Dr. Eades on Starvation Diets

When the recent news broke that a Crash Diet (600 cal/day) cured diabetes, discussed HERE,  HERE,  HERE, there was the inevitable invoking of the Minnesota Starvation Experiment in the low carb circles.   A while back, I addressed the MSE in a post entitled Starvation Diets shortly after I had blogged on a study in which one part involved putting three obese women on a 1500 cal/day liquid reducing diet.

The point of that last blog post was that  in the 1970's, the average intake of American women was 1550 cals.   Now folks, keep in mind that averages mean that some women ate less and some ate more.   Dr. Michael Dansinger -- he of the famous diet comparison study and consultant on The Biggest Loser -- told Jimmy during his interview with him that they generally cut the contestants' intake in half on that show.  I don't have time to go back and listen, and the exact numbers aren't really all that important, but the women generally start out eating around 3000 cal/day, so their reducing diet is 1500 cal/day.  Lots of low carbers sneer at TBL as, of course, being the wrong way to lose weight, they could just go low carb and achieve the same results by eating more.  

This is the huge myth of low carb started by Dr. Atkins (I've been re-reading his first book for "research") and handed down through the years to just about every purveyor of a low carb diet out there that I hope to do my part to dispel.  But low carbers recoil in fear of TBL's "starvation diets", and when the contestants lose weight hand over fist it's obviously because any balanced diet that is that low in calories must also be low in carbohydrate!  But forgetting macronutrient ratios for the moment, what we really have is women who became obese because they eat around twice the normal maintenance calories for the average woman, and they lose the excess weight when they cut intake to the average maintenance caloric level.  

Bottom line, 1500 cal/day is not a starvation diet for most people under most circumstances, and to suggest so -- particularly for shorter women , particularly when context is neglected -- is irresponsible.  In the MSE, they put lean men on a "starvation diet" for six months!

Reader Sue asked me over on the discussion boards if I had addressed the MSE and linked to the following print interview of Dr. Eades by Tim Ferris:

Eades first discusses the MSE:
The subjects came to the University of Minnesota where they were housed in the cavernous area underneath the football stadium for the course of the study. They were basically kept under lock and key for the study so that Keys and his colleagues could ensure compliance. At the start of the experiment the men were fed sumptuously for the first 12 weeks.
...  A typical days food would include
"a typical lunch… [that] consisted of fricasseed lamb with gravy, peas, and a carrot and raisin salad. For dinner…the men ate roast beef with gravy, whipped potatoes, tomato salad, and ice cream for dessert."
Although the three meals per day the men received added up to around 3,200 calories, which they were told approximated the normal American diet, the men said that they had never eaten better in their lives.
So, we discover that the men ate around 3200 cal/day of luxurious meals.  As Eades and company would have you believe, this was the "maintenance" caloric level for a man in the mid 40's.  Now I don't know about you, but if I was a lean man volunteering for a starvation study knowing I would be starved for six months, I'm eating as heartily as I can while the eating is good!   Indeed they did just that saying  "they had never eaten better in their lives".  And then:

On day one of the starvation portion of the study, February 12, 1945, the rations were cut substantially.
The group shifted overnight from the three relatively generous meals of the control period to only two Spartan meals per day, a breakfast at 8:30 AM and supper at 5:00 PM.
"The meals were designed to approximate the food available in European famine areas, with a heavy emphasis on potatoes, cabbage, and whole wheat bread. Meat was provided in quantities so small that most men would swear in later years that none was included at all."
Quite often when the MSE is discussed, folks only mention that the calories were cut from "baseline" -- presumably maintenance -- intake to half that.  This is misleading.  I contend that baseline intake was probably  considerably more for three months, and not only were the calories cut, but the fat and protein cut considerably more than the carbs.  So one of the meals is given in the article, I put it through Calorie King as best I could ...
EDIT 10/30/14:  In response to comment by Heyman, I have updated this table.  Not only were protein numbers not added properly in the original, but there was some sort of problem so that none of the macros were.  I also adjusted to 1570 calories this time as that was what Eades used for the Keys study.   I have also edited some of the text which follows to reflect these corrections.

