It was a brutal weekend.  I spent nearly all of it, including last night, extracting extremely inconsistent data from Excel spreadsheets into a database for a customer.  Yuck. 

After that headache, I thought I’d go ahead and give myself a migraine by reading another major section of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.  This one was titled Carbohydrates.  It was pretty much a love letter … if anyone dared write a love letter in Engfish.  (Dear One – it has been determined by moderately strong evidence that I typically experience an increase in levels of mood-elevating hormonal secretions when you are in close proximity, as measured by the vertical distance between subject one (you) and subject two (me), thus indicating …)

Before we get into the details, here’s the summary:

  • Carbohydrates don’t make us fat
  • Carbohydrates don’t cause heart disease
  • Carbohydrates don’t cause type 2 diabetes
  • Carbohydrates don’t cause anything bad, except maybe cavities
  • Carbohydrates from whole grains will cure all your ailments
  • Shut up and eat your carbohydrates

Stunning revelations from a committee empanelled by a government that’s heavily into the grain business.  Here’s some of the opening Engfish:

The role of carbohydrates in the diet has been the source of much public and scientific interest. These include the relationship of carbohydrates with health outcomes, including coronary heart disease (CHD), type 2 diabetes (T2D), body weight, and dental caries. The 2010 DGAC conducted NEL evidence reviews on these and other carbohydrate-related topics. The Committee also relied on evidence contained in the 2002 Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) report and conducted a non-NEL review of recent literature to specifically examine the relationship of carbohydrates with CHD, T2D, behavior, and cognitive performance. No detrimental effects of carbohydrates as a source of calories on these or other health outcomes were reported.

Well, that’s it, then.  The committee promised they’d review all the relevant scientific literature, and now they’re telling us carbohydrates have no detrimental effects.  I can quit reading the report and spend the rest of tonight watching re-runs of Seinfeld.

Dangit, no I can’t.  Thanks in part to my high-fat diet, I have an excellent memory.  And I seem to recall some important studies (many of which I read, even if the committee didn’t) found a link between high-glycemic carbohydrates and disease.  There was even an editorial about the subject in a recent edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.  Here are some excerpts (IHD means ischemic heart disease, in case you didn’t know):

Numerous epidemiologic studies have found that higher intake of refined carbohydrates (reflected by increased dietary GL) is associated with greater risk of type 2 diabetes and IHD, whereas higher consumption of whole grains protects against these conditions.

In this issue of the Journal, Jakobsen et al compared the association between saturated fats and carbohydrates with IHD risk among 53,644 men and women in a Danish cohort of the Diet, Cancer, and Health Study. During 12 y of follow-up, 1943 incident cases of myocardial infarction (MI) were diagnosed. Multivariate analyses showed that saturated fat intake was not associated with risk of MI compared with carbohydrate consumption- a finding consistent with the results from a recent pooled analysis and a meta-analysis. However, replacement of saturated fat with high-GI-value carbohydrates significantly increased the risk of MI (relative risk per 5% increment of energy from carbohydrates).

This study is notable for its large size, long duration of followup, and detailed assessment of dietary and lifestyle factors. It is the first epidemiologic study to specifically examine the effects of replacing saturated fats with either high- or low-quality carbohydrates, and it provides direct evidence that substituting high-GIvalue carbohydrates for saturated fat actually increases IHD risk.

Replace saturated fat with high-glycemic carbohydrates, and the risk of heart disease goes up.  Perhaps the committee will at least acknowledge that we should be avoiding high-glycemic, refined carbohydrates.  Let’s see what they have to say on the matter:

When selecting carbohydrate foods, there is no need for concern with their glycemic index or glycemic load. What is important to heed is their calories, caloric density, and fiber content.

Got that?  High glycemic, low glycemic …  nothing to worry about.  Here’s the committee’s fuller conclusion:

Strong and consistent evidence shows that glycemic index and/or glycemic load are not associated with body weight and do not lead to greater weight loss or better weight maintenance. Abundant, strong epidemiological evidence demonstrates that there is no association between glycemic index or load and cancer. A moderate body of inconsistent evidence supports a relationship between high glycemic index and type 2 diabetes. Strong, convincing evidence shows little association between glycemic load and type 2 diabetes. Due to limited evidence, no conclusion can be drawn to assess the relationship between either glycemic index or load and cardiovascular disease.

