Odds and Ends from the internet and my inbox:

Netflix

Wow, it’s amazing how many people who were previously unaware of Fat Head have already discovered it on Netflix now that it’s in the instant-play lineup. After being away from home most of Sunday, I checked my email around midnight and found my inbox swamped. There were also dozens of new messages on Facebook (one from a guy who apparently found me there solely for the purpose of writing: Your an idiot. Nothing in your film made sence), DVD orders to fill, lots of comments on the blog, etc. I didn’t even bother trying to tackle the emails until today.

A question I often receive from new viewers is: What happened with your weight during the second diet experiment in Fat Head, when you went on a saturated-fat pigout? I should’ve answered that in the film, but it didn’t occur to me since the point of that sequence was to show that my overall cholesterol dropped while my HDL went up. But for those of you who are new to the blog, the answer is: I lost another two pounds.

The World is ‘Failing’ to Statinate Itself

Oh, horrors. It turns out there are still plenty of people in the world with high cholesterol who aren’t taking statins, according to a World Health Organization Report. Some quotes from a BBC news article:

Most people around the globe with high cholesterol are not getting the treatment they need, claims the largest ever study of 147 million people.

Notice how a completely unsubstantiated conclusion was just sort of sneaked in there: people with high cholesterol need treatment with statins.

The analysis found many at-risk people in middle-income and western countries alike are not on cheap and widely available statin drugs that would substantially cut their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Hmmm … the only thing wrong with that last sentence is that statins don’t substantially cut the risk of heart attack and stroke, especially among the countless people who have high cholesterol but no actual cardiovascular disease.

Experts stress that things may have moved on since the data was gathered. For example, England last year announced a mass program where every person aged 40 to 74 would be offered a cholesterol check by the GP in a bid to reach those that had previously been missed.

Apparently the National Health Service in England wants pretty much the entire population to go on statins. What’s that saying about mad dogs and Englishmen? Give it a few years and we may be unable to tell the difference.

Taxing ‘Unhealthy’ Food

As you know if you’ve seen Fat Head, some food-evangelist groups want governments to tax unhealthy foods so we’ll eat less of them. A recent study suggests those taxes might actually work:

Should unhealthy food be taxed like cigarettes and alcohol? New research suggests that a financial penalty may be the key to deterring the purchase of diet-busting food-even though other studies have found the opposite.

In a recent Dutch study, college students chose a hypothetical lunch from a menu three times. Each time, the prices of the high-calorie items increased-first by 25 percent, then 50 percent.

“Some subjects had a larger budgets than others, but almost everyone purchased food with fewer calories when the tax was introduced,” explains study author Janneke Giesen, Ph.D., professor at Maastricht University. “People reduced their hypothetical consumption by 100 to 300 calories.”

Just a couple of little problems here: first off, this was a “hypothetical” lunch in what sounds like a rather meaningless experiment. As the online article about the study noted, food taxes may not produce the same effects in reality:

Still, some research suggests taxes won’t do much-like a Duke study finding that people switch to other high calorie beverages when faced with a soda tax. Similarly, a recent University of Illinois review suggests that taxes may work in controlled experiments-but won’t make a dent in the “real world” since people will simply buy other unhealthy items. And a Queens College study of restaurants showed no significant relationship between calorie intake and menu prices.

And now for the bigger problem: even if the taxes worked in the real world, who’s going to define which “unhealthy” foods ought to be taxed? The USDA’s latest guidelines declare that saturated fat is bad, while whole grains are wonderful and “healthy diets are high in carbohydrates.” Do we really want these bozos deciding which foods to discourage through higher taxes?

Wal-Mart Made You Fat?

A couple of economists have concluded Wal-Mart is partly responsible for the rise in obesity. (I like reading books on economics, but these guys won’t be on my reading list anytime soon.) Why is Wal-Mart to blame? Why, by making food too cheap, of course:

We were able to show that Walmart Supercenters increase obesity after all. This is what we expected to find when we first started working on this paper in the summer of 2007: people eat more when food prices fall, eating more leads to weight gain, and Walmart Supercenters reduce food prices; therefore, Walmart Supercenters should increase obesity.

