Fat Head the Movie

At Fat Head the Movie premier

At Fat Head the Movie premiere

A couple of years ago I got an email from a guy named Tom Naughton asking if he could come interview me for a movie he was making that was supposed to kind of be a counterpoint to Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me! I hadn’t seen Spurlock’s film at the time, but I knew enough about it that I was wary of anyone who wanted to make a film maybe showing fast food places in a positive light.  I wrote Tom back and suggested we talk.  Once he had me on the phone, Tom was able to make me realize that his film was not pro fast food, but was pro personal responsibility.  And that it was pro low-carb, since the diet he went on and lost weight on eating at nothing but fast food restaurants was a low-carb diet.

He came to visit with all his movie making paraphernalia and we set to the interview, which I wrote about in a previous post.  We kept in contact over the intervening years, and I watched multiple versions of the film as it evolved and got better and better with each new iteration.  Finally, Tom called to tell me Fat Head was finished.  MD and I attended the premiere of the movie a few weeks ago (we are pictured above with Tom at said premiere), and I can tell you that folks were laughing their heads off.  It’s a very funny movie made by a guy who is a professional comedian.  Along with being funny, however, the film is exceedingly thought provoking.  I can’t imagine anyone who might be anti low-carb watching it and coming away feeling the same.

Tom has been dogged in his mission to actually get this film made and distributed.  And he has succeeded in a world where few do, the world of the independent filmmaker.  He has a distributor (which is the movie equivalent to a book agent) and has already had the film picked up in some foreign venues.  Today, Feb. 3, Fat Head goes on sale at Amazon.com. I urge you to click here to get a copy and watch it.  You’ll be glad you did.

One of the questions I’m asked constantly by people who have achieved success on low-carb diets is what can we all do to help spread the word?  I always tell them to buy books (and not just mine) and give them away or loan them out.  The response I almost always get is that no one will read a book.  Well, they will probably watch a movie, especially one as funny and entertaining as Fat Head.  Even if you don’t buy one to give to someone, buy one for yourself because the movie is a real treat.  Can you think of a  better way to spend a pleasant hour and a half than to watch a bunch of low-fat twits get pilloried?  Plus, Tom has witnessed firsthand the power of the low-carb diet to improve health and bring about weight loss, and has not just exulted in his own success, but has put his money where his mouth is.  He has financed every cent of this movie out of his own hip pocket.  And, as we all know, movies are not inexpensive to produce.  He has done a great service for the low-carb community, and we need to do our part to help pay him back. And to encourage others to take the risk to move the ball closer to the goal.

If you want to get a little taste of what the movie is all about and watch some video clips, check out the website.

To get an even more in depth take on the movie, here is an interview I did with the filmmaker himself.

Q:  What inspired you to make a film challenging Super Size Me?

A:  I actually didn’t set out to take on Super Size Me.  I began this project thinking it would be maybe a half-hour humor piece about how we treat fat people in American society.  I watched Super Size Me as part of my research.  And to be honest, I thought Super Size Me was very well done and very amusing, but at the same time a couple of things about it really bugged me.  One was the overall premise, that it’s McDonald’s fault people are getting fatter.  That’s ridiculous.  Ronald McDonald can’t force you to eat anything, and most people eat at McDonald’s once in awhile, not everyday.

But what really bugged me was when I realized Spurlock’s math didn’t add up.  I spent a good part of my adult life as a serial dieter, so I have a pretty good idea what the calorie counts are at McDonald’s.  When Spurlock’s nutritionist told him he was consuming 5000 calories per day, alarm bells went off in my head.  There’s no way you can consume that many calories at McDonald’s if you’re following his supposed rules.

Q:  So in your opinion, Super Size Me is essentially dishonest.

A:  Yes, it’s dishonest.  Long before I saw it, I heard people talk about how Super Size Me shows what would happen if you just ate three meals per day at McDonald’s.  But that’s not what it shows.  It shows what would happen if you decided to stuff yourself like crazy so you could gain weight and make a movie about it.  You could stuff yourself at a vegan restaurant and gain just as much weight, if that was your goal.

Q: You did exactly the opposite:  you ate nothing but fast food for a month and lost weight.  How did you manage that?

A:  I did it by intentionally ignoring the standard-issue nutrition advice.  My doctor of course warned me that if I was going to live on fast food, I should eat as many salads and grilled chicken breasts as I could so I wouldn’t consume too much fat.  But I knew better.  I ate a lot of fat, because fat is what keeps you feeling full and satisfied.  But I did limit my carbohydrates to about 100 per day, because that’s the real key to losing weight, at least for me.

Q:  You say you ignored the standard advice because you knew better.  How did you know better?

A:  Personal experience for one.  Low-fat diets never worked for me.  I’d lose a little weight and then stall, plus I’d end up feeling lethargic and depressed.  The first time I really lost weight and felt good doing it was when I tried The Zone diet, which was the first time I seriously cut down on my carbohydrates.

Q:  The Zone diet isn’t exactly a low-carbohydrate diet.

A:  No, but keep in mind, I’d been living on a more or less vegetarian diet because I thought it was good for my health, so I was eating a lot of rice and potatoes and pasta.  That seems crazy to me now, because of course I kept gaining weight in spite of working out regularly and walking several miles per week.  I just figured it was because I was getting older.

So when I finally tried The Zone diet, I was consuming maybe 170 carbohydrates per day, which isn’t exactly low, but it was a lot lower than I’d been consuming.  And the weight started to drop off.  I didn’t understand much about the effects of insulin at the time, but I did understand that cutting back on sugar and starch was making it so I could lose weight without feeling like I was starving.

Q:  On your fast-food diet, you counted calories as well as carbohydrates.  How many calories did you consume, and what did you eat to stay under the limit?

A:  I set a target of 2000 calories per day and kept it pretty close to that.  Unlike Morgan Spurlock, I’m not afraid to show people what I consumed, so my daily menus are posted on our web site, but to answer the question, I basically lived on a diet that’s about midway between The Zone and Protein Power.  Since I wanted to do an honest fast-food diet, I consumed more starch than I would on a true low-carb diet.

So a typical day might be two Egg McMuffins with only half of each muffin and an order of hash browns for breakfast, a double quarter-pounder with cheese for lunch, and another one for dinner, or maybe one of their chicken salads.  I also ate a lot of the chicken strips, which are pretty tasty, but unfortunately that meant I was taking in some trans fats.  I think they’ve finally gotten rid of the trans fats, but they were still using them for frying when I was on the diet.

Q:  And you ate nothing but McDonald’s?

A:  It was all fast food, and it was mostly McDonald’s, but it wasn’t all McDonald’s.  I also ate at Carl’s Jr., KFC, Taco Bell, Burger King and a couple of others.  I ate at least one or two meals at McDonald’s pretty much every day.

Q: Was it difficult, eating nothing but fast food for a month? I don’t think I could do it.  In fact, I’m not sure I could eat nothing but fast food for a week.

A:  It got a little tiresome by the end.  I was bored with eating the same half-dozen meals over and over.  That’s why I thought it was ridiculous when Spurlock played up the idea that McDonald’s food is addicting.  Addictions are progressive.  People consume more and more of the addicting substance, despite the bad effects it’s having on their health.  After eating nothing but fast food for a month, I didn’t touch the stuff for awhile.  Addicting?  Give me a break.

Q:  Are you worried that you’ll be seen as an apologist for the fast-food industry?  After all, they’re not exactly selling health food. As you may recall, that’s one of the reasons I was hesitant to even be interviewed for this movie.

A:  No, they’re not selling health food, and I don’t portray it as health food in this film.  In fact, when I met with some people from McDonald’s to get permission to shoot in their restaurants, I made it clear I wasn’t going to claim their food is good for you.