So the only link negative link to high-glycemic foods is with type 2 diabetes, and by gosh, the evidence is inconsistent on that one.  After several pages of research summaries and citations (which I suspect were cherry-picked), the committee declares the evidence “mixed”  and tells us the glycemic index or load doesn’t make a difference. 

I found that fascinating because of their runaway enthusiasm for whole grains and fiber.  Whole grains, you see, will cure you of almost everything:

A moderate body of evidence from large prospective cohort studies shows that whole grain intake, which includes cereal fiber, protects against cardiovascular disease. Limited evidence shows that consumption of whole grains is associated with a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes in large prospective cohort studies. Moderate evidence shows that intake of whole grains and grain fiber is associated with lower body weight.

Wowzers.  Eat those whole grains, and you’ll avoid heart disease, diabetes and obestiy.  To provide evidence for that paragraph, the committee cites a slew of observational studies showing an association between eating more whole grains and better health, and even tosses in a few clinical studies as well.  If you didn’t know better, the evidence that whole grains are a cure-all would be convincing.

But I do know better.  Several times, after seeing yet another news story about the wonders of whole grains, I’ve looked up the study that inspired the article.  I’ve always found paragraphs like this one, from a study cited by the committee:

Behall (2006) compared the effects of feeding three whole-grain diets on blood pressure with weight as an ancillary outcome. Participants (n=25) consumed a controlled Step I diet for 2 weeks after which approximately 20 percent of energy was replaced with whole wheat/brown rice, barley, or half wheat-rice/half barley, for 5 weeks each.

The researchers apparently didn’t have the courtesy to tell us what kind of food was “replaced” with whole grains.  I’ll bet you dollars to donuts (and you can keep the donuts) we’re talking about white-flour foods.  That’s been the case in every other study I looked up — except when the researchers didn’t feel like being specific.

Now, let’s think about this … what happens when you remove white-flour foods and replace them with whole-grain foods in a clinical study?  You lower the glycemic index and glycemic load of the meals.  And unless the people in observational studies who report eating a lot of whole grains are sprinkling bran flakes on top of their donuts and white-bread sandwiches, they’re also consuming less white flour.  Even goofball vegan doctors like Neal Bernard tell people to switch to whole grains specifically to reduce their glycemic load.

In other words, the many health benefits the committee ascribes to whole grains are probably the result of consuming less white flour — and thus reducing the blood-sugar blast from eating processed grains.  If the committee is going to cite those studies as solid proof that whole grains are good, then they’re citing studies in which a reduced glycemic load was associated with better health.

Like I’ve said before, if I compare people who smoke filtered and unfiltered cigarettes, the people smoking filtered cigarettes will probably have lower rates of lung cancer.  But that doesn’t mean filtered cigarettes prevent cancer.  It means filtered cigarettes are less likely to cause cancer.  Huge difference.  If we really want to determine the benefits of whole grains, let’s compare people who eat them to people who don’t eat any grains at all.

Even if whole grains contain some beneficial nutrients, it’s crazy to recommend that all Americans should base their diets on them.  Grains can cause all kinds of health problems.  Loren Cordain has written extensively about how grains can cause leaky gut syndrome and lead to autoimmune disorders. 

When I ate grains, I had arthritis.  I had gastric reflux.  I reached for the bottle of Pepto-Bismal at least once per week.  When I was a traveling comedian, I always had Pepto-Bismal chewable tablets in my overnight bag.  Now I literally can’t remember the last time I took Pepto-Bismal or an antacid.  At the premiere party for Fat Head, the sound engineer told me that after the film convinced him to give up grains, he no longer needed his daily dose of Prilosec.  He thanked me for changing his life.  But according to the committee, he’s now at risk for heart disease and diabetes because he’s not eating his whole grains.

While the committee recommends that Americans cut back on sugar, they concluded that sugar doesn’t play any particular role in causing weight gain. 

Added sugars, as found in sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), are not different than other extra calories in the diet for energy intake and body weight. Thus, reducing intake of all added sugars, including sucrose, corn sweetener, fructose, high fructose corn syrup, and other forms of added sugars, is a recommended strategy to reduce calorie intake in Americans.

