The Sugar Twins step in it ... or almost. Part I: Lustig Eats Crap

The Rock'em Sock'em battle of the gurus in Carblandia continued last week as both Lustig and Taubes took to the media airwaves.  I'll now call them the sugar twins because ultimately both hinge their arguments on sugar/fructose.  Lustig says that because fructose is converted to fat in the liver, sucrose is the one food on the planet that is both fat and carb together and that makes it fattening.  That combo is particularly insulinogenic and insulin blinds your brain to leptin so you don't know when to stop eating cheesecake.  Taubes is making his last stand at TWICHOO Bunker Hill by saying that all the bad things he's been telling you for years about carbs -- fat cells going wild, spontaneous horizontal growth spurts, starving cells, etc. -- you may be spared of this forever and eternity so long as you never bathed your liver in fructose.  Fructose causes insulin resistance and sets the wheels in motion for fat accumulation.  Both (misguided) positions hinge on SUGAR = OBESITY.

So, first up to the plate, Lustig went on Alec Baldwin's radio show.  This excited Andreas Eenfeldt because low carb hacks see only the headline and have no interest in looking any further, so he alerted his readers to a "great interview" with Robert Lustig.  (Transcript HERE)

So when Baldwin, who has publicly struggled with his weight for years now, was told by his doctor he was prediabetic, he listened.  To what?  Why Lustig and his viral YouTube video.   I never thought Baldwin was all that bright, I liked him in Hunt for Red October (but Sean Connery ... well ... I hardly noticed Baldwin and that was Alec's prime) and outside of some sporadic performances, I'm not a fan.  I live outside NYC and had no idea he had a radio show.  Listening to his delivery, I think I know why.  He picks the absolutely worst part of Lustig's video to cite.  
So why do I call it the Coca-Cola conspiracy? Well, what’s in Coke? Caffeine, good, good. So what’s caffeine? It’s a mild stimulant, right? It’s also a diuretic. It makes you pee free water. What else is in Coke? We’ll get to the sugar in a minute. What else? Salt, 55 milligrams of sodium per can, it’s like drinking a pizza. So what happens if you take on sodium and lose free water, you get? Thirstier, right. So why is there so much sugar in Coke? To hide the salt.
Ummm ... Anyone know if there's a Starbucks conspiracy?  Did Starbucks get people to ditch their usual 8 oz cuppa joe with half & half and a packet or two of sugar  for 16 oz. frappucinos by adding some salt and more sugar?  Because to listen to Robert Lustig, the rare Coke I had as a kid didn't have much sugar in it and no caffeine, and the reason I didn't drink more than 8-12 oz is because my thirst was quenched with one salt-free can.   If common sense and memory aren't enough, Wikipedia is only a page surf away.  You see, in 1903 they started putting caffeine in their soda.  My bet is the miniscule sodium content is from sodium citrate vs. citric acid, or just trace from other stuff in there.  How little is 53 mg sodium?  That's 1/10th of 1/4 of a teaspoon of salt.  That's 5 one-hundredths of a gram.  There used to be a lot more sodium in diet sodas because of sodium saccharine.  Go pour yourself an 8 oz cup of coffee or caffeinated tea and humor me and pull out your smallest measuring device -- hopefully 1/8th tsp, but 1/4 will do -- and put that amount of salt in there.  Do you even taste it?  That would be 5-10X.  Do you need sugar or more sugar to hide that taste?  This is THE biggest load of horse manure and people still listen to this guy?  Apparently this moved Baldwin to give up sugar!  

