Rebuttal to the PCRM


In my ongoing quest to become a little more technically adept, I started using Google Alerts for a number of things I’m interested in, including my own name.  (Believe me, there are a lot of people out there in the world with the last name Eades, including the Fire Chief of London.)  For those of you who don’t know, you can go to the Google main page and navigate around until you come to ‘Alerts.’  You can then sign up for these ‘Alerts’ to be delivered to you via email.  It’s a free service provided by Google, and it uses the Google system to crawl through cyberspace and find anything (blogs, articles, news reports, etc.) that has whatever word, words or phrases you submitted included and emails the link back to you.  I put a bunch of stuff in and get emails from Google throughout the day.  Most of it is stuff that is totally unrelated to anything I give a flip about, but every now and then it turns up something of interest.  Having my name listed has cost me money because one of the first things I that came back to me was an article about Eades Whisky, which I had no idea existed and which I had to try.  It is expensive, about $75 per bottle, but I ordered some.  It’s very good.  But it hasn’t replaced Jameson, however, by a long shot.

Yesterday I got back a hit about something that I had totally forgotten about:  our rebuttal to the idiotic ‘study’ presented by the PCRM (Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine – a name straight out of Orwell if there ever was one) a few years ago.  This group, composed mainly of militant vegetarians, came up with an insipid ‘study’ during the height of the low-carb frenzy back in 2003.  Neal Barnard, the head of the outfit, appeared on most of the morning talk shows telling how dangerous his study had found low-carb diets to be.  A couple of the national networks called MD and me asking us if we would provide a rebuttal.  We happened to be in Santa Barbara at the time, and we said sure.  Two different networks sent camera crews to interview us late in the afternoon.

As I’ve probably mentioned numerous times, we have an absolute knack for getting pre-empted whenever we get TV time.  This day was no exception.  The news teams were on their way to the little condo we had at the time to set up and shoot our rebuttal when the news came through that Michael Jackson was going to be flying in to the Santa Barbara airport to turn himself in on the child molestation charge that he later beat in court.  Of course, all the news vans and camera crews that were heading for our place were diverted to the Santa Barbara airport, and MD and I never got to rebut the PCRM idiocy on air.

A couple of days later, we flew back to our place in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and as I was walking through the door laden with suitcases the phone was ringing.  It was the guy who ran, the now-defunct online low-carb magazine, calling me asking if we would write a rebuttal that he could publish.  I said sure, and he said he needed it fast.  I left all the unloading to MD and sat down at my computer and pounded the thing out in a couple of hours.  He published it online.  Then a year or so later the low-carb mania died off, and the magazine went down, and I figured all was lost to history.

But, thanks to Google Alerts, I got a ping that someone had dug this thing out and posted it on a forum.

The only link I could find to the original PCRM report was a May 2004 update that pretty much matches the original, which I have a hard copy of to compare.  You can see how scientifically valid this ‘study’ is and how worthy it is of a press release and multiple TV appearances by looking at the methods section of the ‘study’ to see how the subjects were found.


In the fall of 2002, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) began a pilot program to test the feasibility of an online registry to identify people who may have suffered health complications related to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets. A modest Internet advertising campaign was used to notify consumers about the availability of this registry. In November of 2003, PCRM held a news conference to highlight the health problems suffered by some individuals using these diets and to draw attention to the registry.

To report problems with high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets, individuals voluntarily visited and filled out a form available on the site. The registry specifically inquires about the following problems: heart attack, other heart problems, high cholesterol, diabetes, gout, gallbladder, colorectal cancer, other cancers, osteoporosis, reduced kidney function, kidney stones, constipation, difficulty concentrating, bad breath, and loss of energy. In addition, many registrants indicated, in an “other problems” box on the registry, that they had experienced certain other problems while on low-carbohydrate diets. Many registrants reported more than one health concern. Through the online form, most registrants provided their contact information, age, sex, previous health concerns, length of time on the diet, reasons for choosing the diet, and other information.

The registration entries were self-reports and were not subject to verification through medical record reviews or other methods, nor was registration deemed to indicate a cause-and-effect relationship. To help clarify the possible biological mechanisms by which a high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diet might lead to these problems, PCRM dietitians conducted a nutrient analysis of the sample menus for the three stages of the Atkins Diet as described in Dr. Atkins’ New Diet Revolution (M. Evans & Co., 1999; pp. 257–259), using Nutritionist V, Version 2.0, for Windows 98 (First DataBank Inc., Hearst Corporation, San Bruno, Calif.).

Tells you everything you need to know about the scientific standards of PCRM.  At the time CBS, one of the network stations that had Barnard on that morning, actually stated that the ‘study’ wasn’t scientifically valid:

The online survey is not a scientific study, so there are no hard facts to say definitively that the Atkins diet is harmful. But the PCRM says there is enough evidence for concern.

But the lack of scientific validity never stops the PCRM’s Barnard from jumping in front of the camera presenting it as such.  Make sure to watch the video to observe the holier-than-thou demeanor.

What follows is our rebuttal to this nonsense.

In The Name of ‘Responsible Medicine’ The Public is Ill-Served
A LowCarbiz Rebuttal to The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Report on Health Concerns Pertaining To Low-Carbohydrate Diets
By Dr. Michael R. Eades and Dr. Mary Dan Eades
© 2003 LowCarbiz/Michael R. Eades, M.D. and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.

Ten Rebuttal Points:
• PCRM uses what is at best anecdotal information and presents it in the guise of a scientific investigation.
• At least a dozen studies have been conducted recently in major medical and scientific research institutions and published in top-notch journals that confirm the lowcarbohydrate diet is superior to the low-fat diet in multiple respects.
• The respondents to the PCRM poll would represent only 0.00001125% or one onethousandth of one percent of individuals following a low-carbohydrate diet.
• Researchers from Harvard recently reported that subjects could eat 300 calories more per day on a low-carbohydrate diet than those following a low-fat diet and still lose the same amount of weight over a 12-week period.
• Dieters would prefer to lose fat rather than lean tissue, which is precisely what happens with low-carbohydrate diets.
• Virtually every study done on low-carbohydrate diets shows that weight loss is accompanied by either an improvement or no change in heart disease risk factors.
• Low carb dieters who consume green leafy and colorful vegetables and low-glycemic fruits are not at risk of osteoporosis (long-term bone loss).
• The whole idea that protein in the amounts eaten in modified low-carbohydrate diets damages kidneys is a vampire myth that refuses to die no matter how many stakes have been driven through its heart by a multitude of medical studies.
• Overall there is no evidence that meat causes colon cancer, or any other cancer, for that matter. Actually many cancer-fighting nutrients are in meat and a reduction in meat intake might be more likely to increase cancer risk.
• As the data continues to accumulate and the studies increase in number, the efficacy of the modified low-carbohydrate diet will finally be established to the satisfaction of all.

On November 20th, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) released a report entitled Analysis of Health Problems Associated with High-Protein, High-Fat, Carbohydrate-Restricted Diets Reported via an Online Registry. The report, which dresses, speaks and behaves like something that might appear in a bona fide medical journal, examines a host of health problems consumers have suffered allegedly as a result of their following a high-protein diet.

