What Diet is Best?

With apologies in advance for the length of this ...

I've mentioned before that I'm glad I didn't look to the internet for help/support back in 2007 when I decided to give this weight loss thing one more try.  I knew LC had worked in the past, so that's what I did.  I also knew that I'd have to stick to it for the long haul and planned cheats were what worked for me and it was a good long ride ... but like so many I hit that plateau.  Since I was eating VLC most days already, other than cutting down on the days off, there wasn't much else to do.   As I've mentioned many times, I was a rather prolific participant on Jimmy Moore's discussion board looking for ideas what to do next.   That's where I learned about intermittent fasting, and did knock my plateau weight down around 10 lbs.  I quickly learned, however, that the answers to my questions would not be found on that or any other low carb discussion board.   To this day I only know one other person in real life who follows a low carb lifestyle (and she doesn't even live nearby).  The one low carb product I occasionally eat are the wraps.  All my local groceries carry them, there must be others out there buying them, but I've never bumped into one reaching for a pack on the shelf.  Ditto the shiritaki noodles, and those are eaten by some calorie counters too.

Eating differently than everyone around you IRL and connecting with those of like minds almost solely on the internet can suck you in.   Wow, there are others out there like me!  Doing at least something similar as their WOL!!  And you share recipes, coping ideas, trials and tribulations.  Then there are the challenges, the weigh-ins, the latest book buzzings.  And when Joe or Jane returns from wherever they were for the last month or several or more to rededicate -- for good this time! -- they are welcomed with wide open arms.  But I think for a good proportion of people, this is a trap.  Not a deliberate one, mind you, but it's a trap.  There are seemingly two, and seemingly only two, ways things go from there:  either you're all in, or you're out ... there doesn't seem to be a middle ground.  When you realize it's not working, you leave it all behind.  For some that includes friendships forged over years or risk purists wondering WTF you're doing on a LC forum/blog if you aren't currently low carbing or even just being skeptical of claims.

Since before I've been blogging, even though I was eating clean VLC like 90% of the time, I had my "official low carb cred" questioned because I didn't believe in the Alternate Hypothesis.   Maybe it's because I was in a different place in my journey, but just questioning whether the diet is healthy for the long run is verboten.  Low carbers who wear their badges proudly believe in one real and overarching thing:  Low Carb is not only a healthy diet, it is THE healthy way to eat, superior to all others.   All the evidence is in, apparently.  I was still asking questions.  For starters, if I wasn't losing any more weight on LC, was it healthy?  I don't know what I was hoping for ... perhaps to find others like me asking those same questions?  

Apparently not in the LC community.  All the questions have been answered.  Not only was LDL not "artery clogging" but the fluffy kind is "protective".  Umm did I miss where that one's been settled?  Ketones are the preferred fuel for your heart and brain.  Says who?  I'm not saying they're not, or they are, but do we know?   This is what I love so much about my readers and the comment section -- folks from all manner of WOE's (for an acronym hound I've come to hate that one!) -- and yes, even those I disagree with.  I'd rather be challenged than create one more echo chamber on the internet.   I'm beginning to think LC is unhealthy because it limits your options.  The anti-every other dietary lifestyle sentiments are just too powerful.  OTOH, LC -- the lower the better! -- cures everything!   But what if it's not working for you? 

I'll give Dr. Cate credit for at least raising the issue of problems on LC diets in this bizarre "tell me your bad experiences with LC and win a book" promotion, this actually prompted my post here.   She writes:
More and more people are going low carb these days, and no wonder. Most of us are eating far too many carbs, and switching these empty calories out for nutrient-dense foods is often all it takes to set you on a road of painless fat loss and better health.
But for some, leaving the carbs behind isn’t as easy as they had hoped. Occasionally, a person does start to see the body fat transform to lean muscle and their waist size shrink, only to be faced with new problems. These issues can range from fatigue—either right away or months after switching to low carb—to body temperature fluctuations and even hair loss.
While she doesn't have a solution, one solution is eating a bit more carb, but her idea of that seems to be somewhere between 30 and 100g.   But what bothers me is this inherent belief that carbs are unhealthy, most of us are eating too many, and basically we'd all do better to eat less of them.  This certainly isn't based on any survey of, say, the diets of healthy human societies.  Compared to most of those, we're not eating enough carbohydrate and way too much fat.  If low carb is healthier, universally, why do so many people have adverse outcomes -- either in the short term (low carb flu can persist for some) or a few years down the road when it's less likely you'll even realize it's the carb restriction stupid!  

Look, especially the first time, and especially if you're obese, and especially if your diet is crappy, LC will probably make you feel like a million bucks, the weight will drop off, perhaps your skin clears, your eyes look brighter.  All of these good things you associate with removing carbohydrates from your diet ... and there's a temptation to then think that carbohydrates were the cause of these.  You know, I didn't have a breakout to speak of for almost two years ... and then (still doing the VLC thing) inexplicably I started breaking out again.  Now this doesn't mean my long term carb restriction was responsible either, but it could be ... right?   Sometimes the symptom is missed because nobody talks about it.  Of all my old posts, Selenium & Insomnia gets the most random regular hits ... and have you ever noticed how much coffee low carbers drink?    Thing is, I'm pretty sure that at some point at some time on some LC forum, someone will ask about insomnia and Se will be added to that list of supplements rattled off to combat it.  

Speaking of supplements -- C'mon already!  For the healthiest diet on the planet, low carbers have a supplement for everything.   Got this?  Oh, take Mg.  If that doesn't work, take A and B, but you might have too much C, D goes with E and try Q.  Call it what you will, but a pill is a pill, and a diet that is supposedly more nutrient dense (and devoid of empty carb calories?) should not need all that "help".  People seem to think insulin is a diabetes drug and resist insulin therapy, or shun all pharmaceuticals because of possible side effects even if they will predictably act in their bodies.  Yet they will take any manner of vitamins, minerals and compounds isolated from rare plants and snakes in doses several times recommended, where there is no way to know what is absorbed because there is no test, and there have been no trials for this and that claim ... and add up the $ too.  But the vegans might have to take B12.    If you find yourself developing mysterious maladies -- including worsening glucose metabolism -- for which you require a longer and longer list of supplements, perhaps your diet is the source of these mysteries.  That goes for any diet, not just low carb, but considering the numbers of ex-veggies that take up low carb diets, you'd think at least they would recognize the symptoms. 

Now also, let's define healthy.  I've asked this question before and certainly *looking healthy* is somewhere on that list!  Infrequent illness, resistance to stress all signs of a healthier being with strong immunity.  Normal body weight (not necessarily to society's standards) is one, so is fertility.    A healthy digestive tract that doesn't complain too much is up there.  Certainly freedom from active disease or lowgrade chronic infections.  I could go on.  And I can't quite figure out what the heck is so mean about pointing out that many of those shouting the loudest about how LC is the only healthy way we really should all be eating don't look healthy and/or are manifestly unhealthy.  So lastly folks I want to talk about the concept of biomarkers.   With natural aging and degenerative diseases, the diagnosis comes long after the disease has progressed, this is often true with cancer as well.  Such is the case for heart and other cardiovascular disease and that continuum of insulin resistance through T2 diabetes (excluding the 1's and 1.5's). 

Heck, maybe checking biomarkers is responsible for this obesity epidemic because the medical profession's obsession with bloodwork has paralleled with the epidemic.   In observational studies, total cholesterol is still related to CVD risk, in some studies, in some populations.  This is not disputable.  As tests got fancier, TC was broken into LDL and HDL and the LDL was bad and HDL was good.  Still more studies even found HDL over certain levels protective, or associated with lower risk.  And then I think the medical establishment went crazy and the pharmaceutical and medical imaging/diagnostics industries responded.   And sometimes ranges recommended are arbitrary or associate an average or even the values associated with lowest cause mortality.  So now we go around thinking that these biomarkers are an indication of the degree of progression of the silent disease and that we are already "sick".  I happen to agree with much of this editorial:  The Preposterous Epidemic of Pre-Diseases, and since the low carb community is obsessed with blood glucose levels and lives in fear of sticky molecules (as Dr. Cate describes them) and glycation, I'll use this concept of pre-diabetes to illustrate what I mean.

In 1998, if you had an FBG of 110-125 mg/dL, you were pre-diabetic, and >126 gets you the label diabetic.  There are other more sophisticated diagnoses, but this is the most routine "diabetes screening".   These criteria (and others) were set/clarified in 1998, but in 2003, the FBG criteria was lowered from 110 to 100 mg/dL.  Doesn't sound like much, but according to this source:
A blood glucose reading of 100mg/dL is Prediabetes. The newer threshold or cut-off point for fasting plasma glucose will increase those with Prediabetes to 5 million more with Prediabetes.
So hypothetically then, if in 2002 I had an FBG of 100 and I was OK, maybe get admonished that I'm edging up there a bit ... but a year later I would have become a statistic for this diabetes epidemic.  Even if you consider 100 to be too high, that it stayed that way doing whatever I was hypothetically doing and didn't budge, I'm now sick, or at risk of being sick, and I better do something about it.  I would add that most of the time I see stats on diabetes, especially when they want to alarm the public of burgeoning costs to scare the bejeesus out of you and get you to vote for taxes on sugary beverages to help stem the tide, they lump diabetes, prediabetes and undiagnosed.  And I've seen estimated that as many as one in 2 who has diabetes doesn't know they have it.  But don't worry, all of those low carb gurus have your best interest at heart and just want to help you as they use Science Krispies to convince you we're all diabetic and carbohydrates can kill!  Once these low carbers get you in their clutches obsessing over glycation and postprandial glucose spikes ... they've got you.  It is difficult to escape.  Let there be no doubt -- glucophobia is fueled by people who lack the basic scientific knowledge to understand what's going on -- including Dr. Cate who's grasp of basic metabolism (the liver converts carbs to cholesterol) and chemistry (sugar is sticky because it's reacting with the proteins of your skin) is astounding.