But it doesn’t have to be bad for you either if you’re smart about the choices you make, and that’s one of the main points I was trying to make in this film.  You can make good choices or bad choices at McDonald’s, just like you can make good choices or bad choices in the grocery store.  People are going to eat fast food in today’s society, like it or not, so they may as well learn to make reasonably smart choices.

Q:  And McDonald’s had nothing to do with this film being made?

A:  Other than giving me permission to shoot in their restaurants, no.  And even that took some doing on my part.  After what Spurlock did to them, they were understandably a bit skittish about allowing some guy with a camera to come in and film himself eating there.

Q:  So you lost weight on a fast-food diet, and you demonstrate pretty convincingly that Morgan Spurlock’s numbers don’t add up.  But there’s a whole lot more to this film than just disputing Super Size Me.

A:  Absolutely.  Once I started working on this film and doing some research into the so-called obesity epidemic and what’s really causing it, and especially once I started looking into the research on fat and cholesterol and heart disease, I was stunned at how much nonsense passes for real science these days.  Most of the dietary advice we’ve been hearing for the past 40 years is just plain wrong.  In fact, it’s worse than wrong; it’s harmful. That’s when it began to sink in with me that this film should be way more than just a reply to Super Size Me.  I changed the focus of the film significantly as I went along.

Q:  You call it the “so-called” obesity epidemic.  Do you really believe there is no obesity epidemic?

A:  You and I have already debated this one back and forth, so let me clarify my position for your readers.  There are definitely more fat people in America now than when I was a kid.  Look around any busy public place, and you’ll see these big, heavy people going by.  So I’m not disputing that we’ve gotten fatter.

But when I look around, say, a mall or an airport, most of the people I see don’t look overweight to me, so I don’t buy this notion that two-thirds of us are overweight.  And I certainly don’t think a quarter of all Americans are obese.  The figures have been wildly exaggerated, both by the Centers for Disease Control and by the weight-loss industry, each for their own reasons.

Q:  What are those reasons?  What do they gain by exaggerating the numbers?

A:  The CDC needs epidemics to justify their budget.  They were originally created to wipe out real diseases, things like polio and influenza and malaria.  Well, you’re not going to catch obesity from some virus floating around, you’re not going to get it from the person sitting next to you, so frankly, I don’t think this is even the CDC’s problem to tackle.

The weight-loss industry wants obesity declared a disease so they can get insurance reimbursements for weight-loss treatments and weight-loss drugs.  But to make that happen, they’ve got to create the impression of this looming national health crisis.  So they use stupid measurements like the Body Mass Index to juke up the statistics.  And by focusing on people’s weight or BMI, they’re going after the wrong problem.

Q:  In your film, you say the real epidemic is high blood sugar.  Why do you say that?

On your blog, you frequently write about how researchers often confuse correlation with causation.  That’s what I think has happened with the so-called obesity epidemic; they’ve confused a cause with a symptom.   We know fat people tend to have more health problems, so they decided being fat is the cause of all these health problems.  But being fat isn’t the cause; it’s a symptom.  And it’s also possible to be fat and healthy.

I’m a walking example of that.  A typical checkup for me goes something like this:  “Well let’s see … blood pressure is good, blood sugar is normal, resting heart rate is very good, triglycerides are excellent, HDL is outstanding, stress-test results are excellent, muscle tone is very good.  You’re healthy as a horse, Mr. Naughton.  But you really should go on a low-fat diet and try to lose 20 or 30 pounds.”  And I’m usually hearing this from some doctor who probably couldn’t keep up with me on one of my five-mile hikes.

So again, I don’t think carrying around some extra weight is a health hazard all by itself.  But high blood sugar is unhealthy, no doubt about it.  And we’ve got millions and millions of people these days walking around with high blood sugar.  Just look at the skyrocketing rate of type II diabetes over the past few decades.

We have people in my family who are thin and look good in their clothes, but they have type II diabetes.  So I think it’s misguided to focus so much on being fat or thin.  The focus should be on keeping your blood sugar normal.  Do that and the weight will probably take care of itself over time.

Q:  You blame the blood-sugar problems we have today on poor old George McGovern.

A:  Well, he was certainly part of it.  Going back at least as far as Ancel Keys, we’ve had this misguided attempt to reduce heart disease by telling people to cut back on dietary fat, or to avoid animal fats and switch to vegetable fats.  It didn’t seem to occur to any of them back then that heart disease rates were going up precisely at the same time that people were consuming less animal fat and more of these Frankenstein vegetable fats, like chemically processed corn oil and soybean oil and margarine.

So George McGovern didn’t start the anti-fat campaign, but unfortunately he gave it the official stamp of approval from the federal government, and that’s when a lot of people began to take it seriously.  That’s when you couldn’t walk into a bookstore or open a newspaper without seeing all these books and articles telling us to cut back on fat and eat more whole grains.  So we became a nation of starch-eaters, and the rest is history.

Q:  You make several references to Gary Taubes’ Good Calories, Bad Calories in your film.  How much influence did Gary’s book have on the direction of the film?

A:  I was already finished with my third edit of Fat Head when Good Calories, Bad Calories hit the bookstores, although I had read some of Gary’s articles while researching the film, and those were certainly eye-opening.

When I finally read Good Calories, Bad Calories, it blew me away.  I finally understood, at the cellular and hormonal level, how carbohydrates had made me fat over the years, and why low-fat diets always made me ravenously hungry and depressed.

I finally understood why there are so many frustrated dieters in the world, trying to lose fat on diets that are basically telling their bodies to store fat.  And I understood why people like my wife and son can’t seem to gain weight no matter what they eat.  They’re not skinny because they’re more disciplined than the rest of us; they just have bodies that reach homeostasis at a very low level of fat accumulation.  If my wife is hungry, she eats.  She doesn’t starve herself into being thin.

So I did some fairly substantial cutting to make room for what I learned from Gary’s book.  And after you put me in touch with him, he generously agreed to proof the script for technical accuracy.  I knew I’d have to simplify the science quite a bit in order to translate it into a film for the general public, but I wanted to avoid simplifying to the point of being incorrect.  Gary helped me keep it simple, but accurate.

Q:  Gary’s work is highlighted in the film, but he doesn’t appear in any interviews.  Were you unable to work out the logistics for an interview?

A:  I would’ve happily flown to New York or wherever to get Gary on film, and he was open to the idea, but his publisher wasn’t crazy about the idea of him appearing in a film that’s billed as a comedy-documentary.  There are a lot of silly moments in this film, all those animated cartoon bits and such, and his publisher was afraid it would detract from Gary’s credibility among the white-coat crowd.

And I think his publisher probably made the right call.  Much as I would’ve loved to have Gary talk about his own work in my film, I understand that his mission right now is to convince the medical and academic types that the prevailing dietary theories are wrong, and I wouldn’t want to be responsible for giving those people any reason to ignore him.  So he can attack their misguided theories with serious science, and I’ll attack them with humor.  Two fronts, same battle.

Q:  Speaking of humor, there’s quite a lot of it in your film.  How much of that was planned, and how much of it just happened?

A:  I’d always planned for this to be a comedy, even back when it was going to be a short piece about how we treat fat people.  I spent a lot of years as a traveling standup comedian, and I like producing funny material.  It comes naturally to me.

But the humor also serves an important, calculated purpose:  it makes people want to watch the film.  Funny documentaries get far more attention on average than serious documentaries.  They get more press coverage, and they sell more copies.

So a lot of the humor was planned, definitely.  The animations, the songs, the scenes where I parody Spurlock, those were all by design.  But some of the funniest moments were a matter of good, old-fashioned luck.  I conducted several hours of person-on-the-street interviews, and some people just happened to be funny.  That’s luck.  On the other hand, some people were funny when I had the lens cap on, or didn’t notice the battery had gone dead.  That’s bad luck.  I had more good luck than bad, so I’ll take it.

