Gary Taubes responds

A couple of weeks ago I posted that Gary Taubes had agree to answer questions from readers of this blog.  Over a hundred readers sent in questions through the comment section.  Many of these questions were actually multiple questions, so Gary ended up with probably 200+ questions to deal with.

I’ve gone through and compiled a list of the most common questions and presented them to Gary.  Here are the questions followed by his responses.

The most commonly asked question was how do Asians and others living a seemingly high-carb existence manage to escape the consequences?

The Asian question first. I do address this in the book and I address it again in the afterward of the paperback. There are several variables we have to consider with any diet/health interaction. Not just the fat content and carb content, but the refinement of the carbs, the fructose content (in HFCS and sucrose primarily) and how long they’ve had to adapt to the refined carbs and sugars in the diet. In the case of Japan, for instance, the bulk of the population consumed brown rice rather than white until only recently, say the last 50 years. White rice is labor intensive and if you’re poor, you’re eating the unrefined rice, at least until machine refining became widely available. The more important issue, though, is the fructose. China, Japan, Korea, until very recently consumed exceedingly little sugar (sucrose). In the 1960s, when Keys was doing the Seven Countries Study and blaming the absence of heart disease in the Japanese on low-fat diets, their sugar consumption, on average, was around 40 pounds a year, or what the Americans and British were eating a century earlier. In the China Study, which is often evoked as refutation of the carb/insulin hypothesis, the Chinese ate virtually no sugar. In fact, sugar consumption wasn’t even measured in the study because it was so low. The full report of the study runs to 800 pages and there are only a couple of mentions of sugar. If I remember correctly (I don’t have my files with me at the moment) it was a few pounds per year. The point is that when researchers look at traditional populations eating their traditional diets — whether in rural China, Japan, the Kitava study in the South Pacific, Africa, etc — and find relatively low levels of heart disease, obesity and diabetes compared to urban/westernized societies, they’re inevitably looking at populations that eat relatively little or no refined carbs and sugar compared to populations that eat a lot. Some of these traditional populations ate high-fat diets (the Inuit, plains Indians, pastoralists like the Masai, the Tokelauans); some ate relatively low-fat diets (agriculturalists like the Hunza, the Japanese, etc.), but the common denominator was the relative absence of sugar and/or refined carbs. So the simplest possible hypothesis to explain the health of these populations is that they don’t eat these particularly poor quality carbohydrates, not that they did or did not eat high fat diets. Now the fact that some of these populations do have relatively high carb diets suggests that it’s the sugar that is the fundamental problem. Ultimately we can only guess at causes using this kind of observational evidence. To know anything with certainty we’d need the kind of randomized controlled trials I yearn for in the epilogue of GCBC.

What is your opinion on leptin in the grand scheme of obesity and fat storage?

I mostly ignore leptin in the book because I think leptin is primarily a signaling molecule and so a downstream effect. In other words, leptin is secreted from the fat cells; it doesn’t regulate directly the amount of fat that accumulates. Moreover, if the primary regulator of fat storage is insulin, which it is, and leptin is secreted in proportion to the amount of fat stored, which it is, then insulin has to regulate leptin.

Where leptin may play a primary role is in the liver. A few years ago Jeff Friedman of Rockefeller University published an article in Science showing that leptin down-regulates SCD-1 in the liver (the only place they looked), which worked in turn to increase oxidation of fatty acids. This makes sense homeostatically: if leptin is released in proportion to the fat accumulated then it is a signal of how much fat we have in reserve. So long as the mitochondria in our lean tissue and organs know that we have fat in reserve, they can continue to burn it without fear of systems failure should they run out of fuel completely. Leptin resistance would then work, like insulin resistance, to make us burn less fat and store more, while the rest of the body would have to rely on carbohydrates (blood sugar) for fuel.

In general, though, I’m interested in the cause of obesity and I don’t think discussing leptin adds much. Here’s what I say about this issue in afterward of the paperback edition of GCBC:

“Another variation on the can’t-possibly-be-so-simple argument that I have heard frequently since Good Calories, Bad Calories was published is the molecular biology theme. The last fifteen years, since the discovery of the hormone leptin in 1994, has seen obesity research become a sub-discipline of molecular biology. As a result, a search of the keyword “obesity” in the National Library of Medicine database will now identify over 100,000 relevant articles in the professional journals (nearly 20,000 review articles alone), a large proportion of which focus on the fruits of molecular biology research and the science of genomics.: It’s a burgeoning field with a cast of thousands, including the role of obesity-related gene variations known technically as polymorphisms, of signaling molecules with names like adiponectin, leptin and grhelin, of the receptors for those signaling molecules and the inhibitors for those molecules and inhibitors of the inhibitors, and so on. The obvious question is how can this research be so extraordinarily fruitful, and yet mostly irrelevant to the cause of obesity? It’s hard to imagine it’s not, and so, as I’ve frequently been told, any discussion of the cause of obesity that doesn’t discuss these molecules, receptors, inhibitors, etc. must be considered amateurish and woefully inadequate. The truth must be complicated.

“Again the counter-argument seems itself simple and straightforward: if you’re hit over the head with a hammer, it will cause both pain and inflammation. The mechanisms of pain and inflammation have also yielded up a wealth of knowledge to the tools efforts of the molecular biologists. These physiological phenomena are understood to be mediated via signaling pathways and molecules (in this case, prostaglandins, tumor-necrosis factors, etc.) that emerge in response to the damage done. The more researchers learn about these responses and the molecules involved, the more complex the pathway from hammer to pain and inflammation to healing will appear. But the relevant fact to all those immediately involved is that both the pain and ensuing inflammation were caused by the hammer and perhaps the person who swung it. Everything else is downstream and may be relevant only to the question of which drugs will best deal with the pain and perhaps accelerate the healing process. “

A number of questioners asked why you think it is more difficult to lose weight the second or third time around on a low-carb diet?  And why it seems more difficult to lose on low-carb with increasing age?

I’m curious whether this is in fact true. Another possibility is that it’s more difficult to lose weight on low-carb as we get older; that the carbs effectively do chronic damage to our tissue and so the longer we’ve been overweight or obese, the harder it is to lose weight. I can imagine a scenario in which the fat tissue becomes hypersensitive to the insulin we secrete, or the pancreas becomes hypersensitive to the carbs and secretes even more insulin, or the insulin resistance in the lean tissue becomes less tractable, and so the longer we remain fat, the more our fat tissue compensates when we restrict carbs. It’s also possible that repeated low carb dieting somehow exacerbates this process, but I’d want to see definitive studies (and on all this speculation) before I believed it.

Several people asked for a comment on any important studies that you may have left out of GCBC.

The issue isn’t leaving out studies so much as not wanting to get into the he-said, she-said game of quoting particular studies that support my preconceptions. In this business, you can always find studies that support a particular hypothesis, or at least seem to if you selectively interpret the data. So when I had to make a point about the efficacy of a particular treatment — exercise, for instance, or semi-starvation diets — used meta-analyses or Cochrane Collaboration systematic reviews, which are designed to minimize author bias, to make the general points. When I discussed the saturated fat/cholesterol/heart disease hypothesis in the first few chapters, I did indeed mention virtually every study and certainly every meaningful clinical trial, because I knew if I left anything out I would be accused of cherry picking the data (which, of course, I was anyway). I did omit much of the observational epidemiology on the nature of a healthy diet because I find it meaningless and impossible to interpret correctly, in part for the reasons I discussed above about the Asian diet issue.

When I cut the book down from the initial 400,000 word unfinished draft, a lot of what was removed were indeed the counter- and counter-counter arguments. For instance, obesity researchers will argue that obesity causes hyperinsulinemia, not the other way around. That way they can still say that obesity is caused by over-eating and once we get fat, that causes insulin resistance and jacks up insulin levels. I spent, literally, months writing a lengthy section explaining how this view came about and what the evidence actually did and did not demonstrate. Then when I realized the book had to shrink dramatically, and with the benefit of sage advice from my editor, I decided that it was unnecessary to explain why the mainstream researchers would disagree with my take and then spend yet more space explaining why they were wrong to disagree. One thing I did cut from the book that I regret was a section linking gout to fructose and uric acid, and discussing the history of gout and how it’s frequency in populations and socioeconomic groups paralleled the spread of sugar. Nobody had ever made that point before and I wanted to make it, considering that people have been speculating on what aspect of diet or lifestyle causes gout back to Hippocrates. Still, my friends rightly argued that when your book is a few hundred thousand words long, you can’t afford to keep a section about gout, even if a lot of people get gout these days and, of course, they’re more likely to get it if they’re overweight or obese. Along these lines Dan Harrington asked why his gout goes away on the Atkins diet and that’s my answer: no sugar, primarily, means no fructose and so no fructose-induced hyperuricemia. In other words, fructose raises uric acid levels and gout is caused by the elevated uric acid in the blood stream.

It is true that you can find studies in the literature that seem to contradict the hypotheses in GCBC but are not mentioned in the book, When Gina Kolata reviewed my book in the NY Times, she evoked a study by Jules Hirsch and Rudy Leibel, then both at Rockefeller, suggesting that nutrient composition of the diet has no effect on weight. As I explained in a letter to the Times, the study failed to refute the carbohydrate/insulin hypothesis of weight regulation for a variety of reasons — the subjects, for instance, could have gained as much as 15 pounds a year on one particular diet composition but not another, and the study would not have detected it. And the subjects, almost exclusively, were lean middle-aged individuals. What we’re interested in here, though, is why why people predisposed to obesity get fat, and that may not be something you can study in people who have remained lean into their 40s and 50s. Would Leibel and Hirsch have obtained a different result if they had used, say, obese subjects who had first been slimmed down by some kind of diet (Atkins or a starvation diet)? These types of subjects are considered pre-obese, since they’re so highly likely to go back to being obese. And if Leibel and Hirsch had used them, they might have found that they stay relatively lean on a low carb diet and put on weight easily on a high carb diet. Anyway, rather than get into this kind of too-and-fro in the book, I made the decision not to mention these types of ambiguous studies. I would like to think that had there been a single compelling study refuting the hypothesis — or better yet, two, since you’d like to see things replicated in science — I wouldn’t have written a different book.

What you think of a Slow Burn type of exercise and low-carb dieting?  Do you still stand by your notion that exercise doesn’t help people lose weight?

I haven’t looked into the science behind slow burn exercise (although I know Mike has) but I now do it regularly (with Fred Hahn in Manhattan at Mike’s recommendation) and it seems to be helping my lower back pain immensely. I can let you know next spring whether it helps my softball game, where my ability to hit with power has been deteriorating sadly with the advancing years. What fascinates me about it is the weird confluence of the desire for self-improvement with what seems to be deep-set sadomasochistic tendencies. It’s torture when you do it, and then you look forward to going back.

As for exercise, I do not believe that it causes long-term fat loss. I think it might be helpful in a weight loss program only because it gives you a kind of positive feedback that dieting per se does not. You can feel good after a work-out, while it’s hard to feel too good after a meal that didn’t include either the calories or the carbohydrates you preferred. On the other hand, since it does make you hungry — work up an appetite — I worry whether for some or even most people the psychological benefits could be counterbalanced by the drive to consume even more calories than you might have expended during the work-out.

Are you familiar with the work of Dr. Jan Kwasniewski, and, if so, what do you think of it?

I am not.

What kind of response have you gotten from the medical/scientific community about GCBC?

In general, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been ignored. If obesity researchers have read the book, they haven’t bothered to tell me. When GCBC was published we sent out 150 copies to obesity researchers, authors of obesity task force reports, foundations that fund obesity research, everyone at NIH who funds obesity research, etc. etc. I heard back from 3 or 4 thanking me for sending them the book. Two followed up to tell me they had read it. Some later told me outright that they didn’t have the time to read a 500 page book, and particularly so when they already know what I think because of the 2002 NYT Magazine article and don’t particularly agree. That said, I may be making some progress in getting people to pay attention.

Whenever I do hear from someone who is sympathetic, I ask them to try to set up a lecture at their institution. Often I ask them to contact other researchers they might know and get me lecturers at those institutions. Through this kind of networking, I’ve been invited to lecture at some of the more influential obesity research centers and at least some of those people have taken my arguments seriously. A few months ago, I heard from some contacts at the NIH, that I might be invited down to lecture to the nutrition coordinating committee at NIH, which would be a big step forward, but the fact that I haven’t heard anything since then (August) makes me pessimistic.

When I do give these lectures a common response that I get from nutritionists and obesity researchers, and one that I find profoundly disturbing, is that they find what I say interesting but don’t see it as anything they should think about further. In other words, they have their schtick (as my wife, an almost-academic calls it); whatever research they get their funding to pursue, and even though in theory we’re all in this to cure and prevent obesity and chronic diseases, their schtick may have nothing to do with my schtick. If they’re studying, say, genetic strains of obese rats or questionnaires to improve the accuracy of diet assessment in epidemiologic studies, what does that have to do with my argument that obesity is caused by carbohydrates? So they listen politely, ask a few intelligent questions (in an ideal world) and then go back to their research, because that’s how they make a living. They don’t say to themselves, I’m going to read Taubes’s book and, if I find it compelling, switch my research over to studying the efficacy of carbohydrate restriction. And even if they did, they wouldn’t get funding to do so because they’d have no track record in that field.

So, bottom line, at the moment is that I know of a handful, maybe as many as a dozen researchers, who find the arguments in the book compelling and are doing what they can, in their limited spare time, to help get the message out and maybe get us to the place where the hypotheses are taken seriously and are rigorously tested. The rest either don’t care or don’t know GCBC even exists or just think what I say is wrong and so not worth further discussion, either because they read the book or some of it and think its crap or because they think its crap based solely on what they know about me or heard about the book and so don’t have to read it.

What’s next?  Another book?

What am I doing next? As suggested by many readers, I am going to write a short, easy-to-read version of the weight section of GCBC. It won’t be a diet book — no recipes — but it will be far more of a self-help book than GCBC. I might also do a weightier (no pun intended) serious investigation into the sugar and corn syrup industries; their history, political influence, lobbying, etc — that would be interwoven with a more intensive look at the potential health effects of sugar and HFCS and fructose particularly. The first book will definitely be done; the second depends on getting the funding to do so. I’d also like to get back to straight science writing for a while, since I do enjoy writing about good science, which is how I started my career, and it would be a pleasant change from the mainstream nutrition and health nonsense.

