Ask Gary Taubes a question

I’ve just discovered that the soft-cover version of Good Calories, Bad Calories is out.  I guess it has been out for a few weeks, but I just discovered it was available.  If any of you have been waiting for the paperback before reading this terrific book, now is the time to get it.

Since GCBC came out a year or two ago, I’ve gotten countless comments asking me what Gary thinks about this topic or that one.  And I’ve gotten comments from folks asking me to ask Gary a question for them.  I was going to interview Gary and post his responses to my questions when it occurred to me that you all might like to ask questions of him directly without having them come through me.  I contacted Gary this weekend to see if he would be willing to answer specific questions from people on this blog.  He very generously agreed to do so.

Send your questions in via the comment section.  I ask on Gary’s behalf that you ask no personal medical questions, but questions about the science and the history of the science behind the way we eat today and the way we probably should be eating.  I promised Gary that he wouldn’t have to answer questions by the score, so we’ll see what comes in.  He and I will look at the questions and answer those that are a) the most common, b) those of the most general interest, and c) those that he feels are particularly important.

I know I don’t have to tell the readers of this blog not to be shy, but I will anyway.  Don’t be shy.  Get those questions in. If you’ve had a question that’s been gnawing at your brain, now’s the time to ask.

I’m heading off for a 9 hour drive to make it home in time to do my civic duty tomorrow, so I’ll be out of the loop for a while.  I can post comments through my Blackberry, however, so don’t hesitate to ask the question you would like to ask.

Note: I have closed the comments on this post.  Since Gary agreed to answer a number of questions, I think 101 is probably enough.  Thanks for all your interest and intelligent questions.

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

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105 thoughts on “Ask Gary Taubes a question

  1. I would like to know whether a water fast lasting 7-10 days is beneficial at all. If you read fasting books it tells you that all the old proteins will be gobbled up and it may be of benefit in auto-immune diseases etc. Or is that just a whole load of misinformation?
    Do you think that consuming only water would result in too much muscle mass loss? If so, is it easily recoverable? Or once you’ve loss the muscle mass your body doesn’t make more you can only bulk out the muscles you have?

  2. Dr. Mike,

    Here are two:

    1. Why does a low-carb diet keep me from getting another Gout attack? I do the opposite of published lit and eat a lot of high purine (protein) foods and a lot of fat, yet no attack.

    2. What your / Gary’s opinion on a CKD (cyclical ketogenic diet) type diet?

    Thanks
    Dan

  3. I’ve heard that low adrenal function and hypothyroidism can interfere with weight loss when a person is otherwise eating properly (low-carb). Is there anything in your research that supports or refutes this?

    Related question – Are there any relatively common medical problems that may interfere with weight loss when a person is otherwise eating well, i.e. low-carb? I’m specifically wondering about people, like myself, who have spent a few decades ingesting highly-processed crap, became insulin-resistant and gained a lot of weight, and who now have difficulty losing weight even while eating a healthy low-carb diet. I know I’m much healthier now than I was before I started eating low-carb, but I haven’t lost a significant amount of weight in a year and I still have 30-40 more lbs to lose.

  4. On a general notion I would like to suggest that you ask (or we ask)Taubes some detailed questions that he hasn’t answered yet in other interviews and blogs in the web. I really would like to see him go in details to some studies that he had to leave off from GCBC because of page restriction. I also would like to see some counter arguments to his ideas and counter-counter-arguments and counter-counter-counter-arguments and so on cause he said that he had these written but left off from the book cos of publisher.

  5. I have a couple of questions, but first I’d like to say how much I appreciate your writing GCBC. I was already a veteran low-carber when it came out but I bought a copy for my parents who were on the whole-grains-and-statins diet.

    My father tended to put a lot of faith in medical science and because of his own background as a scientist is suspicious of “alternatives”, so I’ve had a hell of a time trying to convince him to try low carb over the years (no luck at all actually). No way I could get him to read Protein Power or Atkins because those are “diet” books, but I told him what GCBC was about – not a diet book but _science_ and _policy_ and he was hooked the minute I put it in his hands.

    An hour later he called me in a righteous mad over the miscarriage of American nutritional science. Shortly after that my parents lowered carbs and stopped avoiding good fats like butter and meat fat. I only wish you’d written it a few years earlier – at their age a lot of damage has been done, but it may well give them a few extra years and for that I’m grateful.

    My questions:
    – What kind of response to GCBC have you gotten from physicians and other medical pros?
    – Are you planning to write another book, and if so what will the subject be?

    PS. Drs. Eades – last time I saw Dad I gave him a copy of PPLP and he actually started reading it and was clearly interested. He just needed a different introduction to the subject.

  6. Thanks for giving us an opportunity to ask Gary a question (Well we know we can always reach out to you…:-)

    1. When we consume low carb (13% Carb and Protein each) and high fat diet (75% FAT) – the triglycerides reaches its peak and comes down to well below the limit over a 12 hour period. Like the Blood Glucose excursion of post meals to digestion – is this Triglycerides increase and eventual decrease a problem for the body esp lipid profile? Is this we need to worry at all?

    2. What is your take on Soy products – should we consume or not?

    3. Which sweetener is good? (From maintaining a good Blood glucose point of view)

    thanks

    Venkat

  7. Dear Dr. Eades,

    No questions, just a comment for you and Mr. Taubes. I hope you will share this comment with him.

    I bought GCBC when it first came out and was not even half way through the book when I changed our (me and husband) eating habits. I then bought a copy of Protein Power for additional information and advice. Each of us has lost 35 pounds and my husband’s high blood pressure is no longer.

    My father (72) nearly had a heart attack this past week. One artery is 95% blocked (they inserted a stent); the other artery is 60% blocked (another stent soon to be installed). I promptly went out and bought the softcover GCBC and another copy of Protein Power and mailed them to my parents.

    I think these two books go together. GCBC to explain how we got to this idea of low fat/no fat, PP for more information and advice on how to eat. My mother is trying to figure out what to feed him – of course the hospital sent him home with low cholesterol diet ideas and “heart healthy” ideas. The funny thing is during a conversation my parents were having my mom told dad that he needed to eat low cholesterol. My dad said, “no, low carbohydrate”. I guess they went back and forth about this and when mom told me about it I said, “dad knows what he’s talking about, he just hasn’t been eating this way.” My dad’s BMI must be in the single digits. For years he was a runner and golfer (always walked the course) plus he worked out with weights. However, he has a big sweet tooth. My mom buys mostly packaged cookies, cakes, pies. They use margarine and if my mother bakes she uses Crisco. Even though he pays attention to health and nutrition news, I think he still thought that he would be immune to problems because he seemed to be so healthy.

    My mother expressed an interest and so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they will start eating in a truly heart healthy fashion.

    So, long story to get to my point – thank you Mr. Taubes for your book and thank you Dr. Eades for your work.

  8. Hi Gary,

    Your book is brilliant, so thank you for your work.

    I live in Japan a lot. I can vouch that most people eat a lot of rice as you well know (every meal, one cup full of cooked rice, is the average from my “guestimation”). I can also vouch that people in Japan are the thinnest I have seen in the world. The average weight of my female friends is 50kg… average height 160-165cm. As a model for “thinness”, Japan seems, to me, to be it.

    Since reading your book and sharing the ideas with my Japanese friends, many are highly-sceptical since they eat high amounts of carbohydrates and (a) have few weight-problems and (b) have amongst the longest life-spans in the world. To them, their diet is the healthiest (although they are usually too modest to come out and say this directly).

    This seems like a “paradox” to me; one that I’d love to hear your thoughts on. What am I overlooking — or don’t know — that means that the Japanese situation doesn’t refute your hypothesis? I presume you’ve researched this in depth as you’re so thorough. Granted there is growing obesity in Japan, but it’s a new phenomenon and I can only connect it to the influx of western food. Still, most people are incredibly thin.