If you're newer here, I've weighed in on Rosedale's science here, and here.  He was the most vocal of the anti starch forces marshaled by Jimmy Moore last year.  In the first blog post, I looked at this study:  Is There a Glycemic Threshold for Mortality Risk? Balkau et.al. Here is Rosedale's quote (emphasis his):

“…the lowest observed death rates were in the intervals centered on 5.5 mmol/l [99mg/dl] for fasting glucose and 5.0 mmol/l [90 mg/dl] for 2-h glucose.
CONCLUSIONS: In the Paris Prospective Study, there were no clear thresholds for fasting or 2-h glucose concentrations above which mortality sharply increased; in the upper levels of the glucose distributions, the risk of death progressively increased with increasing fasting and 2-h glucose concentrations.
This is L. Ron's "proof" that we're all diabetic, there's no blood glucose level above which we're safe!  But I highlighted something interesting:

Lowest observed death rates centered on FBG of 99mg/dL

The intervals for that analysis were 0.5mmol/L wide which means that this interval interval was from 94.5 to 103.5 mg/dL.    So in this study of some 7000-odd middle aged men, followed for 23 years, the interval that had the lowest actual death rate included prediabetics according to today's criteria. Think on that the next time you prick your finger and worry over a reading of 100.  It's worth just a little more space here to revisit that study and the results.  At right is the all-cause mortality data.  The bars are the percent of the men who fell in each interval at baseline.  The dots are the actual mortality data, and the line is their statistical fit curve.  Now maybe I'm blind, but that looks like more of a J-curve (dots) than their fit, but based on that line, they conclude there's no threshold.  But notice that the 99mg/dL was the "average" or most frequent FBG and the two intervals left and right, that had death rates very close to the minimum -- all 3 intervals FBG ranging from 85.5 to 112.5 mg/dL!!   The optimal FBG for CHD risk were ever so slightly lower ... but pick your risks?  There were 1,924 deaths, of which 347 were from CHD.  Only 18% of men dropped dead from CHD.  

So hopefully I've made my point here.  Low carbers are quick to embrace similar arguments when it comes to cholesterol levels.  Thresholds and ranges applied for various lipids often flirt with norms and averages.  Even more oddly, if something like LDL is a risk factor for me, and I always had higher (still normal) LDL that put me at higher risk when I was 30, if memory serves there are studies out there showing higher LDL is associated with reduced all-cause mortality once I turn 50 ... or do I have to wait until I'm 60 or even older before I get healthier?   I'm always amused by the rationalizations of low carbers when it comes to biomarkers that would have them put on statins and diagnosed pre-diabetic by any regular doctor (the wisdom of that not-withstanding) who instead brag over their stellar lipids and stable blood sugars.  If stable blood sugars keep your hunger in control, then they are beneficial, but otherwise it's really nothing to brag over.   But many low carbers sport FBG's in prediabetic range and have blood swimming with fat in the fasted state.  And many many people see worsening profiles with low carb diets.  Wheat Belly has amassed an untold fortune hawking his "track your plaque" program and obsesses over glucose readings.  Just because he's a cardiologist doesn't mean he's got it right exactly what benchmarks you're to worry over.  

So what to make over these biomarkers?  Well, Gunther Gatherer posted a link to the imbeded video below over on WHS and has caught a bit of flack for it.   I suppose GG is seen by many as just another disgruntled paleo/LC'er who is mad at the gurus because it didn't work for him -- implied he didn't do it right.  He ... like so many others who've jumped the low carb ship ... is seen as a traitor, perhaps even of weak character for not sticking it out a little while longer.  The fact he had outta whack lipids and accumulated some liver fat is irrelevant to those people who don't like to see hypocrisy plain as day.   Look, I can never be a vegan.  But while I tend to think Durian Rider looks unnecessarily scrawney, his girlfriend Freelie or something like that looks pretty fine to me.  We've got all sorts of dietary lifestyles represented here, by frequent and infrequent commenters, and others who let me know they're here via email but don't comment for various reasons.  I'M DAMN PROUD OF THAT.  Unless and until these book authors and diet pushers can well-represent their own diets they so definitively push, it's really hard to swallow their unsubstantiated claims that LC is even healthy, let alone the healthiest diet, or something to aspire to adopt.

The crux of Cate Shanahan's post is that carbohydrate restriction is always desired and healthier.  Many, many have made their fame, fortunes, friends, families ... their entire lives around a diet.  Some escape but struggle with what to do with that blog now, or a name they've gone by with Grok in it (I'd love to get Castle Grok on a podcast if I ever do that!), or books written in the past, whatever.   But I look at pictures of some of these low carbers and I just want to shake them and say "it's not working for you!" and it's so obvious to anyone from the outside, but your friends who are supporting you aren't going to see it.  Major lifestyle changes are hard enough but as with the draw of discussion boards I opened this post with, adopting an online identity that is too narrowly defined is a dangerous trap.   BTW, this is specifically why this blog is about what the science as we know it tells us, and NOT about my personal weight/diet.   While I have abandoned the separate personal blog to incorporate some of that here, I've never intended and do not want to be a "weight loss success story".   I'm a partial one and have been open about that.  I share that because: 
  • Here's what worked,  the degree to which it did or didn't work for me ... maybe it works for you ... maybe you encountered the same problems or have the same concerns
  • Provide context so hopefully I'm not misunderstood in the more "gossipy" posts
  • Share my thoughts and opinions on health and diet from the POV of who and where I am, and
  • Let's face it, counter some of the more outrageous anecdotes out there for at least some balance.
Anecdotes are never -- no matter how many times I am misquoted and misrepresented on the internet by people who often haven't even read what I did say or bother to ask or look -- never presented here as proof of anything.  I'm also careful not to offer advice per se.  That's a tricky line to toe, let's face it, so I want to make this much clear.  If ever you read something here that looks like advice, think of it this way.  Realize that I'm offering an educated opinion (and by educated I mean I've read/understand the science, not letters after my name) in the vein of "if it were me", or "if it were my fill-in-loved-one" this is what I would do or advise.    If you think I'm an idiot who has no clue what I'm talking about?  Move on.  Nothing to see here!
All of the happenings of past months still have me mulling what it is I want to do with this blog, etc.  Frankly, I still retain an initial desire to be able to walk into my doctor's office and not get "the look" when I tell them I lost around 100 lbs on Atkins.   I'd still like to see LC elevated even to the  first  intervention in extreme obesity.  I don't see that happening so long as those who advocate low carb insist on becoming ever more militant and vocal in their advocacy despite, in many cases, diminishing returns.  And it's not going to happen so long as low carbers insist on offensively labeling former low carbers as addicts.  Ahem ... Dr. Cate.  Let's hope her newfound interest in addressing issues people encounter with LC is evidence of an evolving view ... she acknowledges thyroid issues now instead of attributing that to antagonism.  That's progress ??  Time will tell.
Which diet is best?  The one that gets you closest to your goals while enjoying yourself along the way.  That is truly individual.  Nobody should eat potatoes because X does or Y does not.  I've come to the conclusion that 90% of the health and fitness gurus out there are full of crap.  If they're living their words, however, and living proof it's at least easier to swallow some of the gimmickry (note I said some) -- but when not, it's unconscionable.


Eric said…
Booo... you pull a study with french data for CVD? The french paradox is not a paradox, but horrible reporting of CVD as cause of death up until recently. While I will grant you the all-cause death relationship is harder to screw up I wonder how the bad classification might have otherwise corrupted that analysis.

As for LC, it will fail too just as LF and other have failed society before it. Until we better understand why American society, as a whole, is over consuming we can never hope to really reduce the weight of our country.

LC may work for some and may be actually be healthier for others, until they wake up and smell the calories they will never be able to fully understand why it suddenly stalls out for many.
bentleyj74 said…
Great article :)

I'm inclined to think that the problem inherent in any diet is that it's a diet...not being facetious. Just about every diet philosophy has an ideology based agenda.

Personally I probably come closest to McDougall...except I'm not a vegan and I do consume dairy. I also occasionally eat out or have a candy bar [even a big one!] straight up. So I guess that could mean I'm not remotely similar to McDougall or extremely close *depending on how you measure compliance*.

In terms of baseline epidemiology I think the weight of the evidence leans toward support of higher whole food carb/high fiber/lower fat but I am biased because that is my personal preference.
CarbSane said…
Hee hee ... in my defense, I didn't "pull" this -- this study is what Rosedale cites to claim we're all some degree of diabetic. That there's no threshhold for risk for FBG. Note I didn't cite the CHD analysis specifically (except for Rosedale's excerpt from the abstract - those bolds were his emphasis), but the the optimal FBG is slightly lower there.

