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, July 16, 2012

Rambling my way to a Mission Statement

Last week I was asked or told a few times that the purpose of this blog is unclear.  I suppose that's fair, but then again, how many people sit down and write a mission statement when they start blogging?  I dunno how many people in my audience here have ever blogged, but it's certainly a different animal than anything I've done in my life.  It is easy to get tugged in one direction or another based on how the audience reacts to what I write and my choice of topics.  It's difficult, sometimes, to stay on "message" when I've never had a specific message other than this.   I really did start this blog to sort through the peer review literature and what it says about the long term healthfulness of a VLC diet.   I've attracted a considerable readership of the science, but also of ex-low carbers and/or VLC'ers who have moderated their approach over the years.  Most if not all of these have improved their position -- be it weight or health -- often after languishing stalls and declining health on low carb.  When I juxtapose that with the messages coming from LC gurus and weight loss "success" stories, especially in light of the dwindling success of so many, I can't help but blog on some of these personalities.

I'm asked from time to time to define myself.  I'm glad I never really defined myself as a low carber per se, because I think defining oneself with one philosophy prevents a person from finding solutions for themselves.  There can be no two more sad examples of that in the LC community than the couple that donned their "Hater" tee-shirts recently.   One says he's all about everyone finding what works for them and sticking to it to make permanent lifestyle changes.  The other says she's just trying to help people and sharing information with them that there are other options out there.   Then they take umbrage when someone points out that what they're advocating and extolling is not working for them.  The guffawing at my expense takes them not one step closer to personal success.  One thing I do hope to provide here at the Asylum is a refuge from the echo chamber and sound information on nutrition.  I believe both of these two could benefit from an imposed visit to the Rubber Room (and I'm being lighthearted here, not malicious), because clearly LC is NOT working for either of them.

I have no formal nutrition training, but sometimes I think that may be a good thing, and here's why.  See, I learned how the human body works through my formal education and textbooks that were largely free from philosophical bents and even politics at the time.  My how textbooks have changed, as has education.   Just the biochemistry and the physiology and none of the hype.  And where things were not known, textbooks said flat-out Theory A is prevailing, there are Theories B & C out there, and here are the evidences supporting/refuting the theories.   When you start with a firm foundation in these basics, it makes all of these nutritional (and fitness) philosophies seem all the more lacking in fact-based foundation.  I've known which foods provide what macronutrients since as long as I can remember thinking about food, and my plate growing up was like 1/2 low starch veggies, 1/4 starch from potatoes, corn or rice,  and 1/4 protein.   I'm with probably every reader here that no diet should be based on pulverized grain, whole or otherwise.  But that's not changed things in the West.  Wonder Bread, Coke, pizza, Twinkies, hot dogs, bacon, Oreos and Tootsie Rolls were all around when I was a kid.   Far more than the food has changed, and in some ways it's fair to say the food has changed the least if you really think about it.

When I was in high school, a friend of mine went on the Beverly Hills Diet and explained to me what she had learned in the book.   Worse than some of the lettered gurus, the author Judith Mazel had no relevant background or training.  This diet instructed you to eat certain fruits containing certain enzymes.  My friend dutifully abided and lost like 8 pounds before she developed a pukie revulsion to papaya.   I tried to tell her that the diet was bunk, and remember being surprised anyone would fall for it, but she (and many others) did anyway.  As my link states:
The diet is based on a theory that the body needs the enzymes found in certain foods in order to digest the food properly. The author believes that when food isn’t digested, it turns to body fat. A strange belief because the body cannot metabolize the food until it has first been digested!
Bingo!   Mazel lost weight on her diet and by all accounts remained slim.  My friend?  Well she gained back the weight, went on a cookie binge too, and ended the summer weighing, as so many of us do after trying restrictive regimes, weighing more than when she started.

Now Mazel was not the first, nor, sadly has she been the last to confuse digestion with metabolism, especially since there are lipases involved in both.  But she's the perfect example, and the collective community is chock-full of Mazels, only some of them even claim science cred.   At the end of the day, the low carb advocates are still selling fast, effortless, weight loss with a new twist.  Go to the Atkins site and you'll see some usual suspects in outdated "success stories".   Any weight loss plan that is tried by a lot of people is bound to have some success stories, and that includes the "failed" calorie counting -- which, BTW, has more by a mile than all the low carb and paleo plans combined even if we add in the semi-LC Zone & South Beach diets.    Only it seems that the "new" diets these days are coming from the low carb community with their ever evolving science.  You see CW is pretty solid.  It's hard to repackage that, so you'll notice that from Jenny to Nutrisystem to WW to all the rest, the focus is on what they can provide to increase your chances for long-term compliance.  Sure, you get the jump-start plans and all that, and there will always be new quick loss plans, potions and gizmos.  But the "new" stuff is coming from low carbers these days ... especially on the internet.