Well, there you have it. If food is too affordable, people get fatter. This of course explains why the well-to-do in America have such an obesity problem, while the poor are so much leaner and healthier. Oh, wait … isn’t it the other way around?

When I was in grade school 45 years ago and there were far fewer fat kids, I never heard anyone recount a conversation like this:

“Mommy, can I please have more food?”

“No, Johnny.  We can’t afford it.”

What I did hear, however, were parents trying to guilt-trip their kids into finishing their dinners by telling them about the starving children in China.

As someone who is interested in both economics and nutrition, I want to throttle anyone who suggests we’d all be leaner and healthier if food cost more. I’ve heard from quite a few readers who say they understand low-carb diets are better for their health, but they’re on tight budgets and protein foods tend to be more expensive. That’s true. But guess what? Wal-Mart makes meat, eggs, fish and cheese more affordable for a lot of people. Blaming them for the rise in obesity is just stupid. Low food prices aren’t the problem; bad dietary advice is.

Food Packages Shrinking

So while the food evangelists and certain misguided economists were busy blaming cheaper food for making us fat, USA Today was busy complaining that food manufacturers are giving consumers less for their money by keeping prices the same while shrinking package sizes:

There’s a reason why the tub of ice cream you bought last week looks a tad smaller than ones you bought last summer. It is. Many major ice cream makers, hit by higher dairy costs, have shrunk their standard containers to 1.5 quarts from 1.75 quarts, about 1 cup less. The industry downsized from the traditional half-gallon (2 quarts) five years ago. In both cases, only the package shrank, not the price.

“Downsizing is nothing but a sneaky price increase,” says Edgar Dworsky, former Massachusetts assistant attorney general in the Consumer Protection Division, now editor of Mouseprint.org, a consumer website. “I’m waiting to open a carton of eggs and see only 11.”

So if we get too much food for our money, it’ll make us fat. But if we get less for our money, it’s a consumer rip-off.

This reminds me of something I read in an economics books about the risks companies face when setting prices, depending on who’s running various government agencies:  Charge more than other companies — prosecuted for monopoly pricing. Charge less than other companies — prosecuted for predatory pricing. Charge the same as other companies — prosecuted for colluding on prices.

After listing all kinds of food packages that have gotten smaller, USA Today informs us that consumers are getting angry about the shrinkage:

But some shoppers are getting savvy, and vocal. When they spot a product that’s downsized, they let the company know they don’t like it. That leaves executives responding to loyal-but-angry customers.

Here’s how the executives should respond:  “Dear customers — Sorry about the smaller packages, but we don’t want to make you obese by giving you too much for your money.”

The Biggest Losers Lose More Than Weight

According to a recent study, the Biggest Losers who are horsewhipped by celebrity trainer (and thermodynamics expert) Jillian Michaels into starving themselves and exercising all day may be damaging their metabolisms:

In an abstract presented at the most recent Obesity Society Annual Scientific Assembly, Darcy Johannsen and friends reported that by week 6 participants had lost 13% of their body weight and by week 30, 39%. More interestingly they reported that by week 6 participants metabolisms had slowed by 244 more calories per day than would have been expected by their weight loss and by week 30, by 504 more calories.

And you wonder why the standard advice for losing weight doesn’t work very often? As the doctor who wrote a blog article about the study put it:

That’s basically a meal’s worth of calories a day that Biggest Loser contestants no longer burn as a consequence of their involvement. Effectively that means they’re eating an extra meal a day. How do you think you’d do at maintaining your weight if you ate an extra meal a day?

China Regulates Reincarnation

Yup, when they’re not too busy buying up our massive debts, the Chinese are apparently preparing to regulate reincarnation:

In one of history’s more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is “an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation.”

That’s what I love about governments:  the unbridled confidence in their ability to effectively manage absolutely everything … you know, like farming and school-lunch menus and reincarnation. This could lead to a new twist on an old joke:  What is a jackass? A horse reincarnated by a government committee.

I hope the Chinese think better of it. Our government managed to take previous generations of lean, healthy Americans and reincarnate them as obese diabetics.