Next Lustig talks about the "stable" of kids he treats.  Odd word that.  But he goes on and on about these kids with hypothalamic obesity.  This is a metabolic/hormonal milieu that bears no resemblance to that present in 99.99999999999999999999999999% of the population at large.   He cites a octreotide study where 18% lost weight by lowering insulin and dropping their intake of carbs in the process.  What foods does Lustig mention?  Bugles ... all starchy items.  Interesting study, but can we get to the sugar please??  Well, if we let kids loose in a restaurant with a 150 calorie soda, they eat more.  Did they eat more, or not compensate fully, like in that Havel study Taubes likes to cite, so that they consumed more calories?  So sugar blocks your leptin.  OK ... let's skip the saga of Baldwin's LC weight loss.  Celebs losing a lot of weight, rapid weight loss when someone goes from eating fishbowls of pasta and washing it down with Coke to a low carb diet are nothing new.  Let's also factor in that Alec's impending nuptials  to a younger Yoga instructor had any motivational factors to do with this ... nah ...  And now we get to the kicker.  After all the talk and worry and concern for the health of the nation and talk about addiction and HFCS and all that:
Alec Baldwin: Dr. Robert Lustig is writing a book about the dangers of sugar called "Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity and Disease." It will be out in December. Knowing what you know, what are things you don’t eat? What’s your diet become since you’ve been doing this work?
Robert Lustig: I carry a few extra pounds and I’m not happy about it. I don’t eat sugar.
Alec Baldwin: You don’t.
Robert Lustig: No. I have dessert twice a year. When I’m in New York I have a piece of Junior’s cheesecake and when I’m in New Orleans I have bread pudding -
Alec Baldwin: Right.
Robert Lustig: - with whiskey sauce.
Alec Baldwin: Yeah.
Robert Lustig: Those are my two foibles.
Alec Baldwin: Well no one can begrudge you that. Dessert twice a year, wow -
Robert Lustig: Twice a year.
Alec Baldwin: - you’re doing well.
Robert Lustig: Other than that no, I really don’t. To be honest with you it’s not because I did this work, it’s because it usually just doesn’t appeal to me.
Alec Baldwin: And what are you eating that you think you shouldn’t be eating?
Robert Lustig: Well, I have a half a bagel in the morning with cheese, that’s sort of my standard breakfast and my wife get son me for that.
Alec Baldwin: Right.
Robert Lustig: For lunch unfortunately because I’m running between you know patients, it often ends up something being very processed and it’s a real problem.
Alec Baldwin: Right.
Robert Lustig: For dinner though it’s a very standard dinner and I don’t snack between meals and I still can’t lose it. So I understand. I’m there. I’m part of it.
Alec Baldwin: You can’t see your Leptin?
Robert Lustig: Probably not.
Alec Baldwin: Right.

Are you FREAKIN KIDDING ME???????    This man who could afford to have a personal chef prepare all his meals -- you know -- since this is so important and it's not just weight but metabolic health.  This man eats crap at least 2 meals a day and pats himself on the back for not eating sugar but twice a year.  And he's overweight because why?????    I thought sugar was THE problem.   So the takeaway is:
  • Lustig has weight issues despite shunning sugar -- his own experience is not explained by his hypotheses 
  • Lustig wants draconian taxes to limit access of others to the foods they eat because it wouldn't affect him.  How about taxes on your crappy lunches??
  • Do as I say not as I do.  Or do as I do and it won't do what I say.
In December, don't forget to buy your book!!

Meanwhile, Taubes took to the pages of the NYT to explain to us yet once again how carbs make us fat and if Tara Parker-Pope would just go low carb, she'd be as lean as she could hope to be.   But he (almost) stepped in it on NPR.  Coming in Part II


Eric said…
If coke = pizza then he needs to get outside and find out what a pizza is made of. If he finds a slice with less than 100mg of sodium and caffeine I would be very impressed.

I can deal with uneducated or apathetic people that carry extra weight, but when these people are highly educated and/or in policy making positions it just drives me crazy. They should not be dictating when it's obvious that they are merely attempting to legislate their own demons. It's not like we would let AA dictate alcohol laws, but we let the impulse impaired and obese control the discussion on food policy?
Hunter Copeland said…
Wow! Your conclusion about Lustig is exactly what I was thinking. He's eating crappy food for most of his meals, but can't seem to lose weight. Hello! Is it really hard to figure out? Again, it comes down to one thing. He could lose weight by replacing the processed crap foods with real whole foods.
CarbSane said…
Pizza Hut is offering Red Bull low sodium personal pizzas now :D
CarbSane said…
Oh ... forgot to say ... it's more like AA regulating tobacco. He's incredibly alarmist -- over the top so -- and yet he eats crap, but extols his virtues of swearing off desserts. Gimme a break.
Tonus said…
I'll bet that if he just put more butter on his meals, he'd lose that weight in no time.
P2ZR said…
Careful, Eric! You are triggering the mass movement of certain groups into their huffity puffity stances of indignation--now you're not only calling the obese gluttonous sloths, but impulsive gluttonous sloths ;P