    In GCBC you wrote on page 157:

    “Ahrens believed that the fat-induced lipemia was probably ‘an exaggerated form of the normal biological process which occurs in all people on high-carbohydrate diets.’ In both cases, the fat in the blood would clear up when the subjects went on a low-calorie diet. To Ahrens, this explained why the carbohydrate-induced increase in triglycerides was absent in Asian populations living primarily on rice”

    If this is the answer could you explain it more please? If it was simply a matter of calories — and that Japanese are thin despite of high carbohydrate consumption because they have low-calorie consumption — then surely low-calorie diets would be more effective with the rest of us? Japanese people don’t have to fight their hunger to stay thin… we know that’s not effective… so why would they consume less calories than western people? As you so eloquently demonstrate in your book… calorie consumption is hormonally driven — so why do we have lower calories in Japanese diets, despite carbohydrate consumption?

    I guess an easy answer is that Japanese have different genetics… this may explain the lower calorie consumption… but this doesn’t seem a plausible answer to me for their lack of obesity. I have had multiple Japanese friends who came to Australia for a year — and gained around 10kg each without even thinking about it. One went from 45kg to 55kg… a huge percentage shift!

    To me, this means there is something in the diet. Is carbohydrate restriction really the full picture? Is Japanese white-rice somehow “non-fattening”? I asked my friends and very few of them ever eat brown-rice. Sushi rice is quite sweet, so I would presume spikes insulin much more than brown-rice.

    This brings me to part 2…

    If glycerol-phosphate is the mechanism of fat-deposition (FA –> TG inside adipose tissue)… and glycerol-phosphate is a glucose metabolite… then surely slow release of glucose into the blood (supposed “low GI”, despite the flaws in the GI/GL model) makes no difference? All it would mean is that the production of glycerol-phosphate is spread over a larger time-period, reducing the *rate* of fat-deposition after a meal, but also extending it’s *duration*. Even if insulin spikes activity in LPL to transport more FAs into adipose tissue… a “low GI” food would, again, reduce the rate of LPL activation, but prolong it. Am I wrong here?

    You suggest in your book that one of the mistake investigators made is in lumping all carbohydrates into the one category, yet I couldn’t find an alternative model. Do you believe that some of the “diseases of civilization” can be avoiding on a high-carbohydrate diet, if it’s the RIGHT carbohydrates?

    Thank you for your answers, and once again, for a remarkable book,

    Michael Norman

  9. Loved the book Gary. Thank you for writing it. I don’t have questions regarding any of the science presented in your book; it certainly was thorough. I do have a few other questions for you and Dr.M:

    1. Can a very low carb high protein diet increase production of adrenaline? Is it possible it was good for our ancestors because they were active hunting etc. but may not be so good for all of us because of our sedentary nature? I understand what the medical science has shown as far as it effects on cholesterol, blood pressure, etc. but I know several people including myself who get negative symptoms synonymous with increased adrenaline production: insomnia, fast heartbeat, anxiousness etc. Is it possible some of us have started to adapt to evolution? Have you come across any studies relating to increased sulphur amino acids as a result of increased protein and is there any cause for concern?

    2. I read over and over how important it is to drink huge amounts of water while eating low carb. I know this style of eating is based on what our ancestors ate. I assume our ancestors wouldn’t be consciously drinking water all the time. Why do we need to?

    3. Low carb eating is considered from different sources to be any where from 5 grams of carbs daily to up to 100. Why is there such a huge variance? How many grams do each of you consume a day? What is a typical days food intake for you both?

  10. Question for Gary:
    I have read GCBC 3 times now, and i am convinced that it is an incredibly important book. What i don’t understand, however, is why is there such a deafening silence about it? i have Google alerts set for any news about Gary taubes, and i get almost NO notifications. It’s like the book doesn’t exist. Why isn’t this book making the waves i expected? Why aren’t our family doctors reading it? why isn’t it being debated in the press? I can make some guesses, but would love to hear Gary’s take on this.

    Dr. Eades, thanks for setting this question thing up, you’re the best!
    Dan

  11. hi. this has been bugging me for a while.
    though i have no problem with consuming cholesterol, there seems to be much debate about whether or not oxidized cholesterol is harmful, particularly in canned meat (fish). i love canned fish!
    any thoughts?
    much thanks.

  12. Has the new knowledge on fat (that it is now viewed as an endocrine organ for instance) changed in any way the fundamental role of insulin in fat accumulation? In other words, is “carbohydrates drive insulin drives fat accumulation” still as true as it’s ever been or did something happen after the book’s publication that could change this truism? I’m speaking of ASP and other hormones that are secreted by fat cells.

    Thank you.

  13. Gary,

    With the immense amount of research you have under your belt on the subject of weight loss and maintaining weight, do you feel we are still missing any important pieces of the puzzle? If so, can you speak a bit about this.

    Why is there such a broad spectrum of the ease or difficulty of gaining and losing weight? Are there key biological or genetic differences that account for this?

    Thanks,

    Dave Matthews

  14. My only question:

    Have you spent much time researching Jan Kwasniewski’s ideas on metabolism and carbohydrates and what do you think. If not, you would find it truly revolutionary.

    Freddy

  15. Me, me, me please! No, I am not needy, I am just a woman. I read somewhere that intuition is something that replaces common sense in woman. So my intuition tells me my question will be answered. Ok, enouph with rhetoric and here is the question: Is there any difference between eating high monosaturated fat, low carb, relatively moderate protein vs any high fat, low carb, and moderate protein? As a woman and as a brainwashed one, I am still subconsciously petrefied of saturated fats. So instead of high fat cut of beef I always reach for juicy salmon or sardines or herring or lean veal. Instead of butter I grab olive oil, instead of heavy milk, a kefir. Instead of coconut oil, I get fish oil. I eat lots of nuts, seeds and lean meat. I dont mind to eat as much salmon or sardines as my soul desires, but when it comes to fatty cuts of meat I chicken out or eat chicken! I ready Jimmy Moore blog and he eats two 12 oz steaks a day! I cant even eat two pieces a day. I want to convert to high fat, low carb instead of high fat monosaturated, low carb one. Please adress my fear and tell me if my diet is ok or I need to incorporate more saturated fat. Do I need to from a health point of view?

  16. I wonder if Gary has run across any evidence for or against the notion that stress causes weight gain (aside form behavioral changes), perhaps by affecting corticosteroid production?

  17. Dr. Eades and Mr. Taubes:

    This is probably a very strange question, and frankly I’m a little apprehensive about asking. But I’ve always wondered. In my family, and I’ve noticed in a subset of minorities in America, fat is carried on the body in the legs, ankles, and especially on the soles of the feet. The entire sole, including the heels of the foot are fatty, making it difficult to fit medium-width shoes. I’m sure you have seen this effect. If the person wore pants, they would actually appear thin. I have no biology or medical background, but I’ve likened this to many years of slow or unabated blood sugar control. If this is correct, the current image of the diabetic (or near diabetic) as being noticeably overweight or obese is not accurate. Would you comment on, and certainly correct, my assertion. Thank you!

  18. Update to my earlier question:

    I guess LPL activation by insulin could be non-linear, and that could explain why insulin spikes could increase obesity, if they in fact do. I’m not sure how reliable studies of low-GI diets for fat-loss are, given the problems with the GI/GL model. I’d love to hear your thoughts, and do you know if LPL activation by insulin is a non-linear process?

    Thanks again,

    Michael Norman

  19. I have a question that has been pestering me…

    I have read many different articles and blogs about low carbohydrate diets, and many of them seem to advocate the idea of “primal” or “evolutionary” or “paleolithic” dieting, which presumably stems from the idea that we evolved, or were meant, to eat carbohydrate restrictive diets. However, the eating of bread and fruit is by no means a modern invention, and the onslaught of obesity and weight related disease does seem to be relatively modern.

    Is there anything to this idea that we are meant to be “paleolithic” in the way we eat?

  20. Do you believe that one of the major factors for the government going against what seems to be an obvious choice as to what a healthy diet should consist of could be the fear that if we all ate this way and the middle of the supermarket was no more, we would be suffering an even greater amount of starvation in this country.
    It just seems to me that the nutrient robbed bad foods are easy choices for the poor and that this is why we even have them. Sorry, if it seems to be paranoid thinking, but after reading much of your book, alot of the facts don’t suprise me as much as the sheer ignorance of these people such as Ancel Keys, that ignore the obvious things staring them in the face all these years.

  21. 1) When you were studying the exercise and weight loss relationship, were there any studies that used a weight lifting protocol similar to Slow Burn (or secondarily, any type of weight lifting protocol), and what were the conclusions of such studies?