In this regard, I -- we -- are bombarded with a never-ceasing flow of bad science to justify carbohydrate restriction -- the more the better, for one and all -- as the "new paradigm" or "null hypothesis" to justify it.    Just when you think the sufficient case has been made against some theory that any objectively thinking person would accept, along comes another doctor or such to re-package it and throw it out there again.   And it seems every time they do, the theories become even more inaccurate as they are scienced-up in a smarter way or by someone smarter than the last guy (or gal) with more letters after their name, etc.    It matters not that the person is a charismatic nice guy or a dour, arrogant asshat.  If the science is wrong, it's wrong.  In Nutritional Idiotosis I discussed how the low carb diet really hasn't changed, but the "science" has.   Atkins himself repackaged the diet twice (more?), and then Westman, Volek & Phinney repackaged it again in his name.  There are Atkins spin-offs like the Silver Cloud diet which is essentially that fat fast, and the knock-offs like Protein Power.  And what folks have realized is that for most people, the effective form of LC for weight loss is the VLC <50g or even <20g carb diet.  So W,V&P discussed how some would need to remain at that level for life in TNA  Thanks to a reader, I now have a copy of V&P's Art & Science book.  Haven't had time to read it yet, but these are the folks behind nutritional ketosis.  Sisson put enchanting tales of Grok and evolution behind the same old same old, the list could go on and on.  I will mention Bailor's Smarter Science of Slim because it's even getting into official curriculum!  Yikes!!  The bottom line is the diet has remained substantially the same (purified of crapola, but foundationally the same) for four decades and counting -- it's the explanations for why it works that keep evolving, much faster than humans for sure!

The problem for many behind certain "movements" is that they've hitched their livelihood to a particular philosophy and the science that purportedly backs it.  That some of these folks have MD's or biology degrees doesn't make their science any more right by default.  I catch a lot of flack for pointing out monetary motives or motives in general here, and I wonder just when it was that consumers have collectively given up being discerning.  I'd like to think there are still a few people out there who don't pick up the phone and buy every latest fat-melting pill you see advertised.  The maker of miracumelt says you can eat all day and lose weight while you sleep with this pill!  Perhaps they trot out an MD or someone just dressed in a doctor's coat.  You see that selling tactic coming at you from a mile away!  Right?  Next doc tells you how the pill was formulated based on the main ingredient having been proven effective in clinical trials.  Would you accept that, or investigate further?  Not all clinical trials are created equally and even if Compound M was found effective for weight loss in a double-blind RCT, when you investigate you see that subjects lost an average of 5 lbs in 3 months taking 100 mg/day -- this product costs $45 for a 30 day supply of 10,000 microgram pills.   That means it would cost you a whopping $1350 to reproduce the effective dose from that study.

The point being many of us will just try some of these things here and there, but most don't even have the time or background to evaluate claims so it's either "what have I got to lose?" or "pass".   If the former, there's usually some investment involved, be it time in implementation and/or money.  I hear all the time, how I won't know if XYZ works unless I try it, and somehow that XYZ worked for them validates the claims being made by some guru.  While it is true I'll never know if something will work for me unless I try it, that is not a reason to just try anything.  Obesity and ill health breeds desperation.  We would all roundly condemn Company X selling expensive treatment Y that is based on dubious claims, to a dying cancer patient.  Most obese are not dying imminently, but are convinced they probably will soon, so any manner of treatments and diets and pills is better than trying nothing ... right?  So while I understand their predicaments, it does not excuse any of those I've criticized here from their behavior.   True honesty in the low carb community would ruin livelihoods.  Plain and simple.  So the alternative is to hedge and live on the outskirts.

Continuing on a bit more about me ... One of the criticisms of various "gurus" is that many have not "been there".  Well I have, and I bring that to the table.  Many of the various "gurus" don't know or understand the science they convey.  Well I do, and I bring that to the table.  I don't have a "brand" or adhere or advocate a particular dietary philosophy, though I still would be considered mostly a real foodie who recognizes the value of carbohydrate restriction for weight loss and managing diseases like diabetes.  When you read science here, it will be the truth -- to the best science can know it, and subject to change if new evidence comes down the pike.   It will not be skewed and packaged and repackaged to further some movement, agenda or franchise.   Whether a study is good or bad will not hinge on the outcomes but rather study design and reporting.  

I suppose it's fair enough to say I'm all about debunking and tearing people down rather than helping people.  On the surface I can see how it could seem that way.  But it would not be so were it not for the constant stream of scientifically mangled arguments, advocates who lack credibility, and especially a community of practitioners of a lifestyle ... and I'm talking low carb here ... who as a group are not reaping the promised rewards of their self-declared healthy superior lifestyle/diet.   I've been called all manner of despicable names in the past couple of months because I call it as I see it and expose the truth behind so many of these scams.  Scammers don't like to be exposed, and I'm willing to bet most don't even consider themselves scammers -- they are "helping people" -- but a scam is a scam.

So, what is the Mission Statement of The Carb Sane-Asylum, 2012?  

