Jack LaLanne vs Ancel Keys


An annoying comment I hear all the time whenever I talk about how Ancel Keys set the country on the disastrous nutritional course it has been on for the last 40 years runs something like this: ‘I dunno. Key’s must have been doing something right because he lived to be 100.’

First, the fact that Key’s himself lived to be 100 doesn’t mean squat. Everyone has a relative somewhere that defied the odds. I would bet that just about anyone can name someone who smoked, drank and was obese who lived to a ripe old age. Winston Churchill, for one, comes to mind. Smoked, loved his booze, was obviously obese, and lived to be 90. It’s not the individuals that matter in terms of health and longevity, but populations as a whole. And since the US (and now the world, it seems) has been following the wisdom of Ancel Keys, look what has happened. Obesity and diabetes are at epidemic levels. So, while Ancel himself lived a long life, I’m not so sure a lot of his victims will.

But, since people obnoxiously continue to point out that Keys made it to triple digits by allegedly following his own recommendations, let’s look at another individual (which, again, mean nothing in scientific terms) for comparison’s sake.

A reader sent me the link to the following YouTube. It’s a few minutes long, but well worth watching. It shows diet and fitness expert Jack Lalanne having a heart to heart with viewers of his show back in the 1950s. Observe. And listen carefully to the diet he recommends. (And notice how far television production values have come in 50 years)

Now, let’s assume that Mr. LaLanne practices what he preaches. He is 93 years old now, going on 94. A photo of him taken this year is at the top of this post. Below are a couple more.



Below is a photo of Ancel Keys taken when he was 100 and was being honored by the Scripps Institute. I suppose he could have looked as good as Jack LaLanne seven years before this picture was taken, but somehow I kind of doubt it.


So, you be the judge. Who would you rather look like when you reach your golden years?

Remember these photos the next time you hear someone rabbit on about how Ancel Keys lived to be 100, therefore he must have been doing something right.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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120 thoughts on “Jack LaLanne vs Ancel Keys

  1. This is just like the “but hunter-gatherers only lived to be 30” argument against eating the paleo diet. Animals kept in captivity *always* live longer than their free-roaming counterparts, and for all intents and purposes, we humans are living in captivity in the sense that daily life is far less risky than it was during the hunter-gatherer days, we always have food available, etc etc.

    Most people seem to think that the choice is between living like a healthy hunter-gatherer until 30 and then dropping dead from high cholesterol (ha!) or living until 80 or 90 and aging in the standard, horrific fashion. Even if it were only these two options, the former choice is a no-brainer (heart attack vs Alzheimer’s… how is that even a decision?). In reality, a better, 3rd option exists, and that is to live like a healthy hunter-gatherer until 80 or 90!

    Great post. It illustrates that you don’t have to choose between quantity and quality.

    You are on the money.



    • It is very misleading to describe LaLanne as eating like a hunter – gatherer. He ate like a gatherer not a hunter. Very little meat, no red meat.

      • He actually says that you should eat fruit, meat and eggs for breakfast. So where do you get that he ate very little meat and no red meat?

        • From Jack LaLanne’s 10 Health Habits:

          3. Eat twice a day. LaLanne consumed exactly two meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was taken late in the morning after his workout and usually consisted of “several hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk, and seasonal fruit.” Dinner was more egg whites, salad, and fish. Snacks were strictly verboten.

          4. No meat, either. Fish was pretty much the only animal LaLanne ate. (His New York Times obit says he occasionally enjoyed a roast turkey sandwich, though LaLanne has been quoted as saying that he never touched the stuff.)


  2. But now in his older days he is selling a juicer. There’s even an ad on your site.
    I’m not much for fructose.

    I’m not either. But irrespective of what he’s doing now, he spent most of his life as a high-protein dieter.



    • I’m curious though… no one has said a thing about exercise. They both lived long – so what – to live long and healthy you need to be active and that is just what Lalanne seemed to do.

      Has there been any research done that links these diets to people who exercise regularly? Maybe if you stay fit for life it wont, for the most part, matter what you eat.

      • Both these guys got a lot of exercise, Keys got his by doing what he called useful things – like walking as transportation and gardening. He was a mountain climber in mid-life.
        These guys really advocated the same type of diet – high in fresh vegetables and fruits and whole grains and low in fatty meats. Hard to see how they could be ‘contrasted’.

        And keys was very active until a series of strokes hit him at age 98. I say again, age 98 not 58, not 78, Also his wife and co- researcher and co-author lived to age 98.

        No, keys never looked like Lalanne and would have considered all that lifting and pulling a great waste of time. But he did live a very long, active and healthy life. And in the end he lived longer than Lalanne.

        But the key is that their diets were very similar.

        • Lalanne died at 96 of untreated pneumonia. He even continued his two-hour daily workouts till the day before he died. Had he been treated for his pneumonia, who knows how many more years he would have had.

    • He did have a high-protein soy shake every morning and took lots of vitamins and minerals. But he was effectively a vegetarian for most of his life eating mostly raw fruits and vegetables with just a little meat (never red meat).

      His diet most certainly would be more accurately described as complex carb based, not protein based.

  3. As usually happens when I’m sent to youtube, I wound up watching several related videos — in this case, all Jack Lalanne from the same series.

    What a guy, seriously. Everything he says should be blindingly obvious, but obviously he was driven then by the fact that it wasn’t taken as obvious, and it surely isn’t now. Stuff like “you can’t fix things all at once. But you definitely can with effort over time.” Or “if you want to be less tired, stop eating empty calories, get moderate exercise regularly, and get rid of the stress (or as he calls it, nervous tension.)” Or, in the video you pointed out, “Kick the sugar habit, because it’s making you fat.”

    As they say, common sense isn’t really all that common. Thanks for the pointer; watching Mr. Lalanne is actually doing wonders for me in a time when I feel off the right track.


    Hey Random–

    Glad it gave you a boost when you needed it.



  4. Hello Dr. Mike. Interesting post.

    A friend of mine who is against LC eating claims this study shows it is not safe:
    Its title is “Low carbohydrate–high protein diet and mortality in a cohort of Swedish women” and an abstract can be found at:


    do you have comments on it?

    Thank you from a long time reader


    Hi John–

    Yes I have comments on the study. It’s as full of holes as a piece of Swiss cheese. It’s one of those studies I’ve been intending to post on for a while, but new stuff keeps arising. I’ll get around to it eventually. But take my word for it now, it doesn’t mean squat.



  5. I’m pretty sure I’ve read or heard Jack rail against animal fats as well… so he’s not exactly the best candidate to be the anti-Ancel keys poster boy. Maybe exercise is more important than anything?

    Poor Ancel there at the end. He shoulda spent more time doing jumping “Jacks” along with Jack in the black and white telly.

    Hi mrfreddy–

    Actually Jack is pretty much a whole foods kind of guy. In his early years on TV and in his writings he advocated steak, steak steak. I suspect that he’s fallen under the low-animal-fat spell cast by the anti-meat sorcerers out there, but I also suspect that he’s eaten a whole lot of meat in his lifetime.



    • I just have to chime in here. I was there watching those TV ads. I don’t ever remember him advocating meat, meat, meat. There was no lo-carb back then. Even the low-fat movement had not started. He was the first person (I ever knew) to start his own line of gyms. He had his own exercise TV show in the mornings that my mom used. Who knows how he grew up. I’m sure with plenty of meat, like most of us back then. So I guess if you want to say that because he ate a lot of protein early in his life, that’s what gave him longevity, then most of us will do the same…NOT. He changed when he got wise. He advocated fruit/veg-type eating for decades.

  6. I could swear that Jack advocates a low fat plan. I know back in the day he was high protein low sugar, but I know I’ve seen him pimping for veggies and low fat somewhere in the last 50 years.

    So, as a former TV professional, I’d guess that this was shot in the late 50’s to early 60’s, when the medium was still pretty new. The things people don’t understand about really old TV footage are more than a few, but here’s a quick list.
    1- They broadcast nearly everything live to the east coast. Then, they filmed it right off TV to play back for the west coast. That’s why you have some really bad quality footage from “I Love Lucy”, “Leave It to Beaver” and so on. It’s the technical equivalent of a lot of the videos on You Tube, only that was state of the art. I dunno why they didn’t think to film it, cut it and play the film to both coasts, since that’s what they were doing with movies, but, it was a new media. We’re at least 15 years before the advent of magnetic video tape, so, you can’t kill him for what wasn’t invented yet.

    2- The chalkboard. We’re probably 30 years before powerpoint, 40 years before large screen plasma and 20 years before the common chromakeying techniques we all know and love as “Blue Screening.” Chalkboards were state of the art. Check out the chalk-man-ship on his 11 foods to skip. I don’t know anyone who could chalk like that today. Of course, anyone can do better with a telestrator, powerpoint or the cheapo credit.titling machine whose name escapes me at this moment.