    I ask this because in the book, it appeared that most of the exercise studies were based on some type of running/cycling/stairmastering aerobic exercise.

    Thanks for the opportunity.

  22. I have a question that has been gnawing at my brain!

    Regarding exercise, Gary and you, Dr Mike, posted that it has a minimal impact on weight loss because it is compensated by additional eating.

    I can see your point if you’re walking one mile a day. But I lost 130 lbs on low carb but I don’t think I could have done it without a lot of exercise. It took 18 months and it included walking 8 miles a day, stairclimbing 45 minutes a day, biking just for fun around the neighborhood 7 miles a day, and a slow burn weightlifting routine two or three times a week.

    I was probably using 1500 to 2000 calories exercising and it was just great being outdoors. I think I maybe consumed only an extra 500 calories to compensate, which in itself makes meals more fun and gives more leeway on what you eat.

    So I don’t see the problem, exercise more, eat more, lose more weight.

    Also it makes you feel better. John Abramson in his book “Overdosed America” said that depression should be considered “Exercise Deficiency Syndrome” and he got a lot of flak about that. But I think he’s right. I’m still keeping up the exercise today and have a positive outlook!

  23. Gary, thanks for agreeing to answer our questions.

    I would like you to gaze into your cyrstal ball for us….I often write blog posts speculating about the ‘what ifs’ of nutrition and the folly of the food industry and media. But it would be great to have someone who really has their finger on the pulse tell us what he thinks will really happen. So – how do you think things will pan out for the western diet over the next 10 years in terms of:

    The extent to which there will be public acknowledgement of the food pyramid fallacy by the medical establishment and the organisations who advise on the subject.

    The extent to which there will be media acknowledgement of this.

    The extent to which the food industry will have its wings clipped by regulatory pressures and market forces resulting from any acknowledgement

    Whether the pace of change will be too great for the economies and practicalities of food production to match the rate of adotpion of a better diet.

    Thanks.

  24. I too was going to ask about exercise and Steve G beat me to it.

    Gary, have you studied high intensity exercise and it’s effect on improving insulin resistance as well as for fat burning after the exercise is finished? Alwyn Cosgrove calls it Afterburn.

    There are published studies on high intensity workouts and fat burning.

    Thank you!

  25. Mr. Taubes, You wrote in your book:

    “1. Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.”

    I’ve learned to agree with You almost completely; almost…

    Sugar hypothesis lies on sugar and insulin only but I think that’s not the whole truth. Take Kitavan’s as an example; they eat quite much carbs, they have high triglycerides and low HDL and they smoke a lot. You’d expect that they suffer massive heart problems but no they don’t. Fat on their low fat diet is saturated, natural fat.

    I believe that sugar and insulin are very important factors but I also think that there is a need for processed unsaturated fats (PUFA,omega-6) in your diet to get the inflammation and AGE production going. So I still doesn’t believe that all dietary fat is irrelevant in chronic diseases of civilization.

    My question is:

    What made You convinced that any dietary fat does not cause heart disease?

  26. Correct me if I am wrong but I walked away from GCBC with the impression that Gary believes insulin excess or imbalance is the cause of weight gain. It was also said this excess or imbalance is mediated by carbohydrate.

    1) What of cultures that eat ad lib calorie diets which are high in carbohydrate? Shouldn’t this suggest there is more to our obesity epidemic than carbohydrate?

    2) What does Gary think of environmental toxins and endocrine disruptors as a possible cause for this insulin resistance/excess?

    3) Does Gary believe obesity can be reversed by carbohydrate restriction? If so, why is persistent and often severe obesity so common even among the low carb faithful?

    To put this another way, does Gary make a distinction between the prevention of obesity and the treatment of obesity? That is to say does he think obesity reflects some sort of permanent irreversible damage to the body like diabetes, or is it simply storing too much fat in the cells and completely reversible upon control of insulin level?

    4) Neurotransmitters? Seems a lot of obese people identify with the idea of emotional eating, which to me suggests that neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepi and dopamine must play some kind of role in feeding behavior , insulin level, glucose tolerance. I know my energy and appetite is profoundly affected depending on mood state.

    5) What does Gary think of leptin? Significant or not in control of obesity? Is it all about insulin?

    Speaking personally as someone who has lost 160 pounds, I can tell you that I have had numerous persistent starvation symptoms even though my weight is “sufficient” (120lb 5’5) and I eat a calorie adequate high fat diet (1600-1700cal, 60 carb).
    I believe that my body has been damaged by obesity so my body no longer is capable of having an average fat mass and behaving as if it were average.
    My hypothesis is that when a high level of insulin is present especially in early life, then this changes the amount of white fat cells you have (increased). An excess of white fat cells causes minimum body fat to increase because cell function is controlled by cell size. Fat cells are an endocrine organ. If there are more cells, more fat is required for those cells to function normally (produce the right chemicals). Thus the minimum body fat is increased after early life / chronic hyperinsulinemia, because it takes more fat mass to keep those cells filled sufficiently so that they work properly.

    By “minimum body fat level” I mean to say that my body does not make adequate leptin anymore unless my body fat is at a very high level, even if I eat low carb and control insulin. Without leptin, the body does not work properly. It is so much more than hunger and appetite. If fat cells are too small, then leptin dips below a critical threshold and there are numerous unpleasant symptoms like low thyroid level (fatigue), infertility, and glucose intolerance (fatigue/hunger), as well as the famous leptin-effect of *chronic* emotional and physical hunger for food.

    How do I know? I joined a study for hypothalamic amenorrhea and all of these symptoms reversed when I was given leptin replacement (I was making almost none). After taking 4mg of leptin sub q for 8 months, I regained fertility, had incredible energy, my mood was much better, my appetite and glucose control was a lot more normal (my average blood sugar dropped more)… I just felt really wonderful, for the first time I felt like a normal person instead of a starving person.

    If weight was all about insulin balance, this shouldn’t have been an issue. I have no problem sticking to low carb, and keeping my weight down is also not a problem if I stick to low carb and watch calories. My body is the only thing that wouldn’t agree… the weight is too low, it behaves starving.

  27. Question for Gary Taubes:

    Loved GCBC and it has really helpt us here in Sweden where we have a very intense debate on the dietary guidelines. My question: Gary, what´s your stand on the issue of the balance of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids?

  28. Dr Mike – thanks for giving us this opportunity to question Gary.

    Gary – Many, many thanks for writing GCBC. Your work has had a very positive effect on more people than you can ever know. Few of us can ever lay claim to such.

    I have one question – where does the research stand on coffee and what are your views on it (and how much do you drink)?

  29. Gary,

    Your book was brilliant. Thank you.

    My question: why is it more difficult to lose weight on a low-carb diet the second time around?

  30. I’m wondering if Gary has an alternative to the caloric balance equation? Given the issues, is a new one needed or should we just interpret with the caveats detailed in the book? My only concern is that most people don’t know/understand the caveats and keeping the old one will only continue to reinforce the importance of calories.

    Brian

  31. Gary, thank you for your book. I have a long question and hopefully you have already done the research but have not published it.

    According the the Israele study, controlled carbs was more critical to weight loss among men than women. The Israelie and Stanford studies indicate that calorie control is critical to weight control in women.

    What is the difference in the fat storage mechanisms in relation to gender and what is the gender difference in fat release mechanisms?

    Does the placement of adiposity (truncal versus overall) affect fat storage and release? Are these also gender related?

    Does gender influence the weight loss/storage mechanisms of cardio/aerobic exercise versus strength training exe4rcise?

    To what extent and why does age affect all of the above?

    In doing a factor loading or path analysis which of the following variables appears to be the most critical to fat storage/release? [Age, gender, number of times wieght loss attempted, type of exercise, placement of adipose tissue, calorie restriction, carbohydrate restriction]?

    Thank you. Just had to get it off my chest.

  32. First off, I would like to congratulate Gary on a job well done.

    In particular, I appreciated that he stuck to the facts and presented a logical argument against the processed carb based Western diet.

    My only criticism of the book is it’s readability. I have given numerous copies of it to friends, family and clients. Only about half of them finished it…and only about half of them were able to have a thorough discussion about it with me.