Q:  As you explain to the viewers near the end of the film, I encouraged you to try a high-fat, very low-carb diet to see what would happen with your lipids.  You went on what you called a “saturated-fat pigout” for a month, and your total cholesterol went down and your HDL went up, as I predicted.  But you didn’t mention what happened with your weight during that month.  Did you gain or lose?

A:  Yes, after our first interview, you told me off-camera that I could prove to myself that the Lipid Hypothesis was wrong, and I did, to my great relief.  To tell you the truth, I was kind of sweating it out, waiting for the lab results to come back.  I believed what you were telling me, but after a month of eating burgers and steaks and bacon and eggs, there was part of me wondering if I was going to get back a lipid panel that would just say “You’re going to die” across the top.  If my cholesterol numbers had gone all out of whack, it wouldn’t have done very much for the premise of my film.  But as you predicted, the numbers all improved.

To answer your question, I lost two pounds during that month.  That doesn’t sound like much, but I was eating a lot of high-fat, high-calorie food, and I wasn’t exercising much because I was swamped with work, so the fact that I lost any weight at all impressed me.

Q:  So it wasn’t just a matter of counting calories.

A:  It couldn’t be just about the calories.  If you go by the simple calories-in, calories-out equation the so-called experts are always harping on about, I should’ve gained weight during that month.

I kind of repeated that experiment again later.  I was booked on a cruise ship for five weeks as a comedian, and of course cruises are notorious for being diet-busters.  So during those five weeks, I ate burgers, steaks, bacon, sausage, eggs, seafood and salads with bleu cheese dressing.  I didn’t touch bread or potatoes or rice.   I limited my alcohol consumption to a little red wine here and there.  Since the performers work at night, on a lot of days I had a fourth meal after midnight.  There’s no way this was a low-calorie diet in disguise, as some of the low-carb critics like to claim.  At the end of the five weeks, I weighed exactly the same.  Calories in versus calories out can’t explain that result.

Q:  How did working on this film change your own dietary habits?

A:  I used to more or less limit my carbs, but I also granted myself a lot of “special occasion” days where I had the bagel, or the lasagna, or the chicken-fried steak.  After all the books and articles I read for this film, and especially after reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, I’m a lot stricter, and frankly, it’s easier to pass up those foods.  If I look at a baked potato, I see a big glob of sugar sitting there.

I also don’t worry about saturated fats and cholesterol at all.  In fact, I believe they’re good for me.   I’ve noticed that when the flu goes around, or when practically everybody I know has a cold, I pretty much never come down with anything.  Maybe it’s just a placebo effect, but I truly believe the butter and the coconut oil and the egg yolks and the beef fat I consume keep my immune system strong.

Q:  What kind of reactions are you getting from people who’ve seen the film?

A:  That’s what is really gratifying, seeing how this film affects other people.  My composer swore off sugar and starch after working on the film, and he lost 15 pounds.  Same thing happened with my sound engineer.  He realized his morning bowl of whole-grain cereal wasn’t actually good for him, and he switched back to eating meat and eggs for the first time in decades.  He lost 15 pounds, which is great, but even more importantly, he was able to stop taking Prilosec.  He’d been taking that stuff every day for years.  All of his digestive disorders are gone, and he feels healthy.  At our premiere party, he told me this film had literally changed his life.

Q:  So what’s happening with the film now?  What’s next?

A:  Now it’s up to the distributors.  The U.S. distributor is getting the film into the big video stores and department stores, and it’s already selling on Amazon.  The international distributor is selling to the DVD and TV markets in a couple dozen countries.  It turned out the world-wide premiere was on a satellite network in Israel back in December.  I started getting all these emails from people in Israel, asking me questions about the film, or just wanting to know when they could buy it on DVD.

Q:  Any plans for a follow-up film, or a film on a different topic?

A:  I have some ideas for future projects, but no concrete plans yet.  I bankrolled Fat Head myself, so first I have to wait and see if it generates a healthy profit.  If it does, I’ll definitely make another film.  This project took an incredible amount of work, way more work than I thought it would be when I started it, but at the same time, it was a blast.  Other than being on stage doing standup comedy, this is about as much fun as I’ve ever had while working.

Thanks very much, Tom.

Tom has generously agreed to answer any questions any of you might have about his film, so fire away in the comments section, and I’ll get them to Tom.

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

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91 thoughts on “Fat Head the Movie

  1. Tom seems like a stand-up guy (no pun intended). I can’t wait to see this movie, and I am going to show my dad as well, who I have been trying to encourage in his quest to kick his blood pressure meds. (or rather my quest for him to kick them :)

    Great interview, thanks Dr. Eades.

  2. Awesome! Low carb is really gaining momentum. Things like this film hopefully will help us pierce that membrane of reactionary disbelief from the “heart healthy” low fat crowd. Really looking forward to seeing this film. Thanks for sharing it.


  3. GREAT interview! I look forward to seeing the film.
    Personal responsibility….
    When I’m on the road for business, I DO stop at Mcdonalds if I’m in a pinch for food. Grilled piece of chicken with tomato is a good snack to hold me over. No fries ,no bun, no soda.
    It’s a choice, not everyone seems to have the understanding/willpower to do it. And like my friend always says “and that’s ok too” 😉


  4. We can draw only one conclusion… Spurlock’s girlfriend forced him eat a large plates of whole grain pilaf, hummus and plenty of fruit every day, probably to keep him regular and so he wouldn’t die.

    Fascinating to see the information portrayed in this format… very funny and effective. This is the perfect accompaniment to the lc books out there. And I will be relieved not get those glazed over stares of empathy anymore when I claim it’s the potato, not the butter thats bad… I will just hand them your video. Good luck with its success.

  5. Just to muddy the waters by being absolutely clear – it’s not the calories in/calories out balance for low-carb diets that’s in question. Rather, it’s the idea that appetite and total metabolic output are independent of macronutrient intake and composition. On a healthy diet, appetite, expenditure, and storage should balance themselves automatically, just as they do for the rest of the animal kingdom (I would claim this idea goes a long way toward defining what constitutes a “healthy diet”). The “experts” treat these as independent, but the biochemistry shows very clearly that they’re not; common-sense tells us they can’t be if organisms are to be robust in the face of environmental fluctuations.

    As we sally forth to promote Fat Head and the ideas therein, let’s make sure we have clarity on that point when questioned by mainstream nutrition drones. Saying “calories in does not equal calories out” isn’t accurate, and gives them ammunition.

    BTW, did you receive my last email on the LowCarbopedia idea? If you did and haven’t had time to think about it, that’s okay. I just wanted to be sure it didn’t get eaten by your spam filter.

    I did receive the email, but Ive been buried then gone. Just returned today. I’ll look it over and get back with you.

  6. Dr. Eades,

    Just when I think your blog could not possibly get any better, it does. Thanks so much for this update on the movie which I am sure so many of us have been looking forward to.

    As an aside, and an important one at that, I wish all the Ornish/MacDougall types would look really closely at the photo of the the good Doctor Eades and Eades, along with Tom Naughton. Just look at the results of LC living. They say the camera adds 10 pounds, and even if that is the case, well all I see is three pretty lean, healthy looking individuals.

    Thanks from the Drs. Eades part of the photo.

  7. Looking forward to the movie. As a convert to the LC lifestyle I now wanna see it spread. I went off a VLCD after losing 20kg then onto a low carb lifestyle and have maintained my weight easily for two months (Even after allowing a free for all at christmas). All the cliches are true! My blood pressure is back to normal, I feel fantastic and I eat bacon and eggs most mornings. I’m so energised and really and truly want to eat the way I do now rather than diets before which I knew I would not keep up. Woo hoo!!!

  8. I’m amazed at the number of people who are still unaware of the benefits of LC eating, so maybe this will be a huge help. And, how many people are consuming diet soda by the gallon, and wondering why thet’re not losing weight.

