How the media disses low-carb diets I (part 2)



Last week I posted on how the media disses low-carb diets by neglecting to mention them, even when these diets are a huge part of a story. I discussed the CNN spot on Phill Novak, a man who lost 200 pounds by following a low-carb diet. Reading the CNN piece or watching the video gives the impression that Mr. Novacnovak-thin.jpg accomplished this weight-loss feat simply by exercising.

Jimmy Moore tracked Mr. Novak down and got an interview with him that can be heard here on Jimmy’s podcast.

According to the interview, Mr. Novak spent seven hours with the CNN people and told them all about his low-carb diet. But that wasn’t the story they were interested in. They wanted to talk about exercise, and so they did.

Says Mr. Novak in his interview:

Another thing they didn’t touch on in that article: low-carb is the easiest weight-loss plan…

Listen to Jimmy’s podcast to hear a tremendously enthusiastic man who has walked the low-carb walk talk about it. It’s truly inspirational.

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20 thoughts on “How the media disses low-carb diets I (part 2)

  1. The more I hear about how the media disstorts imformation, the more Im starting to believe Noam Chomsky is right. Watching tv , reading a newspaper or trying to pry any imformation from a media source has to be viewed like guerilla warfare. They offer no truth only what they’re selling! There is no money in telling people to eat whole foods that have not been poisened by our food industry. They sell the idea that you should eat low fat- code word high suger, exercise- code word give your money to a gym and buy a bunch of worthless equipment to teach you to do what your body would naturally do if you fed it right. Eat real food and go out and play! it was that easy as a kid, it can be the same as an adult.

  2. I truly don’t understand the Media’s resistance to low-carb. I can under the health official’s easily enough. When you’ve staked your career on a principle, it’s human nature to grasp at any straws that will allow you to remain safely deluded. The alternative is admit to yourself and the world that you’ve been wrong wrong wrong.

    But what’s the stake of the media in this? They always embrace controversy, because that’s what sells. They will even fabricate controversy when none exist, just to boost ratings. It’s certainly not professional integrity. That’s gone the same way as the elusive concept of “honor”. So long as it sells, they will use sensational headlines, however unfounded, however premature, however outright false. ALL the news media are like this, to varying degrees. They should be ALL over this story. That’s the greatest scam of our time. But instead we get dead silence. Why?

    It’s a question I’ve always wondered. Why not break a story instead of being a sheep?

  3. Hey Dr. Mike and Chris,

    I remember that ridiculous study about ketoacidosis two years ago from Dr. Lessnau:

    When I wrote to the researcher about it, he challenged me to find “any alternative explanation” for the conclusions in his study and that opened the floodgates with responses from numerous respectable researchers and nutrition experts who weighed in. Check it out:

    Try, try as they may, they’ll never sway the REAL RESULTS I have seen in my own life and in the thousands of others I come into contact with on a daily basis.

  4. Dear Dr Mike,
    I am actually a friend of your dietary approach, even though I eat fruits with meat.
    Before I found your book, I tried Atkins induction and felt horrible. It looked like the pathway which is responsible for gluconeogenesis is very weak in me. I became lightheaded, I got “not enough air” sensation and had panic attacks. I continued an “induction” for 3 weeks and the “switch” didn’t happen. I felt progressively worse.

    Hence, I am consuming some exogenous sugar ( fruits) but I still seem to get “ran out of sugar” feeling and weakness, because fruits/meat don’t give me the lasting energy like complex carbs used to.

    What can you make of it ? Is it that we need a certain amount of dietary carbs?

    No, we don’t ‘need’ any dietary carbs. There are people who have more difficulty adapting to low-carb diets than do others. I suspect that if you give it enough time, you’ll do fine. There are no diseases of inadequate carbohydrate intake, so you don’t have to worry.

  5. HEY DOC




    Hey Phill–

    Thanks. And thanks for writing. Great job on your own weight loss. You are truly an inspiration to us all.

    Keep in touch.