    Not that he should have dumbed down his work, but it is a shame that most people will find it too ‘sciency’ and pick up a copy of “Skinny Bitch” or Suzanne Somer’s latest diet tome.

    So, after all of this butt smooching, my question is:

    What are the nutritional downsides to a low-carb, higher fat based diet?

    With all of the extensive research that went into this book, you must have found some studies that went against the stream.

  33. What is your opinion on The China Study? Do you think the increase in Chinese obesity is related to increased wheat consumption, as has been suggested on this blog (http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/obesity/another-china-study/). I also wonder if you have seen any information on the glycemic level of traditional Chinese rice versus whatever genetically-modified rice they might be growing now. There may be some health benefits to Chinese red yeast rice (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/110604.php), but I’m not certain whether this is good science or simply propaganda.

    The reason I ask: A common rejoinder to the logical low carb thesis is that the Chinese have been eating mostly rice with no evident obesity. My theory is that Chinese rice was probably much healthier than high GI white rice.

  34. How to explain the cultures in Weston Price’s Nutrition and Physical
    Degeneration who thrived on a high carbohydrate diet? Perhaps it is our Western bias, but we tend to picture early man as northern hemisphere hunter-gatherers. We love to talk about the diet of the Inuit, etc. But man’s niche is very wide; what about the tropical cultures who subsisted without disease on high-starch diets? Fruit, tubers, cassava, taro, etc. See the more recent studies of the Kitavans: 70% carb, smoke like chimneys and no “diseases of civilization”…while Kitavans who move to the city become diabetic etc. What is the difference? Not carb level per se, but carb source. All carb in traditional societies came from non-grain sources. All oil consumed was (except for coconut) non-vegetable. So is carb a problem per se, or is it wheat and refined vegetable oils that have really done the damage? Any hypothesis that does not deal with these cultures cannot stand. See Lindberg’s Kitava vs. Swedish studies.

  35. Hi Gary:

    I have a question with respect to some of Dr. Cordains views. He suggests that it’s very important to eat fruit to balance out the acid/base load of the diet. According to Stefansson’s work, eating a meat only diet causes no harm. Any insights into this.

    Also Dr. Cordain is concerned about the amount of saturated fat in the diet. He suggests that the amount of fat present in meat in the paleolithic era would be cyclical, with fatter animals in the winter months. Do you have any furthar research for or against this notion. The Masai’s practice of consuming great amounts of very fatty milk, I think, would be a contridiction to his stand on sat. fat.

    I would also be interested in knowing both of your opinions of Dr. Kwasniewski’s work. And Dr. Wolfe who suggests that 72 g of carbohydrate per day along with adequate protein and saturated fat should reverse chronic disease in most people.

    Thanks so much Dr. Eades for this blog, and Mr. Taubes for a very thorough and informative book.

  36. Does gluconeogenesis replenish muscle glycogen on a low carb diet, or do muscle glycogen levels simply remain very low?

  37. Thank you, Patrik! Intresting study on ketogenic meditaranian study where people ate lots of fish, vegetables and olive oil. Very encouraging since I am on a very identical diet lifestyle, except occasional treats off course.

  38. Dr. Mike, thanks for the blog again.

    Gary, I loved the book and thanks for writing it. Now if I could get more people to read it. My copy is lent out to a co-worker and I will buy some people copies for Christmas this year.

    My question would be regarding artificial sweeteners. I think these could be causing fat storage by increasing insulin or at least enough to not lose? Any science show that some increase insulin with or without increasing blood sugar first?

    Even more I would like to see answers to Michael Norman’s and ItsTheWooo’s questions.

    Thanks both.
    Joe

  39. Thank you both for your work.

    1. I understand that the brain can function on a combination of manufactured glucose and ketones, but I have read claims that speed of cognitive processing is impaired on a low carb diet relative to high carb. Can you address this?

    2. I think GT’s points about the relevance of exercise to weight loss are poorly understood by many readers. There seems to be a lot of contention among low carbers as to whether it helps, hinders, or is neutral. Some question whether it is beneficial to exercise aerobically at all. I have spent a modest amount of time trying to get to the source of the common beliefs about the (other-than-weight-loss) benefits of aerobic exercise, but mostly I just find them repeated without reference. Do you think this is another area in which an influential researcher had a pet theory and propelled it into the mainstream without proper justification, or has aerobic exercise really been shown to improve health? Has weight-bearing exercise been studied for weight loss separately from aerobic exercise?

    3. I’ve read ME’s posts about excess calories preventing weight loss even under low carbohydrate conditions, but I’ve also read anecdotes about people continuing to lose weight in similar high calorie, low carb situations, and of people unable to lose weight even with low carbs and low calories. Any further thoughts on this?

    Thank you!

  40. Question for Gary Taubes:

    Do you think the biggest culprit in our diet is: a. carbs in general b. refined carbs c. wheat d. sugar, and what’s the evidence for whichever you choose.

    Why do you think Asians on the traditional rice diet generally have low rates of diabetes and heart disease?

  41. i thnk your book is convincing with respect to weight loss, but am not so sure with respect to cardiac disease. Two cardiac professionals i spoke with say genetics rule, and while there is some evidence of changing small, bad LDL to good large LDL by going low carb the evidence is not overwhelming. What do you and Dr. Mike say to that? Many doctors will say fine go ahead and low carb/high fat and you will be very thin: the thinnest in the cardiac ward.

    What is the maximum amount of daily carbs one can consume and still get the benefits of low carb diet? What role do fruits and vegetables play in this diet.

    if you examine the longest living societies( Blue Zone book does) none of the societies eat large quantities of animal products- sat. fat. What then accounts for the longevity other than genes- calorie restriction.

    Thanks to both of you for trying to be objective and not have an agenda/bias; something that is missing in our “need to be right” society today.

  42. Dear Gary,

    Firstly, thank you. GCBC is an epiphany for me and changed my life for the better.

    Even if — and this is a huge if — we were to test and accept the carbohydrate hypothesis as true, what then? If we tell people that sugar, flour and vegetable oils are keeping them fat and/or unhealthy, I see even less of a chance of people giving those up than getting smokers to quit, and we’ve known for years with certainty that tobacco is bad for us.

    In my experience, the people I know who need this information the most are the least likely to want to make the necessary changes; if it means giving up pasta, they’re just not interested.

    Further, I cannot seriously imagine any public policy in the near future condemning sugar, flour, and vegetable oil when I think of how much industry and economic interests surround these commodities.

    Gary, I wanted to ask you if your experiences since GCBC mirror my thoughts above.

  43. STRANGE BUT IMPORTANT QUESTION: Would liposuction to the abdominal area decrease or increase lipid profiles and/or female insulin reactions?

  44. My questions concern the connection between cancer and excess carbohydrate consumption. (Strangely, this is the area I am finding the most hostility and resistance, even from people who are actively living a low carb lifestyle?!?!?!)

    1) While the body does try to maintain its blood sugar level in a narrow range, does it appear that the constant swing between high blood sugar levels and high insulin (and insulin growth factors) when you eat a high carb diet is what fuels the growth of cancer cells? (My current theory based on available evidence.)

    2) If you adopt a low carb lifestyle in the presence of cancer, and the cancer is attempting to feed on glucose, is there any indication that cancer can prompt the liver to produce additional glucose other than that required for basic body function? (or will the cancer be competing for the needed glucose and then the body has to make extra to meet the requirements for the brain, eye, and kidney cells that require glucose?)

  45. Hi, I have a question that my doctor doesn’t seem to answer that well. Why is it that everytime I try eating the way you prescribe I get heart palpitations, but when I eat low fat, low protein, high carb, they go away? Is this a common side effect of this diet, is it something I should worry about. The Doctor just tells me to use common sense and stick to a lowfat, moderate protein, high carb diet, and I will lose wieght and the palpitations will clear up. The palpitations clear up but my weight gets higher! Can you comment on this? Thank you so much.

  46. First, GCBC fundamentally changed my life in a lot of ways. My thanks to Gary.

    As I read more and understand more about diet, there are some things that pop out as omissions from GCBC. For example, the role of leptin in weight loss and the interaction of some of the other hormones with insulin.

    I uspect that Gary cut a lot out of GCBC to keep it more focused on the (lack of) science involved, but I have developed interest in that.

    I would like to reiterate as well the issue of gout on a higher protein diet.

