Thursday, August 16, 2007

Low-Carb Discussion Thread At Amazon Heats Up

I'm always interested in spreading the positive message of livin' la vida low-carb to the masses any way that I can. It's why I started my blog, wrote my book, created a podcast show, and most recently, began my very own discussion forum. All of these are tools that I use to share my experiences on the low-carb lifestyle.

You'll recall I shared with you in this blog post about a thread at Amazon I started in August 2006 that simply asked, "What Are Your Criticisms Of The Low-Carb Lifestyle?" I had no idea when I opened that door what kind of response I would receive. But it's been mostly positive and educational for all.

So far, there have been over 160 responses and the exchanges have been respectful even when the participants have disagreed. But this week the temperature at my low-carb discussion thread on Amazon was on the rise with a few rather curt comments from those who obviously have little to no respect for those of us who are livin' la vida low-carb.

These people didn't want to be bothered with the facts...their minds are already made up about the Atkins and low-carb diets and nobody will tell them otherwise. You can go to the thread to read all of the responses, but skip to the last couple of pages to see the following ones as well as my responses to them:

Jane Mailander says
Personally, I think no-carb is a scam -- the latest version of the "liquid protein" diet that killed a lot of healthy women in the 70s. Oh, but I'm sure they looked thin and pretty in their coffins.

The followers of the Gospel According to St. Atkins don't seem to differentiate between the carbs in brown rice and the carbs in a Twinkie. They turn up their noses at *toast* for breakfast...while they glug down a quart of pure cream along with their bacon-cheese-omelettes and brag about the inches they've lost. (What a perfectly American diet -- eat all the ice cream and lard you want, and lose weight!)

Losing nearly 200 pounds in one year is extremely dangerous -- very bad for your heart. I'm more likely to judge your overall health based on your heartrate, blood pressure, cholesterol & blood-sugar numbers than on the numbers on your bathroom scale. Unless you gained that 180 pounds as fast as you lost it, you may have endangered your health.

A friend of mine died of heart failure after a thyroid surgery made her drop over 100 pounds too fast. The cruel remarks by "friends" about her weight (and her lack of will-power, and her gluttony, and her lack of control) stopped...just about the time she died. Just in time to prove that it had been her glands and not gluttony that had caused her to balloon. Maybe she would have gotten better medical attention, if just one goddamn doctor had looked past her weight to consider that it might have been a SYMPTOM and not the CAUSE of her problems, and prescribed yet another useless diet.

Every. Freakin. Diet. in the world has the same core of sensible stuff -- eat plenty of fresh vegetables, eat whole grains, and go for a walk. Everything else is somebody selling a Whole New Weight-Loss System that's EFFECTIVE and PERMANENT.

Sure worked for St. Atkins. As long as we're talking weight as the sole measure of health -- what was he, 275, when he died?

Very nice, ain't it? Try this one on for size, too:

The Masked Avenger says
Low-carbohydrate diets as envisioned by Robert Atkins are suicidal. I think it's a great idea to reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates, and to pay attention to the glycemic index, but to eat all the cholesterol in the traditional low-carb diet is really insane. Now some people handle cholesterol better than others, but really you'd do yourself a great favor by imitating the vegetarian who wrote in earlier. I don't know who your friend Anthony Colpo is, but if he isn't backed up by proper science then you're performing a wild experiment on yourself by listening to him.

Learn about biology, homocysteine and inflammation before you diet yourself to an early grave.

At the very least, make sure you are getting lots of fresh vegetables and supplement your diet. You should also eat lots of flax seeds (grind just before use, put on salads, oatmeal, vegetables and just about anything) to offset the effects of all that meat.

By the way, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University commented in a speech I attended that he met Atkins backstage at a talk show they were both on. He asked Atkins if he was unaware, as an MD, what he was doing to people. Atkins replied that he knew that the diet was bad for cardiovascular health as well as the well being of other body systems, but that obesity was worse. This flies in the face of comments I've heard Atkins make in order to promote his diet and his products. Are you sure you really want to trust your health to this pseudo-science?