How about a blog?

As for a blog, I just haven’t got the time at the moment, although I always hope that that will change in the future.

Many wrote that GCBC had changed their lives.  Can you think of a book that has changed your life?

Did any books change my life? Yes, All the President’s Men, by Woodward and Bernstein. I read it in my last year of college or my first year of graduate school and it made me decide that I wanted to be an investigative reporter rather than go to business or law school, which was the direction I seemed to be headed.

What do you know about Dr. Simeon’s HCG protocol?

Mostly nothing.

What led you to the idea that saturated fat doesn’t cause heart disease?

It was a progression of steps. Back in the late 90s, I was reporting a story for Science on the salt-hypertension controversy and one of the worst scientists I ever interviewed (and having written a book about cold fusion, Bad Science, I had interviewed quite a few terrible scientists) took credit not just for getting Americans to eat less salt, but getting them to eat less eggs, meat and butter, too. I literally got off the phone with this guy and called my editor at Science and said, “when I’m done writing about salt, I’m going to do a story on dietary fat. I don’t know what the story is, but if this guy was involved in any substantive way, I know there’s a story to be done.” So that’s what I did. I finished the salt story and then spent a year working on the fat story, which was published in Science.

The story made the point that there was virtually no evidence that a low-fat diet prevented heart disease, but let open a window for saturated fat having some deleterious effect. Then a couple of years later, I was reporting the New York Times Magazine story that would become “What If It’s All A Big Fat Lie?”, when I heard about these five clinical trials comparing low-fat, calorie-restricted diets to Atkins diets. Since the Atkins diet is a high-fat, high saturated fat diet and it improved cholesterol profiles in all these trials, that pretty much clinched it. I’ve been arguing since that these diet trials have to be perceived as tests of the hypothesis that saturated fat is a “bad” fat, although the medical establishment still prefers to ignore that fact.

Is there anything new or updated in the paperback version of GCBC or is it the same as the hardback?

It’s the same as the hardback, but there is a 3000 word (or thereabouts) afterward that’s worth reading.

I tried to come up with a selection of questions that represented the majority of questions asked.  I know that some went unanswered, but when Gary agreed to do this I promised him that he wouldn’t have to answer an exhaustive list that would require days of time.  So, I’m sorry if any specific question went unanswered, and I hope you understand.  Thanks to everyone for the terrific response.

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

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97 thoughts on “Gary Taubes responds

  1. great responses Mr. Taubes,

    really enjoyed your book, 10 months since the start of an ultra-low carb diet and im enjoying the fruits of my success. i took great pains to get checked out by my doctor, blood profiles and all which were improved greatly and discussed w/ her in great detail about my diet change and my results might be duplicated in others who failed at low-fat options. i recommended your book to her and did my small part to promote what i firmly believe is a healthier way to eat, but its up to each individual to decide i guess.

    thanks again.

  2. I’ll bet slow burn will help Gary’s softball, it certainly made this 52 year old’s skiing and occaisional surfing escapades easier.

    Gary is right about strength training = torture, In order to maximize the benefit, slow burn or otherwise, it apparently has to be intense. When strength training folks say intense, what they really mean is painful. Deeply searingly painful.

    I guess you can weight train without that pain and get some benefit. But if you want it all, you must make your sacrifice to the pain gods. A cruel and heartless bunch, those pain gods.

    But I dont think this pain thing is exclusive to slow burn style training. The serious weight lifters I see at the gym using other methods at the gym are getting their share of pain too. At least in slowburn, it only lasts a minute per exercise, and after 8 or 9 exercises you’re done, no need to shower or even change clothes.

  3. You changed my life, Mr. Taubes, and almost certainly extended it. Thank you — an inadequate phrase, but what else can I say.

    I’ll mention as encouragement for others (you don’t need to hear this) that as soon as I stopped eating starch and sugar and began to eat more saturated fat, my appetite shrank and my body started to use up decades of stored fat. The fat disappeared naturally without any dieting and then my appetite came back. Now, after six months, my waist has shrunk from 37″ to 31″. I’m a 55 year old man and five foot eleven.

    In addition my mood has become more even; my sleep improved; my joint pain stopped; cranky food cravings disappeared; my varicose veins improved; and a bothersome lipoma has become so small that I can’t feel it.

    In addition I think my skin tags have stopped growing and that a nasal polyp has shrunk, although not enough time has passed to be sure.

    Science is a wonderful thing and I look forward to the results of more research. But from the visible effects on my own body alone, without looking at any science, it seems pretty clear that this is a far healthier diet than the ones most Americans eat.

    The skin tags are an interesting finding. Some work has been done showing that skin tags are a manifestation of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. I would be curious to hear if they continue to stop growing and maybe even go away.

  4. Thank you for the thoughtful answers. I should have thought to ask about your investigative methods, as well. I’m a financial journalist and find it takes enough time just to interview 20+ people for a given story, but you interview hundreds. How do you organize all the data in a meaningful way so that you’re not merely left with a giant clump of notes? Is there a method that keeps you from having to extensively study your own note taking? I’m guessing you won’t answer this, but you’re one of the most diligent journalists I know, so the question is in earnest.

  5. In response to mrfreddy – I’ve been doing Slow Burn strength training à la Fred Hahn at a gym for about 15 months and it’s never been painful. Yes you have to work very hard, but If it’s painful then you’re not doing Slow Burn right from what I understand. I love it. I’m 55 years old and have osteoporosis and I’m very proud of how well I’m doing. I go to the gym twice a week to do my program – the weight I’m moving with the leg press machine is now 90 kilos, that’s nearly 200 pounds ! It isn’t painful ! Just hard and satisfying work :-)


  6. thanks so much for taking the time to do this gentlemen, it’s very much appreciated. wanted to comment on the question/answer as to why low carb is harder the second or third time around. gary’s answer intrigued me as this is my third time on low carb and it’s by far the most successful. the first two times i tried this (once in my late twenties and once in my mid thirties…i’m now in my late forties) i had no problem switching from high carb to low carb, lost about 10 pounds but never lost anymore and never felt particularly well. this time (in my late forties) i experienced close to a month of “induction flu” with chills, lethargy, mood swings, headaches and cravings. during that time i lost almost 15 pounds. when the “flu” broke, my energy soared, my head cleared and i’ve been happily low carbing ever since with a fairly steady weight loss of about 0-2 pounds per week. other than my age, the only difference this time is that i eat NO low carb products and all my animal protein comes from grass fed meats, pastured poultry and wild fish. on the very rare occasion that i choose to eat a sweet, it’s a bite or two of a real dessert and that’s it. i don’t know if that’s whats made the difference but i can honestly say low carbing got much easier for me on the third attempt!

  7. Brilliant interview! Unfortunately GCBC never appeared in Aussie bookshop I’ve visited (not even under its Pommy alias “The Diet Delusion”). Our experts still rabbit on about low fat/lo cal. It’s pathetic.

    Anyway, more power to Gary Taubes to fight the good fight.

    Irrelevant section: last week the wife and I attended a concert in Ashkenazy’s Elgar festival. Marvelous. (Violin Conc, P&C 1&2, Enigma.) Which reminds me of this You Tube clip of Elgar conducting THE TUNE from Pomp & Circumstance 1. Made in 1931 at the inauguration of the Abbey Road Studios. The glimpse of the recording technology of the time is fascinating. Elgar’s only gave this speech: “….You play this tune as though you’ve never heard it before.”

    That was 77 years ago, almost to the day:

    Michael Richards

    I hope they played his Cello concerto, which is one of my favorite pieces of music. Here is Jacqueline Du Pre playing the 1st movement.

    Can’t you get GCBC through Amazon and have it shipped? I get books from the UK that way all the time. Just got a recent shipment, in fact. The shipping is kind of pricey, but, hey, it’s worth it to get the good info.

  8. Great responses Gary. If you want, I am ready to join an army of crusaders and chain myself to the NIH campus and eat only fatty red meat until they agree to your demands that you set forth in the epilogue.

    Also, what do you think of a multi-million dollar proposition offer made against any low-fat researchers. You can escrow money into an interest bearing account and have a panel of judges determine which diet was the healthiest after the research has concluded. If anything, this might drag lots of attention to your cause.

  9. Hi Anne,

    sounds like your doing great, however, if I were a weight training coach, I might suggest that you might try bumping up the weights on that leg press to, say 220 and see if you dont feel the “sear” on about the 3rd or 4th rep… However, I am just a twit in the internet, so, you know, proceed at your own risk!

  10. Regarding the earlier skin tag comment by Robert Sacks – I also feel that my skin tags have decreased since starting low-carb last year. I still get a few little lumps but nothing like I used to get. Mine were always located somewhere between the middle of my neck and my armpits. I used to not wear necklaces because the chains would catch on those skin tags, and that smarts a little.

    Dr. Mike, do you know of any relationship between skin tags and moles? Skin tags always seemed like tiny skinny moles to me.

    Also, regarding 2nd and 3rd attempts at using low-carb – my first serious dieting attempt was the Zone diet, and I lost around 15 lbs in 3 months and looked great. 2nd attempt (after gaining 20 lbs eating junk) a few years later was Atkins, which I hated due to serious, constant carb cravings and I didn’t lose any weight either (I only lasted 3 weeks). However, I noticed that mood swings related to hunger had disappeared – it was almost like taking a tranquilizer!

    3rd attempt a few years later (after gaining an additional 30 lbs) has been with PP. I’ve lost about 15 lbs, and the carb cravings weren’t nearly as bad as with Atkins, BUT I usually ate around 50g carbs a day, even at the beginning, so I think that helped me stick with it so well this time (that, and a blood sugar monitor, and a greater awareness of my family history of diabetes). I’ve stalled, though, for a year, and it’s frustrating. Why would I lose weight at first, a nice steady 1 lb/week, then stop? However, I still get comments – “you’ve lost weight!” even though the scale is not reading any differently, and the clothes don’t seem to fit differently – but I do look skinnier than I did when the stall first started. I’m confused about the weight loss! Thank goodness for the other benefits – better sleep, better skin/hair/nails, significantly reduced mood/blood sugar swings, greater between-meal endurance, no more heartburn, eating fat and meat without guilt, and knowing that I am not following in the footsteps of my diabetic relatives.

    Skin tags are a different animal than moles even though they sometimes might look a little alike. Skin tags never become malignant whereas moles can.

    Glad to hear your doing better this time around on the low-carb diet.

  11. Thanks you Gary and Dr Eades. I look forward to buying and reading the layman’s version of GCBC. It will be a more powerful tool of conviction because of its, hopefully, more accessible content even if however reduced it may be. Sometime a simple message is better than a complete message.

  12. I would be interested to read the Science salt/hypertension article from the 1990s. Is there a link? Or could I buy it from the Science web site? Pertinent details like name of article, exact date, etc? Many thanks.

    Here is a link to the article. Enjoy.

  13. First I want to thank Dr Eades and Gary Taubes for answering our questions and offering their opinions.

    Regarding Gary’s view on leptin, I both agree and disagree. Everything factual Gary said about leptin is true, but he’s missing some of the picture here.

    Insulin controls leptin, fact. Glucose metabolism in cells stimulate leptin secretion. This is why leptin is a good predictor of insulin levels, as insulin levels relate to glucose metabolism. Fatty acids inhibit leptin secretion by decreasing glucose uptake/oxidation.

    Fat tissue itself secrets leptin, and insulin controls that.

    Leptin exerts an effect on the liver, fact. During the study my glucose was often 60s and 70s. Off leptin my glucose is 70s and 80s. Leptin plays a tremendous role in metabolism, far greater than its effect on appetite.

    Where I disagree is the statement that leptin is exclusively under control of insulin and just a downstream effect of insulin (therefore only insulin is relevant).

    I also disagree that fat mass absolutely relates to leptin, implication being that if fat mass is minimal leptin is sufficient always (and only insulin controls this by controlling fat mass).

    First of all it is untrue that leptin correlates with fat mass absolutely. In a general way, yes increasing fat mass increases leptin, but it’s actually a lot more complicated than that. It is repeatedly demonstrated in studies that post weight reduced obese people have extremely low leptin levels, far lower than matched controls. That is to say, a given weight reduced obese person will have a level of leptin that would be expected of a much thinner person, and the greater the weight loss, the greater the leptin deficit. There is a lot of individual variation in how extreme the leptin deficit will be. I believe this is because the obese have more fat cells than those who were never obese, sometimes many times more, as a result of hyperinsulinemia, and the obese will always be leptin deficient after successful weight reduction Fat cells are always smaller even if fat mass is identical to a non-weight reduced control. The small fat cell will not produce leptin normally until it is restored (i.e. fat mass is increased). Why do fat people have more fat cells? Increasing insulin excessively, especially during critical developmental periods, makes fat cells grow in number, almost like to a tumor.
    This (rather than oft-cited “carb/food addiction”) is quite possibly why weight reduction is so hard. Lowering insulin shrinks the fat cell. It does not kill the fat cell. A low carb and cal diet can reduce insulin, get fat out of fat cells… but it does not kill fat cells, so fat cells remain hypotrophic and do not produce leptin normally, even if total fat mass appears “healthy” by charts and BMI range and body fat analysis.

    Because of the metabolic changes induced by hypotrophic fat tissue, the obese person is actually starving on a cellular level, even if they appear normal weight or even overweight.

    This is a problem. I’m sure a whole lot more than leptin is responsible for the “post weight loss starvation response” , because not all of it responds to leptin replacement (for example, the RQ, which is respiratory quotient, a measure of metabolic rate, does not return to normal after leptin replacement in post-weight reduced people). However it is true that almost all major changes that occur in the “post weight loss starvation response” do respond very well to leptin, so leptin plays a tremendous role in controlling these things.

    Even if we ignore all of the health and well being issues associated with deficient leptin, and only focus on leptin as it pertains to weight balance, deficient leptin sets the stage for excessive insulin. This is because insulin controls leptin but it is also true that leptin controls insulin. When you are leptin deficient, your metabolism changes. You make too much glucose, you have low thyroid function, you respond to carbohydrate with excess insulin production because of these.

