DIets and Disorders

This is going to be a quick post.  Nothing groundbreaking here, but there are some I-don't-care-what-the-Latin-phrase-is debate tactics that creep into too many of the discussions on eating disorders from all sides.   One such tactic is to accuse me, and others, of blaming the paleo diet or saying it causes eating disorders.  I didn't do that.  

A scenario:

You look in the mirror one day and don't like what you see.  Where did this gut come from?  Step on the scale, 10 lbs since a year ago!  Yikes!!  New Year's Resolution:  Lose 10 lbs.    The approach you choose is a standard one:  Establish a calorie deficit of 500-1000 cal/day , mostly calorie counting but adding a 40 min-1 hr walk 5 days a week.  Before you know it the pants are less snug, the belt tightened not just one but two notches.  Feeling good ... looking good!  Goal reached.  Hey, maybe I'll look and feel even better if I lose 5 more pounds!  Step on scale after a week.  No loss.  Another week.  No loss.  Still one more week.  No loss.  
Recheck the mirror.  There's a roll here, I need to lose 5 more pounds.   So you cut the calories even more by skipping breakfast and eating a ton of lettuce to feel full.  The scale moves again and before you know it you're past the mark.  People are still noticing your weight loss and congratulating you.  You fit into clothes that you never thought you'd fit since high school. 
Fueled with renewed motivation, you set your sights on the next 10 lb down mark.  Now you're jogging an hour daily and fasting on days you don't jog.  Your diet plan allows "healthy fats" from olive oil and nuts, but your calories are so low that these add too many calories for the "buck".  You count out nuts and cut back on the oil.  You cut up your food on your plate and move it around when you go out with friends to make it seem like you're eating more than you are.  Why didn't you finish your steak?  Oh it was overdone.  What about your potatos?  They're too salty (because you put it on them).  Your best friend expresses some concern ...
I could go on.  I won't.  Many know how this continues because they've been there or they've watched others go there.   Was it the diet's fault?  The carbs?  The gluten?  The fat?  Was there just too much exercise of the "wrong type"?   No, and no.  No, no, no, no.  

But .... You knew there would be a but.   

Let's say you're on a well staffed college cross country team.  You've got trainers and a team dietitian.  Returning from the off season, you work with them to lose the 10 lbs you've put on from partying a bit too much.   You have weigh ins.  When you run out of gas in training, they take notice.  When you lose too much weight they work with you to adjust your diet.  Etc.  Not that this is perfect, but if your institution is staffed by responsible, properly trained and certified professionals, they are having none of your shenanigans.  

Or ...

You could find a personal trainer and nutritionist on your own.  Again, any responsible, properly trained and certified professional will not encourage your course.

Or ... 

You could find all manner of irresponsible, untrained or dubiously credentialed "experts" who care about you only so long as you can help them make money, or give them yours.  Join their online forums and support groups and sign up for their motivational newsletters.  There anonymous people with dole out advice to other anonymous people with zero accountability (check the disclaimer!).  Paleo cured you of XYZ-LMNOP?  Great!  You lost 1000 pounds in 10 days?  Send in your success story!!  

It didn't work?  It fed into your disordered patterns?  It perhaps even made you sicker in other ways such as "contracting" the mythical adrenal fatigue and low stomach acid?  Well, then, in the immortal words of Robb Wolf:  F*ck 'em.  Done.

So does paleo cause ED?  No.  But, and I will expand upon this in the delayed Part II, the additional restrictions and outright promotion of practices that are classic coping mechanisms adopted by the eating disordered, make it more ripe for triggering.

When you tell people that certain foods are toxic or mismatched to our genes, cause diabetes, spike insulin ... phytates, lectins, etc. .... all manner of possibly real but mostly quacky conditions caused by grains, legumes or dairy.  And yet you can't even get a simple definition of what paleo is while people are detoxing and fasting and eating fat by the spoonful in hopes of achieving ketotic euphoria.  

But the kicker is when a diet guru and his flock seem incapable of seeing eating disorders when they present themselves in obvious fashion.  Rather they largely supported them.  That is a VERY serious problem.  But don't call them out.  They're too busy helping people.

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Victor Venema said…
"So does paleo cause ED? No."

Could you maybe link to this post below you last one: Paleo™ ApprovED ... Enough.?