It’s all about the calories, you see.  And yet elsewhere in the report, they state that people who eat a lot of sugar tend to consume more calories overall.  Gee, do you think maybe there’s a connection there?  Gaining weight may ultimately be caused by over-consuming calories, but then we have to ask ourselves what causes people to over-consume. Recent studies have shown that fructose depletes your body’s supply of ATP, the usable form of energy.  When you’re low on energy, you’re going to eat more.  Sugar is half fructose, while HFCS is 55% fructose.  Put two and two together, and I’d say sugar and HFCS cause people to consume more calories.

Much of the report is dedicated to praising the benefits of fruits and vegetables.  I don’t have anything against fruits and vegetables.  I eat a lot of them, especially vegetables.  I’m not convinced they’re the key to radiant health — there have been plenty of cultures where people were lean and healthy but rarely consumed plants foods —  but if the committee wants to tell people to eat more vegetables, I don’t see any harm in it. 

But I see plenty of harm in the committee continuing to recommend that we get most of our calories from carbohydrates, and of course that’s what they do. 

Healthy diets are high in carbohydrates. Accepted Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) for carbohydrates are 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates. A maximal intake level of 25 percent or less of total energy from added sugars is suggested, based on trends indicating that people with diets at or above this level of added sugars are more likely to have poorer intakes of important essential nutrients. Active Americans should consume diets at the high end of the AMDR range (65%) while Americans on low calorie diets will need to consume diets at the low end of the range (45%).

That statement didn’t surprise me.  It’s exactly what I expected.  The surprise was that in a document full of praise for the Almighty Carbohydrate, the committee included this sentence:

The amount of dietary carbohydrate that confers optimal health in humans is unknown.

So there you have it:  we don’t actually know how many carbohydrates people should eat to be healthy, but trust us … you should eat a LOT of carbohydrates.

And now, to pluck up everyone’s spirits a bit, I’m happy to report that a doctor who actually gets it was on TV:

42 Responses to “2010 Dietary Guidlines: Carbohydrates Are Wonderful”
  1. Sarah says:

    The interview, to me, was slightly disappointing. yes he pointed out the individuality prospect, and barely touched the saturated fat subject. But I kind of wanted him to talk about too many carbohydrates in the guidelines, how grains aren’t a natural thing to base human diets on, how we’ve been eating fat for millions of years, etc. But then again the FBI might have taken him away mid-sentence.

    Or his microphone would have stopped working. But at least it’s start.

  2. Ellen says:

    I’ll add my anecdotal evidence to the growing pile of stories from people who feel better when they don’t eat grains..

    Now that I avoid all grain based foods, I no longer suffer from frequent colds, acid reflux, joint pain, daytime sleepiness, hypoglycemia, dizziness, constant fatigue, non-stop hunger, painful feet, gingivitis, heartburn, digestive problems and all the other health issues I USED to have when I included those “healthy” whole grains in my diet. The most annoying thing is that they are using our tax money to publish junk like these guidelines. What a waste.

    That’s what annoys me as much as anything: my tax dollars are promoting this nonsense, and subsidizing the grains.

  3. Vesna says:

    I love the trenchant summary at the beginning! Is this something like the Opium Wars, where we’re getting an addicting substance forced upon us? Or what?!

    They can’t quite force us to eat the stuff, but they’ll do their best.

  4. Jim Purdy says:


    Would somebody please explain to me what an “expert” is, and why the experts’ advice so often runs counter to everyday experience of real people.

    Oh, excuse me. I forgot. Real experiences of real people are just “anecdotal” and therefore can be ignored by the self-proclaimed “experts.”

    As far as I can tell, an expert is someone with a PhD who agrees with the federal government.

  5. Richard Tamesis, M.D. says:

    You and Denise Minger should collaborate on a book about the shoddy analysis put out by hacks like the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Together, you two will be unstoppable, like the Incredible Hulk!

    I just read her reply to T. Colin Campbell. She’s got an amazing mind, especially for a youngster.

  6. mezzo says:

    The cold war is over, or is it not? Is this a foreign-power-led conspiracy to hasten the extermination of the Americans? McCarthy – come back and find out who’s behind this, please.

