The problem with The Calorie Myth (Smarter Science of Slim) by Jonathan Bailor

A few days ago, I alerted the blog on actions taken by Quest Nutrition vis a vis some videos they had partnered with Jonathan Bailor on.    In the comments section, Kevin posted a link to Bailor's response to the situation.   His main response was:
The calorie myth is the idea that we must consciously count calories to avoid obesity and disease.
To which I would respond that perhaps he should have titled his book The Calorie Counting Strawman.   I cannot think of a single person who believes that the laws of thermodynamics do indeed apply to the human body, myself included, who also believes people MUST necessarily count calories.  Not a one.  I believe that one would be hard pressed to find a person amongst the successes in the National Weight Loss Registry who will say that calorie counting is a requirement, even if they, themselves, must count calories in order to maintain their personal achievement in that regard.

Indeed the most-oft-mentioned punching bag of the anti-CICO crowd -- Weight Watchers -- does not employ calorie counting.   Bailor was recently included with those that deny the role the quantity of calories play for a reason.  That reason is that while he may have "outs" like the quote above in his book(s), his overall schtick is one of "healthy eating" (his way) working because a healthy body magically balances itself out.   The general tone of The Calorie Myth (which for all intents and purposes is nothing much more than an updated version of The Smarter Science of Slim - caveat, haven't compared the exercise portions) is that eating less/moving more is a failed approach to weight loss and that by eating more and moving less-but-smarter, you will succeed:  In other acronyms, not ELMM but EMMLS.   Bailor received an A+ in Gimmickry 101.

A quote from the Introduction in TCM:
Next, we’ll see how the message “A calorie is a calorie, so eat whatever, just not too much” is about as accurate as saying, “Liquid is liquid, so drink whatever, just not too much.”
Please, that's simply not a relevant analogy.  Before moving on, I linked to prior criticisms of SSoS in this post, and I have as yet not come across where he has changed or left out anything of relevance that I discussed in any of those criticisms of SSoS.  However, I will be copying some of that content here as pertains to The Calorie Myth specific to the topic at hand.  

Chapter 1:  The Myth of Calorie Math

At right is a screenshot of the opening page.  The very title of this chapter implies that Bailor believes the whole concept of calories and weight are a myth, and the rest of the chapter does nothing to reinforce his defense that it's really only conscious calorie counting he is arguing against.

I am going to have to excerpt quite liberally from this part of the book which then goes on to begin with the bolded:   

Calorie Myth #1: Weight Loss = Calories In – Calories Out

Leaving aside that this is a strange representation of CICO, if Bailor acknowledges, as he has claimed in his defense, that calories do count, then the above is erroneous and misleading.  I suppose his defense is that his misleading is not deliberate ... the reader may just interpret that to mean what it says rather than his round-about verbiage used ultimately to deny that he meant it.  Even folks like Taubes and Westman (quoted in the book) acknowledge that a calorie deficit is required to lose weight (and surplus to gain).  The above claims this is Myth #1.

In June 2011, Barry Popkin and Kiyah Duffey, doctors at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, made a startling discovery. They discovered that the number of calories consumed per person per day increased by a jaw-dropping 570 calories between 1977 and 2006. At first glance, it appeared that they definitively demonstrated what many assumed to be the cause of our obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics: we are eating too much.
First things first, here is the study he is talking about:  Energy density, portion size, and eating occasions: contributions to increased energy intake in the United States, 1977–2006.  Others cite different sources of information, and as I've blogged here often, over differing time frames stretching from where in the range of around 1970 through circa 2010.  And yet, every single one indicates that Americans are consuming more calories.  I have seen that average increase range from around 300 to 600 cals/day depending on the source and time frame, but not one single one has ever claimed that we eat no more than we used to, or that our national obsession with dieting has caused us to eat less.   Ever.   So ALERT:  One can't say that the EL part of ELMM has failed, when we're eating more.  Period.  But Bailor continues: 
However, a second glance at their data reveals an even more startling discovery. If the average person is consuming 570 more calories than necessary per day and if the calorie-counting math we hear about daily is accurate, then the average person should have gained 476 pounds since 2006.*
Whoa boy.  The  "*" goes to a footnote whereby Bailor goes through "calorie math".  I would note that he gave the data no second glance, he just went from the reported calorie surplus into pure fantasy mode.  The above contention is ridiculous.  Absolutely ridiculous.   Jonathan Bailor was a personal trainer at Bally's.  Now I've never been a member of Bally's, but I've also never met a personal trainer (a real one) who is not familiar with some basics for at least estimating calorie requirements as a starting point.  It matters not which formula you choose to use, some are better predictors than others, but they all include body weight in the formula.  Here are three:
Mifflin St Jeor equation
Men: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) + 5
Women: (10 x weight in kg) + (6.25 x height in cm) – (5 x age in years) – 161
Harris-Benedict BMR Formula
Women: BMR = 655 + ( 9.6 x weight in kilos ) + ( 1.8 x height in cm ) - ( 4.7 x age in years)
Men: BMR = 66 + ( 13.7 x weight in kilos ) + ( 5 x height in cm ) - ( 6.8 x age in years )
Katch-Mcardle BMR Formula: 
BMR = 370 + (21.6 x (1-%BF/100) x Body Weight in kg )
As you can see, weight factored into all of these, and further factors in when total calories expended in a day, TDEE, is calculated using a physical activity factor multiplier.  Here is where these predictors can get worse, but especially in modern applications where physical activity can be measured directly, they can also be rather accurate on an average population basis.  For the sedentary, the PAF is usually x1.2 so whatever factor weight plays into the BMR formula it impacts by this factor more.  Moderate activity is generally x1.55.    I will not bother going through a litany of comparative calculations, but anyone with ANY training in this field knows full well that CICO is not a static matter.    