    Furthermore, when leptin deficient the part of your brain that feels satisfied with food does not work. You are very preoccupied with food, it’s ironically similar to the way high insulin/glucose is (perhaps that’s because high triglycerides block leptin expression in the brain?). This is going to increase craving for all food, especially foods that raise insulin well (because the body wants to raise insulin, because raising insulin rasies leptin, and the cycle eventually terminates in a hypothetical natural environment… in the modern environment the cycle does not terminate because the food we eat raise insulin / triglycerides and prevent sufficient leptin from working properly among other reasons).

    So, it’s absolutely correct insulin controls leptin, but leptin also controls insulin.

    Why do people fall off the low carb wagon after success? Off hand we dismiss it as carb addiction. Having been a massive weight reduced person, I know that a big contribution to failure to maintain a low carb diet after massive weight loss has a whole lot to do with leptin deficiency. It’s not leptin resistance, because I have had my leptin tested and it was extremely low. I have taken replacement and responded very well.

    Uh… too much info/opinion…

    I just want to say I agree with everything factual Gary said, none of it isn’t true, but his perspective and interpretation of that information is simply not right. I know from my own personal experience! I am by no means underweight, my BMI is 20, my body fat is always 20-25, but prior to the study my leptin was the level you would expect of someone who was starving. This is a consistent finding in weight reduced people (extremely low leptin at body fats that should be producing much more compared to controls).
    I can tell you having experienced leptin deficiency and leptin replacement that deficient leptin plays a major role in the high recidivism rates in treatment for obesity.
    It also plays a role in the commonly observed effect of becoming fatter after dieting. Low leptin makes your metabolism diabetic-like, it also makes you want to binge. Binging + glucose intolerance = lots of insulin = new fat cell growth (hyperplasia) = new higher minimum body fat level.

  14. Michael,

    regarding this Slow Burn thing — I had never heard of it until just now, so I read this short synopsis on your site.

    How would you contrast this with the Maffetone/Lydiard aerobic basebuilding? (The Maffetone Method is a good book for the casual exerciser). Basically, you force even a fast runner to run at very low heart rate (believe me, it’s excruciatingly slow at first) until you learn to burn fat for fuel, essentially by increasing the proportion of slow twitch (aerobic) fiber? There are lots of anecdotes about the stopping of knee problems, exhaustion, bonking, etc that typically accompany no-pain-no-gain running &c when an aerobic base is built using low-heart-rate methods. This is not to be confused with “aerobic exercise” where you run like hell until you collapse. One should about feel like they could do it (the exercise) again when they stop.

    This is a pretty well respected method among runners and triathletes, with the well-known benefit of reducing injury, especially for the casual runner. The sad part is it takes a long time to build up aerobic capacity to where one becomes a competitive runner, but this is not really unexpected after years of neglect.

    I am entirely unfamiliar with the Maffetone/Lydiard method. I had never heard of it until this comment. I hate to comment one way or another on something I know nothing about, so I’ll wait until I’ve had the time to research it.

  15. Thank you, Gary. Thank you so much for your book. It is life changing and life saving. I plan to give the paperback out to friends and family as Christmas presents.

  16. Is sea salt better than regular table salt, or is there no difference?

    In my opinion sea salt is infinitely better than table salt for reasons too numerous to get into in a response to a comment.

  17. In my opinion sea salt is infinitely better than table salt for reasons too numerous to get into in a response to a comment.

    I’d never heard this before, but hearing it from you, I believe it.

    Any chance of a post on why, and if there’s a particular source for the sea salt you prefer?

    I like Celtic sea salt, which can be purchased at most natural grocers.

    It’s probably worth a post at some point.

  18. Hi mrfreddy,

    With Slow Burn strength training you increase the weight you lift by very small increments, say one or two pounds, you never increase by 20 pounds in one go and so you never hurt yourself. I’m talking about the Slow Burn technique that Gary Taubes is using, he’s using the Fred Hahn technique. Dr Mike Eades has a link to Fred Hahn’s Slow Burn on this page….have a look and see the difference in it from what you’re talking about.

    all the best, in strength,

  19. Sea salt is indeed infinitely better that table salt. Perhaps most importantly, sea salt contains many trace minerals that have been stripped from table salt. Not for nothing, but sea salt doesn’t even cost much more than table salt. Of course, some brands are far more expensive than others. The sea salt i use comes from France. I often add a pinch of sea salt to warm water to replace electrolytes. I find this practice particularly helpful after engaging in sports.

  20. Thank you Gary and Dr Mike. I appreciate your feedback. I was, of course, disappointed that you did not pursue gender differences. Since most women have subcutaneous fat and most men have abdominal fat (you have said this many time Dr Mike), I should think that there would be significant differences in the mechanisms of weight loss, weight regain, as a result of the type of body fat. I would also think there might be differences in Leptin function, role and type of exercise etc etc. Most of the studies tend to lump men and women using BMI and do not separate their analysis by fat type and distribution or body type (pears or apples).

    Gary, you have said something about the role of fructose in weight gain, that it is a significant or even critical carbohydrate. I would like to hear more about this. I know for example that the 4th food group for women is chocolate and for men is salt. (This is from a study of successful versus unsuccessful dieters and their cravings.) Since the chocolate is usually sweetened by fructose, it would make sense that cravings post weight loss for women would include fructose and therefore a rapid weight gain. I would surely like to see some research looking at the gender differences and fructose consumption.

    I look forward to reading your post script in the paperback version of GCBC. Thanks again.

    For what it’s worth, I believe that as both sexes age, both tend to gain abdominal or visceral fat. As such, both can be treated much the same. But it is important to consider the sex hormones involved. It’s been my experience that women – even women with considerable visceral fat – have a tougher time losing without getting their sex hormones (the various forms of estrogen) regulated.

  21. Thanks so much for the question and answer session. I’ve really enjoyed it.

    I am now going zero carb. Mostly meat, fat and water and it is amazing how cravings for any carbs just go away. Giving up wheat of all kinds was the hardest for me because I am a bread fanatic. But, without it I have no more aches and pains in my joints. Woohoo!

  22. Dr Mike, even though Gary hasn’t had a chance to answer my question, I still have a golden opportunity to have my questions answered by you. I appreciate your answers and value your opinion more then anyone. I wouldnt have it any other way!!!

  23. Dr Mike, I loved your Low Carb CookWoRx series, is there any future plan to have more cooking episodes on PBS?

    Not at this point, not with PBS at least. The rights to this series are held by PBS at this point – after the first of the year, they revert to us. We’ll probably try to sell them to another network or cable outlet. If so, we may be asked to produce some more episodes.

  24. In my own experience and that of hundreds of people who have posted their experience with the low carb diet on the discussion boards and groups I have read over the years, there is indeed a “beginners luck” phenomenon that occurs the first time a person switches to a low carb diet that does NOT ever happen again.

    During that first low carb diet surprising amounts of weight drop off during the first six weeks and the person can often lose while eating a lot more calories than they could tolerate were they not in a ketogenic state. But once the body adapts to being in a ketogenic state, this stops and calories, once again, count.

    Those who use the low carb diet to control blood sugar find this to be true, too, and many report never losing any more weight after the first few weeks, even when their blood sugars stay normal for years on the diet.

    This doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to lose weight on a low carb diet a second or third time, only that the weight loss will be slower and most importantly, much more linked to caloric intake.

    The first time a person goes into ketosis the metabolism often seems to be taken by surprise and it burns off a lot more fat. But if a person has spent some time in a ketogenic state the body becomes accustomed to it, and at least in my on case, the metabolism seems to switch into a state where it is much more sparing of fat.

    This makes sense as an evolutionary adaptation to fluctuating food supplies. If famine is cyclic the person whose body is able to slow the metabolism until more food is available is going to have the advantage. The body that is in a ketogenic state may well think it is starving, as ketone production is characteristic of true famine, too. So to save your life the metabolism downregulates.

    This adaptation to low carbing by those who have done it for long periods of time, gone off it, and then returned has been reported by too many people to be ignored. The first low carb diet is a golden opportunity and it is a good idea to know that you will never again drop pounds with that kind of wild abandon so that you don’t tell yourself, “Well, if I regain some weight, I can just get it all off like I did this time.”

    Finally, in response to a an earlier posting, a “low carb diet” that includes the so-called “low carb diet foods” is not a low carb diet. Sorry folks, but my blood sugar meter has been telling me that for a decade. If you are eating maltitol or glycerin/glycerol and the modified starches, you are not eating a low carb diet. Those substances raise your insulin after they are digested. They digest more slowly than other carbs do, but when they finally digest you use insulin to remove them from the blood stream and that works against weight loss. I don’t make insulin after eating, so I get to see what these supposed “low carb” foods do to blood sugar, and trust me, it isn’t pretty.

    So if your “low carb” diet had you eating maltitol or glyerine, it wasn’t your “first low carb diet.”

  25. Howdy Anne,

    dont want to hijack this comments thread too much, but I wasnt really serious about bumping up the weight that much.

    I know about Fred’s technique – read the book and have been training his studio for the past two years. All that said, I’m no expert and not a personal trainer, so please dont take what I say too seriously.

    That said, here’s my understanding: If you are using safe equipment, and using good form, the weight should be heavy enough to cause a good deal of muscle pain before you reach failure. It certainly does for me. Bad pain would be of course doing anything that damages your joints, tendons, etc. – from using bad equipment, lifting in unsafe manner, etc.

  26. …another possibility is that it’s more difficult to lose weight on low-carb as we get older; that the carbs effectively do chronic damage to our tissue and so the longer we’ve been overweight or obese, the harder it is to lose weight. I can imagine a scenario in which the fat tissue becomes hypersensitive to the insulin we secrete, or the pancreas becomes hypersensitive to the carbs and secretes even more insulin, or the insulin resistance in the lean tissue becomes less tractable, and so the longer we remain fat, the more our fat tissue compensates when we restrict carbs…

    – Dr. Mike, so I understand from Gary’s answer that there’s not yet any definitive science to prove or disprove the anecdotal evidence of the growing-difficulty-to-lose-weight-with age, which is certainly true in my own and my husband’s case (compared to our young son who lost a lot of weight very easily).
    Then can you please think of something we could do for now, until science catches up? Is there such a thing? It’s a story of a full year’s stall now, for two people in their late fifties on a very low carb diet; with no loss of weight, just welcome improvement in blood lipids. Any practical ideas we might try for budging the stubborn pounds?

    Try going on low-calories protein shakes for a day or two to get the weight loss rolling, then go back to your regular low-carb and see what happens. There are a lot of old papers in the medical literature that discuss the ‘dynamic phase’ of obesity, which is the phase during which weight is being gained or lost at a fairly rapid clip. Based on my experience with a lot of patients, I think there is something to this. It seems that when people start losing, they don’t have a lot of trouble continuing to lose. But when they stop losing and enter what the old papers refer to as the ‘static phase,’ it’s tough to get them going again. I’ve found that if I started my patients who were stuck on a really low-calorie, protein-shake low-carb diet that they began to lose again, and then could go back to a whole-food low-carb diet.

    Just to make sure you’re not overeating on a low-carb diet, read this post and this one and this one if you haven’t already.

  27. Hi! I have a question about exercise induced tachycardia. I am fully aware it is very hard to answer specific medical question on line, but for the sake of general information only are there any ways to lower the heart rate post aerobic exercise? I started walking and low carbing about 6 months ago. At times I can walk about 4 to 10 miles around gold park at normal pace with no problem. But sometimes my heart rate starts speeding up in the 150 range, especially after a moderate meal. I am relatively healthy 36 year old, and 5”9 I weigh about 220 pounds, which is not exactly sex symbol. I started incorporating fast walking/ jogging on a treadmill as well. Sometimes I will exercise and my heart stays withing acceptable range, and then all of a sudden starts racing uncontrollably and I have to stop due to hyperventilation. I did full cardiac evaluation and everything is fine. From integrative medicinal point of view or from your own experience is there a way to calm a racing heart during or post physical activity or is it simply low exercise tolerance and I need to take it easy and build up resistance? I also do not fully exclude anxiety at this point too. Just wanted to know general ways to calm the racing heart outside of being in supine position and counting stars as my girlfriend recommended! Actually, she first recommended laying down and think of her, but that surely didn’t help! Thanks!

    It looks like you’ve covered all the bases. First step is a cardio workup, which you have done. That pretty much leaves anxiety as a cause. Once during a first aid class when I was training to be a fireman (don’t ask) and I was learning to take a pulse, I sat and ran my own pulse to about 160 by just worrying about it. As I would sit through a lecture, I would feel my own pulse, and before I knew it my heart was racing. I got over it when we got to the actual training part of the course (as opposed to the lecture part) and I quit taking my pulse every 15 minutes and worrying about it.

    A technique to stop a racing pulse (which I didn’t know at that time) is to press on the carotid arteries. Another is to do a valsalva maneuver. Another trick ER doctors use to slow a rapidly beating heart believe it or not is to stick a finger up the patients rear end. That procedure stimulates the vagus nerve, which slows the heart. It’s not really recommended to do on oneself in public, however, for obvious reasons.

  28. Thank you very much for this unique opportunity! And thanks for picking my question as one that was representative (usually I’m NOT with the herd).

    For mr. freddy, about his Slow Burn workout:
    I’m 34 and my muscles burn at the time I’m lifting, and maybe are a little sore the next few days, but nothing unbearable. I’m doing the home version since I live in the wrong Manhattan.
    Maybe it’s an age/sex thing?

  29. I had the same experience with skin tags; they started going away about a year ago when I got serious about low carb, after reading GCBC.

  30. No, I honestly didn’t think the “what if you had liposuction, would it change glucose/insulin/cravings” question would get answered. I’m sure you all thought it was a silly question.

    But let me ask again: What if the stomach fat disappeared by unnatural causes (liposuction), this not being the visceral fat, would cravings shrink, would insulin response change?

    There are thousands of (mostly) women who would volunteer for this study. And you gentlemen, who perhaps cast this question aside so quickly, might be astounded by the answer.