  9. Hey, Doc, a question on the Amazon link, since I want to make sure you always get credit for anything you’ve directed us to:

    I often add an item to my cart, but then wait until I add something that adds up to super saver shipping before checking out – if we click through from here, add the item to cart, but then don’t actually buy it until later (sometimes weeks later or longer), do you still get the credit?

    I guess the short answer is that I don’t know. I truly appreciate your efforts. I suppose if you want to make sure, you can simply reorder through this site once you’ve built up enough stuff for the super saver rate. Thanks again.

  10. Are you trying to make us low apostrophe too :)

    I was up half the night last night and have been flying all day today. So, I’m brain dead and don’t get it. You’ll have to explain.

  11. Dr. Eades,
    I’ve been waiting a long time for this post , Thank-You!

    I just recieved an e-newsletter from Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics institute, with the following article where he attacks low-carb eating:


    I am amazed that such an educated, influential guy can still believe the old “a calorie is a calorie” myth. Are people like Dr. Cooper sitting in a cave with their hands over their ears??? Dr. Eades, why can’t some medical professionals see the lipid hypothesis and the low-fat diet myth crumbling around them?

    Maybe they’re blind. At least to the truth.

  12. Here’s my secret (and probably futile) strategy to persuade a few people (family, my wife, some friends) that low carbing isn’t insane, and in fact, is the healthiest and only diet you need to consider:

    1) Send them a copy of this DVD. They may actually watch it.

    At this point, if I sent them the books (GCBC, Protein Power, Slowburn, etc.), I am sure they simply wouldn’t be read.

    2) Send them a copy of Jay Wortman’s My Big Fat Diet documentary.

    3)THEN send the books. By this point, they might be softened up enough to actually read some of them.

    4) Give up. By this point, they’ve seen the movies (maybe), but they’ve probably ignored the books, they’re still on statins and blood pressure meds (some of them), they still think Yoga/Pilates is great, they still dont strength train, and they wont read the damn books. Argghhhh.

  13. I’ve noticed that when the flu goes around, or when practically everybody I know has a cold, I pretty much never come down with anything. Maybe it’s just a placebo effect

    I’ve noticed this as well and was also wondering if I was simply on to a great placebo. Is their any research on low carb diets and their effect on the immune system?

    I’ve not seen any specific studies on low-carb and immunity, but knowing that the immune system is protein and fat dependent, it makes sense that increased intake of those macronutrients would help support the immune system.

  14. Nice job on the interview. I’m going to mentally put a little star on this post because it seems like a milestone event.

  15. I love the filmmaker’s low-carb perspective, but from the movie excerpts he seems to have an axe to grind against government in general. (For example, the way the “CSPI guy” mocks taxation and regulation). Personally I don’t think there is anything wrong with most of the powers of government, although they can obviously be misued like anything else. Wouldn’t it be a good thing if taxation and regulation were used to promote a low-carb lifestyle?

    In my opinion it would NOT be good for the government to use taxation and regulation to promote the low-carb lifestyle. Government has no business telling us how or what to eat or how or what to spend our money on. That’s what freedom is all about. We are free to be self destructive or free to eat and live in a healthy way. If you give the government the right to regulate these things, it can pretty much take the right to regulate everything. As Tom’s film shows, the reason we’re all the the grip of this low-fat madness right now can be laid at the doorstep of government. And it’s not just Tom who’s saying so. Read Gary Taubes’ articles in Science magazine to see how it all came about. Government is not benign.

  16. Our grandparents knew!! Last night I saw Rosalind Russell’s character in “My Sister Eileen” (released in 1942) complain that she was hungry because she was too poor to buy meat. When asked why she wasn’t losing weight, she said “How can I?? All I can afford is bread, noodles, and pototoes! I am always hungry and keep getting fatter!!” That is an exact quote, I think. Nineteen and Forty Two, folks.

    This was before we entered the nutritional Dark Ages brought to us courtesy of Ancel Keys, et al.

  17. Regarding the “obesity epidemic” comments, while I have no hard facts to confirm or dispute the hypothesis that there is an obesity epidemic, one thing that I do notice is how obesity has gotten “younger.”

    I think that there have always been overweight middle-age folks, and while I do believe that the numbers have grown, I’m not sure by how much. However, I was looking at my 32 year old high-school senior yearbook this past summer and out of a class of 450 ran across the 3 “fat” kids in our class. They were the noticeably rotund kids who would be considered “obese” using today’s terminology. These kids were horribly teased by their peers because they were so different from the norm. Many of the other kids were really scrawny/skinny (including myself who at 5’11” weighed in at a whopping 135 pounds.).

    Over the Christmas holiday’s I was looking at my niece’s senior year book and noticed that there were several “fat” kids on each page of the yearbook. While I didn’t count, I’d say at least 20%-30% of the kids were obese, and many others were clearly overweight. When I commented about how these kids were tormented in my day, she looked at me like I had three heads. “Why would they do that” she asked? The implication being that this is now considered the norm. While I’m glad that overweight kids are not persecuted as much anymore, I find it pretty sad that young and “chunky” is now the norm, and oh so dangerous because most of these kids have nowhere to go but to get fatter from where they are now. If there isn’t an epidemic now … there may soon be one.

    I agree with you. I’ve done the same thing with my high school, college and medical school yearbooks. You can also notice it in movies made in the 60s and 70s that show crowd scenes – most everyone is think. Now, in many cases, even the actors are overweight.

  18. Good looking trio! Now read this:

    PETA’s Mideast Peace Plan: ‘Give Peas a Chance’

    Article Tools Sponsored By
    Published: February 4, 2009

    Filed at 4:33 p.m. ET

    JERUSALEM (AP) — A leading animal advocacy group said the road to Mideast peace begins in a pita. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has requested Israel’s permission to post pro-vegetarian signs on both sides of its barriers with the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

    PETA’s signs are in Hebrew and in English. They feature Israelis and Palestinians sitting down for a meat-free meal along with the slogans: ”Give Peas a Chance,” and ”Nonviolence Begins on Our Plates: Go Vegetarian.”

    ”Every time that we eat, we can choose not to participate in violence,” PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk wrote Wednesday in a letter. ”While choosing a falafel sandwich over a lamb kebab doesn’t create instant peace, it reduces the sum total of violence and suffering in the world.”

    Good thing I read the above before lunch (tri-tip steak/butter/hot sauce).


    I wish them well in their idiocy.

  19. btw, congratulations, you’re finally a genuine movie star!

    (my fat head dvd should arrive tomorrow, can’t wait!)

    Hmmm. I don’t know that I would go that far. I am interested to know what you think of the movie when you get it.

  20. Sorry about my cryptic comment/joke. None of the apostrophes (‘) showed up on my computer (Mac Safari). I wondered why. Was it just me? I just went back and they are there now. Very Strange!

    I ordered the movie!

    Very strange indeed. I looked through the post and hadn’t a clue. I don’t know why the apostrophes went missing and I don’t know why they came back. Let me know what you think of the movie.

  21. “While choosing a falafel sandwich over a lamb kebab doesn’t create instant peace, it reduces the sum total of violence and suffering in the world.”

    In my near-vegetarian days, I once ate a bowl of meatless chili before a cross-country flight. It increased the sum total of my suffering rather violently.

    And given that low cholesterol is correlated with violent behavior and violent death, we’d better get the PETA nutjobs out of that powderkeg as soon as possible.

    Your eating the meatless chili before the cross-country flight may have increased the suffering of those seated near you as well. :-)

  22. I’d also love to know when the DVD will be available for Europe…? Hope it won’t be too long – I NEED to have it!!!
    [note that I asked “WHEN” and not “if”… :-) ]

    great strategy!
    I do Yoga & Pilates and don’t strength train.
    But I’m in love with low carb – does that redeem me? 😀

  23. Looking forward to seeing the movie…..

    I’m also looking forward to your comments on this new “study” all over the news that says eating as few as 6 eggs a week makes you 70% more likely to get type II diabetes. Bizarre….

