This Is Why We Do What We Do …

      169 Comments on This Is Why We Do What We Do …

I’ve received hundreds of emails since Fat Head went on Netflix. A few have been hate mails (one from a doctor who called me an ignorant American for not pronouncing “bologna” as it’s pronounced in Italy, then went on to berate me in sentences full of misused words and incorrect punctuation), but the vast majority have included a “thank you” in one form or another. Here’s a typical example from today’s inbox:

Your documentary has completely changed the way I think about food. I’ve nearly totally cut carbs from my diet, and as a result, I have more energy! I also don’t get that icky, lethargic, must-lie-down feeling after eating. I’ve suffered from IBS for 15 years, and after changing my diet over the past few weeks (since watching Fat Head), I finally think I know what it’s like to feel “normal.” Damn Dr. Oz for telling us all to eat so many whole grains!

Reading those emails provides me with some pleasant pat-myself-on-the-back moments. But it’s emails like the one below that remind me why I feel compelled to keep spreading the message that much of what we’ve been told about nutrition and health is wrong:

I’ve been ovo-lacto vegetarian for nearly 20 years. In fact, I received a “Certification” in Natural Hygenic Nutrition through the “Life Science Institute” by paying tuition to Marilyn and Harvey Diamond (of Fit for Life) and by taking a nearly 2 year course. I later found out the “Certification” was worthless and could not get me a job anywhere in the nutrition field.

Later in life, while looking for a way to lose weight, I came across Susan Powter. She screamed to “Stop the insanity” and urged everyone to eliminate fat from their diet. I can even remember her decribing how you could eat “bowls and bowls” of pasta and lose weight. I wanted bowls and bowls of pasta. It was then that I began my journey into vegetarianism, lowfat eating, PCOS and a 100 pound weight gain.

Over the years I tried everything. Weight watchers was particularly bad. Everyone thought I was cheating and eating too many points. For me, since there were no limits on what it was as long as the points were low, I loaded up on the carbs and gained weight while on the diet.

One time I went 6 months straight as a raw vegan. I only ate raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Admittedly, I felt better than I’ve ever felt in my life. I lost 50 pounds. It was tremendously hard to maintain. Meals were complicated and the clean up of all the gadgets was very time consuming. Then my husband came home from Iraq and ordered a pizza and I officially lost my mind. I don’t think anything in the world has ever tasted better than that first bite (well, maybe the second).

What I’m getting at is that I’ve been vegetarian for so long and I’ve been singing this same old song. No one could convince me different. Here I am… this morbidly obese (BMI of 47) 40 year old vegetarian. My typical diet is usually fruits, vegetable and CARBS. When my Endocrinologist asked me what I ate for dinner the night before, I told him I’d put some watermelon, a cored apple, the juice of a lemon, some ice and a massive handful of spinach in the blender. I blended it and drank it. He was horrified. Anyone else would have said how amazing my diet was. I should look like a supermodel. But it was all carbs. He asked me to consider where was the protein or fat. I’ve spent so long thinking I knew it all that it was hard for me to accept that eating fruits and vegetables was wrong. I even argued with him in the office as he told me I have: Dysmetabolic Syndrome X, PCOS, Insulin Resistance, Hypothyroidism and possibly Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis. It was no comfort to hear that it wasn’t my fault and that, if I did not take medication, I would continue to gain weight no matter what I do.

The full email was longer, but you get the idea. This woman ate what she believed was a wonderful diet — making sacrifices to follow the supposedly wonderful diet — and ended up obese and sick for her efforts.   She also has a son who suffers from autism, ADHD, ODD, OCD and Tourette’s syndrome.   She’s only recently learned this his problems are probably related to her PCOS and metabolic disorders.  I’ve received similar horror stories from other viewers as well.

As I explained in Fat Head, some people live on diets they know are lousy. They eat whatever they like, and to hell with the consequences. That’s their choice, and it’s okay by me.  But I feel terrible for people who actually try to take care of themselves, try to do the right thing, but end up with lousy health simply because they’ve been given so much bad advice.

I realized this morning that yesterday was my two-year anniversary as a blogger.  Emails like the one above remind me why I won’t be stopping anytime soon, and why I’m grateful for fellow bloggers like Jimmy Moore, Mark Sisson, Richard Nikoley, Dr. Mike Eades, Stephen Guyenet, Don Matesz, Gary Taubes, and many others.  We need to get the information out there to people who might learn something useful before the damage is done.

 

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169 thoughts on “This Is Why We Do What We Do …

  1. Molly

    For example, very high doses of fructose (250 g/d x 7 d) cause insulin resistance in 1 wk (147)
    One week. Scary.