We find this report interesting on a number of fronts, not the least of which is in the way PCRM uses what is at best anecdotal information and presents it in the guise of a scientific investigation.

Over the past twenty years when we and other physicians who use low-carbohydrate diets to help our patients lose weight, normalize blood lipids, stabilize blood sugars, reduce their high blood pressure and generally improve their health reported our clinical experience with thousands of such patients we have often been greeted by groups such as PCRM – which view science through a vegetarian or low-fat lens — with cries of “Anecdotal! It’s only anecdotal evidence. If your low-carbohydrate regimen is so good, where are the clinical studies?”

In the last couple of years, however, at least a dozen studies have been conducted in major medical and scientific research institutions throughout the world and published in top-notch medical and scientific journals that confirm what we and others have been saying for years—the low-carbohydrate diet is superior to the low-fat diet not only for weight-loss but for improvement of virtually all of the components of the metabolic syndrome as well.

It is a delicious twist of fate that the tables have turned on PCRM and the group’s fellow travelers who, now, faced with this ever-growing body of credible scientific literature must themselves resort to the worst kind of anecdotal reporting: using a group of respondents to the PCRM website—and an extremely small group, at that—to imply that low-carbohydrate diets are a hazard to the entire population of dieters who follow them.

PCRM reports that “in the fall of 2002, [PCRM] began a pilot program testing the feasibility of an online registry for identifying people who may have suffered health complications related to high-protein, low-carbohydrate diets.” After one year of a “modest internet advertising campaign” by PCRM to “notify consumers of the availability of this registry” a total of “188 individuals reported experiencing problems with high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets.”

At whom was this “modest internet advertising campaign” directed? How is the PCRM online registry found? The PCRM report doesn’t say, but one supposes the campaign was directed to and the registry found by people who have a predisposition to the PCRM philosophy. So it is reasonable to assume that people finding the PCRM online registry would have an axe to grind with the low-carbohydrate, non-vegetarian diet and lifestyle and would be more prone to report problems.

Even if we make the unlikely assumption that these respondents are all enthusiastic followers of low-carbohydrate lifestyles who have run afoul of their diets, the PCRM numbers are so tiny as to not even approach significance: 188 respondents in one year. The most recent and credible survey we’ve read estimates that there are somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 million people following some version of a low-carbohydrate diet in the United States alone (the PCRM report doesn’t say whether the respondents to their registry were from America only or from throughout the world). Even if that 32 million number is halved, it would mean that the respondents to the PCRM poll would represent only .00001125% or one one-thousandth of one percent of these people following a low-carbohydrate diet, a number easy to not get too excited about. (One wonders what kind of numbers PCRM would have garnered had they put out the request for positive experiences on a low-carbohydrate diet.)

When we look at the problems that the majority of this one one-thousandth of a percent of people report we find that the majority of them suffer from constipation (44%), loss of energy (42%), and bad breath (40%). Not exactly the kind of serious medical problems calling for “the urgent need for monitoring” nor the proposal that our “public health authorities begin tracking the use of high-protein, high-fat, carbohydrate-restricted diets used for weight loss or maintenance and record adverse events” as the PCRM report recommends.

PCRM applied its anecdotal analysis to “health problems associated with high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber, carbohydrate-restricted diets” without really specifically defining the macronutrient composition of these diets. One of the problems in the medical literature is that there is no definition of a “high-protein” diet or a “carbohydrate-restricted” diet. Many studies refer to a diet composed of 40% carbohydrate as a low-carbohydrate diet, which it is when compared to one containing 55-60% of its energy as carbohydrates, but this really isn’t a low-carbohydrate diet as used by the vast majority of followers of low-carbohydrate diet plans.

Other papers report data on diets containing 5-10% of calories as carbohydrate and call them low-carbohydrate diets, which they certainly are, but not the same low-carbohydrate diet as those containing 40% carbohydrate. Another complicating factor is that most researchers use percentages of macronutrient composition to define their study diets whereas we and others who prescribe low-carbohydrate diets along with virtually everyone who follows some form of a lowcarbohydrate diet use absolute grams of usable carbohydrate to set the parameters of the regimen. Anyone following a low-carbohydrate diet knows how precisely many grams of carbohydrate per day he or she is taking in but doesn’t have a clue as to what percentage of caloric energy that represents. Another problem is that these diets are referred to in a number of ways—high protein diets, low-carbohydrate diets, high-fat diets, carbohydrate-restricted diets, etc. Although these terms are used interchangeably they really aren’t. A low-carbohydrate diet doesn’t have to be a high-protein diet; a high-fat diet isn’t necessarily a low-carbohydrate diet; and, nor is a high-protein diet necessarily a high-fat diet. In order to bring clarity to this dietary debate, a definition of just what a low-carb diet is needs to be established.

PCRM and other groups and individuals who are anti-low-carbohydrate diet typically define the low-carbohydrate diet as the Atkins Diet, which in its original form was an extremely low, almost no carbohydrate, very high-fat diet that bears little resemblance to the low-carbohydrate diets recommended by us and others (including the current Atkins plan). Most people on lowcarbohydrate diets focus on limiting their intake of carbohydrates to 30-70 grams per day and let the fat and protein content of their diet fall wherever it may within this carbohydrate restriction.

Compared to the standard American diet, most people following a low-carb diet end up consuming significantly fewer carbohydrates, about the same or marginally higher amounts of protein and fat, and a smaller number of total calories.  (There is little question that the reduction in calories drives the weight-loss engine of the low-carbohydrate diet, a point seized on by PCRM and others as somehow being a slight to the lowcarbohydrate diet. More about this later.)

The vast majority of medical studies published within the past few years have used this modified low-carbohydrate diet as the basis for comparison. Unfortunately, although this modified diet is substantially different from the original Atkins Diet, PCRM and others along with help from the media persist in referring to it as the Atkins Diet. An example: a recent research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine describing the effectiveness of our specific version of the lowcarbohydrate diet, which is substantially different from the Atkins Diet, in reducing weight and improving health was hailed by the media as the “vindication of the Atkins Diet.” Before we move into what the research data shows about the effectiveness of the modified lowcarbohydrate diet, let’s take a look at just how surreal this entire debate has become.

The PCRM report states that “high-protein, high-fat, low-fiber, carbohydrate restricted diets, such as the Atkins Diet, when used for prolonged periods, are expected to increase the risk of multiple chronic diseases and other health problems.” One would assume that according to PCRM that the low-carbohydrate diet would be worse than the standard American diet, but if we look closely is their assumption valid?

A typical American lunch, one eaten by hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people in this country every day is a hamburger, fries, and a soft drink. To modify this basic lunch to fit the low-carbohydrate regimen dieters would remove the bun from the burger, avoid the fries and have a salad instead, and drink water or some other non-caloric beverage. In the eyes of the PCRM these simple modifications have converted this typical American lunch into a “dangerous” high-protein diet destined to ruin the kidneys, destroy the bones, and permanently damage the hearts of anyone who follows it. In making these modifications, however, lowcarbohydrate dieters get rid of the trans fats and refined carbohydrates in the bun, miss out on the large amount of fat (including trans fat) and high-glycemic carbohydrates in the fries, pass up the quarter of a cup of high-fructose corn syrup in the soft drink, and get a fair amount of carotenoids, flavinoids, lycopenes, fiber, and other anti-oxidants and phytonutrients in the salad. And, significantly reduce the caloric content of the lunch. You will note that the protein content remained unchanged. One would think that the PCRM would applaud these modifications, but instead they decry them. Surreal indeed!