    Actually if you were to have your stomach fat disappear via liposuction, your insulin resistance would be worse. Why? Because liposuction gets rid of subcutaneous fat, and subcutaneous fat doesn’t cause insulin resistance. Insulin resistance is driven by visceral fat, that fat within the abdominal are and around the organs, and this fat is untouchable by liposuction. The body’s natural repository for fat is the subcutaneous fat – this is normal fat. It’s not particularly attractive, but it’s also not unhealthy. It’s the natural place for the body to store excess calories. Only after these subcutaneous depositories are full does the body begin sticking excess fat into the viscera and other areas that fat shouldn’t be.

    When you get liposuction, you reduce the body’s capacity for normal fat storage, which means that the body is left with no alternative but to store fat in unnatural places, i.e., the viscera, and cause more insulin resistance. Is this all speculation on my part? No. There are a number of studies showing this phenomenon.

  31. “What do you know about Dr. Simeon’s HCG protocol?”

    “Mostly nothing.”

    I wish you (either of you) did.

    Dr. Mike mentions above about those in particular who have difficulty losing weight, women, and imbalanced hormones. You wrote (Dr. Mike): “It’s been my experience that women – even women with considerable visceral fat – have a tougher time losing without getting their sex hormones (the various forms of estrogen) regulated.” ~ I was on bio identicals for a great deal of time, and following PP faithfully, still, loss was very slow. I recently was introduced to HCG used for weightloss and a very low calorie, very much low carb specific food plan for phases of time (23 to 40 days), and it’s falling off…and my own overall hormonal situation is improved greatly.

    Hcg and used in conjunction to this specific diet as written by Dr. Simeon, is promoted to open up the pathway to the hypothalamus and endocrine system and ‘reset’ them. Is has, thus far, worked for me as written.

    I’ll make it a point to read up on this in the near future so that I can comment intelligently.

  32. Hi again mrfreddy,

    I suppose the trouble is our definition of pain then ? For me working my muscles to the point of failure isn’t painful, just jolly hard work. But then my definition of pain is not yours and therein lies a problem. For example, last year I had a colonsocopy without sedation or pain relief which most patients would have (I hate sedation), the gastro doc told me that most patients would be “up the wall” but I tolerated it fine – painful yes, but not painful enough for me to need anything. So maybe when I lift 200 pounds in the leg press, which is nearly twice my own weight, it hurts but not enough for me to consider it anything more than hard work…or maybe men are wimps 😉 😉

    all the best,

  33. Thank you for the Q & A with Gary!

    I made the switch to whole salts (gray, pink or Real Salt) a few years ago, and now table salt literally doesn’t taste as good. It lacks richness and has a flat flavor. Just another benefit in addition to the trace minerals, etc. Last year I gave it as a X-mas gift along with a salt cellar.

    On the salt note, I have been so disturbed by the media lately (big surprise) in regards to the reporting on why children are getting kidney stones. I heard the lead-in to the “news” story and perked up my ears, only to be subjected to yet another admonition to “eat less salt” and “drink more water.”

    With the invention of selling water in bottles, I’d think that American children drink much more water than we did as children. Mine do–they can’t sit through a movie, or go for a car ride without their water bottles (stainless steel). I don’t ever remember drinking that much water! I know that I’m speaking purely anecdotally, yet it seems like another case of the given reasons not matching my perceptions.

    Any comments?


  34. Thanks for a very interesting post! I have recently ordered GCBC from Amazon and had it shipped to Melbourne, Australia, so for that reader who commented earlier, this is definitely do-able. The only catch is that most of my Amazon orders seem to take at least a couple months – but hey, it certainly is worth it! I guess I can use those months to catch up on the rest of my library :-) but really can’t wait to read GCBC.

    Mr Eades, I remain, as always a huge fan, and thank-you for the frequent inspiration toward my own blogging.

    Hi Kat–

    I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.



  35. OK – I have read Protein Power and adopted this program – and am in the process of reading GCBC. I have been reading this blog for a few months.

    However, I have a fundamental problem with the response that Gary Taubes provided regarding the benefits of exercise. Lower weight and disease prevention is important, but I truly believe that maintaining/increasing muscular strength is key to independent living for a longer portion of your lifespan.

    Once you begin to lose muscular strength it is a downward spiral. If you can’t get up from a chair, or carry groceries, or climb stairs, then you are doomed to require assistance from others. If ‘others’ are not there, it is off to an assisted living facility for you. That is scary and something that we all want to avoid.

    I have not read this Slow Strength program (but I will). I currently practice the Crossfit program – which focuses on short duration workouts but with high intensity, not slowness. I am profoundly happy with the amount of lean muscle and increased strength that I have achieved along with all of the other health benefits.

    I would be very interested in further discussion on exercise methods and benefits.

    You’re misunderstanding what Gary says. He doesn’t say that there is no benefit to exercise. In fact, he makes the case that there is substantial benefit to exercise. What he says is that exercise has never been shown to be of benefit for weight loss. Not health. Weight loss. The data just doesn’t show it. Exercise has a multitude of other benefits however.

  36. Jenny, of course you make insulin, or either you’re injecting it. We can’t live without insulin.

    I’m actually surprised that Mr. Taubes isn’t familiar with Dr Kwasniewski’s work.

  37. I know you are careful about giving medical advice, so I am going to ask for your thoughts about a hypothetical person. If this hypothetical person has HDL=88 and Triglycerides=40, could this person have a Total Cholesterol number or an LDL number that would cause you concern, or are his or her hypothetical HDL/Tri numbers so good that you wouldn’t care how high the Total or LDL was?

    Thanks. (Really, not hypothetically.)

    I pretty much wouldn’t care what the total cholesterol and LDL numbers were. Remember, the lipid hypothesis is just that: a hypothesis. There is no hard evidence that total cholesterol numbers matter much at all.

  38. Just a word on the discussion about how women seem to have more difficulty losing than men… a lot of evidence suggests females are far more sensitive to leptin deficiency than are males.

    The sex hormones actually affect leptin levels. Testosterone decreases leptin, and the higher the testosterone the lower leptin will be. On the other hand, estrogen production actually increases leptin, and it makes leptin receptors in the brain.

    Leptin is very important for both genders but it is entirely possible females are much more dependent on leptin than men are. Testosterone seems to replace a lot of leptin’s effects. The female sex may have evolved to strongly resist any weight loss, by tying estrogen and leptin so closely together. You need leptin to make estrogen, and you need estrogen for leptin to work. There is no major feedback/relationship between testosterone and leptin. Leptin deficiency will only slightly lower a man’s testosterone whereas it will make a woman totally infertile and markedly hypoestrogen (google “hypothalamic amenorrhea”).

    I think this explains well why women seem to have more difficulty in maintenance whereas men who have lost weight, even 100+ pounds, usually don’t report the same difficulties/fatigue/hunger/resurgence of cravings that women do after weight loss.

  39. @Kat Eden

    it’s funny, my copy of GCBC that I ordered on Amazon didn’t come from the US as I would have expected, but was sent from New Zealand. It needed only 1 week to get to North-East France from there. One would expect that sending from New zealand to Australia was faster.

  40. Thanks, Gary and Dr. Mike, for your time in responding to all these questions.

    I’m curious about the HCG. One commenter said:

    “Hcg and used in conjunction to this specific diet as written by Dr. Simeon, is promoted to open up the pathway to the hypothalamus and endocrine system and ‘reset’ them. Is has, thus far, worked for me as written.”

    And then Dr. Mike said:

    “I’ll make it a point to read up on this in the near future so that I can comment intelligently.”

    Now I’ll ask . . .

    Isn’t this what the Women to Women Center is Maine is pushing? Human growth hormone (nasal spray in their case), a cyclic approach to calories (though VERY low most times), and promoted by Gary Trudeau?

    They claim great success, but is it really valid? Definitely expensive.


    Hey Kathy–

    I don’t know what it is that they’re pushing. If it’s the latest from Kevin Trudeau, then I do think it’s the HCG deal. But, I don’t really know.



  41. LowCarber,

    You didn’t read my posting closely. I said I don’t produce insulin at meal times, and I don’t. I have an unusual genetic form of diabetes where my beta cells don’t secrete insulin in response to rising blood sugars but are able to secrete basal insulin. Over time, that basal secretion will lower my blood sugars. I inject insulin at meal times if I eat more than 10 g of slow carb.

    People who are interested in learning more about the different phases of insulin secretion can read up about them on my web site at this page: How Blood Sugar Control Deteriorates.

  42. I want to thank you both for attempting to change the system. Low carb has changed my life and much of the impetus was from Mr.Taubes article, “What if it’s all been a big fat lie?” I have been disabled many years and never imagined I could actually lose weight without exercise and going hungry. I thought I had a healthy diet, I followed the government’s pyramid directives, but my cholesterol and triglycerides were frighteningly high. I started low carb out of desperation to just quit gaining weight. Five years later and a hundred pounds lighter (and still losing) with perfect blood lipids and my health has improved. I understand you not wanting to take up the crusade, but thank you for planting the seeds.

    Hi Cindy–

    Congrats on a job well done! I love to hear stories like yours. Keep after it.



  43. Dr. E,

    Thank you for your kind response to the liposuction question. It makes total sense.

    That said, how low should the low-calorie shakes be to restart weight loss from a stall?

    Here is the recipe we use for our own protein shakes:

    6 oz water
    1.5-2 scoops protein powder (low-carb)
    1 ounce coconut milk or half and half
    cup of ice cubes
    flavoring (sugar free) to taste
    blend in blender.

    Figures out to about 200-300 kcal per shake. If you consume a couple per day and a protein meal you should crank up your weight loss pretty nicely.

  44. I prefer my protein shake: An Atkins chocolate milkshake with an egg beaten in, then semi frozen, then whipped up. I think it’s under 250 kcal.

    By the way, one of the things I love about reading the blog comments is the great stuff Ilearn about: Someone here posted about their Magic Bullet Blender, that you blend right in the container you drink out of. I couldn’t wait to order mine and I love it.

  45. Thanks to Mr. Taubes for taking the time to answer questions and to you for giving him the opportunity. Some of the lessons I took away from GCBC have been: weight gain/loss is a much more complex physiological phenomenon than the simplistic “eat less, move more” mantra that (almost) everyone chants; obesity is a metabolic disorder, not a failure of self-control; “the truth is out there,” and Gary Taubes told it, although he is taken about as seriously by many as Fox Mulder was on the X-Files.(The Larry King Live interview with Joy Behar was infuriating!)

    An anecdote about an experiment I’ve begun applying the principles of low-carb, inspired by GCBC. I have three strictly indoor cats.They all eat the same dry pellets cat food. Two are normal weight and very active and playful. One is obese and never runs and plays. She begs for food constantly, even when it is in her bowl, and stays near the food bowl a lot (staring at it as if praying to the cat chow god). With animals, I don’t believe obesity can be the result of lack of willpower or emotional eating, etc. It’s got to be a metabolic issue. So I’ve taken the fat cat off the dry chow (filled with a generous amount of wheat and corn products) and I give her only the Fancy Feast cans with no corn, wheat, foodstarch, or other carb-sounding ingredients. I’m a little disappointed in the results, in that it’s been two months now and she’s only lost a pound (from 15 to 14). Or maybe that’s good for a cat? I feed her what the can says should be the amount for a 10 lb. cat. I’m not going to spend money on a vet to find out, but I would guess even though the weight loss is not spectacular, she may be experiencing the internal benefits of low-carb nonetheless. Reading GCBC helped me make sense of her food-craving behavior, my own former cravings, and it changed how I look at all the obese people around me.

    Thanks also to Jenny Ruhl above for her thoughtful remarks about the difficulty of losing weight on low-carb after repeated attempts. And if I may follow up, please, with a question about a comment above on women’s hormone levels in connection with weight loss {you said: “It’s been my experience that women – even women with considerable visceral fat – have a tougher time losing without getting their sex hormones (the various forms of estrogen) regulated.”}, does this imply HRT (which has a bad reputation these days)? Or is there some other treatment for regulating sex hormones? If you mean HRT, what about the debate over synthetic versus bio-identical hormones?

    I wouldn’t worry about your cat’s weight loss. It’s the equivalent of a 150 pound person dropping 10 pounds in a couple of months. That’s not great, but it’s a good step. Plus, the additional protein may be building some lean body mass to offset the weight lost from fat.

    I would never use synthetic hormones. I’m talking about bio-identical hormone replacement. In my mind there is no debate.

  46. Ethyl, I have a similar situation with my two cats. I feed them dry food, but it has no grains in it. Like you, one of them is roly-poly (female) and the other is lean and mean (male). They can feed freely throughout the day, but I’ve never put more than about a half cup total out per day, and they both eat the same amount (about 1/4 cup each a day). The female is around 15 pounds, and the male is around 8 pounds.

    Metabolism at work.

    As for your comment on HRT, I’m on the bio-identical hormones (Vivelle-DOT patch for estrogen and Prometrium for progesterone), largely thanks to Dr. Mike’s advice and persistance. However, I have not noticed any difference in my ability to lose the 40 menopause pounds I put on from age 50 to age 51, despite my hormones being in balance (based on labwork done after I’d been on the HRT for about 8 months). I can only hope this will improve over time.

    Now my question is, How long do I stay on the bio-identical HRT? The NP who prescribed it said I should keep taking the estrogen until my breasts started to hurt. Is that the best they can do?

    Dr. Mike, the HCG definitely IS what W2W is promoting, and this is exactly what Gary Taubes wrote his latest book about. I’m very interested to hear what you have to say after researching it a bit more.

    Thanks again for taking so much of your time to respond to all these comments.

    You da man!

  47. Ethyl, I have had my pets on a raw meat, bones and organ diet with great success. My cat was exactly like yours for ten years and I understand your dilemma. She got to weigh 17 pounds on only 1/4 c. “light” kibble daily and her breath could clear a room. Terrible. On a raw diet she now weighs about 10 pounds and has had dramatic improvements in health. It is remarkable.

    I believe canned cat foods still have carbohydrates and fillers. A 100% raw meat diet has been very effective in all sorts of amazing results for both my dogs and cats (teeth cleaning, weight loss, coats and allergies). If you are interested, please visit my site (click on the link above), scroll down and on the right hand side bar, father down, you will see a variety of resources for further reading and implementation under Prey Model Diet Links.