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40 Responses to “Odds & Ends”
  1. Your Older Brother says:

    “Charge more than other companies — prosecuted for monopoly pricing. Charge less than other companies — prosecuted for predatory pricing. Charge the same as other companies — prosecuted for colluding on prices.”

    Pretty sure that’s Thomas Sowell.

    Cheers!

    Sure sounds like one of his, but I couldn’t recall the reference exactly.

  2. Sean says:

    Yeah, remember the accursed “digital divide”? They will soon be talking about the “statin divide”, wait, they essentially already are. Twitter, porn and statins are basic human rights, damnit!

    That means they’ll be lobbying to make statins free. Cringe ….

  3. Jo says:

    One of my local supermarkets now sells eggs in cartons of 10! I felt a bit cheated.

  4. Dan says:

    Hmm.. when I was growing up my family and a lot of people I know had much less money for food. My girlfriend often remembers her and her siblings eating faster in case there was the small possibility of seconds.. which was rare. The main difference was that my friends and I played outside ALL DAY.

    That may have been the case for many families, but I don’t believe people were leaner on average simply because they couldn’t afford to eat more. If that were the case, the wealthy would be fat and the poor would be thin. As Gary Taubes pointed out in both of his books on nutrition, obesity has often accompanied poverty, with fat adults in societies where the food supply was limited and kids were malnourished.

    What I remember from my childhood — in a middle-class town where there would be perhaps one fat kid per class in school — was parents barking at their kids for “wasting” food by not finishing their dinners.

  5. Erik says:

    How does Wal-Mart charging a nickel less for a bag of spinach even begin to compare with the United States Government giving billions of dollars in subsidies to manufacture corn syrup?

    It doesn’t.

  6. Erik says:

    If Wal-Mart got into the oil drilling business, they’d be prosecuted for charging too much and too little at the same time.

  7. Erik says:

    There already IS a food tax. 2 cans of Coca Cola cost twice as much as one can of Coca Cola. A 12 ounce can of Coca Cola costs as much as 10,000 12 ounce servings of tap water. A large Coke at a movie theater, ballgame or theme park costs more than a 12 pack of Coke at the grocery store. Yet people still eat and drink at ballparks, movie theaters and grocery stores.

    Nearly every fast food restaurant has some sort of value menu, yet people order items that are not on the value menu all the time, even though those items are usually made with similar ingredients and are often 3 to 5 times as expensive.

    For instance, a hamburger might be $1, a chicken sandwich might be $1, but fries and drinks are $2 each.

    Under the “Food Tax” theory, you wouldn’t order fries at all. You’d order two sandwiches and skip the fries entirely.

    When I worked at Burger King as a teenager in the 1980’s, a hamburger was 39 cents, and a Whopper Jr was $1. Well, a Whopper Junior IS a hamburger, with mayo, lettuce and tomato added. People would pay nearly triple for the same sandwich with mayo, lettuce and tomato. A lot of times they’d even order it without the mayo or tomato. So they’d be paying 150% extra for lettuce. Talk about a food tax.

    Currently, at Subway, they are serving “breakfast sandwiches” all day. It’s their regular sub, except they add egg or egg white. They actually charge LESS for a sandwich with egg than they charge for the same sandwich without egg. A 6 inch “veggie delight” (6 inch roll with your choice of cheese and condiments) is $3.50. A 6 inch “egg and cheese” (6 inch roll with egg and your choice of cheese and condiments) is $2.99. The exact same sandwich. Yet a dime tax on a Coke is going to drive people to eat tofu and bean sprouts?

    Exactly. Most people buy the meals they want, and a little tax here or there isn’t going to change that.

  8. Julie says:

    Cheap food IS making us fat. If the veggie growers and meat producers were subsidized to the extent that corn, wheat, and soy growers are, then we might eat more healthy foods. Paying $4 for a head of cauliflower and $4 for a lb of bacon can not stand up to a $1 for a lb of pasta.

    Subsidies are certainly affecting which ingredients manufacturers put into their products. But Wal-Mart reduces prices across the board, which means their bacon is also cheaper. If anything, they’re enabling people on tight budgets to eat more protein foods. So obesity can’t be their fault.