Lets not forget cancer. Even if the effects of huge levels of cholesterol in the diet upon cardiovascular health were debatable, which in my eyes it is not, do yourself a favor and read "The China Study" by T. Colin Campbell (the professor to whom I referred above.) Also consider the levels of pesticides in meat and dairy products. If you are unaware of this issue, I urge you to educate yourself about it and also consider making what meat and dairy products you do eat organic.

Good luck with it! A balanced vegan diet will stand you in much better stead than all those heavy lipids!

Not content with what he wrote in that first post, he followed it up with another:

The Masked Avenger says
Hi there,

One person's experience doth not a study make. I'm very happy that your lipid profile has improved, but there are other dangers from the kind of diet you are eating. Cancer being the main one, but there are others as well.

Your statement that a vegetarian diet is "quite deficient" betrays your ignorance of modern nutritional science. The only essential nutrient that can't be had without supplementation is B12 , so a smart vegetarian supplements for it.

Pollyhyper is entirely correct in saying that I'm responding to the kind of low carb philosophy entailing eating an entire cow, 5 packages of bacon, and 15 pounds of butter a day, all drowned in an ocean of heavy cream and melted cheese. That's what Atkins pushed, and that's what I believe La Vida LowCarb is saying, am I correct?

I commend low carb diets comprised of low-glycemic carbohydrates and lots of veggies and greens. I won't even argue, on a health basis, against occasional use of meat - but most low carb diet folk go way beyond occasional IMHO.

As for disagreeing with Campbell, well, while this is of course your right as an American, on what authority do you ask me to take you seriously? His study was done properly, and I do believe that he's a very honorable person and thus not lying. You see his credentials. Do you believe that you have better info? Please tell me why, then maybe I'll listen to you on matters of nutrition. As for supporting Atkins against Campbell, it's ridiculous. Campbell is an academic with the resources of Cornell behind him. Atkins was a quack with an MD and a radio show. Any "research" he may have done is discredited by the money motive.

I'll go look at the studies you mention on your site, although I am guessing they are not peer reviewed studies published in proper journals. However, even if they are, it takes a pretty big study, conducted by reputable scientists, to be able to really say anything by itself, especially when there are people hoping to gain financially from it as there are in the diet arena. (Big and reputable like the China study.)

Oh, my. Just went to see your blog. You're pushing a BOOK. No wonder. Self-published, to boot. And no clear link to studies of any kind.

Nevermind, troll. I thought I was having a serious conversation here.

People, beware. This person wants you to buy something, this is why he started this thread to begin with. Every lying sentence is designed to sell books.

I hope that when he gets sick from this ridiculous diet he's eating - if he is indeed still endangering his own health by eating this way - he will come back here and let people know about it. He probably won't, though. I think he just wants to capitalize on the Atkins phenomenon. But like I said, he may not even be eating this way now. I've not heard of anyone who was able to maintain the diet for long because living in a state of ketoacidosis makes you ill and then you feel bad and go off the diet. In fact there's a name for this - Atkins-diet-induced ketoacidosis.

Folks, let's put this to rest: don't listen to me, just go read this report, titled "Atkins Dieter Develops Life-Threatening Complications" at , on the Lancet case report titled "A Life-threatening complication of Atkins diet". You can read the case report yourself at most libraries, or through your library from home using their online databases. If your public library does not have access to the journal Lancet, then your local school should. If that doesn't scare you off of the high-meat-high-fat Atkins death diet, then little else will and it's your funeral.

Oh - just one more thing - add me to the "Don't listen seriously to Jimmy Moore" club, please.

PS - In response to Mr Moore's latest comments, I will only say that there's such a thing as being so open minded that your brains fall out. :-D

Like I said, I responded to each of these statements at the Amazon thread, so go there to read it and respond yourself if you would like. Here are a few more:

Judy C says
People, saturated fat clogs your arteries, don't listen to these quacks, our country is overrun with 65-85 yr old people with hardening of the arteries, leading to dementia like this country has never seen, and it's pretty much all because of saturated fats.

This guy, as nice a guy you'd ever want to meet, I'm sure, is using the internet to do his selling.. Don't be led by others; they want to separate you and your money, that's all.. do your homework and pray for common sense, or meditate about what is right for you.