Weight Loss

The caloric restriction that is a by-product of carbohydrate restriction accounts for the majority of the weight loss found with low-carbohydrate diets. Most, but not all. A recent review of lowcarbohydrate diets in the Journal of the American Medical Association stated that virtually all of the weight loss brought about by these diets came as a result of caloric restriction and when compared with low-fat diets there was no difference in efficacy as long as the two diets were equal in calories. A careful review of the individual studies comparing low-fat to low-carbohydrate diets almost always shows that over the course of the diets the people on the low-carbohydrate diets consume slightly more calories than those on the low-fat diet. A couple of recent studies showed a more pronounced and significant difference in the weight loss verses caloric intake between the two diets. One study done at the University of Cincinnati demonstrated greater weight loss in a group of women following a low-carbohydrate diet containing slightly more calories than a low-fat diet. Researchers from Harvard recently reported that subjects could eat 300 calories more per day on a low-carbohydrate diet than those following a low-fat diet and still lose the same amount of weight over a 12-week period. Where does this extra weight loss come from? It is known that dietary fat increases the production of mitochondrial uncoupling proteins, and there is some evidence that carbohydrate restriction might increase the proton leak across the mitochondrial membrane. Either or both of these actions would increase the loss of energy without reducing the caloric intake, but both these mechanisms as well as other theories need more study for clarification.

Clearly, low-carbohydrate diets give more weight loss bang for the calorie buck, but even if they didn’t, even if the weight loss were the same with low-fat and low-carbohydrate diets of equal caloric content, the low-carbohydrate diet would still be the diet of choice for other reasons. As everyone who has ever dieted knows, it’s not just the amount of weight that is lost that is important, but where this weight loss comes from. Everyone would agree that dieters would prefer to lose fat rather than lean tissue, which is precisely what happens with low-carbohydrate diets. Studies done at the University of Illinois, the University of Connecticut and other research institutions have shown that subjects following a low-carbohydrate diet lose more fat and less lean body tissue than those subjects following a calorically equivalent low-fat diet. In fact, in some cases, subjects on low-carbohydrate diets even gain lean body mass while losing fat on lowcarbohydrate diets, a finding virtually never observed in subjects following low-fat diets.

Cardiovascular Disease

It would seem a bad bargain to trade weight loss for a substantially increased risk for heart disease, which is the case that the PCRM makes in its report. While conceding that lowcarbohydrate diets are effective for bringing about weight loss, the PCRM cautions that these diets are “associated with increased risk of…heart disease.” A strange statement since the very studies the PCRM references as showing that the low-carbohydrate diets “facilitate modest short term weight loss” also demonstrate that low-carbohydrate diets improve lipid profiles and enhance insulin sensitivity in their followers, both changes that are known to substantially reduce the risk for heart disease. Virtually every study done on low-carbohydrate diets shows that weight loss is accompanied by either an improvement or no change in heart disease risk factors.

Few, if any, studies of low-carbohydrate diets show a worsening of heart disease risk factors. Most authorities agree that excess body fat is a risk factor for heart disease; so even the studies that show no improvement in other risk factors in subjects on low-carbohydrate diets actually do demonstrate a lowered cardiovascular disease risk implicit in the weight loss they bring about.


PCRM is on a little more solid footing when it claims that the Atkins Diet can cause bone loss, but PCRM misses the point entirely when considering the modified low-carbohydrate diet we and others recommend and that most people now follow. Studies going back almost a century describe the bone loss that can occur in people following a predominately meat diet. A diet high in meat alone creates a mild metabolic acidosis in the human body. This metabolic acidosis or excess acid created by the metabolism of meat has to be buffered or neutralized, which the body does by leaching calcium from the body’s storehouse of calcium, the bones. On a day-to-day basis the amount of calcium lost from the bones in this way is insignificant, but over a decades-long period of time can result in osteoporosis. Meat, however, is not the only food that produces such a response. Along with meat, the other two main offenders are grains and cheeses, especially hard cheeses. That’s correct: eating grains causes a metabolic acidosis just as meat does. When you consider the cheeseburger, a staple of the American diet, it’s easy to see why osteoporosis abounds. So, the PCRM correctly points out that the Atkins Diet, which in its original version recommended primarily meat and cheese, could cause osteoporosis if followed for the long term. But what about the modified low-carbohydrate diet? Does it do the same? Most plant foods, other than grains, bring about the opposite metabolic situation; whereas meat consumption causes a metabolic acidosis, green leafy and colorful vegetables and low-glycemic fruits bring about a metabolic alkalosis. The reduction in acid-producing grain consumption along with the alkaline response of the very plant foods recommended on the modified version of the low-carbohydrate diet offsets and neutralizes the acidity from the meat so that there is no net metabolic acidosis and no long term bone loss.

Impaired Renal Function

Fear of kidney damage has long been the bugaboo of people following low-carbohydrate diets. It’s doubtful that anyone pursuing a low-carbohydrate diet for any length of time hasn’t been told at least once that his or her kidneys are in danger. Here again the PCRM doesn’t disappoint; the group is right there leading the chorus. And PCRM doesn’t beat around the bush: “Highprotein diets are associated with reduced kidney function,” so says its report. No equivocation there. But once again PCRM has missed the boat. If we are to believe PCRM, we had better leave the buns on our burgers and eat every fry in the box to protect our kidneys. Studies from around the world have shown that the amount of protein contained in the modified version of the low-carbohydrate diet does not harm the kidneys. Even studies in patients with diabetic kidney disease show they will harm their kidneys more by increasing their carbohydrate intake and running up their blood sugars than they do by increasing their protein intake. In the late 1980s a group did an extensive study in Israel comparing the kidney function of people of all ages who ate a high meat diet with the kidney function of those on a vegetarian diet. The study showed that although both groups suffered a slight reduction in kidney function with age (it’s a sad fact of life—as we age function of just about everything including the kidneys decreases) the degree of loss of function was indistinguishable between the groups. Another recent study of kidney disease in diabetics performed at the University of California in San Francisco demonstrated that caloric reduction was a more potent force in protecting damaged kidneys than restriction of dietary protein. In fact, this study used a low-carbohydrate diet to restrict the calories. The whole idea that protein in the amounts eaten in modified low-carbohydrate diets damages kidneys is a vampire myth that refuses to die no matter how many stakes have been driven through its heart by a multitude of medical studies.

One last point on this subject, an admittedly anecdotal one, but illustrative. The one group of people who eat more protein than any other single group is serious body builders. These people eat anywhere from three times to eight times the amount of protein recommended in any lowcarb diet, and do so for long periods of time. What does this do to their kidneys? It must not do much because it’s never been reported in the medical literature. If the PCRM were correct about protein damaging kidneys there would be lines of body builders queuing up outside of dialysis centers all over the world.