I challenge Bailor to identify a verified overfeeding study (e.g. metabolic ward) in which the participants did not gain weight and fat mass.  Similarly an underfeeding study where subjects did not lose weight and fat mass.    Further, the same person will burn more calories if they weigh 200 lbs than if they weigh 150 lbs (activity of all sorts and environment being equal).   But here's the rub, and Bailor knows this too, many obese and overweight are weight stable they don't continue gaining and gaining and gaining (or losing and losing and losing).  Why?  Because daily expenditure depends on weight, and therefore expenditure goes up as we gain (caloric surplus decreases) until ... CI = CO at a higher weight.  Likewise, energy expenditure goes down as we lose (caloric deficit diminishes) until ... CI = CO at a lighter weight.  This is not rocket science.  This is not a moral issue or judgment.  It is a matter of thermodynamic and physical law.  Equations like those above can predict this to varying degrees of accuracy for populations, but these do vary widely with the individual because metabolic rate is highly individual.   That individuality does not violate The First Law of Thermodynamics, TFLOT, however.  

As far as I'm concerned, Bailor's argument is to be expected from a grade schooler who lacks the full knowledge to understand how caloric expenditure changes with body weight.  But coming from a "former personal trainer"??  His book and ideas should be totally dismissed by everyone after he has made this absurd contention.  Ditto the nonsensical arguments of Adele Hite, another of the sleazy Yalie from Caloriegate's** "experts".   In addition to some other factors that boost initial weight loss (water weight comes to mind), the closer one gets to ones ideal weight, chances are the closer you are to consuming the appropriate calories to sustain that weight.  You aren't in deficit any more so no wonder you aren't losing weight, or if you are, you're deficit is so small that it will only register weight changes of a pound in a month or two vs. the initial pound or two per week. This can be highly demotivating.  

