There is sooooo much going on in the IHC these days that it's overwhelming at times deciding what to spend my time blogging on. I've decided to weigh in on Breadgate 2014 to kick things off.
If you follow me on social media, you are no doubt aware that Julian Bakery, which now also conducts business under the name Paleo Inc., was served with a warning letter from the FDA, available here. For the record, here is Julian Bakery's response to the FDA.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Nothing in this blog post is intended to be in support of either side of the "Low Carb Consumer" vs. Heath Squier/Julian Bakery/Paleo Inc. debate. I will link to both sides whenever I have ready access to those links, though I suspect this will turn out to be rather long and I might not be as thorough. As always, the comments section is open here for anyone who wishes to provide more regarding their side to the story. I may offer my opinion from time to time, but these should be taken as just that. My opinions.
The History of the "Old" Julian Bakery Breads
Julian Bakery has been in the "specialty" bread business for a long time now, marketing heavily to low carbers and diabetics. To the best of my knowledge, the FDA has yet to come up with an official definition for "net carbs" which is a concept that originated in the low carb product industry. It is a concept that has been in the Atkins vernacular since the very beginning. Basically anything that is not classified as a fat or a protein is a carbohydrate, but indigestible carbs (e.g. fiber) are generally subtracted from the total. Another designation is "active carbs" which are those that will impact blood glucose when ingested.
I do not know when exactly JB went from a small town bakery to a major online manufacturer/distributor to a national specialty brand (e.g. Whole Foods carries their bread), but this was certainly in full swing in 2009 when I came across the low carb community and Jimmy's various presences on the internet. He's taken down his LLVLC on YouTube *advertisement* for Julian Purity Bread, but here's a screenshot montage.
I'll save you the task of clicking to enlarge that label
As you can tell from the avatar there, this video remained online long after Jimmy had cut ties and denounced Julian Bakery in mid-to-late 2011, and he pulled it earlier this year after receiving new found attention from yours truly. Let there be no doubt that Julian was marketing THROUGH JIMMY MOORE back in 2009 through at least January of 2011. At right is a screenshot from Jimmy Moore's former menus blog, that existed from 12/2007 through 7/2011. Although the stated purpose of this blog was to show readers what a "real" low carber eats, it was almost immediately evident that this was a vehicle for affiliate linking to sell LC products. There is nothing inherently wrong with this, if the products were honestly reviewed and actually consumed by Jimmy in the course of his maintaining his 180 lb weight loss as was stated prominently in the front page About profile. Jimmy was, and is, low carb's equivalent of Subway's Jared Fogle. A bigger fish in a smaller pond, but a celebrity endorser nonetheless. The link for Julian Bakery's Smart Carb #2 bread was Jimmy's affiliate link.
Below is a screenshot of that menus blog in August of 2011, before it was discontinued.
The sidebar sponsors were Quest bars, Volek & Phinney's Art and Science of Low Carb Living book (the precursor to the one that "changed his life" more recently, CarbSmart selling DaVinci syrup (pineapple flavor), Chris Kresser's Healthy Baby Code, and Jimmy's 21 Life Lessons book.
Now I remember seeing that Purity Pizza video back in 2009 and folks discussing various JB breads from time to time on Jimmy's discussion board. Many were fans of the breads, but many were skeptical of the claims. One look at that Purity label and you do not need to be all that skeptical or particularly knowledgeable about nutrition to notice that the specs don't match the ingredients. The carb to fiber ratios were all off, and, for example 100 grams of wheat bran contains 65 g carbs of which 43 are fiber, leaving 22 net grams. This bread was a bunch of grains and legumes, not fibers, and there is no way the carbs were 80% fiber when wheat bran is roughly 66% fiber. Lots of people looked at the labels as I did and wouldn't touch the stuff. Some tried it and found it stalled their weight loss, and yet still others reported it helpful in sticking with their low carb plans with no negative impacts on their blood sugar levels. What I always found intriguing was that these breads were not reported to send people on carb benders ... at worst they were blamed for carb creep for the couple few grams of carbohydrate they reported to contain.
I don't know the law in terms of labeling, and frankly, I don't really care about it enough to spend my time, though I'm happy to give some exposure to anyone who wants to write a guest post on this topic. But here's my bottom line on the labeling: If it doesn't look right, don't believe it and/or go by the total carbs and make your decision based on that. I *still* eat low carb wraps from time to time because I like them! They are high in soluble fiber and sometimes protein than the regular alternatives, and contain only real ingredients, so why not? The few brands I like are mostly flax and oat bran based. I believe their labeling, but if it's off by a few grams here and there, I also don't believe that would be catastrophic no matter my metabolic condition. If you are a diabetic or pre-diabetic, a few grams of carbohydrate is not going to kill you, and if you care enough to measure your blood glucose and it spikes, then for the love of all that matters in your life: don't eat it again! Done!!