Colorectal Cancer

The idea that meat intake definitively causes colon cancer is another vampire myth that refuses to die. Studies have indeed shown that increased intake of meat might cause colon cancer, but so have an equivalent number of studies shown that refined carbohydrates might cause colon cancer. The studies that the PCRM mustered for its report of course show an increased risk, otherwise PCRM wouldn’t have mustered them. When a situation exists where there are dueling studies it’s always prudent to look at a meta-analysis, which is a study of all the studies. Dr. Michael Hill, a British epidemiologist, performed and published such an analysis. He reported that overall there is no evidence that meat causes colon cancer, or any other cancer, for that matter, and stated that since many cancer-fighting nutrients are in meat, a reduction in meat intake might be more likely to increase cancer risk than reduce it.

By a curious coincidence the day the PCRM chose to release it’s report bashing low-carbohydrate diets was the same day pop star Michael Jackson surrendered to authorities in Santa Barbara County. Upon his release after posting bail the singer was reported by his attorney to have said: “Lies run sprints, but the truth runs marathons.” It remains to be seen how this aphorism applies to Mr. Jackson himself, but there is little doubt that the endurance of the modified lowcarbohydrate diet makes it the major contender for victory in the dietary marathon. As the data continues to accumulate and the studies increase in number, the efficacy of the modified lowcarbohydrate diet will finally be established to the satisfaction of all.

Until then, however, the PCRM and other such groups with a political agenda will continue their feeble attacks on a diet that has helped millions. The weakness of PCRM’s data even it admits publicly. Buried near the end of the PCRM report under the heading “Limitations,” PCRM writes: “The key limitation of this report is that adverse health effects were self-reported and are not likely to have the same prevalence in the general population. Data collection was Web-based and no attempt was made to assure a representative sample.” And yet the PCRM finds these data of a magnitude to require the “urgent need for monitoring” by our “public health authorities.” The PCRM report and the disproportionate amount media attention it garnered are merely a sprint.©2003 LowCarbiz/Michael R. Eades, M.D. and Mary Dan Eades, M.D.

What I find particularly enjoyable about this whole fiasco is that if you Google it, you find our rebuttal much more often than the PCRM idiocy that started it in the first place.  I guess it’s only fitting that it turned out to be a sprint indeed.

Hat tip to Google Alerts and to Cooking TLC

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

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44 thoughts on “Rebuttal to the PCRM

  1. Thanks Doc. With your support, I have tenaciously and enjoyably continued with a low carb diet since March of 2003. My cardiologist who sees me yearly hates to see how great my blood tests turn out annually, but each year all the lipid profile numbers are better than anyone in his practice (which is not a low carb practice). I have also heard the high protein-kidney talk as well. I could care less – 6 years and 50+ pounds lost, and never an ounce gained back, and feeling great – thanks to caring physicians like yourself. Bravo

    David Futoma

    Glad to hear it! Thanks for giving me the heads up.

  2. Thanks for re-posting this powerful rebuttal.

    I am curious about the osteoporosis aspect- has anyone shown that this metabolic acidosis actually is responsible for osteoporosis? What about those people who eat only meat? Do those cultures show increased osteoporosis? I had the impression that this was a theoretical argument and had not actual scientific evidence supporting it.

    Actually, just found a paper that addresses this question:

    The author explains that the calciuria observed on higher protein diets is not due to bone leaching, but due to the increased calcium absorption that occurred on the higher protein diet. He goes on to say that there is a negative correlation between fractures and protein intake.

    So annoying and harmful when people talk with authority and are really just spouting their biases and unfounded beliefs. Glad we have you to combat them.

  3. You banged that out in a couple of hours? You, Sir, are a lean, mean information processing machine.

    What concerned me about that was the veiled implication that low carb diets are low fibre diets and that people on such were getting constipation. Maybe if all you eat is meat and eggs. I have recently started restricting carbs (50-70g) a day (not for weight loss, I just don’t want to get diabeties or find myself needing weight loss) though my eating habits have subconsiously shifted towards a LOT of green veges, celery, lettuce, brassicates etc. As far as I know, all low carb advocates promote lots of non-starchy vegetables, something that would avoid any constipation…

    The internet is a great thing, though one of the biggest problems is self-diagnosis. Not everyone is a doctor and Wikipedia is hardly canon (I suspect in the states universities wont accept referencing from Wikipedia). I suspect many of the problems reported in this study were never appropriately assessed by a physician. There’s a huge problem with self-diagnosed aspergers. I know people with aspergers and it is nothing like what some people claim it is. If you have diagnosed yourself with aspergers from what you read on the net, YOU MOST LIKLELY DO NOT HAVE ASPERGERS! Sorry bout the rant, but as a doctor you must get irritated with people that come for a consult that think they know everything because they read it on the internet…

  4. To TonyNZ:

    As someone who eats only meat and eggs, I’d like to state that the bowel movements have never been better. Fiber is overrated.

  5. Just posting in response to a couple of the other comments which interested me – of course what you wrote, Dr Eades, interested me too :-)

    Cynthia – thanks for posting that paper on dietary protein and osteoporosis – I have a diagnosis of osteoporosis, I used to eat the regular high complex carb diet, but developed diabetes even though I wasn’t overweight but thin, changed to a low carb Paleo diet nearly three years ago but have always been concerned about this acidic diet thing. I do eat lots of leafy green veggies but also lots of meat and fish. I always thought it can’t make sense that lots of protein could lead to osteoporosis because our primitive ancestors would often have had a predominantly high protein diet and they did not get osteoporosis. The bush men people in southern Africa can hardly eat a lot of veggies as the climate is too hot, they eat meat, nuts and a few berries most of the time and they don’t have osteoporosis.

    Tony – I liked what you wrote about Aspergers. Rant away ! My son has Aspergers syndrome (diagnosed) and I know he is nothing like those people you read about who have diagnosed themselves, and they irritate me no end ! They seem to ‘diagnose’ themselves on the basis that they are introverts, don’t like parties and are engineers ! While it’s true that people with Aspergers can be amazingly brilliant at a specific topic, this comes at the price that is disabling to a degree and affects their whole lives. When they are children they are especially disabled, but they can learn to cope or adapt as they get older, though most will seem ‘different’ to other people. People with Aspergers are often sociable and want to be with other people but they have problems interacting, often they are unaware of their problems as they have very little correct insight into themselves or other people….which is why they couldn’t possibly diagnose themselves !


    I wrote a post a while back that featured a kid I’m pretty sure had Asperger’s. Watch the video.

  6. As far as I can tell there are no trustworthy studies that show whether Atkins-like diets are healthy or unhealthy in the long term. There are just lots of snippets of information that people use to support their own views.

  7. It boggles mt mind that pcrm can get so much publicity with so little substance behind it. end of last year Neal Barnard was being interviewed on an NPR radio show. I listened while trying to think of a way to reach through the radio and strangle the *******. When the show was over i emailed the show’s producer explaining the vegetarian agenda of Pcrm. I even included a link to a newspaper article that included the following reporter’s quote:

    “In years past, the physicians’ committee has been a little coy about how it determines which foods are healthy, but this year the announcement was direct in stating that the availability of “low-fat, vegetarian” entrees was the criterion used.”