No, really, I don't get it. Acknowledging that some people have unhelpful neurochemical/other biological reactions to certain stimuli is somehow an unforgivable moralistic slight to their worth as human beings? I am quite physically and mentally ravaged by the sleep deprivation that occurs with <7 hours of sleep, an amount that many (if not most) people do just fine on. I *like* my 8 hours (or more if I can get it) because my body very insistently tells me that I need it (whether this is reasonable or [more likely] something I need to 'hack'). So acknowledging my liking/need for copious amounts of sleep amounts to calling me a sloth? Umm, no--it amounts to nothing more nor less than a statement about the (dys-)functionality of my body.

Acknowledging that our bodies (which includes our brains!) work (properly or improperly) a certain way isn't any sort of moral judgment. It's tremendously *useful* and (I hate how this term has been hijacked by feminists) *empowering* because it enables us to figure out a way around these 'limitations'. E.g., I'm not going to paint the town red two nights in a row because that would entail (no exaggeration) >10 hours of sleep for at least the next two days, which is both infeasible and undesirable. Just like I'm not going to countenance having certain foods in the home (unless we can come to a clear agreement that it's not 'mine', and he or some guest has the 'responsibility' of eating it) because I find it extremely difficult to eat JUST an appropriate amount of them and no more.

People seem to have this insatiable penchant for reading offense where there is none; it's gotten to a point where I'm convinced they perversely enjoy feeling indignant and hurt by statements that are not 'condemnation', but mere fact.
P2ZR said…
Umm, no, definitely not. Butter is for adding to (unconditionally too-lean) steak and other meats. He'd *also* need vats of warm coconut oil for pouring onto the potato from the cafeteria, and the two leaves of lettuce that come with the burger or 'side salad', and y'know, all that other stuff that is not already fully saturated (pun half-intended) with and swimming in fats....
Unknown said…
He's too busy to eat right, probably too busy to exercise as well. It's remarkable how many people are too busy to eat and move.

Not too busy to give an interview to Alec Baldwin, though.
cwaiand said…
Steven Hamley said…
Lustig's weight is kind of what happens when you have a reductionist view: 'sugar is bad, end of discussion'. What's overlooked is that many sugar substitutes are probably worse than sugar for people without fructose malabsorption. And then there's the multitude of other factors that influence health

Speaking of fructose malabsorption: I wonder how much those studies that use 60% fructose as total calories are measuring the effects of fructose malabsorption, rather than the metabolic effects of high fructose, as fructose malabsorption is pretty dose dependent.
ItsTheWooo said…
Years ago I remember looking at Alec Baldwin thinking he was a casualty of vegetarian myth. This guy has been a vegan for years and clearly his body NO AGREE. Some people go vegan and they become emaciated. Some people go vegan and they look like a bloated blimp with diabetes. We all know which one of these people is alec baldwin. He looked like CRAP just like gwenyth paltrow, another food orthorexic neurotic who suffers from major skinny fat disorder and dying protein deficient hag face.... or the unfortunate case of alicia silverstone who pretty much ruined her career via vegan diet induced obesity.

If Alec Baldwin ate normally he wouldn't have been so unhealthy with weight and blood sugar control. He was probably eating thirty million cruelty free carbs per day, and is now only eating 15 million carbs per day. What this guy needs to do is stop drinking the animal rights koolaid and eat a bit of meat, dairy, eggs, like a normal frigging person. Then his magical obesity diabetes disorder would spontaneously remit.

I repeat: baldwin is not the type of person who is naturally obese and diabetic but vegetarian brainwashing pushed him into it. He is in that common limbo zone of sort of not metabolically healthy. Guyenet would be one of the types who starves to death and turns to high on starvation bones on a vegan diet. Baldwin is the more common version of metabolism that blows up with some degree of fatness and diabetes. (And I am the opposite of Guyenet in that I would require a forklift to cart my corpse around, that is assuming I had any volition to spontaneous movement, which I surely would not).