This does not absolve the manufacturers of these products from responsibility where accurate labeling is concerned, however. At a much earlier point in time than when they finally acquiesced, Julian should have had their products tested. This is Heath Squier's version of events. Here is my biggest qualm: even if testing would have been monetarily prohibitive, Heath claims his Mom came up with the nutritional info using some software package. But by the time folks were questioning these, one could have entered the ingredients using the recipe amounts into any number of free applications -- both online or off -- and determined this. They not only could have, they absolutely SHOULD have. I, personally, have a hard time believing they did not. Had they done this, they would have known their labels were not only inaccurate, but wildly inaccurate.
I don't know the impetus for Jimmy to turn on his former sponsors, but never the less, in mid 2011, turn on them he did. Thus began the n=1 experiments conducted in grand fashion using a blood glucose meter to measure his responses after consuming these same foods he had consumed for months and sometimes years. Even after the Smart Carb breads "failed" his tests, Jimmy Moore still gave Heath his "floor" on a special episode of the LLVLC show that he put up on YouTube (June 2011). Controversy = page hits. You'll note that Jimmy still remained somewhat diplomatic. But as for Heath, it's stuff like this, the "hanging on", that is most troublesome as regards his professional conduct and ethics:
By the time Deborah Krueger had some of the breads tested by Exova labs -- 2012, at her expense -- Heath should have seen the writing on the wall and reimbursed her the testing fees instead of following up with a defamation suit. (Again, just my opinion gang). You can read Deborah's side of things by poking around here. What happened next was Julian discontinuing their LC products, reformulating their breads, having them lab tested for nutritional content, introducing different products, and moving on. From that point forward, they are working with a clean slate. That's my take anyway. It goes like this: 1. become aware of a problem, 2. fix the problem, 3. move on. The whole sordid affair was a matter of public record on the internet and new customers could make up their own minds about the new products. Here is where I take issue with Krueger and company somewhat, because Julian basically did the right thing -- at least after the fact, regardless of whether there was deliberate wrongdoing in the past.
Because I have no other information to go by, I am going to give the benefit of the doubt to JB that their mislabeling of the bread was unintentional, that they didn't initially respond in the best way, but that they eventually figured it out, fixed the problems and moved on. I could be missing something, but I am not seeing justification for calling them liars. That's a strong word. This is not to say that I don't have my own hunches, but I've never accused someone of lying on a hunch.
The New Julian & Paleo Inc.
Apparently the FDA got involved with forcing the reformulation and the relabeling. The reformulated products were tested by Medallion Labs in order to ensure compliance and accuracy.
As part of this, they also rebranded as a "paleo" company, no doubt having at least something to do with the fact that Heath, himself, became a paleo convert in 2011. I chuckled and mocked like others did when Julian introduced Paleo Bread. I agree, it's an oxymoron. But while Jimmy was trashing the bread, he was concurrently sharing his personal tweaks on paleo lemon squares following his "going paleo" upon returning from AHS11. Paleo didn't last long for Jimmy, and you cannot claim that his keto primaleo diet is in any way ancestral or in the spirit of a whole foods approach -- I don't care if some self-appointed expert "permits" dairy on their primal plan. Jimmy also kept gaining weight despite having abandoned the "carb loads" of those occasional n=1's he had been doing.
But I recall looking at the ingredients of Paleo Bread, here's the coconut version at right (there's an almond one too). As many of the recipes out there go, that's pretty "clean". (Note: In Fautrage III I'm going to discuss the aspect of this current hub bub that involves paleo branding and the like).
Julian is also marketing products under the Paleo Inc label including some wraps and such. I don't really care about the paleo, it's a meaningless marketing gimmick and nothing more. But if I were still low carb, and I could buy a single loaf in a store, I might have given it a shot. Why now and not before? Well, because baking with coconut flour is tricky and expensive (as in I was forced to throw away my few efforts due to their being inedible) but it is truly low carb and high fiber so I imagine it makes for quite a scrummy french toast or to mop up runny yolks from over easy eggs. Fat Head is feeding his kids rice flour bread these days so hold your judgment! LOL. But back to Julian. The bread above bears the Julian name, and I don't see any effort to hide the relationship between Paleo Inc. and Julian, so that's a rather silly point some are arguing.