    Fwiw here’s the article’s link:

    I heard back from the producer who acted alarmed that there might have been something less than honesty on the show. She promised to put something in the show notes about it. I checked for a month but no such item appeared. I never expected it to. The show’s host is an admitted vegetarian. HAH!

  8. Good post Mike. Q: Why do you think the PCRM and other groups of their ilk continue this fruitless assault on low carb dieting? Given the current scientific information, why would they bother? What do they stand to gain? Any idea?

    It’s not a scientific assault; it’s an ideological assault. These people are committed vegetarians, and they are trying to mask their ideology as science.

  9. this was terrific…pcrm and joel furhman really get on my nerves. pcrm constantly sends me pictures of animal slaughter and now furhman is emailing asking for money! i was very skinny for a while as a vegan and then quickly became fat, nervous, moody and miserable. your blog got me into low carbing and i’ve never looked back.

    i was wondering if you could offer your opinion on this…while i’m steadily losing weight and my upper body has gotten nice and slim (i’m 49 years old, 5’8″ and 155 pounds…waist is 28″ and clavical and ribs are visible,) my lower body is still too fat. my butt, hips and legs still have lots of extra fat and i’m starting to look like a bosc pear. the only questionable food that i eat is a cup of plain yogurt every day…other than that it’s meats, poulty, fish, vegetables, fruits and nuts. any suggestions from you and/or fellow readers would be appreciated.

    many thanks,

    Fat depots are genetic to a great degree. It comes off the opposite way that it goes on. In other words, the last place you add fat is the first place you lose it. I would bet if you keep after it, you will ultimately lose the weight in the lower body.

  10. Hi Dr Mike,

    Thanks for posting that link to the video of that boy who you thought might have Asperger’s. It was certainly intriguing. Evan might well have Asperger’s, but he might well not have Asperger’s. I had a search on the internet which was abuzz with speculation but no confirmation.

    The trouble with autistic spectrum disorders is that when you see a child, or adult, with it you cannot tell simply from their behaviour whether they have it or not. I remember reading a valuable book by Dr Rita Jordan about autsitic spectrum disorders in which she stressed that you must always look at a person’s reasons for their behaviour. There are many reasons for a person’s behaviour which may be due to autism but may, conversely, be due to something else. A very shy child, for example, may be nervous, speak poorly and have poor eye contact – on the surface that may look like Asperger’s but until you search for the reasons *why* they are nervous, speak poorly and have poor eye contact you cannot tell. An adult with schizophrenia may appear anxious and have paranoia, but so may an adult with Asperger’s ! There are clear developmental signs in autistic spectrum disorders which have to be found out first I’m afraid !

    My son was homeschooled too. His difficulties were apparent when he was still a baby and we knew he could never have coped in a school environment: too many people, too much sensory overload, and he has a very individual learning style which would not have worked in a regular school situation. Luckily we had found out about homeschooling when he was little (he’s now 20). What’s wonderful about homeschooling is that you can give your child the educational, emotional and social environment that fits their individual needs. People think homeschooled children are socially isolated, but a child on the autistic spectrum is socially isolated in a school situation in which they cannot cope.

    Some years ago I contributed a chapter in a book about homeschooling children on the autistic spectrum: ‘Home Educating Our Autistic Spectrum Children Paths are Made by Walking edited by Terri Dowty’:

    And I continue to run a support list for parents:


    I’ve had a fair amount of experience with kids with autism and Asperger’s, and I would be willing to bet that Evan is Asperger’s. But, all I’m going by is this brief video. It’s his concrete thinking that is the give away for me.

    If you haven’t read it, here is a terrific book on the subject that I read not long ago. Really wonderful. A great book for people unfamiliar with an all-too-common situation.

  11. Tony wrote:

    “What concerned me about that was the veiled implication that low carb diets are low fibre diets and that people on such were getting constipation. Maybe if all you eat is meat and eggs…. As far as I know, all low carb advocates promote lots of non-starchy vegetables, something that would avoid any constipation.”

    I’m just the opposite. When I first went to the Atkins plan (just prior to switching over to PP), I started eating a TON of non-starchy veggies. I ended up with horrendous constipation that lasted for years. The more veggies I ate, the worse it got. I was taking fiber supplements and nothing seemed to help.

    Then I started cutting the veggies and the fiber, and I’m fine. I eat mostly meat and fat, with an occasional veggie or berry. Extremely low fiber. No more constipation. I need to “go” only every couple days, and it’s easy.

    On low-carb discussion forums when people complain about constipation, I tell them to eat FEWER veggies. Geez, you’d think I was kicking puppies down Main Street. The belief that veggies are necessary for life and are the most healthful foodstuff on the planet is alive and well, even on low-carb boards.

    Dr. Mike, you wrote something one time that I now have posted on my computer monitor and that has become my mantra:

    “Optimal nutrition is plenty of good quality protein, plenty of good quality fat, and easy on the carbs. Remember, the human body requires protein and it requires fat. It requires no, zero, nada carbohydrate. As I’ve said at least ten thousand times, it makes no sense to me to load up on what we don’t need at the expense of what we do need.”

  12. Dr Mike have you seen this discovery? I am sure you have. I am a known defender amongst my non-believers Russian friends. And last night I was engaged in long, relentless argument with my so called intelligent friends, some who happen to be scinetist. I am neither religios nor atheist. I keep my mind open all the time to the possibilities of unknown. You cant possibly deny someting or some force that you cant prove doesnt exist! All you can do is either support it or Him on faith or stay open-minded and not be dismissive or spiritual. How does proving physical evolution proves or disproves an evolution of the soul? Just the thought!

    Great article and great debuttle on your part.

  13. The sad thing about that video was that the person who posted it on YouTube titled it SpellingBee Jerk. Very interesting insights into the thinking of a spelling bee champion in my opinion however, as a hobby etymologist and someone who did reasonable in spelling competitions at that age you can see how he dissects the word to deduce the spelling.

    Yes, that annoyed me, too.

  14. I was doing a search to see what Neil Barnard looks like. He was scrawny-looking as expected. Saw a pic of him, few others and Spurlock at some PCRM event I think. Did PCRM finance the Spurlock documentary?

    I don’t know, but I don’t think so.

  15. True confession time. I was a vegetarian for 60 years and I had a huge crush on Neal Barnard. Although I am now an almost zero-carb carnivore (and feeling fabulous and never constipated), I still find him attractive and not at all scrawny but rather intense and sexy. The good news is that my subscription to Vegetarian Times magazine will finally end in October 2009.

    Maybe your crush will run out at the same time. :-)

  16. Hi Dr Mike,

    Thanks for the recommendation of the book by Paul Collins – I shall buy that.

    Evan’s literal thinking was something that struck me too, namely when the interviewer asked him what his mother said. I’m not sure about the rest, as Tony said it was an interesting insight into the thinking of a spelling bee competitor. My son could read as fluently as an adult by the time he was 4 years old even though I had not taught him, and, as a consequence his spelling was also perfect – when I discovered this I used him as my spell check as I’m none too good at spelling ! My son did not work out his spelling phonetically or otherwise as Evan appeared to be trying to do, he would just ‘know’ it…magic or rather a phenomenal visual memory for words as all he did as a toddler and young child was have me read to him for hours every day – he never ‘played’. My son would never have entered a competition however, he would never have seen the point ! Now as a young adult he is brilliant at writing and we’re trying to encourage him to publish something as he is possibly good enough – again he doesn’t quite see the point but I’m working on him !