By going sugar free, but not giving up his vegetarian diet, he has brought his carb intake down low enough to reduce the threshhold of effect. In reality if this guy wasnt such an orthorexic food nut to start with he wouldn't have had these problems, and like the rest of his family, would not have had a weight problem.

Kind of funny hollywood is riddled with orthorexic food nuts who are testing the insulin hypothesis every day. Look at the celebrities who restrict carbs and eat protein. Then look at the vegan ones. Even the thin ones are flabby with sick lack of muscle paper skin and hag face, unless they have a metabolism like fort knox. Then they still have no muscle in a creepy way, but at least are spared the ironic cruelty of flab piled on their lack of muscle.
Tomas said…
Ha ha ha ... ha
the transcription was sooo funny, Monty Python style
Lustig: dewd, I eat crap all they long and even eat in stress and hurry and... hey Alec there are so many elephants in this room they ate all my leptins lol
Baldwin: true story bro
Eric said…
People want, desperately, CICO to be wrong despite the mountain of evidence and corroboration that it's not. They need it to be wrong so that they can, somehow, not be to blame for the condition they are in. In the end we have overwhelming evidence that "simple obesity" explains the overwhelming majority of cases out there. There are exceptions, but they are exceedingly rare.

We need to accept CICO so that we can move on to the research that really matters, what changes in society have caused over-consumption to be the norm, why is 1/3 of the population unaffected by this new norm, and what tools can be used to reverse the tendency towards over-consumption in affected populations?
Anonymous said…
I'm puzzled by Lustig' statement about pasta. Italians don't eat pasta in Italy? That is something WE gave them? Italians don't eat pasta in a main dish the way we do, but Italians eat pasta like Asians eat rice (and noodles/pasta). Where does he get that?

' We started the pasta craze because of all the immigrant Italians who couldn’t afford to eat meat and vegetables here, that’s what they fell back on -'
bentleyj74 said…
Alec Baldwin could be testing the insulin, booze, narcotics, and 1000 cal soy latte hypothesis.
Tomas said…
Another thing I don't get is he often eats "something being very processed". Doesn't this, at least partially, sound as a definition of "something laden with HFCS"? You must be an orthorexic ninja to eat refined food daily and evade that devil's sperm at the same time.
CarbSane said…
LOL! Clearly just avoiding animals isn't a surefire prescription for health, but somehow I doubt that's Alec's issue.
Mike Howard said…
I always got a kick out of the "drinking a pizza" quip. I mused about it on Alan Aragon's critique a couple of years back now. A bit of a sidebar but it speaks to Lustigs fundamental grasp (lack therof) in nutrition.
Sanjeev said…
One of they guys who showed up on Alan Aragon's Lustig rebuttal ... way worse than Lustig or Taubes

Let your inner orthorexic out to socialize on the internet
ItsTheWooo said…
Actually there is a youtube channel called depression cooking featuring an elderly italian grandmother who cooks simple meals while describing life in the depression. She has stated that her family cooked pasta every night because they were too poor to afford anything else. "Pasta and peas" was what they ate all the time, as italian americans being poor as dirt. They ate small portions of meat like an indulgence. I suspect the natural italian diet is more varied than "pasta and canned peas" every single night, and it would be a correct statement that a staple of pasta w/o high quality protein of cheese or meat is an accurate description of an impoverished italian american person's diet.
CarbSane said…
Yeah .... and none of those European immigrants who came here came from poverty themselves ... right? LOL. Nah ... the real Italians never ate carbs and came here for the pilgrim hat fashion.
MD said…
Yes, fat homeless people with $10 a week to spend on food are definitely obese because they are eating too much, people who eat 300 calories of nothing but candy a day. Even if they have one meal of fast food a day, that's what -- 1500 calories? That's dieting level. But no, they are definitely overeating. Let's counsel them to eat less and move more!!!

My parents are obese and probably eat around 2k calories a day and do physical labor. and yet, still obese. They don't eat fast food, NEVER go out to eat, do not drink soda, and their biggest indulgence is a a scoop of ice cream nightly. Guess they better get their fat asses to the gym after a 10 hour work day of being on their feet. God, those people are just awful with their blue collar jobs and home cooked meals. Why can't they just eat bland potatoes!!!???