    I’m not gonna suggest that this is brilliant TV production, either in values or presentation, but I might suggest that, back before all the hyper graphics, computer effects, sound effects, and polished deliveries, the content might’ve been more central to quality judgments, and we might be losing something with each step up in production value.

    Hey Max–

    Thanks for the didactic on TV production. It was enlightening.

    You’re probably right, too, that the newer bells and whistles may distract from the content that’s being presented. It was pretty easy to understand what Jack was trying to say. And probably made more impact than a screen roll of the same thing over a cutsy talking head like we get it today.



  7. One thing that I noticed about Ansel Keys in the pic is that he has apparently suffered a stroke and was confined to a wheel chair, a fate it seems likely that Mr. LaLanne will escape. It seems that Mr. Keys did not escape the circulatory problems he was certain he could prevent with high carb diets. Probably, the fact that at least up until 1962, according the Time Magazine article cited in an earlier blog entry, he ate a relatively high fat, high protein diet may have delayed these problems until an advanced age. More important than how long Mr. LaLanne lives, is that he looks healthy and happy while Mr. Keys looks like he waiting to die.

    P.S. I know I and probably many of your readers could not do those finger tip pushups at any age, let alone 93.

    Hi Mark–

    Keys was waiting to die. I think he lasted a month or so longer after that photo was taken.



  8. Those pictures are impressive…..tells the story doesn’t it….

    Thanks for the info! Now….question for you and this is totally off this topic but what is your opinion of MODY diabetes….is this a real diagnosis that is newly discovered or another walk down a false path…



    Hi Ressy–

    MODY diabetes is simply Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young, and it is indeed a real diagnosis. In the old days before the recent diabetes epidemic, there were basically two types of diabetes: type I and type II. Type I was called juvenile onset diabetes because it was typically (although not always) diagnosed in children. Type II was called adult onset diabetes, was a different disease than juvenile onset, and was typically diagnosed in adults who were obese and insulin resistant. Today teenagers and even kids 9 and 10 are being diagnosed with ‘adult onset’ diabetes. But since these kids aren’t adults, there had to be another name for them, thus MODY diabetes.

    Hope this clears it up.



  9. Jack LaLanne is promoting his juicer on infomercials. Is juicing a good thing? Seems like a lot of sugar to me.

    I eat little or no sweet fruit. Sometimes blueberries with cream, occasionally melon.

    I don’t think juicing is a particularly good thing. There are a lot worse things, however.

    Like you, I eat very little fruit. Typically berries and cream.



  10. There are no words to describe the difference between Keys and Lalanne! I’m printing out the photos and taking them with me to have out when I discuss low carb with people, this is absolutely amazing.

    Hi LC–

    I hope it makes an impact.



  11. I was going to add that Keys may have been one of the 25% that do better on more plant food less meat, but after looking at the photograph, I would say,,, NO.

  12. Real fun to see Jack LaLanne here in your writings, Doc. Jack’s a prince, an amazing guy who works out for two hours a day, without fail, as he has since his teens.

    His stance against sugar has been unwavering since Paul Bragg took him to task in the late 1920s.

    His earlier years were heavier on the protein, however these days he’s mostly a lacto-ovo vegetarian (occasionally he eats fish). He eats no sugar or junk food products, with a glass of wine at dinner, but he’s pretty light on the protein just the same.

    Hi Laree–

    I’m sure his earlier diet is standing him in good stead during his later years. Too bad he’s not keeping up with the protein intake. I’m sure he’s trying to do what he thinks is scientifically sound to keep him going like the Everyready rabbit. But I agree. I think he’s a heckuva guy.



  13. Without a doubt in my mind, from the standpoint of evolution, we are hunter gatherers. There’s just no other way (your books do a wonderful job of explaining this).

    Just as Jack LaLanne said, flour and sugar are junk, and exercise keeps us healthy.

    My only worry with JackLaLanne is his juicing. In the end those are plenty of carbs without fiber to slow down the rush. Aditionally he may possibly be consuming less protein due to the Ancel Keys influenced nutrition of today, along with the negative propaganda against sat fats. I hope he knows better.

    I hope he outlives Ancel Keys, in better health.

    Thanks for the post, doc!

    I too hope he outlives Keys. (I hope even more that I outlive Keys.) I suspect that Jack’s lifetime of high-protein eating may have conferred some protection against the juicing he’s now so taken with.

    Glad you enjoyed the post.



  14. Hi Doc—great post–I think this example also shows how important strength training is if one wants to age well. Unless the muscles are used intensely, one will lose a few pounds of muscle each decade after 30. If one keeps the muscle, I see no logical reason why metabolism would “slow down” as you get older (an old wives’ tale–I believe the weight gain often seen after age 30 is due to poor diet and lack of strength training). I really do think pumping iron is the closest we can get to the fountain of youth. Check out the top bodybuilders from the 60’s and 70’s–the ones who still train look great (e.g. Bill Pearl, Dave Draper, Frank Zane, Arnold, etc.)

    Hi Paul–

    Most of the papers I’ve read indicate that we start losing about 1 percent of our muscle mass per year after age 30. About the only way to prevent this is with a higher protein diet and resistance training. Interestingly, I’ve also read a couple of papers showing that ounce for ounce muscle in elderly people is equally as strong as that in young people – it’s just that typically the elderly don’t have as much muscle because of the inexorable yearly loss they experience if they don’t do something about it. So, if we retain the muscle mass of youth, we retain the strength of youth.



    • ALl the above is true. 80yo can regain muscle mass and with amazing strength but unfortanately the bone density is often gone now too and the telomeres are short and so there is cell loss and overall decrease in body cell count.

  15. My point is, that right or wrong Keys was a scientist and not a pop nutritionist with stuff to peddle. The vitamins in your pack can be had for about 20 bucks a month at best. Being a good right wing capitalist I’m sure you’re glad there are gullible people that will keep you in the lifestyle you obviously think you deserve. Jack LaLanne’s present diet is much closer to the one advocated by Keys than the one you and the late Dr. Atkins (73) advocate. In fact Lalanne, except for eating fish is almost vegetarian. He eats fish and egg whites for protein and eats (oh heavens) at least 5 pieces of fruit a day.


    Question: Do you still call a ‘scientist’ whose every paper has been discredited a scientist? Or a fraud? Keys may not have peddled “stuff” but he sure peddled a lot of disinformation that has led us to the obesity and diabetes epidemics we find ourselves in the midst of today.

    I know that the supplements in our pack cost substantially more than $20 wholesale, so it’s unlikely that you could find them anywhere for “about 20 bucks a month.” Unless, of course, they’re made in China. In which case I would recommend that you take them in double doses.

    I fear that Jack LaLanne – not being a scientist, and therefore unable to read the scientific literature critically – has fallen in his golden years for the Keys promulgated BS. It’s fortunate for Jack that he’s had a lifetime of good eating to build himself to the point that he is able to withstand the damage such a diet could inflict. Had Mr. LaLanne consumed a Keys diet throughout his life, he would probably now be a drooling sack of blubber like Keys instead of the robust guy he is.

    Why don’t you keep you vegetarian rantings on the vegetarian sites where they belong?

    All the very best–


  16. Hi Dr. Mike,

    Great info.. and the pictures, well, like I heard as a kid in the late 1950’s, “a picture is worth a 1000 words”…

    Best to you and MD,

    CJ Hunt

    Hey CJ–

    Good to hear from you.



  17. I’ve gone back and forth over the fruit issue. Is it best to really keep the intake low and stick to berries? How about apples, melons, and citrus?

    Hi Sheldon–

    Fruit is okay as long as you keep the higher carb fruits to a minimum. I try to look at the amount of phytonutrients per gram of carb. When you do this, you find that berries are your best bargain. For that reason I take most of my fruits as berries.



  18. My grandmother was a few months short of 91 when she passed away. Her first stroke was at 52, and she had multiple small heart attacks and one big one at 88 years old. None of that immediately killed her. She just finally saw everyone she wanted to see and let go. She lived with diabetes for 30 years and congestive heart failure for the last few years she was with us. After a long life of labor (she was a housekeeper), a life without a companion (her husband passed away while she was in her 30s), poor access to healthcare until her senior years, there’s no way she should have lasted so long. But she did. Some people just survive. Unfortunately, the mob seems to look for some truth in these unlikely events.

    Hi PAX–

    You very eloquently made the point I was trying to make when I said don’t read too much into an individual statistic.