This makes for about 65g protein a day presuming the other meal was equal in protein content or actually a high carb diet.  As you can see, despite the meal consisting mainly of legumes, pasta, root veggies and potatoes, this diet came out to be somewhat "standard" macros.  Now, I'm not sure where Eades gets his numbers that he presents for comparison of the "starvation diet" but he should really know better to see there had to be a mistake.   Here is how Eades describes their diet:
The men in this study consumed macronutrients in the following amounts daily: protein 100 gm, fat 30 gm, and carbohydrate 225 gm. If you express these intakes as percentages, you come up with 25.5% protein, 17.2% fat and 57.3% carbohydrate.
Now I generally ate perhaps 150 g protein on my very low carb days, and while not ideal, an entire large can of chunk chicken breast from Costco was something I'd snack on.  This can contains approximately 200g of chicken breast (drained), that amounts to just over 45g protein.  On a diet that was so low in meat, that Eades' own quoted description stated "quantities so small that most men would swear in later years that none was included at all" these men somehow consumed the equivalent of two big Costco sized cans of chicken breast should have set up a red flag.  But not to a man with an agenda!  I mean for a man who has titled several books with the word "protein" in them, did the 25.5% protein claim not strike him as just a little off for a diet composed mainly of bread, pasta and potatoes?   I mean, MAAAYYY-be if he didn't compare it to another diet, but he does just that presenting the data side by side.  C'mon man.  You expect me to believe that eating the same calories of foods on the MSE-diet could possibly exceed the protein content in Yudkin's diet where the subjects were instructed to:
take between 10 and 20 oz milk daily (about 300-600 ml), and as much meat, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, margarine, cream and leafy vegetables as they wished.
You put up the graphic of a comparison with your numbers Dr. Eades, and nothing looks "off" to you?  Below is an adaptation of that table and includes my macros.

EDIT 10/30/14:  Table also updated

I mean if the protein didn't getcha, surely the fat content would?  Mac n cheese and lard for that supper and we're expected to believe the men received only 30 total fat grams?  Granted, at 33% this is still "low fat" to the LC advocates, but fat intake was almost double that claimed by Eades.  I cannot write this off as an honest mistake.  Not when this was a print interview and not when a person with his knowledge of the macro composition of foods could look at that menu and claim these men were averaging 100g protein in a day and getting more than a quarter of their calories from protein.  I must say I was surprised the protein content came out as high as it did. 

But we're supposed to even make any comparison between these two studies?  Yudkin gives no data on the characteristics of their 11 subjects, only that they were "apparently normal".  Also the length of the LC phase is unclear, but one can presume it was of the same 2 week duration as the phase to establish normal intake lasted.  It is interesting that Yudkin discusses how a standard CRD keeping macro percentages fixed would result in the subjects consuming approximately 2/3rds of their normal protein intake, but that the "average" subject on the diet consumed upwards of 90% of his usual protein intake.  Indeed the averaged absolute protein intake for all subjects was virtually unchanged from baseline.  Meanwhile, the MSE subjects were feasting on rack of lamb and whatnot (3000 cals worth) for three months then reduced to 15g of ham as their only meat source of protein ... yeah ... that's a valid comparison.  

For comparison:
Keys baseline ~3000 calories, Starvation Diet  roughly 50% baseline calories
Yudkin baseline calories roughly 80% baseline calories in Keys
Yudkin LC Diet calories roughly 65% of their baseline caloric intake
And yet the apparently shameless Eades tries to make one:
Both studies provided between 1500 and 1600 kcal per day, but with huge differences in outcome. In the Key’s semi-starvation study (high-carb, low-fat) the subjects starved and obsessed on food constantly. In the Yudkin study (low-carb, high-fat), the subjects, who had no restriction on the amount of food they ate, volitionally consumed the same number of calories that the semi-starvation group did, yet reported that they had “an increases feeling of well-being.” Instead of lethargy and depression reported by the Keys subjects on their low-fat, high-carb 1570 calories, those on the same number of low-carb, high-fat calories experienced “decreased lassitude.”
It turns out Key's diet was not quite so high carb or low fat after all, but even presuming that ...
Both groups of subjects were consuming the same number of calories, but one group starved while the other did just fine. One group had to be locked down to ensure they didn’t eat more than their alloted 1570 calories; the other group voluntarily dropped their intake to 1560 calories and felt great. What was the difference?
Umm ... do you REALLY have to ask?  Seriously, if this sort of thing is what passes for some sort of expert analysis by an MD who has treated countless patients for obesity ....  Furthermore, Eades ignores the considerable physical activity requirements in the Keys study which make any comparison to Yudkin even more absurd.

Let's see ... you recruit a bunch of lean men (the pictured guy in the starvation study looks like he was awfully lean to start) and TELL them they are going to be starved for 6 months.  You don't think this might just play with their minds a bit around 3 months in?  They are not only starved of calories, but of protein and Eades has to know this and that the 100g he's suggesting is in error.  Still, he compares this to 4 weeks eating normally and eating low carb in a free-living setting?    Amazing!  He continues ...
Subjects in both groups ate the same number of calories.
Maybe, just maybe it’s not the number of calories that makes the difference, but the composition of the calories instead.
Well DUH doctor!  If you read Yudkin you would see that they focus on how a low carb diet tends to maintain protein intake to usual levels, and I do believe you are aware of the satiating properties of protein.   Indeed this study lends credence to a sort of "proteiostat" in terms of intake.  That we ultimately eat to satisfy protein needs.  When we choose calorie-dense foods, low in protein by percentage, we overeat to meet our needs and get fat. 