  47. If exercise does not reduce body fat through calorie expenditure, is it possible that intense exercise such as Slow Burn-style weight lifting or aerobic interval training could reduce body fat by affecting human growth hormone secretion or other biochemical markers?

  48. First: Why does Gary make statements that “refined carbs” are bad for blood glucose and/or insulin levels. Isn’t he aware that whole wheat bread and white bread are very close to each other in GI? Isn’t he aware that refined white spaghetti (normally made with duram semolina wheat) is much lower in GI than whole wheat bread (that is not coarse ground) or many varieties of brown rice?

    The idea that whole grain products are low GI is one of the worst myths or our time regarding nutrition. Why has he perpetuated that myth? What credibility should he have, after making such a gross error?

    Next: While it is true that those who go against the establishment edicts often find themselves on a hard road, what does he think of his own followers who think that Gary’s contrarian words/ideas shouldn’t be questioned?

    Lastly: If exercise causes people to be fat, because they eat more… then when I see a giant obese person at the supermarket, should I rush up to them and implore them to stop exercising so much?

  49. how do i go about gaining weight on low carb? i am ONLY taking in 20 grams per day b/c any more than that and i have mental problems with it(im recovering from anorexia and much over 20 sets off my head…NO idea why but i love low carb now!)

    i am sedentary at a desk job until i get back my period and and heavy enough to lift again

    i am currently 5’8 and 108 pounds(23 yr old female) when i got my metabolism tested it said i only burn 1050 a day(sad i know)
    how many calories shoul i be taking in to gain. i am currently eatting 1800-2000 a day which is a HUGE UP from where i use to be

  50. 1. In Gary’s interview with Seth Roberts he mentions very briefly the effect of carbs on brain function (fog). Can he expand on this – does he believe that lack of carbs or even lack of fat can contribute to/make worse learning disabilites, autism, etc? Can he point us in the direction of any studies to read regarding the brain and carbs or low-fat (other than Alzheimers)?

    2. Does he believe in supplements, like CoQ10 or Omega 3 fish oils or high dose vitamin C. Any good research to read? Does he take any?

    3. Is there any evidence that the high cortisol levels in animals when they are slaughtered (in the industrial meat industry) have any impact on us when we consume them? Does he believe that local grass-fed beef is better than industrial beef, or even that industrial beef does us any harm at all, or is the difference negligible between the two?

    4. Gary’s book completely changed my life. I’ve lost weight and have such a better mindset now, feeling hope for the first time that I can lose weight and maintain it, plus try to stave off any diseases of civilization. Any books that changed his life – in any genre?

    Thank you so much for your research and writing, Gary! I’ve bought 2 copies of your book so I can get more people to read it and change their life as well. It would be awesome if you’d start a blog.

  51. question to Mike: are you going to do this in audio format? You might find it easier on yourself to do audio on a regular basis, rather than typing things up all the time. You might have listened to some of the shows that Dr Mirkin used to do – reading emailed questions and then giving his replies. The Q&A came after a sort of feature piece.

    I think that same format would work really well for you, too. Naturally, you’d have to do the feature at one time, and then address related questions at a later followup time. Still, it sounds like a dynamite approach to me. After reading all day, I’d like to just sit back and listen.

    Hmmm. After writing all day, maybe I’d just like to sit back and talk. It’s an idea, but, as I’ve often mentioned in this blog, I’m a techie moron, so it almost gives me hives to think about setting it all up. I will think hard about it, though. Thanks for the suggestion.

  52. 1)I am male with low testesterone,I am fat only in my abdomen,the evidence seems to be that this seems to be true for many men,any ideas?.
    2)Exercise is always talked of as part of the solution,is short anerobic training any good for fat loss rather than mile after mile on the treadmill?
    3)You say overeating is not the problem but then say exercise makes people hungry,so what if it does?
    I love the book,I wish more people will read it and change some minds,I for one am slimmer and have better skin then when I eat low fat/high carbs.
    Thanks

  53. If the most popular questions are more likely to be answered, I would like to “second” the question about Dr. Simeon’s HCG protocol, and also the ones about how leptin relates to fat loss/regulation.

    I’m interested in Gary’s take on the fact that some people don’t lose much weight, or stop losing weight on a low-carb diet, but start losing again when they reduce calories or add excercise. I’m a big low-carb believer but it seems like it can’t be “just” about insulin!

    It would be really, really great if Gary (or Dr. Eades) could address some of the metabolic ward studies cited in Anthony Colpo’s book The Fat Loss Bible. I know that name is a bad word around here, but I was really interested in hearing Dr. Eades’s discussion of those studies, which I don’t think ever happened, unless I missed it somehow.

    Thank you both for all your contributions!

  54. Many low carb gurus feel that polyunsaturated fats, including omega 3, are dangerous and a cause of many health problems. what do you think?

    Why don’t some people, myself included, ever seem to adapt to a very low carb diet. After 3 months of lethargy and some depression, I had to up my carbs from 20 to 60-80. I have also heard this from others, particularly women. What’s our problem? And is this still low enough carbs to get the benefits of low carbing?

  55. First, thanks to both of you for your contribution to the education of the public. Your books are amazing and have changed my life.

    Now a question I have been reluctant to ask, but Mike instructed me not to be shy….

    I have always wondered, but never seen addressed, the physiological effect of low carb dieting on bowel movements, specifically the significant reduction in excrement during induction phases of the diet.

    This is not constipation (though it has been described as that by some people), it is simply that there is less need to eliminate. I have noted this effect in myself and talked to other low-carbers about it and we all notice the same effect – and then get too embarrassed to discuss it any further.

    What’s going on? Do carbohydrates create extra waste? Does insulin accelerate the movement of solid foods through the intestinal tract? Do our bodies simply use fat and protein more efficiently?

    This is important for me to understand if I am recommending the low carb approach, since I have had some friends quit the attempt at low carb since they felt this effect was ‘unnatural’. A medical/scientific explanation (or a good theory) would help.

    Again, thanks for all you do.

  56. I have one question:

    1. What is the role of vegetable oils in the diseases of civilization? Increased carbohydrates and increased use of vegetable oils (and, of course, a decrease in the consumption of animal fats) seems to me to be the biggest changes that have occurred in our diet this past century.

  57. I am a big fan of Gary Taubes and GCBC. My only disappointment in GCBC is Taubes’ lack of addressing Dean Ornish’s specific claims/conclusions about his program/research. Taubes only mentions Ornish twice on p. 62 and p. 173. P62 is only a reference to Ornish’s 10 % diet and p. 173 is a bit longer addressing of the an Ornish diet on the atherogenic profile (a negative consequence). But with Ornish being the leading “low fat” guru of our age, I wish Taubes would have addressed him and his research/recommendations a little more directly.
    I believe it is quite clear that a reduced carb lifestyle is of value to the majority of people. However for me the lingering question is still the safety of saturated fat in the diet. I even remember hearing Taubes mention in an interview whether or not the steak and eggs he was having for breakfast was going to kill him. Even those experts who are supportive and compliment GCBC have some issues/concerns with the safety of saturated fat in the diet, Dr. Weil, Dr. Davis, Dr. Angaston, etc. For me the heart of the matter comes down to Taubes first conclusion at the end of GCBC,
    Dietary fat, whether saturated or not, is not a cause of obesity, heart disease, or any other chronic disease of civilization.
    Ornish constantly brings up the following point either in print or in interviews the following :
    At best, HDL is only a risk factor for heart disease. In our studies over the past 25 years, we used actual measures of heart disease to see what happened to patients with severe coronary heart disease who consumed a low-fat, whole foods diet [my italics]. They showed reversal of their heart disease using state-of-the-art measures such as quantitative coronary arteriography, cardiac PET scans, thallium scans, and radionuclide ventriculography in randomized controlled trials published in leading peer-reviewed journals. Also, there were 2.5 times fewer cardiac events in these patients. LDL decreased by 40% on average after one year and HDL decreased by 9%, yet these patients showed clear reversal of their heart disease in every way we could measure.
    Basically, even though there is some evidence that a low carb diet can improve some risk factors for heart disease, my program is the only program that actually “reduces” heart disease. No other program can say that.