  19. Doc

    A tad off subject but hope not too far. Did you & many of the faithful see the article in this past Sundays Parade magazine, a supplement in most major newspapers, that tells the story of a woman diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 33 and how she fought back. She tells of how she had just started running marathons about the time she recieved her diagnosis, and goes on to recite how she learned to complete marathons and give her knowledge to others. She attributes part of success to good timing of insulin injections and proper nutrition. Then it gets scary when talks about eating chocolate chip cookies before she starts her race and then downing packs of carbohydrate gel as she runs. Despite her success as a diabetic athlete at the national level, her goal to get her PH.D in diabetes research and share her insight with minorities at childrens’s camps and conferences is truly sad. With Parade’s far reach the damage to the generally gullible public through such garbage stories probably can’t be measured. Keep up the battle.


    Hi Bryant–

    I’m carrying on as best I can against the forces of evil everywhere. And I agree. Misguided people like the one in the article can wreak a lot of havoc.



  20. Hi Dr. Mike!!

    This is a little off topic, but I thought you might like this quote:

    I never guess. It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.
    – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

    Great post, by the way. I have never seen a picture of Keys before, and really don’t want to again. (Yeesh!)


    Hi Lyndsey–

    The ACD quote is on the money. Thanks for sending it; I’ll use it shamelessly.



  21. This WSJ article (http://online.wsj.com/public/article/SB119004434024629877.html) reviews Lalanne’s current diet. I would concur that it’s gotten weirder over the years. Essentially, he doesn’t eat much of anything! But he’s been a whole foods guy who avoids sugar for a long time. I’m pretty sure he used to eat a lot more protein based on stories I’ve read about him over the years.

    But when you look past the details, he manages not to overeat and he exercises regularly. I suspect genetics plays a large role in his lifespan, but his diet and activity level have helped make all these years worth living.

    Thanks for the entertaining post!

    Hey Adam–

    Thanks for the WSJ link; I hadn’t seen it or I would have quoted from it for the post. His diet isn’t really all that bad – sort of an intermittent fast in a way. If you only eat two meals a day and keep the calories low, you can get away with a lot.

    I’m sure genetics has played a role in his longevity as it did in Keys’, but given that they both had the same longevity genes, I would sure rather look like Jack than like Ancel at an advanced age.



  22. Thanks for the post!
    Jack’s enthusiasm is absolutely infectious and he’s so inspiring.
    He’s right on about sugar’s effects on the physique —- saggy, flabby, and weak. I’m a skinny-fat person who, if eating a high carb diet, turns into a walking jello mold, despite my young age of 23.

    I can attest to the fact that living to an old age these days most certainly invloves a slew of prescription drugs and surgeries. I used to work with the elderly and now work in a large cardiology clinic right next to a major hospital, and we’ve got thousands of patients with volumes of charts being seen on a regular basis, and they make it through all their stent placements, ablations, pacer inserts, and bypasses, along with their cancer treatments and various ‘ectomies or rounds of antibiotics. It starts in your younger years. A guy came in just a few weeks ago, the youngest I’ve seen yet, at 32 years old who had had a major heart attack, not due to arrhythmia or congenital abnormalities, but atherosclerosis. (I don’t know what his diet was however nor his fasting followup labwork.) That’s quite rare of course, but there are still many that age who are only 10 or 15 years away from their first heart attack, if not something else.

    Hi Hines–

    I agree. Jack is inspiring.

    It’s a sad tale of woe, the horrendous state of health of so many people who could be fixed if they would only eat correctly.



    • Seyont – I love your irony but I do want to offer a little bit of historical fact. The generation of your parents (and mine), from, say, the end of WW II until the 1970s, had Jack LaLanne, but ours has a burgeoning interest in exercise and eating well. The idea of running for fitness never occurred to our parents. The science behind nutritional supplements (supplementary Vitamin C, CoQ10, magnesium lotion, herbs from traditional cultures, etc.) was rudimentary or non-existent. The idea of eating organically didn’t exist from from the 1940s until the ’70s. The really interesting comparison is with our grandparents!!!

  23. Hey Peter,

    “Pop nutritionist” doesn’t even come close to Dr. Eades’ work. Also, right or wrong, at the end of the day, the person who was wrong will be partically responsible for our outreagous rates of obesity, diabetes, and worst yet, misery. That person is Ancel Keys.

    To quote Sir Aurthor Conan Doyle…….

    PS-I’ll take the $75 a month vitamins any day, thank you.

    Hi Lyndsey–

    Thanks for the support. I assume you intended to plug in the ACD quote from your last comment.



  24. The photos are very striking, but, as you pointed out recently, there are always individuals who defy the odds. I know you’ve offered much evidence over the years, so it’s not a criticism of you, just that, as you said, we all have an uncle who smoked like a chimney and lived to 305. That’s not proof that smoking is good for you.

    Krishnamacharya, an Indian who taught several of the big name yoga teachers and lived to just over 100, was, I think, in his late 80s when this photo was taken http://www.yogacenter.com/images/scan0001.jpg. He was a lifelong vegetarian (like most South Indian brahmins). I don’t think he ate low fat (lots of ghee, for instance), but no meat or fish. I chose him rather than Winston Churchill as an example, because I don’t think Churchill’s photo would look too good in comparison with Lalanne! I absolutely don’t think that showing a photo of a healthy old vegetarian proves this is the diet we should all adopt.

    Hi Janet–

    I agree with you. My point with this post was not to hold Jack LaLanne out as the exemplar of one who follows a perfect diet, but to show the other side to all those who point to Keys longevity to prove his diet works.



  25. Did a little follow up research on JLL. The guy did some stuff, publicity wise, that I simply find hard to believe. Like swimming and tugging a ship across the golden gate channel, and it winding up 6.5 miles due to swift currents instead of the one mile he’d planned. Or at age 62, in 1976, towed 13 boats containing 70+ people on a one mile swim while handcuffed and shackled. Forget Clark Kent. That’s superhero type stuff. Scary impressive to me, given an hour and 22 minutes, he did 1000 chinups and 1000 jumping jacks. At age 45. On TV.

    This stuff, when you read it (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_LaLanne#Timeline:_Jack_LaLanne.27s_feats) just is beyond human. It’s beyond credible. It’s, in fact, incredible. Except I’ve found numerous cites for these feats, and he set the world pushup record 1033 in 23 minutes, on National TV. I know TV content was a lot harder to come by in 1956, but can you imagine watching 23 minutes of Jack LaLanne doing pushups and Art Baker telling jokes over the top. I can’t.

    It’s sad that we got Richard Simmons and the previous generation got Charles Atlas and Jack. We got jacked. TG for Arnold, Lou Schuler, and Adam Campbell.

    Hey Max–

    I actually remember most of those stunts. Jack tried to something more spectacular on each birthday, and I remember them being shown on the TV news at the time. They were indeed all true.

    Your generation did get jacked.



  26. Jack Lalane is amazing, he would be doing even better if he didn’t work out so long every day. That can’t be really that good for you–oxidizing your body. Jack Lalane is doing so well despite following a less than optimal diet because he lives a purpose driven live and is full of optimism. One thing that saddens me about some of the seniors in this country, is how unappreciated they are. All that experience and wisdom (not all of them) that goes unused. And the system that tells people that after 65 they need to “retire”, without helping them prepare for a retirement. We are born to be mentally active until the day we die.

    Peter, that is really good of you taking advantage of the freedom of expression provided in this blog and come to insult Dr Mike. What’s wrong with capitalism? There has been not one society on Earth that has become prosperous without capitalism.

    Hi Carlos–

    You’re probably right about his overexercising. And I imagine he would do a lot better with a few days off during the week. Over exercise can be as bad as under exercise, but he looks like he has survived it pretty well.



  27. Just found another interesting study reproted in COSMOS (www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/1682) called ‘Mighty mice run and run’. What makes the mice run and run? The same thing that makes endurance athletes like Lance Armstrong run – fatty acids. Here’s a quote:

    “They (the mice) are metabolically similar to Lance Armstrong biking up the Pyrenees; they utilize mainly fatty acids for energy and produce very little lactic acid,” said Hanson, the senior author of the article which was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.”

    Hi David–

    Fatty acids are indeed a high-octane fuel. Even for mice I guess.



    P.S. I passed your message along and am waiting to hear back.

  28. Funny, I read your post just after I finished reading a study that found increased saturated fat intake associated with lower rates of atherosclerosis:


    Keys should be rolling in his grave about now.

    Hi Freddy–

    This is kind of a famous study. Got a lot of people’s shorts in a wad. You can pull down the full text from the link you provided. It makes pretty good reading, if you’re into that sort of thing.



  29. Jack Lalanne was a student of Paul Bragg who was a strong advocate of fasting. So I wouldn’t be surprised if Jack has done a fair amount of fasting, which may, in part, account for his youthfulness.

    I wouldn’t be surprised.


  30. I remember trying to exercise with Jack Lalanne in the early 70s, and not being able to keep up! And I was in my early 20s. But his show was always entertaining and informative, and I loved the way he included his wife, Elaine, who also looks good (at whatever age she is now).