Now to be fair, Eades acknowledges the issue of his stupid comparison:
I know that I’m not truly comparing apples to apples with the Keys and the Yudkin studies. But ...
More like comparing potatoes to steak.  IOW, there really is no reasonable comparison between these two studies.   NONE.  Eades continues:
I’ve had many, many patients who have stayed on low-carb diets for much, much longer than the men in Keys’ experiment stayed on their diets of roughly the same number of calories.  
And obese patients losing weight on around 1500-1600 cals/day are starving -- by any measure -- exactly how?

What Yudkin shows is actually that low carb diets work, when they do, for weight loss because they result in a decreased caloric intake.  For all the bluster in his original book, Atkins basically says the same thing.  And you will notice that the subjects in Yudkin actually decreased their fat intake ... yes! DECREASED ... from an average of 124 g at baseline to 105g on LC -- an almost 20% decrease.    

The other thing Eades fails to mention is that the "normal" diet of Yudkin's subjects was hardly high carb and low fat!  
Baseline P/F/C grams:  84/124/216 ; Percents P/F/C = 15/48/37
LC P/F/C grams:  83/105/67 ; Percents P/F/C = 21/61/17
(I would note that Eades is contending that the men starving in the MSE were getting 16g/day MORE protein than the baseline Yudkinites!)

The real "kicker" folks is this:  Eades just spoke of the elephant in the room!  A LC diet works because you REDUCE caloric intake.   In the case of the Yudkin study, while carbs were the major source of caloric reduction (596), fat was reduced by 171 calories (or 1 Tbs + 2 tsp butter).  Eades point appears to be that calories were reduced to starvation levels -- and yet didn't produce skeletons?  What is known for sure is that the subjects do NOT eat more calories as so many on the internet try to convince you they do.  There's nothing magical or in contrast to how "conventional" reducing diets work.  It's the EL = eat less after all.


Melchior Meijer said…
"IOW, there really is no reasonable comparison between these two studies. NONE."

Yes there is, or my name is Harry. The participants ate about the same amount of calories. Check. Both studies were done in humans. Check. The participants in the MSE became emaciated and neurotic. Check. The participants in the Yudkin experiment voluntarily reduced their energy intake, but showed no signs signs of starvation. Check.

No matter what they ate before the experiment started, the difference in perception and physical and mental well being is startling.

It's a very interesting difference and you have not explained it. At least not to me.

What am I missing?
MM said…
Wow, I'm kind of blown away. This is not at all how the MSE has ever been represented. Even the wikipedia page says, "Their meals were composed of foods that were expected to typify the diets of people in Europe during the latter stages of the war: potatoes, rutabagas, turnips, bread and macaroni." No mention of lard. :)

And don't you need to be able to do math in order to become a doctor? Yikes!
Mirrorball said…
@Melchior Meijer
Carbsane says that the MSE diet was low in protein and restricted in calories. In the Yudkin study, the diet was high in protein and subjects could eat as much as they wanted.
Dustbunny said…
Instead of just speculating that Eades must be wrong in his numbers for the MSE, why don't you get a copy of "The Biology of Human Starvation" so you can actually check what the precise nutrition content of the meals was. You can't just take one example meal and extrapolate what they ate for the entire starvation period, especially when, "The amount of food each man received at mealtimes depended on how well he was progressing toward his weekly goal" in order to reach their 25% weight reduction.
OnePointFive said…
In the Minnesota experiment the men had to lose 25% of their weight over the 6 months. As you say they don't seem to have been overweight to begin with. Their rations fell over the time.
" every Friday late in the day ... they would post a list of all our names and what our rations would be for the following week ... [the] calories ... either minus or plus ... Some of us ... we’d go off to a movie. In other words, we delayed seeing that list; we dreaded seeing that list for fear that it was certainly going to reduce our rations ... It’s pretty darn certain that it’s going to be bad news because we’re supposed to be descending."

They had to expend many more calories than they were taking in.
"During the study, participants were assigned to various housekeeping and administrative duties within the laboratory and were allowed to participate in university classes and activities. The participants were expected to walk 22 mi (35.4 km)/wk and expend 3009 kcal (12552 kJ)/d"
This video from the University archives gives a vivid impression of the experiment
The Yudkin 'study' in which they had an increased feeling of well being, lasted for 2 weeks. No valid comparison at all.
CarbSane said…
@Melchior: I think Mirrorball & OPF have pretty much answered this for you. I'm thinking that just eating like nobility for 3 months -- during hard times I might add -- knowing that I would be starved for 6 months would play with my mind. Yet I doubt the men were becoming psychotic within the first weeks which is all the Yudkin study apparently lasted.

