ (32 oz for $4.79) to my usual soft-boiled eggs. I was surprised to feel like my stomach was completely empty after my meal. It seems to me I didn't have similar experience while eating some fermented dairy later in the day. I stopped caring about reasons a while ago. Two eggs and some butter feel me for a breakfast - fine.
Bentley, I don't think you should feel uncomfortable if your experience didn't much Evelyn's. It is better not to follow everybody's advise or experience blindly, I am sure many would agree.

CarbSane said...

@Galina: I sure as heck hope nobody takes my experiences as "advice" other than I think I have some tactics that are worth trying if someone is struggling. And I sure as heck hope to never have blind followers here! My point was that reactions are different but if it's been drilled into you that carbs make you hungry, you're likely to get hungry because you expect to. Also, just to be clear, I'm sure there are true physiological responses. I'm saying SOME of it is psychosomatic, and for many of us probably most of it. I was one of the worst bingers in my late teens and 20's. I could have put Jimmy to shame ... well, nah ... but I could inhale a gallon of ice cream or an entire box of cookies. If I would eat something not on my diet, the wheels went in motion ... all's lost ... I could not control the impulse to eat -- which is almost never hunger in that context.

Galina L. said...

@ I just at complete loss when people describe their binge-eating experience. I don't know what is the difference between eating too much because of abnormal hunger and binge-eating. May be the speed. I used to be able to consume much more than I should. When I went to visit my mom, it was almost sickening to watch how she hungrily tucked away huge portions of seemingly healthy food - big salad, big bowl of soup, main course dish consisted of veggies, meat, some starches, everything with sour dough rue bread ,then tea with couple of candies and dried fruits, sunflower seeds. Looking at her, I saw I was moving into the same direction before changing my diet. We are so much alike in many ways.

Tonus said...

I think that binge eating is psychological in nature, not physiological. One of my sisters would binge as a way of dealing with the stress she felt from being in a situation where she considered herself trapped, or cornered. It was not driven by hunger or even by a desire for something to snack on (her binges were almost entirely sweet and salty snack foods).

CarbSane said...

Bingo! While my former binging may have been initiated by physiological hunger (insane hunger from ridiculous deprivation regimes to maintain an unrealistically low weight for me), inhaling an entire box of Freihoffer (don't know if they still exist) soft chocolate chip cookies and washing that down with a half gallon of ice cream had nothing to do with physiological hunger.

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