    I’d much rather look like Jack & Elaine do when I’m their age, than what Ancel Keyes looked like (and probably felt like) at 100. After, it’s the quality of life. And getting old is not for sissies. Jack doesn’t look like a sissy. Mr. Keyes did. I just can’t picture Jack whimpering and drooling in a nursing home bed. He’s going to go out with a bang!

    Hi Nita–

    I suspect that your right about Jacks final days. Let’s hope they’re a long time in coming.



  31. Worthy of comment o not really ?!

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor 15 minutes ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The high-fat Atkins diet can cause long-term damage to blood vessels, as well as some of the inflammation linked with heart and artery disease, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.

    In contrast, low-fat regimens such as the South Beach and Ornish diets lowered cholesterol and appeared to benefit artery function, they said.

    “It really is the Atkins diet that is the worst,” Dr. Michael Miller, director of preventive cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, said in a telephone interview.

    “The Atkins diet caused the LDL levels to go up by about 7 percent, whereas in the Ornish and South Beach diets … they went down 7 to 10 percent.”

    Low density lipoprotein or LDL is the “bad” cholesterol that clogs blood vessels.

    Various researchers have tested the benefits of the popular diets and reached wildly differing conclusions. Miller designed what he said was a unique approach — to see how people fared once they stopped losing weight on any of the diets.

    Studies show that people usually lose weight rapidly on any diet if they follow it properly and the weight loss itself can cause cholesterol to plummet.

    “When you lose weight everything looks good but after a while you plateau and you hit a maintenance stage,” said Miller, who presented his findings to a meeting of the American Heart Association in Orlando, Florida.

    His team studied 18 people, each of whom completed a full month on each of the three diets. They were carefully monitored to ensure that they did not lose weight.

    The Atkins diet was set to deliver 50 percent of calories as fat, the South Beach was 30 percent fat and the Ornish diet, designed by nutritionist Dr. Dean Ornish, was 10 percent fat.

    While on each diet the volunteers were tested for levels of blood fats, including cholesterol and markers for inflammation.

    The researchers used ultrasound scans to measure the flexibility and dilation of blood vessels and measured proteins in the blood that can indicate inflammation.

    “Some markers of inflammation were increased by as much as 30 to 40 percent during the Atkins phase, whereas during the South Beach and Ornish phases, the markers either were stable or went down, some by as much as 15 to 20 percent,” Miller said.

    Most studies have shown that diets that stress vegetables, low-fat sources of protein such as beans and legumes, and whole grains provide the best long-term weight loss. Many low-fat diets allow processed carbohydrates such as white flour, which have also been shown to be unhealthy, experts agree.

    “We don’t recommend the Atkins diet,” Miller said. “Why not start out with a diet that will be healthier for you in the long run after weight loss?

    See today’s post.


  32. Hello Dr. Mike & Fellow Blog Readers,

    A bit off topic to the latest post, but I came upon this and I thought some here might enjoy:


    An audio link contains an interview with Gary Taubes.

    Dr. Mike, I read your blog consistently and enjoy every time I do so.

    All the best,


    Hi Eddie–

    Thanks for the link. Gary had told me about this, but I hadn’t seen or heard it.

    Glad you’re enjoying the blog.



  33. Oops ! I didn’t realize registration is required. ( I think it is worth it.)

    All the best,


    It isn’t required. I don’t know what happened, but your comment made it through.


  34. Hello Dr. Mike –

    I just saw this on Yahoo! – http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071106/us_nm/heart_diets_dc

    I’m just curious as to your take on this. There’s not a lot of real information in the article, but I was wondering if you had heard about this study. And I was hoping you could shed some light on some of the claims, especially the ones that say Atkins increased inflammation. I suspect something is fishy here.

    Thanks in advance!

    You’re welcome.

    See today’s post.


  35. dear dr eades-

    this is essentially the concept of “functional longevity”. Great length of days doesn’t count if you spend the last fifteen years bedridden. so, old age as a number is misleading and definitely not synonymous with quality of life or health. btw, highest functional longevity is found in france, sardinia and somewhere in japan. i believe it’s traced in part to a high polyphenol/tannin content in the diet which, over a lifetime, keeps ferritin very low.

    i’m about a third through taubes’ book.

    thanks for another great post.

    Hi gareth–

    I’m glad you enjoyed the post.



  36. Dr. Mike,

    One of the first things I noticed when I found your site was the price of your supplements. You will not find better Vitamin E than A.C. Grace nor fish oil than Nordic Natural. Your prices were very modest, much lower than I’ve seen. People probably don’t realize the margins on supplements are measly compared to pharmaceuticals. I have seen mark ups of 30,000% or more on pharms. So if a doctor buys a supplement for $5 and it is suggested to sell for $10, that’s a 100% mark up. But add in shipping, inventory, employees, etc equals not much profit. In the above scenario i.e.: 5 gets you 10, Dr. Mike is probably like, buy for $5 sell $7. Not much profit. Now add in the 15 or so years of education and thousands of hours of seminars and journal reading and self education to be able to intelligently recommend , he’s losing money. If he was here to make money he would be mass marketing private labeled supps of mediocre quality to the masses. And LOTS of different ones like a GNC! He sells only a few…fix your diet then add in a few necessities. Be healthy, go forth and multiply.

    Anyone who has a tiny bit of biochemistry and maybe endocrinology education can see Keys diet i.e.: high carb/ low fat, is a metabolic nightmare. After hearing Dr. Mike speak, not in person on a CD from a seminar, I was amazed. I thought “he’s gonna talk about eating meat and losing weight…yawn.” But Noooo, he talked of thermodynamics and protein uncoupling and cytokines and all kinds of yummy stuff. The science behind low carbs. Not just “eat less fat and you’ll eat less calories and you’ll lose weight, even after it’s been proven beyond a doubt that it doesn’t work, listen to us were the experts” junk science infomercial’s. The 300 million people living laboratory we call America has proven high carb/ low fat doesn’t work and thousands of years of human evolution has proven low carb does.

    I can see doing 1,033 push ups in 23 minutes or swimming the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, while he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound boat at the age of 61, while eating low fat/ high carbs.

    Hi Robert–

    Thanks for the nice note and the words of support. If I had to rely on the income I make on supplement sales from my website, I would be in big trouble indeed.

    You must have heard the CD from my talk at one of Robert Crayhon’s conferences I’m betting.



  37. What a great piece, and the further links to his early B&W television days are incredible. His discourses on eating, energy, and principles for living are a breath of fresh air against most posted videos.

    Love your program, the timely posts and the ideas you present in this blog. Your IF posts were a wake up call to a long stall that just started the loss again.

    Hey Ottawa–

    Jack is something. There’s no doubt about it.

    Glad to hear you’re doing well. Keep it up.

    And thanks for the kind words.



  38. You say that you can’t look at one person for sample, because one person could be abnormal (for the good), then you do what you say not to do by using one person as an example… (Jack is the example)

    Maybe, Jack is one of those people who will live long no matter what he does.

    That wasn’t my point. My point is that just because Keys lived to be 100 doesn’t mean his diet caused it. I was using Jack LaLanne as a counterpoint.



  39. From an interview: Jack considers exercise No. 1. He mainly eats only fish, fruits, raw veggies, veggie juice, and some brown rice. No beef or poultry or dairy. Did eat steak in earlier years.

    Hi Will–

    Jack did indeed eat a lot of steak in his earlier years. I’ve watched him talk about it on TV when I was a kid.



  40. Nice post Mike, but I’m more than a little disappointed that you missed a fine opportunity to use one of my favorite Eadesian expressions concerning ol’ Ancel — he appears to be “circling the drain”. I’ll forgive you though because “rabbit on” is a fun term that I’ve heard you say more than a few times and I’d forgotten all about it. I think I’ll try to work it in somewhere during manana’s lunchroom bull session.

    I guess you’ll rabbit on about Keys circling the drain at lunch tomorrow then, eh?



  41. I tend not to try and immediately jump to one side of anything. However, have long been a proponent of the lower carb diet, even if still open to considering alternatives –if the data is convincing enough.

    Listening to Peter M’s spiel just reminds me though of why I’m geared so much toward a more hi-pro, low-carb diet.

    Hi Bert–

    I don’t know why – maybe lack of good quality fats to the brain – but vegetarians always seem to be so angry. At least the ones I’ve run across.



  42. Dr. Mike,

    I remember Jack from when I was a kid in the 70’s and he looked old to me then and he still looks the same.

    Here is another low fat advocate at the age of 70, Clarence Bass.