    Since we sell subsidized grain around the world, people in other countries are probably wondering the same thing about us.

  7. Josiah says:

    How can they say that? Carbohydrates aren’t a problem in the slightest and on top of that glycemic index is irrelevant? I am having an aneurysm, my poor cat will be homeless.

    They can say that because they’re working at the behest of a government that’s heavily invested in grains, including the grain that produces HFCS.

  8. eddie watts says:

    tom you mention a study(or studies) about fructose intake reducing available ATP in the human body.
    could you provide a link either in comments or by email?

    as a strength trainer (strongman) who has friends into bodybuilding and similar strength sports this would be very interesting to me


    oh and the usual then on this sort of thing, no surprise really

    This doctor spoke about fructose and ATP. I haven’t looked up the research he mentions in the speech:

  9. Lynda says:

    While this is not so relevant here in New Zealand, I find the ignorance of these new dietary guidelines is astounding. Thank you for analyzing all this for us and breaking it down into understandable paragraphs. I am no scientist and have no qualification to comment but even I can see dangerous path these recommendations are leading down. I find recently that I am becoming a skeptic in many things because once you realize you are being fed bull in one area, you become skeptical of everything else. Don’t even start me on global warming…

    Skepticism is good. If I’m not mistaken, “Air Con” was written by one of your countrymen.

  10. Jamie says:

    When I watched the video and they started showing footage of obese people walking around, the first thing that came to mind was the scene in Fat Head where you try to obtain that same type of footage. And it took you forever to get it, because there just weren’t that many obese people wandering the streets. Anyway…

    I saw plenty of people who were 10-20 pounds overweight, but those HUGE bodies they always like to show were actually few and far between. On the other hand, when we were in Arkansas last summer, that body type appeared to be the norm.

  11. darMA says:

    As long as the guidelines are in the hands of a Monsanto-tainted government funded by Big Agri (eat lots of grains and we and our friends make lots of money) and Big Pharm (eat lots of grains and you’ll get sick and then WE’ll make lots of money) what’s the point of even dreaming that anything will change? And people think conspiracy theorists are nuts?

    Indeed, but a surprising number of people still think government is our ally, looking out for us little people.

  12. Chris says:

    Tom, I wrote this about the 2005 Pyramid, wanted to share it with you based on the nugget you mined from the Advisory Committee Report: “The amount of dietary carbohydrate that confers optimal health in humans is unknown.” It sure doesn’t stop them from recommending them, does it?

    Pyramid Scheme

    Listen, Bernie Madoff’s pyramid scheme was evil, but the damage that the USDA Pyramid is doing to our Nation’s waistlines is downright dangerous. Every five years, the USDA comes out with a new Food Pyramid. The next one is due in 2010. It will be discussed extensively in the media. And citizens will think the government has their backs.

    But this government advice is a prescription for weight gain.
    The highest recommended daily intake for carbohydrate is 300 grams. That’s based on a 2000 calorie diet.

    But using the USDA Food Pyramid as your guide, you would consume twice that amount.

    I did the math.

    Let’s start with the six to eleven servings of grain—the base of the pyramid. You can thank the Grain Foods Foundation lobby for that. They suggest that you make at least “half our grains whole.” That is a convoluted way of saying, “Make half your grains processed.” It was also the slogan of the Grain Foods Foundation a lobbying group that funds one of the coloring books that the USDA offers as a curriculum aid to teach our children about healthy eating.

    Let’s choose all whole grains for now.

    1. 1 cup of popped popcorn 6 g of carbohydrate
    2. 1 cup of whole wheat spaghetti 37 g of carbohydrate
    3. 1 cup of brown rice 45 g of carbohydrate
    4. 1 slice of whole wheat bread 24 g of carbohydrate
    5. 1 cup of Kashi Go Lean Cereal 30 g of carbohydrate
    6. 1/2 cup of Quaker oatmeal 27 g of carbohydrate

    Even with the small portion sizes you get 169 g of carbohydrate!
    You have only had six of your grain servings and have already consumed 169 grams of carbohydrates. Your next five servings will take you near the “recommended” 300 gram mark.

    You have now packed away at least a day’s worth of carbs.
    But you haven’t eaten the fruits and vegetables and the USDA Pyramid wants you to. You need to have at least 2-1/2 to 3 cups of vegetables and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit.

