Monday, October 01, 2007

Gary Taubes Continues His Dietary Truth Crusade On ExtraTV

Gary Taubes spreads carbohydrate-restriction message on ExtraTV

In an extended version of "Gary Taubes Week" here at the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog, I have a couple of video segments to share with you featuring the embattled Good Calories, Bad Calories author defending livin' la vida low-carb as a means for reducing weight and health risks.

First, he appeared on ExtraTV program on Monday discussing his new book and what they call the "explosive" message contained therein by such a "controversial" author. Apparently, the producers at the show think that a low-carb diet promoted by anyone other than that quack fad diet guru Dr. Atkins merits that kind of hyperbolic expression to describe it.

What REALLY raised their ire? It was this statement.

"Seventy-percent of cancers are caused by diet," Taubes said.

This allegedly is "raising eyebrows" among the so-called health "experts." But I don't know why they got all in a tizzy over this statement because we JUST had some pretty incredible news out of Germany and the Wurzburg Cancer Trial which found a low-carb diet is a highly effective way to manage and even cure cancers of all kinds, especially when every other treatment option has failed. Gary Taubes is simply stating what science is already showing us.

The ExtraTV feature also highlights his support for dietary fat of all kinds in the fight against obesity while simultaneously shunning the carbohydrates, which he says are "the likely causes of cancer, Alzheimer's disease and the other chronic diseases of civilization."

Again, the evidence is there for these conditions as well regarding the blood sugar connection to Alzheimer's disease (be sure to read my interview with noted neurologist Dr. Larry McCleary for even more on this) as well as many other diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome, among many others.

Yes, it took five years and over 600 interviews to make Good Calories, Bad Calories come to fruition, but it is here now and all the evidence is there in black and white for anyone to read.

Get a load of all the comments posted beneath the ExtraTV article and you'll see many of them deriding Taubes for supporting such an "extreme" diet. Of course, yours truly posted a video response in SUPPORT for him and I encourage you to do the same.

Second, I was browsing around YouTube and found a rather interesting discussion between Gary Taubes, Dr. Dean Ornish, and Dr. Barbara Howard (from the American Heart Association) and moderated by Dr. Mehmet Oz (guest hosting for Charlie Rose) surrounding Taubes' original article that set off the firestorm of controversy. It's a rather lengthy video (about 50 minutes long), but chock full of some truly amazing points by Taubes.

It reminded me of those Sunday morning news shows where you have all these liberal guests and the one token conservative guest left to defend his position against the firebreathing opposition. But I'll give Taubes credit, he came off looking very well-versed and confident in his position in support of low-carb living against the "cut your fats if you wanna save your health" Ornish position and the "oh, just eat in moderation and exercise" Howard position. You can almost see Taubes rolling his eyes at some of the jibberish these two low-carb establishment apologists were spouting.

Here's the video (FYI: the sound and audio are a little off):

About halfway through, you can see Dr. Ornish get visibly upset with Taubes which was great to see. And Ornish didn't really say anything different than what he told me about a year ago in my interview with him. Plus, if you look carefully, you'll notice that Dr. Ornish is the ONLY member of the panel with a computer screen in front of him. Taubes, Howard, and Oz all spoke without the use of notes or prompts, but Ornish did not. Interesting.

We knew Gary Taubes was going to be sacrificed to the lambs when he released his book and they're trying their best to discredit him. But the evidence is the truth and truth cannot be refuted no matter how hard you try. Keep on supporting Good Calories, Bad Calories which has broken into the Top 50 overall at Amazon this week and will continue to climb the bestseller charts as more and more people hear about this remarkable book.

Incidentally, over the weekend I sent out an invitation to quite a few people in the world of diet, health, and nutrition from all vantage points requesting a comment or blurb reaction to the new Taubes book. Interesting, most responded that they had not read the book or even heard about it. Even Dr. Ornish responded with the following:

"Thanks, I'll take a look. What are your impressions of the new book?"

I wrote him back and said I would reserve my comments until I heard from him and that I wanted his honest feedback. Based on his interactions with Taubes on the Charlie Rose program, I can only imagine. It is amazing he has YET to respond, though. But I'll let you know if he does and publish his comments here.

One other notable response I received was from Dr. Christopher Gardner, author of the infamous JAMA study in March this year that found the Atkins diet outperformed all other diets for weight loss and health improvements. As you can read in the follow-up response I received from Dr. Gardner, he's not exactly a low-carb supporter and that was reflected in this e-mail I received back from him for a comment on the Taubes book:

"I haven't read it yet, although I was sent a free copy. After seeing his recent article in the New York Times magazine I'm not very interested in reading his book. I'm not impressed. But if I do get to it I'll keep your invitation in mind."

Well, alrighty then! Although Ornish and Gardner aren't too thrilled with Good Calories, Bad Calories, there are MANY others in the field of health and nutrition who ARE and I'll be bringing you those reactions in the coming days and weeks. Feel free to share your thoughts about the book in the comments section below.