  9. Erik says:

    I’d love to see a documentary where a person shops for all of their food for one month at Wal-Mart, with a budget of $5 per day – eating healthfully, maintaining a healthy weight or losing weight, maintaining or improving their lipids.

    Even better would be if there were identical twin brothers – one eating 3 meals and 2 snacks from Wal-Mart and the other stuffing themselves with “healthy” organic foods like 800 calorie smoothies from Jamba Juice, 1000 calorie bags of organic trail mix / granola from “health food” stores and entire loafs of artisan bread from places like Whole Foods.

    Those would be interesting experiments.

  10. Ron_Mocci says:

    As always, nice job ! Tom did you see this on fox new ? It made my day ! It’s a hight fat ,low carb and almost no sugar ! I don’t know how to post a utube or if you even allow it , So here goes : Did Diet Help Reverse Autism Effects? :

    http://www.foxnews.com/search-results/search?&submit=Search&q=autism+&mediatype=Video

    Outstanding. I’ll post it.

  11. Sif says:

    We actually just got a new tax here – on saturated fat. This puts my organic butter and bacon well up in the can’t-afford range. I am not pleased.

    That’s an outrage.

  12. Lori says:

    From the article:

    “The paper went through numerous iterations (and different titles) between the first time we presented a very early draft at the University of Southern Mississippi in 2007 and when it was finally published in 2011. In one version, which we presented at seminars and conferences in Fall 2008 and summarized in the pages of Forbes in June 2009, we were unable to identify an association betweenWalmart Supercenters and obesity, but we found slight reductions in obesity attributable to Walmart discount stores and warehouse clubs.

    “….We were focusing primarily on associations between county retail structure and body weight, which did not allow us to convincingly disentangle correlation and causation. The editor and referee were enthusiastic about the topic, but wanted us to push further in the direction of identifying causal relationships. On the basis of their suggestions, we implemented a regression technique called “instrumental variables” that allowed us, under plausible assumptions, to identify the causal effect of Walmart Supercenters on BMI and obesity.

    “With this new technique, we were able to show that Walmart Supercenters increase obesity after all. This is what we expected to find when we first started working on this paper in the summer of 2007: people eat more when food prices fall, eating more leads to weight gain, and Walmart Supercenters reduce food prices; therefore, Walmart Supercenters should increase obesity.”

    So after just four short years of torturing the data, they’ve made it say what they wanted it to say: that Walmart saving households $177 per year is responsible for 10.5% of the increase in obesity since the 1980s. (Have these economists ever shopped for groceries, looked at a grocery bill, or prepared meals?)

    There’s a problem with their hypothesis as well, the part about lower food prices leading to obesity. According to a 2008 report by the International Food Policy Research Institute, food prices rose sharply in the 2000s:

    “In 2007 the food price index calculated by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) rose by nearly 40 percent, compared with 9 percent the year before, and in the first months of 2008 prices again increased drastically. Nearly every agricultural commodity is part of this rising price trend. Since 2000—a year of low prices—the wheat price in the international market has more than tripled and maize prices have more than doubled. The price of rice jumped to unprecedented levels in March 2008. Dairy products, meat, poultry, palm oil, and cassava have also experienced price hikes.”

    http://documents.wfp.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/resources/wfp175956.pdf

    If lower food prices make people fat, then rising food prices should make them lean. Hasn’t happened.

    With a few tweaks, the Forbes article could be right out of the “Stuff White People Like” blog. It’s all about hating fat people who shop at Walmart.

    Yup, it struck me as a case of torturing the data until it says want you want to hear, as Dr. Mike Eades puts it.

  13. Ellen says:

    Speaking of starvation diets, Glenn Beck’s wife has forced him to start this horrific sounding vegan diet that features “health drinks” made of what looks like grass clippings and basically nothing but raw veggies. He has been lamenting on Facebook that he misses his daily McGriddle – which at least has some real protein in it. I bet you could put one heck of a nutrition education on him …

    That sounds awful. I suppose I should try to get him a copy of the documentary, but I don’t want to end up on his blackboard if he doesn’t like it.