Ultimately, as you said, dead is dead. I only point out that if one interprets this study that one has a reduced risk of dying of CHD with FBG 90 vs. 100, they still have a greater risk of dying period for FBG of 100 vs. 90.

If you're a Froggo :-)
CarbSane said…
Thanks :) I tend to agree with your last paragraph, but I don't want to eat that way. I think that is really at the bottom of this. After being able to consume all that fat, even a standard low fat diet (which isn't really that low) seems prohibitively so. And yet, if I lived alone for a month, I could go on an all potato diet easily and keep that low low fat. 1 tsp butter for a large baked potato does me fine. I happen to like 2% cottage cheese on potato and 0% greek yogurt.

I have Fuhrman's Eat to Live book -- it's not as prohibitively strict as some might think -- less so than some paleo and LC plans. And I've seen him described as anorexic looking? Only compared to Loren Cordain I suppose.
Karen said…
Interesting and I encourage you to continue the blog! I would miss you. And I will be interested to see which direction you take it.
A point about diabetes. Its said we all of a sudden "exploded" with new diabetics. Well when you go from one criteria to another lower criteria of course you will gather in new diabetics. That NOT to undermine the seriousness of this disease, as I am one. Its arbertary anyway, the numbers, just like for cholesterol. But there has to be a number somewhere one can say there is a problem I guess.
bentleyj74 said…
Fuhrman isn't a super attractive fella and wouldn't be at any body fat level but he IS lean while promoting a diet he claims will make people lean :)

There are lots of yummy and nutritious toppings for potatos [I'm especially fond of various bean and green combos].
Hunter Copeland said…
You mention "whole food carb." I think that distinction is important. I'm a dietitina and I have worked in a weight loss clinic for over 10 years. Many of our clients are people who have had gastric bypass or plan to have some type of weight loss surgery. For 10 years I have seen what people eat and have seen how the progress or regress during that time. I see people eating more processed carbohydrate: bread, crackers, pretzels, granola bars, etc.

I think people are eating more processed foods. It has more to do with that than how much they are getting of some specific macronutrient.

Sometimes I think that people could be healthy following a vegan diet or following a paleo diet as long as they would get rid of most of the processed foods. I have seen people do well on low fat diets as well as lower carbohydrate diets. I have also seend people do poorly on both of these. It all depends on how much of the processed foods they are eating.
CarbSane said…
Hey Karen, Not going anywhere :-)

I do believe, as that quote about lowering the prediabetes bar by 10 pts added 5 million to the rolls overnight, part of the explosion is due to this. It's a serious disease, but lumping so-called prediabetics with diabetics and UNDIAGNOSED diabetics (How do they know? This is a made up number!!) together in their projections is also responsible. But there's no denying the obesity epidemic has raised true rates of T2.

The more the government, medical establishment, diabetes advocacy and pharma/med.supplies companies can scare us, the easier their agenda can be driven at our expense. I'm not normally much of a conspiracy type, but every time I hear a Liberty Medical commercial on TV encouraging me to get my free meter (were I eligible) and testing supplies delivered to my home ... I just want to cringe.

The medical establishment seems a decade behind the curve. Diabetes as a diagnosis is considered permanent. Period. Despite ample evidence to the contrary. And to qualify for GBP you have to be pretty obese and have obviously been so for quite some time, so I'm NOT touting the surgery as a cure as much as I'm pointing out how quickly a metabolic hot mess can be normalized and that can only happen if the conventional wisdom -- that IRREVERSIBLE beta cell damage HAS occurred once you become diabetic -- is wrong.
bentleyj74 said…
"You mention "whole food carb." I think that distinction is important."

Yep, that's what the epidemiology supports from where I'm standing. Not a lot of evidence that low fat bagels with grape jelly will have the same results by any health marker that I'm aware of. Just another way to consume a LOT of calories easily without actually getting much bang for your buck nutrient wise.

As I said before, I'm not a vegan. What I actually *see* when I look at real life observations of high carb populations is whole food carbs supplemented with small amounts of various animal products and I find that comfortable, convenient, and fiscally beneficial as well.
MM said…
"With apologies in advance for the length of this ..."

No need. The longer the better IMO. :)
Lesley Scott said…
"I've come to the conclusion that 90% of the health and fitness gurus out there are full of crap. If they're living their words, however, and living proof it's at least easier to swallow some of the gimmickry (note I said some) -- but when not, it's unconscionable." True dat, sistah. Agreed that Durianrider is probably on the too-slim side, but he's active & leads a healthy life that doesn't involve spending all his days running stupid n=1 "experiments" (ie anecdotes) and wringing his hands about his mysteriously-misbehavin' mitochondria or "re-setting" his leptin levels. (Ditto Colpo, Kresser, Jamie/That Paleo Guy, Stephan Guyenet, etc.) If someone is espousing a dietary approach as healthy and they're not the very epitome of glowing good health and looking amazing for their age (Jack Lalanne springs to mind as does Jane Fonda...and yes, I know she's had some "work", but I'm more about the overall picture), I'm with you: nuthin' to see & move right along.

In my own anecdotal experience with taking advice about what to eat, you're gonna laugh at me, I tend to follow the Kraken's advice: leafy greens & veggies, grass fed/pastured meats & their by-products (eg. eggs; kefir) & tubers (when the scale is complying). If I'm up a pound or two at my weekly weigh in, I tend to cut out the tubers & LC it somewhat until my weight is back in the Happy Zone.
Javeux said…
Shirataki, not shiritaki, noodles, right? Maybe you were thinking of the taste (shiri = butt). Nice in Japanese dishes and not as a pasta "replacement" though.

I've only read one of Dr. Cate's articles and it was about NTI hypothyroidism caused by LC. She was claiming to provide a solution (for money) that allowed people to stick with the diet, which is, of course, more important than health. Perhaps she didn't want to advertise the obvious cure (more carbs) publicly. Dogma > life.
Karen said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said…
Eh, people who don't eat much in the way of animal products are mostly tiny people, which seems to get handwaved as not very important. I'd rather have bigger, stronger children and eat the meat than have tiny, reasonably strong children and eat near-vegan (which is from the comments here pretty much 'best diet' to the posters, never ever anything with a goodly amount of animal flesh in there).

There is no perfect diet, but pretending there aren't negative tradeoffs to eating very little fat and/or animal products in other ways is as bad as some of the wackiness of VLC/nocarb proponents.
Craig said…
Your comment brought to mind an old article by Jane Brody, one that I stumbled upon recently while reading about the PIMA diet:


I think it clearly makes the point that all carbs are not equal with respect to the health impact, even if you exclude the heavily refined junk food of today. Just as LC'ers worry about getting 'traditional grass fed beef', low fat vegans need to worry about getting 'traditional high fiber, slow digesting carbs'.
ItsTheWooo said…
Why do you bother cutting potatoes to control weight if it is all CICO/ELMM/low carb is for sheisters and gullible fat idiots/etc?

If potatoes are as obesity-neutral as any other food, why specifically reduce them and not more palatable foods like meats and eggs and kefir? Just curious.

I"m also curious why carbsane eats 100 carbs per day if it's all CICO/ELMM/low carb diets are gimmicks/Taubes is a moron/insulin prevents obesity/etc. Why does carbsane eat less carbs if she wants to lose weight? Why does her appetite decrease when she eats less carbs?

Do we really believe steak and butter is less palatable than air popped corn with splenda and fake butter?
ItsTheWooo said…
Successful weight loss (body fat atrophy) is symptomatic of, and causative of, lower insulin and leptin levels.

The combined effect of lower insulin/leptin is a suppression of the SNS, which decreases thyroid hormone conversion as well as fat oxidation.

Leptin itself will cause TSH to increase, and lower leptin will suppress TSH output.

A functional inhibition of thyroid axis is normla adaptation to body fat atrophy / lower leptin. This is similar to how low leptin causes a suppresison of GnRH and hypothalamic amenorrehea (functional).

LC diets do not cause hypothyroidism. LC diets cause superior fat atrophy, leading to lower body weight and leptin and insulin, with SYMPTOMATIC functional thyroid inhibition. The same thing can occur on a sufficiently calorie deprived high carb diet (which is far less healthy and far more miserable comparatively speaking).

Complaining about lower thyroid from weight loss is sort of like complaining about chest scars after a life saving CABG. Yes, if you have open heart surgery to circumvent occluded arteries, you are going to have unpleasant scars. Similarly, if you manipulate your diet to atrophy your body fat, your thyroid hormone will be lower, as well as leptin and numerous other neuroendocrine parameters, compared to an undieted matched control.

There is a way to attenuate and reverse all of these changes from body fat atrophy: theraputic leptin replacement. Seeing as we are all pretending obesity is an addiction, not a metabolic/endocrine disorder, theraputic leptin replacement will happen in about t minus.... never.

Don't forget, Stephan Guyenet believes the proper diet will "undo" a "high set point" and people will "effortlessly defend a low fat mass". HAHAHA.
MD said…
You think LCers take a lot of supplements? Untrue. Go to any Whole Foods or health store and it is a cash cow. Rainbow, a huge health food store in San Francisco has a supplement section that is as big as as their produce department. It is not just the domain of low carbers. There's nothing wrong with supplementation... 5htp, GABA, amino acids, cod liver oil are all great sups that have helped a lot of people avoid mainstream drugs. Many fitness professionals, who are surely not the chubby low carbers you like to mock, also utilize supplementation.