    I haven’t even heard of this study. I guess I need to get out more.

  24. I just recieved the DVD yesterday and watched it last night with my mom. I think I may have finally converted her to low carb! Great film!

  25. Mike, a big shout out to you and your readers. The U.S. distributor let me know that Amazon is running through its stock of Fat Heat DVDs and called for a new shipment. (I believe that’s known as a “re-up” in The Wire.)

    Hey, congrats! Hope it keeps selling.

  26. I must get this movie! I was telling my 16 year-old grandson about it and it turns out he has been totally indoctrinated by Super Size Me. Apparently his high school has made it part of the curriculum or something.

    It’s really a shame, too, as you’ll see when you watch Tom’s film. Spurlock’s film is pretty much a fraud.

  27. Following up the comment about government regulation… I agree that we are and should be free to choose whether or not to follow a healthy or an unhealthy lifestyle. But when individual choices affect society as a whole (here is one article I found on the societal impact of chronic disease http://www.pwc.com/extweb/ncpressrelease.nsf/docid/E7576DCD340D8E76852574340055CF15), then I don’t think that it’s unreasonable that we as a society can and should be able to promote the things that benefit society.

    I think there are many factors to weigh when determining what issues government should get involved in and to what extent, but IMO promoting a healthy lifestyle would be a good candidate. It would help protect society from the burdens of chronic disease, provide life-saving information to some people who may not have known otherwise, and may make it easier for all of us who choose to follow a healthy lifestyle do so. To me, this outweighs any extra burdens this may place on someone who wants to pursue an unhealthy lifestyle.

    There is no question that McGovern and consequently the US government promoting a low-fat diet was and still is an epic disaster. But I don’t blame this on regulation, I blame it on government officials choosing the wrong thing to regulate. I agree that government is not benign, but I don’t think it’s malignant either. I think it’s a tool that can be used for great good in a society or great harm — of which it depends only on how it’s used.

    I guess the difference between you and me is that I don’t think I can trust the government to decide what is appropriate to regulate. If it only regulated those things that should be regulated and only regulated them the right way, I might become a convert. But it’s doubtful I would even then. I cut my teeth on Frederic Bastiat, and when one does that, one can see quicly the perils of any kind of government regulation.

  28. To Dan S.:

    Your arguments for government promoting “a healthy lifestyle” (It would help protect society from the burdens of chronic disease, provide life-saving information to some people who may not have known otherwise, and may make it easier for all of us who choose to follow a healthy lifestyle do so) are exactly the ones used by the McGovern committee to promote the low fat diet which you now acknowledge “was and still is an epic disaster.” They sincerely believed that they were promoting a plan that would “benefit society.” And now they’re at it again, this time with PETA representatives on the committee, and no low-carb advocates at all! If this isn’t “malignant,” I don’t know what is. Policy is made and life-changing decisions are the result. Right now there are people being denied health insurance because their cholesterol is “too high” and they’re being railroaded into taking statins because of it. No, I don’t want government getting involved in my medical treatment or dictating my food choices.

  29. My copy of the movie is due on Darwin’s birthday. I must have missed the first shipment. I ordered on Tuesday February 3rd. I will let you know what I think after I see it.

    I found that the apostrophes were missing in the email and are still missing from the copy in my trash. They show up fine when I go to your web site. So part of the mystery is solved.

    I appreciate your finding these ways to nudge people towards low carb. Maybe I will get some friends and relatives to take a few steps.

  30. @John —

    Glad you enjoyed the film. Thanks for the comments.

    I take it you cried while watching the McGovern committee preparing to unleash the anti-fat campaign on the country. Kind of like watching the Titanic drift toward that iceberg …

  31. THANK YOU for this film!!! (It’s arrival today saved an otherwise bad day.) I’ve watched the various YouTube clip so much. When they come up in the film, it’s like they’re old friends! 😉

    Well done. It’s with some degree of undoubtedly sick pleasure that I’m waiting for the reactions of the lipophobes, vegans, and “carboretors”.



  32. Excellent interview, terrific movie, thanks to all.

    Hoping no one minds some additional linkage … I interviewed Tom Naughton back here and here. More fun for the interested.

    And let me add my voice to those sticking up for yoga. Love it dearly. While I always hurt myself doing resistance training (and never seem to get anywhere so far as getting strong goes), yoga suits my body wonderfully. I never hurt myself, and I always wind up feeling toned, settled, and peaceful.

    Maybe there’s room on the planet for a low-carb/Paleo/Primal eating/yoga-doing set as well.

  33. I ordered the DVD right away and we watched half of it the first night and half last night. Great job! I’ll definitely be sending it to several relatives who are curious about our way of eating. My husband and I both eat low-carb–he knows I’ve done the research, and he loves how it makes him feel and how much it’s improved his diabetes. But I’m the only one who’s read the books, followed the blogs, etc. My husband really was awestruck to see all this info set out so clearly, not to mention with humor. He’s still talking about it!


  34. I’ve thought a bit more about Fat Head, and want to add a few comments. The over-all sense I get from the film is one of libertarianism – give people accurate information, then let them choose. And that’s a very good thing, in itself. Now, though, I find myself greedily wanting more! Now that Keyes et all have been exposed, I want to see a Fat Head II, that builds on the low-carb undercurrent of Fat Head, and really shows even more the damage done by the Low Fat nonsense, and the potential redemptive features of a Low Carb renaissance. Everyone is dreading the crippling medical costs of the Baby Boomers as they age, but a real low carb revolution might just allow us to escape much of that fate. Using even more of Tabues and Eades as the technical advisors, and the terrific humor and story-telling/teaching talents of Tom, a truly great folow-up could be had, I believe.

    Meanwhile, hope the current Fat Head makes you big bucks. You deserve it, Tom. I’ll be spreading the word as much as I can.

  35. @John —

    Yes, that’s my belief exactly: give people the information and let them decide for themselves. McDonald’s is a business and will happily sell whatever the public is willing to buy. Despite what people like Morgan Spurlock or The Guy From CSPI seem to think, Ronald McDonald doesn’t determine what people will eat … remember the McLean? People didn’t buy a low-fat burger just because McDonald’s was selling it. (Of course, I think a low-fat burger is a terrible idea anyway.)

    Thanks for spreading the word. For those of you who’ve seen the film and liked it, some reviews on Amazon probably wouldn’t hurt.

  36. I watched it last night, thought it was fantastic. Of course, we are just the choir being sung to here. It’ll be interesting to see if any of the the non-low carbers (you know, almost everyone!) can be swayed.

    I more or less agree with John above, I was more fascinated with the take-down of the low fat crowd than the stuff pointing out Spurlocks nonsense (maybe cuz I never watched his movie). More and more of that stuff would be great.

    Thanks to you Tom, I finally undertand what Taubes was getting about about “your hungry because you’re fat” and not the other way around. Getting that through my thick head is a major accomplishment, thanks!

    I’m gonna send this to a few friends and family members with whom I’ve had “discussions” re: fat good, sugar bad, very bad.” My wife has already refused to watch it, I’m afraid she’s lost forever…

  37. @mrfreddy

    If “Fat Head” helps people understand some of the science in Good Calories, Bad Calories, then it’s mission accomplished as far as I’m concerned. My animator and I worked and re-worked that section to try to show what happens at the cellular level when insulin goes up (in an amusing fashion, of course).

    So I happily accept your thanks, but credit is also due to Dr. Eades and Dr. Eades, who spoke so clearly about insulin and the internal-starvation response during our interviews, and to Gary himself, who read the script for those sections and helped me get it right.

    The first time I read Good Calories, Bad Calories, I thought it was screaming for a visual explanation — the whole book, not just the bits I included in Fat Head. Who knows, maybe that’ll be something we can tackle in the future.