  14. Ben says:

    Hey Tom, if you click on your name in the cast section for the Fat Head on Neflix it brings up two other documentaries…about the Special Forces. How come you never mentioned your secret military training.

    I was trying to keep that under wraps.

    IMDB and now (I guess) Netflix have two Tom Naughtons mixed up. IMDB won’t fix it unless one of us is willing to do a name change. Since I don’t really care about IMDB credits, I know I’m not changing mine.

  15. Arlo says:

    Any word on Fat Head coming to Netflix Instant Canada? I really gotta get people to see this (since they won’t read any of the books I have, sigh…)

    I’ve asked our distributors to look into it.

  16. Lucy says:

    A group at my workplace is showing Spurlocks’ “30 Days: Life on an Indian Reservation”. The ad says “Spurlock explores the real-life issues in a way no other run-of-the-mill “life-in-another’s-shoes” reality show ever comes close to presenting.”

    Yeah, I haven’t seen this documentary, but I’m willing to wager this perhaps unintended ambiguity of wording is right-on-the-money.

    I met someone in Los Angeles who refused to participate in a “30 Days” episode when it became clear that the outcome had already been decided and they were expected to play along. So much for “reality.”

  17. Will says:

    Hi Tom,

    Saw your doc last night on Netflix, I thought it was really thought-provoking.

    Any chance you could post links to your food log both on the fast food and low carb diet?

    Thanks!

    I didn’t keep a food log for the low-carb diet. The fast-food diet is posted under Helpful Links.

  18. Be says:

    You missed a key point in the study, and I quote: “We were able to show that Walmart Supercenters increase obesity after all. This is what we expected to find..”

    An aha moment: we found what we [wanted] expected to find. Another scientific study.

    I remember in school getting sick of EVERY SINGLE science class spending so much time talking about the “Scientific Method”, thinking how many times will you tell me the same thing. Of course now I think somehow the educators haven’t made it clear to all the “Scientists” of the world.

    Amazing, isn’t it? So much of science is agenda-driven.

  19. Falzy says:

    I have found that this low-carb stuff has more to it than I thought. Now I’ve never been able to gain a pound my entire life (although I’m only 20, so it will probably catch up with me) but today my mother, despite my attempts to stop her from buying high carb brought home Chinese food…almost everything she got was breaded. I hadn’t eaten all day, so I decided to indulge. I quickly got very tired, feel asleep and woke up with an awful headache and nausea. I’ll be trying harder in the future to get her to go low carb, cuz I never again wanna feel the way I do right now. Ugh. lol.

    As you discovered, it’s not just about weight loss. My wife remains lean on almost any kind of diet, but she feels much healthier since going low-carb.

  20. Caitlin says:

    Sif, if you don’t mind me asking, where is this tax being imposed? I’ve got an aquaintance who insists that fatty foods will never be taxed.

    On the statins, maybe it’s just my paranoia, but it seems the push for ‘statins as panacea’ has only ramped up lately with increased advertising and studies purportedly showing applications for a myriad of other conditions. My fiance’s cardiologist is now telling us that statins have been shown to prevent Alzheimer’s. I wonder what those reps wandering about the hospital are telling him.

    Here’s a scary report about statin use in the last few years:

    http://www.theheart.org/article/1186565.do

    25% of people over 45. Heck, I’m 48 and don’t take a darn thing, I feel the same as I did at 35, lift weights, and run around like and idiot just for the joy of it. What could be wrong with me?

    Man, it’s depressing to think doctors believe statins have “been shown” to prevent Alzheimer’s. There are no clinical studies to support that, just some correlations within some populations that don’t prove anything.

  21. Kate says:

    If the theory that a lot of the inflation from QE2 ends up in food inflation, we’ll be a lean, healthy nation overnight! /sarcasm

    The reason why someone went after Walmart is that there are plenty of lower class people who shop there. Many people in that socio-economic strata are obese/diabetic/unhealthy. My guess is the researchers cherry picked the Walmarts that had the most lower class people shopping at them to prove their point. I could cherry pick a few grocery stores and give the same results without torturing the data. (The selection method would be tortured instead.)

    Even if they didn’t cherry pick, it’s nothing but a lousy association study that proves nothing.