Everyone knows that the 500 cal/day thing is an estimate.  Everyone who works with energy balance knows that weight loss based on that initial deficit will slow as time progresses, weight is reduced, and the deficit is diminished.  The mark of a good trainer is to then find ways to help this person achieve further caloric deficit (if warranted) without reducing intake to dangerously low levels or resorting to an insane exercise regime.  This is not always easy, but the good ones are out there who know what they are doing and aren't going to feed you gimmickry instead of knowledge.  And yet Bailor goes on as if he has analyzed the Popkin & Duffey data and found some major revelation these scientists somehow missed!  
Is it possible that instead of asking, “Why are we getting fatter?” we should be asking, “Why don’t all of us weigh six hundred plus pounds?” What could possibly explain the huge disconnect between the quantity of calories we’re eating and the quantity of fat we’re gaining?  Here are three possible explanations:
  1. We’re eating less.
  2. We’re exercising more.
  3. The Calorie Math doesn’t add up.
If he is genuinely asking himself these questions, he is utterly unqualified to speak to these matters.  Instead, I believe he is asking rhetorical questions to get you to buy into his gimmickry.   So, (1) he is wondering if we didn't really eat more after all, or that during some period in all of this we all ballooned up by hundreds of pounds but lost that weight by eating less before the time frame was up?  Absurd.  Then there's (2) but herein Bailor simultaneously acknowledges that activity ... drumroll please ... burns calories, yet such activity would require an hour and a half a day, every day, for 8 years.  (I should mention that this roughly equates to less than Peter Attia of NuSI has engaged in for years and years now).  So ultimately, the answer you must arrive at is (3).  Only the calorie math does add up and this guy is a scamming "wellness entrepreneur" after all.
That leaves us with the third possible explanation—that we’re better off thinking about weight in terms of biology, not math.  We’ve gained only a tiny fraction of those 476 pounds because our body doesn’t work like a calculator.
No, Jonathan, the explanation is right there in the energy balance equation for anyone with a modicum of understanding and education in the factors that go into energy expenditure.  The fact that certain camps promote their diets as possessing a "metabolic advantage" in concordance with the physical laws of nature has never been demonstrated in a metabolic ward, and the rest is pure fantasy.  And then we get:  "because homeostasis".
Researchers at the University of Washington cite the role of a complex control system in the brain that adjusts the calories our body takes in and expends, both immediately and over the long term, to achieve homeostasis and keep our “body energy status”— our weight—stable over time. Similarly to the way the body automatically regulates insulin and blood glucose until that system is overwhelmed and breaks down (leading to type 2 diabetes), the body automatically regulates body fat until it is overwhelmed and breaks down (leading to overweight and obesity). Another way to think of it: Much as we exhale more when we inhale more, or we urinate more when we drink more, we also burn more when we eat more and burn less when we eat less—automatically. Breaths in and breaths out, water in and water out, and calories in and calories out are matters of established human biology, not mythical metabolic math.  
If this were true, we would not ever gain weight or lose it.  We'd also probably not be around as a species.  This idea that if we ever gorged on a food before it perished, we wouldn't store that energy for a rainy day is just absurd on its face.  Nevermind that in every verifiable overfeeding or underfeeding study ever done (e.g. metabolic ward studies) this homeostasis goes to pot.  Every time.
This “burn more when we eat more” behavior explains how we’ve gained dramatically less than what would be predicted by calorie math. The “burn less when we eat less” behavior explains why studies show traditional calorie-counting approaches failing 95.4 percent of the time—and often provoking even greater rebound weight gain. When we put these two biologic behaviors together, we can see why every weight-loss study ever conducted shows that when people are given a surplus or shortage of calories, they never gain or lose the mathematically anticipated amount of fat. The body just doesn’t work that way.
Red herring alert!  First of all, that 95.4% refers to maintenance of reduced weight, not weight loss.  Indeed, 100% of those used to generate that statistic were successful at weight loss -- many through calorie counting, many others through other means including Atkins as these stats do NOT distinguish the method of weight loss and Atkins has been formally around since 1972.   The differences in applying "calorie math" to gains and losses do not violate TFLOT.  In overfeeding studies, some do have a transient adaptation to increase metabolic rate to "burn off" overages (shhhhhhhhhhhhhh, but carbs are what set this off in those folks, fat not so much).  In underfeeding studies, some have a more responsive adaptation to restriction (usually those who have restricted either voluntarily or involuntarily previously) while others don't see lowering energy expenditure past that predicted from lower weight.  But nonetheless, folks gain or lose weight and fat predictably.  Enough of the distractions to sell books.
The math myth doesn’t work because it assumes our body doesn’t do anything to counterbalance our efforts to count calories.  The fact is that our genes, brain, and hormones work together to maintain balance, or—as we were taught in our high school biology classes—homeostasis. When it comes to weight, a healthy body automatically “counts calories” to maintain a level of fat that is neither too low nor too high.
No, the math myth is a nice strawman Jonathan, but it is not reality.  And there are a ton of overweight people -- including many you lectured to on last year's low carb cruise -- who claim to be consuming a perfectly healthy diet.  And just so as not to rile the LCers, there are examples in EVERY dietary cult community so I'm not "picking on you".

The message is clear, calorie math is a myth according to Bailor.  James Fell interviewed both Bailor and Alan Aragon over the Quest video issue:
"I spoke with Jonathan Bailor, and he repeated numerous times that calories DO count and that you can’t lose weight unless you’re in a caloric deficit. I asked him if you could lose weight eating nothing but chocolate cake if you’re in a caloric deficit, and he said yes, you can." 
When push comes to shove, Bailor backs down, but if you read his book you are led down the path of denial.  Case in point, Chapter 4.  