@mhb: If you have a copy of the book, please do feel free to send it along! I have no desire to waste money on such. But, speculation need not run rampant to suggest that Eades numbers are the stuff of pure hogwash! From your link:

On d 1 of semistarvation, February 12, 1945, the men sat down to a meal that included a small bowl of farina, two slices of toast, a dish of fried potatoes, a dish of jello, a small portion of jam, and a small glass of milk

The only protein in that meal coming from the milk. C'mon!

These men were housed in windowless rooms and essentially tortured if you ask me. If you know you are going to get less food it becomes all the more the obsession. It's one reason obsessive dieting does that to folks and eating disorders result.
CarbSane said…
P.S. When someone shows me pictures of low carbers getting emaciated like those in the Ferriss article or the article mhb linked to, then I think we can talk any sort of comparison/applicability.
Muata said…
I actually enjoyed reading Life Without Bread and think it's worth picking up a nice used copy on Amazon.

I found Yudkin to be less dogmatic than Atkins, and he'd actually been doing the LC "thang" before Atkins burst onto the scene. Also, he's not a calorie denier, per se, and I think that's why his book isn't really promoted like a GCBC.

Eades's comparison is just unacceptable and obviously agenda driven.
Dustbunny said…
You assumed the menu he posted to be factual. Sorry, you can't just pick and choose what you want when you don't know where he got his information and don't have any facts to back up your assumptions.
Dustbunny said…
CarbSane said...

"P.S. When someone shows me pictures of low carbers getting emaciated like those in the Ferriss article or the article mhb linked to, then I think we can talk any sort of comparison/applicability."

Pictures of "low carbers" in my link? On a diet of "a small bowl of farina, two slices of toast, a dish of fried potatoes, a dish of jello, a small portion of jam, and a small glass of milk"? That sounds pretty high carb to me. LOL!
MM said…
Yeah, I don't really want to buy the book either. I did some searching and found this paper on the MSE. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2596786/?tool=pubmed

"Weight loss was induced by reducing food intake to two daily meals with 51 g of protein, 286 g of carbohydrates, and 30 g of fat, with 3 basic menus consisting of cereal, whole-wheat bread, potatoes, turnips, and cabbage, supplemented by scant amounts of meat and dairy products."

And this paper: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377067/?tool=pubmed

"The semi-starvation diet averaged CI = 1100 kcal/d, FI = 290 kcal/d, and PI = 195 kcal/d, for 24 weeks." CI = carb intake, FI = fat intake, PI = protein intake for those who are acronym impaired. :)

They basically agree on the numbers. It looks like it really was a low fat/high carb diet. But I have no clue where Eades gets his 100g of protein a day.
CarbSane said…
Thanks MM. Those ratios are what I would suspect from the diet as described in Wikipedia. I was going on Eades sample supper. MHB you can't have it both ways, or I guess Eades lied twice :( The MSE was with "intent to starve" to 25% below normal weight. Any relevance to a reducing diet for the obese is infinitessimle.
Dustbunny said…
I didn't ask for anything both ways. You're the one selecting the parts you say he lied about. But since the MSE does appear to be a high carb/low fat diet and there are pictures of those who followed it, I guess you CAN starve on 1500 calories a day.
CarbSane said…
mhb: I was talking about when low carbers look like the pictures in your link. Now if it were all about insulin, they should not have become emaciated right? Their fat was locked away by the carbs ... right?
Dustbunny said…
Those aren't low carbers. Perhaps you could post some pictures of emaciated low carbers.
CarbSane said…
I have no idea what your point is. As others have added, the MSE subjects were also essentially "forced" to expend a lot of energy in activity. Who is arguing that you can't starve a person on 1500 cals? Not me. What I object to is this characterization of any 1500 cal/day diet as a starvation diet when it is clearly not for most, especially women. And Yudkin's study belies it being starvation since that is what the subjects reduced to spontaneously for a whopping 2 weeks.

There are those in certain circles who would argue that perhaps 60g protein a day is about what I should eat. Any more would, supposedly get turned to sugar and wreak havoc. If we're looking at the MSE, they "starved" men on 40g/day more (by Eades numbers) or only 10g/day less (by reasonable estimates).