  1. For starters, though nobody noticed, I changed the name of the place ever so slightly recently from "My" to "The".  I want this blog to be a place where recovering carbophobes"can come to seek refuge, shoot the breeze and share stories with others who have been-there-done-that, and work towards their own personal solutions.  So, "the" rather than "my" because I'm hopeful we can expand a community here where people can explore options other than the swirling flush to a 90% fat diet or bust approach.    Which is not to say my story is relegated to the dust-bin, but that I want this blog to be more than just about me ... as I think it really has been for quite some time!  I never intended this main blog to be about my story.  It is relevant, but as I've always said -- this is important! -- I could weigh 100 lbs or 400 lbs, that doesn't change the science I present here.  In that vein ...
  2. I will continue to provide my readers with the straight talk on current developments in the science of diet and nutrition both for weight management and health.  The focus will be on the role of carbohydrate in the diet, but not the full scope by any means.  I will continue to bring you summaries of recently released studies with critical analysis as well as reviews of older peer review literature.  PR is not perfect, but it really is the best that we've got.  I'll do my best to synthesize it down for lay people, but this is difficult to do with such a wide audience.   So if I talk over your head, but you want to learn more?  Comment and ask!  I hate the phrase "dumbed down" ... I prefer simplify, as I would hope a financial advisor or tech salesman would speak to me in simplified terms but not as if I'm stupid (trust me, as a blonde woman this is a peeve of mine!  LOL).  I firmly believe lots of this stuff is overly complicated specifically to deceive, so if something I say here goes over your head, ask and I shall simplify further ... I know I can explain just about anything to anyone when it comes to this stuff, it's just impossible to do so on a broad basis without sounding pedantic to some, condescending to others.  But I know, if you give me the chance, I can explain all that "sciencey stuff" in language you can understand without mangling it to such a degree that I've changed the meaning.   Repackaging a message for buy-in by the masses is the true definition of "dumbing down" and it helps nobody to be spoon-fed misinformation in the name of science.  If commenting publicly intimidates you, shoot me an email.  I subscribe to that old adage that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask.   Now, in the process of distributing information ...
  3. I will continue to debunk and expose where needed.   The veracity, credibility and integrity of all of your information sources are not only "fair game", it is paramount these be addressed.   Where the information source is an "expert", I will continue to address science first, but cannot ignore the factors that may go into why they misrepresent or cling to refuted ideology.  Follow the money seems to ring true with these folks when they are pointing fingers at Big This-or-That, not realizing three are pointing back at them.  When the source is a "success story", then their personal story is really all that matters, so I will expose fraud when I see it.  Sorry, but when all you bring to the table is your personal story, then that's where the spotlight must be shone.
I hope in the coming days to do a little house cleaning here and revamping.  I don't know ... these are really busy times and I have some very important decisions to make in the next week or so.  My husband will be leaving his current place of employment and starting a new job.  We have many loose ends, not the least of which is a house we have been unable to sell or keep up well this past year, that need to be "tied" in coming weeks.   Thanks for your continued support and readership!  

67 comments:

justprayin said...

As a reader of your blog i would just ask that you stick to the science for your mission. I find your message gets lost when you 'debunk and expose'. Is there anyway, to just stand on your theories and not be 'condescending' to others?

Meeko said...

A bunch of excuses to attack other people. Why not just stick to science? How many times will you rehash your anger and hatred towards others? We get it; you don't like certain people; you said it, move on.

gunther gatherer said...

You wouldn't be FrankG now, would you???

Tonus said...

"A bunch of excuses to attack other people."

I agree that Evelyn probably spends too much time trying to explain herself to people who are not worth the effort. I also am pretty sure that "just stick to science" is a euphemism for 'stop unmasking the snake-oil salespeople.' My suggestion? Go order some more t-shirts. XXXL of course!

Meeko said...

No. Just started reading this blog a few weeks ago. A couple of us who are clients of the same person were drawn to the scientific aspect, but, I can only speak for myself, the anger and name calling has become a turn off.
There was no euphemism, I was simply expressing an opinion.
And I haven't required a XXXL shirt in 4 years.
I can see that this web site is a haven for bitter people, angry at everyone.

gunther gatherer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gunther gatherer said...

I don't think calling out fat weight loss gurus making money off other people's misery and sickness is bitter or angry. It's exposing the hypocrisy. It's taking out the garbage.

You're being a petunia. Don't read diet blogs if they tend to hurt your feelings.

justprayin said...

As a person who also just started reading this blog i tend to view her 'exposing and debunking' more reminiscent of a scorned wife who has been cheated on by her husband. And as for the 3x tshirt, i guess you might have to order one for evelyn too, who apparently could weigh up to 400lbs, (her words, not mine).
I think I may be her target audience, i've been on low carb, i've had success with it, but then i have struggled with it too. Is it reasonable that I may try to come here to find answers but then get discouraged because she is off 'exposing and debunking' people again?

gunther gatherer said...

Hm, looks like both justprayin and Meeko are the same person/troll.

They both said "stick to the science" only a few minutes after each other. Coincidence? I think not.

Hi Frank!

Sanjeev said...

> this web site is a haven for bitter people, angry at everyone

a site that points out a consumer rip off attracts people that appreciate being informed, and don't appreciate being ripped off.

have you gone and criticized those doing the actual bad behaviour on their forums?

If you have not, you prefer criticizing the person pointing out the scam artist over criticizing the scam artist.

> rehash your anger and hatred towards others? We get it; you don't like certain people

can you really read minds and emotions? Of someone in Boston?

> this web site is a haven for bitter people, angry at everyone

can you really read the thoughts and emotions of many people from all over the world from your location?