    The smaller number is for women. The larger number is for men.

    Most leafy green vegetables are low in carbs, but if one of your vegetables is a large, heart-healthy, high-fiber . . .

     Large baked potato 63 g of carbohydrate

    Now you’re somewhere around 363 g of carbohydrate for the day.
    However, you’re a health conscious and a good American citizen. So you eat . . .

     1 cup of green grapes 29 g of carbohydrate
     1 medium sized apple 23 g of carbohydrate

    You know what’s good for you. The USDA Pyramid told you to do it.
    You also know that sweets are “discretionary” calories and should be used sparingly. You just read In the Wall Street Journal that The American Heart Association wants us to cut our sugar consumption from 20 to 10 teaspons a day. So you had a diet soda for lunch and only had one Coke during the afternoon.

     1-12 ounce cola drink 36 g of carbohydrate

    The dairy lobby has the USDA recommending at least 3 servings of their products. You avoid the fatty cheese, and opt for skim milk. It’s low calorie and low fat.

     3 servings of skim milk 12 g of carbohydrate each

    That’s adds up to a whopping 466 g of carbohydrates. Or if you had your additional five servings of allowable grains 600+ g of carbohydrate.
    See what happens when every lobbyist gets their commodities placed on the USDA Food Pyramid?

    We get fat. Way fat.

    But who do we blame for the obesity epidemic?

     Fast food restaurants
     Toxic environment
     Video games
     Schools with no physical education programs
     Ourselves.

    The real con artists are the lobbyists and the victims are the 31% of Americans who are now classified as obese. What did they do wrong? They followed the USDA’s recommendations.

    You now know why America has an obesity crisis. You may not believe it yet. You may think there has to be a more sinister reason than carbohydrates.

    Not really.

    I’ve read that the average adult consumes close to 500 grams of carbohydrate per day; your math shows how easy it is to reach that number.

  13. Jeanne says:

    Since most of my pleas to my friends to heed the science falls on deaf hears, I just shrug and cynically figure, that, since I ‘m a health care professional, this just ensures job security.

    Oh, yeah … you’ll have plenty of customers.

  14. Dou says:

    Am I the only physics geek or did you do a double take as well when she said “Richard Feynman”?

  15. Allan says:

    Remind me exactly of the First Lady’s platform!

    This might be the first generation of children to live shorter lives than their parents. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are another step closer to our future doctors, scientists, politicians early demise.

    I’m frustrated knowing that I have to pay taxes on a comittee who is destined to promote an American genocide.

    They take our money to subsidize grains, they take our money to encourage people to eat them, and they take our money to pay for the health problems caused by eating grains. Quite a racket.

  16. PhilM says:

    Is there anybody in the field of nutrition with a conscience? How can they put out a report like that? Either what I have learned from following the latest in nutrition is all wrong or these so called experts are really grain industry lobbyists in disguise.

    I too have cut down on carbs a lot. But how do you eliminate all grains? I don’t eat meat and I can’t start eating it either. I do eat eggs, dairy and fish but I end up eating carbs at least once a day. Any suggestions welcome!

    If you don’t meat or grains, I suppose your diet would be rather limited, but it can be done. Dana Carpender’s latest cookbook has 1,000 recipes; must be some in there that don’t include meat.

  17. Auntie M says:

    The interview was kind of painful to watch. I wanted him to be more specific, and he seemed sort of ill-prepared to answer questions. We need charisma to “sell” the truth. I also cringed when the reporter mentioned that the guidelines are “enforced….I mean recommended” by the federal government. That’s the kind of comment that gives me nightmares.

    On the other hand, it’s encouraging to see some attention thrown to the anti-Food Pyramid crew. Even if it’s only because the networks are trying to create drama because the new guidelines are coming out.

    I was pleased that they at least had a doctor with impressive credentials saying the Food Pyramid is wrong. It’s a start.

  18. Amber says:

    There are three things that bother me about pushing fruits and vegetables. First is that they lump these foods together. Fruits are fructose-bombs, and I don’t think anyone should eat them on a daily basis. Vegetables are probably much more benign. The other is that even vegetables, as you have pointed out, are not essential. They should be considered optional food. I have even seen some people who have had major health improvements over a low-carb, grain-free diet by taking that last step and removing vegetables. Finally, by pushing fruits and vegetables, they are silently saying minimize meat, which is really the most healthful, essential part of our diet.