And one more time from our favorite commenter again:

The Masked Avenger says:
Rightio, Low-Carb, I've asked Dr. Evans to comment on your blog page. Here is his response:

= = = = = =

Interesting discussion. Clearly, the individual writing the blog has very little metabolism or nutrition background.

There are a number of statements that he makes that are either completely unfounded or untrue. On whopper is that a low carbohydrate diet is appropriate for athletes. We have decades of research that demonstrates that muscle glycogen stores are critical to prevent exhaustion in endurance events and the only way to maintain high muscle glycogen is by eating carbs, particularly if you are exercising regularly.

Ours is not the only study to show that increased carbohydrate intake result in sustained weight loss:

(3) INTERVENTIONS: The intervention included group and individual sessions to promote a decrease in fat intake and increases in vegetable, fruit, and grain consumption and did not include weight loss or caloric restriction goals. The control group received diet-related education materials. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: Change in body weight from baseline to follow-up. RESULTS: Women in the intervention group lost weight in the first year (mean of 2.2 kg, P<.001) and maintained lower weight than control women during an average 7.5 years of follow-up (difference, 1.9 kg, P<.001 at 1 year and 0.4 kg, P = .01 at 7.5 years). No tendency toward weight gain was observed in intervention group women overall or when stratified by age, ethnicity, or body mass index. Weight loss was greatest among women in either group who decreased their percentage of energy from fat.

(4) Consumption of the low-fat ad libitum diet was accompanied by significant weight loss (3.63 kg), by a mean decrease in LDL-C (124.3%), and by mean triglyceride levels and TC/HDL-C ratio that were not significantly different from values obtained at baseline. CONCLUSIONS--Our results indicate that a low-fat ad libitum diet promotes weight loss and LDL-C lowering without adverse effects on triglycerides or the TC/HDL-C ratio in middle-aged and elderly men and women with moderate hypercholesterolemia.

A large meta-analysis of ad libitum low-fat diets concluded (1) "A reduction in dietary fat without intentional restriction of energy intake causes weight loss, which is more substantial in heavier subjects." The conclusion of most obesity experts is summarized in the title of this review (2).

1. Astrup A, Grunwald GK, Melanson EL, Saris WH, and Hill JO. The role of low-fat diets in body weight control: a meta-analysis of ad libitum dietary intervention studies. International Journal of Obesity & Related Metabolic Disorders 24: 1545-1552, 2000.
2. Bray GA and Popkin BM. Dietary fat intake does affect obesity! Am J Clin Nutr 68: 1157-1173, 1998.
3. Howard BV, Manson JE, Stefanick ML, Beresford SA, Frank G, Jones B, Rodabough RJ, Snetselaar L, Thomson C, Tinker L, Vitolins M, and Prentice R. Low-fat dietary pattern and weight change over 7 years: the Women's Health Initiative Dietary Modification Trial. Jama 295: 39-49, 2006.
4. Schaefer EJ, Lichtenstein AH, Lamon-Fava S, McNamara JR, Schaefer MM, Rasmussen H, and Ordovas JM. Body weight and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol changes after consumption of a low-fat ad libitum diet. JAMA 274: 1450-1455, 1995.

Fortunately, the data do not lie. I our study, none of the subjects were told that they were on a "weight loss" diet and with no attempt at energy restriction they lost weight on a high carbohydrate diet.

The real unfortunate issue is that too many people become advocates for one side or the other (almost like a discussion of religion or politics) without stopping to assess all of the information. High carbohydrate diets do not promote weight gain - for a number of important metabolic reasons. Perhaps most important is that humans do not make lipid from carbohydrate in any appreciable way.

What our work demonstrates is that reduction in fat intake will result in loss of fat.

Hope this helps. Good luck.

William Evans
Jane and Ed Warmack Chair in Nutritional Longevity
Nutrition, Metabolism, and Exercise Laboratory
Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging
University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

WOW, this guy had to pull out a nutrition "expert" to convince him low-fat is healthy. I could literally do the same thing with people in support of low-carb, so it's a moot point.