You CICO blowhards need to understand that bodies are complex. We are all mostly just guessing.
Eric said…
Thanks for pointing out the limitations of CICO, it breaks down when the individual is malnourished or eating a diet devoid of some or all essential nutrients on a semi-regular basis. Otherwise the 'blowhards' have decades of studies and correlative data in our favor, so please, produce your research on the topic of how physics is avoided by introducing HFCS into the food supply.
Puddleg said…
I've read a few of Lustig's published papers and listened to his AHS presentation, and the man actually knows more about his subject than anyone here.
Why he dumbs it down so much with the comments you take exception to, I don't know. Maybe because he is a pediatrician he thinks it needs to be sold to the kids first. He may be right.
But read the full text papers, and hear him in that context; it makes a difference.
ItsTheWooo said…
The point is the true italian diet is not exclusively pasta, this is only true of italians who are very poor. Whether they are in america or in italy, only extremely poor italians eat pasta every night. Italian diet is vegetables fish cheeses olives/oil in addition to starches.
bentleyj74 said…
Agree..."vegan" isn't my idea of a goal but anyone looking at Alec Baldwin who concludes that his problems are carb related should consider applying to be his defense atty next time around.
CarbSane said…
George, he's not dumbing it down, he is flat out misrepresenting it. I've read a few of his peer review stuff and it's really quite bad. Disillusioning over the state of peer review which is still the best we've got for a "starting point" to separate truth from fiction. When I read his full texts it makes a difference alright. Just not a good one.
CarbSane said…
Just as I cannot believe Nora Gedgaudas still speaks on human metabolism after the total and utter crapola she wrote in PBPM, so too, I cannot fathom how it is that Lustig has gained such popularity. Only since he's got an MD, it's far worse.
CarbSane said…
My lawyer, Johnny Carbban, invented the insulin defense.
CarbSane said…
Welcome Hunter ... probably a repeat salutation, but I like to extend it so long as the brain allows :D It boils down to I can't lose the weight, I know why, now go tax the other guy's soda because that is what makes everyone else fat!
"What's overlooked is that many sugar substitutes are probably worse than sugar for people without fructose malabsorption."
Got any proof for that statement?
Sanjeev said…
> actually knows more about his subject than anyone here

He often credits a colleague with being his "go to guy" on fructose, so even with the mechanistic stuff (which can always be overturned by a new twist on the mechanism or a competing mechanism that steals reactants or other mechanisms that suppress/clobber the one you thought was "the KEY I tell you, the KEY !!!!!!!!!!") ... so even with the low level mechanistic stuff I can't tell if he's following any kind of valid skeptical vetting process.
bentleyj74 said…

Could you possibly vague that up a little bit more before you cry class warfare? Two people of presumably different heights and weights consuming unknown amounts while also working at unknown levels of physical activity are obese therefore everyone is prejudiced against blue collar workers when they suggest that it's probable they are eating more than they expend.

Also evidently people in war torn countries need to take the advice of others consuming 300 cals or less a day every day and becoming obese rather than emaciated and dead so let's round them up and fly them over right away.
P2ZR said…
Oh, the feeling of resentment that comes with crying class warfare, that feels so damn good, don't it?

Most CICO people (FYI, no one is blowing anything aside from gurus preaching that animal products or carbs are making you a dietary sinner, and elimination thereof will lead to holy slenderness...who are blowing smoke up you ass [or choose your own analogy]) are NOT advocating self-flagellation. NO ONE (who's actually vocal) is saying, 'Those obese are that way because they refuse to...get up at 4:00 and weight train for 2 hours and then run 15km, and then *deliberately* restrict their intake to spartan levels, and then have insomnia all night because they're too hungry, and then wake up at 4:00 to do it all over again.'

It's never going to be 1000% effortless and fun to ELMM; the key is to figure out ways to make it as easy as possible for the *specific person* who needs the weight loss. Some people's satiety mechanisms don't function well with carbs (which doesn't mean insulin is making them fat...). Other people's satiety mechanisms don't function well withOUT carbs. Most people's satiety mechanisms function better with a minimum level of protein. Everyone's MMV, so why is it so bloody offensive to assert that each needs to figure out what works for him/herself?

Same with 'moving' more. Chances are, lots of crap food will lead to low-grade inflammation, aggravating pains/aches and making you NOT want to move. Too much coffee/energy drinks contribute to insomnia, which will lead to headaches and more pain and not wanting to move.