    He is in great shape and like Jack he has been doing it all his life. I’m glad I never bought his RIPPED series of diets. They are very strict low-fat / low-calorie diets. I almost did years ago when I was sill a devout member of the low-fat dogma. I worked out hard and often but could never get rid of the love handles. When I tried to shed the fat, I tried a semi vegan diet (i.e. more carbs), lost 20 pound but the love handles were still there and I basically lost a lot of hard earned muscle.

    Thanks, this brought back memories.


    Hey Dan–

    Great photo spread of Clarence Bass. I didn’t realize he was still around. Thanks for sending.



  43. Many of the preceding comments have been interesting and helpful. Here’s my contribution.

    Discussions of longevity need to reaffirm the importance of creating “good thoughts”, ones that makes us “feel good”, regardless of any presumed rationality we encounter. It’s rather obvious that there are acknowledged intellects ably arguing almost every conceivable diet. If one is open and smart then one has a chance to sort out what makes the best sense for ones own life. But even if we lack the patience or power to figure out things ourselves there is something we can and should do: We need to feel good about ourselves and our world. Stress now seems to be widely recognized as a contributing, maybe even an initiating factor in the development of numerous ailments. So be happy and control your own feelings…for they are yours…they belong to you, so create good and happy ones. I know Jack La Lanne does. I met him during the seventies in one of his gyms and have seen him numerous times. Beyond being so positive, he had the added benefit of being highly regarded by those around him…people who gave him a lot of adoring supportive energy. And that continuous uplifting interaction does wonders for ones health. And each of us has similar power to feel good and show this with the world, and thereby benefit in the interactions.
    Lastly, the extremely variable nature of every conceivalbe example/facet/dimension of “life” suggests that “change” is normal. If so then diets can and probably should change as well. Perhaps that is why fasting is so widely referenced. “There is a time for every season…”.

    Hi bill–

    Thanks for making your point. There is no question that happiness goes a long, long way in promoting longevity.



  44. Genetics and Lalane. His dad died in his 50’s.

    Finally an M.D. who is on track and not against what is good for you. Congrats.

    Didn’t know that about LaLane’s dad. Thanks for the info.



  45. Jack Lalanne’s beliefs and medical science have often been at odds over the years. Where there have been differences it was medical science that came to accept Lalanne’s beliefs. By his own statements he was early on at best considered a charlatan or quack and at worst a dangerous example to emulate.
    Lalanne has stated he lifts weights for one to one and a half hours a day followed by one half hour of vigorous swimming and sometimes a walk.
    Lalanne has also stated that 12 to 17 minutes of VIGOROUS cardio work is plenty.”Run like somebody is chasing you”
    Following Kenneth Cooper’s landmark contribution in aerobic fitness “educated” persons believed total fitness consisted solely of running marathons. If it wasn’t aerobic don’t waste your time. If 5 miles was good for you 10 miles a day was better. Cooper himself stated 10 minutes of hard running a day gave one 80% of the cardio benefits of running many miles a day. The winner of the first Greek marathon dropped dead after crossing the finish line. Jim Fixx dropped dead of a heart attack during an “easy” four mile run. Fixx’s running buddy (name escapes me) also later died of a heart attack in his forties. I suspect many run because of the release of their own opiate endorphins. Public and private figures continue to demonstrate their high level of complete fitness by running marathons. Many of these persons look more haggard than fit to me.
    Lalanne has stated it is easier to lose weight by eating less than by exercising more. Spend most of your exercise time with the weights. Unlike powerlifiters and many other bodybuilders Lalanne like myself takes minimum time between sets. This makes for a strong cardio component.
    I am a 54 year old noncompetitive bodybuilder. I began exercising in my teens by only running. For almost 40 years I have trained as a natural (no steroids) bodybuilder. Lalanne’s beliefs have worked well with me. It is heartening to see medical science finally embracing the fitness regimens of pioneers like Lalanne, Clarence Bass, Bill Pearl and others.

  46. Ancel Keys’ study was a complete fraud and no one knew that more than did Ancel Keys. Therefore, I’m quite certain he did not follow the government recommendation to avoid saturated fats. Had he followed the government recommendation, he would not have lived to 100, in any condition.

    I’m quite sure you’re right.



  47. I came across this article today, because I was searching for Ancel Keys cause of death. Everywhere, I find it was not disclosed. Why does that make me strongly suspect he died of a heart attack? What else does a 100 year old die from anyways?

    But another poster here made a comment that he probably stopped following his own diet in order to live to 100. Perhaps that so.

  48. Thank you for your recognition of a man who made a difference. Jack is a symbol of health and happiness. His messages of proper nutrition and physical activity were ahead of his time. If you would like to pay tribute to the Godfather of Fitness, you are all welcome to call-in to our weekly radio show. Email me- chris@jacklalanne.com and we’ll get you on air!

    Hi Chris–

    I’ve been a big fan since I watched Jack on TV as a kid. I’m thrilled that he’s still going strong.



  49. Wow… so much discussion, which is great, but for me it comes down to one thing (especially after looking at those comparison photos).

    Live long or live well? Clearly spelled out in this post!

    Looks like Jack LaLanne has managed both.

  50. This is a really interesting (and generally polite and respectful – hard to find on the inetrnet!) discussion. I’m wondering if anyone can comment on the fact that I developed an unexplained and changeable polyneuropathy (progressing and regressing – CIDP is the only classic “medical” term that covers the symptoms and has not yet been explored – have had all other tests, MRI of brain etc) which I developed after 4 years on an organic no-grain (but not very low-carb) diet.

    After fasting all day I would also run 5kms, i.e. burning fat rather than carbs so ==> must have had high levels of ketones in blood? A naturopath said my body was acidic and I was retaining a lot of extra-cellular water to sequester the excess acid (as I was meant to be short of enough fat by 4kilos, to hold the “toxins”).

    Diet was partly inspired by the “paleo” and “calorie restriction” ideas – breakfast was grapefruit, berries, spinach, avocado, tomato with fish/eggs; fasted all day on green tea, then dinner was celery and nuts followed by meat/fish and cooked veg/salad; fats were mostly butter; sometimes had dairy (e.g. berries and yoghurt for dessert).

    It seemed the diet caused it, as nothing of this sort runs in my family (I come fom a VERY health and long-lived family), but that’s when it started. The only suggestion I’ve ever had of HOW my diet may have been deficient is possibly in magnesium, of which there is quite a lot in the outer layer of whole-grains.

    Added some grains to diet (Essene ryebread for lunch, flax after dinner) with some improvement, but neuropathy still persisted, then pre-menopause symptoms started to confuse the issue, followed by palpitations and hypertension. The latter improved with addition of brown rice/sweetcorn to dinner and eating plenty of celery and drinking hawthorn and hibiscus tea, but neuropathy still hangs around. It’s possibly worse after even gentle jogging (3X/week) which is still quite tiring for me (even after doing it for years!) so perhaps my body just cant cope with the deficits/toxins that are produced by vigorous exercise. It makes me feel good and doesn’t make sense, so I havent yet tried just stopping all exercise for awhile – maybe will have to test that out.

    Recently tried a magnesium supplement with some good results – residual palpitations stopped immediately on taking the first tablet, neuropathy improved somewhat, and there was a dramatic reduction in the need to keep eating grains, flax & bananas frequently between meals in order to feel halfway normal and be able to sleep without being woken up by palpitations and a numb left arm.

    Am not sure if magnesium is all of the answer and I’ve only tried it for a few days so its too ealry to see if it will gradually cur e the neuropathy if I continue it (needless to say, an ordinary analysis of my diet using FoodWorks, show no magnesium deficiency); can we ever have the perfect healthy diet just from foods, or do many of us need supplements regardless of diet, due to impoverished modern genes and/or pollution? I had to cut down even on the recommended 100mg of Mg-amino-acid-chelate 3X/day due to diarrhea – am currently trying 50mg 2X/day to see if that will work without inducing diarrhea. I’ve had IBS for many years, which improved a lot on the no-grain diet (stomach-aches improved but diarrhea still hung around somewhat) and also running induces a major increase in this activity (I often have to stop to go to the toilet, so have to jog in a gym rather than outside) and can make me feel quite drained afterwards.

    Maybe it’s the diarrhea/IBS, combined with sweating and electrolyte loss, that’s depleting me and causing the neuropathy, because I DID start jogging at the same time as the no-grain diet!

    Am confused between the no-grain versus high-grain diet ideas! Reintroducing wholegrains to my diet has certainly been necessary! Tried rawfood diet twice, even with lots of sprouted grains the neuropathy and palpitations got a LOT worse by day 4/5 forcing me to stop at once! Reading the health problems that start to emerge after a few years on the raw vegan diet, I’m completely unconvinced about that diet as a long-term option , even though it seems to be the only one that has cured cancer for many people!

    The only things I havent really tried diet-wise are (1) to replace the breakfast fish and veg with wholegrains (but that’s what I used to eat – conventional ‘healthy’ breakfast – before changing to the no-grain diet, and it made me tired and unmotivated), or (2) stop exercise fo awhile and see if I improve.