How about instead of presenting the reality that Americans are eating (a lot!) more, and then trying to convince folks that it is eating less that has failed us, you just present the truth Mr. Bailor?  Eating more doesn't make you fat?  It might not make you "fat", but you will gain weight, and unless you are eating higher protein and/or utilizing your muscles, most of that will be fat.

Another of the sleazy Yalie from Caloriegate's so-called "experts" -- Kris Gunnars of "Authority" Nutrition (cough cough) -- posted the above quote on his FB page, and the responses are quite interesting.   I'll let you read through to the "flusher" dude and others, but there he is -- Sam Feltham, still another so-called "expert".  
Okay folks here are my 2 pennies, and if I don't reply for a fair while to any rebuttals it's just because I'm too busy actually helping people and actually enjoying life.
Translation:  I'm actually busy scamming people and enjoying more free time from the money I make doing it.  You are not donating time towards helping people Sam.  Your STF videos ripping off Bailor's clogged sink analogy are only plagerized (sic) misinformation.  He continued:
... The lipophilia hypothesis isn't about denying or not believing in the laws of thermodynamics it is about trying to understand how biological organisms, the human body inparticular, interact with them. As we don't have a complete understanding of how the human body works....
First of all it was a hypothesis in the 40's and 50's and was abandoned because scientific evidence failed to support it. That's how science works. We may not have a complete understanding of how the body works, but we have a pretty darned good one. Further, we have a good understanding of how it doesn't work based on scientific testing, not your silly jokesperiments.   Sam goes on to say that both "sides" need clarification -- sorry, but NO. There have been extensive metabolic ward studies that have definitively shown that calories and not macronutrient composition of the diet is what determines changes in body weight and fat mass. To the extent that macros have any effect, protein is the sticking point, but "your side" refuses to acknowledge this as they go on and on about how fat isn't fattening and carbs are.
My bottom line is that yes in order to lose weight one must STORE, an imperitive word to use rather than consume, less calories than we expend and consuming less calories isn't necessarily the answer to the obvious question to deduce from the previous statement. How do we store less calories in our fat tissue? Just imagine telling some one to store less calories than they expend, seems ridiculous right!?
No it doesn't when you understand basic physiology.  You will store that which you do not expend.  In huge short-term excesses the metabolism may be kicked up a notch -- in some more than others -- to counter the excess, but over the long haul you just store the excesses.  There are no excesses to store if you don't consume them Sam. 
Total calories only matter in their contribution to the total biochemical reaction load on the body in reaction to different foodstuffs. In other words it does matter how many calories of bread or meat you eat as 100 calories will have a smaller biochemical effect than 400 calories...biochemistry rules as does the laws of thermodynamics!
Sam is clearly out of his intellectual and educational realm here.   Total biochemical reaction load.    Dara Ó Briain is talking to/about YOU (~1min:50sec)!


Eating More, Exercising Smarter

Back to Bailor before I drive myself too crazy, but also to wrap this up.  In both SSoS and TCM, Bailor uses the following study -- Increased Dietary Protein and Combined High Intensity Aerobic and Resistance Exercise Improves Body Fat Distribution and Cardiovascular Risk Factors -- as his star study demonstrating why his ideas are indeed sciencey and correct.  I discussed this here, but will summarize/present a little differently in this post to save you the trip and some time.

Just as a reminder before going on, Bailor's acronym SANE stands for: Satiating foods (e.g. protein), unAggressive calories (e.g. avoid insulin from carbs), Nutritient dense, and inEfficient calories (e.g. more thermogenic, except he doesn't want to remind you that fat is the most efficient macro stored as fat).  

So here is what Bailor wrote in TCM about the study:
Consider a study done at Skidmore College comparing a traditional calorie-counting “eat less, exercise more—harder” program against a simpler “eat more, exercise less—smarter” program.   Let’s call the groups in the study the Harder Group and the Smarter Group.  The Harder Group ate a more conventional Western diet while doing traditional aerobic exercise for forty minutes per day, six days per week.   The Smarter Group ate a smarter diet while exercising only 60 percent as much, but with higher quality.   The study lasted for twelve weeks and included thirty-four women and twenty-nine men between the ages of twenty and sixty.  At the end of the study, the Harder Group ate less food and exercised eighteen hours more than the Smarter Group.   The Smarter Group focused on high-intensity cardio and resistance training, and ate more but higher-quality calories. Here’s what the researchers found:

What he fails to mention is that both intervention groups were eating LESS than they were at baseline.  Considerably less.   It's not like this is hidden in the text either.  (RC+BD = "smarter" , C+TD = "harder")

The diets:  At baseline, the diets were roughly 19% protein, 29% fat and 50% carb (that leaves 2% alcohol as the presumed missing macro).  
"Harder" is described as more conventional.  Well, if you call 20% protein, 27% fat and 52% carb conventional, OK.  I'd call it the beginnings of a truly low fat diet with still higher than "conventional" 15% protein.
"Smarter" was described as 40% protein & 40% carb which doesn't seem to be very SANE at all!  As implemented, it was 41% protein, 17% fat and 41% carb.  It's amazing they survived the 12 short weeks without developing a fat deficiency!!
Now while I'm sure it would not rise to a level of statistical significance, contrary to Bailor's claims, his "smarter" group consumed fewer total calories (1588 vs. 1601), cut calories by a larger percentage from baseline (28.6% vs. 27.2%), and had a larger absolute calorie deficit compared to baseline (635 vs. 597) versus the "harder" group.   This is intellectual dishonesty folks.  The study numbers are tabulated in no uncertain fashion (unlike the guesswork involved in Shai for example) and are directly in opposition to Bailor's representations.  Furthermore, with respect to hormonal clogging with insulin, 41% carb with 41% protein would be a very Aggressive mix if Bailor's hypotheses were true.  He catches a break that this is also inEfficient, but gets no brownie points for the main reason being that it is high in the two more thermogenic macros and very low (by Western standards) in the most Efficient macro, fat.

So on the CI side, there were significant cuts for the "smarter" group.  How about the CO side?  Well, the diet of the "smarter" group may well have had a bit more CO with thermogenesis from protein.  But the caloric cost of exercise was determined as follows:
Caloric cost of exercise training was calculated for all participants in RC+BD and C+TD groups. RC+BD participants recorded the repetitions, weight lifted, and duration (min) for all RT sessions and the intensity level achieved for all CT sessions (see Methods). C+TD subjects recorded their heart rate using a Polar heart rate monitor (model A3, Polar Electro, Inc., Lake Success, NY) every 10 min of exercise and the total duration (min) of all exercise sessions. Total exercise performed at baseline and week 12 was obtained from each subjects’ daily exercise journal, and subsequently analyzed for calories expended using ACSM guidelines (1).  Specifically, the resistance and cardiovascular exercise for RC+BD were assigned MET values of 10.0 and 12.5, respectively, whereas the cardiovascular exercise for the C+TD was given a MET value of 8.0. The caloric cost of the exercise was then calculated from the following formula: caloric cost (kcal/wk) = MET value (of given exercise) × body weight (kg) × time spent exercising/week (h).
In other words, the change in calories out between the two exercise protocols was calculated for only the time spent exercising using various factors and equations.  This is very important for two reasons:
  • CO as exercise activity was not directly measured
  • 24 hour TDEE was neither estimated nor measured.  Changes in REE were measured, and exercise calories were estimated, but the energy expenditure above baseline for the remainder of the time was not evaluated
So here are the CO values given:

There is no indication that the differences of the means rise to statistical significance, but it is interesting to note that at baseline, the "smarter" group expended 160 Calories more per day in REE, and this persisted almost exactly (163 Cal/day) at 12 weeks.  How this factors in is unknown, but at baseline it was almost the opposite for caloric cost of exercise per week; the "smarter" group was less active to the tune of 195 Cal vs. the "harder" group.  Again, how this factors in is unclear, but for the relatively short duration, Bailor is asking us to only take into account that the "harder" group expended 448 Cal/week more than the "smarter" group during the act of exercising, and we don't see this reflected in the scales.  I submit this is because the "harder group" expended less in REE and thus also the NEAT (non-exercise activity) component of TDEE but *we just don't really know*.   Therefore, Bailor cannot use this study to support his positions on exercising more or less or quantity vs. quality and calories and such either.   Of all of the thousands of studies, surely he could find one to better exemplify his approach?