  38. When my son was a toddler, he loved to go to a restaurant chain called “Duchess’ which pretty much had the same menu as McDonalds, difference being everything was made to order and they may have had a few more options of fried things and grilled cheese, my son’s favorite. I used to have them make me a cheese and cucumber sandwich (my vegetarian phase). I have talked to the owner a few times about fast food chain offerings and begged him to put other things on the menu. He insisted he knew what people (in this location) wanted and they wanted all the fried stuff.

    It was interesting that many of the patrons were elderly. They struggled in with their walkers, wheelchairs, bags, tubes etc. Many times I wondered if they were going to make it out of there alive. And everyone of them seemed to be getting piles of fried food. At that time the message from the medical community, as it is now, was fat is clearly the enemy. I always thought it curious… Why don’t people care about eating this way? Is it because they are thinking what the hell, I am going to die anyway? Or is this the only way they can afford to eat? My father-in-law practically lived at Burger King in his later years. At the time I thought it was because he developed a new hobby of collecting sugar packets, s&p, napkins and plastic spoons.

    Tom, I have seen Spurlock’s video playing in more than one doctor’s office nonstop. I am curious, do you know if his video did anything to affect McDonald’s bottom line? If not, what message does that send? Are most of us just too hedonistic to care? Dr. Mike, I know you addressed this question nicely in your new post; isn’t this at the root of many of our issues?

    Sure. There are a lot of people who just don’t really care. For the most part, those are the ones you find dining regularly at those places. Sadly, there are a lot of such people.

  39. @Kris

    Back when I was beginning work on the film — and didn’t yet know what the focus would ultimately be — I spoke with two franchisees who owned at least four McDonald’s stores each. They both said Super Size Me had zero impact on their business.

    That doesn’t suprise me. Most people who like eating at McDonald’s didn’t bother to see Super Size Me, and if they did, they thought it was ridiculous. And most people who loved Super Size Me would never eat there in the first place — they think Ronald McDonald is evil.

    I don’t consider it a sign of doom that Super Size Me didn’t hurt McDonald’s sales; I consider it a sign that most people are blessed with common sense and know a charlatan when they see one.

    Yes, it worries me when I see morbidly obese people ordering french fries and large sodas — just as it worries me when I see fat people buying Cocoa Puffs and Doritos at the grocery store. But as Jacob Sullum points out in the film, there are people in the world who don’t share our values and preferences. They eat junk food because they like it and don’t really care what it’s doing to their health. They’re not ignorant; they just value immediate pleasure more than long-term health. That’s their choice.

  40. Kevin and I have just finished the movie, and we both loved it. Mr. Naughton, you have done a terrific job!
    It was clever, funny, sarcastic, informative…. I could go on and on.

  41. You know what’s doubly funny about the Guy from CSPI? Take these two quotes: “Heart Attack on a Plate” and “Heart Attack On a Bun”. In the second, he is giving the “bun” the same neutral role in causing future heart attacks as the inanimate “plate” in the first, when in fact it is the carb “bun” that is the sole item, in the food he references, that may actually HAVE a role in heart attacks. LOL.

    I’ve got a quote: “Ignorance in a suit”.

  42. Tom N @ 7 Feb

    My family is Cuban and many of the elder folk still eat traditional Cuban fare which is very, very starchy. On one plate you may have one kind of meat, whether it be pork, beef, or chicken, accompanied by rice, beans, cassava or malanga (tubers) AND fried plantains!That’s FOUR different starches at the same meal. Never mind the desserts!

    This particular generation for the most part, saw no connection between food and illness, unless of course, alcohol or some other substance designated as immoral was involved.

    Growing obesity and what we would call lifestyle diseases are attributed to old age, but additionally attributed to god/destiny/luck. The idea that rearranging what you eat could alleviate or reverse disease was scoffed at, many preferring to leave it in the hands of their particular fatalism. Sure, they understand that obesity can be alleviated by eating less as in portion control, but not that changing the food itself would help.

    To hear some of my elderly relatives talk, it is sacrilegious to imply that there is something that needs to be changed about traditional Cuban food. Tradition over health–I think that’s the same attitude that those people eating junk food have.

  43. Greetings, and thanks for an excellent article and interview, Dr. Mike.

    I am looking forward to this film being available in Canada; we, too, are inundated with the same fast food joints and Morgan Spurlock, too.

    I am wondering if you are aware of Dr. Jay Wortman’s work (http://www.drjaywortman.com/blog/wordpress/about/), and also of the study/film “My Big Fat Diet” (http://www.mystiquefilms.com/MBFD/ as originally broadcast on our CBC network and now available online)?

    I can’t imagine you are not but would very much like to know that two of my favourite medical professionals/skeptics are in communication of some kind…

    I do know Dr. Wortman and have seen his film. I highly recommend it to all. I think there is a photo of me with Dr. Wortman somewhere on this blog. Enter ‘Wortman’ in the search function, and you can probably find it.

  44. My Fat Head dvd copy came from Amazon the other day – yes, I used the PP portal link – (Netlix didn’t have it yet, but I noticed they do, now) and I watched it with my son right away. Wonderfully done, and such good interviews!

    Now I’ve got to figure out my stealth plan to get others to watch it/buy it/rent it.

    Thanks for going through PP; I appreciate it.

  45. Sorry about the multiple comments, but I keep thinking of things.

    Tom, you mentioned in the film that McDonalds is more than happy to sell people whatever it is they want. Well, here’s a request: PLEASE FIND A WAY TO MAKE THE BREAKFAST MENU AVAILABLE MOST OF THE DAY! I’d eat there a lot more, and I bet lots of other folks would too.

    The breakfast items are quite easy to turn into low-carb versions.

  46. @John

    Now that you mention it, I probably eat more breakfasts at McDonald’s than lunches and dinners combined. Big breakfast, toss the starches, or Sausage McMuffins, hold the muffins.

    I guess we’ll have to start requesting breakfast in the afternoon until they get the message. Denny’s and other diner-type establishments serve breakfast all day, after all.

    I can see the ad now: “The Egg McMuffin … it’s not just for breakfast anymore!”

  47. Dr. Mike, Fat Head was fantastic. J and I now want to buy a copy for all our friends, not unlike what we’ve been doing with Good Calories Bad Calories. Thanks very much for the tip. It was as gut busting funny as I had hoped, but we couldn’t take our eyes off of it, regardless of our desire to ‘only watch for 20 minutes and then get to sleep.’ Paul

  48. I just finished watching it and enjoyed it very much.
    Two comments: The business about people not getting exercise is true, but does less exercise contribute to obesity? Questionable, but people will agree with that premise, and you may get more of them nodding and saying “At least I agree with him on this one.”
    The other is that I wish more time could have been given to your month long fat pigout, as that really tells a story. But there is so much in it alread.
    I sent the link to my bro in law who has heart disease but can’t be bothered, apparently, to read Taubes, though I mailed him a copy.
    The summing up of the forming of atherlersclerosis formation was quite good.

  49. Following the link Dan posted to Kenneth Cooper’s Aerobics institute, I found the following statements, just a few lines apart:

    “If you eat fewer calories, regardless of the source—from carb, protein, or fat—you will lose weight.”

    “Temporarily you may lose weight [by fasting], but its water weight only—not fat. You’ll gain it right back.”

    So eating fewer calories will cause weight loss, but not zero calories?? Someone explain that one to me.

    Yes, explain it to me, too.

  50. Just saw the movie. Fantastic job! I started eating low carb, high fat, moderate protein, and have lost 6 pounds in 3 days. I also have lots of energy and my sleep is normal again. It is clear to me that this was the way we are meant to eat.