That post gave me the impression that you thought that paleo causes eating disorders.
carbsane said…
I'm confused, are you saying I should update that post with a link to this one to avoid confusion? Good idea if that's what you mean. Thanks.
Victor Venema said…
Yes, that was the good idea. :) I was confused reading the previous post.
charles grashow said…

Professional Misconduct

Action Taken:

Allegation of Complaint:
Dr. Dwight Carl Lundell; License # 6960

Nature of Complaint:

The board established that the physician failed to maintain adequate medical records in the physician's operative report of a patient. The physician also failed to cool the patient's anterior wall which was harmful to the patient's health and resulted in the death of the
patient. The board also established that another patient died as a result of the physician's failure to order blood type and cross match the patient and obtain O-negative blood prior to proceeding with surgery. The physician also failed to initiate insulin infusion during
another patient's surgery and monitor the patient's sternal wound closely after the physician saw evidence of infection. The board also took into consideration the physician's ten year disciplinary history with the board.

Action Taken:

The board has Revoked the physician's license to practice allopathic medicine in the State of Arizona and shall pay hearing administrative costs.

carbsane said…
Cool :-)
newguitarist29 . said…
Could you define "responsible, properly trained and certified professional "? Everyone that I find appears to be promoting something (vegan,paleo,low carb,high carb,etc.). They all seem to have the studies to prove their diet is the best and all were somehow certified and only a quarter of them know the difference between LDL and VLDL.
Blue said…
WOWZERS! This is the saddest blog I've ever read. This isn't about bashing low-carb or paleo…all this entire blog is about is your personal struggle with food. But instead of dealing with it after you failed several forms of low-carb dieting, you've taken aim at the diets! In reality, you struggle to make long-lasting changes, bounce back to old behaviors (most likely out of a lack of respect for yourself and struggle with your inner confidence and peace) and then beat yourself up for failing on the diet and failing on your weight-loss goals. And then, to hide from that, you've spent countless hours on the internet bashing low-carb diets despite that this is approach to eating (fewer starches, more proteins and fats) has been a successful form of maintaining healthy weight for decades! Long before it became a mainstream fad, it has been used for decades by athletes of all kinds, celebrities, yada yada. I'm sorry you're at such a difficult point in your life with yourself that this is how you spend your time. It's sad, and I hope you find peace within yourself soon.
carbsane said…
Feel better?

Clearly you don't know me or you wouldn't have spewed this anonymous rant. But I let you have your say.

I have repeatedly stated that LC diets have their place and utility, but they are simply not backed by either science or human history as being appropriate in all perpetuity for human beings. All kinds of celebrities and athletes? Really? Yeah, the former, especially, are known for adopting healthy diets to maintain appearances.
eulerandothers said…
I've become more sensitive to the presence of people on weight loss message boards who have eating disorders. These people don't come on the board and post about how they shaved x number of calories off their tuna casserole recipe or made a stir fry dish that didn't have ANY fat. They post about how much success they are having 'eating clean' and how they run 5 times a week and work out at the gym the other two. The emphasis on 'eating clean' isn't much in itself. Repeating that they manage to 'eat clean' perfectly and how many miles they are running these days - followed by questions about how many vegetables they have to eat without gaining weight or how many different ways you can cook cabbage, noting that the cabbage is organic... that gets my ED-dar going. In a few instances, the person comes right out and says, 'I've been treated for an eating disorder and I'm much better.' Eating disorder could be 'binge eating' or just overeating, but they sound so GOOD at controlling diet that I tend to think it was anorexia that was their problem. Overeating and undereating are sides of the same coin, IMO.

Does the Paleo diet lead someone to an ED? I'm thinking it's the other way around - that a person with ED or that history may gravitate toward a diet with so many rules (all the more for controlling, my dear!)
newguitarist29 . said…
not trying to argue here but didn't the A to Z study show that the high fat diet raised HDL and lowered LDL greater than the high carb diet?
eulerandothers said…
Whoa! Seriously .... an actual doctor said this (Eades)?

'According to autopsy studies reported on by George Mann, the Masai had extensive plaque, but they never had heart attacks.'

Eades uses the word 'never' and he's referring to George Mann's reports on autopsy studies. This is amazing. Could it be even possible that when a Masai fell in the woods (brush, sand, rocks, whatever) he or she was not hauled off for immediate autopsy? They never - NEVER - had heart attacks. NEVER? That means zero occurrences of heart attacks. How the heck would you know?