  22. Kathy says:

    “Subsidies are certainly affecting which ingredients manufacturers put into their products. But Wal-Mart reduces prices across the board, which means their bacon is also cheaper. If anything, they’re enabling people on tight budgets to eat more protein foods. So obesity can’t be their fault.”

    I’m not going to argue that Wal-Mart is in any way responsible for obesity, but what I think Julie was trying to get across was that a $0.59 box of macaroni and cheese will always win over a $2.00 lb. of ground beef. It’s not that the meat is cheaper at Wal-Mart, it’s that the subsidized grains are the cheapest, period. Sure, it’s great if you can save by choosing the $4 chicken breasts instead of the $7 ones, but some people can’t afford the $4. For a few horrible years in the early ’80s, I fed a family of six on $104/month, and there was a lot of rice, beans, pasta, and potatoes on the menu.

    Grain foods will always be cheaper than protein foods, and the grain subsidies of course make them even cheaper.

  23. Sif says:

    Caitlin, it’s in Denmark – and other European countries are considering doing the very same.

    Yeegads … using taxes to discourage people from eating natural fats. Follow the money. Somebody is benefitting.

  24. gallier2 says:

    You could change your name in Tom F. Naughton F. for fathead 😉

  25. Steven says:

    I loved Fat Head, I’ve watched it twice so far – the first time by myself, and the second with my girlfriend for “date night”. We’re both foodies, so no foul :o)

    I have a case study for those so-called economists. At one time I was somewhat on the wall about the “Walmart is evil” hype, but then they did something really diabolical. They closed our local store and built a new Walmart Supercenter to replace it. 24 hour convenience, lower pricing, one stop shopping… that’s where the trouble all started. First I used the money I was saving on my food bill by cooking at home to properly outfit my kitchen. Once I reached my gadget limitation(ok, I ran out of space), I put together a pretty comprehensive library of reference material on cooking techniques and started doing more cooking from scratch. For our non-cooking economist friends, scratch = more money in my pocket. I ended up using that to pay off a bunch of high interest debt. I now find myself in the position of having to consider things like contributing to the 401k and signing up for insurance at work. Hmmm. I spend less on food, eat better, sleep better, have more money, and I picked up some culinary skills. Oh yeah, and I dropped 100 pounds along the way(economists like numbers, right?). So there you go, conclusive evidence that if you shop at Walmart for groceries you run the risk of ended up with an obese pocketbook.

    On a more bean-counter friendly note: I would be really interested in knowing where I can get my mitts on the templates for the database program you were using for tracking in Fat Head.

    It was a little Access program I threw together. However, I’ve now had some many requests for copies (mostly from people who thought it was a spreadsheet program), I may have to create something similar and make it available.

  26. cissychik says:

    Just caught Fat Head on Netflix last night. Really interesting information. Thanks for diving into it for us, and it’s definitely going to make me rethink “healthy!”

    Thanks!

    Thank you for watching.

  27. musajen says:

    I have to wonder about another potential consequence of a junk food tax. IF (big if) it worked and people quit buying “junk food” there would be economic consequences. Companies would either have to completely rework their products to make them “healthier” (and likely charge more for the products) or close their doors. Ultimately the consumer still pays more for food or the job pool shrinks. Ah, the path of destruction left in the wake of well-intentioned government.

    The law of unintended consequences at work.

  28. Mindy says:

    Glad someone made a response to ” Super Size Me.” Every time he gorged himself and threw up, I had to yell at the tv ” DON’T EAT IT THEN!!! WHO DOES THAT?? That’s an eatting disorder!!” I did see your doc on netflix. Entertaining. Interesting. Honestly though I was on a high sugar and fat diet, lost weight. I had a lot of exercise during it… I figure it must of been the high fat and exercise that evened out the extreme sugar I had. I was like that for about a year or more…

    It depends on how insulin-resistant you are or aren’t. Recent clinical research is indicating that people who aren’t insulin-resistant lose weight on almost any kind of diet, while people who are insulin-resistant respond exceptionally well to cutting the carbs.