    The lumping together is stupid. Do they honestly believe a banana and a stalk of broccoli have the same metabolic effects?

  19. Jan says:

    I read this post with my mouth open; I imagine I looked every bit as idiotic as the people who wrote this garbage are.

    More anecdotal evidence: In the last two months, we’ve completely cut out vegetable oils, refined sugar, soy and grains from our diets. Well, white potatoes, too (we’re eating the occasional sweet potato). We’ve greatly increased the amount of fat we eat in terms of coconut oil, butter, full-fat dairy and other healthy animal fats from grass-fed and/or pastured animals. We’re eating lots of vegetables, some nuts and fruits. We have not increased our exercise, we have not decreased our calories. At least I don’t think we’ve decreased our calories – we’re not worrying about them. Or carbs. Or fat grams. And we are losing weight – 20 pounds for my husband and 14 for me.

    I can’t WAIT to see what our lipid profiles look like the next time the doctor insists on draining our blood.

    Outstanding results. I predict your doctor will be stunned.

  20. Lori says:

    This is why I don’t take studies seriously. They’re often done to promote an agenda or a product, the data are mined and cherry-picked, the numbers are massaged, and voila: the “researchers” reach the conclusion they were looking for. I don’t have the time, patience or ability to figure out if a study was valid.

    This is why I depend on thinking and observations and do my best to be open to new information that challenges my beliefs.

    There are so many conflicting studies out there (because there are so many conflictng agendas), so I ask myself two questions: 1. Does it make sense in terms of biology and evolution? 2. Does it fit with my own experiences?

    If the committee says the source of the carbohydrate makes no difference, the answer to both questions is no.

  21. zoe harcombe says:

    Great blog! Laughed out loud. Thanks so much for a top summary of the nonsense that we are being fed. The Weston A Price response to these daft guidelines was equally brilliant – just not quite as funny.

    We can change the world folks – ignore our governments and don’t eat anything provided by food manufacturers – only things provided by mother nature (and in that form). We have the power as consumers to wipe out the food industry overnight – we need to use it.

    That’s what I hope people eventually realize … they can promote this garbage all they want, but if we stop eating the junk they’re selling, they have to stop selling it at some point.

  22. Ms. X says:

    “The role of carbohydrates in the diet has been the source of much public and scientific interest.”

    Now how can you say the authors of the report aren’t geniuses? (Just not at nutrition 😉 ) That’s the most brilliant spin-doctoring I’ve seen in a while.

    Since this document is essentially political, I guess spin-doctoring was a necessary skill.

  23. Tom, I applaud you for reading the migraine-inducing study so carefully, so you can tell us what it really says!! Keep up the great posts on this garbage…

    One more to go …

  24. Paul B. says:

    They should just come out and say that the recommendations are for economic, not health reasons. At least they admit that optimal carb consumption is unknown. They are pushing carbs because their agricultural supporters make lots of money off cheap processed food, and because the world is so overpopulated that most of the world has to exist on carbs or they would starve.

    It also amuses me that potatoes are classified as a vegetable. I guess that is so that institutions like hospitals, schools, and prisons can serve lots of fries and tater tots and claim they are meeting the daily “fruit and vegatable” requirement. Throw in some fruit juice and you get all the required “fruits and vegetables” entirely through cheap processed food. What a deal!

    That’s exactly what happens at my daughter’s school. Mashed potatoes and peaches in syrup — hey, we’re serving fruits and vegetables!

  25. Be says:

    Love your take and give you TONS of credit for dealing with the Engfish. But the bottom line remains – why in the world do we need a government to establish dietary guidelines? Or any “guideline” for that matter! If they came out against carbs, grains, sugars, et al and hoisted the benefits of pastured animal fat combined with local vegetables, I would still say, Why is my government involved in this discussion? Are we the voters really that stupid?

    You’ve hit it on the head. We don’t need them telling us how to eat in the first place.

  26. Marilyn says:

    For Jim Purdy. The definition of an expert:

    An “ex-” is a has been. . .
    and a “spurt” is a drip under pressure.