Low carb diets simply are not cool anymore, that is why you do not see LC products. Gluten free is the in vogue dietary obsession of the moment and that will go away as well.

I have many friends who are vegans and they come in all shapes and sizes. They also eat just as much processed food . The vegan convenience food market is BOOMING. Earth balance, daiya, gardein, etc... no way are those diets low fat.

I don't think most people go VLC because it's very hard mentally and socially but even your typical neurotic thin calorie obsessed woman in Lululelmon yoga pants restricts her carbs without much effort since all she'll eat are salads and greek yogurt. The most carbs she'll consume are in alcohol and at Sunday brunch. I strongly disagree we're eating too much fat as a society ... I think we are overdoing it on sugar above all else. If people eliminated the frappucinos, sodas, and misc. other calorie bombs in liquid form, they would fix a lot of their caloric issues.

I just think a lot of these statements are being made in the window of an extremely narrow world view.
Javeux said…
Isn't losing your hair, being cold and fatigued etc miserable whether you're LC or HC or suffering from hypothyroidism or non-thyroidal illness? These are the issues people were complaining about that were caused, or at least triggered, by their diet. I'm not sure if you're saying these symptoms are the chest scars or you're talking about benign changes in hormone levels. I doubt anyone cares what their TSH is when they're losing weight, but picking up a clump of hair in the shower is more like a poorly stitched chest scar that's causing an infection with all its own horrible symptoms.
Tonus said…
I think you raise a good point. Evelyn's point is that low-carb proponents will promote it as an ideal diet for us, the diet that we were meant to eat. If that is so, then you would expect for it to provide all of the nutrition that we require and that supplementation would be unnecessary.

But I think that many dietary approaches stumble into this same contradiction. Combined with what appears to be a pathological fear of missing out, it has turned the supplement industry into a behemoth. It's not unusual for local stores to have a very large area set aside for supplements, with a mind-boggling array of goodies on the shelves. It's also not unusual for health-conscious and weight-conscious people to flock to those areas. Kind of ironic, when you think about it. The more we tune our diets towards what we consider the ideal for us, the more likely we are to supplement it. A dieter's version of Pascal's Wager. :)
Sue said…
I think Gunther Gatherer is a vegan now after reading comments by him at Don's Primal Wisdom. Getting good results.
It's true that I lost my stubborn "last 20 lbs" while avoiding animal products. I decided to stick with it since I'm now rock stable even under my goal weight of 65 kilos, and all while really, and I mean really stuffing myself with vegetables, fruits and high fiber grains (plus jams, jellies and whatever other SUGARS I wanna put on them) all day.

No intermittent fasting, no sprints, no kettlebells or cross-training, no worrying about carbs or carefully weighing potatoes, no tablespoons of coconut oil for breakfast, and no exercise other than walks in the forest near our house with the fiancée. And this is with horrible sleep due to my seasonal allergies. I'd like to see how things go in the fall when my nose clears up.

In short, I'm not a vegan (I actually ate a steak last night at a dinner party. It felt great to not worry if it was grass-fed or not!), but after all these years of dieting, I know it all boils down to LONG-TERM ADHERENCE. Plus the whole diet is TONS cheaper financially than my obsessive, picky, anti-fructose, grass-fed, quasi-lacto-paleo-high saturated fat-pissing-on-ketosticks-lifestyle that frankly, isn't worth living. Now that I look back on it, that period was really sick mentally.
Just wanted to add that if I had to choose a diet philosophy camp, I still think Stephan, Don Matesz, Neal Barnard, McDougall and other Real Food advocates are on the right track. I'm not going to include Sally Fallon because she hawks way too many "essential" products and murky, unproven "activators" and is herself quite overweight. Always a bad sign.

Boyd Eaton claims our paleolithic ancestors didn't really get that much meat, about 30g a day on a good day. Think about it: why would they run after huge game for days, that can fight back, when they can pick up insects, frogs, salamanders and rats right in front of them?

The "man as big game hunter" image has to go if paleo dieting is going to survive.
Unknown said…
"The "man as big game hunter" image has to go if paleo dieting is going to survive."
Bingo. there is a powerful cultural element to this "paleo" movement. I wonder if people's chosen diet seems to reflect their world view in some cases.

"They [Stephan and Evelyn] discuss things rather than proclaim them."

That says it all. Anyone claiming to be an "expert" has closed their mind and is incapable of changing their opinions based on new info.


When you think about it, the macho paleo movement is just a reworking of the macho bodybuilding culture of the 80s. I'm not surprised they came up with "Grok", pulling cars down the street to "mimic the act of bringing killed game to the tribe", and Tim Ferris telling you to take cold showers to "send libido through the roof and make you into a horny beast". Bodyhacking seems really male-driven and any paleontologist will tell you it's not based on any real science, just hopes and dreams of being the kind of man our MODERN society expects of us. Really ironic, actually.

From afar, it all looks like it comes out of some crappy men's magazine.
bentleyj74 said…
It gets problematic when someone takes an observation and turns it into an ideology that trumps other observation and wackiness ensues. It's pretty easily visible in all dietary persuasions.
bentleyj74 said…
"They [Stephan and Evelyn] discuss things rather than proclaim them."

"That says it all."

It really does :)
Galina L. said…
We are different with different diet needs.The perfect diet, probably, should resolve existing issues to at least some degree. I don't think everybody needs to follow a LC diet, but I think many more will be able to benefit from it like me. I also know only one real life LCarber (except for my convinced mother), out of all people who follow a special diet I know personally several vegetarians and some old folks who attempt Mediterranean diet but have trouble ignoring their favorite foods (wheat+sugar). Normally people are strict only about their allergies or D1 restrictions.
There are more people like me around who I have not meet yet. When my doctor asked me why I stopped requesting asthma medication and water pills and how I managed not to regain my lost weight, and received a LC answer, he said casually "A! Some of my patients did it the same way, but I can't recommend it because it is not a standard of care". He is supportive and open-minded. If you don't know whatever your health got better or worse, may be your doctor has an answer, it is a chance he noticed the change in number of visits, health markers, amount of prescriptions to fill.
When I go to Hardee's (usually when I travel) and ask for a burger wrapped in a lettuce instead of a bun, they act like it is just another standard option, and shout into the kitchen "one low carb 1/3 pounder". The obesity problem is growing, more and more people feel the need to do something. LC diet is an option, not a universal magic remedy, it is definitely worth trying, unfortunately it is not a fool-proof.
ItsTheWooo said…
My point is this: thyroid suppression is caused by LOSING WEIGHT. It occurs whether or not you eat carbs and is only correlated with rapid or extensive body fat loss.

It is not cuased by eating or not eating carbohydrate.

Carbohydrate casually is associated with "fixing the thyroid" because when people start eating carbs they stop losing weight or start gaining.

I'm tired of people saying carb restriction is bad for thyroid, out of ignorance. The ironic thing is some forms of auto immune thyroid illness may reflect a wheat allergy so restricting carbs for some people is actually super healthy for thyroid.

As for "low carb induced hypothyroidism" - just eat enough food calories to stop losing weght and your hypothyroidism will magically go away. There is no way on earth to lose a lot of body fat quickly and not have these symptoms.
Sue said…
Thanks for that Gunther.
Craig said…
That is the kind of result on which a diet empire could be built.... if one were so inclined
Lesley Scott said…
@ItsTheWoo "Why do you bother cutting potatoes to control weight if it is all CICO/ELMM/low carb is for sheisters and gullible fat idiots/etc?" Who is this question aimed at? I personally cut back on tuber-starches when my weight creeps above my goal range because that's what I've found works for me personally. I'm not advocating any theories merely noting what I've found useful for staving off gaining back any of the 40+ pounds I lost a few years ago now.
CarbSane said…
@Javeux: Excellent analogy & Welcome! The thyroid issue is somewhat inherent in weight loss, but it comes up all the more with extended carb restriction. Atkins himself addressed this so it's a bit disingenuine for LC'ers to act as if it doesn't exist.

Interesting what you mentioned above. She addressed it directly in that short video now but seemed to only suggest more carbs, but the short audio clip from her Ask The LC Experts podcast with Jimmy from earlier this year, she's like "what? like LC would be a problem?" ...and then we get the condescending nonsense about folks being hopeless addicts. Sigh :(
CarbSane said…
p.s. I can never remember how to spell them! The non-soy ones that are clear go by even more names from conjac, kongac, yam noodles, etc. The brown cakes look like jellied dishwater with black spots. Never tried those as they don't even look appealing. They aren't bad in spicy or Asian ramen noodle type dishes. I prefer the bean "cellophane" noodles.
Unknown said…
Yup. Trying to be a modern, hip, caveman must have some attraction, I guess. Maybe that's why scruffy beards are in with the cubicle types. I was a little exited when I saw strength training being taken out of the bodybuilding world and approached from a health/function perspective by some paleo people. But I think they just adapted it to their own cultural paradigm instead of really looking at the best data. Bodybuilders are at least honest that it's all for looks and image.
CarbSane said…
MD, that some others take a lot of supplements doesn't make the fact that LC'ers tend to take and promote a lot untrue. Just recently Dana posted hers http://www.holdthetoast.com/content/my-vitamin-regimen, Jimmy has a vid on YouTube somewhere, go ask a question about constipation or glucose problems persisting on VLC on any LC forum and you'll get the litany. Somewhere on PeterD's Hyperlipid Wooo listed a phenomenal amount of supplements -- so many that it is fair to question that if whatever is going on with her is more from the supplements than her diet.