    Now I have read other peoples rebuttals to Ornish’s claim, such as Track your Plaque’s Dr. Davis where he states:
    “Anyway, I’d like to clarify one point. Contrary to Dr. Ornish’s claims, NONE of his studies actually demonstrated reversal of coronary atherosclerotic plaque. They demonstrated improvement in a phenomenon called “endothelial dysfunction,” or the state of constriction of arteries. This is quite easily accomplished by a number of routes, including nitroglycerin, ACE inhibitor blood pressure medications, statin agents, and a host of other agents, as well a changes in diet. It can readily provide the APPEARANCE of plaque regression, since the tests that were performed were all dependent on coronary blood flow and/or diameter of the artery “lumen” (the diameter of vessel path through which blood flows).

    I do believe that the Ornish approach works in a minority of people, 30% perhaps. However, in the present-day world, a conversion to Ornish would be destructive for the majority. Set in the stage of 1985, it represented an improvement. In 2007, we can do better.
    And Dr. Eades’s rebuttal: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/three-steps-forward/

    Still I would like to get Taubes take on the conclusions/recommendations that Ornish makes and continues to make.

    Thank you again for your wonderful blog. It is a source of inspiration for many including myself.

    Sincerely,

    George

  58. To Olivia –
    It is possible you are eating too many AMINES. It is possible to eat low carb and low-amine.
    See the FAILSAFE diet for details.

  59. Any comments on the validity of the Paleo diet’s exclusion of dairy would be of interest.

    Any info on lectins in foods other than wheat? Are carbs less harmful if they are prepared in traditional ways – soaking/fermenting?

    Thanks for the opportunity and for a fine book. The whole extended family is now happily eating LC with the help of GCBC, Bernstein and Eades’. Along the way, we accidentally discovered my spouse’s silent celiac disease. BTW, if you are looking for research topics, please consider the notion of non-celiac gluten sensitivity; it implies that gluten can cause damage even in the presence of excellent glucose control.

  60. Thanks for this opportunity! Love Good Calories Bad Calories and this blog. I have 3 questions:

    1) As a former vegetarian, I’m concerned about the impact of a low-carb diet on the planet. My understanding is that it would be ecologically disastrous for the whole world to eat as much meat as people in the US do; what is your take on this issue?

    2) I’ve heard fatty meat should be avoided because more toxins (pesticide residues, etc.) are stored in fat than in muscle, particularly in animals that are higher on the food chain. Is this indeed something to worry about?

    3) I second Venkat’s questions about soy and sweeteners.

    Thanks.

  61. GCBC touched on PCOS very briefly and only in regards to infertility. Have you come across (then or since your book’s publication) much research regarding using insulin-lowering treatments for other symptoms of PCOS?

    Also, will there be an audio version of GCBC?

  62. Dr. Eades – love the blog.

    Mr. Taubes – I bought the hard cover edition and worked my way through it. Does the paperback have new/updated material?

    Thanks.

  63. I am wondering if you have any further information on the possible relationship of insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s disease. Your book, or perhaps it was one of your interviews, suggested that AD is often found in people with cancer and diabetes. Unfortunately, that describes my aunt.

  64. I’d like to second the requests to hear your opinion on the following subjects:
    1. Cyclic low carb diets (Dr. Mauro DiPasquale’s Anabolic Diet, etc.)
    2. Low adrenal function, poor thyroid function and other medical conditions interfering with the effectiveness of a low carb diet (perhaps any diet?) for fat loss.
    3. Intermittent fasting and Warrior Diet approaches combined with a low carb diet.

    Thanks for taking the time! GCBC is the top non-fiction book in my library. Informative and very enjoyable. I’ve been touting it to everyone I know and care about, low-carber or no.

    G

  65. whaddaya think about Seth Robert’s notion that flavorless calories can lower your body’s hunger set point? That is, swallowing a few tablespoons of light olive oil will reduce your hunger, you’ll eat less, you’ll lose weight.

    (I tried it for a few weeks, but I got tired of dealing with the oil, and I supsect my calories are already too low for that approach to work. I may give it another go one of these days, tho)

  66. Mr. Taubes,

    I was wondering what your opinion is of plant sterols, the “natural” food additives that purport to lower disease risk by lowering LDL, although there are no studies examining whether they actually lower disease risk.

    Is it reckless that this substance is being added to so many foods when its benefits and risks are not known?

  67. I would like to second Michael Norman’s question/thoughts (November 3rd, 2008, 18:41). This is something that has perplexed me as well. The only plausible answer that I can come up with, vis-a-vis, the thin, carbohydrate-eating Japanese populace, is that of overall calorie (especially carbohydrate) load. That, however, leads to the notion of calorie restriction. I can’t help but think that there is some kind of a genetic action involved here that, under normally low carbohydrate loads, keeps the Japanese from feeling hunger, but that goes completely haywire when exposed to larger “western” carbohydrate loads.

    Gary’s thoughts on this subject would be greatly appreciated.

  68. Since reading GCBC I have completely changed my diet to red meat, eggs, cheese, etc (0 carb). I’ve had a huge surge in energy and my gains at the gym have been ridiculous. I’ve been running into several people that are telling me that it is absolute necessary to have carb-ups every week to sustain optimal muscle growth and replace glycogen. Is there any merit to eating carbs for muscle growth as an intermediate lifter?

    Please start a blog. you are also my hero. I voted for you for president

  69. Hello Gary,
    Here’s what happened in our family after reading (with great fascination and admiration – it was a tremendous eye-opener) Good Calories, Bad Calories when it came out a little over a year ago: the three of us – husband, 59, me, 58, and our son, 23 – quit overnight all our frustrating conventional diet attempts and switched to very low-carb eating, and kept at it ever since.

    Results: great improvement in blood lipid profiles (much lower triglycerides etc.) for us old geezers, but very little change in our respective weights – and we do need to lose. The son, on the other hand, lost an astonishing 65 lb. in just three months – it was like watching the kid melt in front of our eyes – and has kept the weight off, effortlessly. From a fat, shy youth he turned into a confident, lithe and handsome young man, which is of course very gratifying to see, and we always remember that this miracle occurred thanks to GCBC. So this is an opportunity to let you know how deeply grateful we are for your great work.

    OK, the question: do you know of any science that would explain the different effects a low-carb diet might have on people of different ages? (We’re all pretty sedentary, live together and eat more or less the same low-carb foods, so I guess the crucial variable is age.) Does a body fed a high carb diet for many decades accumulate some irreversible damages that would prevent significant weight loss later in life? Or is there any truth to the “gradually slowing metabolism” theory of fat accumulation? What’s your take on this?

    Many thanks, again.

  70. I would like you and Gary to explain the Kitava Study, which IMO refutes the demonization of carbohydrates here and elsewhere. The Kitavans eat around 69% carbs, 21% fat, 10% protein. They have none of the diseases of civilization, even though most of the population smokes. It seems that the carbs they eat are healthy – mainly starchy tubers, then fruits and vegetables. They don’t eat grains, refined sugars, or PUFA vegetable oils. It would be good to explain the reason they are able to thrive on a high-carb diet, while smoking, being fairly sedentary, and eating all the foods that are condemned by people like you and Taubes.

    http://www.staffanlindeberg.com/TheKitavaStudy.html

    Here is a good series of articles talking about the Kitava Study. Most low-carb blogs seem to ignore these studies. There are also other populations eating a similar diet, like the Tokelau and PukaPuka. They eat tubers, coconut, fruit, fish, etc.

    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/kitavans-wisdom-from-pacific-islands.html
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/cardiovascular-risk-factors-on-kitava.html
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/cardiovascular-risk-factors-on-kitava_14.html
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/cardiovascular-risk-factors-on-kitava_17.html
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/cardiovascular-risk-factors-on-kitava_20.html
    http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/08/kitava-wrapping-it-up.html

    Weston Price also studied two tribes eating grains who were infinitely healthier than modern people. Ignoring these facts doesn’t make them go away. Carbs can be healthy, even grains, if prepared properly. Primitives ate grains prepared with special methods like long-fermentation which eliminated the toxins in grains. Modern grains are processed, filled with chemicals and additives. We have quick-rise breads, rather than traditional long-fermentation. Extruded and puffed cereals are inherently toxic. Whole grain flour is extremely perishable. It turns rancid rapidly at room temperature, but it’s rarely refrigerated. Bleached flour is filled with loads of toxic chemicals. Many European countries have banned it, but the USA goes along with what ever the junk food industry wants. These issues should be addressed by low-carbers in order to prove that grains are really the problem, and not something else like processing, additives, rancidity, etc. Not to do so is a violation of the Scientific Method.

    http://tinyurl.com/38lpwe

  71. Gary,

    First off I must congratulate you on an excellent read. Well done!