  48. ethyl d,

    I have a 12 year old cat like yours. I used to “free-feed” him dry kibble just like very other cat I have ever had. When he was 3 or 4 years old, something happened to his liver (a mystery) and he was very, very sick for a week with extremely high liver enzymes. He recovered, but went on to gain weight until he was about 18 pounds. He became like a grouchy old cat by the time he was 5 years old, with flaky skin and fur he couldn’t groom very well. The vet really didn’t have much to say other that to advise premium kibble food instead of the grocery store varieties. I tried every kind, including the grain-free kibbles, with no improvement. He got even fatter on the “lite” varities.

    Not long after my husband and I went low carb and “real food”, it dawned on me that the cat should be low carb, too, so we switched to an expensive, but grain-free canned food and never again fed him kibble. He didn’t lose any weight, but his health decline at least seemed to stop. Then he started hobbling down the stairs and really slowing down.

    I had some blood work done and the results showed clear Feline Chronic Renal Failure; the vet advised a low protein kidney kibble. I couldn’t and wouldn’t feed him kibble again, despite the vet’s advice, so I finally got up the energy and nerve to start him on raw, homemade Real Food with the recipe and info at this website ( www dot catnutrition org ). A very similar recipe is at www dot catinfo dot org ). Even with the purchase of a heavy duty grinder that handle grinding raw chicken bones, it was less expensive in the long run than the $1+/can of premium cat food I had been buying ($3+ per day for two cats). With practice I can make one week to 10 day;s worth of cat food for two adults cats ) in about an hour with cleanup (now I make the food for my neighbor’s two cats, too).

    Of course, my vet advised against the homemade food, not so much for the cats (they have short, acidic system that can handle the raw bacteria), but with the worry that our family would get sick with food-poisoning with the raw food. Of course I take raw food bacteria, cross-contamination, and clean-up seriously, but the cats have not sickened us in any way (the younger cat even loves to lick human hands and my 10 year old is naturally resistant to washing hands thoroughly). The vet said she can’t advise clients to try raw food until she sees peer-reviewed vet literature on it, which won’t happen because the pet food industries call the shots in veterinary research.

    Within a week on this raw chicken food (primarily ground whole chicken or chicken leg with the bone, liver, egg yolks, water, and some additional vitamins & aminos acids (I add heart meat if I can get it), my prematurely old, grumpy slow cat was racing around the house at times and chasing his tail!

    He has never lost any appreciable amount of weight, and he still appears to have some stiffness and arthritis in his lower half, but he is much improved in every way. His blood work has been normal with no indication of FCRF at two months after the change to raw food, again 6 months later, and then a year later. He’ll never again be a spry as our younger cat, but a change to this recipe (which approximates the proportional nutrients and moisture of a small rodent) is the only appropriate food I will consider for cats at this point.

    Not long after I switched a friend adopted a kitten which was very sensitive to any dry kibble and some canned foods (runny stools). She tried some of my cat food and the problem cleared up. She now makes her cat’s food too and despite attempts to go back to kibble, the cat can’t tolerate it.

    An added benefit is no need to worry about whether commercial food is contaminated with melamine, poisoned with aflotoxins, salmonella, etc. But if you try this, raw meat alone is not nutritionally complete; it must include bone, certain aminos (denatured by heat), etc. Raw bones do not splinter (never feed cooked bones) and the cats handle them quite well. If you can’t make the food yourself, you can purchase frozen ground raw “balanced” cat food at specialty pet food stores, but it is much, much cheaper to make it yourself (and you can control the ingredient quality).

    Best of health to your kitty!

  49. Despite going on a low carb diet for 4 months, my weight loss (from 175 lbs) stalled at 165 lbs (I’m 5’10”) and I could not get rid of my love handles and belly fat. I tried doing aerobic exercises such as jogging and stair climbing exercises in the gym several times a week with no apparent difference. I made the decision to hire a personal trainer at my gym who placed me on a rigorous weight lifting regimen using barbells and dumbells doing traditional (not slow burn) deep squats, deadlifts, bench presses and presses (including barbell rows, pull ups and dips) and supplementing my workouts with whey protein shakes while continuing on a low carb diet. After nearly 6 months of that, my weight has remained the same but my body fat percentage went down from 24% to 20% while gaining more muscle definition, losing my belly fat and no longer gasping for breath when running up hills. I’m convinced now that strength training using free weights is the missing key to further weight loss and better endurance and that aerobic, cardio type exercises really don’t do much for you in terms of fat loss and overall better health.

    I think you are absolutely correct. I’m not sure I agree that free weights are the only way to get all the benefits of resistance training, however. In fact, I think well designed machines that are cammed in such a way as to provide the same resistance throughout the muscle contraction are probably better. But there is no question – at least not in my mind – that resistance training of some form is the best.

  50. My fuzzbaby is a good example of how LC works. For the past few years I’ve been mostly feeding him 0-5% carb cat food. He is very lean and runs around like crazy.

    When I started him on dry immediately he put on a layer of fat due to emotional eating/gluttony and suddenly developed sloth. Aesthetically I liked my fatter kitty (he’s always been very lean) but I realized it didn’t seem healthy because he had far less vigor in him.

    I think fancy feast may have some kind of insulin-spiking appetite enhancing additives in it. Even though it’s very low carb my kitty immediately gets fat and starts hounding the chow bowl all day when I feed him fancy feast. It’s not as bad as it is with dry (he actually has some energy on fancy feast, whereas on dry he almost goes into a coma)… but this is not the sort of metabolic reaction an all meat cat food should give. When I give my cat pure meat or the friskies “ocean white fish” brand (almost pure meat) he does not gain a pad of fat weight and he does not develop this food obsessive behavior.

  51. 20 November 2008,
    Hi Dr. Michael Eades,
    I enjoy reading your posts and learn a lot from it too. I checked the Salt link written by Gary Taubes in 1988. I just want to clarify the 6 grams of salt which is equivalent to 2,400 mg sodium as he mentioned. So, is the 3,600 mg. remainder of 6 grams chloride? I pasted the particular portion below.

    With regards to sea salt I have been using mostly Himalayan sea salt. According to Christian Opitz in his website (just blog Himalaya Crystal Salt), this salt (also from the Andes Mt. in Bolivia) is the best. I’ve seen it too at Williams and Sonoma.

    Angel S. Respicio, Jr. MD

    Dr. Taubes’ article:
    “Everyone, not just the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from hypertension, could reduce their risk of heart disease and stroke by eating less salt. The official guidelines recommend a daily allowance of 6 grams (2400 milligrams of sodium), which is 4 grams less than our current average. This “modest reduction,” says NHBPEP director Ed Roccella, “can shift some arterial pressures down and prevent some strokes.” Roccella’s message is clear: “All I’m trying to do is save some lives.”

    Yes, the remainder is chlorine. The atomic mass for sodium is 23 and for chlorine 35. So (23/23+35) X 6000 comes out to about 2,444 mg.

    I’ve never heard of the salt you use, but it sounds like a good one, filled with a lot of micronutrients.

  52. About skin tags. Jimmy Moore interviewed Dr Steven Gundry not that long ago. Gundry claims that skin tags fall off on his diet. He writes about it in his latest book as well. Don’t remember if sugar was the cause of this. Gundry talks about it in one of the two podcast episodes, don’t remember which.

  53. “What he says is that exercise has never been shown to be of benefit for weight loss. … The data just doesn’t show it. ”

    “Never been shown” is just false cos there is data about this. Just typing “exercise”, “weight loss”, “controlled” and “randomized” in PubMed gives plenty of research about this. And there seems to be a benefit from exercise although not a big one, at least in short term weight loss. Not sure about what happens in the long run.

    On the other hand Taubes cites studies that show no benefit from exercise. So I am not sure what to make of all of this. There are studies against and for exercise. Should the conclusion be that in some cases exercise might help in short term weight loss/maintenance?

    I’m not the pro from Kokomo on this one. You’ll have to take it up with Gary Taubes. He’s a very thorough researcher, and if he’s gone through the literature and decided that what’s there indicates in the mass that exercise doesn’t work for losing weight, I’m going with him.

    You’ve got to look at the entire mass of data, not just a study here and there that seems to go against the grain. As more studies are done and data accumulates, usually a general trend emerges. It’s this trend that’s important, not individual studies. It’s the emerging trend that Gary is discussing.

    It’s the same with low-carb. Most studies show low-carb dieting to be vastly superior to low-fat dieting for just about everything. A few studies show low-carb and low-fat to be about equal. And a couple of studies (I don’t know of them, but I’m sure they exist) show low-fat dieting to be superior to low-carb. But taken as a whole, the data shows that low-carb diets are better than low-fat at bringing about weight loss, reducing blood pressure, correcting lipid abnormalities, etc.

  54. Thanks to everyone who gave advice for my fat kitty.

    Dr. Eades, maybe there is enough interest among your female readers for a post on the role of sex hormones in weight regulation?

    Maybe the other Dr. Eades should get in on the act since she is the one who knows all about it. I’ll see if I can get her motivated.

  55. Hi mrfreddy, yes I do it like the man in the first video except I don’t sound like him, and my thigh muscles get very tight and start shaking mildly with the force of the exertion.

    I couldn’t possibly move the weight that man’s moving because I’m a very slim, middle aged, woman and do not have the kind of build a big burly man like that has, but I know the weight I lift is very high because I’ve only once seen the pin in a higher weight notch, and there are plenty of burly weight lifting men at my gym. They’re not doing Slow Burn though, I’m the only one in my gym doing Slow Burn. There’s no Slow Burn gyms in the UK where I live which means it’s difficult to move the weight up in small increments. They probably all think I’m nuts moving the weights so slowly !

    all the best,

    The guy in the YouTube sounds like a piker compared to me when it comes to screaming. When I near failure on a Slow Burn workout, I lose all pride and scream like a woman. I’ve brought MD running to the garage (my machines are in the garage) to see what was happening when I was under a particularly brutal exercise.

  56. Is it possible that exercise only helps in the context of a diet that allows for normal insulin function? This has been my experience with exercise. On low carb, exercising more clearly results in weight loss even if I do not intend to lose weight. I reason that low carb + exercise = lower insulin/blood sugar than low carb alone. My weight has dropped since starting work as an RN because I run around for hours.
    If I were eating carbs, exercise would not make a difference because the extra activity wouldn’t much dent my blood sugar or insulin. Even if during exercise it was lower, it would be too easy to eat a roll or a bowl of cereal and screw things up again… and since exercise makes you hungry, you are going to eat a LOT of carbs afterward unless you are educated not to do so.

    All in all when it comes to exercise Taubes is more right than he is wrong, in my opinion.

  57. “When I cut the book down from the initial 400,000 word unfinished draft, a lot of what was removed were indeed the counter- and counter-counter arguments.”
    I think you made a wise choice for a popular book. Most friends to whom I have recommended your book were impressed by your work, but apparently it took them to their threshold of DISC SECTOR FULL. However, I think I’m speaking for many when I say I would looove to see the rest of the material. Minutiae unlimited. Another book, perhaps less popularly targeted? Posted to the web?

    “I’m curious whether this is in fact true.”
    I can’t say I’ve noticed a loss of efficacy of low-carb dieting with age, but I did enjoy an overwhelming honeymoon effect the first time out on Atkins. Ate like a pig, no exercise at all (new job), drank all the vodka I wanted, and pounds melted off. Ever since then, rounds of low/no carb dieting have been struggles. Struggles that work, but not easily. And these days any booze to speak of arrests progress. Damn.

  58. hahaha, nobody sounds like that guy, except for Fred Hahn himself. You know that’s Fred in the video, right? My wife heard that from the next room and thought I was watching Japanese gay porn… (dont know why she would think I might be watching Japanese gay porn, but…)

    Anne, I wouldnt expect you to lift that much weight… Just whatever the heaviest you can manage for 60 seconds. Fred now does 700 pounds plus on that machine, I ‘ve been stuck at 501, 502 for forever. And it kills me. I keep my grunting to a minimum tho. Just an occasional f-bomb here and there.

    If Fred sounds like Japanese gay porn, God only knows what I sound like. :-)

  59. As for the information above about Kevin Trudeau, and Hcg. Yep, he’s promoting it…but actually he’s ‘pushing’ ‘selling’ add on phases to the orginial Dr. Simeon’s protocol..and actually doesn’t have anything to do with it’s sucess or failure, but is just plain ol ‘alternative’ suggestions that Kevin is promoting. Nothing NEW about Kevin’s angle. He’s just ‘selling’ his view. He just has explanded the protocol. I take from it what it’s worth, but mainly ‘leave’ most of it. If you followed Kevin’s add-ons it would be INSANELY expensive!

    The REAL deal is the original Dr. Simeons’ protocol. (Found FREE, online, called (Pounds and Inches”) Let me tell you, from my own personal experience, it is working…and if you can have your regular Dr. to get on board with it, it’s not all that expensive. It’s actually a bio identical hormone that is normally given for infertility problems, for weightloss it’s precribed in a much lower dose. I get my legal prescription filled through my local compounding pharmacy, the same one used for my bioidentical hormone replacement.

    If your like me, and fight the lack of weightloss DESPITE your best effort, it’s a worthy endeavor. I’m actually stunned at my own sucess. I am NOT affiliated with any part of any group promoting this…and as a matter of fact, I’ve been a long standing PP member, just looking for new hope.

    I mean NO disrespect to Dr’s Eades…not at all, I believe strongly in their long term lifestyle plan…but I needed MORE help. I believe that this hormone is a BIG DEAL. Used along with a protein powered inbetween phase IS the ultimate answer to achieve the goals I want for myself and reverse my sever obesity problem.

    Thus far, I haven’t read about any negatives…other then needing new clothes!