  17. Dr. Mike

    Thanks for posting this.

    I second Vadim and would also like to have your opinion on the 47 million year old primate story from a few days ago.

    Love all the great articles via twitter you provide also.

    Thanks for all you contribute.

  18. Hello Dr. Eades: I am sorry that this question is out of the main topic. But i would like to know if this is ok for a high protein, low-carb dinner at night. The thing is that this is an easy, convinient option for me to eat for dinner:

    Protein Pancake
    2 1/2 or 3 Scoops of Whey-Protein Powder
    1 cup of egg-beaters
    1 cup of water

    Snack: after dinner 2 apples

    Total number of calories: 400 calories

    Mix ingredients in a juice-blender and cook like a pancake

    I would limit the snack to maybe one apple, but other than that, the meal looks fine.


  19. Have you changed your thinking at all about osteoporosis and calcium leaching since the 2003 article? I seem to remember that you disagree somewhat with Loren Cordain on the subject of acids and bases and how many fruits and vegetables we need to eat to offset the meat we eat.


    John W.

  20. Anne,

    There’s a number of different ways that people learn to spell and phonetically only works for less than half of people as far as I know. I get irritated with teachers that only think there is one way to spell, cause it invariably leaves out about half of their students, many of which would be able to spell if the way their brain operates was nurtured.

    As I spell, knowing the origins of a word is more important than the pronunciation, particularly given that the English language is so inconsitent. I’ve just encountered few people that seem to share this style, Evan being one. I also have a great visual memory for words, which is probably more important at that age, because there is (I don’t claim to know what Evan does or doesn’t know) less of an awareness of the evolution of the language, so things like origins rarely enter the syllabus of children of that age.

  21. Hey Dr. Mike. Love your blog – follow it and link to it from my website often!

    “Researchers from Harvard recently reported that subjects could eat 300 calories more per day on a low-carbohydrate diet than those following a low-fat diet and still lose the same amount of weight over a 12-week period. ”

    Can you post the link or citation for this study please? I’d like to see it!

    Thanks for your always eloquent contribution to the world of sensible, logical, rational nutrition.

    This study by Penny Greene at Harvard isn’t a recent study; it’s about 6 years old. Dr. Greene presented the data to an obesity meeting, but it hasn’t been published yet. Don’t ask me why. I heard her presentation and talked with her at length about if after. Here is a link to an article about the study in the Harvard Gazette.

  22. Hi Dr Mike,

    From what I read in the rebuttal (well done, by the way!), I would say that you do believe there is some potential for bone health issues, if one eats a zero carb diet. Is the evidence for that strong, and do you indeed feel that to be the case? Thanks in advance.

    The evidence comes mainly from observational studies, which are pretty much worthless for determining causality. But just to be on the safe side, I like to add some green and colorful vegetables and berries, which counter the acidic effects of the protein.

  23. Hey Dr. Mike,
    Karen Rysavy from CookingTLC here, thanks for the hat tip. As you may remember from when we met in 2004, I am a great fan of yours.
    Re: the PCRM – have you seen their new TV COMMERICAL?
    I saw it on the Fox affiliate in Grand Junction Colorado last week. I was shouting at the television in disgust! They showed a group of doctors in a presumably teaching situation, discussing how to best teach their patients to be healthy. They came right out and said that a “high fiber vegetarian diet” had been proven to reduce heart disease, cancer, diabetes and all sorts of other maladies. WHAT A CROCK! Since the FDA is going after the makers of Cheerios for misleading advertising, I hope they have a team reserved to investigate and indict the PCRM next, whose claims are far wilder. (However, I am not holding my breath that they will …. )

    Hi Karyn–

    I do remember meeting. And I’m not holding my breath that the FDA or the FTC will do anything to investigate the PCRM.

  24. Heh. Anyone that knows the Internets knows that online surveys are worthless. Re: Colbert node. On the positive side, vegetarians are funny and tasty with mustard.

    I find the phenomenon of Asperger’s self-diagnosis fascinating. The number of people with no concept of the sensory disturbances that go along with the disorder borders on silly, really. I might be biased because most all of my friends are of the actually-diagnosed variety, but if you’re asocial because you just don’t like people and not because you’re incredibly awkward, all I can really say is that it doesn’t work that way.

    Then there’s separating Asperger’s from Sensory Integration Disorder. People on the internet like to try to diagnose other people, and they kept trying to tell me I’m an aspie. I did eventually suspect something was different about my friend because of that, though, and was unsurprised when her therapist sent her off for testing and it turned out she has Asperger’s. On the reading early: I learned how to read a few months before my third birthday, and from what I’ve been told it was probably a process of associating whole words with the sounds people make. It seems to happen more with children who are lucky enough to have their parents read to them where they can see words on the pages. What you should not do with literate preschoolers is force them to babysit other misbehaving children. Do give them medical literature, because it is fun and rewarding. Do not lie if/when they find your porn stash and say you read the magazines for the articles, because they WILL read the articles and wonder about your bad taste.

    My current roommate is one step away from being a vegetarian. She whines when I make things like chicken livers, or even medium-boiled eggs. I’m thinking about putting a string through a raw chicken heart and hanging it somewhere just to see what happens.

    Almost everyone knows how useful nutrition tracking sites are, but what I never realized is how fun a spreadsheet program could be! I’ve been tracking my weight in an Excel file, and it will tell me where I am in relation for my goal for the day, the offset from the goal, and if the weight is too high, it will pop up a warning in a nearby column. You can even make charts with projection lines based off of current data, and see how you have to adjust things to make it to weight by when you want to. It’s so cool. I’m probably going to make a calorie and macronutrient log and then compare their relationships on even more graphs, because it’s that nifty!

    This was much too rambly. At any rate, there are a couple of tests for the self-diagnosed halfwits out there:

    Q) What part of a person’s face do you look at, and why?
    Answer should be: I don’t if I can help it, but if I can’t, anywhere but the eyes. They fry my brain because there’s just waaaaaaaaay too much going on there. If I look there, don’t expect me to be doing anything else, like listening or talking.

    Not: What are you babbling on about?

    Q) Why don’t you go out and do things with people?
    Answer should be: They are strange, baffling, mysterious creatures, and have no idea how to approach them to do these things. They have rituals that make no damn sense. I would like to, but no one handed me the damn instruction manual.

    Not: You’re annoying. Leave me alone before I smash you.

    Le sigh.

  25. I agree with Kathy from Maine about the whole veggie thing. When I first low carbed I felt almost fanatic about getting tons of veggies and salads, as a way of “proving” how healthy low carb is – but lately I have been consuming them less and less. I’m seeming to find more evidence that fiber is indeed totally overrated, and really not at all necessary! So I’m eating far fewer veggies and far more healthy fats – and I’ve never felt better or been more “regular”. Weight loss is slow but still continuing, and I’m down almost 30 pounds this year, and down almost 90 overall.