In Conclusion Regarding Calorie Myths:

There is no getting around TFLOT.  Calories matter, and aside from protein, mostly they matter more in terms of quantity than quality where weight and body composition are concerned.    Overall health is another issue, but if you trade your hypercaloric or isocaloric SAD-style diet in for a hypercaloric "healthy" diet, you're still going to gain weight and fat.  Your health might improve nominally depending on just how many bad foods you consumed in your former diet, or how many foods you were intolerant to you cut, etc.  But if you trade that same SAD for a hypocaloric diet of any sort (providing you don't introduce foods you are intolerant of), you will almost assuredly see improvements in your metabolic health.  Ain't that a kicker?  Mark Haub (Twinkie guy), countless Nutrisystem clients, and even Tom Naughton (Fat Head) can attest to that.  Oops, I should qualify that "any sort" as keto doesn't seem to fit that bill for many.

Stop letting no talent ass clowns like Jonathan Bailor (that's an Office Space reference) scam you as being revolutionary when they are applying tried and true methods for fat loss and weight reduction (in the short term), which include increasing both protein and fiber content in the diet to increase satiety.  That's as old as the hills and I bet he learned a trick or two back in his Bally's days.  Other than that, his books are litanies of misrepresentations and distortions of what various scientific studies have shown.  The Skidmore study being but one example of the intellectually dishonest tricks he plays on his readers.

Some notes on Skidmore of value:  

While the diets were prescribed, pretty closely monitored (daily interaction between dietitian and subject), and assessed through 3-day food diaries, they were not reducing diets and this was a free-living study.  Even the control group spontaneously reduced reported intake by roughly 230 Cal/day due to small changes mostly in the amount of fat calories reported.    Although the spontaneous caloric reduction for the two interventions was comparable (38 cal/day greater deficit for the "smarter" group), it is anyone's guess how accurate these are.  

I question this mostly because of the protein contents of the diets and this study (also referenced by Bailor).  Protein intake in the "smarter" group more than doubled from just under 20 to over 40% of calories, while absolute intake went from 95 to 166 grams, a 75% increase over baseline.  Meanwhile the "harder" group held steady by percentage of calories but decreased consumption from 106 to 81 grams, almost a 25% drop from baseline.  So this is just a guess on my part, but I tend to think that the "smarter" group did indeed reduce CI more than the the "harder" group.  We can't know for sure, but the 3 kg difference in fat loss would be consistent with this.  

The controls kinda throw a wrench into making sweeping claims about body composition, but supposedly they cut 200 cal/day for 12 weeks and lost no fat, another reason to question the intake assessment.  But they also basically flatlined protein yet increased lean mass slightly.    Meanwhile, in caloric deficit (they had to be to lose fat mass), the "harder" group lost some lean mass.   
  • Smarter:  5.2 kg total, 5.5 kg fat mass, 0.5 kg lean mass gain
  • Harder:   2.8 kg total, 2.5 kg fat mass, 0.2 kg lean mass loss
  • Control:  0.7 kg gain, 0 change fat mass, 0.5 kg lean mass gain
I dunno gang.  It looks like the exercisers (both groups) increased calories out and decreased calories in (hello Gary!) and both lost fat mass.  The exercisers doing resistance training, cutting fat more, and consuming 70g protein/day more lost more fat and not only maintained lean mass but gained a bit, while the "chronic cardio" lost some lean and some fat.   

ELMM for the win.  Thank you Jonathan Bailor for this study!

**  If anyone is wondering why I refer to Adam Kosloff in this manner it is because he is a sleazy guy who likes to remind folks that he's Yale-educated.   He and I exchanged cordial emails about his black box calorie denial manifesto, and he decided instead to put in a "regretful" performance on Jimmy Moore's LLVLC podcast misrepresenting our exchange in condescending fashion.  Although he expressed regret, he claimed deadlines kept him from responding to the concerns here at this blog, but promised to return and do so.  He never returned as promised or to offer a sincere apology.  Some months back, he further bashed me in comments on his blog and entertained an impostor (he knew wasn't me) to get in more digs and allow more trash talk.  Again, he claimed he was too busy to revisit his sleazy behavior.  So there ya go.  He will forevermore be known as the sleazy Yalie here, based on my personal interactions with him.  That doesn't really make his science (or lack thereof) any better or worse, but I feel better telling it like it is with jerks of his ilk.  Here are two posts to fill you in if you've got some time to kill:  

Response to Moore/Kosloff Podcast I: My Un-annotated Blog/Email Exchanges with Adam

Response to Moore/Kosloff Podcast II: Commentary


Here's one issue that I've grown to develop on the calorie subject.

Critics of the conventional calorie model often make the argument that we're complex biological systems, so obviously not closed systems. Okay, fair enough...