  60. The HCG thing fascinates me. My knee jerk reaction is to dismiss it as BS, but I am open minded if someone could provide evidence for a plausible reason why it would work. Googling only reveals nonsense psuedoscience (“it resets the hypothalamus” — sure it does *rolleyes*)

    I know that HCG is a lot like luteinizing hormone (LH), molecularly they are almost identical except the HCG molecule has an extra piece to it…which is why pregnancy kits and ovulation kits can be used interchangeably to detect pregnancy/HCG (although pregnancy kits won’t work to detect ovulation because they only test for the “extra piece” attached to HCG… but ovulation kits only test for the LH molecule, and HCG is similar enough that ovulation kits will detect pregnancy too).

    If we assume HCG has similar roles to LH then it might increase production of estrogen and testosterone in men and women. Both estrogen and testosterone increase metabolic rate and energy use.

    However, if a woman is suffering from PCOS then HCG would probably only make that worse by increasing testosterone and estrogen even more than it already is.

    It doesn’t sound safe to replace hormones that are not deficient IMO.

  61. Sorry, to go back to the leptin thing… I don’t think we’re really getting it….

    It’s so wrong to cling to this insulin-controls-everything viewpoint. It has no practical use to cure anyone, other than to help guide food and lifestyle choices that may be helpful (but ultimately not curative). The bottom line is other things control insulin besides carbohydrates.

    I just want to get this point out.

    1) It is more than a desire to eat carbohydrate food that is behind failure to maintain a low carb diet. Recidivism in obesity has nothing to do with carbohydrate addiction or food addiction, it is the response to metabolic starvation. Reducing insulin only takes fat out of the cell. It does not fix the fat tissue so that it accepts a socially normal amount of fat mass. Lowering insulin does not make extra fat cells die, it just makes them shrink. Leptin is the only thing that kills fat cells, and guess how crafty nature is? Nature made it so that when you shrink fat cells, you become leptin deficient. Nature did not anticipate massive surges in insulin that were sustained and would trigger fat cells to mature at abnormal amounts. There is no natural mechanism for killing excessive fat cells, because having massive pockets of insulin-stimulated adipocyte hyperplasia is not a natural condition.

    I don’t like this view that stalling can necessarily be overcome – or even should be overcome! Assuming there is no indication of disease left, it’s quite possible that a larger fat mass is no more significant than a scar

    2) We should therefore not encourage people to force their weights lower than what their body is naturally telling them is acceptable. When we see people stalling out at BMIs of 27 or body fat percentages in the high 20s on low carb diets, we shouldn’t assume they are “still too fat”. We should not assume hedonistic eating and a lack of discipline is the cause, as we are committing the same errors as the mainstream opinion of obesity aren’t we?

    When we see obese people plateauing at sizes that still make us uncomfortable because they are so visibly fat and gluttonous-looking, we should not assume they still have overfull fat cells. It’s entirely possible their fat tissue will only function normally at this amount of fatness – this is their new set point weight. Obesity is a real disease that changes the fat tissue permanently. If you have twice as many fat cells as another person, it is impossible to lose weight to a “normal” size without inducing starvation symptoms. An underfilled fat cell will NOT function normally, and to ask this person to lose more weight is like asking a person without a weight problem to restrict calories and starve themselves (that is emotionally and physically it is the exact same state).

  62. Dr. Eades, here’s a good place to start if you intend to research “Dr. Simeon’s HCG protocol”:

    That contains hyperlinks to relevant published research, going back some 50 years. Try not to be swayed by the article’s title, “HCG Worthless as Weight-Loss Aid ” 😉 Seriously, there’s nothing surprising about people losing weight on a 500 kcal/day diet, with or without the purported magic of HCG injections.

    Thanks for the link. I’ll give it a look.

  63. That’s Fred himself in that video !!! Oh dear…I wrote him an email yesterday telling him he should look at this thread (I gave a direct link) because, I wrote “It appears the men scream with pain doing Slow Burn, yet I and another woman don’t. I would love to know your opinion about this.”

    I have to laugh now if that really is Fred. I know he writes in his book that Slow Burn should not be painful. Perhaps it’s a scream of exertion then ? I do breathe very hard and fast like him but I just keep it quiet…..maybe women are just more inhibited ?

    Oh dear……


  64. Anne, I don’t think the noise level makes much difference, it’s the intensity that matters.

    For what its worth, here’s a few moments of failure from one of my recent slow burn workouts, I dont scream, but I do pant awful heavily and make a bit of noise (covered up by the bg music here tho):

  65. The above Hcg link seems to have several things ‘wrong’ about it. One thing, it states that the orgininal protocol gives hcg shots ‘weekly’ and that’s incorrect, it’s daily. AND if it’s not been stamped with the FDA’s approval….hum, gee, darn.

    I’d NEVER eat a 500 calorie diet by my own means. Who’d want to. The hcg makes it possible, so, I guess that’s part of the ‘magic’. Supression and lack of desire for food happened immediately. I can say that I felt the weightloss come off differently then I’ve experienced before. In all of those places that artical above mentioned.

    If I came across Kevin’s book on my own, I TOO would have considered it BS. But, it was upon my Dr’s suggestion as I was so discouraged with my prospects of what to do with my weight.

    Kevin SHOULD get in trouble. He is promoting it as if you can eventually ‘eat anything’ and that’s NOT true. You may eat anything within the confines of limited sugar/starches…but only after you’ve gotten to the proper body weight. Well…isn’t THAT the same as we’ve learned thus far? Kevin is promoting Kevin, nothing NEW about that. He even mentions in his OWN book that ‘his’ steps aren’t necessary. What I DO give him credit for is bring about this protocol to be examined and tried again in the original Dr’s way. I’m doing JUST that, and I’m also using as much organics as I can…and following along in the PP purist way. It’s not all nonsense.

    I can’t believe doctors are recommending anything by Kevin Trudeau. He is a marketing genius without parallel, but he isn’t a scientist or even anyone who knows much of anything other than how to self promote. His latest book is simply a piece of merchandise to be exploited with his marketing skills. I think his latest run in with the FTC may spell the end of his marketing efforts – at least where health is concerned.

    I did a post on his previous book a couple of years ago and took a lot of heat in the comments from his devotees.

  66. Hi mrfreddy,

    I enjoyed your little video. Now I think it must be inhibition because when I reach failure I cannot move the weight, it won’t budge no matter how hard I try but I think if I were to express my exertion like that I would attract too much attention at the gym.

    I’ve heard back from Fred :-) And I realised something – I looked very carefully at the leg press machine Fred is using. He pushes the foot plate forward, right ? With the leg press machine I use the foot plate is immobile and when I push on it I push my body backwards on the railed seat, in a sense it’s like a seated squat with added weights, so maybe that means that in addition to the 200 pound weight on the machine I should add my own weight which would mean my legs are moving about 310 pounds !

    all the best,

  67. hello Dr. Eades: And indeed !! I don’t know why there is this notion that the american way of eating is *high protein* and the asians and other societies eat higher in carbohydrates and lower in protein. I think thats not correct. In fact i think that the American way of eating in this country has been real high in carbohydrates, almost 90% with very little protein. The 3 main meals in America are high in carbohydrates, from the array of breakfast cereals and breads in the morning, to sandwiches at lunch and lots of potatoes and dessert at dinner. What asians and other cultures do is to eat more vegetables and snack less thru the day, unlike here in USA where life evolves around food.

  68. I went low carb only about 4 months ago now and read your book at the same time. I’m 48 and went from 15 stone to below 14 but just gained so much health in the process. A colleague of mine also gave it a go a couple of months ago and has lost 1 stone so far and significantly reduced his BF% as have I, but the amazing thing is that he is and always has been a fitness fanatic that used to play international field hockey. He is truly staggered at the effects of cutting the carbs on his health. Both of us are now lighter than we have been since we were in our early 20’s and we don’t even go hungry!!

    One comment. Can you imagine the dire economical effect of everyone realising that processed carbs are bad for health? The millions upon millions of people that are in the carb industry whether it is production, marketing, processing, retail. Maybe this and the fact that meat production is an inefficient means of providing food for the masses has influenced the worlds governments?

    Maybe so, but i doubt it. I suspect what has influenced the world’s governments is the misguided opinions of the government scientists. If nutritional scientists were legitimate scientists, as scientists are described by Gary Taubes, their opinions and writings would be driving things in a much different direction.

  69. Dr. Mike, you just said, “I can’t believe doctors are recommending anything by Kevin Trudeau.”

    For the record, this is exactly what the Women to Women Center in Maine is doing (there’s one doctor there, and several NPs; they also list a couple “alumni” doctors, including Christiane Northrup, the founder).

    They sell his book in their lobby and tell you to follow his Phase 1 approach before they’ll accept you in their program (which is different from Trudeau’s book in that you get weekly nasal sprays of HCG, and the maintenance program is more moderate … or so they tell me).

    I did not buy the book, but researched it online. Phase 1 consists of a 30-day regimen. All organic foods, very low calories, 15 colon cleanses (by a professional), heavy metal cleanses, a fistfull of supplements, and a ton of extras, including equipment. He even gives a web site to purchase it all … oops! I just went to find it to link it here and got an error message: “This affiliate’s account does not exist or has been closed.” Interesting! Suffice it to say, all the products he recommends for Phase 1 add up to more than $800.

    The basic premise might be valid, as Missy says, but Trudeau’s interpretation is bogus. And the W2W Center’s promotion of it (and specifically Trudeau’s book) is shameful.

    At least that’s my opinion.

    That said, I’m with the other ladies in support of you and your lovely wife writing more about hormonal balance (espeically by way of bio-identicals) and weight loss. For example, what do you mean by “balanced”? Mine are smack dab in the middle of the scale, but is that scale neceessarily accurate or reflect the optimum results? Does the scale merely reflect the average and not the optimal?


    I’ll see if I can get the bride charged up to do it. She has a major concert coming up in a couple of weeks, and all she can think about right now is that.

  70. “unlike here in USA where life revolves around food”

    I think life revolves around food in other cultures, maybe even more than in the US, but the food is generally produced/prepared better (whether ready-to-eat from the baker, deli, or cheesemonger, etc., or at home), mealtimes are more likely to be communal, and there is reverence for the food.

    In the US, life revolves around refueling with bad food, but it is much less often communal (or in a car/at a desk!), and there is little reverence for the food.

  71. anne,

    the weight numbers on any given machine dont really mean anything, except for that machine. For example, I do around 500 on Fred’s leg press, but when I work out at my local gym, I use a leg press that sounds like the one you described, and i only do 195. On another machine in that same gym, I do 300ish. The numbers are all over the place and pretty meaningless, except for tracking your progress on that machine.

    luckily at my local gym its loud enuff that nobody notices me panting and heaving. There are bunch of guys way louder, actually. They probably do wonder about that guy in street clothes whose lifting very slowly, hahaha, but who cares, I am on my way to lunch before they’re even half way thru their workouts.

  72. As for Kevin Trudeau…my Dr. didn’t recommend his book, rather then just to check out his ‘site’ which does have the orginial Dr’s protocol on it. Kevin’s managed to get his fingers in ALOT of places…and you just have to take HIS spin on it with a grain of salt! My Dr. doesn’t believe in all those cleanses and silly such. I agree.

    If there is attention to there being a hormonal imbalance for SOME of us, and those of us who seem to hit the wall with lack of weightloss, despite our BEST effort, then I believe that there IS something to this hormone, and it should be researched and shared. I’ve gone the route of the bio identicals for years and that didn’t improve things significantly and certainly NOT regarding weightloss. THIS hcg hormone has. Hands down.

    Another thing…if someone were just to eat 500 calorie diet, wouldn’t your body first hang onto every ounce of fat because it’s going into starvation..and wouldn’t it take a significant amount of time for it to turn to the fat stores? This diet, along with the hcg making it possible, reacts right away…and there is no waiting time for the weight to drop.

    My first round I lost 30lbs in 23 days. I weighed over 400lbs. That’s crazy. It’s cool, and quite frankly, I’M in disbelief. If it weren’t HAPPENING to me…I don’t think I’d believe it.

    It’s a shame that Kevin has attached his name to it. It over shadows the idea. The orginial protocol is worthy, in my opinion.

    I too would like to hear your wifes opinion upon this hormonal subject. I feel like prior to doing what I’m experimenting with currently, I WAS doing those bio identicals as suggested. Perhaps once the holidays are over she’ll have more time.

    If I were to bet money on anyone…lol I think my money would have to go on (it already DID..duh! lol) …but he’ll have SOMETHING new out of this. That IS after all what he’s ALL ABOUT!! sigh. Actually though, NONE of his suggestions are harmful…really. Other then your wallet.

  73. Re: HCG. Missy, the article itself is really irrelevant. The value of that link lies in its list of published research. In particular, reference [12] pretty much put the nail in HCG’s coffin so far as scientific debate goes, and that was 30 years ago (it was a careful, well done, double-blind, randomized trial that found no significant difference in any relevant respect between HCG injections and placebo treatment — and Dr. Eades will be pleased to see that it lists weight loss results for all participants, not just the means).

    The only reason the article mentions Trudeau is that Trudeau’s endless hucksterism is the primary reason people are still talking about HCG. Trudeau brought it back from the dead.

    That doesn’t mean you didn’t find HCG helpful! It does mean you would mostly likely have gotten the same results had you been injected with water instead. That’s what all serious studies that /tried/ this found (read the references), except for one (for more discussion of which, read reference [12]). There are many reasons for why this may be so, but they’re mostly rooted in psychology rather than physiology.

  74. Anna and Monica, there is no reason to worry about “prey model feeding.” Cats and dogs are healthiest on a diet of raw meaty bones. I wouldn’t use chicken, either, unless the skin was removed and replaced with beef suet or beef fat. Chicken skins are 10x higher in PUFAs than beef fat. Also, humans can do fine on raw meat too. The bacteria scare is a myth. As long as you’re eating a healthy diet, the bacteria has nothing to feed on. Many people eat raw meat and find it beneficial for weight loss, health, etc. People have eaten raw chicken, pork, and other meats for years with no evidence of food poisoning. You should not be afraid of eating raw meat, or handling it. Feeding commercial cat and dog food (canned or dried) is toxic and deadly. It is filled with rancid fats, additives, and other rubbish. Feed your animals a natural diet and watch them lose weight and get healthier. Maybe the problems people report with failing to lose weight result from heavily cooking all their food.