Thankfully, despite the negative tone of many of these comments, I remained nothing but respectful and open-minded towards them. This is something that caught the attention of one of the people who has been following the Amazon thread and left a comment earlier this year.

Here's what he wrote to me in an e-mail:

Hello Jimmy,

We spoke briefly a few months back (maybe 1.5) on the Amazon discussion thread you started about the low carb & Atkins Diet. While admittedly I disagree with your conclusions (although, your "conclusions" are many, if we laid it all out point by point. Sorry to lump them all together for simplicity's sake ;) I based on my own research and formal education.

However, I do give you a lot of credit for at least studying your position,educating yourself, and encouraging feedback on the criticisms of the "low-carb lifestyle" (these are things many people sadly do not do often). Right now, it seems that the discussion thread is heating up and people are throwing a lot of accusations at you. I am not psychic, and I do not know you personally, so I will not judge you and make accusations as others have.

Another poster in a different discussion thread is attacking me similarly and so I wanted to also let you know that I appreciate your courtesy and politeness even though there are disagreements. This is something many people forget about when they discuss something. They are right, the other person is wrong, and they should be burned at the stake for daring to disagree. Very few people have learned yet that screaming doesn't solve things :).

There are tons of studies out there and sadly, none are perfect (food quality, bioindividuality, etc etc etc all need to be mentioned). I think at this point I am rambling and getting away from the original point of this e-mail, but you probably understand what I am getting at ;). Basically, while I disagree with you, I appreciate your courtesy and I think it's sad that those whom are attacking or disagreeing with you do not have the courtesy to respond in a respectful manner as well.

All in all, I'd say my mission and purpose with that Amazon thread has been accomplished. Let's keep people talking about livin' la vida low-carb to help them understand why it works not just for weight loss but also vastly improved health. You know and I know it. Now, let's let THEM know it, too!

Click here to visit the Amazon thread and to voice your knowledge about livin' la vida low-carb, too!

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Blogger The Bunnell Farm said...

Like always the 'carbohydrates are sugar' and 'sugar is a drug' and not only a drug but a powerful unnatural stimulant drug is lost! Stimulant sugar addicts rule and don't you dare take away or lessen there drug! The 'hybrid carbohydrates are pure sugar' is a complete unknown!

8/17/2007 6:24 AM  
Blogger WereBear said...

Jimmy, I am once again impressed with your steady good humor and unflagging ability to be cheerful and polite, even under fire.

Keep up the good work!

8/17/2007 8:42 AM  
Blogger melodiegale said...

Wow, those people really go for the jugular, don't they? I guess that high sugar diet hasn't done anything to sweeten their dispositions.

8/17/2007 1:35 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

I'm waiting for a comment to the below on Amazon: (Don't have account to post at Amazon)
"Masked Avenger,

Thanks for your post; however, please do me a favor and ask Dr. Evans to clarify this statement:

"Perhaps most important is that humans do not make lipid from carbohydrate in any appreciable way."

I'm going to hold back my discussion of "lipogenesis" until then."

8/17/2007 9:44 PM  
Blogger Science4u1959 said...

An very interesting discussion about the true colors of Dr. Campbell and his China Study can be found on the Weston Price-Pottenger website. Under scrutiny, it conclusively proves that Dr. Campbell had absolutely no problem with data selection to support his personal (vegetarian, anti-meat) low-fat agenda. While the China Study was not all bad, as his colleagues basically did a good job, but the guy who chaired it - yes, that wonderful, highly credentialed dr. Campbell himself - completely abused it for his own low-fat, vegetarian agenda. A very interesting read.

Maybe the mask of that "masked avenger" is a little bit too tight and it impairs the bloodstream to his brain - he clearly isn't able to think, or do some basic research.

Don't let these "masked" idiots with their silly ad hominem attacks, their intellectual bankruptcy and their semi-vegetarian furor discourage you, Jimmy! You are fighting the good fight, my friend, and science (real science, that is, not PCRM and other assorted imbeciles) is at your side!

8/17/2007 10:59 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Oh, they're not getting me down, Andre! I'm just enjoying hearing them go bonkers over me even daring mention low-carb. You gotta love it!

8/17/2007 11:01 PM  
Blogger Mission Preposterous said...