10-2-07 UPDATE: There was an EXCELLENT article about Taubes and his new book in Reuters today that you should really check out. Once again, Gary Taubes holds his own and shares why he wrote this book. Here's an excerpt:

"Science doesn't work without extreme skepticism and without challenges to the conventional wisdom. [Good Calories, Bad Calories is] a plea to take this hypothesis seriously, because it has the advantage of explaining the observations, which the current dogma cannot do. I thought if one in 10 [doctors, researchers and public health officials read the book], then that 10 percent is likely to start a debate that is likely to spread from there."

Here's hoping that conversation begins in earnest sooner rather than later!

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Blogger renegadediabetic said...

I saw the Charlie Rose video a while back. I lost track of how many times Ornish mentioned bacon. You'd think low carb was all about bacon. :)

Gary did well and I hope his new book will shake things up.

10/02/2007 9:18 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

just got my copy yesterday. I was expecting a hard slog of a read, but so far, for the first two chapters anyway, it's been fascinating. He's managed to inject a little drama into it, it has a sort of "how in the world could these people have perpetrated such a huge mistake" sort of story line going. Good stuff!

10/02/2007 10:10 AM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

Jimmy, it is great that you sent out those invitations, because, as you found out, this book got almost zero advertising, and most people outside the LC circle are completely unaware of it! Even 150 "advance copies" is not many at all. The best thing you can do is promote it to as many health professionals and media as possible. You have pretty much been the ONLY media person promoting this book, and done far more than even the publisher, so you may be a key influence toward keeping this ball rolling, in the public eye. Bad PR is still PR, and it gets you noticed, as all PR people know. This book is being intentionally ignored, and silence is the best way for opponents to quickly bury the subject, as we see from Dr. Gardner's refusal to even acknowledge it. (His being "unimpressed" is kind of like Poland being unimpressed by the Nazi army on their border). Right now is the time to strike while the book is hot, we must fan the media attention. Let's make it a Gary Taubes month or year!

By the way, Tony Colpo's book shows him to still be a low-cal believer, based on outdated "metabolic ward" studies. The most recent post by Dr. Michael Eades explains why metabolic-ward studies are not trustworthy, which kind of studies are much more strictly controlled, and what a recent such study showed about the superiority of low carb.

10/02/2007 2:45 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

I'm going to add that you should notice that the "Extra" segment took the most questionable points of Taubes book and focused on them, namely his claims of carbs causing cancer and exercise not helping to lose weight. These are not key or critical points of LC! By including them in his book, Taubes may have given his opponents alot of ammunition to discredit the rest of his message, and they are jumping on the opportunity. That would be a great pity. Do not play into arguing these points, it is a diversion tactic, push the message back to glucose and insulin response.

10/02/2007 2:59 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Jimmy, I want to thank you for continuing to bring this information to us. If you had not posted this here, I never would have seen it. Everything that Taubes brought up was spot ON.

Did anyone else notice that Ornish looks like he has a bad case of "carb palor"? About the laptop; it's a sure sign that he did not feel confident to debate Taubes.

10/02/2007 11:49 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Ornish not only seems to have 'carb palor', but a 'double-chin' too!

10/03/2007 6:54 AM  
Blogger Psipsina said...

I can't view streaming media at work, alas. Is this the Charlie Rose appearance from a few years ago, shortly after "Big Fat Lie" appeared in the NYT? If so, I
saw it when it first came out - did anyone else notice that Taubes was the only panelist who looked both healthy and thin?

I remember thinking 5 years ago, when the moderator asked each panelist what they'd eaten for breakfast, that all you had to do was look at the panelists to decide who had the healthier diet. I mean, Dr. Ornish was pasty and losing his hair, and Dr. Howard was awfully pudgy, isn't she? (I don't remember what Dr. Oz looked like.) Taubes, on the other hand, is glowing with health. If eating eggs and sausage for breakfast will make me look like that, and eating skim milk and Special K will make me look like Dr. Howard, this is an absolute no-brainer.

10/03/2007 9:37 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Yes, it's the same interview psipsina.

10/03/2007 10:18 AM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Quoting Psipsina: "did anyone else notice that Taubes was the only panelist who looked both healthy and thin?"

I absolutely noticed that.

Whe Dr. Howard mentioned what she had had to eat that morning, I was horrified. If I were to eat that way, I'd really start putting on the pounds AND feel like hell.

10/03/2007 1:03 PM  
Blogger Psipsina said...

Well, Cathy, Dr. Howard clearly has been putting on the pounds. Whether she feels like hell, only she can comment on.

10/03/2007 2:28 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

I just read the NYT article, and it is excellently written and researched, and leads straight back to LC. Taubes has now exposed the bankrupt history of one more of the key pillars of our medical beliefs. After reading it, apparently Dr. Gardner is afraid to read any more. Kudos to the NYT for seeing the value of printing it. Of course, experience shows us that exercise can be an effective part of overall health and losing weight, if we understand it's true significance and how to utilize it.