Quite a talent you have there.

Christopher said...

My personal vote is for debunk and expose. It's the red meat that make this site what it is, I think (and why people read it); the science, necessary but not sufficient, provides credibility.

Tonus said...

Exactly. Compare the number of comments that a post like this will get, versus the ones that are mostly or entirely technical in nature. I'd wager that the "mean" posts get far more traffic than the technical ones do. Nature of the beast, and all that.

justprayin said...

That's the point sanjeev. I appreciate she pointed out the discrepancy....once. She seems to be an intelligent lady. Let her work stand for itself.

Valerie said...

As someone who has been reading occasionally for the past 6 months or so, could you please provide a list of acronyms you commonly use? I think I've figured out most, but I sometimes run into one that leaves me stumped for a bit. Thanks!

Sanjeev said...

there's a button for this down the right hand column somewhere

http://carbsanity.blogspot.com/p/acronyms.html

or click here

Sanjeev said...

Complete nonsense. Folks have commented how finding a post here or other forums finally got them off the orthorexia treadmill they had been on. With one post 3 years ago that would NOT be happening.

Consumer protection is NOT homeopathic - "the less the better". It's the opposite - the volume of criticism of woo and scamming is nowhere near enough to counter the amount of woo out there.

Commenting on the science is NOT enough. One must catch people emotionally.

And for someone who decries name-calling, care to count the number of "not too positive" names you used above?

> She seems to be an intelligent lady

Why was THIS necessary?

AND who's forcing you to read every post?

eulerandothers said...

I second that...

For a morning cup of bitter brew, I'll read any low-carb blog or board. Lots of people feeling 'duped' by the scientific establishment, the medical establishment, food producers and the evil Big Pharma. Most popular targets of ridicule: dieticians ('what do they know'), doctors ('they failed to recognize that calories don't work that way in my body'), and the favorite - vegetarians and vegans ('just laugh, those people are plain wusses').

Most popular new saviors: over-the-counter or online orders of supplements ('Natural Paradise Super Complex amino acid emulsion') and special oils, even critical reviews of the HCG diet (nothing but weirdness there, sorry), followed by first person accounts that each of these saviors 'saved' someone from a life of ill-health, pain, or just fatness.

Yes, they're not all like that. The way they differ - and it is the one and only way - is their lists of what's 'off-limits' and 'don't ingest this food substance' warnings. Explaining the intricate (or appalling simplistic) reasoning behind such lists takes up quite a bit of time and blog space.

I've listened to Jimmy Moore's podcasts. I thought he was pretty funny, reining himself in when he had Neil Barnard as a guest. In fact, I thought he showed admirable restraint!

Valerie said...

Thanks. I'm not sure why I've never seen that before.

OnePointFive said...

Your blog was and still is a breath of fresh air for someone who got interested in all this from a diabetes perspective.
I came from diabetes forums,where the only reason people are fat or diabetic is because they have followed low fat, government sanctioned diets. (latest proposal a class action against the NHS and diabetes UK)
Some of these forums are truly an echo chamber with the same ideas repeated from forum to forum.Frank G is a good example posting on several forums under different nom de plumes ( well there's someone that posts the same thing at a similar time on different forums,interestingly, if he's who I think he is then some of his history is conveniently forgotten. ) He's not the only one, people get sucked in and often get good results in the short term but there are very few people posting of long term success. It's got far worse recently, not just low carb but LCHF with 80% fat being promoted as the panacea for T2 and even occasionally T1 diabetes

I've got some scientific background (cognitive psychology) so can read a paper but haven't any background in biochemistry Your more scientific posts are the ones that have been most informative and useful to me. (also led me to buy Frayn's textbook and educate myself!)
I'm less happy with the more personal posts. I'm human and laugh out loud sometimes. Once in a while they're revealing but a plethora of such posts dilutes the message.

Lesley Scott said...

my 2 cents: I like Evelyn's style of blogging. It's authentic & much like the way it was "back in the day" when there were maybe 7 million blogs listed on Technorati and bloggers blogged b/c they were passionate about their subject.

I've found IRL that food is a hugely contentious issue, so adopting a seemingly aggressive tone is entirely appropriate at times. The kitchen can be like a battlefield as I've discovered with following my way of eating - a pretty emphatic emphasis on eating food that's grown in the ground or grazed on it. I prefer grassfed over CAFO & am uncomfortable with what pesticides do to the soil & the resulting produce, and feel the same way about what antibiotics/hormones & ultra-high pasteurizing do to dairy. Plus I agree with the Kraken that there has been insufficient evolutionary time & pressure to make the proteins in legumes & grains such as wheat non-problematic, which is why I avoid them personally. Anyway, the last 2 places I've stayed where the people there ate CAFO, a lot of fast food, oodles of industrial fried chicken products, microwave dinners, sugary sweet desserts parading as "healthy" yogurt, etc. The hubs & I joked about "The Contentious Kitchen" - just by quietly going about making my bone broths & buying pastured eggs & raw dairy & drinking kombucha (damn, I guess I'm a total dirt-worshipping hippie after all), it seemed to turn the kitchen into this weird battleground.