  26. The AMA has branded the PCRM a “fringe organization” and accused them of “perverting medical science.” 95% of their members lack any sort of medical degree. Barnard, a psychiatrist by training, has co-signed letters with an animal rights group considered by the DOJ to be “a domestic terrorist threat.” Much more information can be found here:

    Interesting. Thanks for the link.

  27. I second Walter’s statement about constipation. I am NOT only eating meat and eggs (I’m not even strictly LCing at the moment, though I’m way lower than the Food Pyramid calls for), but I find that if I keep my fat intake adequate, I don’t need the fiber.

    Actually, I wish LC writers would quit pussyfooting around about the fat issue. Weston Price documented countless traditional cultures eating high-fat diets and NOT being fat and sick. The Inuit lived on mostly fat when they ate their traditional diet. Fat is an important constituent of cell membranes, brain cells and other nervous system tissue, hormones, cardiac tissue and reproductive tissue. I’m sure you know this. That stuff doesn’t just sit there idle either–it’s all living tissue and, as living tissue, continually replenishes itself. It needs the proper building blocks to do so. Restricting fat isn’t going to make those building blocks available.

    “Excess” fat in the absence of carbohydrate isn’t even going to be stored. What would be the mechanism? Insulin isn’t elevated, and insulin’s the fat-storage hormone. Also, fat’s stored in the form of triglycerides, and you need a sugar to make the central supporting axis of a triglyceride molecule. So it’s not even about staying slender.

    Other points taken from the comments, mostly unrelated to the blog post:

    1. Wikipedia – I’ve found mistakes in the World Book Encyclopedia. I’d be willing to bet money I don’t have there are mistakes in Britannica and in other print encyclopedias as well. Every time someone badmouths Wikipedia I say to them, “If you think something is inaccurate, sign up for an account and fix it.” That’s the whole *point* of a wiki. I don’t use it as a be-all, end-all source, but I’m not going to ignore it just because universities don’t want their students using it as a source. What–do we mean the same universities that churn out so-called “scientists” who buy into the low-fat diet myth? THOSE universities? Yeah. Pass. ALL sources are flawed in some way. Every single one.

    2. Animal rights groups as domestic terrorist threats – Tell you what. When we’ve done something useful about the terrorist groups who are actually killing people, I might take the hysteria about animal rights groups seriously. I don’t agree with everything they say, mind you, but I do know they go out of their way not to hurt human beings (directly, anyhow; it could be argued they hurt the rest of us indirectly, but I won’t get into that here). And it’s not like they aren’t right about some things, like how horrendous CAFO operations are. Maybe if our government spent some serious time knocking down industrial ag and industrial animal “husbandry” (if I had a husband who treated me like that, I think he’d “accidentally” die in his sleep) instead of going after ELF/ALF/Earth First, this country might be better served.

    I’m on the same page as the rest of you on what whackjobs PETA members are, though.

    Not that I have an opinion or anything like that. 😛

  28. Let me add another data point about the veggie thing, as I read more of the comments here. I’ll try and be delicate about this, but… when I do strict Atkins induction and do the two to three salads a day thing? Um… Salads don’t digest very well for me. Let’s put it that way. I don’t think they constipate me either, but then I don’t skimp on the fat. (I will add olive oil on top of my salad dressing rather than overdo the sugar in the dressing.) Either the fat’s moving things through too fast, or my body just doesn’t want the greens.

    It was enough for me learning that every nutrient we think we need to get from veggies is also available in animal foods, and that I can’t get vitamin A from vegetables at all unless I’m converting beta carotene. I have no idea whether I’m converting it nor whether I’m converting it *enough.* I do know that I was plagued by menstrual problems for something like three years, and I mean horrid stuff to the point I sometimes could not leave the house for a few days a month for fear of an accident. After three to four months on retinol supplementation from fish liver oil capsules (10,000 IU minimum) daily, suddenly I don’t get the weird pains I was getting the day before it would start. I was curious and went Web-surfing, and turns out other women have found relief the same way.

    I’m furious the government lets food companies put a vitamin A value on plant food labels when there’s not a scrap of vitamin A in the food and I’m absolutely LIVID that they allow health “experts” to claim that beta carotene and A are the same thing. I wonder how many people out there are subclinically deficient in A. It’s going to kill them, slowly and unpleasantly.

  29. Howdy – you might be interested in the cover story of the current (6 June 2K9) issue of Science News, entitled “Serotonin: What the Gut Feeds the Bones”. Adds a genetic wrinkle to the meat/osteoporosis debate. I would be interested to know what you think.

    Thanks for doing what you do: prior to finding your’s and Gary Taubes’ books, I had not run across any reasonably complete and coherent discussions of the subjects of weight loss and metabolic control. I ate the “healthy” high-carb “balanced ” diet for years, gained weight and eventually started showing other ill-effects. Now I keep my carbs in the 30 – 50 g range, walk ~ 21 miles/week, and feel much better. A complete life change, and -45 lbs to date. I feel like I’ve finally been given a good hammer insead of a small rock to drive the nails of my house.

    One request: would you consider giving weight-based (grams & ozs) rather than volumetric nutritional information in the future? My conception of a medium something might be very different from yours, and my mushrooms might pack differently each time depending on how I slice them…

    Thanks again.

  30. I filled out the survey and outlined all the POSITIVE health benefits I’ve experienced since starting low carb lifestyle over two years ago.

  31. As best as I can conclude, different diets (including the low-carb diet) work best for different people. I resent the pseudo-science put out by individuals and organizations such as PCRM who are too cowardly to make their moral claims honestly, and let people evaluate them on that basis.


    I know I am late to the ballgame on this one, but a quick Google search on the topic showed these studies; one linking certain cancers and another not linking them. I am not a scientist, but have studied this topic closely for a documentary film my wife and I are making (It started off as a test to see how a meat lover, myself, would do on a vegetarian diet for 90 days. Since then, we have fallen down the rabbit hole of contradictions, inaccuracies and life changing discoveries.)

    So, it appears there are studies that link red meat consumption to certain cancers, and others that do not. I find that no matter which side of the argument one stands on, there seems to be “science” and evidence backing each one. What is the lay person to think?

    Needless to say, I felt great at first on a vegetarian diet. initially lost weight, had a lot of energy, etc. After a while, my energy started to drop, I became depressive (which is not natural for me at all), and to top it off I gained not only weight but a significant amount of body fat. I think I was insulin resistant before starting the veg diet, but must have been a whole lot worse after my body grew accustomed to it.

    Now, my wife and I are both experimenting with a paleo or low carb diet. We both feel amazing, but since my cholesterol was moderately high going into this whole venture a year ago, I still have worries about that. Even though I have read Taubes and studies to the contrary. We shall see how it progresses. Needless to say, my weight is coming back down, I feel emotionally strong again, and my energy levels are fantastic. It has only been 2 months, so I am sure I have to give it at least the amount of time I gave the veg diet to see if things change, but so far so good.

    Shane Close

  33. I notice there are no dissenting voices on this site challenging your outrageous claims, “Dr.” Eades. So it stands to reason that you won’t have the guts, honesty or integrity to post this. Let it be for your eyes only, then.