I did mention I was surprised by the macro ratios in that sample meal. That farina meal seems to indicate Eades deliberately chose the highest protein meal as representative?
MM said…
I don't understand why he chose that one either. It does say in the text, "The relatively bulky 255 grams of macaroni made that particular meal an anticipated favorite among the volunteers." If the info I found above is correct this meal would have almost covered their entire fat ration for the day. I can't imagine what the rest of the day was must have been like to make up for it -- dry toast and plain potatoes I guess. So, maybe he wanted to give an example of what was considered an "extravagant meal"? I shouldn't try to guess. I'll never be able to understand what goes on in that guy's brain.
Dustbunny said…
Go back and read my first comment. It's about your speculation of the data Eades supplied. I imagine if I called you a liar you'd ask me to prove it.
MM said…

So, are you saying that no information from Eades can be trusted? I guess I would agree. He certainly got the protein content of the MSE very wrong.
Diana said…
"Indeed this study lends credence to a sort of "proteiostat" in terms of intake. That we ultimately eat to satisfy protein needs. When we choose calorie-dense foods, low in protein by percentate, we overeat to meet our needs and get fat."

That is an interesting concept. If possible can you elaborate? Or are you just saying that the Yudkin study happens to suggest this?
James Krieger said…
CarbSane is right on here. A 1500 calorie per day diet is NOT a starvation diet for most people. In the obesity management program for which I was the head researcher, the women were on about 1200 calories per day and the men were on 1500 - 1800 calories per day. And they WEREN'T starving. And guess what? It wasn't a low carb diet either
Dustbunny said…
MM, put your glasses on before you read. I'm not the one calling him a liar.
Michael said…
You can get the Biology of Starvation book from your local library, via interlibrary loan.
MM said…
mhb, I never said you called Eades a liar. The gist of what you wrote is buy the book because the menu Eades gave may be unreliable. Why would you write that unless you thought information from him in general was unreliable? There is a big difference between being a liar and being just plain wrong. A liar must have the intention to mislead. I really don't know if Eades has that intention or not, but I never said you thought so.
Melchior Meijer said…
Sorry folks, I was way too quick and thanks for pointing it out. You are right, these are apples and oranges. Several commenters mentioned it for Eades, but he chose to draw the same conclusion anyway.

I am a bit stubborn (or should I say stupid) too here. I would love to see an experiment comparing apples with apples. I have the unfounded feeling that the men in the MSE would have fared better on a better diet with the same amount of energy. I'm not gonna use the P word again ;-).
Dustbunny said…
MM, that's not the gist of what I posted at at all. Carbsane speculated that the nutritional data Eades posted was wrong or he was just lying, without knowing where he got his information or even having the actual study, "The Biology of Human Starvation" (which I would bet Eades has) to support her conclusion. Yet on the other hand, she took the menu Eads posted to be true and calculated her own nutritional data from it. So she's being selective about what she considers to be true to suit her own needs. I'm not questioning what Eades wrote, Carbsane is but can't produce the source data ("The Biology of Human Starvation") to substantiate her claim.
CarbSane said…
@mhb: What I was saying is that, while his Supper #2 was from the book, he tells us the men received 100g protein/day. However any person with his background, looking at either that meal (a favorite because it was the most hearty) should have thought twice before publishing his comparative analysis. There's no way, eating the types of foods these men were given, that they would get 100g protein in a day and yet someone following Yudkin's version of LC would actually consume less protein. That Eades didn't see that speaks to his bias. I'm not calling him a liar (a lie is stating something is true when they know it to be false - Taubes is a liar, sorry if that offends some people) I'm questioning his ability to disseminate the truth. He apparently believes that the MSE subjects consumed more protein than Yudkin's ... this much is obvious. What I'm saying is that he has the background to know better. That it should have seemed "off" to him, and therefore his commentary here is "intellectually dishonest" -- he's let his agenda or bias or whatever cloud his judgment and ability to see facts. He's done that before with triglycerides and resistant starch. Let me say this, I think his mistake in 6WC about ribose is an honest one. His others are not, but they don't rise to the level of liar b/c I think Eades is among the low carbers who have deluded themselves into believing the theories. Now Taubes, OTOH, knew WELL before his semi-mea culpa that the G3P theory was bunk and it was bunk in his seminal reference for GCBC on the topic. But he had a book coming out and his reputation is on the line for future "investigative science journalism" gigs. So he lies.
Tonus said…
I think that a more complete (and therefore accurate) breakdown of the food provided to the men in the Keys study would be very useful if it is going to be used to justify any sort of dietary intervention. Although even without it, I admit I don't see how a comparison can be made to that experiment and Yudkin's diet.
CarbSane said…
@Melchior: I don't doubt that the MSE subjects may well have fared better on a higher fat and protein diet - in other ways, however than just the emaciation. You take lean men and deliberately impose a caloric deficit so that they lose 25% of their normal body weight, and it ain't going to be pretty no matter what the composition of the diet. More protein would certainly have helped with maintaining lean tissue and organs, as would fats over time as they constitute cell membranes. But the men would have lost body weight nonetheless (and let's not forget the purpose of this experiment was not to see how much better to starve them).