Because I think the Whole9 couple is right: it does start with food. And not eating what we need precipitates a whole host of problems from the superficial (acne) to the worrisome (GERD; IBS) to the downright scary (diabetes & heart disease).

So I find the almost religious blind faith that dominates the LC-o-sphere odd, very American I guess, turning a diet into a religion, with Dr. Atkins conveniently dead, meaning he can be sainted, and his protege GT not even a trained scientist but he wrote a "really thick book filled with really big words" so he must be smaht (Fredo/Godfather/I want-respect voice). Too bad Good Calories, Bad Calories mischaracterizes its source materials and is fundamentally wrong. But he's said the magic words to people: the reason you're fat isn't your fault, it's because of that bad hormone insulin, you don't need to move more (so you're not a sloth, after all) and you can eat a gazilion calories as long as they don't contain bad carbs (so no, Virginia, when you pig out on bacon, you're not a glutton...really). I guess LC dogma feeds into people's love of mysticism & desire for a messiah plus a soundbite excuse for why they can indulge in sloth & gluttony 'cuz CICO is wrong.

So I love Evelyn's bigtime science posts as I actually learn some facts rather than more snippets of dogma, however the debunking ones are a fun respite every once in a while from making my peabrain have to work so hard. LIke a refreshing mid-course sherbet palate-cleanser.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Funny how this is your first ever comment here. None of the science posts ever prompted you to comment, eh? Please let me know SPECIFICALLY where I have ever condescended to YOU.

I extend my welcome nonetheless, and please do encourage me to spend more time on the science by letting me know how that helps or teaches you.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I'll just say THANK YOU to Sanjeev! If I offered so little, my readership would not have grown so. And while I would love all of it to be for the science meat, when there are bursts and fly throughs, those posts never seem to produce.

If I offer any apologies it is to the REGULAR readers who DO read here for the science, that the rest of the stuff is so NECESSARY.

justprayin said...

No one is forcing me to read anything, i just get tired of reading 'drama'. I said 'seems' because, I would think an intelligent person would be able to make a point without having to resort to name calling and belittling, that's all. You can have a sense of humor and still make a point. You're right, why should I read every post, I could stick with the 'scientific' ones, but it would seem every post is laced with 'exposing and debunking'. I would like more science and meat? Am I the only one?

MM said...

I found CarbSane's blog extremely helpful when I was plateaued on LC. I feel a bit like a broken record saying that, because I think I've said it many times before. However, there are always new readers and I guess I decided to say it again. At the time she was debunking Taubes, and this was really important for me. I bought into his interpretation of the science, and it was necessary for me to see that his view wasn't unquestionably correct in order to move on. Others may be in the same boat, but with a different guru. I think this debunking Evelyn does is important, even if it makes people uncomfortable.

bentleyj74 said...

The debunking is relevant to the science.

Rolling with the scorned wife theme though...I'd probably be interested to know the guy is a liar and a cheat before I get out my checkbook to support his holy mission. Especially if the wife has some nice glossy 9X13s to disprove fraudulent claims.

justprayin said...

Thank you MM. That is why I have been reading Evelyn's blog. For a different point of view. I found out a long time ago, that it's dangerous to go all in on one person's point of view. I just feel her point get's lost in some of the comments she makes. I would ask you Evelyn, where do you want to go in life? Do you want to publish your works someday?

justprayin said...

lol

P2ZR said...

Minor elephant in the room (is that an oxymoron?) is that the non-primarily-science posts get so many more reads/comments because they're *easier* to read. Anyone can read quickly about personalities and then yammer on about the post in the comments. OTOH, the science-heavy posts take some slogging through, even for those of us with a rudimentary grasp of biochem and more advanced understanding of other sciences. Comparative advantage--more than we like to admit, we all outsource the breaking down of the science to people who are more adept at it and enjoy it more...because we'd prefer being our productive (or not) selves doing what we do better.

It still takes some effort and brains to fully digest pre-digested science. Those who already realize that carbs don't transform you into a diabetic blob may or may not bother, and often won't be motivated to comment. Those who are diehard LC'ers will skip the content of those posts, very successfully convincing themselves that it must be full of bovine feces.

@Evelyn: I know you pay attention to your blog stats, and that it's probably why you often (now more than before?) upload the science posts along with the 'personality' posts--because the science ones don't get nearly as many hits. But IMO, you are doing your scientific legwork a huge disservice by not forcing people to sit down and go through the science posts. E.g., for me, I try to read them thoroughly (in varying degrees of tiredness--another reason to outsource!), but before chewing through them enough to have perhaps a question or two, bam--there are other posts dragging my attention away.

And if you left the science posts up longer, it'd also look like there are MORE of them, compelling people to go through them earnestly ;)

Karen said...

I like the way Evelyn does her blog. Except, the scientific stuff, LOL hows that for different. I will be bugging you all with "what does this or that mean" I read the comments for clues but weirdly never thot of asking! LOL @self.
I agree with Leslie, we are all looking for "its not my fault but this is the easiest, fastest way to fix it". When it is our/my fault cause I'd rather, fill in the blank, than exercise. Or watch what I eat. Sigh. My fault huh, bummer!!

justprayin said...