    Hope that helps. 🙂

  27. Dana says:

    We may not need the government to tell us how to eat but plainly there are a lot of people who do not know how to eat or why. It would be a good thing if LC/WAPF folks would pool resources and start getting the info out there–and not at $25 or more a pop, either, but free, the way vegan organizations hand out information for free.

    They’re way ahead of us and causing much damage. Time we caught up.

    I actually have some ideas about this but I need to flesh them out some more.

    If the government would just stop handing out bad advice, it would be a huge first step. We didn’t become a nation of carbohydrate addicts until they told us to avoid fat and eat more carbs. But now that they’ve done the damage, I agree; we need organizations like WAPF to ramp it up as much as possible.

  28. Dave, RN says:

    My son has a friend who is a vegetarian. Well, sugar-holic is more like it. It’s all she eats.

    Her dad is a long time vegetarian too. One of the “good” ones, eating lots of fresh vegetables.

    He just had his first heart attack.

    Looking back on my vegetarian days, I was just another carbohydrate addict. I didn’t eat sugar, but pretty much everything I ate was a glucose blast. Sorry to hear about the friend’s dad.

  29. Shelley says:

    When I read posts of this type by you, I always imagine head-shaped dents in the wall next to your computer!

    It’s only my sense of self-preservation that prevents constant head-banging.

  30. Jacob says:

    Great post Tom, as always. Have you seen this nonsense? Looks like a good topic for a future blog post.

    Cool … now we can use fun games and programs to encourage kids to eat a crappy diet!

  31. Bushrat says:

    @ Amber: Do any of these grainless and vege-less people (which would make them carnivores I guess) have any blogs up around the net?

    @ Tom: Denise has a data set available over in the comment section to her response to Campbell. If you feel like playing with statistics then have at it. I did every comparison I could think of and found the same results she did.

  32. ugh says:

    600+ grams of carbs? Now just wait a minute.

    I would gulp down something like a pound of pasta or rice a day (with cheese and oil of course – yay). Or a kilo of pommes.
    But, it came in half-kilo bags (we refuse to use the weaklings’ pound here). And pasta, rice have about 80% carbs.

    Hence I doubt I seriously exceeded 500 g/day, and even that was murder. Even more with the g-g-grains. And I am large. About 300 weaklings’ pounds.

    More madness: DM2 sufferers are “limited” to 300 g/day, 50 g of them sugar. Or were limited. The recommendations are from the 80s, and I hear they “relaxed” the diet quite a bit. We can always put you on insulin or a near-lethal exercise regimen.

    Eating 250 g of (non-grain) pasta is a treat I allow myself once a month or so now (it’s also 250% more expensive)

    Once a month won’t hurt you. About once a month, I indulge in a treat meal … Mexican, Italian, patty melt with fries, something like that.

  33. Dan says:

    All I could say was “HUH?????” All those “healthy complex carbs” I used to eat did the opposite of what the “committee” said they’d do. I guess I’m just another “paradox,” which is their Engfish way of blowing it off. 🙂

    I think Ronald Reagan said it best, “Government is not the solution to your problems, government IS the problem.”

    True then, true now.

  34. Your older brother says:

    (Cross-posted this on because it fits so well in either spot!)

    O! M! G! Opened up the local paper today and Walter William’s column (”Making America Sick”) takes on Big SugarAND HHS AND Big Fructose (ADM) AND Congress.

    Must. Control. Joy.


    Off to find it. Thanks for the heads-up.

  35. Chareva says:


    I’m with you on the activism front. We should have a march on Washington.

    The ‘Fat Head’ bus can drive to DC. We can decorate it with the words “Cut the Carbs! High Fructose Corn Syrup and Wheat are killing the American people!” or something like that. Images of grass fed cows sing barbershop “Mooove over Food Pyramid”. Three USDA figures sit on a pile of money labeled “Health Care Bill” each covering eyes, ears and mouth. Perhaps skeleton bottles of Statins and Insulin are dancing on graves.

    We can wear steak, chicken, egg, fish and butter costumes…or hats, for the less adventurous. Give speeches (or stand-up Tom), do funny skits, have a free showing of “Fat Head”, hand out literature. Hand out buttons that say “Eat FAT Be Healthy” or “Carbs Kill”. Am I getting too far out there?