  75. Missy – starvation mode is a myth. Starvation mode, as understood by dieters is a myth anyway.

    If someone is eating 500 calories per day, that person is going to break down all tissue just to stay alive – protein in muscles, bones, heart, brain, MOSTLY fat tissue. The fatter someone is, the more the body is going to break down fat tissue at an equal calorie diet. This is for two reasons. Reason #1 is that fatter people have higher metabolisms because they have more metabolically active mass, therefore if you feed a very fat person the same calories as a very thin person, the very fat person must become relatively more catabolic (that is, break down more fat tissue and other tissues).

    Reason #2 is that overfull fat cells release fatty acids more easily once insulin is lower, whereas a person with smaller fat cells is more likely to trigger starvation symptoms in a hypocaloric diet. The steady supply of energy helps keep metabolism functioning normally, and it keeps hormones in balance. That is to say, people who are newly dieting and have overfull fat cells do not suffer from starvation symptoms as extremely as people who have normal sized fat cells or hypotrophic fat cells. Read about leptin to get an idea of why this is.

    I would expect to lose 30 pounds in about a month if I were 400 pounds, assuming I was eating a very hypocaloric diet like that. Even if I were only eating 1000-1200 calories I would still expect massive weight loss like that. The super morbidly obese tend to retain a lot of fluid (which is lost upon lowering of insulin during early dieting), and it’s also very easy for them to lose body fat assuming they can normalize insulin somehow (low calorie/low carb).
    When I went on atkins, I was 280 pounds (5’5) and I lost very extreme amounts of weight in the beginning. It was a ketogenic diet which is ideal for rapid weight loss. I did not intentionally try to restrict calories but because the ketogenic diet dramatically lowered my insulin, suddenly my cells had all of this previously unavailable nutrition… my appetite dropped accordingly. The lower appetite, in turn, helped get insulin even lower and sped up the weight loss. I lost heaps of weight very quickly.

    You know, one thing I didn’t consider is this: hCG is related to morning sickness and food aversion. In the first trimester the fetus is most sensitive to toxins and pathogens, and this is when hCG would be highest. hCG and high estrogen in the first trimester makes pregnant women very nauseated and adverse to food, especially meat. The magic in the hCG shot is that it might allow someone to not want to eat… the weight loss is simply a byproduct of consistent under eating, which lowers insulin and allows for weight loss.

    Not all women get morning sickness, so I suppose the ones who find the hCG helps are the ones who would hypothetically have very bad morning sickness if pregnant, whereas the ones who find it worthless would be less prone?

  76. BTW, before anyone assumes I have a super fast metabolism, let it be shown that I’ve had my RMR taken at least 3 times and the values were 1050, 1000 even, and 1200 (the 1200 value was during a progesterone peak AND after eating a high calorie meal 8 hours prior!)

    I do not have a fast metabolism at all. If anything it is abnormally slow.

  77. Hello all: This is off topic but just my 2 cents opinion related to eating a lot in this society. I once saw the pastor Joel Osteen critisizing the american diet, and the way people treat food in this society. Pastor Joel Osteen said that there are people in this country that even carry jelly fish, snacks and M & Ms in their pockets or take it to work so that they can snack on something all day. And there is an addiction to food in this society indeed. The only addictions we hear on mainstream media is drug, and alcohol addiction, but, he said that there is an insulin reaction, when people drive around a fast food restaurant and smell french fries. So that’s another cause of weight gain in this society, the anxious addiction toward food. And then there are the holidays coming up which is a *threat* to people of concious eating. I think that the solution for many problems of this society like drug addiction, crimes, obesity, is not only a lifestyle change in the way people eat and live, but also a less isolationist, individualist lifestyle and with a lot more social-relations. Because loneliness, leads to depression and anxiety, and depression and anxiety leads to snacking and compulsive eating in order to fill that *existential vaccum* created by this individualist, lonely way of life.

    Here is an article about Holidays Weight-Gain:

    Holiday Weight Gain Slight, But May Last A Lifetime

    A new study suggests that Americans probably gain about a pound during the winter holiday season-but this extra weight accumulates through the years and may be a major contributor to obesity later in life.

    This finding runs contrary to the popular belief that most people gain from five to ten pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.

    This conclusion was reached by researchers at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). The results of their study appear in the March 23 New England Journal of Medicine. “These findings suggest that developing ways to avoid holiday weight gain may be extremely important for preventing obesity and the diseases associated with it,” said NICHD Director Duane Alexander, M.D.

    According to government statistics, more than half of all adult Americans are overweight, as defined by body mass index, said Jack A. Yanovski, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s principal investigator and head of NICHD’s Unit on Growth and Obesity. Body mass index is a mathematical formula used to correct body weight to account for a person’s height. According to Dr. Yanovski, the latest national surveys show that 54.9 percent of Americans have a body mass index of 25 or more and are overweight, while 22.3 percent are considered obese, with a body mass index of 30 or more.

    “The prevalence of obesity in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past decade,” Dr. Yanovski said. “Weight gain during adulthood may contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and other serious health problems.”

    “Because losing weight is so difficult, it is important to learn when and why people gain weight so that effective strategies to prevent obesity can be developed, ” said study co-author Susan Z. Yanovski, M.D., Executive Director of NIDDK’s National Task Force on the Treatment and Prevention of Obesity.

    Previous studies suggested that Americans gain an average of 0.4 to 1.8 pounds each year during their adult lives, Dr. Yanovski said. It was unknown, however, if people gained weight at a steady rate throughout the year, or just at certain times, such as during the winter holiday season. To find out just how much of this weight increase occurred over the holidays, Dr. Yanovski and his colleagues measured weight and collected other health information from 195 volunteers. These volunteers worked at, or lived near, the NIH campus in Bethesda, MD. The group was racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse. The study’s participants ranged in age from 19 to 82 years, and in weight from 95 to 306 pounds. In all, 51 percent were women, and 49 percent were men. The percentage of volunteeers who were at a healthy weight, were overweight, or were obese was similar to that of the U.S. adult population. All 195 were weighed at six-week intervals before, during, and after the winter holiday season; 165 returned for additional measurements in June and in September, one year after the study began.

    Compared to their initial weight in late September or early October, the volunteers gained just over a pound (1.05 lb) by late February or early March. Most of that weight gain (0.8 lb) occurred during the six-week interval between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. The researchers asked the volunteers about several factors that might influence weight change, such as stress, hunger, activity level, changes in smoking habits, or number of holiday parties they attended. The researchers found that only two factors influence weight gain: level of hunger and level of activity. Volunteers who said they were much more active or much less hungry since their last clinic visit were the least likely to gain weight over the holidays, and some even lost weight. Those who reported being less active or more hungry had the greatest holiday weight gain.

    “The finding that study volunteers reporting more physical activity had less holiday weight gain suggests that increasing physical activity may be an effective method for preventing weight gain during this high-risk time,” Dr. Yanovski said.

    The researchers also found that study volunteers believed that they had gained much more weight than they actually had over the holidays, overestimating their weight gain by slightly more than 3 pounds. Fewer than 10 percent of subjects gained more than 5 pounds over the holiday season. However, Dr. Yanovski added, overweight and obese volunteers were more likely to gain five pounds than were those who were not overweight, which suggests that the holiday season may present special risks for those who are already overweight.

    “Although an average holiday weight gain of less than a pound may seem unimportant, that weight was not lost over the remainder of the year,” Dr. Yanovski said. When 165 of the study volunteers were weighed a year after the study began, they had not lost the extra weight gained during the holidays, and ended the year a pound and a half heavier (1.4 lb) than they were the year before.

    “This is a ‘good news/bad news’ story,” said Dr. Yanovski. “The good news is that people don’t gain as much weight as we thought during the holidays. The bad news is that weight gained over the winter holidays isn’t lost during the rest of the year.”

    The knowledge that people actually accumulate a large proportion of their yearly weight gain over the winter holiday season, the researchers added, may prove useful in treating overweight and obesity.

    “?the cumulative effects of yearly weight gain during the fall and winter are likely to contribute to the substantial increase in body weight that frequently occurs during adulthood,” the researchers wrote. “Promotion of weight stability during the fall and winter months may prove useful as a strategy to prevent age-related weight gain in the United States.”

    The NICHD and NIDDK are two of the Institutes comprising the National Institutes of Health, the Federal government’s premier biomedical research agency. NICHD supports and conducts research on the reproductive, neurobiological, developmental, and behavioral processes that determine and maintain the health of children, adults, families, and populations. The NICHD website,, contains additional information about the Institute and its mission.

    The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases supports and conducts research on many of the most serious diseases affecting public health, such as diabetes and other endocrine disorders, inborn errors of metabolism, digestive diseases, obesity, nutrition, urology and renal disease, and hematology. For additional information, see


  78. just wanted to comment on the rawmeatybones thing… the raw food diet for dogs is a funny little parallel to the low carb diet for humans. Most Vets and popular opinion are dead set against it, meanwhile science and common sense point in the complete opposite direction.

    We ignored our vet’s dire warnings against going raw (we also ignored the science diet crap they sell there), and our 11 mo. old pug is probably the healthiest, strongest, leanest pug on the planet.

    It’s always seemed bizarre to me that vets would recommend what are basically high-carb diets for animals that are clearly carnivorous. But they do. I guess vets are as susceptible to the idiocy of the low-fat crowd as anyone else. Very strange.

  79. Thanks for all of your insight and helpful information for me to learn from. I’m listening. I do believe that it’s a result of the low calories that is the reason for the weightloss…but what the hcg is doing is ALLOWING me to not care about food, while I’m doing this. I can’t imagine trying to white knuckle a 500 calorie diet on ‘just’ a placebo of water. I appreciate whatever the hcg is doing to suppress the appitite. Which is, I believe, one of the main reasons why it’s prescribed.

    For me, whatever it is about the hcg, even if it’s JUST psychological, it’s what I needed. If I can take off chunks of it at a time and then maintain on low carb in between I can’t SEE how it’s not a benefit? I tried Atkins at one point, I got nothing much. I faithfully followed PP and got somewhere slowly, but because I have so much, and it takes longer, I’d lose interest. I need the psychological results of the loss to keep me motivated. When you have 250 pounds to lose…and it comes of slowly….dang, it’s overwhelming.

    My thinking is now that if I can get it off…and maintain on a PP lifestyle then that’s something I CAN sign up for.

    Thanks for letting me talk and taking the time with me to help me also understand.

    I’m glad it’s working for you. Keep me posted on your success.

  80. Low-Carber,
    I have come to vehemently reject the idea of compulsive or addictive eating. I think half of it is related to insulin issues, and the other half is related to mood/neurotransmitter issues.

    Since going low carb, I resolved almost all problems with eating.

    Since addressing my neurotransmitter problems, any lingering food issues have almost entirely vanished. When I am energetic and optimistic because my neurotransmitters (dopamine esp) are working, I have no problems at all with food. I can even eat carbohydrates, and unless I consume a tremendous quantity, nothing bad happens. I find it much more difficult to gain weight, I do not as easily become tired after meals, I have heaps of energy, etc.

    I think abnormal patterns of sleep and sunlight are a major cause of neurotransmitter imbalances in our society. Vitamin D plays a *huge* role. I was a staunch denier of the importance of supplements, but since taking considerable doses of D3, calcium, combined with st johns wort and 5-htp, my chronic dysthmia has abated and I am almost always energetic and optimistic.

    Food fixation is just a symptom of some underlying abnormality. Food is not an addictive substance, even candy and cookies… it’s just not.

    It’s actually proven in research that dopamine/melatonin balance controls seasonal fattening in animals. Dopamine blocking medications invariably cause the metabolic syndrome in humans. Prior to the low carb diet I was a picture of dopamine-blocking medication side effects. PCOS, hypoglycemia, hypersomnia, anergia and lack of motivation…

    The reason low carb helped with everything so much isn’t just because of lower glucose, but because lower glucose actually changes neurotransmitters via the hypocretin system in the brain. When glucose is elevated, hypocretin tells your brain to turn off the lights. Symptoms of SAD result (in my case, were not seasonal but chronic). Sleep deprivation reduces glucose metabolism in the brain and a stimulant effect is observed in many people.

    Vitamin D3 has a significant role in dopamine metabolism. St johns wort and calcium also affect neurotransmitters and keep them elevated.

    My point is this; if someone is preoccupied with food, this is not a cause of obesity but a sign of some sort of metabolic problem. The moral overtones of Joel Osteen’s analysis of our “social problem” of chronic snacking are nothing new. The only thing different about our society is that we spend all our time working in doors and sleep about 6 or 7 hours a night and are detatched from family/friends an unusually high amount and are not free to pursue pleasurable human activity like creating and communicating. This affects metabolism, which affects how we perceive food.

  81. I’m finding this all extremely interesting – I’ve only considered in passing the idea of feeding my cat raw meat. As a kitten I fed him on organic bones both raw and cooked, and meat also. He can still reduce a t-bone to nothing in a matter of seconds. However, he has suffered various injuries (falling off a 6-storey balcony was the first), and in my fear of him repairing thoroughly I’ve followed vet orders on the dry food. I do still give him bones occasionally. I suppose I should have known better, given that I advise humans on why not to eat carbs!
    Here is my question –
    My cat, Arnie, has recently suffered from a recurring urinary infection. It causes a blockage in his urethra, which could, of course, cause death, I’ve had to rush him to animal emergency several times recently. He has been put on a special diet (CD dried food) to help break up the crystals causing this, and it seems to be working as he hasn’t had a problem since starting this diet. For that reason I’d be scared to change what he is eating.
    Any comments?
    *PS – funny how this comment section has turned into an animal advice column of sorts!

    It has, and I’m staying out of the debate because what I know about feeding cats (other than that they are carnivores) could be written on the head of a pin with room left over for the Lord’s Prayer.

  82. Kathy from Maine commented about the W2W site: “Isn’t this what the Women to Women Center is Maine is pushing? Human growth hormone (nasal spray in their case), a cyclic approach to calories (though VERY low most times), and promoted by Gary Trudeau?”