Obviously, the force of habit (or should I say the work of habit--force of habit over time) is not easy to overcome. And it's even harder when you're working crap hours and feeling like crap due to the hours and the stuff you're putting in your body...not to mention when the work feels unfulfilling and paying the bills is a constant worry and taking care of the kids is just overwhelming. But that doesn't mean it isn't one's responsibility to get over the unhelpful-habits hump if one feels that change is warranted. Figure out what personally works in getting one to ELMM--and voila, new habits that stick.

Though certainly, the most unhelpful habit of all is indulging in the sense of victimization by 'blowhards'....
P2ZR said…
*distance being conflated with time in the above example. Very tired and brain-fogged, but please do NOT excuse my tone. It came out just as I intended.
Sanjeev said…
> CICO, it breaks down when the individual is malnourished or eating a diet devoid of some or all essential nutrients
Hey Eric, I've been thinking on this issue on and off, here's a few of my thoughts (several comments), others added pieces and angles I had not thought of, Kurt's "many versions of adipostats for each nutrient but none for fat" idea was appreciated.
or click here

scroll down a bit & there's a bit about deficiencies.
bentleyj74 said…
The "blue collar" thing is obnoxious and entirely contrived. I worked summers in a manufacturing plant and it was a great job. I loved it. The pay was good, the benefits were outstanding, they offered continuing ed, the hours were regular. A lot of my co-workers were [lean] farmers working their "other" job who also just happened to be pretty wealthy once land and assets were considered. As an unskilled college student I made better wages than college grads in a LOT of fields. No matter where you are and what you "do" it's an inescapable fact that if you don't set your own priorities and agenda someone else will set it for you.
CarbSane said…
Oh lordie bentley, please don't get me started!! :D
ItsTheWooo said…
Everyone in hollywood is a booze addled prescription drug huffing nutjob. However, only baldwin is a water retaining obese blimp with diabetes. Which one of these is not like the other in contributing to that condtion:

Booze, Drugs, Specifically not eating animal products like healthy protein/fat and replacing that with massive bowls of pasta and sugar?

A booze and drug diet sans carbs actually works in hollywood to produce emaciation. See Lindsey Lohan for more info. Lindsey Lohan is on the booze and adderall diet for years, to the point where she became the poster child for hollywood "SCARY THIN!" What Lohan did NOT do, which Baldwin DID, is consume massive bowls of pasta constantly, because he was interested in this "cruelty free lifestyle" so common amongst the hollyweird orthorexics in between scientology meetings.
Anonymous said…
I think the 'scary thin' part comes with all the booze and drugs, and has little to do with food choice. She could bathe in a tub of pasta or eat a tub of pasta - but her problem was substance abuse of the non-food variety. Alcohol replaces food for the alcoholic, which is why so many become malnourished.

Put another way: substitute 'a booze and drug diet sans carbs' with '...sans protein' or '...sans fat' and you will see the same results.

If anything, Hollywood (and California, for that matter - think Seventh Day Adventist) is a vegetarian-friendly place.

It would be wonderful if you could treat alcoholism with food, but it's not a carb/no carb switch that propels someone with an addiction.
Anonymous said…
It is absolutely true that the true Italian diet is not exclusively pasta. No culture has that diet (exclusively pasta). And it is not even remotely true of extremely poor Italians. The Italian diet is not even 'vegetables fish cheeses olives/ oil in addition to starches.'

The 'fish' is a regional thing. Protein is a small part of the Italian meal, as in many other cultures that tend to be slimmer. Fruits and vegetables (fruits eaten at the end of the meal, from a bowl at the table - even at meals in the Italian Alps, in the dead of winter).

I have known Italians in Italy (call them 'affluent,' in the film industry) and my own grandparents (call them 'poor') I can tell you that well-to-do Italians don't stint on eating pasta. They eat pasta as a side dish but once and even twice a day at meals. It's not a tiny portion - it's considered 'filling,' but it is not American Restaurant size. With bread (fresh baked rolls). If they don't eat pasta, it's because a regional rice dish has supplanted that. Potatoes are served, but not often. The rice is not brown rice.