This is what I just don't get about the LC gurus and advocates anyway. Peter Hyperlipid has called anyone who believes in the satiety of protein idiots, and I of course am only capable of twaddle for suggesting such.

@Diana: I'm going to blog on this soon. Yudkin isn't the only study that shows that on LC you get the spontaneous drop in overall intake but folks seem to eat the same amount of protein. Most "goodies" and "junk food" are under 10% protein ... make them a major contribution to the diet and we tend to "spontaneously" eat more. IMO a shift towards a protein centered (it cannot be based on protein as a percentage because we can only eat so much) diet should hold the key for many people. Shooting for a high percentage of fat seems to not be working for many who tout it, that's for sure!
Anonymous said…
Durianrider here. We are in Yonkers for the next few weeks. Doing a interview with Jimmy tonight after a running race in Brooklyn.

Freelee is drinking a lb of blended sugar dates in front of me wearing a bikini. Its hot in NYC! love it!

If you want to do an interview or catch up, email me veganbobster@gmail.com
Diana said…
"IMO a shift towards a protein centered (it cannot be based on protein as a percentage because we can only eat so much) diet should hold the key for many people. "

I am going to try this for the next few days - combined with calorie control. I'll tell you how it goes.

But I look forward to reading more about this. My understanding of the "purpose" of eating is very fuzzy. On the one hand, I thought that eating is supposed to supply glucose for the brain. On the other, nutrients for muscles (proteins).

It's all quite confusing, and clearing it up (why do we eat?) I think, will provide the key as to why we overeat.
Diana said…
Michael Eades is as accomplished a double-talker as ever there was. While making dough g the "metabolic advantage" on the one hand, he says:


"The hormonal event is the reduction of insulin allowing fat to exit the fat cells. As long as there is a caloric deficit, the fat will exit and be burned. If no caloric deficit, no fat leaves the cell. I don’t know about the psychology of the hedonistic urge, but I do know that too many people believe that if they simply keep their carbs below a certain level, they will lose weight no matter how much they eat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work this way."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Gee, has Gary Taubes heard him say this?

Has he heard himself?

I discovered the entry via Colpo. I haven't the stomach to wade through his shizzle on a day to day basis.
Dustbunny said…
The metabolic advantage and CICO are not mutually exclusive. This is from an Eades blog discussing what Anthony Colpo said:

"AC has taken the position that my idea of the low-carb driven metabolic advantage means that people following low-carb diets can eat all the calories they want and lose massive amounts of weight as long as they keep their carbs reduced. He accuses me of leading people astray by encouraging them to eat, eat, eat as long as carbs stay low.

I don’t know where he got this idea because I have certainly never said such a thing anywhere. The metabolic advantage brought about by low-carb dieting is probably somewhere in the neighborhood of a 100-300 calories, which isn’t all that much. This few hundred calories don’t even come into play until the 1500-2000 calorie range of consumption. I’ve written about this numerous times and have always used these figures, so, as I say, I don’t know where the idea that I believe the metabolic advantage allows low-carb dieters to eat huge numbers of calories and still lose weight."

I've actually read Michael Eade's "Protein Power Life Plan" and this is indeed what he maintains, that you can't eat unlimited calories. But perhaps you can find someplace where he claimed something different.

The metabolic advantage does enable your body to burn fat better but if both the fat stored in your cells and the fat you're eating are more than your body needs for energy, of course you're not going to lose weight and may even gain.
CarbSane said…
@mhb: Please explain how 100-300 supposed calories per day differs at 1000 cal, 2000 cal or 3000 cal intake. Eades is a total hack on this issue.

Protein Power may well have been a good book. The man has clearly moved on into la la land where futile cycles and uncoupling excuse all excesses so long as they're not carb excesses.
Dustbunny said…
I can't begin to answer that and it has nothing to do with the point I was making. But if it's of great interest to you, you should ask him.

I would ask you to explain this, though: "where futile cycles and uncoupling excuse all excesses so long as they're not carb excesses", because I have no idea what you said.
CarbSane said…
Have you read his blog? Or Diana's quotes you slammed her for posting? Why are you defending the indefensible Lee?
Diana said…
Lee, for such an expert on Eades, I'm shocked, shocked that you don't know what futile cycles are, esp. when I went to all the trouble, trouble, of linking to an Eades post on them. For shame!! Now, for penance, you go sit in the corner and read.

Evie asked you a simple question and as usual you punted, because you don't know what you are talking about.

So I'll ask it myself, "This few hundred calories don’t even come into play until the 1500-2000 calorie range of consumption."

Why? What's so special about that range which differentiates it from any other? If you want me to believe in the "metabolic advantage", you'll have to back it up with substance. Since it appears to hinge upon that particular range, you should explain what it is about that range that is specifically related to the "metabolic advantage."