    My question will probably go against the grain from all the above questions as many seem to be interested in fat loss from extreme levels. I am an avid weighlifter and have been following a paleo type diet for around 2yrs soleley meat, fish, eggs, nuts, a little fruit and veg and the odd cheese/dairy. I have made great gains in muscle mass but would like to ask you a few questions if I may:

    1. Do you agree or disagree with PWO shakes and carbs in general for muscle building?

    2. Due to homeostasis, most men when adopting a higher fat, moderate protein, low carb diet will hover around 15% BF. How would you suggest one achieves a BF% of 8-12% without going into calorific deficit? Is this even possible?

    3. Do you have any research on training for sports or bodybuilding you could share with us?

    Thanks in advance

    Regards

    Bodybuilder

  72. Whoa boy, this post has generated alot of comments. Now, i am going to add to the plethora of Q’s. You can probably handle this one relatively easily Dr. Mike if you want to spare Gary some workload. Lastnight, i went out for dinner with my dissertation supervisors. I had steak and a couple asparagus spears all lathered in butter. The other two both had a breast of chicken, mixed non-starchy veg and a couple jacket potatoes. The only difference between what my supervisors ate was that one of them put quite a bit of butter on their chicken and potatoes. Now, i’ve often wondered, what is the better meal of the two. The meal without added fat will probably cause more of an insulin spike than the meal with added fat. However, should fat be added to a meal that includes quite a bit of carbs? There are essentially two main schools of thought on this matter. School ‘A’ says to avoid meals containing carbs and fat, while School ‘B’ is adamant that fat should be added to meals containing carbs.

  73. Gary,

    Firstly, thanks for writing a great book. Initially I found the book hard going and quite dense; I finished it frustrated about the lack of detail in a number of areas. It seems to me that the more one understands about the the workings of the human body, the greater the gaps in knowledge appear to be. Paradoxically the best approach to food seems to be to eat whole, uprocessed foods – easier said than done, but probably a good objective nevertheless.

    There are a whole host of questions I would like to ask, but I shall restrict myself to one area: the LIVER.

    To me the liver seems to play a very important role in how the body utilises food. I believe you think it plays a significant role in regulating appetite. It seems to me that the liver is a central player in insulin regulation, and that this organ suffers damage from high carb diets, which infereres with the body’s ability to regulate appetite.

    My own hunch is that NAFLD contributes to insulin resistance, and probably interferes with a whole host of signals – possibly slowing down the degradation of insulin, increasing gluconeogensis, reducing weight loss and/or promoting weight gain.

    NAFLD seems to co-exist with metobolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes – in my opinion its the chicken rather than the egg.

    My question then is “How significant is the role of the liver in the process of weight regulation? Can liver damage be reversed and, if so, are there any particular dietary approaches that should be followed over and above following a low carb die?”

    Proxy measures for NAFLD seem to be elevated liver enzymes, excess abdominal weight, raised blood sugar and fasting insulin levels, high triglyceride levels and low HDL levels. Vitamin D status may also be a player here?

    Paul Anderson.

  74. Thanks Dr. Eades for this opportunity. Thanks also to Mr. Taubes for GCBC.

    My first question is whether you have uncovered specific nutrients that prevent heart disease, diabetes or metabolic syndrome. Have you seen the research on Vitamin K2? It seems possible that high K2 consumption in certain European cultures (from cheese and goose) and Asian cultures (from fermented soy, bone marrow soup and kim chee) contributes to lower rates of these problems.

  75. I’d like to comment on the study mentioned above about egg consumption being associated with heart failure.

    “Incident Heart Failure Is Associated with Lower Whole-Grain Intake and Greater High-Fat Dairy and Egg Intake in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study”

    Jennifer A. Nettleton, et al

    The study does not consider mortality, which gives the author the ability to conclude anything she wants. I haven’t seen the ARIC data, but it is entirely conceivable from reading the paper that eggs (and high fat dairy) are protective against ischemic heart disease, stroke and cancer, and that egg eaters who have avoided early death are starting to show signs of heart disease later in their lives. Is this a reason to avoid eggs and cheese? It is probable that some of the participants in this study were 80 at its conclusion.

  76. Hey Doc, if you want to make an audio thing, get in touch with Jimmy Moore. I am sure he would be happy to help.
    You switched to Mac recently, didn’t you? There is a program called Garage Band that let’s you create a podcast. Check it out, it’s fairly simple. (the program is one of those little icons that wobble up when you approach the bottom of the screen with you cursor)

    I really look forward to reading or hearing this, thank you for the opportunity.

    MY QUESTION: With his writing Mr. Taubes has no doubt upset a lot of major corporations that deal in high carb foods, HFCS, cereals and the like. Has he experienced any sort of intimidations or threats to his person or even been met with law suits?

  77. Hi Gary

    Loved your book. What are your thoughts/findings about the use of raw protein and raw fats in zero carb diet instead of a cooked zero carb diet.

    Do you personally find that you like your meat medium rare to rare?

  78. saw a thing on NOVA about fractals. Almost in passing, they mentioned that a healthy human heart actually beats to a fractal drummer, and that this might hold some potential in detecting heart disease (bad hearts might not follow the right fractal pattern). Just wondering if you think that this, along with other modern detection tools (CT scans, for one) might someday be useful in determing once and for all the true cause of heart disease, whether it be carbs, omega 3:6 imbalance, stress, or heaven forbid-saturated fats?

  79. Dr Mike, Thanks for giving us an opportunity to hear from Gary.

    I have already placed my questions before and have got it lined up. This time around, I want to comment on Michael Norman’s question on rice eating and Thin Japanese population.

    I would want to agree with him and ask Gary. The same phenomenon of rice eating and being thin – is being witnessed in India as well. The southern part of India uses rice as the staple diet and people eat rice 3 times a day and people are fed to their satisfaction (brim). But nevertheless it is very difficult to see obese people in that group though Diabetes (esp Type II) is widespread over there.

    How do you define this anomaly? Not being obese and being diabetic?

    Myself 38, slender Type II for the past 10 years was rice eating till June 2008 when I came across Protein Power book and jumped the LC bandwagon and quit rice eating altogether.

    Thanks once again for both Mike and Gary for replying to our queries.

    Thanks

    Venkat

  80. I am also curious about Michael Norman’s question regarding the Japanese and how they remain so thin while getting most of their calories from rice. I noticed the same thing in Singapore, where the population is mixed with Chinese, Malay and Indians. The Chinese are as thin as the Japanese, whereas occasionally one sees a chunky Malay or Indian.

    This is not racial — I personally know Japanese people who have come to live in the States and have added quite a bit to their original body fat after living here for several years (they would be considered obese in Japan, here they are closer to the average).

    I suspect (but would like verification), that the answer is related to the fact that besides the rice they consume relatively little in the way of refined carbohydrates. Refined flour products like bread are available but are not part of the standard daily diet, and likewise for sugar. Even the confections in Japan are not as sweet as in America because they put far less sugar in them. Soft drinks are sold but they come in 4 oz cans. Breakfast for children does not consist of sugary cereals in milk.

    Is this sufficient to explain the difference? Or are there even more factors at work?

  81. My question is regarding the obfuscated and incomplete section on exercise. A previous poster asked about the effect of HIIT on fat loss. My questions relates to this.

    Gary never distinguishes between the types of exercise as an intervention for fat loss. Unless he clarifies, I can only assume that he is referring to all forms of exercise. I will also assume that by weight loss he means “fat loss”.

    My question is if he would care to revise or clarify his assertions here. It would be good to see some solid evidence that exercise interventions which include resistance training and/or higher intensity cardio do not result in additional fat loss.