This webmd article pretty much describes the Italian diet, as accurately as you will find. The idea that extremely poor Italians eat pasta every night is ludicrous. That Italians eat carbs and everything else (it is a carb-heavy diet) in smaller portions sums up the Italian diet. And pretty much the French and Asian diets, too, for that matter.

This line from the article reports what everyone eats on the way to work (grabbed at a cafe), at the kitchen table with the kids having exactly the same thing (add milk to their coffee, or just have hot chocolate). In France, that's pretty much the breakfast, too.

'light and delicious. Italian breakfasts are small -- usually a coffee, espresso, or cappuccino with a pastry, piece of toast, or light brioche (a type of bread or cake),'
Unknown said…
As a biological chemistry student, I was directed to your blog for an interesting counterpoint in the debate over whether or not carbohydrates are really as evil as "they" say. Overall, it seems, your prose are pervasive with ad hominem attacks toward your opponents, as opposed to the bringing forth of appropriate scientific evidence--which I was told I would find, here. Needless to say, I was disappointed. To be fair, I have not gone through every single article you have ever written on this site, so I should clarify in saying that "the prose I have seen" read this way.

By the way, it is an illogical inference to say that because someone doesn't follow their own advice, that their advice is intrinsically wrong. It's Lustig's prerogative to eat "crap," if he so chooses. He understands his mistake, and, though I may not personally agree with it either, it makes him no less well-informed on the topic of human metabolism and nutritional biochemistry.

Can the Red Sox coach hit a grand slam, in a professional hardball game? I'll assume it unlikely. If it turns out he cannot, does that make him unqualified to coach a professional athlete how to do it? Of course not.
Sanjeev said…
where's the ad hominem in the above post?

emphatic language is NOT ad hominem.

Insulting a person all by itself is not ad hominem.

> illogical inference to say that because someone doesn't follow their own advice, that their advice is intrinsically wrong

Where in the above post (you replied to a post not a comment and you quote nothing so I assume you're writing about the post) is it claimed Lustig does not follow his own advice?
Sanjeev said…
I've gotten too used to using the short form

"... is NOT ad homimem" above should be

"... is not an ad homimem argument"


"... is not an argumentum ad hominem".
CarbSane said…
Ahh I never tire of accusationum ad hominem ;)

I realize hypocrisy in following one's own advice does not nullify the scientific basis of what they say. But in this case Lustig is a walking, talking example against his hypothesis since he blames fructose, fructose and fructose for obesity. Yet he only eats it twice a year but struggles with obesity. So he's that black swan if you will.

Lustig very badly mangles the science in his presentations. There's no need to read every last article here, but I suggest the Lustig label for a selection. This post and this one cover errors in his science in the Skinny on Obesity series.

In this case, the messenger IS important because Lustig has an agenda. He is in favor of taxation and regulation schemes ... apparently aimed at OTHERS based on his alarmist presentations and personal behavior.
Unknown said…
My apologies. It was late when I read this, and subsequently wrote that response. My mind was apparently not all there; Sanjeev is absolutely correct. Though I find it unnecessary and particularly distasteful, what I mistakenly thought was ad hominem does not fit the strict criteria for what makes ad hominem what it is. It was simply exclamatory language to emphasize your points.

Lustig is only the black swan, in this scenario, if you take what he says about only consuming fructose-containing foods twice, annually, at face value--which, I do not. I admire much of what the man says, as a scientist, but as a human being, he's every bit as fallible as the rest of us. (From the looks of things, perhaps more so.)

I'm sure you've probably delved into this elsewhere, but, I was wondering if you would humor me and give me a quick synopsis of your opinion on the "true" underlying cause (or causes) of obesity?

And not to monopolize your time--as you seem to reply to many of the responses put on your site [a quality I sincerely admire!]--but, I was also curious about your stance on the anti-nutrient content of certain foods. For instance, the alkaloid glycosides in certain nightshades, or the lectin content of peanuts, etc..
CarbSane said…
Apologies accepted :) I dunno ilane, you say you are a biological chemistry student and yet you admire Lustig the scientist. I'd say that personal hypocrisy aside, it is his failings as a scientist that matter. Please go to your texts or the library, or read the posts on the Lustig label and/or search Lustig on this blog (the label is fairly new and has not been attached to older posts). He describes fructose metabolism incorrectly. Period. You can't just make stuff up like he's doing. Sugar is not carb (glucose) + fat (fructose) -- fructose is not metabolized like a fat. Jeez!