Then when it comes to critiques of the calorie system, why are these same critical-minded individuals engaged in isolating and containing just one particular variable of the model? An arbitrary concept of energy excess -- no one said each and every individual is literally consuming 500 calories in excess of their permanent needs -- being placed inside a vacuum free of all time and influence from external variables.

Talk about irony and and even more stringently closed off system that completely ignores the fact that saying we eat' 500' more claories, doesn't mean that for all of time and space, we're always eating 500 calories BEYOND our needs -- that our calorie requirement/needs (resting energy, physical energy, etc.) are static, set and permanent.

Now that right there is a very reductive, 'closed-box' approach to energy balance.
Mike Victor said…
Bailor commits the unforgivable sin of diet gurus, which is using "starch" as a dirty word. In fact, he's gone so far as to call starches "toxic" on several occasions. There's no evidence of that except for special case allergies like Celiac disease/gluten intolerance, not even for refined starches which have healthfully sustained many people in East Asia and pre-Industrial Revolution America and Europe. Starch is especially critical if you're involved in athletics or hard labor, because it's the best way to replenish your muscle glycogen. But even forgetting about nutrition for a moment, how are we going to sustain 7+ billion people, particularly the huge masses of Chinese and Indians, without grains and potatoes? You can't do it with fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds, because they're too expensive and yield too few calories per acre of land. And you can't do it with animal products because they're too expensive, require too much land and water, and lead to the emission of too many greenhouse gasses. Animals are mostly just fed grains anyway, so it seems rather wasteful in my eyes to feed grains to animals just to eat them and their secretions, rather than directly eating the grains. Then you want to talk about doing exclusively grass-fed/free range like the Paleo movement is aiming for? We'd need, like, 10 Planet Earths to do that. So the basic point I'm making at is that any starch-restricted diet, be it low carb, Paleo, or fruitarian/raw foods is fundamentally an elitist diet which can only be followed by a wealthy few.
Mike Victor said…
I thought SANE stood for silly assertions, no evidence.
carbsane said…
Gluten is a protein, so starch is still non-toxic ;-)

Bailor is a bit of a dietary schizo -- trying to market his gimmickry with whomever will have him. Ultimately he is too low fat (especially sat fat) for the low carbers to embrace. Try as he might to market his diet in the ancestral community, he's got too many recipes with low/fat free dairy, peanut butter and artificial sweeteners in them ... not to mention egg whites and whey ... to fit in there. The mainstream looking to be rebels always loves a good "quick fix" especially if there's some way to point the finger of blame at some governmental or industry body.
Mike Victor said…
I'm upset with JoAnn Manson for endorsing his book, because he can trumpet the fact that it's "Harvard endorsed" everywhere he goes. In actuality, Bailor's recommendations have little in common with those of HSPH, which are pro-whole grain, limited red meat, antipathic to dairy. And I think Willett, Mozaffarian, Hu et al. realize the point I just made: that starch is basically what human civilization is made out of and that you can't sustain people on a population-scale level with anything else.
2lbs of Starch said…
Peanuts?! What is trying to do, poison everyone?
carbsane said…
His SSoS claimed it was approved for nutrition curricula. This is beyond face-palm head-bashing absurd. Then again, Taubes is invited into medical schools to spread his hypothesis.
Richard Arppe said…

as already I like your blog. Ever considering taking a closer look to a Minger fraud. Travis made good post on her book. This is funny indeed; Minger is whack job, denialist fraud equivalent Masterjohn, Teicholz, Taubes & Co.

Do Vegeterians live longer than healthy omnivores?
carbsane said…
To Richard Arppe and anyone else,

I have previously stated and will state again. Do not go off topic to drive an agenda and make claims against people that are not involved in a particular post. I am not going to get into food fights between vegans and ex-vegans. PERIOD.

If you want to mount a case against someone for fraud or something, feel free to start your own blog. Thank you.
Lighthouse Keeper said…
It's time for Dave Asprey to introduce Bulletproof Peanuts into his product range now that legumes are almost de rigueur in some paleo quarters. Aflatoxin free and at only twenty dollars a bag surely a best seller in waiting.
hmavros said…
Thanks for this post Evelyn. Hopefully, people will refer to this post as a reference source to address any Bailor fans on the blogosphere.