    Congratulations on the rabid hatchet job regarding PCRM and the condemnation of several decades-worth of scientifically proven benefits of a plant-based diet. You can stoop no lower than to lie in order to protect your profits, which is so obviously your agenda here. Unless, of course, those lies are killing people — that hits rock bottom.

    As a vegetarian / vegan [on a high carb diet, e.g. pasta, brown rice, potatoes] for over 30 years and one who has been successfully controlling chronic kidney disease on this plant-based diet, your “theory” that high protein diets do not diminish kidney function, is a dangerous, deadly, bald-faced lie and holds about as much merit as comparing PCRM to “terrorists.”

    You state: “PCRM uses what is at best anecdotal information and presents it in the guise of a scientific investigation.” If my life is ‘anecdotal’ and the results of my diet hold no more value to the medical community than to be dismissed, so be it. But I am alive today because I found, through personal experimentation, and not listening to individuals such as yourself, that I and I alone control my own health.

    By following my own instincts, listening to my body and using common sense, I have been able to completely avoid medical intervention — dialysis and transplant. My discoveries were made well before PCRM existed, so it was not by indoctrination that I came to exactly the same conclusions which PCRM espouses.

    You claim that PCRM is comprised of “militant vegetarians” and I’m paraphrasing here…individuals with dubious credentials.

    PCRM’s prestigious advisory board includes 19 health care professionals from a broad range of specialties, some names of which you may recognize:

    Leslie Brown, M.D., Pontchartrain Pediatrics

    T. Colin Campbell, Ph.D., Cornell University — Author of
    The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted and the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health [A study– one among many — that refutes your claim that ” Overall there is no evidence that meat causes colon cancer, or any other cancer, for that matter.”

    Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D., The Cleveland Clinic

    Roberta Gray, M.D., F.A.A.P., Pediatric Nephrology Consultant

    Suzanne Havala Hobbs, Dr.PH., M.S., R.D., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

    Henry J. Heimlich, M.D., Sc.D., The Heimlich Institute
    [Inventor of the life-saving Heimlich Maneuver]

    David Jenkins, M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto

    Lawrence Kushi, Sc.D., Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente

    John McDougall, M.D., McDougall Program, St. Helena Hospital

    Virginia Messina, M.P.H., R.D., Nutrition Matters, Inc.

    Milton Mills, M.D., Gilead Medical Group

    Baxter Montgomery, M.D., Houston Cardiac Association and HCA Wellness Center

    Carl Myers, M.D., Sonoran Desert Oncology

    Ana Negrón, M.D., Community Volunteers in Medicine and family physician

    Myriam Parham, R.D., L.D., C.D.E., East Pasco Medical Center

    William Roberts, M.D., Baylor Cardiovascular Institute

    Joan Sabaté, M.D., Dr.PH., Loma Linda University Nutrition School of Public Health

    Gordon Saxe, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D., Moores Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego

    Andrew Weil, M.D., University of Arizona

    I venture to guess that the experience, credentials and standing within the medical community of these individuals far outweighs your own Dr. Eades.

    You have zero credibility in my book.

    • Power to you, Brennan Browne, for controlling your health with a conscious commitment to your diet. If only everyone could be as committed as you are, we would see many fewer cases of these “diseases of civilization.”

      However, don’t insult our intelligence by your appeals to authority. There are an equal number of decorated physicians and scientists who both practice and preach the type of dietary approach the Drs. Eades advocate.

      The topic of diet is intensely personal. For your health, you absolutely should do your own research and listen to your body. Physicians and scientists exist to parse through the detailed scientific minutiae that operate behind the scenes. But the core tenet of science is that hypotheses are falsifiable through testing — and no science is absolute. That is why you have scientists such as Drs. Barnard, Esselsyn, McDougall, Ornish and others on one side of the fence and Drs. Eades, Volek, Frasetto, Feinman and others on the other side, and Drs. Mozzaffarian, Krauss, and others firmly in the middle, with plenty of science to back up all sides. I’ll grant that there has been “several decades-worth of scientifically proven benefits of a plant-based diet,” but much of the post-millennial research has supported a low-carb approach.

      Please keep this in mind next time. The low-carb, whole-foods, plant-and-animal-based diet is a highly defensible position backed by a lot of good research, and recognize that this fact is not mutually exclusive with a plants-based approach if it works for you.

  34. Tandoori:

    I wasn’t attempting to “insult” anyone’s intelligence by listing the names of the credentialed individuals involved with PCRM which promote plant-based diets.
    I was only confirming that well-respected professionals of every stripe understand the benefits of vegetarianism and that these people cannot be dismissed as fringe nut cases, as Dr. Eades would have his readers believe.

    There are much broader issues to consider when eating a meat-based diet than health.
    Issues that affect all of us. A meat-based culture is destroying the environment through intensive factory farms, which are nothing more than toxic hellholes of abuse for the animals which are treated with as much compassion as a stick of furniture, and where the land and water (including underground aquifers) are contaminated for miles around with tons of animal waste run-off and which pollute the air. Lung-blistering noxious ammonia can waft for several hundred miles on wind-driven days.

    When educated to the facts, a meat-based diet is INDEFENSIBLE.
    Dr. Richard A. Oppenlander has just written a book entitled: Comfortably Unaware.
    Studies have shown that Methane and Nitrous Oxide, “are much more powerful than carbon dioxide as greenhouse gases.” These treacherous gases enter the atmosphere mainly through the flatulence and manure of the 65 billion land animals who are now being raised for food – a number that could double by 2050.

    Comfortably Unaware insists that animal agriculture, including fishing and aquaculture (factory farming of freshwater and sea creatures for human, companion animal and farmed animal consumption), is the primary cause of global depletion – the loss of our renewable and nonrenewable resources including our drinking water, air quality, land, oceans, rainforests, and biodiversity. Reports on the health and environmental havoc of farmed animal production and consumption stop short of advocating the animal-free diet that would solve the problem. For instance, 80 percent of the world’s protein-rich soy crop is not being fed to starving children, but to farmed animals, and most of this soy “is now grown on rainforest-cleared land.” In 2004-2005 more than 2.9 million acres of rainforest were destroyed, “primarily to grow crops for chickens used by Kentucky Fried Chicken.”

    Oppenlander explains why “grass-fed, pastured” animal production is a false solution to factory farming and why small-scale operations cannot sustainably meet the demands of billions of people wanting cheap, readily available meat, dairy and eggs. Smaller farms don’t alter the amount of resources required to raise, transport and slaughter hundreds of billions of animals. Currently, 55 percent of our fresh water is given to animals raised for food, and 89,000 pounds of excrement are produced by farmed animals every second in the United States alone, says Oppenlander. Moreover, what is fashionably called “humane” farming does not meet the behavioral and cognitive needs of, or show any genuine respect for the animals trapped in our food production systems and belittling attitudes.

    Not only is a meat-based diet unhealthy for our bodies, it is unsustainable for the planet.

  35. oops … sorry what did Atkins die of again?? … aaaahhh yes heart disease – you are a very misguided man and you misguide others tsk tsk our bodies by nature are designed to burn carbs and sugars and someone of your “standing” should know better tsk tsk again