10/03/2007 4:17 PM  
Blogger Pot Kettle Black said...


Thanks for pimping the Taubes book. I think Mike Eades pointed me to it first, but there's credit to spread around.

I think it's a little disturbing the way folks are around the book. I looked at the Extra comments and, well, I guess it was about what I would expect from people who watch/produce Extra. A number of people who hadn't read the book (it's a biggie) slamming what they felt it was about (Borders has it in the Diet section, with Protein Power and Ornish, so I guess you can't blame people for thinking it's a new diet), and LC advocates sticking up for Taubes like he was the savior.

The culture of celebrity is the problem here. You look at GCBC, and the history of the low fat movement or the fiber movement, and it's about celebrities (Ancel Keys, Joslin, and the Fiber guy) trumping skeptics. You look at the current thing, a book, and it's a culture of celebrity. Either Taubes is the savior or he's the devil, but ultimately, in the mind of many in the public, he's not terribly different from Steven King, Mitch Albom or even Paris Hilton. You get a visceral reaction and you roll with it, full speed, with either support or hate, regardless of content.

Ultimately, the Taubes book may start a conversation about the issues it addresses. But sadly, too many people have lost the ability to have a conversation. And that's really the sad part. Because the conversation we, as a nation and a world, need to have may die in infancy, before we really get to the heart of what matters.

10/04/2007 11:35 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

This is why I love having you here, Pot! EXCELLENT ANALYSIS!

10/04/2007 1:36 PM  
Blogger Kevin M. said...

Jimmy, there's a five-star review of Taubes' book on Amazon by the following person, who sounds like someone you might want to know about or interview:

"Put your money on Taubes"
Jeremy J. Stone
President, Federation of American Scientists (FAS), 1970-2000.

As for Pot's comments, Extra does not allow for more than a few hundred words in their comments, so there is no room for dissertations. The negative reviews were mostly ignorant and unreflective, and the positive reviews were simply pointing that out. The stakes are very high in this debate and would literally save the lives of millions. If we don't defend the truth when it is under fire, then we don't belong in the game.

10/04/2007 2:29 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Interesting Kevin! I'll check Jeremy out. :D THANKS!

10/04/2007 2:30 PM  
Blogger Pot Kettle Black said...


Most of my complaint about Extra posters should be directed at detractors. But anyone who is commenting on the validity of the book without a thorough read is, well, treading on thin intellectual ground.

That said, the war doesn't get won on a chat board at Extra's site. It gets won at the AHA, the ADA, the NIH, etc. The big bodies that tell folks what to do. It took acts of Congress to make the Low Fat paradigm real. It will probably take no lesser force to turn it upside down.

10/05/2007 8:41 AM  
Blogger Squeaky Frobisher said...

Does anyone know what Gary Taubes thinks is the reason the people in China who ate the traditional Asian Diet which is mostly white rice were so healthy?

Peter Silverman

10/09/2007 10:45 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I'd be happy to ask him for you, Peter. Stay tuned...

10/09/2007 11:01 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Here's the response from Gary Taubes:

For starters, we don't know how healthy the Chinese were, because we don't have studies one way or the other.

Secondly, the traditional Chinese diet was not mostly white rice. The rice was brown and so unrefined until very recently -- perhaps the last fifty years for all but the rich.

Third, they ate virtually no sugar, until very recently (when American soft drink companies began making deals with the Chinese).

The patterns of disease that Colin Campbell writes about in his book on the China Study basically come down to the appearance of western chronic diseases -- obesity, diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, etc. -- when the population goes from eating traditional diets to western diets.

Rural populations, for example, eat more traditional diets and seem to be healthier than urban populations
that eat more westernized diets. Campbell focuses on differences in
meat consumption, because his preconception is that animal protein is to blame. Campbell's colleague on the China Study, Richard Peto of Oxford, pointed out to me that the study itself -- all 800 pages -- had no conclusions whatsoever about causal factors because Peto didn't think that the associations they perceived said anything about cause.

One thing the China Study neglected to pay attention to was sugar consumption. Certainly sugar consumption and refined carbohydrate consumption -- white bread instead of brown, white rice instead of brown -- can explain the same patterns of disease when they show up all over the rest of the world.

The apparent health of the Japanese could also be explained by the historical absence of sugar in their diets.

Hopefully this answers your question, Peter. :)

10/09/2007 11:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think Mr. Moore was paying much attention, due to blinders he had on at the beginning. Much like watching the presidential debates and wanting McCain to be the victor, so you see him as such from the beginning. Ornish clearly states a more convincing case with data to support it, while Taubes simply questions the veracity of studies that have been done and has nothing to suppport his counter-argument in this case. I support skepticism and challenging of orthodoxy, but his case is weak here and his manner more dismissive than respectful with people who have clearly had a lot more training and research study than he has.

11/30/2008 2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, have you read Good Calories Bad Calories?

12/02/2008 12:07 AM  

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