    Perhaps if he has time, he can also go through these studies on that show exercising does not make you hungry, and explain why he thinks his research is more valid to come to such a hard-lined conclusion on exercise. Here are the studies (thanks to Tom Venuto)

    Blundell JE, cross talk between physical activity and appetite control: does physical activity stimulate appetite? Proc Nutr Soc, 62, 651-661. 2003
    Donahoo WT, Variability in energy expenditure and its components. Curr Op Clin Nutr Metab. 7: 599-605. 2004.
    King NA, et al, Individual variability following 12 weeks of supervised exercise: Identification and characterization of compensation for exercise-induced weight loss. Int J Obes, 32, 177-184, 2008.
    King NA, effects of exercise on appetite control: Implications for energy balance. Med Sci Sport Exer, 29(8): 1076-1089. 1997
    King, NA, The relationship between physical activity and food intake. 57: 77-84. 1998.
    Lluch A, Exercise enhances palatability of food, but does not increase food consumption, in lean restrained females. Int J Obes, 21: supp a129.Melzer K., effects of physical activity on food intake. Clin Nutr, 24: 885-895. 2005
    Slentz CA. Effects of the amount of exercise on body weight, body composition, and measures of central obesity. Arch Intern Med. 164: 31-39. 2004
    Titchenal A., Exercise and Food Intake: what is the relationship? Sports Med, 6: 135-145. 1988
    Yoshioka M, Impact of high-intensity exercise on energy expenditure, lipid oxidation and body fatness. Int J Obes. 25, 332-339. 2001

    If Taubes were just raising a minor objection to certain aspects of the exercise = weight loss theory, I don’t have a problem. The problem I have, is the blinding and misleading generalization that exercise is innefective for fat loss – period.

    Also noteworthy, I do believe that diet is a crucial factor – you can’t exercise your way out of a crappy diet and lose fat.

    Here’s a study conducted by Kraemer et al. that took a diet only, diet + endurance training and diet + endurance + weight training.

    12 week results:
    – Diet only group: -6.68 kg fat loss (-2.96kg lean mass)
    – Diet + Endurance: -7 kg fat mass (-2.0 kg lean mass)
    – Diet + Endurance + strength: -9.97 kg fat mass
    (only .33 kg lean mass loss)

  82. Thanks so much Dr. Eades for the opportunity, and Mr. Taubes for an amazing book. I would like to know more about the intersection of female hormonal cycles with low carb eating and weight loss success. Any research that you’ve vetted, and conclusions you can share?

  83. I have an idea for Mr.Taubes,which I haven’t seen covered in the media. I wish that new research of Mr.Taubes to be focused on vegetarian(vegetarianism) versus carnivore(omnivore) diet, covering all aspects such as diet comparison ,health differences,longevity,vegetarianism urban myths……….. political militancy,proselitism….and so on.All in the same style as his previous book .I’m sure it will have huge impact on the media.
    Thank you!

  84. I would like to second the question regarding the amount of rice Japanese people eat. I had figured it had to do with the composition of carbohydrates (i.e. I assumed it was mostly glucose and had very little fructose). I would like to hear what Taubes has to say (and also you, Dr. Eades, if you have additional comments).

    I would also like to second the person who asked:
    “Is it possible to build muscle only by changing diet, without resistance-training?”

    Thanks

  85. I have a great question, and please, please answer it. Its about calories distribution. I am for one get busy during the day and and dont eat a lot. But when I come home, relax and watch tv, BUM I start eating and eating and eating, and soemtimes eatiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing! Ok I guess you get my point. So does it hurt my fat loss effort from evolutionary biology point of view? Lets say my caloric consumption and threshold for loosing is 1700 calories. Let say that during my busy hours of the day I eat lets say about 700 calories. And then I come home at night and eat the rest which eqauls about 1000 calories. Would it make a difference if I ate those calories during the day in small meals? I would think that from evolutionary point of view big meal, low carb or not would signal the brain that famine is coming next. Since our ancestors didnt eat large every day, no refrigeration and keilbsa nearby or fast food. So would I benefit from distributing my calories more evenly or as long as I keep my caloric intake within my limits it makes no difference?

  86. I would like to second the following questions already posed:
    Please address:
    1. The increased difficulty of losing weight the second or more time one returns to low-carb;
    2. The influence of female hormones and menopause on weight loss;
    3. Someone above mentioned heart palpitations on low-carb. I’ve been experiencing those too. My doctor was not concerned about them, but I cannot say the same. This might be more a question for Dr. Eades, but any experience with patients who exhibited this symptom on low-carb?

    Loved the book, by the way. Just think how much more compassionately the obese would be treated if it was understood they really do have a metabolic disorder, and are not just “lazy gluttons.” So much of their suffering is caused by their not being given the correct nutrional education and treatment. I wish everyone who dispenses nutrional advice would just shut up until they have read GCBC (and/or PPLP!).

  87. I’d like to make a reply in reference to Michael’s question about the Japanese/diet/thinness.

    I don’t live in Japan, but I go there a lot every year. And for reasons that I won’t go into, but you can speculate, I’ve seen quite a few naked Japanese people. I think there’s a misconception between what you’re seeing when you’re on the street, and what they actually look like w/o their clothes. Yes, they have small waists, etc, but the majority of them naked have what I call “skinny fat”. They have little paunches and they have absolutely no definition at all, and droopy skin. In men, there’s a very visible fat accumulation around the bottom of the pectoral muscles that borders on gyno. If you saw the majority of them naked, you would not consider them in perfect shape. But when they’re wearing clothes, it’s not apparent.

    Another aspect is that:
    A.) they do eat a much smaller serving size of everything,
    B.) and a lot of them still smoke like houses
    C.) They also drink a lot energy drink that are pretty good at surpressing appetite.
    And a lot of canned coffee (most of which is black or like 25 calorie or less)
    D.) In general they are shorter than the average American. I’m 5’8 and I’m fairly tall over
    there.

    A lot of the younger kids/adults tend to eat pretty much garbage.

    I don’t doubt that there’s probably a genetic or adaption component to it. As you don’t see as many of these mega-heifers that you see here, but I do notice there’s a lot of “skinny fat” over there, it’s just not apparent in clothes.

  88. Hi. I am a family physician who often is confronted by patients so desperate to loose weight that they want me to refer them for surgery. I have found that using Beta HCG (as per Dr Simeons protocol) with a strict low calorie diet works brilliantly (the patients simply stick to the very low calorie diet because the BHCG relieves the hunger by releasing mainly fat for digestion). I have done this protocol on myself (did it first, and the results were impressive) and by tracking my body composition on a Tanita Innerscan I found that the weight lost was mainly FAT tissue, and very little muscle tissue. I would be grateful if you would ask Gary Taubes if he has come across any interesting research on this neglected bit of medical tinkering. Simeons noted the benefit of this BHCG approach to obesity in a childhood syndrome, and just tried it on obese patients. The theory has been raised to EXPLAIN the observed weight loss, but as far as I know that theory is 30 years old and better explanations may be now known. The follow-on diet after this protocol is pure Protein/Good Fats and leafy greens for a month or so, and if the patient reintroduces carbs/sugar/alcohol in that time the weight PILES back on at an astonishing rate.

    thanks for considering the question!

    Hi Bill–

    I did ask the question, and Gary is not familiar with the protocol. I’ve read a little about it, but have never used it on myself or on patients. I’ve always found that a low-carb diet all by itself seems to work well, so I’ve not tried to boost its effectiveness with a more expensive and painful (painful to me anyway because I hate shots) addition. Since the protocol is coming back into fashion, I probably ought to look into it a little more closely because I’ll probably get a lot of questions about it when we tour the new book.

    Best–

    MRE

  89. Seems to me the “correct” diet depends on your starting point. I have been on a low carb diet for 15 years and have lost over 50 pounds. But I am 80 years old, with insulin resistance , pre-diabetic, atherosclerosis and vascular calcification. CVD patients are advised to take it easy on meats and prefer vegies and fruits. Most meats are high in arachidonic acid which is not recommended for vascular problems. Would soy and other plant proteins be better than meats?
    Also, does anyone else other than the Dutch group at Maastricht believe that vitamin K2 helps prevent additional arterial calcification?

    No, I don’t think soy would be better. I think it would be worse. And, yes, many, including myself, believe that vitamin K2 probably helps prevent arterial calcification. But vitamin D3 probably does so as well.