    Any thoughts or observations would be greatly welcome – thank you!

    Any time I hear the word neuropathy I think vitamin B12 deficiency. Maybe you should talk your doc into a B12 shot to see what happens. If you’re not deficient the shot won’t hurt you – if you are, it will work miracles.

  51. I’m diagnosed with ibs. I’m trying to find out what I can eat. I also have suffered from gastridis. Carol

    It’s been my experience that people with IBS and gastritis do very well on low-carb diets. Give on a try to see how it works in your case.

  52. I just found this blog and was fascinated with the information. I am currently a collegiate runner and I have always been taught to carbo-load and eat a diet made up of mostly carbs. Does a diet higher in fats actually increase endurance? I know my English grandfather ate lots of lard and butter, he lived to 93 and was healthy. I am going to try this approach to eating and was wondering if you had any suggestions. Thanks!

    Welcome aboard. Glad to have you as a reader. Hope you find the information helpful.

    Yes, numerous studies have shown that a diet higher in fat and lower in carbs will improve endurance. But, you have to allow time for adaptation to the diet. If you switch from high carbs to low-carbs and try to perform endurance exercise you will fatigue quickly, but if you follow the diet for a week or so, then your endurance will have improved. You’ve got to spend the time to let your body switch from efficient carb metabolism to efficient fat metabolism.

  53. The Keys/Lalanne photo comparison is nonsense. Changes associated with decades of aging in younger subjects can become apparent literally overnight in one’s 90s. The most notable of these changes being death. In other words, Keys may indeed have looked quite good at 93, and Lalanne will be lucky live to 100, in any shape. Consider also the immense effect of genetics, & the quite-likely discrepancies between the private & the espoused lifestyle of a public figure. Please be as much of a “stickler” about your own published information as you are about those who disagree with you.

    I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

  54. Although I heartily endorse the concept that Ansel Keys was using junk science, not the least in part almost criminally responsible for thousands of people’s blind belief in medical establishment’s brainwashing, and their detriment in health. I disagree with the comparison with Lalanne, as well as others.

    As a proponent of juicing, he is mistakenly spouting the absolute opposite to what he does in the video. What he, (and probably Keys) doesn’t and probably won’t understand is that when you separate whole fruit into juice (deviod of fibre) it is nutritionally very similar sugarwise, insulin response, etc. to drinking Coca cola.

    Fruit should be a part of a balanced diet, but eaten without tools apart from HANDS…

    Eat more whole, natural, raw if possible foods, plenty of all different kinds of fats apart from damaged ones, less manufactured processed foods, especially refined carbohydrates is a message that has worked for me all my life.

  55. I almost choked on the almond I was chewing on when I read your reply to Mr. Twit, er, Peter, when you said “Had Mr. LaLanne consumed a Keys diet throughout his life, he would probably now be a drooling sack of blubber like Keys instead of the robust guy he is.” “Drooling sack of blubber” – you say the most classic stuff! Hilarious!

    I had to comment because I no longer see the blubber I noticed before. I’ve been following a low-carb diet since I found your book (Protein Power) by the pool on vacation last June; almost a year now. The changes I’ve noticed in my body are significant and it thrills me. My mom even remarked on my arms a few days ago, how they’re more defined (she says it’s from picking up my children, but I’m 7 months pregnant now, I haven’t been picking them up much for months now; I know she knows it’s from my way of eating but she doesn’t say it.) I’m just much more toned all over and get compliments I never got while being pregnant with my other 2. Last Sunday at church one woman exclaimed how great and in shape I look and that she wished she could look that good NOT PREGNANT. In my grateful response I added at the end that I haven’t been eating sugar and starches much at all this pregnancy and I sort of got a blank look back. (I guess she was expecting to hear I work out? I don’t know. The only sort of exercise I do this pregnancy is taking walks a few times a week, at most.) Anyways, I’m extremely thankful for your work and thankful that God led me to your book by the pool that day; I’ve learned so much this year. From how to look at studies with a critical eye to making sure I get my Vitamin D daily, to eating enough protein and so on. I’m also very grateful I have these new habits to pass on to my children who, by the way, were so healthy this winter; I do not think it was a coincidence. I just wanted you to know your and MD’s work has been a blessing to me!

    Thank you for the very nice compliment. I’m thrilled to learn that you’re doing so well. Keep it up.

  56. This may be late, but I only found this topic because of some research I was doing for my LC diet. It has worked wonders for my health especially for the Type 2 diabetes. Because of it I have never had to take meds and my A1c is now 5.6 — normal. I am going to incorporate the Slow Burn exercises now. With healthy eating and strength building, I hope to be healthy for a long time to come… all without meds.

    BUT, I just had to post this in response to showing Jack Lalanne as some kind of rebuttal to Ancel Keys and his low-fat advice — When you posted this, apparently you did not know that Jack Lalanne is mostly vegetarian, eats NO dairy, and recommends low-fat. In this interview, he states that he once mistakenly believed that protein was vitally important for the muscle. He also believes fat is not good and should be very limited. He is very adamant that plenty of carbs are the food of choice — just as long as they aren’t filled with sugar. That’s it — the sugar admonition seems to be the only part of his advice that is anything like a LC diet of any type. In fact, in one response, he calls low-carb diets, “bull”.

    Here’s the link: http://www.shareguide.com/LaLanne.html
    There are two parts. The second part you have to click on at the bottom of the first part of the interview. The second part is where he calls the LC “bull” and tells how we should eat plenty of carbs. Just thought you should know that if he’s anyone’s poster boy, it would be for those who believe in “low-fat & no red meat” diets.

    He’s three years older now than when he did that interview, so maybe he’s changed his mind again.

    • I appreciated reading your thoughts including those about jack LaLanne.

      We are all open to learning about what will work for us and I am about to mention something which I hope others may have more information on, perhaps we all may learn from the

      Last evening Oct 8, 2010, I happened to attend the Operation Children event at the Riviera Country Club. This yearly event is to raise funds to help better the lives of disadvantaged children within Los Angeles County, with an all volunteer staff, of which both Elaine and Jack La Lanne are involved. I was saddened to see that Jack was in a wheel chair, and wondered whether anyone had information on this.

  57. Dr Eades – I love you man. I love reading your articles and your replies to people. You’re definitely one of my heroes that I would love to run into on a plane somewhere and be able to meet in person.

    Thanks. MD and I will be out promoting our new book later this year and might end up in a bookstore near you. If so, drop by and say Hi.

  58. I have another comparison. Look at Clarence Bass at 70 and Arthur DeVany at 70. You can find their photos on their sites.

    Bass has been lifting weights for all of his life and is known for having a fat percentage below 3 (!). Bass eats little meat and lots of ‘good carbs’. Devany lives the evolutionary fitness way, one of the low carb varieties.

    I think Clarence really looks old, despite his impressive musculature. Athur looks 15 to 20 years younger than Clarence.

    So I think weight is just one aspect of health. I assume the good carbs kept Bass out of ketosis, and thus let him age like everybody else. Devany has been low carbing for 25 years (after his wife got diabetes) and clearly shows that ageing can be slowed down.

    Still, I respect them both – as I do Dr Eades – for their vast knowledge.

    Anybody agrees?

  59. The underlying flaw in this article is the idea Jack Lalanne contradicts Ancel Keys. Ancel Keys was for replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat. Jack Lalanne always recommended low fat, even back in the day. Watch the other videos, he recommended low fat, high protein, medium carbs. Even in this video he is talking about proccessed sugar NOT natural sugar. He recommended fruit in the place of it.

    Here is a sample meal from Jack from his old TV shows program http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VuW3RfWJ1H0

    Now compare it to todays breakfast for Jack, is a power drink with 50 grams of soy protein and soy milk, plus a whole-grain cereal, and between 40 and 50 nutritional supplements(enzymes, herbs, etc.). Lunch consists of four egg whites, five servings of fresh fruit, and five raw vegetables. He also eats fish. Jack LaLanne says he gets his nutrition from fruits and raw vegetables every day. His wife and him eat out practically every night, and he has got every restaurant trained. The Chinese restaurants they go to have brown rice, and other restaurants make sure they have the right soups for them, with no butter or cream. Jack was was a strict vegetarian for 6 years. Then he decided to enter a Mr. America contest (which he won) and in those days they thought that in order to build muscle you had to have meat. So he ate meat for a while. In an interview he says he eats only two meals a day — at 11 o’clock and at 7 o’clock. For lunch he has at least six raw fruits, and always four egg whites. Just the whites. He says he throw the rest away. That’s all the fat. Give that to the dog he says. His motto: If man makes it, don’t eat it; if it tastes good, spit it out.
    I don’t know know everything that he has eaten through the years, decades. But all of the evidence suggests that Jack was on and recommended a low fat diet. Not opposed to Ancel Keys at all. Looking at his old shows and more recent interviews, most of his life he has practiced low fat(with overt fats like avocado dip). Ancel Keys suggested replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats, not low protein or something. Jack Lalanne’s diet is fine with Ancel Keys claims. Note: For those who tend to think in dietribe paradigms, I don’t necessarily hold the views of Jack Lalanne, or Ancel Keys.