I think "simple obesity" is caused by overeating and/or underactivity -- though the latter seems to be compounded by the weight gain to maintain the state more than cause it. Check my chronological list of posts (right sidebar) and search on CAF and it's pretty much how I feel. Our national obsession with caloric beverages and convenience foods -- by whatever mechanism, I really don't care because it can be prevented by not consuming these agents -- has us "passively" eating more. I also don't underestimate the contribution of our obsession with *dieting*.

As to the antinutrients, I'm not a big fan of those arguments. Everyone was all over phytates until they realized that some of their favorite paleo or LC foods had more than grains. Same for O6's. I've yet to see where lectin levels have been measured in blood and much of the arguments there are that some are insulin mimetics and such. So I don't spend a lot of time on this b/c I don't put much credence into any theory that has these things as cause of obesity. Gut problems? Perhaps, but I think the problems aren't caused by these agents, but rather changes in gut flora and/or permeability caused by antibiotics and/or NSAIDs.

Oh ... and I think margarine was THE single worst agent of destruction ever unleashed on humankind. I don't think it caused obesity, but it did cause disease IMO.
Anonymous said…
So full disclosure, I'm not going to listen to the interview. My question is: does he really say he doesn't eat sugar? It's almost certain that he eats sugar in the form of the processed junk he eats at lunch, though he does say he doesn't have a taste for dessert. I'm sure people around here have looked at a label recently and I'd say there's ~99.9% sugar is in "very processed and it’s a real problem".

I'm a family doctor in a rural south Idaho community and have somewhat jumped on the sugar bandwagon. Not because I think the science is there (though I might be sold on the lipid/triglyceride theories associated with sugar/carb intake) to say that sugar is the root cause of obesity, but because in practice telling people to "avoid sugar" is a great marker for "get off sugary sweet beverages, processed frankenfoods, and fast food". I couple it with my "shop on the outside of the supermarket" talk and have been having a lot of patient's losing weights with that speech recently. It makes dietary advice for people that have low education levels easy to say "if it has a label don't eat it and if it says "sugar" on the label....really don't eat it".

Also perhaps unrelated though hoping to draw all yall's (the plural for yall in S. Idaho) attention to it:
Galina L. said…
I understand it is almost impossible to expect people to be easily convinced to avoid grains while limiting sugar sounds like more acceptable thing, and it could be enough for many to improve health. What type of diet do you recommend to your patients with diabetes? Do you think it is important to minimize their need in insulin or it doesn't matter much?
I have been eating self-cooked in a grandma's style food all my life, but during last 5 years it is a low-carbohydrate version of it. My doctor told me that my experience (weight lost and kept lost, led edema was gone, all health markers became better)was typical for his patients who tried low-carbohydrate diets. I also don't meed my asthma medication any longer and for last 5 years din't have any single infection or a flu, no hot flashes as well. My mom normalized her blood pressure and GERD at 75 after I started her on a no-grains, no-sugar, limited starches and fruits diet, like me she also stopped having flues on a such diet.
Anonymous said…
I don't recommend low carb per-se but I don't recommend against it. I spend more time talking about "real food" and by implication recommending against pasta because it's in the off limit center isles of the super market. I focus on vegetable consumption and getting off ANY drink with calories or artificial sweetener. The dietician I work with recommends the "plate portion" and low glycemic index.

I'll say that the vast majority of female patients that come in aftger losing weight on their own usually cut out soda and say something like "I've been watching my carbs". But to me it's equally likely that means they cut out a bunch of snacky frankenfoods that they equate with carbs or stopped eating a big mound of pasta at every meal. It's likely just portion control masquerading as LC.
Galina L. said…
You are right. Probably, the best thing a person who eats the standard American diet can do is stop drinking calories, especially sweetened beverages. I also believe it is better not to snack on anything. I was curious about what you say to your patients because there is a lot of conflicting advice around.
However, the shop around the perimeter of the store rule could be sometimes wrong - it will exclude olive and coconut oils, frozen veggies, but will include bread.
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