    ~ I don’t know because I don’t know these things, BUT isn’t Hgh (Human Growth Hormone) different from Hcg (Human Chorionic gonadotropin). I found, online, WHERE I GET MOST INFORMATION!! (EEEEEEKKK) something called GNRH in a nasal spray. I hadn’t heard of Hcg as a nasal spray though. Only in shots, or something called Releana, an oral liquid.

    I don’t know specifically anything about W2W.

    ItsTheWooo wrote: “You know, one thing I didn’t consider is this: hCG is related to morning sickness and food aversion. In the first trimester the fetus is most sensitive to toxins and pathogens, and this is when hCG would be highest. hCG and high estrogen in the first trimester makes pregnant women very nauseated and adverse to food, especially meat. The magic in the hCG shot is that it might allow someone to not want to eat… the weight loss is simply a byproduct of consistent under eating, which lowers insulin and allows for weight loss.

    Not all women get morning sickness, so I suppose the ones who find the hCG helps are the ones who would hypothetically have very bad morning sickness if pregnant, whereas the ones who find it worthless would be less prone?”

    This is why on Hcg you do it for only ‘short’ periods of time, 23 -40 days, or it loses it’s effect on you. You body, so it states, becomes immune to it, you take a break, and then your able to do it again and it will have the same effect. I’ve never been pregnant, so I don’t know if I’d have had bad morning sickness?

    And, if I may ask It’sTheWooo, what is the leptin replacement called? I read about leptin and it’s inablity to cross the brain blood barrier for some of us, and have even asked my Dr. to order my leptin levels, and we have, but unsure as to what they mean. Could this hcg stuff help with that BBB?? Seems as though that leptin, bbb subject was talking about the hypothalamus, if I recall. Again, I’m just a basic ‘Joe”….well “Jospehine”. Just not a plumber. lol Even though I happen to live NEAR THAT plumber…lol.

    All I can report is that the fat is coming off differently.

  83. “Can you imagine the dire economical effect of everyone realising that processed carbs are bad for health? The millions upon millions of people that are in the carb industry whether it is production, marketing, processing, retail. ”

    I can imagine a very different economy with a different way of building wealth, but by no means worse than the mess we have now. Perhaps the transition would be messy.

    Perhaps if we consumed more locally produced foods our local and regional economies would be much stronger (not to mention the food supply would be safer and less vulnerable to widespread food-borne illness and bioterrorism), instead of sending our capital out of the region to stockholders of grocery store retailers and multinational corporations like Archer Daniels Midland, ConAgra, and Monsanto.

  84. Regarding vets and their objections to feeding cats and dogs real food, low fat might be part of their mindset, but I don’t think it is the major objection (though the “weight control” dry kibble foods are lower in fat and higher in carbs & fiber, so the pet food companies certainly think along those lines and that may dribble down to vets).

    My vet’s objections to feeding a more natural carnivorous diet (raw meat and bones) were these:

    a) feeding raw food to the cats would increase the risk that the human family members would somehow get sick ourselves from the raw food – perhaps a valid concern – but it hasn’t happened in nearly three years of regularly making and feeding raw food – and one cat likes to lick our hands when she sits in our laps. I employ normal kitchen hygiene when preparing the food and I guess we wash our hands enough after handling the cats. I’m sure my son doesn’t wash his hands enough, though no raw pet food induced illness has occurred.

    b) cats especially, being obligate carnivores, have extremely specific nutrient requirements that must be met to avoid poor health, malnutrition, and even premature death. She’s right about the important nutrient balance, but not about it being to hard to achieve. Her view was that most pet caregivers don’t have the ability to get the nutrients balanced and that 60 + years ago before commercial pet food was available, many cats and dogs were malnourished because of the “unbalanced” table scraps fed to them. Perhaps so. People certainly didn’t pamper their pets the way they often do now, but at the same time, some of the current “spoiling” is literally sickening those beloved pets (cats and dogs are now getting the same chronic illnesses that humans get, primarily caused by a lifetime of eating crap, as well as exposure to tobacco smoke). My guess is in the past cats were fed scraps obtained from the butcher more than scraps from the table, and were also likely to have access to the outdoors, where they caught their “daily vitamins & nutrient supplements” (yes, sadly, that might include songbirds). But they also lived shorter lives due to cars and diseases caught in the wild. My cats are great at catching small rodents and lizards, even the older fat, slower cat. Since transitioning to raw food, they now sometimes eat the mice they catch, especially the heads.

    My vet is right in that there *is* a lot of varying and sometimes confusing information on pet diets online and in print, some good and some awful advice, with inclusion or exclusion of plant foods being the most controversial, so if choosing this raw meat & bones route, it is important to “get it right” to provide all the essential nutrients. But domesticated cats have been around a long time (though they often were “companion workers”, meant to keep the rodents population down and out of the grain stores, therefore self-feeding); somehow humans have managed to keep cats all these nearly 10,000 years, so it isn’t rocket science as long as one keeps their natural predator diet of small animals in mind. Cats and dogs certainly need more than muscle meat to eat – they also need the minerals in bones and organ meat, especially liver. Cats in particular, also need heart muscle for a certain delicate amino acid (heat sensitive) – taurine, though it can also be provided with taurine supplements. But of course, the full complement of nutrients in the whole food is preferable. And feeding real food is a bit more expensive and more work than cheap kibble, but it saves time and and potentially a lot of money at the vet, which isn’t a small consideration at all (some might think that is the primary reason for the typical vet advice against raw food, but I really don’t think that is the case, I think they are well-meaning but just brainwashed by the pet food companies from vet school to the company reps that frequently visit, just like many physicians are heavily influenced by big pharma).

    c) She wouldn’t recommend anything that wasn’t back up by peer-reviewed vet journals. So until it is officially sanctioned in “the literature”, no matter how many clients have great success preventing and reversing disease with real food from raw meat & bones, she won’t recommend it to her clients. Well, hell with probably freeze over before that happens, because the pet nutrition research and education is primarily sponsored and funded by pet food companies, creating a huge conflict of interest and certain slant. Commercial pet food, even the “premium” stuff is made from the dregs of the food processing industry, formulated with a very “reductionist” view of nutrition and the low price and convenience of commercial pet food will continue to win over pet caregivers, as they are conditioned to only think of commercial feeding options and cost/convenience factors.

    So I think this movement towards feeding real food will be primarily driven by a few (the the number is increasing) smart pet care givers who can see the connection to poor pet health and commercial pet foods, with some breeders and a few enlightened independent-minded vets chiming in.

  85. Bringing this study to your attn, in case you hadn’t seen it:

    The abstract:
    “[W]e noted a markedly elevated risk for carcinoid tumors of the small intestine with saturated fat intake in both the categorical (highest versus lowest tertile: HR, 3.18; 95% CI, 1.62–6.25) and continuous data (HR, 3.72; 95% CI, 1.79–7.74 for each 10-g increase in intake per 1,000 kcal). Our findings suggest that the positive associations for meat intake reported in previous case-control studies may partly be explained by saturated fat intake.[Cancer Res 2008;68(22):9274–9]”

    A couple of things. First, this is an observational study (of tiny numbers), and as such, can’t be used to determine causality. Second, there are numerous observational studies out there – some show a positive correlation between meat eating and various cancers, other show no correlation, and others yet show a negative correlation. This gives people a choice of studies to rely on to substantiate their own bias.

  86. @ Anne & Mr. Freddy,

    I hope your trainer has you doing squats or something else remotely functional as a primary lower body movement. While it is great to progress in certain movements, I would rather people be able to execute a proper squat without weight than 1000 lbs leg press. I would advise staying clear of any machine you could fall asleep on : ) Squats help promote stabilization in the trunk and are vastly superior in terms of their cross-over benefit to daily movement. At least you aren’t doing leg extensions… if so, hopefully not regularly.

    I would advise mixing it up, too – perform leg movements in varying planes, playing around with the volume, repetition speed (yes, it is advisable to lift weights fast, too) and implements (dumbbells, barbells, cables). I highly recommend reading the methods of Chad Waterbury, Mark Ripptoe, Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore – they are true masters of performance enhancement and lifting.

  87. Missy, you still haven’t read reference [12] 😉 Perception of hunger is one of the things the study measured, and there was no significant difference between the mean hunger ratings of the HCG and placebo groups. Although, in this case, the full distributions were at least interesting! They used a 5-category self-reported hunger scale (“none”, “little”, “some”, “much”, and “uncontrollable”), and twice as many people in the HCG group rated hunger as “none” than in the placebo group. However, that was /also/ true of people rating their hunger as “uncontrollable” (again the HCG group was the higher one). See Table 3 for the full story.

    But again, if it worked for you, that’s great.

  88. Hi Missy,
    The leptin I was taking is not commercially available. I was taking it as part of a clinical research study for women who fit a certain profile (infertile due to specific hormonal aberrations, including severely low leptin).

    Leptin deficiency is only likely to be a problem AFTER considerable weight loss. If you are still obese or morbidly obese it is unlikely you have leptin deficiency. Genetic abnormalities in leptin synthesis are exceedingly rare, there is only a handful of people in the world and they are almost all part of the same inbred family… although mutations in receptors are somewhat more common in obese people.

    Leptin deficiency will make someone chronically prepubertal. Women will not ovulate and men cannot produce mature sperm, which is why deficiencies of synthesis are almost unheard of except in heavily inbred families who have a recessive trait (otherwise you can’t pass that gene, can you?)

    I know leptin cannot effectively cross the BBB if triglycerides are high, which is another way of saying that leptin signaling in the brain is blocked if you have really high insulin and are building fat like a mofo.
    I do not know if hCG has any effect on the BBB. The primary role of hCG in the body is to support the placenta until it is mature enough to produce enough progesterone of its own to keep it alive.
    I know that morning sickness and food aversion in pregnancy is very strongly related to high hCG combined with high estrogen. I know hCG makes estrogen, like LH would (LH being the estorgen-making hormone dominant during fertility and hCG stepping up after implantation and pregnancy).

    Intuitively I doubt that hCG works via leptin at all… leptin is mostly relevant AFTER weight loss, when cells are hypotrophic and insulin is low. Leptin is only dominant when body fat/insulin is relatively deficient, because leptin will never be deficient unless all of those are.

    If hCG works at all besides placebo I would expect it to work somehow via estrogen, testosterone, and whatever neurotransmitters/hormones affect the phenomenon of morning sickness.

  89. Thanks Tim Peters. I, BECAUSE of YOUR wink….lol..went and made SURE to reread it. I know what it says, but I know what I feel. For me, my feelings trump the study. It is working, for me, and I hope it continues. I really do appreciate your feedback.

    Wooo, I learned today that I’m not deficient in leptin. Just went to my Dr today and that’s one thing we’ve monitored. He is going to have me ‘test’ for it at the end of my next weightloss cycle though. Thanks for sharing more with me as well!

  90. No problem missy,
    I hope you have really good insurance… I’ve been told that the diagnostic test for leptin level is pretty expensive. It isn’t worth monitoring unless you have symptoms of deficiency… and even then it isn’t really worth it other than to confirm suspicions (there is no way to treat leptin deficiency in 2008, unless you’re a gabillionaire or part of a research study). It’s extremely unlikely anyone with a very high BMI is going to be leptin deficient, anyway, even if they’ve lost a bit of weight. If you are still near 400-300 pounds leptin isn’t something you’re even going to have to even think about until you’re at least in the 200s probably.

    The leptin deficiency post weight loss/maintenance is related to the former obese individual having hypotrophic (small) fat cells that are hyperplastic (numerous). Even the most obese individuals only have 3xs the amount of fat cells as a normal weight person, which approximately means that leptin deficiency shouldn’t even begin to be an issue until fat mass has been diminished to a level that is no greater than 3 times the amount of an average non-obese individual. If you’re more than 100 pounds over ideal weight, it probably isn’t a n issue.

  91. Wooo, lol, when I go to the hospital to get blood drawn, ‘they’ don’t even know what vial to use for it. LOL There is always a delay, I’ve noticed, till they ‘check’ with someone. lol It’s just good to have a baseline. I doubt we’ll test it again till much further down. I’ve got good insurance. Thanks!

  92. “It’s always seemed bizarre to me that vets would recommend what are basically high-carb diets for animals that are clearly carnivorous. But they do. I guess vets are as susceptible to the idiocy of the low-fat crowd as anyone else. Very strange.” (MRE)

    I’m more cynical. I think they know that it would be bad for business if people fed their cats and dogs raw meaty bones. The animals would be healthier than eating the high-carb rancid garbage filled with corn and soybeans. And the vets would be out of business. That’s why the majority of them tell people to feed their animals processed chow filled with rancid fats and grains. For the same reason, the manufacturers of the food sell “weight loss formula” which is lower in fat and higher in carbs and fiber, the exact opposite of what a carnivore needs. The people are all very shrewd and they know what they are doing, just like the cardiologists who tell their patients to eat grains and vegetable oils. They have a good racket. They don’t want anyone rocking the boat by pointing out that cats are carnivores and have no need for corn, rice, soybeans, vegetable oils, and fiber – nor do humans for that matter.

  93. Hello,
    I am new to this blog — just found it today. I see that the last post was last January, so I’m not sure if this is being read anymore.
    My personal experience with the relationship between weight loss and low carbs occured by accident in 2003. I was extremely busy working and preparing for the wedding of my eldest daughter. I often skipped “regular meals” and ate on the fly. Recognizing that I became hungry less frequently if I ate protein/high fat foods, I always kept them available in the refrigerator and in my car. I always had nuts on hand and would eat a few periodically to stave off hunger pangs. I did eat vegetables and fruits in small quantities. In five months I went from a size 18 to a size 12. Surprised at the ease and efficiency of the “diet,” I continued it for the next seven months during which I went from a size 12 to a size 4. I lost a total of 50 pounds without any loss of energy. Now, five years later, I have maintained my weight loss.
    I eat all fruits and vegetables. I avoid fast food and most processed foods, but I do eat too many sweets (chocolate, ice cream, etc.). Now that I have some understanding of the impact of carbs/sugar on general health, I believe I need more information about improving my diet to avoid the chronic, degenerative illnesses related to high-carb consumption.
    Can someone tell me where I can get specific information and guidelines to use to help me modify my diet?

    Hmmm. Don’t know what you found, but there have been numerous posts since January. Many about what to do to modify your diet.