  6. I don’t know about other low-carb dieters, but if I exercise that much (Mr. Novak said 3 hours a day), it just gives me a voracious appetite. I’ve tried increasing my time on the treadmill and/or used longer duration weight lifting with the goal of losing weight faster many times. It works for a few days but then I have to (am driven to) eat more calories and don’t seem to lose any more weight than I did with moderate exercise (20 min. treadmill, 30 min. or so weight lifting, 3-4 times a week.)

    Had the same experience on other diets as well, not only low carb.


  7. If you do post on it, you might want to create an addendum to your media-dissing posts. Here’s the written part of the ABC News coverage.

    The video part was introduced with a lead-in — “high-fat fast food causes disease.” Fat is the implied demon throughout, even though the study itself didn’t go there. The video also validates Spurlock.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll certainly post it.



  8. Here’s the latest offering on insulin and IGF and their relationship to cancer and obesity. This article makes the same old tired statement that glucose is the body’s primary fuel and that reducing calories and exercising will reduce insulin levels. No mention is made of carbohydrate and its incestuous relationship with insulin. And this was published in a science web site. The article can be viewed at:

    Seems that they never learn.

  9. Lots of the focus on Mike Huckabee in the early stages of the campaign was his weight loss.

    The only story I heard about it’s composition was on NPR, talking to a Dr. at the clinic Huckabee went to (University of Arkansas?). Though it wasn’t labeled low(er) carb by the doc, it sounded like a low(er) carb, low calorie diet to me. He said protein shakes and a lean and green dinner. Huckabee publically credits the hours he spent jogging.

    My point here is that while a knowledgeable listener might get the idea this was a low(er) carb diet, it wasn’t mentioned specifically. Also, it sounds as though someone who has benefited from a low(er) carb diet is still promoting the calorie control and exercise fix, perhaps fearing he won’t be taken seriously otherwise.

    The Huckster’s got a book out about his dietary regimen. In looking through it, it appears to be a reduced-calorie diet.

  10. Re Media Motivation:

    It has occurred to me that if everyone embraced low carb nutrition, advertising dollars would plummet. How many junk food ad and drug ad dollars would they lose? There are a couple of huge industries based on carb-heavy diets and the ill-health they engender — how many billions of dollars for diabetes drugs and testing supplies alone?

    Health isn’t profitable, and it’s hard to build an ad campaign around unprocessed foods.

    The illusion of health is profitable, but not the reality, unfortunately.

  11. “I truly don’t understand the Media’s resistance to low-carb.”

    It’s very simple. There isn’t enough low-carb food to go around. Anyone who says otherwise is deluded. This is why all the governments of the world promote low-fat high-carb diets as well. There is no way to feed the population if everyone starts eating low-carb. People need to be realistic and stop pretending that there’s a conspiracy. Imagine what would happen if society decided to eliminate carbs from their diets. Food prices would skyrocket. Want to know why the government and the media all spout low-fat and/or high-carb? You really need to start by reading Walter Voegtlin’s “Stone Age Diet” or a similar book. People didn’t invent agriculture just because they liked carbs. They invented it out of necessity. Only a minority of the world’s population has the choice to eat what they want. And it makes them look very naïve when they act as if everyone should just accept the truth and eat low-carb.

    “Let them eat low-carb” commits the same logical fallacy as “Let them eat cake.”

    I’m not sure I agree with the premise that the world can’t support the food for low-carb dieting for large numbers of people. But I definitely disagree that the idea that the world can’t support low-carb dieting is the reason the press is against it. Members of the nutritional media just aren’t that smart or forward thinking. If they were such arguments – though specious in my opinion – would make more sense than the claptrap they usually report.



  12. The understatement of the millennium and what amounts to a tacit admission of the failure of the low fat, high carbohydrate diet:

    “It’s a bit disappointing that after five or six decades of flogging exercise and lifestyle modification that we haven’t been more successful, not just in the severely obese but in preventing the spread or rise in general obesity and overweight,” Dr. Raj Padwal, medical lead of the Capital Health Regional Obesity Program in Edmonton on the alarming increase in super obesity and BMIs of 50 to 60. Padwal went on to state “It’s much worse than we think.”