You haven't been condescending to me specifically. I commented today because you are stating your blog's mission and I thought I'd just comment that your mission statements of 1 and 2, get lost in #3.
I want to come here and understand why low carb isn't working for me. Why can't i stay on the diet? That's why I read your blog. I don't want to hear about 'manboobs' and 'haters'.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Where have I been one to address "manboobs" other than in a scientific context? I think that term has been used like a half dozen times at that by commenters, but that doesn't even compare to WheatBelly's blogs he's written. I don't get the quintuple standard applied ...

justprayin said...

i never said i was a supporter of dr. wheatbelly either! I did happen to read his book and you know what? i was somewhat taken aback by his descriptions of obese people as well. If i had the book on me, i would quote you some of the statements, but i don't, i gave it to a friend to read for her opinion on it. All I am saying is I lose your message, the one I thought you are trying to promote, when you go on the defensive all the time. So what is your mission statement? Are you really here to help people understand low carb/paleo as you know it to be or are you here to have an internet version WWF low carb style? I've had people in my life piss me off too. But I've got to let it go or it'd drive me nuts.

Sandy Daigler said...

I like this blog just the way it is. It's sometimes heavy duty science (and thanks Evelyn for offering to translate for us non-scientific types) and sometimes not, but it's wildly original and I haven't found anything else like it out there.

Christopher said...

Agreed. She made exactly the right enemies and exactly the right friends - which speaks volumes about 'mission statements' and such in and of itself.

Sanjeev said...

hang around the skeptical sphere (sites, blogs, podcasts) and you soon realize that getting real information to the public is not effective.

Much as we wish otherwise, good information doesn't change anything. Homeopathy & psychic surgeons & chiroquacktic & acudumbture & the MOntel/Sylvia Browne hybrid ... they're still out there.

Like I wrote above, Randi, Penn and Teller & the Myth Busters are grabbing people emotionally using their performances and then getting them useful information. Both things are necessary.

BigWhiskey said...

Wait!! Evelyn is using science to "debunk and expose", right? So, it's a win-win.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

You make it sound like all I so is name-calling here. Even in gossipy posts I do not do that as a matter of routine. Calling obese people obese is not name-calling when it's a statement of fact. When one is in the weight and health business based on their weight loss, it's a highly relevant fact.

Understand it was and is uncomfortable for me to point some of this out. Better these folks stopped scamming people in the name of science and trashing anyone who doesn't buy in to the Alternate Hypothesis, but rather than being shamed into cleaning up their acts, they trash me. Odd that.

Hey look at me, I'm famous for being an obese advocate of low carb nutrition, and that blogger over there exposed my hypocrisy! But I signed a petition against that nasty fat Tara Parker-Pope because if she would just eat like me, she wouldn't be such a fatty boring her readers with the difficulties of weight loss maintenance and that tired ELMM. Because we know it's not about calories and we're healthy.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Welcome Meeko! PLEASE-Oh-PLEASE who is this masked man? Can't spill his identity because he doesn't want people to know he sent you here or mentioned here or however it got to be that a few of you landed here?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Welcome Valerie! I tried doing mouse-overs for a bit, but the autotype didn't work too well. Now I try to define them in the text, but I do slip ;)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thanks OPF, I try to keep the personal posts down, but it is difficult to ignore some of it.

justprayin said...

I understand your need to point things out, it is just in the manner of which you do it. You are a smart woman Evelyn. Do you need to 'sink' to that level. Can you be above trash talking and still make a point? Like I said, I came here to learn about the fallacies of the low carb diet. But I feel that message gets lost when the trash talking starts. A person may think someone is a professional because they look and dress like one, but then the first time they open their mouth and every other word is bleepity bleepity, my opinion of them goes down quickly.
Why not be the professional all the time. I know you have your supporters here that like the drama and trash talk. But do they really have your best interest at heart? Are they here to pay your bills? Help you write any future books? Get them published, knowing that everything you right on the internet is there forever. Or are they here for a good show?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thanks Lesley! I guess some don't get my attempts at humor and light-hearted ribbing as well. I'm a pussy cat compared to what LC'ers say about the likes of Hope Warshaw & Jillian Michaels. The latter especially.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

The debunking is relevant to the science.

As usual, insightful!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Yeah, possibly, but there have been a few times when this place got really busy and I put up a sciencey post and don't have time to post anything to push it down for a few days.

What I notice in stats is that posts like this hits come from all sources. The science posts are directed mostly from feed-readers.

I'd like to do some sort of organized listing of what I consider to be the classics, but I haven't figured out just how I want to do that.

Right now I'm contemplating a move to Wordpress so that's a bigger priority ;)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thanks Sandy & Christopher that's such a very cool comment!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

@Karen -- LOL!

@Sanjeev -- Yeah, I wonder where we'd be were it not for Taube$

Unknown said...

I congratulate the readers who actually understand the science but if I understood science then I probably wouldn't read this blog to begin with, I read it because I do not understand science, the best I can hope for is to understand that the science is not as clear-cut as some gurus make it seem.

Tsimblist said...