The thing is, Shanahan said replace empty carb cals with nutrient dense foods -> healthier. Many promote this idea that obesity is induced by micronutrient deficiencies, but when the diet is markedly improved and obesity hasn't resolved, then what? Oh! You must be deficient in this or that and should take this or that. Most of the time such deficiencies are due to monotonous diets -- not macrowise or flavorwise, but same too-few foods. This tends to happen more on the extremes.
bentleyj74 said…

If people aren't going specifically "for looks" with their muscle building they might not like the way the results look very much.
CarbSane said…
Thanks for sharing your results. You know what's weird is that these VLC'ers sit around wondering why folks who abandon the lifestyle and improve are so "antagonistic" -- must be their hidden addictions I guess. But I will readily admit that giving up even most animal foods would be difficult for me, even pick one single thing -- beef, let's say -- to say I would never eat that again? I couldn't do it. Well I could, but it would be difficult. And this from a person who eats beef maybe once or twice a week most times. Am I addicted to beef? It's all so ridiculous ... and ultimately insulting.

I remember when PB came out -- never read the book -- folks were citing MDA like crazy on Jimmy's. I have to say Sisson is to be credited with my eating more fruit and even some starches here and there though he didn't quite say so at the time. But I remember reading one of his reader emails or somesuch where the person asked about buckwheat -- a seed of a broadleafed plant vs. a "grain" from a grass (but corn is considered a grain) and wild rise. Seed, grain, nut, fruit ... whatevah! Mark's bottom line was always starch content, the lower the better. I had a hard time even then envisioning our ancestors foraging for non-nutritive fiber and leaving the starch for the other animals!

Don raised an excellent point once to those who use rapid extinction of large mammals following human migration as proof that we evolved to nosh on huge meals of fatty meat: you think 10K years is a blink in time? Well, then these transient periods when we perhaps hunted to extinction were too.
CarbSane said…
And Eat like Great Grandmama doesn't appeal quite so much to Gen Whateverwe'reon ... males especially ;-)
CarbSane said…
Wooo, please read what I say thoroughly before responding. I don't count carbs but I estimate I eat around 150/day nowadays. This is up from <20. At <20 I no longer lost weight since 2009 and not much at all for the second half of 08. So I'm hoping that when I get my mind motivated to lose some more weight, I'll spontaneously reduce intake like the last time, only this time from a reduced start point. I'll address some reasons why I'm not actively doing this at this time. I realize you have no understanding why I might not have that as an obsessive priority in my life, but I think most non-social retards as you've described yourself probably understand the concept of weight/food not being priority numero uno for all people all the time. CICO "isn't working" for me because I'm not applying it at the moment. If you've read comments here for any period of time you'd realize that it has been applied successfully by quite a few.

FWIW, the way I see Lesley's strategy is that she gets her protein and its included fat and veggies in and then if there's wiggle room after that some more carb than usual. Feel free to correct me on that Lesley. For someone else the strategy might be lower fat protein and carbs and the extra fat in the wiggle area.
Sanjeev said…
So much veganism/vegetarianism is mixed up with some other form of woo that any discussion in the aggregate must be accompanied by HUGE error bars

The Jains as a group (I've known a few, when I was taking care of my grandmother couple of years ago in North India some of the neighbours were Jains) take very few supplements but have some of the strictest dietary strictures imaginable (have had for thousands of years; Jain-related artefacts have allegedly been found in Mohenjo-daro). And the group that's popular with epidemiologists - the Seventh-day Adventists, AFAIK (never noted in any of the research or literature I've seen to date) as a group of vegetarians they don't pop a lot of pills of any kind.

IMHO one must segregate vegans into various sub-populations to discuss them at all precisely.
Lesley Scott said…
"FWIW, the way I see Lesley's strategy is that she gets her protein and its included fat and veggies in and then if there's wiggle room after that some more carb than usual." Yes, that's exactly what I do. I've have good luck with whole-food sources of protein such as fatty fish, lean'ish beef (I prefer the taste & philosophy of grass fed, but that's just me), humane pork & humane/pastured chickens/eggs - and the last to be added/first to go from my plate are the tubers. I've found that ditching them temporarily also helps me benefit from the natural appetite suppression that seems to accompany LC to VLC.
CarbSane said…
The one thing that bugs me about anti-LF in the LC community is the extremes they use. A rat study where they deprived them of all fat. Jimmy Moore's LF diet where he felt miserable and bloated and starving the whole time he lost 170 lbs because he ate like no fat. People eating like 10 g fat per day. All of this is very extreme and has side effects. And yet some LF diets are as high as 30% which is 67 grams fat per 2000 cals. That may not seem like a lot for a person used to consuming a lot more, but it's hardly low enough to cause problems. That so many traditional cultures like the Pima consumed single digit percent fat and were healthy speaks to this. I remember I got a bit fat phobic on my first diet and my Mom gave me a book by Adele Davis about how we need some fat in our diets.

Most LF advocates would even consider that too low. And yet the low carbers go far more extreme.
CarbSane said…
The Gunther Gatherer Diet ... I can see the logo now :D
CarbSane said…
Thanks, I'm flattered! Who knew, when I lost around 100 lbs I was doing low carb all wrong too. Not enough fat, no obsessing over veggie carbs for starters...
ItsTheWooo said…
@Carbsane I did not accuse you of failing to lose more weight, nor did I state weight should be everyone's priority all the time.

My question was this only: why do you restrict carbohydrate when you DO want to lose weight if all calories are equal and there is no metabolic endocrine or nervous system benefits to restricting carbohydrate specifically? You say it reduces hunger; why do you get hungrier when you eat carbohydrate, if all calories are equal and carb is not any more obesigenic than protein or fat?

Your explanation of Lesley's strategy implies carbohydrate is fluff food which is perhaps worse for her health or weight than protein and vegetables. Again, if we are going to logically follow the paleo VIP crew and their logic, where we argue that insulin prevents obesity and carb restriction only works by reducing reward, then bland starch should be the basis of diet, fat/protein foods would be more palatable and rewarding and these should be cut before pure bowls of bland oatmeal and cornflakes and plain potatoes.

It's just interesting that pretty much every single dieter on this forum who is successful is eating low carb when they want to lose weight, in spite of the fact few foods are less palatable than a bland potato or a plain piece of bread or some crackers. Certainly I would prefer any day of the week my high fat high protein foods to that.
Sanjeev said…
I think you deserve a dissenter's badge. Just don't let Frank G pin it on you - he might try to stick the badge's pin in your eye & accuse you of being Evelyn (or Nigel) ; )
CarbSane said…
To you, any time someone constricts a carbohydrate food, this is proof that carbs are "filler" or fattening. I have stated repeatedly that the reason carb restriction worked for me was that it spontaneously decreased my intake ... a lot ... when going from SAD to LC. But here's the rub, it only worked for so long. Many many people have lost weight eliminating one food or food group -- like cutting out sodas, or eliminating dairy or nuts or cheese. I had a friend who lost a ton of weight counting just fat grams and nothing else, much like many count carbs. The reason this worked for her is that she was one of those people eating 1000+ cals of salad bar for lunch with creamy dressings, tuna salad, macaroni salads, etc. So is she not proof then that fat makes you fat?

I guess you didn't bother to read the several posts RRX made in recent days. Lesley lost and maintains her losses using WW Points. There are vegetarians or near veggies here. Strict calorie counters. Moderate carbers and all in between. But you see what you want to see to say that carb restriction for weight loss is what most people here do to lose weight.

You seized on the fact that I intend to try carb restriction once again to see if it will do its magic -- mostly because I dread calorie counting because I'm not very good at consistently logging everything for lengthy periods. LC is easy for me b/c I just avoid carby foods when I do it. Hopefully b/c my carbs are up now, cutting them will work to reduce intake. However, realize that I was eating that way for 2 years with no further losses and adding back carbs mindfully did not produce gains. If carb restriction magically allowed my fat to be freed from the fat cells, why does it stop working in so many even to the point they gain or remain plus-sized obese????

The clientele on the LC Cruise wasn't folks looking to learn more about the LC lifestyle early in their journey -- it's mostly folks who've been doing it for years. That is instructive, because when you look at pictures of the crowd, remove those never-fat people like Andreas (who is no more qualified to relate to obesity than your hated Stephan) and you are left with a room full of overweight to downright obese people.

The way I see it, the only macro we need to address is protein and most carbs and fats are "fluff". What carbs and fats we consume are best selected for associated micronutrition, EFA and fiber content while providing energy.

OK Wooo, I've about had it with this game you're playing. If you want to post and discuss what you post here, fine. Thus far you've refrained from too many multiple comments or insulting me directly here. If you want to rant on about what I supposedly said in your typical uninformed (e.g. carbsane only lost a trivial amount of weight) or misrepresenting (e.g. carbsane claimed low carb caused her menopause) fashion, that too is your prerogative. But you can't have it both ways and expect a person to keep the door open for someone who does the internet equivalent of playing nice in person and insulting them behind their backs when nobody's looking. For one, you never know who is looking ... The choice is yours.
ItsTheWooo said…
Just wanted to say I never took supplements for years and was skeptical.