  51. I tought I was a proffesional expert on those subjects until now. At the time being I know only that I have to forget everything I’ve learned and teached. Thank you for changing the stupid view of my wrong knowledge. I am really sorry for what I teached to my students. I am glad that I am dont have to teach any more…

  52. Well, I’m definitely going to give this film a look.
    Just started my own version of low carb back in June, am reading Mr Taubes’ book (which I found on clearance at the grocery store), only halfway through (fascinating!!). I’ll get hold of a copy of Protein Power as well. Much of this is still kinda new to me, though I was introduced to the basics (e.g., Glycemic Index) back in ’03.
    I linked to this site via Wikipedia info on Agave syrup – a friend gave me some, & I liked it so much I bought some. But since there was nothing about its composition on the label AND it tastes good, I figured there must be something wrong with it — probably fructose. Right the first time, but that damn little bottle cost me seven bucks!
    Anyway, this stuff is helpful and motivating, thank you. One question I haven’t found the answer to yet: is there something wrong with the current mainstream thinking about cardio workouts to burn calories? I do both cardio on a treadmill (6-7x/wk) and strength training (2-3x/wk).
    I’m currently carrying 150 lbs of excess weight – a long story, but the long & short now is that I need all the good info I can get.

  53. I have found some pieces of the answer to the above question: I’m in the section of Taubes’ GCBC critiquing Mayer’s advice regarding exercise as a component of weight control. It’s not encouraging for those of us who love our grains and don’t mind exercising.
    In the past, I’ve lost weight while restricting calories and exercising, and believed firmly that the exercise was making the difference (particularly after one long plateau on a low calorie regimen). Now the effects seem to be mixed. Along with the increased lung capacity, muscular strength and overall endurance, I’m experiencing extreme fatigue in the mornings and even more lower body joint pain, particularly hip pain. I’ve attributed it primarily to the stress of all the extra weight and secondarily to the fact that I’m using (and stressing) the joints more. But I burn between 3360 and 3500 calories every week (supposedly?), for whatever that’s worth, plus I’m adding more weight to my resistance training each week as I gain strength. My weight loss has slowed down this month, which makes me suspect that I should switch from consuming very limited amounts of minimally processed whole grain products to no grains at all. I think reading your PP book after I’ve finished Taubes’ book will also help. Do you address exercise in it?
    (Since this is so long and off-topic, could you consider it an email instead of a post?)

    We do address exercise in PP and recommend resistance training. Our most up-to-date ideas on exercise are best explained in Slow Burn, a book with co-wrote with trainer Fred Hahn.

  54. @Dave,

    Yes, I did find your blog useful, thank you. I lack a technical background & have to reread some of your paragraphs several times, but I think it’s important to understand these internal processes precisely because they are so complex.
    Again, thanks.

  55. “It couldn’t be just about the calories. If you go by the simple calories-in, calories-out equation the so-called experts are always harping on about, I should’ve gained weight during that month”.

    He was consuming 2000 calories per day. In his blog he mentions he is 5 ft 11 tall and weighs 195 pounds; he’s 50 years old. Given these informations, with a light level of activity, his BMR calculates around 2500 and his RMR around 2400. Of course he was consuming less than he was burning. DUH.

  56. I was aware of Fat Head The Movie quite a while before it came out and was excited about it – then I kind of forgot about it – and then I remembered and finally got it! I have to say it’s brilliant, and I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to have some truth and logic put out there instead of the constant ‘health epidemic’ propaganda we’re constantly being bombarded with from every front, so bravo to Tom Naughton for having the drive – and the guts – to put himself out there, and more importantly, put the truth out there. You’ve helped to enlighten a great many people.

    Thanks, Tom, and Thanks Dr. Mike for this great Interview!

  57. Thanks for the documentary Tom! It is what prompted me to read Protein Power – I’m definitely a convert. I’ve never felt healthier, and feel fitter and more energetic than I did when I was competing internationally in my 20’s!

  58. Thanks for the wonderful Documentary. I have always been a fan of the low-carb diet but couldn’t convince anyone else to start. After showing it to my entire family, both my parents and brother and sister have started and they too are now big fans. My sister does not have stomach pains anymore and has lost weight, so has my brother. Thanks for potentially saving our lives!

  59. Pingback: Paleo cinema
  60. I’m sorry, but I was not impressed with Fat Head.

    The sections illustrating the underlying theory of low carb and criticizing the conventional wisdom would be a good introduction to the debate for those who were previously unaware. Dr. Eades is very articulate and makes a great contribution.

    But the attack on Spurlock is time-consuming, petty, and ultimately unimportant and will strike the casual viewer as a validation of fast food as healthy nutrition. The film also contains a lot of right wing ideology, and makes weird claims like a link between school busing to achieve racial integration and overweight kids, and the thesis that the poor tend to be more overweight than the affluent because non-whites are genetically pre-disposed to have “thicker” bodies.

    Naughton’s humor is tedious and juvenile, asking people on the street if they have ever collapsed with a heart attack after eating fettuccine alfredo, etc. In one scene, the film-maker’s wife seems to speak for the viewer when she asks him if he is a moron.

    Naughton pushes internally contradictory themes, arguing on the one hand against a nanny state and saying that anyone “with a functioning brain” is already capable of making proper dietary decisions, while saying on the other hand that consumers have been duped for decades with false information from the medical and scientific establishments, “big government,” and sinister radical vegetarians.

    It would be great if one day a documentary would surface that undertakes an objective scientific review of the evidence relied upon on by each side of the debate. Until then, there’s “Fat Head,” a highly problematic movie that is likely to alienate as many people away from questioning the conventional wisdom as it causes to become more open-minded on the topic.

    • Lighten up, dude.

      This film is supposed to provoke thought.
      I don’t agree with everything Naughton says, but he has a right to give us his point of view, whatever it is.
      And I don’t agree with you at all about the Spurlock part, He misrepresented what his “experiment” was and Naughton called him on it.
      Many people take Spurlock’s word that he proved what he said he did.

      • Jeanne, Lighten up your own self.

        I argued that Fat Head is bad film, not that he have a “right” to make his bad film.

        The Naughton experiment fails to disprove the Sprulock experiment. Spurlock ate a high calorie, high carb, high sugar set of fast foods and did not exercise. Naughton had strict controls over calories, carbs, and sugars, and did exercise. The both had valid and unsurprising results which do not contradict each other in any way.

        • “The both had valid and unsurprising results which do not contradict each other in any way.”

          Except Spurlock refuses to show his food logs (which would prove he lied from the get-go!), and his piece-o’-crap movie is being forced on school children in their health classes, and he lacks any scientific validity — or even good research! Naughton’s movie is based on well-researched science, and he freely posted his food logs, and he is swimming upstream trying to get his movie shown in the U.S.

          Do you REALLY not see the difference between:

          “Naughton pushes internally contradictory themes, arguing on the one hand against a nanny state …, while saying on the other hand that consumers have been duped for decades with false information from the medical and scientific establishments, “big government,” and sinister radical vegetarians.”

          A nanny state forces you to do it their way (the U.S Food pyramid is the basis for school lunches, military and prison food, you do know that, right?!) The 24/7 “duping” includes every single piece of media (esp. govt media!) — and as some cities try to ban sat fat, and others just recommend banning it — would you call that nanny state or duping? And in what way does it seem contradictory?

  61. I just watched the movie, stumbled upon it, actually. It was a revelation! I have been battling our weight since we were kids. I am currently about 120 lbs overweight. I’ve tried practically everything except Atkins, am now in my mid-40’s, suffer from psoraisis, have survived bladder cancer, and have recently been diagnosed with type II diabetis. I could go on.

    Have you known anyone who lost that much weight following all this? I want to beleive and try it, but I’ll admit, it so flies-in-the-face of everything I’ve been taught. I’m seriously thinking of traveling down this path you describe, and maybe even blogging about it.

    • Look, you have some conditions your self, so it’s better look for a doctor before starting this diet.

      I’m trying to eat no more then 40 grams of carbs per day, so far I’ve been able to eat less then that. The diet is working so far, but I’m doing it that serious for less then a month.

      It’s being easy actually, I’m not counting my calories, just the carbs. Not eating any candy or drinking alcohol.