@Christopher
You just helped me realize that I have using that criteria (enemies/friends) as a filter for where I spend my time. Any friend of Evelyn's is someone I might want to check out. But I tend not to waste my time on her enemies list.

bentleyj74 said...

Probably true for most :)

That's part of the debunking process imo.

"Here's what so and so says happens when you do X [insert diagram]"

"Here's what actually happens [insert diagram]..conclusion with full admission of subjectivity and bias?...so and so is misrepresenting the science to a population unlikely to be familiar enough to discern fact from myth or is using fact out of context to achieve same end"

Easy example...splenda will degrade into clorox bleach upon ingestion, oatmeal is comparable with battery acid [presumably the two in combination could be considered an act of terrorism!]

justprayin said...

a very professional example, thank you!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

LOL ... never thought of that potential combo!! I put Splenda in my oatmeal these days (well not recently, hot oatmeal in the summer is not my idea of fun). On the bright side, maybe it killed off my bad microflora. :-)

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Who do you work for?

Call me crazy but seems like someone who has a low carb-based business is worried I might blast their crapola out of the water next. Unprofessionally, of course. So they sent out minions, or are commenting here under several ID's, to buy me off.

So my regular readers, commenters and supporters are really just "enablers" keeping me from a nice sponsorship/publishing deal. If only I'd just shut the eff up about fraud. Right?

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

To All: THANK YOU for the comments, good and bad, but especially those from regulars. I've tried to address all individually, but I'm quite sure I missed a few. Somehow I managed to "hunt-and-peck" out what I did this morning, including a post, w/o a zillion typos, but I am giving my hands a rest. I sliced open my ring finger right hand on a hot plate I dropped and broke last night. I just released the bandage cuz finger was getting numb. Probably instance number 10 in my life where I shoulda gotten stitches, but it is OK (much to the chagrin I'm sure of my detractors).

Taking rest of the day off :D

ivat said...

The only thing I've got against this blog is the title. A sane asylum makes sense, but why the hyphen? In my mind, I shift the hyphen back, to make "The carb-sane asylum", because this place is sane about carbs.

Otherwise, keep up the good work. The rants go over my head because I don't read these people, but it's amusing the way you lay waste to the gurusphere.

Craig in CT said...

It's your blog, so you get to pick the content. That is the perk of running your own blog. As a reader, I can either stick around, or move on.

What keeps me coming back is the science stuff, be it explanatory, speculative, or critical/debunking. Now I'll admit that the more in-depth ones go over my head. I do have a PhD in engineering, and hence have some practice with reading technical literature. However, I know next to nothing about biology and biochemistry, so I appreciate particularly those posts that managed to explain correctly at a layperson level.

As for the take downs and more personal criticism: I guess it holds a bit of interest, but I tend to get bored with that stuff pretty quickly. At times it is just too much 'inside baseball', involving past events, drama, and controversy that I'm not familiar with, and not personally involved with. At other times, it just feels a little too gossipy for my taste. But I can just skip over that stuff, if I do lose interest.

justprayin said...

Wow, so i really couldn't be who i said i am. Now i'm a 'minion. Yay me! :) No actually I work for myself and it has nothing to do with low carb or dieting or food whatsoever.
If doing this blog in this style makes you happy, so be it. I think it would make your peers/equals less willing to work with you because you seem to go off on raving tangents, even though they are supposed 'scientific tangents'. Here is a list of what I'm attempting to communicate to you.

"How to Make People Respect You"
1.Do your best at every task, no matter how difficult or even how small it is
2.Keep your word and don't make a promise that you can't or won't keep
3.Because the good things around us have come into being due to the efforts of all sorts of people from all walks of life show courtesy to everyone you meet, even if they aren't the person you want to impress.
4.Be honest and tell the truth
5.Be kind/friendly to others and build them up
6.Try to understand things correctly. See the wider context.
7.Before you speak think whether it is a good, necessary or helpful thing that you are about to say. People know us by what we say as well as what we do. If you have something useful or helpful to say, offer your thoughts with humility and gentleness.
8.Be straightforward and communicate clearly.

Yes you do have your die hard regulars supporters, but have you really read and digested what some of the commenters have said?
"such a plethora of posts DILUTES the message"
"I tend to get BORED with that stuff pretty quickly"
Or will you just decide that apparently they are minions as well? Can we all really be minions? We aren't allowed to question your methods? I thought that was included in one of your mission statements.
Well I'm off to do more minion stuff now, lol.

Sue said...

Evelyn, just keep doing what you've been doing. Because of you I've stopped following the LC science so blindly.

Geoff 99 said...

Most (all?) dietary/lifestyle/WOE mantras are based on a dash of "Science" and a super-sized helping of "Spin".

Explaining, debunking or validating the Science is critical, but exposing the Spin is where the "rubber hits the road".

Thanks for doing both :-)

justjuliebean said...

I think you're doing a necessary service by critiquing some of the more outrageous things being said about low-carb. I don't tend to read most of those folks, as I find evangelism, fanaticism, and all sorts of extremism to be distasteful, but I find most of your critical posts amusing, maybe just a little mean, occasionally insulting. Nothing compared to Nikoley, who I read for a week or two when he first started eating potatoes, then gave him up for bad attitude even before he went off about you like he did.