Have you abandoned the Amazon thread? There still seem to be unanswered questions for you.

8/23/2007 5:00 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Nope, haven't abandoned it. I don't see any specific questions for me. Feel free to point me to the ones you believe I need to answer. :)

8/23/2007 5:29 PM  
Blogger Mission Preposterous said...

At 12:53, AUG 18 M. Ritchie wrote:

"Jimmy, you write that "the "calories in, calories out" theory has been shown to be inaccurate" but your friend, the esteemed and accurate researcher Anthony Colpo, claims the opposite, that calories are the most important factor. The very first chapter of his new ebook, "The Fat Loss Bible," (a book which I found on your recommendation) is called "Myth 1: Don't count calories." Anthony writes "Anyone who tells you cutting calories does not produce weight loss is utterly ignorant of scientific reality. So too are those who insist that manipulating dietary protein, fat and carbohydrate intake can produce greater weight loss at identical calorie intakes"

How do you account for this disconnect?"

8/23/2007 6:01 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

THANKS Mission! While I respect Anthony Colpo and the work he has done on behalf of low-carb living, I don't agree with him on everything. This issue concerning "calories in, calories out" is one of them.

My conclusions are based on research by Dr. William Evans from the University of Arkansas who had his study on this subject published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

His quote: "Calorie in, minus calories out, does not always determine the amount of weight loss."

Do calories count? Of course. But you don't have to count them in order to lose weight. That's my position and I've remained consistent on it from day one.

THANKS for your comment, Mission!

8/23/2007 6:41 PM  
Blogger Mission Preposterous said...

Thanks for the reply, Jimmy.

I believe that I found the study that you refer to,
If this isn't the correct one I'd appreciate a nudge in the right direction.

I am not an expert and could certainly have overlooked or misunderstood something, but when I read through the study I don't see the data supporting the conclusion that there is any metabolic advantage to a low carb diet. The control group, eating 2800 kcal/day maintained its wait. The two intervention groups consumed 600 and 400 kcal/day fewer than the controls and they lost weight.

As far as I can tell, this supports the calories in/calories out paradigm rather than overthrowing it.

8/23/2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

That is the correct data, Mission. My conclusion is based on the quote from Dr. Evans that I cited previously. The point is if it was merely about "calories in, calories out," then there would be equal weight loss when isocaloric diets are presented.

I'd personally LOVE to see a study that compares head-to-head an 1800-calorie low-carb, high-fat diet with an 1800-calorie low-fat, high-carb diet. It would answer this question once and for all.

THANKS again for your comments.

8/23/2007 7:33 PM  
Blogger Mission Preposterous said...

You're welcome. Thanks for hosting the place to have the discussion. A study such as the one you propose would be most edifying (assuming that it was designed and executed well).

Are you aware of any studies on isocaloric diets that have not shown equal weight loss? While individual metabolic differences (thyroid condition, etc.) certainly have an affect on the calorie use/consume ratio I have a hard time following the evidence that I've seen to your conclusion.

In your 6:41 post you write:
My conclusions are based on research by Dr. William Evans from the University of Arkansas

but in the 7:33 post you write: My conclusion is based on the quote from Dr. Evans that I cited previously.

If you are basing your evidence on research, then that is one thing and I would love to read it. If you are basing it on an single sentence quotation well, I can find you any number of doctors/researchers/etc who could easily make an opposite claim and provide just as much information (none) to support it. I can also find Colpo's seemingly comprehensive collection of metabolic ward studies that provide evidence of the opposite. That body of evidence holds much more weight, in my view, than an opinion that, when googled, I find only on your blog and in news reports related to the very study that you and I both agreed shows nothing of the sort.

Thanks for taking the time to address my questions.

8/23/2007 8:36 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

My pleasure, Mission. I am not aware of any specific side-by-side research which is why I think a well-designed and executed study would be in order.

While conclusions drawn by researchers about their data is not evidenciary, it most certainly has merit in interpreting what was seen. That's why I place my support for it like I do.

THANKS again and feel free to join my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Discussion" forum for more engaging conversations about the low-carb lifestyle. Take care!

8/23/2007 9:07 PM  

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