    Media loves sound bites and colorful visuals. Any creative thinkers have other ideas? Anyone have a big bus, costumes and funds at their disposal?

  36. Jonathan says:

    My father recently had a heart attack (47 years old) and while he was in hospital we got a visit from the cardiac nurse who gave us advice on healthy eating (conventional healthy eating; trim fat from your meat, use margarine instead of butter, and use canola oils “because they have the heart foundation tick”) and exercise. The talk lasted atleast 30 minutes and I had to grit my teeth and bite my tongue through the lot of it.

    I managed, but one thing stuck out for me the whole time she was talking; this lady was BIG. And im not talking just a little over weight and if she ate a bit better and exercised a bit more (if she currently did at all) she would lose the weight quickly. Im talking BIG as in this would take a complete lifestyle overhaul and a concerted effort on her part to lose the excess fat she was carry on ALL parts of her body.

    Now if I was’nt convinced before that the conventional wisdom of healthy eating was wrong, then a grossly overweight CARDIAC NURSE!!! giving healthy eating advice pretty much sealed it for me.

    During her talk my Dad said to her, “Im lucky cause my son is quite into healthy eating and exercise so ive got good help”, the nurse turned to me and said “Oh so your quite into diet and exercise are you?”, I felt like saying “Yeah, would you like some advice?” but I just said “Yeah” because really, in that situation, what can you say?

    Your dad is lucky he’s got you to tell him what’s what. I hope he recovers soon.

  37. Pete B says:

    Every single day, the US government feeds 53 MILLION people. If they were TRYING to make them sick, they couldn’t be doing a better job! Access to Federal Funds is often conditional upon adherence to, or promotion of, the official dietary guidelines.

    The system is broken. Fixing it won’t be a minor exercise …

    You have to admit, it’s a brilliant strategy: first they confiscate more than a quarter of the nation’s income each year, then they tell us, “Now if you want some of your own money back, we have rules to follow …”

    And most people, upon receiving the money, actually think it’s a gift!

  38. Mark. Gooley says:

    Rather sad that Walter Williams confuses sucrose with glucose. Sucrose is of course hardly any better than HFCS. The points about sugar tariffs are valid: HFCS and the domestic US cane and beet sugar industry would both be dead without them… which would let in a lot more cheap sucrose. I’m not sure that this would make much difference regarding the American diet. i suspect that we’re maxed out on sugar anyway.

    Even sadder that the government shows no signs of questioning dietary dogma, and continues to promote this agenda. I do wonder what the people who write the Dietary Guidelines look like, and whether they adhere personally to the practices they promote.

    I emailed him about the difference yesterday.

  39. Nick says:

    @ Bushrat.

    If you are interested in the “carnivores,” they have their own website. It is fairly decent size forum, actually, but is is very tight-knit. There is a lot of good information there, but I would not suggest posting there unless you are very serious about their WOE. They don’t take well outside opinions (I used to post there some).

    The website is

    These guys are zero carb, and many of them have been at it for a great deal of time. The majority of them eat almost nothing but beef and water. It is definitely worth checking out.

  40. robin fox says:

    Firstly, I have a toddler and find it incredibly difficult to find low carb snacks for him. Does anyone have any websites or ideas for under 3’s low carb snacks?
    Also, any tips on a good protein shake and not just ground up soy? I live in rural New Zealand, so that does limit selection.
    Thirdly, I found the following article this morning about fructose and pancreatic cancer. Nice to see some anti-sugar evidence. Now if only the people in charge would start opening their eyes and seeing the clear link we would be getting somewhere!!!

    love your blog, thanks

    I don’t know what’s available in New Zealand, but I make whey protein shakes. The brand is Body Fortress. For snacks, we gave our toddlers cheese sticks, olives, berries and nuts. They still like all of the above.

  41. tro says:

    “A maximal intake level of 25 percent or less of total energy from added sugars is suggested”.

    This reminded me of Lessig speeches which reveals where this 25% comes from, are you familiar with those? Highly recommended. This appears in several of his speeches, for example here: starting from around 31:20.

    I bookmarked it and will watch it later.

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