I take supplements because they help, and it has no relationship what so ever to my diet.

I take EXTRA chromium, magnesium, inositol. My low carb diet is *superior* in preserving these nutrients, but I still take extra because subjecitvely it helps.

I take a multivitamin and extra vitamin c. The vitamin C is the only thing I take which can be argued is a reaction to my low carb diet.

The rest of my supplements pertain to my mood or controlling massive weight loss explicitly (e.g. things to increase metabolism, things to increase mood: SJW, amino acids, carnitine, light therapy, caffeine/green tea). Pointing out I take things for mood and to help weight maintenance is like pointing out people with high blood pressure take vasotec. I know you believe obesity is about choosing to eat less and move more and properly dedicaitng yourself, but there is actually documented evidence my body works like crap because of my weight loss (whereas people just make fun of jimmy moore when he says this, as he has no proof, I actually have had scientific confirmation of the nebulous ways my body is not normal because of wt loss. My supplements sort of kind of help).

The idea diet is not going to "cure" obesity and IMO taking caffeine/green tea/tyrosine/phenylalanine is a lot better than phen/fen and other harder stimulants.
P2ZR said…
'The way I see it, the only macro we need to address is protein and most carbs and fats are "fluff".'

Hmm. IME, every macro is necessary but not sufficient for satiety, with protein > carb > fat (long term), carb >~ protein > fat (short term). There also seem to be diminishing returns to the satiating effect of each macro (e.g., for me on a sedentary day, min ~70g protein, ~80g carb, 10-20g fat [which is incidental to the protein/carb foods]). Note that that is a LOT of wiggle room: the above comes to <800kcal, but already has...fat already near a 80/10/10 diet's ceiling, enough protein as a 'min' amount to raise Paul Jaminet's eyebrow, and enough carb to send a LCer into psychosomatic diabetic shock.
v/vmary said…
evelyn,am i correct in thinking that you lost the 100 pounds by restricting carbs (>20g) for a number of years? and then you plateaued, followed by gaining back some of the weight? what do you think it wast about the VLC that caused you to gain? are you concerned that the same thing might happen on a second try at LC? what would you do differently and why?

like i have said, i plateaued after about a 10% weight loss, but i never restricted to the extent you did, just eyeballing it as i never counted/logged anything. maybe i could lose more if i restricted more. i might give it a try, but it has been so easy to maintain, i am loathe to go back to my pre LC days of being disappointed, feeling hungry, fighting the hunger, etc. which i associate with counting calories and trying to write things down.

my daughter once lost a lot of weight by just not eating a lot. she said she liked the feeling of her empty stomach- it was disordered eating that she only talked about after she stopped doing it. she stopped this way of eating because her period stopped and she got so nervous that she started pigging out. after that she couldn't stop overeating- it was like the floodgates were open. and she would just lay on the rug watching tv, not moving an inch. she got fatter that her pre weight loss. she has always gained weight easily and her mood is better when she is LC. she is at a good place now enjoying her sports and eating mosting LC by her own choice.

i just wanted to write her experience because it reminds me of what i understand happened to you.
Woodey said…
Since quitting LC my carb intake has gone up, but my weight has not. I have been able to keep it from going up as well as down (unfortunately). Like Evelyn mentioned LC kept me from eating excess calories by cutting out the carbs, but what was really happening was I was not eating the processed calorie dense carbs. So I'm sticking to my guns and minimizing my processed carb intake while increasing my fiber dense starch carb intake. I've been eating more legumes and adding oatmeal and other whole grains to my diet.

Its been a trade-off because my fat consumption has also gone down, I'd say by more than half. I was eating 60-70% fat on a daily basis, now its about 15-20%. So, higher fiber-filled carbs, less fat and zero weight gain. Not bad for a fat-ass. Now if I add some exercise and cut back some more on calories, the weight will drop, all this while eating normal amounts of carbs and eating low fat, something that has worked for me in the past. The key to that success was low amounts of processed carbs and less calories.
CarbSane said…
I worded that poorly and tend to agree with what you're saying (if I'm understanding correctly). What I was getting at is that the only macro that one needs to get enough of is protein (though what those exact needs are is debatable). For veggies, that protein comes mostly with carbs, and they need to be careful with the sources to get enough and a full complement of amino acids. Enough fat is incidental to such foods (and cooking oils/dressings). For a mixed diet, protein comes mostly from animal sources and packaged mostly with fat. I suppose that's why it seems carbs are "extra" -- because you don't need to worry about getting enough fat, you got that with the protein you need and so the carbs per se are just for calories.

Low carbers like to fuss over the fact that you would die without fat or protein but you don't "need" carbs. I say if you get your protein, it's next to impossible not to get enough fat with, and it's virtually impossible to eat a fat free diet so I find that argument flimsy at best. Yes like protein, we use fat for "structure" and other functions, but all of these 80-10-10 thriving cultures show human "needs" for fat are pretty darned low. Ultimately fat and carbs are both just energy/calories.
CarbSane said…
"The rest of my supplements pertain to my mood or controlling massive weight loss explicitly (e.g. things to increase metabolism, things to increase mood: SJW, amino acids, carnitine, light therapy, caffeine/green tea). Pointing out I take things for mood and to help weight maintenance is like pointing out people with high blood pressure take vasotec."

So your obesity could have been from your untreated mood disorder and you are medicating to maintain a weight incongruent with your genetics. But eating to feel better has never been mentioned as one reason people overeat and become obese, right?

I actually have had scientific confirmation of the nebulous ways my body is not normal because of wt loss.

And you have no way of knowing if it was from the weight loss per se or chronic carbohydrate restriction.

Let me tell you my story of how LC broke my metabolism. I went on Atkins in 1997 and lost about 40 lbs relatively quickly. Only all my life I always gained last in the midsection and boobs and lost that first. This time I got down to size 8 and had a muffin top for the first time in my life at that size.

When a person is married or in a relationship (or has to prepare foods for a family, not my issue) this diet can be extremely unfriendly. So I drifted off of it and started regaining. Next thing I knew, I had gained 100 lbs. Never before in the decade plus of various weight loss and regains and binges and whatnot had I ever gotten much over 200 lbs size 16/18. Now I was truly obese wearing 20's and shopping at the plus size stores.

Gunther Gatherer once asked me on PeterD's how one Rip Van Winkles up 100 lbs -- and that is a valid question. It was from eating "normal amounts" of crap food, not binging as I hear so many LC'ers do when they fall off the wagon. No doubt that food was calorific. I didn't notice passing the 200's mark because I was wearing smaller sizes in normally cut pants. I did not weigh myself a lot throughout my life, I always had an idea of what my weight was by clothing sizes (and there was no size inflation as I refused to throw out skinny pants because some day I'm going too fit into them). I probably was already over 200 lbs when I was wearing large 12's -- and since unlike skinny pants, I used to always discard the fat pants so I just bought what fit and now larger sizes fit better b/c the weight went to my belly, boobs and upper arms. Don't get me wrong, a lot still went to butt and legs, I'll never be a Rosanne Barr type, but this shape was foreign to me. That's no excuse not to have put the brakes on, but something about LC changed things to where my body gained weight like never before -- both in amounts and rate. This is why I think LC should come with a warning label, and I'm so hard on Amy Dungan for promoting this diet. Whether it's because she doesn't stick to it consistently or not (IOW she's not obese because of eating low carb so it's the carbs she eats when she makes "poor choices" to blame) she is me in 2007 -- considerably larger and heavier than her initial before picture of a decade ago. And she's been so for most of the time since then except for a brief time in 2007 (her second success story).

I lost the extra weight in 2002-4 on low carb again and that time I plateaued out at 209 wearing size 12's. This was when I had problems with the racing heart and skiddly feelings and when I drifted back to "normal" eating I was back up AND over in like a year and a half. This time I got to 209 and size 10's -- through IF and experiments I got to right around 199 +/- 3 lbs fluctuation. And no more. Now I also went through meno this time, but I wasn't so in the past stints. In 2009 I tracked and I needed to eat like 13-1400 to maintain my 200 lb body. That is one slow metabolism my friend.

to be continued ...
CarbSane said…
Interesting 1991 article there Craig!

Ya know, LC'ers are always complaining that the diet tested isn't a "real LC diet" -- too many carbs, not enough fat, not enough butter or coconut oil slathered on everything -- but they never acknowledge the same for LF diets tested. If LF diets were soooooo vastly inferior I don't think you'd have quite so many healthy populations out there eating exactly that way.

Thanks to that article I'm going to look into amaranth. Dunno if those beans sound too appetizing though :D
CarbSane said…
On Jimmy's discussion board there are/were a lot of women around my age with similar stories -- I'm an outlier only in my BMI-to-size ratio. My metabolism seems to have come back some eating more carb (and less fat)-- but it's still way less than would be predicted for a 200 lb person with my outlier levels of lean mass.

Metabolic responses to feast and famine favor LC suppressing metabolic rate. We see this in animals on all but that "mighty metabolism mouse" model and Peter Attia apparently -- and I absolutely do not want to risk my liver for that "metabolic advantage". The metabolic pathways of starvation (gluconeogenesis, glyceroneogenesis)are upregulated even in a VLC'er in a hypercaloric state. Starve it of carbohydrate and upregulate the body's starvation metabolism for long enough and it hoards energy when it gets it and dials the metabolism down on a dime. All of the hormonal changes (whether one considers them beneficial or deleterious) associated with calorie restriction and drastic loss of fat mass can only be compounded by that carbohydrate (and protein restriction).