Finally, saying that the putative "metabolic advantage"* and CICO aren't mutually exclusive isn't really the point. If the basis of fat weight loss is CICO, then what is all the fuss about the "metabolic advantage" that it allows you to eat 100 cals a day more?


In any case, the "metabolic advantage"* has not been proven to exist, whereas calorie deficit has.

*I put the phrase in quotes to denote that I use it under protest, because I don't believe it exists.
CarbSane said…
I love how in the end Eades overstates the MA (100-300 cal/day) yet understates that it would even be meaningful. Umm ... if it's an advantage, it should be meaningful! And if it's on the higher end of that range, that's 60% of the calorie deficit target for the "slow and steady" standard calorie restricting diet.

One thing can be said that CICO and the MA are not in contradiction. The MA claims greater CO for macro differences in calories in.
Dustbunny said…
Why are you calling me Lee? Is my name not showing up to you as mhb?

At any rate, Diana, your statement I was addressing was "Michael Eades is as accomplished a double-talker", with respect to the MA and CICO, to which I replied, "The metabolic advantage and CICO are not mutually exclusive." Frankly, I don't care whether or not you believe there is any metabolic advantage from eating low carb, so if it will help you to understand what my point was, I will amend it to say that the metabolic advantage, "if it exists", and CICO are not mutually exclusive.

I'm not a doctor, scientist or dietitian and I don't pretend to have a deep understanding of the science underlying all the theories. But to say that one is double-talking when promoting both MA and CICO only indicates the lack of even a basic understanding of the concepts. Even Carbsane agrees that the two concepts are not in contradiction.
Diana said…
Oh God, the hits just keep coming!

What is the "metabolic advantage"?

"Frankly, I don't care whether or not you believe there is any metabolic advantage"

Translation by analogy:

"What is relativity?"

"I don't care whether you believe in relativity so I won't bother explaining it to you."


"Even Carbsane agrees that the two concepts are not in contradiction."

Do you speak for Carbsane?

I speak for me: it doesn't matter if the two concepts are in contradiction because if one of them doesn't exist the whole thing is bullshit, irrelevant to weight loss.

I'm not letting you off the hook here, because your comments are truly the essence of the low-carb scam. Eades does seem to have slithered into the territory of truthiness with respect to calories, but sweetie, that ain't the Central Dogma in the Church of Low Carb. Which would make Eades a particularly hypocritical form of "low protestant" - the guy who belongs, reaps the benefits of membership, but who tells the parishioners, "you can gain salvation My Way...."

The fact is, no matter how you deny it, Low Carb's claim to fame is "all you can eat" just as long as you don't invoke the famed "insulin response" which is supposedly unique to carbohydrates. This is fact, no matter how you deny it. "Eat until you are full" to a 300 pound woman or a 400 pound man is "all you can eat." No difference.

I will repeat this until I am blue in the face, as long as you deny it. One particular practitioner may realize that this is bullshit, but there are legions of low-carbers gaining weight on LC, saying, "what have I done wrong," cutting down to ridiculously low carb grams, gaining and going crazy. They are all over the low-carb discussion boards, and that's the reason yet another iteration of the same diet has to be sold. This decade's is the Dukan diet. Next decade it'll be something else.

Note: after doing a couple of days of LC just for fun, and after gaining two pounds, I went back to IFing. Weight lost, net amount of weight lost 12 pounds. If a small post-50s woman with a "damaged metabolism" can do it, anyone can.
Diana said…
May I say something about the difference between belief and knowledge, which commenter "mhb" doesn't seem to know?

If someone asks me, "Is it snowing outside?" and I haven't been outside in a week and my windows are shut but I've heard on the news that it's snowing outside, I'd say, "I believe so." If I've just come out from the cold with snow on my shoulders, I'd say, "Yes. It's snowing outside."

I realize that knowledge gained via the scientific method isn't as simple as that. My physicist cousin has explained simple relativity to me many times and one day (as he put it), "even he understood it!" (I hope you laughed at that.)

I sympathize with those who find these weight loss concepts hard. I do myself. I have a confession to make: I frankly do not understand the science of it, because I haven't yet committed a block of time to force myself to get acquainted with the basic concepts.

I got interested in genetics a while back, and that's kind of my thing. I am quite fascinated with X inactivation, a subject of which I was totally ignorant a year ago. If you had said "X inactivation" to me 18 months ago I'd have thought it was a science fiction concept. Now I know what it is, and furthermore, I read stuff in the papers about genes and I scratch my head at how misleading it is. "It's not so simple!" I say. I'm sure this is the case with people who understand the biomechanics and biochemistry of weight loss. People take one little result from one little study and they make it into a hobbyhorse-- a moneymaking hobbyhorse. Meanwhile, in the real world, it don't work that way!