    Anyways, being that this website supports low carb I find it stupid that you use Jack as a example of good health because Jack has not only recommended a high protein diet(soy, fish, egg whites) but he also recommends a significant amount of carbs like fruit juice, beets in vegetable juice, fresh fruits, grains, and honey. His recommendation of 6 pieces of fresh fruit, plus some whole grains everyday is not low carb. Jack also claims exercise as number one for health, which Ancel Keys apperantly lacked incredibly, judging by his picture.

    In a recent interview with shareguide, he was asked “What do you think about the current low-carb craze?”

    This is what he says.. “It’s a bunch of bull! If God, or nature, or whatever you want to call it didn’t want you to mix carbohydrates, starches and fats, you’d never have a grain, you’d never have a vegetable or a fruit, would you? What’s in a grain? It’s got carbohydrates, starches, fats, sugar. It’s got everything in it. Why does nature do that? One guy says don’t mix carbohydrates, and the other guy says don’t mix protein with it; it’s all a bunch of lard, something to sell a book. And the poor public is so confused, they don’t know what to do. That’s why I give my lectures.”

    Furthermore this article is using selective citation. Of course scientific literature has to be taken as whole, but if you are going to use selective anecdotel evidence, I also have some that will contradict many of your claims. Here is women who has been a vegetarian her whole life, she is one hundred years old (5 years older than Jack Lalanne), AND she walks to her birthday party from home in apperantly good health(despite some minor hearing issues)!


    This is just creative writing in disguise. I suggest people learn what the scientific method is and how anecdotel and scientific literature, pretty much all literature, is distorted and hijacked. Ancel Keys was wrong because he did not show all the evidence. All of the low carb arguments I have come across are using the same trickery that they critisize others for using by witholding information or using distorted information.

    I suggest you learn a little more about the scientific method yourself beforing being so quick to point the finger at others. And maybe you should spend a little time with some of LaLanne’s older writings before displaying your ignorance so prominently.

    • HI,

      I appreciated reading your thoughts including those about jack LaLanne.

      My cousin’s doctor (dr. nicholas gonzalez) states that everyone has individual nutrition needs according to their body types, i.e. eskimos survive on blubber and suffer when introduced to vegetarian. Some of his cancer patients will need a little organic meat included in their treatment, others will be better off without. We are all different and need to discover this on our own.

      Last evening Oct 9, 2010, I happened to attend the Operation Children event at the Riviera Country Club. This yearly event is to raise funds to help better the lives of disadvantaged children within Los Angeles County, with an all volunteer staff, of which both Elaine and Jack La Lanne are involved. I was saddened to see that Jack was in a wheel chair, and wondered whether anyone had information on this.


  60. I can’t find the evidence that he was low carb and/or high fat. Would you be so fond to point it out? Which writings(book title, etc.)?

    He’s written a lot of stuff and has a number of videos on youtube. I remember reading his liking for steak in some of his earlier writings. I don’t have any at hand, so I can’t give you the references.

  61. Well that is just deceptive “his liking for steak” is unquantiafiable. When we are trying to find out if he contradicted Ancel Keys and/or was low carb we need to see how much fat and carbs he has eaten overall.. all the info I have found points to him eating relatively low fat, and medium carbs. Even in the old days. He says he ate meat like steak and stuff for a while when he entered the Mr. America contest and avocado dip (but not for most of his calories). Even if he did eat steak his whole life that doesn’t mean he was high fat or low carb overall. Its all about quality(trimmed or not) and quantity.

    You’re obviously a lot more interested in this than I am, so why don’t you spend the time tracking down his diet as a function of his age.

  62. No, I dont care. Because there are many people that look healthy and live long eating differently. Are you just dodging the fact that I pointed out the flaw in the article? Its not about being interested in this. Your the one who wrote the article anyways.. so if you wanna make claims better back it up. Im tired of bad diet advice.

    I didn’t say I couldn’t provide the documentation; I said I wouldn’t. There is a difference. The post you’re commenting on was written two years ago. Had you asked these questions then, I would have had all my Jack LaLanne materials at the ready, but I’m not going to go dig them all out now.

    If you’re tired of bad diet advice I would suggest you spend your time on another site, since this one obviously doesn’t meet your needs.

  63. Speaking of differences, I didn’t say you couldn’t provide the documentation, I said you haven’t. You had all the materials ready two years ago and didn’t cite them.. basically all the information I have come across says Jack to have always had a relatively low saturated fat diet, akin to what Ancel Keys recommended.

    If you know something but do not provide the knowledge for your readers(cite source) than you are doing a disservice for any readers that actually care about the truth, and I hope I am not the minority here by really wanting to know truth, outside of delusion. Its not just about bad diet advice to me, but to everyone who reads the article.

    Two years ago I let Jack LaLanne’s own video speak for him. If you haven’t watched it, perhaps you should.

  64. I have. And He says to avoid sugar and eat fruit instead. This has nothing to do with fat intake.
    Of course his other videos from the same T.V. show recommend meat at basically every meal however this can be interpreted differently.


  65. Jack Lalane does indeed eat steak. He lives in Morro bay, ca and a friend of mine would see him from time eating out. She said he always seemed to have a big ol’ steak on the plate. But, he is a “clean” eater. The guy rocks.

    • First, none of you have ANY idea what Ancel Keys’ diet was—you know only what he advocated. That doesn’t prove he ate what he advocated. He could have been a meat eater up to the end. Nobody can say, unless they saw him eating.

      Second, what Ancel Keys was incorrect about was not the need for a high carbohydrate plant-based diet, but that vegetable oils are better than saturated fat. They are not. Oil is fat only. Any fat eaten in quantities over 10% of calories consumed in a day is detrimental to health. Fats/oils are empty calories–0 (zero) nutritional value. A diet of ONLY fruits and vegetables is 5% fat. All fruits and vegetables contain fat, some like durians and other tropical fruits, more than others.
      For valid research and studies on how diet affects health, read:
      Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease, Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, associated with the esteemed Cleveland Clinic since 1968.

      • Maybe for invalid research you should check out Esselstyn.

        Any fat eaten in quantities over 10% of calories consumed in a day is detrimental to health


        Please be so kind as to refer me to some peer-reviewed randomized, control trials that prove this statement you’re so categorically making. Really, I would love to see them.

        • Ahhhhh, Dr Eades, these angry vegetarians!

          Completely off topic, but here we go:

          I thought I would drop you a few lines to tell about my experience LC while breastfeeding since I did’t find much about it on your site.

          I wouldn’t say I was eating a SAD during pregnancy, but boy, I really ate my “good” carbs. I cook every night, always from scratch, always with lots of veggies. I was diagnosed with impared glucose tolerance during this last pregnancy, I wasn’t feeling really great. So a few (4) months after delvery I started eating LC. I dropped about 8 lbs in 3 weeks and my milk supply decreased, but I took fenugreek capsules and got plenty of milk again. I agree with you when you say that weight isn’t important, as I have “only” lost 8 lbs, but fit in pants 2 sizes smaller than I did 3 weeks ago. And I have my insula pretty stimulated by reading your blog almost every day.

          I’m waiting for amazon to deliver my kindle so I can read your books, but would like to thank you and MD for the great service you provide with your blogs. And I love the amusing way you write.

          Kind regards from Germany!

      • So people on a ketogenic diet , which they are often up to 90% fat, for conditions like epilepsy, what are they enigma’s? aliens? There probably several hundred people on here who would love to show you their blood work after being on a relatively high fat diet …way over 10% …and have been doing it for years. Every patient I have worked with who was on an ultra low fat diet were among some of the sickest and unhappiest I have seen.

        • I follow a ketogenic diet in order to prevent my migraines which have the same origin as an epilepsy. My family doctor just told me how amazing it was to see somebody at 50 at much better health than when I was at 46. He is especially impressed with my blood work.
          When I was having appointment with him every month for one reason or another,my insurance company appointed some nurse to call me and to coach about a healthy living(no junk food, 5 fruits a day,exercise). I told the nurse I was already doing all that, she sounded confused. Now, when I am better than fine, nobody cares to know why or doesn’t want to hear my answer.
          And my dermatologist (I am treated for Rosacea ) recently asked me what I did to prevent wrinkles.She couldn’t believe my explanations, even though I mentioned cross-linked glucated proteins contribution for skin aging.