    Meantime, in the same article with words that would resonate sweetly in the ears of Gary Taubes obesity researcher Dr. David Lau, professor of medicine at the University of Calgary and president of Obesity Canada admits that exercising is a “horribly inefficient way of burning up calories. Exercise is great for heart health. It’s great for improving insulin sensitivity but it’s not good for losing calories because you have to work out a lot”.

    At the same time, similar concerns are being voiced on the other side of the world. “New Zealand is already seeing levels of obesity in children which are totally unacceptable in terms of public health, Professor Birkbeck said. Results from the Child Nutrition Survey are not yet available but Auckland data from a study of 2273 children in 2000 found that 14.3 percent of children were obese, with 24.1 percent of Pacific children, 15.8 percent of Maori children and 8.6 percent of European children in this category.”

    Will any of this slow the flogging of the low fat, high carbohydrate diet and the dissing of low carb diets? Are you kidding?

    Who knows? Making there are some cracks starting to appear in the low-fat facade. We can only hope.

    Thanks for the links.



  13. Dr. Eades,

    I’m concerned about the recent beef recall due to the illegal practices of the So. Cal. Chino slaughterhouse and the effect that will have on finding high quality, safe, beef to eat. Do you have any recommendations on what to look for when buying meat? I have shopped a little, looking at grass-fed, organic, kosher, etc., but does any of that matter if it’s all sent to a shoddy slaughterhouse and meatpacker? I haven’t eaaten any beef since the news and recall broke. I generally rely on beef for a source of lean protein in my diet 1-3 days per week. What do you look for when shopping for quality protein sources? I have 2 small children and I’m especially concerned about bacteria and disease contamination, as well as finding healthful, quality food for my family.

    Thank you for your website and for your support for our low carb lifestyle. My weight has gone from 225 lbs, 4 years ago, to 135 lbs. today, my total cholesterol was 304, now is 210. What a difference! Keep up the great work! LMF

    I look for grassfed beef or look for beef in natural markets such as Whole Foods. I may be fooling myself but I just have to believe that people who raise grassfed or even organically-fed beef will take pains to ensure that they are slaughtered and handled properly.

    If you’re concerned about bacterial contamination all you have to do is avoid ground beef and make sure that any beef you consume is well seared on all sides, a technique which will kill any bacteria on the surface. The problem with ground beef is that the bacteria can get inside since the meat is all ground together, making it tougher to kill without cooking the meat to death through and through. Steaks, ribs, chops, etc. have no bacteria inside – it’s all on the surface, so searing the outside kills it all.

    Here is an article that you may find helpful.



  14. I don’t see how we can get enough protein or fat to feed 7 billion people without carbs. You might have a point that the media isn’t that smart, but there is an issue of supply and demand IMO. There’s not enough low-carb healthy food to go around. Most of the food in the grocery stores is the worst junk you could possibly eat for weight or health.

    Even if we made the most efficient use of land, I don’t think we could feed a billion people a diet consistent with paleolithic or low-carb principles. Those diets are going to be pushed to the sidelines, by various forces. I doubt we will ever see a day when the government and the media both admit the saturated fat/cholesterol theory is nonsense, and tell people to go out and eat lots of meat, eggs, butter, cheese, foie gras, and so forth.

  15. If I am unable to get to Whole Foods where I have been buying all my ground beef the past few years, I just grind my own from chuck roasts from Sam’s.

    Bacteria is introduced into meat, poultry and fish by sticking these protein products with a fork before or during or after cooking. —Never, never, never stick anything with a fork for doneness unless you are planning to eat the whole thing at mealtime. The prudent thing to do is to always completely reheat any “stuck” meat. Refrigerator temperature is important–I keep mine at 34 degrees–works great for me–never lose anything to spoilage.

    Without saying, none of the above measures are adequate without clean hands and prep surfaces.