It's hard to tell with Bailor whether he's:
(a) just a financially-driven shyster who figures that hiding his CICO acceptance behind a tsunami of calorie-bashing is more sexy/marketable than being upfront about his fundamental acceptance of CICO orthodoxy, or;
(b) is like Mark Sisson, and figures that telling a 'noble lie' will lead to more "buy in", and will therefore produce better outcomes for the unwashed masses (given that they believe that the advice to ELMM is less effective than their focus on food-types rather than food quantities).

Given the highly slick approach favoured by Bailor, I'd put my money on option (a), but that might be being unfair to JB...who knows.

In any case, there's no rational reason why he can't openly tout his methods as a way to make eating less easier to achieve/less Lyle McDonald often points out, all food-type restriction diets are essentially about tricking people into eating less without thinking directly about it.
Kevin said…
So, I watched some of the videos here, and I see there is a new analogy: Drink More, Pee More (DMPM). If the same logic applies to food, wouldn't that be Eat More, S--- More (EMSM)? I'm confused - how does this apply to the clog in the kitchen sink?
And when evaluated by a third-party, found to contain more toxins than a standard store brand packet. Must be that -14% SAFA deficiency that thoroughlybiatch was talking about in the other thread.
Bris Vegas said…
Willett is a vegan in all but name (he eats no red meat or dairy and very limited amounts of fish and poultry).
Paleo Nouveau said…
I am in no way shape or form defending Bailor, but in the spirit of discussion, his remark concerning quality of calorie intake seems realistic. I had similar discussions with teachers & doctors. I gave them a very simple example from amateur bodybuilding. If you are on a reduced caloric diet preparing for a contest & are consuming only about 1200 calories for that week, you could either have a whopper for the day or have 4- 5 small meals that would add up to 1200 calories. Although the caloric intake may be the same you would experience hunger much more just eating a whopper for the entire day as opposed to "nutrient rich foods."

If we take that same approach and translate it to 2200-2400 calories average x day & most of those calories are plant based most of us would have a hard time over consuming calories.

I am not sure that my next statement has been tested with any solid studies, I would also state that even if the same caloric intake is consumed a mostly plant based dietary pattern may even allow for some weight loss to some individuals than a SAD dietary one. I think we need to think of easily "absorbable" calories vs calories that the body takes longer to process, digest & absorb.

Wouldn't the fiber content alone of such a diet negate some of the "caloric numbers"?
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Then Joe Rogan will debunk them on his show but keep selling them because they are such bloody good tasting nuts,
Sanjeev Sharma said…
drink drano, pee in the sink (when your wife ain't looking);
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Not chewing food properly increases Calories exiting anus, thus reducing Calories in.

Yes, Sam Feltham. I'm looking at you! :-D
carbsane said…
Thanks Harry. I don't think you are being unfair in your betting on option a. His marketing and such has been too slick from the get go. It is funny that he has tried to make inroads into both LC and paleo while his advice runs counter to much in both groups.
lucyricardanon said…
I'm sure I've said this before but this nonsense drives me bananas - "CICO doesn't work because X," where X is something that changes CI or CO. Seriously? Do you throw out the entire concept of budgeting because you had an unexpected household expense this month? Budgeting is all about money in and money out, and now you have some money going out you hadn't planned on, so you say "MIMO doesn't work because my kitchen sink drain exploded"?
carbsane said…
Lighthouse Keeper said…
Fletcherism is probably a dirty word in the Feltham household.
Nigel Kinbrum said…
"Nature will castigate those who don't masticate."
Another word rhymes, too. ;-)
He only lived to the age of 70. Excessive mastication doesn't guarantee longevity. :-/
Nigel Kinbrum said…
Who knows? She might be into kinky stuff!
Nigel Kinbrum said…
If fat absorption falls below a certain level, the result is steatorrhoea (a.k.a. soily oilies). Xenical/Alli, anyone?

The only exception to the above rule is people on high-calcium diets (e.g. lots of yoghurt), where calcium salts combine with fatty acids to form calcium "soaps", which are defecated.
MacSmiley said…
Incredibly good analogy!
Nigel Kinbrum said…
The derp continues... :-/ I've down-voted the posts full of derp and up-voted the posts making sound logical points.

Here's a hypothesis:-

1) Supporters of Teicholz are probably on VLCVHF diets.
2) Supporters of Teicholz have poor logical thinking skills.
3) ∴ VLCVHF diets result in poor logical thinking skills. Q.E.D.
MacSmiley said…
Gotta love that logic!
Kamil Oulehle said…
I've read a dozen of articles about this Calorie Myth book but I did not get it. Who would eat tablespoons of coconut oil a day and enjoy it?
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