  29. Brian D. says:

    “We were able to show that Walmart Supercenters increase obesity after all. This is what we expected to find when we first started working on this paper in the summer of 2007.”

    Does this guy know about confirmation bias?

    Apparently, he believes reaching a conclusion before doing the research is a good thing.

  30. Holy. Crap. I just saw this on NetFlix last night when I did a search for recent releases. I watched it last night. And then watched it again today!
    Kudos for being so funny.
    On Jan 1st I started a quest for the best “diet.”
    Last month I was Vegan. It lasted until Feb 14th. I was so bloated from veggies/fruit/carbs. The straw that broke the camels back? Even though I weighed in at 134 at the start of the month, I was 137 (and this is keeping to 800-1,000 calories a day) on Feb 14th. I flipped out. Had bacon and eggs for brekkie. I’m a total bacon fan. Well, anything pig, actually.
    It wasn’t all for naught though; I have recognized that (for myself) I will try to buy as much locally farm raised/hormone free meat as possible (veggies too).
    This month, pretty much I’m going Paleo.
    What I really learned from your movie (besides that your wife is a smart woman for NOT talking about her sex life) is to not believe just b/c the govt (or my doctor!) says it’s good for me, I should research as much as possible and make my own decisions.
    Brava!!!

    Your attempt at losing weight through a vegetarian diet sounds like my experience — except I did lose some weight by losing muscle.

  31. gallier2 says:

    What I find fascinating is how the audience vary depending on platform. When your doc was shown on Hulu you got praise but also a lote of hate, not as bad as on youtube, but still. On Netflix, I have the impression that it is much better, you’ve got mainly positive feedback (may be you threw away the hate mails but this wouldn’t be in line with what I’ve seen of you so far).

    I of course have no control over the reviews posted at Hulu or Netflix. I’ve received some hate mail this week, but pitched it. I also heard from the tin-hat brigade last night, some complete loon who thought he had a special assignment for me, based on encoded information he found in the book of Genesis.

  32. Erik says:

    When McDonalds says “Supersize Me”, they specifically mean that, for an extra charge, they will give you a larger portion of fries and soda. The maddening thing is that, from this, people conclude that you shouldn’t eat so much meat.

    A Big Mac with a Supersized portion of Fries (no longer offered, BTW), and an Extra Large full-sugar soda, with no ice and a refill will contain well over 2,000 calories, but less than 1/10 of the calories come from the beef in the Big Mac.

    Suppose you have a meal consisting of a Big Mac, 2 large orders of french fries, and a half gallon of full-sugar soda. Now, take away the meat. Is that a healthy meal? No. Replace the bun with whole wheat. Is it healthy yet? No. Replace the fat the potatoes are fried in with olive oil. Is it healthy now? Not even in the slightest. Replace all the corn syrup in the coke with organic, sustainable, locally produced honey from free-range bees. Still not healthy.

    OTOH, suppose you take any recipe from the Skinny Bitch cookbook. Now add 3 ounces of lean beef. Does it become healthier? Absolutely. Even the desserts.

    If there ever is a ‘fat tax’ imposed in the USA, look for corporations to find creative ways to dodge the tax. Coca Cola has a cool new product called “Coca Cola Freestyle”, a high-tech drink machine being tested in certain markets. The components of the drink are in cartridges, like the ink in an ink jet printer. The interface is a touch-screen computer. You can get over 100 different beverages from the machine, with real sweetener, artificial sweetener, or no sweetener at all. You can get carbonation or no carbonation, caffeine or no caffeine. You can even get electrolytes and vitamins added to your drink. You can even get plain water, if that’s your desire.

    At the restaurant, when you order a drink, they hand you an empty cup. What you put in it is up to you. So a tax on soda might not do any good.

    Similarly, if there’s a tax on salt, I’d expect the restaurants to add less salt and put salt in shakers on the table. Your fries are sodium free. Until you dump the shaker on top. If there’s a tax on fat grams, look for mayo and salad dressing to be in packets instead of directly added to the food.

    Good points. What we noticed back when McDonald’s offered super-sized fries was that many couples ordered on super-sized meal, one sandwich only, then split the fries.