I love the science, too, though even with a biochemistry minor, it can be hard to slog through. Sometimes I do, sometimes I just skim and read the comments. This is your blog, do as you like, you owe nothing, we read you and learn for free, nobody is obligated to read any or all your posts if they don't like it.

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Ya'know, I'm not sure why I ever put that hyphen there, and then it just was force of habit. But now that you mention it ... I changed it :D You're such an enabler ivat!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

I must have missed where you said who you were. And now an 8 point list that sounds like a bunch of barely disguised attacks and self esteem guru babble. Did someone hurt your feelings?

justprayin said...

My feelings are not hurt at all . do you hear how paranoid you sound ? I came here because i was interested in your definition of low carb . i responded to your post on a mission statement because i feel your method of debunking could be tweaked . and all of a sudden im a minion and my feelings are hurt. other intelligent commenters have stated how those posts BORE them. your target audience i would think . I guess im wrong. Well id better go start my minion job for the day. its going to be a long one!

Geoff 99 said...

I think you left out point 9 ... http://www.wikihow.com/Make-People-Respect-You


"A prophet once said 'Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil'. Even if people around you are behaving badly, thinking wrong thoughts and perhaps doing evil things, do not move from your true self and do not be afraid to express your real feelings. A person who has the courage to stand apart from the crowd and think on their own feet independently of others is regarded with awe."

... now who does that remind me of ?

justprayin said...

thanks geoff, yep i picked the first list i googled, funny how that works, eh? lol have a great day!

Evelyn aka CarbSane said...

Thanks for that link Geoff, knew that list sounded familiar! It's a little late for me to join the ranks of those going along to get along :D

@justprayin: Now I'm paranoid? You seem to pick out only the negatives of what people say to try to get me to change my approach to reach some elusive target audience (you?). Here's what Craig said:

As for the take downs and more personal criticism: I guess it holds a bit of interest, but I tend to get bored with that stuff pretty quickly. At times it is just too much 'inside baseball', involving past events, drama, and controversy that I'm not familiar with, and not personally involved with. At other times, it just feels a little too gossipy for my taste. But I can just skip over that stuff, if I do lose interest.

He didn't say he won't read what interests him, he will skip over what bores him. That's fine by me! If someone tries to please all people all of the time they will go nuts, because it is impossible.

My target audience is whomever what I write here speaks to. It is a FACT that the debunking and exposing posts get more traffic than the pure science ones and it is not because of lack of the content the readers of those posts claim they want. My audience keeps growing ... I guess I must be doing something right.

Meanwhile I find myself wondering why you are so interested in my career plans. One thing I can tell you is that I have no intention of shutting up just to be more well liked by anonymous people on the internet.

justprayin said...

Good morning :)! Once more, I haven't been asking you to stop 'debunking', just tweak it. I first started coming to your blog because of what you said about one of the gurus, supporting a product that he previously said he'd never support and I found that interesting. I too believe that if you say you're going to be honest and straightforward with people DO IT!
My original comment has always been that you just go on and on about it like you have a personal axe to grind and then I think you're out there to make people look bad because you are personally upset with them rather than just trying to make a point and then move on.
Yes you sound paranoid to me. Almost immediately you accused me of being a 'minion'. I'm not a minion. But maybe I should look into it, if it pays well a little extra money wouldn't hurt, lol, jk.
And I really don't care what your future brings you, however I think you would. As I said before, it's hard to erase what has been written, especially on the internet. So I can see, potentially, having that additional mean girls attitude would cause issues 'professionally' down the road. That's it. But you're happy here, I'm a minion, so be it! Have a great day everyone, stay cool :).

Jason Sandeman said...

I come here because I'm tired of all the LC or the VLC crap out there. I like the science per-digeste for me as well. I have never learned to read papers well, but as long as someone can walk me through it, I'll understand.
As a T1D, I was first introduced to VLC through dr Bernstein's work. I must say his diet would have me in the back with a gun in my mouth. I'm a chef by trade, and I REFUSE to believe that eating real foods such as fruits and tomatoes will do me damage - based on a totally scientific test of an old chewing the food, and spitting it on a glucose stick.
I agree that we as a whole way too many carbs, but that is a function of politics as well. I'm old enough to remember how many times they have change the damn food pyramid. What boils my goat is the assumption that science will make a better food than nature. Yes, that really pisses me off.
IMHO, VLC, LF, whatever diet hitler out there, boils down to the same thing - a dictatorship.
I remember reading here about how eating like our great-grandmothers did is the key. I think if you are debunking scientific studies, it should almost be with that caveat. I think we arrived at this mess because science got in the way. That is, studies are great, but the misinterpretation of those studies lead us to trouble. Fat is bad!!! Causes CVD!!! Time to make/process a food that will be better for us! LC and VLC suffer from the same problem. Oats for breakfast!!! Hell no! Forget the Scottish/British that have been doing it for MILLENIA! (Oh, but that a BLIP on the evolutionary scale, see?)
Finally, Evelin, is there a way to enable email Notifiers for responses? Sometimes I comment, and it gets lost in the shuffle…
Keep up the great work!

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