      I first started it eating less then 150g of carbs, after two weeks I reduced it for 100g. I spoke with my nutrition doctor and she gave me this 40g diet, that’s pretty much doable. If I consider when I first start with 150g til today, O lost more then 20 pounds in 1,5 month. I think that’s a good result.

      During this week I’ll do some blood tests to see how I’m really doing, but physically I’m feeling great! Fell more like doing things then before. Gym doesn’t seem like something that doesn’t make sense anymore.

  62. Elenor:

    You aren’t following me.

    I know that Spurlock won’t show his food logs. So what? We know just from watching his movie that Spurlock was eating the french fries, the soft drinks, the buns, all the stuff that Naughton avoided. We know that he did not exercise. Therefore, he got fat. None of that conflicts with what Dr. Eades, Gary Taubes, or anyone else would expect. Low carb people know those food will make you fat, exactly what happened to Spurlock.

    The only thing the two “experiments” have in common is that both happened at fast food restaurants, but both film-makers took completely different approaches to the food and their lifestyle, and so it is not surprising that they each had very different results.

    Most people who eat at fast food restaurants are ordering the burger combo meals with the bun, the fries, and the soda, they are not eating like McNaughton did.

    As for the nanny state, I haven’t seen any of the fast food restaurants hurting for business, and my local supermarket is filled with foods that are high in saturated fat. The food pyramid has been changing, and there are probably more people eating low carb diets these days than ever before.

    I agree that the government has practiced some very bad food policies, most notably the promotion of cheap refined carbs and corn-based sweeteners and starches. Of course I agree that saturated fats are not the evil part of our diet. However, I think policy change will come from broader public awareness, and when a movie like Naughton’s is so poorly made, and runs so far off the rails of the subject matter, I am disappointed.

    I am truly sorry about your health issues. I’m in my mid 50’s and I figured out how to eat right a couple of years ago. I dropped a lot of weight and got my lipid panel numbers into perfect condition. I feel better now than I have in years. I think there is an excellent chance that if you follow the sort of dietary advice you will find from people like Taubes and Eades, there is an excellent chance that you’ll experience a big turnaround.

    I just wish Naughton had made a better film, to help as many other people as possible learn these dietary principles. If you want to see a good food documentary that really explores government policy gone wrong, rent “King Corn.”

    Sincere best wishes,


    • Carl here does not seem to understand that Fat Head is aimed more at people unfamiliar with metabolic science (which describes most people) than those of us in the know. Yes, WE understand starch & sugar caused Spurlock’s weight gain, but most of the public thinks the culprit was the dietary fat, as Spurlock’s physicians and girlfriend repeatedly stated in the film.

      Spurlock is keeping his food log concealed to prevent his critics from obtaining proof that he force-fed himself, contrary to the innocent “three square meals a day” picture he painted in the film, People who don’t find this suspicious are obviously enamored with Super Size Me and refuse to admit (even to themselves perhaps) that Spurlock’s experiment may have had flaws. Spurlock’s critics, Naughton included, have enumerated those flaws poignantly, especially the caloric math that does not add up, but people like Carl seem willing to turn a blind eye to these legitimate criticisms.

      The argument that Spurlock’s diet choices were more common than Naughton’s misses the points of consumer choice and personal responsibility. If most people eat a certain way, it’s because most people choose to eat that way. As Naughton said verbatim in this interview with Dr. Mike (and demonstrated in Fat Head), “Ronald McDonald can’t force you to eat anything.” If McDonald’s didn’t force me to eat their food and did not lie or conceal information about the food’s content, quantity, or quality, then how can I blame McDonald’s for what results from my food choice? Offering no evidence of coercion or deception, Spurlock built a weak case against McDonald’s as a culpable party.

      Some dissident Fat Head viewers become noticeably irritated by these criticisms of Super Size Me. These people obviously agree with Spurlock’s ideals, namely corporate culpability, and their paradigm prevents them from admitting or even realizing the flaws in this logic. I’m not saying corporations are never guilty of misdeeds, but selling people food they are willing to buy ain’t one of them.

      That’s why I find John Banzhaf so despicable. No matter how evil he tries to make McDonald’s seem, he will not talk about his clients’ failure to simply stop eating there after they suspected the food was fattening them. He can’t talk about that, because doing so would immediately dismantle his already flimsy case. Essentially, his clients are saying, “I really liked to eat at McDonald’s, to the point that I exercised no self control. Now I regret those decisions and don’t want to own up to the consequences.” Spurlock’s glorification of Banzhaf throughout Super Size Me is absolutely nauseating.

      In any case, Naughton did not alienate anyone who already uses common sense when making personal choices. As for everyone else…no need to worry. There are plenty of low-carb experts who embrace Spurlock’s philosophy that individuals’ health is the responsibility of the restaurants they attend, not the individuals’ themselves. These experts will reach the helpless litigious people in Naughton’s stead.

      For my money, I found Fat Head brilliant, witty, and entertaining. It provided an excellent lesson on the basics of fat metabolism to someone (me) who was previously ignorant of the science behind low-carb eating. And it delivered some much deserved criticism of Spurlock for his dishonest dieting experiment and his implication that McDonald’s is to blame for its consumers’ choices as buyers. It’s a shame some people’s political biases will keep them from appreciating the points made in Fat Head, but that’s the way it goes. Nobody can reach everybody.

  63. If it’s made by man don’t eat it, I don’t think diets are a good idea. If you want to lose weight then do it healthily and make it a lifestyle change not just something you do to lsoe weight fast then go right back to what you were doing before as you will soon be back up to the weight you were before.

    • That’s what I did. I have drastically reduced carbs on my meals. But I still eat chocolate once in a while, I still drink once in a while, I still eat some grain based food once in a while. But I really don’t miss it, because I can still eat my fat meat, that other diet would never allow me.

      I really changed my way of eating, just reducing carbs. I lost lots of weight and I’m still losing. It’s a little slower now, but as I said, I’m not racing against the scale, LOL. It’s a new way of live, and I’m enjoying it, without sacrifices.

  64. Look, I really don’t care about this “he said, he’s wrong” thing. All I know is that I’m doing this diet since I first saw the movie and at first I lost a lot of weight really fast, and I really kept eating pretty much the same amount, but with lots of animal fat, more then I used to eat, but that’s because the diet I used to eat grain oil, like soy oil. I’m still doing the keto diet and I’m yet loosing weight, not as fast as before, but I’m really not racing, I want my skin not to get stretched, my belly fat was too much, so keeping a slow paced loose now is actually what I want. And I’m still eating like crazy, lot’s of fat red and pork meat.

    I’m going to the doctors, a nutritionist, and I keep checking my blood for cholesterol, sugar levels and other stuff that my cardiologist told me to keep an eye on. All I can say is that my blood was never this health on my adult phase. Never! I’m really healthier, I’m not going crazy on the gym, I pretty much kept the same amount of exercise that I was doing before the keto diet, the only difference is that know it’s a little less painful as before, I mean, my heart is really not getting as pushed as before, my breath is more consistent and I’m really healthy, like I used to be when I was a kid.

    All I can say is that it really worked for me, and months after I have started it, a little more then 6 months, it’s still working 😉

    You guys saying this “movie” worth nothing should consider that at least it serve as a warning. I’m eating everything that I like, a little more stuff that I don’t, but I’m not starving and I didn’t have to completely change my way of eating, I mean, it changed considerably, but I really didn’t have to change my taste, I mean, I don’t need to starve, live on vegetables and light food. I’m eating meat that I love, vegetables that I need (don’t like much, but it’s not hurting me since I like at least some of them), so I’m actually really eating better without any suffering.

    This “movie”, at least, serve as a warning and a start point. I believe that the movie tells us that we know better, we just need to use our brains, and I believe that this is the most important warning. I opened my mind and that worked for me. That’s what I’m trying to say.