The way Eades throws a word like 'never' around should (in the best of worlds) raise some doubts about his credibility. That he's repeating the same kind of stuff from Dr. Davis ('he doesn't see any more heart attacks in patients with red-flag type blood chemistry results) makes me wonder about Dr. Davis.
carbsane said…
That's a good point -- the paleo diet may appeal to the ED or "formerly" ED rather than the other way around. It is familiar territory. Where paleo is therefore dangerous IMO, is the culture of acceptance of such behaviors as normal and even virtuous/desired. This was the biggest problem with the "success story" Mark published there.

That said, since paleo appeals to young and athletic, it may well be that "first diet" they encounter these days. There were many posts like this over on Paleo Hacks of the sort "I never had a problem before, but now I can't stop binging or stay on strict paleo".
carbsane said…
It's the perfect scenario for the huckster. No accountability because of privacy so there's no way to support or refute the claims. Given that Davis' change of heart is relatively recent how does he even know he wouldn't see heart attacks in the future? What are we talking 2-3 years?
carbsane said…
I'm not sure what you're getting at. Lots of poorly "controlled" (as in verifiable intake, not control group) free-living studies lead to differing results. Mostly they lead to nominal changes at best, and merely raising HDL has not been shown to translate to risk reduction (per Dayspring). You can take up martinis -- shaken or stirred -- and up you HDL.
charles grashow said…
Mann GV, Spoerry A, Gray M, Jarashow D.

Atherosclerosis in the Masai.

Am J Epidemiol. 1972 Jan;95(1):26-37.

PMID: 5007361


"The hearts and aortae of 50 Masai men were collected at autopsy. These pastoral people are exceptionally active and fit and they consume diets of milk and meat. The intake of animal fat exceeds that of American men. Measurements of the aorta showed extensive atherosclerosis with lipid infiltration and fibrous changes but very few complicated lesions. The coronary arteries showed intimal thickening by atherosclerosis which equaled that of old U.S. men. The Masai vessels enlarge with age to more than compensate for this disease. It is speculated that the Masai are protected from their atherosclerosis by physical fitness which causes their coronary vessels to be capacious."

With regard to Dr William Davis WTF is he doing exactly?

Reversing plaque with Vitamin D optimization+fish oil OR stabilizing existing plaque by the same methods and hoping that the plaque doesn't rupture??

If you go to his TYP forum (all comments over 250 words are viewable by subscribers only) and look at the comments that ARE viewable by non-members you will see that there are quite a few members on statins - which Dr Davis claims he no longer uses.
Androosk said…
I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes fourteen years ago, and it's been a long uphill slog ever since. The line back then and now from the community of "nutritionists" I've consulted with was 250 grams of carbs per day. As if that could possibly work. I'm not a nutritional scientist, and I have no urge to become one. I don't have an eating disorder, nor have I ever, and while no particular eating plan has worked for me all the time, low carb paleo and keto have done more for helping me control blood glucose long term than anything you discuss here. I've gone the full route from diet to medication to injectables and nothing but cutting out the carbs has helped me reduce the pharmaceutical treatment path. At this point, I am faced with prescription bills far above the $10,000 a year mark and there's no end in sight without simply treating the symptoms, even though somewhere in your comments I saw that this tactic seemed unacceptable to you. But if we can agree that there is no cure for diabetes, then what is left but to treat symptoms? If we can't take the pharmaceutical path, then diet and exercise are the only other way.

I have read extensively through your blog, and I'm frequently taken aback by the level of hatred you and your commenters spew at people who have made more contributions to my health than most of the professional medical practitioners I have consulted through the years. Following nutritional advice from the folks at whole9 or Robb Wolf or Dave Asprey doesn't make one a blind slave to a guru. I have always taken what works for me at the time and moved on. I fail to see the benefit in constantly knocking at people whom I believe do have at least some interest in the health of others at heart. For me, carbohydrates, especially in the form of grains and dairy are a nutritional disaster. Nothing increases my blood glucose more than wheat. I don't know what that means physiologically, but I do know it happens after many years of personal experimentation, and I know that I should not be eating foods containing wheat, unless I want to dramatically increase my Humalog bill. You can say what you want about whomever, it's a free internet, but if I allowed my judgment to be clouded by much of the obfuscation I have seen on this blog, I would soon be broke or dead or both.
carbsane said…
Dave Asprey?! LOL

We can't agree that there is no cure (T2). That is something I have blogged on ... surely in your extensive reading you've come across that?

Hatred? Yeah I'm feeling a lot coming from you. And a lack of understanding of the vocabulary you employ.