Perhaps a year from now I'll understand the basic concepts of weight loss although as a middle-aged dolt, I can't promise it. But I do know this: it requires a period of intense and serious apprenticeship. I had to bang and blunder around a lot when I began my self-administered course of human genetics. Luckily I found a great basic text and it was pretty good progress from there.

Hopefully, Evie's book will be that basic text that folks like us can use to understand basic weight loss.

So, when a diehard Low Carber says to me, "I don't understand the science, I just know it works," I'm not going to accept that, especially when this diehard denies the essential dogma of her own church, refuses to engage in civil dialogue with dissenters, and in general brings nothing to the table except snark and her own neuroses.
MM said…

Eades does seem to talk out of both sides of his mouth when it comes to calories. You have pointed out where he states that they count. However, read this post and scroll down to the section he titled "Eat More Fat". The sentence "Wallow in Mangalitsa lardo." does not exactly comply with "Watch your calories." Now maybe Eades recommends loading up on fat only for the magical phase of induction. Although, he doesn't say that once you're through induction, it's time to watch the calories. People take this advice to mean they can eat this way all the time and still lose weight.
Dustbunny said…
LOL! Yeah, I'll admit, that does sound a little over the top. But he does state that the purpose of eating such high fat is "to reduce the time spent in low-carb adaptation purgatory", which he defines as "that time between starting a low-carb diet and feeling great on a low-carb diet. It can take anywhere from just a day or so to two or three weeks", and he goes on to describe the symptoms of keto adaption. He's quite clear in the blog that all the extra high fat eating is only for this adaption period.
Diana said…
"Why are you defending the indefensible Lee? "

I called you Lee because Evie did. Figuring she knew something I didn't, I followed suit. Are you contributing somewhere else under the name Lee?

Not a very honorable way to argue. I have considered telling Jimmy Moore to stop eating so damn much on his blog, but I refrain because I don't want him to think I am a Carbsane stalker. I thought of doing so under a different name but that wouldn't be honorable. So if you are posting things to different forums under different names (and getting huffed when you are called out), you should come clean.

Let's continue with this notion of "metabolic advantage," which mhb/Lee denies as being the Central Dogma of LC but has now backed away from.

Why does Gary Taubes spend so much time on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and trying to prove that everyone else has it wrong and he has it right, if not to justify the "metabolic advantage"?

He is saying that obesity is primarily a hormonally driven event, and the cause of this is carbs, which bring on the insulin...yadda yadda, we all know the drill:


So Lee/mhb, you seem to have given up proving that LC isn't dependent on ad libitum, it's all in the insulin?

What happened to the "metabolic advantage"? Thrown out with the baby and the bath water?

I'm still waiting with baited breath to hear you, or anyone, explain in plain English what the "metabolic advantage" is. You can do it with CICO.

Then I'm waiting for you, or someone, to explain how the metabolic advantage works in a certain caloric range but not others.

I'm waiting for you, or someone, to tell me how "metabolic advantage" and CICO work together. (Because if as Eades now seems to be saying, both are valid, they have to work together in some empirically provable way to produce fat weight loss.)
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Heyman said…
Just wanted to point out the numbers in your excel file didn't all get summed up. If you sum up all of them you get 792 kcal and about 32,7g protein. This would get you a bit above 60g of protein a day, a bit more than your number yet still much less than Eades.
carbsane said…
Thank you for pointing this out! I don't know how I didn't notice (especially how off the fat was in my original - 85 grams!)

Nonetheless it remains a bad comparison. I also added a note about the physical activity. The new numbers work out to around 65g protein per day (more like 60 when I repeated this a while back using USDA data base) which is still a lot less than 100.

I've also added notes on the differences between Yudkin & Keys subjects -- their baseline caloric needs were considerably different so Keys' subjects were significantly more "starved" from baseline. Furthermore, the required physical activity of the Keys' subjects is overlooked and pretty much renders any comparison moot. The protein was chronically deficient for 6 months and likely moreso due to that physical activity.
Heyman said…
Their protein apparently was only 50g. I read 2 research papers now that mentioned the starvation experiment and 50g of protein, so I think Eades somehow thought its 50g per meal or something like that.
Keytrin said…
Interesting analysis I must say, but Evelyn, you are forgetting one small thing: the MSE participants had to expend 3009 calories a day, which brought them into a constant 1,500 calorie-deficit and thus the whole carb/protein/fat ratio doesn't really make much difference ... plus the meals were to reflect what the soldiers in war ate ;) .. the MSE was hands-down a revolutionary study. sure, there might have been some misconceptions and I actually think the fact that it took some of the participants up to 2 years to restore normal eating patterns should have been included (especially for dietary and ED purposes) but there is no single study that can give you the 100% absolute truth. It's just not possible to account for all of the omitted variables ..