      • Check Raypeat.com to read the opinions of Dr. Peat – considered the father of the modern nutrition movement. He explains that oils actually collect in the liver and are extremely difficult for the human body to process. They tend to collect in the arteries as cholesterol, and simultaneously cause a drop in blood cholesterol – thus producing the famous ‘lower cholesterol’ finding in sampled blood, that was in fact no more than an indication of pathology. He himself understood this, and did not follow the diet recommended by the medical profession based on a willful misinterpretation of his original studies. Dr. Peat can explain to you why saturated fat on the other hand is healthy for the human body. He recommends butter, olive oil, palm oil and most predominantly coconut oil as saturated fat that contributes strongly to human health.

  66. I’m not either. But irrespective of what he’s doing now, he spent most of his life as a high-protein dieter.

    Oh the hypocrisy. Anything to keep feeding your addiction to fat. Good luck with that.

    • You know, I have never, ever craved fat, *by itself*, the way I would crave carbs, with or without the fat.

      Try it sometime. Go a week without any appreciable carbs, only some protein, mostly fat. You’ll be so fed up with eating it won’t be funny.

      • Dana, don’t feed the troll! Nah, they’ll never be back for a discussion.

        No, but I seriously understand what you are talking about, and it’s hard to explain to others. Easy answer? Get to the end of a physically filling meal, “I couldn’t eat another bite”, and then be presented with fatty foods or some sugary dessert. Suddenly there is room for dessert.

        Once you stick to a paleo/primal/evolutionary-type diet, which is fundamentally low carbohydrate, a fundamental change happens. You become aware of your true hunger, and not just the swings of your insulin and blood glucose.

        I’ve been shocked at how little I want to eat, especially when beginning this kind of diet (not “dieting”), because my body decides to get a huge portion of it’s calories from body fat. I’d sit down to a portion of food (say, a BBQ’d steak and BBQ’d veggies) and think that I’m really going to eat it all, but then find that I can’t.

        You use the term “fed up”, and I get that, but I’ve found it’s more like… I enjoy eating, but it’s so transient that it’s like: I’m hungry now, I’m eating now, I’m enjoying it now, I’m moving on to more important things now.

  67. There are similarities with both these great men! Ancel was a researcher in the forties and his study of lifestyles in 7 countries was the first to indicate diet and activity level for people in the southern regions of the Mediterranean Sea were associated with longevity and health. He was also the first to see an association with saturated fat and heart disease. Jack was devoted to exercise as well as a diet which had many of the attributes of the Mediterranean diet and his life and body proved its value. So both showed the world that daily physical activity along with a good diet based on the plant kingdom were the keys to longevity with health.

    • Oh Mary, Ancel Keys actually had good data on **22 or 23** countries — and he threw out the data that didn’t fit his preconceived notion. It’s clear you have not yet watched Tom Naughton’s hilarious documentary: “Fat Head” — which I recommend VERY Highly. (The Drs. Eades both appear frequently IN the movie and served as technical advisors to Tom!), plus it’s available for free from Hulu and Netflix!). “Fat Head” will bring you up to speed on the whole area! (Or, there are five short clips from it on YouTube. PLEASE take the time!)

  68. Not so fast Mary. Ancel cherry picked data to arrive at 7 countries that fit his preconceived conclusion that saturated fat was associated with heart disease. Put another way, Keys used the equivalent of a sledge hammer to pound a square peg into a much smaller round hole and then crow that saturated fat was a perfect fit with heart disease, a conclusion that is subject to challenge even with the 7 cherry picked countries.

    And let’s not forget that it was Keys who during WW II developed the precursor of today’s fast, convenience food, the K ration which spawned what is arguably the greatest killer in history, today’s fast food.

    • This is a complete lie debunked by the YouTube user PrimitiveNutrition. To quote the propaganda movie Fat Head, “you’ve been fed a load of bologna.”

  69. Wow, that video was superb. He didn’t stress enough about fat intake, but hey, this was in the 50s! Honestly, I think everyone could benefit from HFLC woe. Remember people, being ‘intolerant’ of sugar is more than just being ‘obese’. It affects everyone differently. In fact, sometimes storing it as fat can be protective in some ways…or rather, just delays the effects longer than if your body tries to compensate in other ways.

  70. In fairness to Dr. Keys, he was still very active at age 97, writing, traveling, and lecturing. He wrote his last article at that age. Then, when he was 98 years old, he had a “series” of strokes. He was incapacited as a result of those strokes, which, I’m sure, contributed greatly to his physcial deterioration.

    Dr. Keys’ wife Margaret died at age 97.

    Comparing Dr. Keys to Mr. LaLanne is not a very good comparison since since Mr. Lalanne was a physical fitness expert and bodybuilder, even into his 90’s, “with two hours of workouts: weight lifting followed by a swim against an artificial current or in place, tied to a belt. . .

    “. . . He ate two meals a day and shunned snacks.

    “Breakfast, following his morning workout, usually included several hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk and seasonal fruit. For dinner he took his wife, Elaine, to restaurants that knew what he wanted: a salad with raw vegetables and egg whites along with fish — often salmon — and a mixture of red and white wine. He sometimes allowed himself a roast turkey sandwich, but never a cup of coffee.”


    Mr. LaLanne died at age 96.

  71. Here’s what wikipedia says about Jack LaLanne’s diet:

    LaLanne blamed overly processed foods for many health problems. He advocated a mostly meatless diet but which included fish (see Pescetarianism),[18][19] and took vitamin supplements.[20][21][22]
    He ate two meals a day and avoided snacks. His breakfast, after working out for two hours, consisted of hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk and seasonal fruit. For dinner he and his wife typically ate raw vegetables and egg whites along with fish. He did not drink coffee.[5]
    LaLanne said his two simple rules of nutrition are: “if man made it, don’t eat it”, and “if it tastes good, spit it out.”[23] He offered his opinion of the average person’s diet:
    Look at the average American diet: ice cream, butter, cheese, whole milk, all this fat. People don’t realize how much of this stuff you get by the end of the day. High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Do you know how many calories are in butter and cheese and ice cream? Would you get your dog up in the morning for a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.[1]

    “a mostly meatless diet but which included fish” doesn’t sound like a low carb high fat diet to me. LaLanne is mostly concerned with avoiding processed food and fat.

  72. Hey, I’m no fan of sugar myself but this sort of comparison is silly and meaningless. I’m sure you could easily find two people whose appearances would support the opposite conclusion.

    I suspect the difference between these two men comes down more to luck than diet.

  73. I think so many people are not thinking this entirely through…

    I am pretty sure Keys’ diet did not include processed foods and refined sugar. Recent research is making it very plain and clear that those foods are the cause of majority of ill-health on this planet. The only way we could possibly know if Keys was right or not would be to have created a clone, feed the close a diet rich in healthy fats, fruits and vegetables and then see if disease set in and death came sooner than 100 years. Maybe create a third clone and feed him a highly processed diet including some fat, fruits and veggies and see what happens. Individual cases can never be used as examples because you don’t have a control which would be an exact copy of that person eating a different diet!

  74. I’m a long time fan of yours. I just read the book review for Big Fat Surprise. Someone posted this link in the Amazon comments section of Big Fat Surprise. This youtube video is no longer available. :(

  75. First I do not like comparisons, especially those pertaining to Mr. LaLanne, who’s son is a personal friend and fraternity brother. His son and I went to the same schools from elementary through college. So I met Mr LaLanne personally and I treasure those short experiences. He got me started into weight lifting that I today wish I has maintained and I am on the road towards doing it again.
    Second, Mr LaLanne’s health principles have stood the test of time and he was a example of it. His juicer and the the shows he did are his legacy along with how active and vibrant he was till he died.
    And Thirdly, Mr. LaLanne lived for the moment…..every minute counted…..God Bless You Mr. LaLanne and thank you for such a great legacy……
    You see, longevity has to do with health and soul…..that is what Mr. LaLanne represented.

  76. Dr. Mike,
    don’t you feel ashamed that you blatantly lie to people who actually think you are an actual practitioner of medicine? How dare you use the great person that was Jack Lalanne for selling your bullshit Paleo diet. Lalanne never advocated eating a lot of meat, let alone a meat based diet. He was a Pescatarian who ate eggs in the morning, but he avoided milk and red meat like sugar and nicotine. Your comparison of Keys and Lalanne is not only based on a lie, it is highly unscientific since you say yourself “First, the fact that Key’s himself lived to be 100 doesn’t mean squat”, which also means that taking to people with vastly different lifestyles and comparing them to get some kind of “scientific” result is non-representative and highly misleading. Why don’t you cite and actual study published in an actual medical journal about the benefits of a meat based diet? Oh wait.. there are none.
    a very pissed off fan of Jack Lalanne!