  33. Kat says:

    First of all, how does one regulate incarnation???? power trip much? lol
    statins prevent alzheimer’s??? umm noo i think they make it worse.

    I believe statins are the reason my dad developed Alzheimer’s at a relatively young age.

  34. Kat says:

    I’ve also been hearing the Lipitor commercials on the radio and shake my head. “lipitor has 18 years of research behind it.” I’m sure that none of that “research” has eebn manipulated in favor of the pharmaceutical companies,right? No, no they would NEVER do that. They’re really acting in your best interest. LOL

  35. Andria says:

    Just watched the movie! Loved it, I’m going to watch it again with my husband tonight. I told my parents they had to watch it, and I’m trying to get the courage to tell my In-Laws to watch it (to whom SuperSize Me is the epitome of nutritional guidance). I can’t tell you how many times I have been told I have a addiction to fats and sugars.

    MY family would order 1 supersized meal, share the fries and order 3 more sandwiches. But, if someone wants to have lots of fries they WILL buy extras, even if they are no longer selling supersized fries. I have been known to order extra hash browns with my breakfast meal. I guess next time I go, they will tell me, “I’m sorry but you have reached your allotment of hashbrowns for the day, you will have to get your next order of hash browns tomorrow.”

    Thank you for making a much needed Documentary.

    Thank you for watching.

  36. Katie says:

    Several years ago, California taxed candy, snack cakes, and chips. They quickly repealed the law when it was discovered that the only people that were really “suffering” from the law were the homeless, who no longer afford to buy anything with the money they could panhandle. And really… who decides what food is unhealthy anyway?

    I’m still trying to talk my husband into giving up his statins. He’s watched part of the movie, but not all of it and I’m hoping to convince him that he’s just messing with the cholesterol that his body needs to function and risking some major side-effects. He’s never had a heart attack, has Type II, borderline hypertension, and slightly elevated cholesterol, though he didn’t ask the doctor for the number and his ratios or triglycerides.

    I’d urge him to read Dr. Kendrick’s book “The Great Cholesterol Con.” Very readable, very well researched, and funny too. It’s listed on the Recommended Reading page.

  37. Wanda says:

    Absolutely loved the tongue-in-cheek reference to Taubes’ and Michaels’ thermodynamics ‘debate’. Ha!

  38. kat says:

    Tom, sorry about your Grandmom. glad they served Ham at the funeral. thanks for sharing about that.
    I LOVED Fat Head. orderd a few and they came already! yea, fast, thanks :0)
    now I’m watching your homemade DVD, good stuff.
    I have been on a mission to find the TRUTH about food, diets, and what a load of crap we’ve been told. so, my dear hubby has to listen to me rant and rave every night when he gets home. I get a bit excited. especially when I find the LIES. arggggg!
    have you watched any of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution? it is awesome. I am all for making school lunches more healthy. and I am amazed to find people AGAINST that! what the heck?
    follow the money – so very true. corruption even in school lunch programs. kick-backs etc.
    thank you so much for your work. I’m a big fan. <3 kat

    I haven’t seen Food Revolution yet. Glad you enjoyed the film, and thanks for ordering the DVD.

  39. Matt says:

    I watched the documentary and have been on Weight Watchers for 6 weeks now. I’ve already lost 25 pounds and do not feel deprived in any way. Some days I have calories (points) left to spare.

    I once attempted an Atkins-like diet and about 6 days in, I found myself scarfing down a dozen chocolate filled donuts almost mindlessly. I know you’ll say that everyone has a choice as to what they put into their mouth and people can say no the question “would you like fries with that”, but I would argue that a person addicted to food has the same ability to say no to some things than a heroine addict has to say no to the next fix. There is both a strong physical and psychological component to addiction.

    So, I guess my questions is, if you are not a person who loves to eat a lot of meat and eggs at every meal, and furthermore, cannot imagine a life without carbs to be worth living, how are you to follow this? I thought a “diet” was supposed to be a way that one can live forever?

    You provided the answer in your question. If you truly cannot imagine a life without carbs to be worth living, then enjoy your carbs and live as well as you can for as long as you can.

  40. Elois Gibby says:

    Looks like a worthy successor to the MBA!

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