These new products are advertised as lab tested with the test reports readily accessible. Well, it turns out that perhaps those tests were erroneous. *I DO NOT KNOW* ... and more importantly neither do you. The discrepencies are substantial in some ways, but the one issue with carbs (1g sugar? REALLY? With the rounding on nutritional labels, this is a quibble????) is minor.
The big thing that the low carbers are getting in a huff about is that protein and fat are overreported but calories are underreported. Since these are irrelevant anyway, what are they so up in arms about? [/sarcasm] The calories issue appears to be one involving accounting for fiber. They are also being dinged for "misbranding" of the Paleo Bread on the basis of a claim about protein content. I don't know. This is just me, but I've seen this sort of thing for many things over the years, they get fixed, and you move on. If it weren't for the watchdogs out there, most would never even know there was anything amiss about the previous formulations, and labels and formulations change all the time without anyone being the wiser. If folks weren't checking up, nobody would have been the wiser despite public notification on the website. It probably has happened more often than any of us are aware.
We aren't in serious problem territory here. That would be if JB were to ignore the complaint or get caught again and again with the same product. I repeat: This sort of thing probably happens all the time, and it is often quite innocent. If I were Heath/Julian Bakery, I'd slap the FDA nutritional information on my products, tweak my labels, and move on!
Of Whistleblowers and Watchdogs ...
OK, here is where irony is going nuclear right now. Jimmy Moore is in absolute melt down snit mode over this latest episode (and I hear his wife has apparently joined in) on social media and his blog. Any fans showering him with kudos for this are sickening at this point -- naive newbies are excused. Here's what I want to know. When Krueger dug into her own pockets to have the old breads tested, did Jimmy dig into his to help her out? After the fact maybe? I highly doubt it. SHE is the one that deserves kudos if any are to be had here, but I do find her website to be guilty of a bit of hyperbole as well. A charge of lying is a serious one to level, and it requires, in my opinion, substantial evidence. A lie is a statement made with the knowledge that it is false. I don't rule out that Heath may have told a lie or may have even been lying through his teeth all along, but there just isn't the evidence of this to state that emphatically. An improperly labeled product is not necessarily a lie. The discrepencies between the FDA and Medallion are just that, so one could perhaps as easily accuse Medallion of lying by the logic that is being used to label Heath a liar in the current situation. Like I said, I don't know his heart. He's guilty of some serious lapses in logic in his arguments that I've seen, but that's not lying either.
The entirety that I have dubbed the Incestral Health Community fancies themselves a bit of a watchdog on mainstream nutrition advice. How many times have they told you that you've been lied to or been made a victim of the inappropriate application of science, or worse yet, shoddy science? The IHC is in the business of cleaning up those messes and rescuing you from the dangers of modern mainstream nutritional and medical advice!!
Everyone loves a watchdog, right?
That is, of course, a rhetorical question. Because in the IHC, this only holds true so long as they or their friends are not being exposed to the light of day. There are no internal watchdogs, though there are some signs of cracks there. But they are only interested in smearing and slamming outsiders. They protect their brand (more or less, a topic for Part III) ... anything "for the cause" ...
If Jimmy Moore's appearance on the David Duke radio program taught us anything, it's probably that someone needs to confess to a serious capital crime and be imprisoned for it before the followers will even take note ... and then they'll probably blame the grain cereal and skim milk they were fed once as a child.
This community occasionally likes to play watchdog to other communities and their leaders, but they are deaf, dumb and blind when it comes to their own.
Whistleblowers are good, though, right?
Someone from within the ranks would be more of a whistleblower ... we all see what that got Melissa M. Each of the so-called "leaders" has their $phere of influence and loyal follower$ and I suspect long before Melissa started exposing the nasty misogyny and such in the paleo community, folks learned their lessons from Sisson's successful squelching of Primal Fuel backlash.
Whistleblowers within the mainstream ... those like Noakes who are among the converted ... they are celebrated.
Jimmy Moore is Neither Whistleblower Nor Watchdog
This is really the crux of the matter. Because Jimmy would have you believe he is out there fighting the good fight on behalf of his followers and friends whom he will defend to the death! He's looking out for YOU!!
Not true. And what is going down vis a vis Julian Bakery is a perfect example of why. Not only that, it is not the first time. I tweeted out the following quick meme I mocked up earlier today.
I had hoped to get this all in one post, but opted to break it into parts. The Drama Express coming soon in Part II!