Wooo, I've never said you are irrelevant or not worth listening to or anything of that sort. I have said you certainly are an outlier, and your story is pretty irrelevant to me, personally. The only thing we share in common is our gender and perhaps a tendency towards seasonal affective disorder -- I too need my daylight in the winter and can't for the life of me understand why you don't move to a temperate climate and drop the shift work since you seem to have few if any ties to your area.

Frankly, for your size and lack of deliberate activity (though nursing is far from a sedentary job/life) you have a pretty buzzing metabolism. Perhaps that's due to all your supplements? And perhaps if you ate carbs you might not need them to stimulate your metabolism.

Lastly, leptin. There are ethical considerations with studies like this. I'm pretty sure you mentioned discarding leftover leptin ... do I remember correctly? If you responded so favorably, it is unfathomable that you wouldn't run through fire and Jack Kruse's ice baths to get this treatment. There are ways, and to be denied access to something like this seems cruel and unusual. Or enroll in leptin studies. Fail or not, it's still being studied and I can't imagine you couldn't gain access going that route.
CarbSane said…
Lastly regarding Jimmy Moore:

Jimmy doesn't have a damaged metabolism from his weight loss, he loses weight like gangbusters whenever he adopts a "clean" diet of some sort -- sweet free challenge, eggfest, ground beef eggs and CO, meat and veggies, and now ketomania. It's actually kind of obnoxious that he complains so much when he's able to lose weight eating so much. I'd gain weight for sure eating what he eats to lose weight. He can't see the forest through the treas that whatever damage he may have (he wasn't hyperinsulinemic when his regain struggles began in 2008 which was when he went on his search for the metabolic answer to his mysterious late 2007 weight gain) his diet is almost certainly creating it at this point.

His mysterious late 2007 35 pound gain he blames on creatinine and weight lifting was really a 50+ pound regain from his Kimkins misadventure and the weight lifting was his license to binge on low carb puddings, bars, shakes whatever. Go look at his earliest menus blogs. His current weight loss has nothing to do with "nutritional ketosis" and everything to do with the monotonous diet one must consume to remain in that state. In 2011 it was beef, eggs and CO and he snuck in some sugar free dark chocolate ... but despite all the fanfare, he never made it to his April 1 deadline/goal and never spoke of why he abandoned that diet. He'll likely fail on this new adventure in extreme dieting "demanded" by his damaged metabolism, though I wish him well despite our differences. It is interesting that he unveiled a caricature of himself last year with his Low Carb Conversations podcast, because he's become one and HE has made a laughing-stock of himself with such gems as "I'm still not convinced calories have anything to do with it" (probably direct quote, but let's call it an accurate paraphrase). The man has a binge eating disorder he is in denial of. I believe you have mentioned before that restriction triggers these. It triggered mine in my late teens and it lasted through most of my 20's. Binging may be triggered by restriction but it persists long past compensatory metabolic/neurochemical forces would dictate. We know we can induce binging in animals with restriction. But that animal will not continue to binge once a period of unlimited ad libitum access to food.

You don't lose 170 lbs in 9 months and then regain it all after your wife asks you to get her a value meal at McD's and she *gives permission* for you to have one as well because you've *been good* and then regain ALL that weight in like 3 months if you don't have something effed up beyond your metabolism. C'mon. And you can't blame the USDA Pyramid or low fat advice for being 410 lbs when you used to eat more in one day than I used to in a week of binging. I mean one box of Little Debbies is a binge, that pretty much topped off a day of near constant shoveling of large portions of crapola throughout the day. Yet he actually says low fat made him fat. Ha! That is laughable!! But I have a hard time even empathizing with someone who claims to be a Christian man that promotes a diet that doesn't even work for him for fun and profit. There are other ways to support one's family.

Apparently Jimmy talks about some childhood issues in his first book. I have not read either of his books. If anyone has either of them and wants to donate them to "science", I'm game to read them!
Galina L. said…
I want to remark on such small thing as a clothes size. My highest weight was 198 lb, I am 5'6", my biggest clothes size was 16. Bra cup size B or C depending on the model, it didn't change with my weight . My weight is evenly distributed along my rather large frame, but I am more heavy down the waist.In order to be size 10 I would have to weight probably 140 lb. I didn't have a chance to miss the increasing weigh number because during the year when I was quickly gaining 26 lb, I had to go often to doctor's office for one reason or another because I was having frequent infections, allergies and migraines got worse, and I was put on a weight scale in doc's office without mercy each time even when visiting neurologist.
I think I have some similarities with Wooo's weight issues because I can relate to being a chubby child with too good appetite who was trying to eat more meat and less starches. I was by myself at home since 10 years old because adults were working, so I had a liberty to skip the obligatory requirement to take a bite of bread with each spoon of soup. It looks like eating LC corrects some glitch in my body because it makes my neurological disorder and allergies better.
I can relate to a weight gain associated with changing of marital status, it happened with me twice but to a smaller degree. I also remember loosing a lot of weight after I left my first husband. Guys could be much more relax about food choices.
CarbSane said…
Galina, the really weird thing is that before low carb, I would go between pants sizes in like 10 lbs. Pants never fit right, I always had a gap in the back at the waist when my thighs/butt fit properly, and it was always hard to find styles that fit (at any size). With the shift to the middle I find pants fit much more easily (again, at any size). And it seems to take far more pounds to need to go between sizes. I too have also "carried my weight well" and when moderately overweight I carry it more uniformally.

BTW, I dunno what's worse for a person with weight issues -- live with a naturally skinny person, or an overweight one. "They" (whoever they are) say that hanging out with obese people is no good b/c it reinforces whatever it is they and you are doing that makes one obese, but hang out with skinny people (especially women trying to hang with lean men) and that's likely going to cause weight gain!
Woodey said…
"I dunno what's worse for a person with weight issues -- live with a naturally skinny person, or an overweight one."

I've lived with both. Regardless of who I lived with I gained and lost weight. I am why I am fat, it has nothing to do with the person next to me. The sooner people blame themselves instead of the government and the person in the next room or in bed with them, the better off one will be.

When I was lean and living in the gym I had a roomie that smoked weed, drank and ate whatever he felt like. I did not join him because I was determined to follow my plan. A few years later I became fat because I stopped following my plan, I wasn't living with this person when that happened.

I refuse to claim "stupid" or play the blame game. The government, Devil, or my better half did not make me what I am, nor anyone else for that matter.

I laugh now when I think of Taubes and his line about eating a blueberry could cause weight gain for some people. Ok yeah right it wasn't the pizza, soda, or ice cream that made me fat.....it was that g*dda*n apple! Why did I eat all that fruit? Take me now Lord!!End my misery!!
CarbSane said…
Hey Woodey, I agree, it's not the other people's fault. But however I ate when I was single was far easier to control than now ... and my husband NEEDS to eat more than me. I suppose the flip side is that it's easier to pig out in the privacy of one's own home and probably more social situations to navigate, but on balance I think singlehood comes out on top for controlling one's diet. (Note: my binge days were behind me before I married so I'll never really know if it would have mattered, I'm thinking I would have just resorted to closet binging or binging when he wasn't around). One can plan around social situations but one cannot plan around another person filling the shelves and fridge with foods you might want or who says, "I'm in the mood for Chinese tonight, how about it?" On the one hand we want to be considerate of those significant others, on the other hand is it fair for one partner to expect the other to never eat XYZ or keep it in the house or whatever just because it's fattening for you?
Woodey said…
I agree as well and when you have two or more people in close relationships working together the chance of success is increased. One thing I learned from sports is that when people work together challenges are more easily worked through. My situation would be easier if I lived with someone who was on the same page as me, as it is we kind of hinder one another. However, it is teaching me to be tougher and exercise more self control, because in the end it is up to me. But a partner would make it easier.:)

Your history of yo-yoing is similar to mine (I'm 41 y.o.). I found they all resolved (and weight loss resumed and then stopped below goal weight) when I decided to be a "home vegan" with occasional forays into meatville on special occasions (this averages to about once every two weeks - not a lot of meat compared to my LC/paleo days, I know).

The adjustment was difficult for about a week, until I realized the enormous volume of plant food I could now eat to get to a base caloric level. There is no way you can feel deprived if you just make it your business to stay stuffed and bring snacks along so you don't get caught hungry at an office pizza party.

I live with my fiancée and we cook together. We don't call it a vegan lifestyle, but we both know the "home turf" rules. For as much as I respect Stephan's work, bland and boring meals do not a happy couple make. So we spice it up and have various vegan cookbooks on hand. Yes, you need a supportive partner for any diet to work. Eating is like 80% of a lifestyle, for godssakes!

I think sticking to whole plant foods as much as possible can be the easiest way to achieve one's weight goals. Weirdly, I found that the "male muffin top" I always sported (even in my skinniest days while working out heavily) has smoothed out and my middle is finally tightening up. I attribute this to lowered estrogen circulation due to now eating the highest fiber content of any diet I've ever eaten (SAD, then meat-heavy paleo, the VLC). Fiber seems to be clearing out the excess estrogen giving me the manboobs, thick skin and general blobbiness.

These are just tips. Apply as necessary to whatever diet you choose!
Galina L. said…
It is not about placing blames entirely on someone or finding excuses. It is about discussing environment. Choices are easy when you are the only one who controls the environment. People are social creatures, even the anty-social types. Every naturally skinny person thinks he/she is skinny because he/she leads the perfect life-style, when they start to live with somebody who is better to stay away from sweet treats or another junk-food, the skinny person can't believe that sweets in the amounts he consumes are fattening, and usually starts guessing (mostly silently) what else the easy-fat-gaining person is doing wrong (doesn't exercise enough, secretly eating more food, just being naturally lazy). It is absolutely maddening. In that regard I think that living with naturally thin person is worse. I don't enjoy when my legs got swollen after eating some pasta I couldn't refuse in acquiescence's house because it would be rude, but at least it is a visual evidence for my husband that pasta is the wrong food choice for me. The same goes to the sour dough rye bread I recently started to bake for him. It also got my legs swollen, so I am not eating it. Life levels everything , my husband just turned 52 at the end on June, and it is more noticeable he is getting a stomach bulge, the hint of which appeared during last year while his weight increased only 5 lb. His desire to eat sweets increased, he wants to snack more often. He thinks doing more bicycling would reverse all that, but it seems like his body doesn't want to do more physical activity and resist with different obstacles. I don't like to watch my guy getting older, and I know no one can make another person to go on a diet, it should be a personal choice.
Galina L. said…
my mom eats absolutely unimaginable amounts of bulky veggies, I think it didn't help her much. After she dropped grains and starches, her weight decreased and blood pressure became normal.
ItsTheWooo said…
I do think my mood disorder promoted my obesity.

I absolutely am maintaining a low weight for my genetics, no question. However, so does every actress in hollywood, every model, and every major female fitness example, even ones you probably look up to and admire as examples of "Doing it right".

There isn't a natural example of a healthy female who effortlessly has low body fat , thin arms and tiny waist, without a bit of chub. Chub is normal to females especially after the teen years when progesterone and estrogen have their way with your fat tissue. Side note: we prefer to have thin female bodies because they signify youth, which is always attractive and preferred to age.
Some females are naturally low body fat even in adulthood, even after pregnancies, but this is very rare. Any thin female you see in the media or in fitness got that way by not eating when she was hungry, at least some of the time if not, all of the time.

So, the fact I am "thinner than my natural weight' Is irrelevant, because this can be applied to almost any of us (including yourself, as you restrict yourself to a very low intake of 1500 calories on average, which surely must leave you hungry, suggesting your body prefers to be larger... I could NEVER eat 1500 calories and feel full. I would also rapidly lose body fat , if this was of a low carb diet.)

Regarding your unfavorable weight gain patterns when using low carb diets... it is also possible you were perimenopausal at this time, which will lead to higher body fat levels (insulin resistance -> more insulin, more fat gain) as well as an aesthetically unappealing fat storage pattern. This would be mediated by a declining estrogen level from the failing ovary, which will culminate in menopause. It is common for women to develop metabolic problems and fat storage pattern changes in the years preceding the actual menopause.

Regarding my metabolism... my metabolism is only buzzing after following a low carb diet and healing my body for ten years. I could barely move or function when fat, and this continued even the first few years of low carb. It is indeed true today that I am a fidgety wirery energetic sort... but that's after attenuating the damage to my body.

As a child, I sat in a corner, colored in books, drew pictures, built puzzles. I was low to react and ignored all people, never looked at my parents when they would call my name. Meanwhile my brother and sister would take turns jumping off of the couch screaming as they plunged to the ground over and over again, running around like this. Even as a child my abnormal energy use was obvious in my behavior. I sat alone and drew and built things. I never felt the urge to run and freak out like my thin brother and sister.

Ironic, at 30 years old, I now do... and that's because I have attenuated the abnormal energy use of my body via food choices and supplementation of glucose tolerance enhancing nutrients and such things.

My social retardation is the reason I threw out the leptin. The instructions told me to throw it out, so I obeyed, and I discarded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of leptin. It wasn't until the final few months of the study did I become un-autistic enough to realize I could have stole it and horded it the whole time. As a result of this delayed insight (that I could have stolen the leptin and horded it) I was only able to acquire 90 vials, which was only enough leptin for several months/year. AFter the year ended, I was S.O.L.

I tried to get back in other leptin studies but I did not qualify for any of them.

Ultimately I have resigned myself to life leptin free, because I can't keep depending on trying to steal it from research studies. It is something like delaying the inevitable... and FYI there is a withdrawal period when you stop leptin which is super unpleasant (for about 3 months you are like in a state of stimulant withdrawal; you feel dead and numb because of dopamine receptor downregulation).
Sandy Daigler said…
Great discussion here. I lost 100 pounds 5 years ago on a low carb diet (50 g/day). I found there was not enough fiber at 50 g/day and constipation was a problem. I am in maintenance mode now and eating more carbs, but not a huge amount (100 g+/- per day). I find the most difficult part of limiting carbs not physical but being in an environment where everyone around me is eating what seems to be very large amounts of bread, pasta, potatoes, etc. I feel like an alien sometimes. The other thing I discovered is that sweet tastes stimulate my appetite, regardless of whether the sweetness comes from sugar or artificial sweetener. I'm experimenting with a low-sweet diet now, still eating fruit but not much else sweet. Time will tell how this comes out.
P2ZR said…
'There isn't a natural example of a healthy female who effortlessly has low body fat , thin arms and tiny waist, without a bit of chub.'

There ARE healthy females who naturally have low bf%, thin arms, and tiny waist, AND a miniscule amount of chub that all resides at or below the hips. Then there are those who are equally healthy and naturally thin and have Gisele legs, but who don't have jaw-droppingly low WHR's because their miniscule amount of chub all resides in the waist area (and they usually don't have structurally very wide hips). The crude apple-pear dichotomy still holds for naturally very thin females; it just isn't as noticeable.

Wooo, I'm curious--what would you say about the VLC'er who has been eating that way honestly, but has plateaued? There are people consistently at <20g CHO who are stalling, and not because they're going on Jimmy Moore bingefests. Evidently, the appetite-regulating effects of LC aren't working well enough in them? Would you counsel a former Danny Roddy-style zero-carb diet? Note that he didn't drop body fat like crazy while he was on his 90% pemmican (and 10% other fat+protein foods) diet, even though he didn't eat copious amounts of food. He did, however, develop tons of other health problems. Did he not lose tons of fat because he wasn't obese, so this was the *wrong* diet (wrt. weight loss, even if not his goal) for him? If so, then where is the noise about the group of people that LC won't help to lose weight, and might *harm*? Was he just 'stupid' for doing zero carb without a laundry list of supplements--and if so, how is it possible to do due diligence in researching supps, and make 100% sure you don't inadvertently mess up big time?

I don't like to bring Roddy into this, as he really does seem to be a nice kid (and open-minded and reasonable, minus the Peat-mania)...but really, the logical extreme of cutting more carb to progress through a plateau IS zero carb. 50g -> 20g (-> 10g) -> 0g. I did LC for a long stretch and developed sugar cravings for the first time in my life. (I'm easily nauseated by small amounts of sugar, and sweetness is the limiting factor to how much of any dessert I can eat.) I feel better and eat LESS with a moderate (100-200g) amount of carbs; on LC, to eat to satiety, I would easily consume 500kcals more, and face the consequent fat gain. And not because of LC flu (unless you consider that my LC flu *never* subsides, even after months and months of LC'ing). What gives? So LC works for tons of obese people; is it inadvisable for the thin person who 'needs' to lose a little bit of weight? If so, who's speaking out about this?
CarbSane said…
Welcome to the Asylum Sandy, and CONGRATS!! Yeah, I lost a lot of weight and it's nice when people notice, but eating LC in social situations is difficult and draws attention and who wants attention all the time for what's on your plate?
CarbSane said…
PZ2R, I guess you just need to heal your metabolism with a continually rotating line of supplements. Sigh.
Galina L. said…
You didn't ask me, but I think I can say something on the subject. Unfortunately, the way of thinking that if LC diet is effective, than zero carb diet should be like LC on steroids, is plain wrong. According to travelers accounts, Inuit women were overweight. For many people zero carbs is not the answer for many reasons, one of important ones is that for many with IR very low level of carb consumption may cause an increased production of glucose by their liver. I personally spent 2 years on a weight-loss plateau while LCarbing, and moved from it after I started IF, eliminated all snacks and limited the amount of times when I ate to two and eating window became 8-6 hours. There is no universal right or wrong way to follow a diet, you have to understand how what you are doing affects you own body, observe and think. Some people overeat cheese, some meat, others eat too much too often, and no one but you will be able to find why you diet doesn't solve your issues. I try to eat less, and I appreciate that LCarbing greatly reduced my appetite, but I noticed that sometimes eating more meat than usual causes me to desire sweets afterwards, and I am not a sugar addict at all. Whatever the reason, it is what it is. I tried to find more about the guy you mentioned, but Google search gave too much information, and I didn't feel like long fishing for kernels of information.
Sandy Daigler said…
Oh yes, LC eating in social situations is VERY difficult. I got all worked up about that for a while, but I'm starting to accept that I'm out of sync with people around me by my own choice, so no use in protesting too much. Or maybe I'm just resigned.
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