    Reply
  2. David H

    Thank you! I got my grandmother to lose weight. She already knew rice was fattening so she would eat very low calories with just fruits and vegetables. I told her that if she also added meat she could have more energy, be less hungry, and assist weight loss. It worked like magic! She was delighted when I came to visit her and thanked me for the advice.

    She was lucky you knew what to recommend.

    Reply
  3. David H

    Thank you! I got my grandmother to lose weight. She already knew rice was fattening so she would eat very low calories with just fruits and vegetables. I told her that if she also added meat she could have more energy, be less hungry, and assist weight loss. It worked like magic! She was delighted when I came to visit her and thanked me for the advice.

    She was lucky you knew what to recommend.

    Reply
  4. Gabrielle

    I’m one of those crazy thrilled fans that am indebted to your wisdom and ventures to share that wisdom. Now, i get to go through the grocery store rolling my eyes, shaking my head and nearly cussing out loud at so-called “healthy” cookbooks for diabetics that ban the consumption of animal fat, the cereal isle, and whoever is responsible for making stuff like “low-carb, low-fat yogurt.” What!?? What’s left in it??

    Low-carb, low-fat yogurt sounds awful. We get the full-fat stuff. Our girls like it with blueberries.

    Reply
  5. Gabrielle

    I’m one of those crazy thrilled fans that am indebted to your wisdom and ventures to share that wisdom. Now, i get to go through the grocery store rolling my eyes, shaking my head and nearly cussing out loud at so-called “healthy” cookbooks for diabetics that ban the consumption of animal fat, the cereal isle, and whoever is responsible for making stuff like “low-carb, low-fat yogurt.” What!?? What’s left in it??

    Low-carb, low-fat yogurt sounds awful. We get the full-fat stuff. Our girls like it with blueberries.

    Reply
  6. Marcus

    Tom, the good doctor exposed your vulnerability here. You espouse fructose as the source of all evil yet you don’t have any proof that isn’t subject to the same exact problem you have with the fiber studies. At least be consistent. If you’re going to bash fiber studies you should bash the fructose ones for the same reason.

    @js290: Your link doesn’t work for me. Do you have an updated one?

    The good doctor apparently hasn’t actually read the literature. He said we don’t know how fiber reduces blood pressure (therefore we also don’t know if it does). The mechanisms of fructose metabolism are known and have been demonstrated in clinical research.

    http://edrv.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/30/1/96#SEC5

    Reply
  7. KarmaPolice

    Loved the movie very much. Well done!

    But the the opening salvo that you could not find enough fat people was way off target. Come to the South and I could give you enough material faster than you can draw a breath.

    Of course BMI is an inaccurate measurement but that does not disprove the fact that obesity is an epidemic. You can see it. The problem is that people have lost the ability to compare because everyone is packing on the pounds simultaneously. Watch some old Soul Train videos from the 70’s on YouTube. You will get an idea of the correct weight of most people. By this measure, you and Mrs. Obama are overweight.

    Believe me, an old acquaintance is the best mirror.

    I can assure you.

    When we were in Arkansas last summer, there were obese people everywhere. Then we arrived here in Franklin, TN, and the rotund people are rare. Apparently it’s regional.

    Reply
  8. Marcus

    Tom, the good doctor exposed your vulnerability here. You espouse fructose as the source of all evil yet you don’t have any proof that isn’t subject to the same exact problem you have with the fiber studies. At least be consistent. If you’re going to bash fiber studies you should bash the fructose ones for the same reason.

    @js290: Your link doesn’t work for me. Do you have an updated one?

    The good doctor apparently hasn’t actually read the literature. He said we don’t know how fiber reduces blood pressure (therefore we also don’t know if it does). The mechanisms of fructose metabolism are known and have been demonstrated in clinical research.

    http://edrv.endojournals.org/cgi/content/full/30/1/96#SEC5

    Reply
  9. KarmaPolice

    Loved the movie very much. Well done!

    But the the opening salvo that you could not find enough fat people was way off target. Come to the South and I could give you enough material faster than you can draw a breath.

    Of course BMI is an inaccurate measurement but that does not disprove the fact that obesity is an epidemic. You can see it. The problem is that people have lost the ability to compare because everyone is packing on the pounds simultaneously. Watch some old Soul Train videos from the 70’s on YouTube. You will get an idea of the correct weight of most people. By this measure, you and Mrs. Obama are overweight.

    Believe me, an old acquaintance is the best mirror.

    I can assure you.

    When we were in Arkansas last summer, there were obese people everywhere. Then we arrived here in Franklin, TN, and the rotund people are rare. Apparently it’s regional.

    Reply
  10. LisaL

    I love your documentary. I watched it once, then watched it again with my husband. It led me to start eating Paleo and I am not looking back.
    Your doc just really opened my eyes to the truths and all of the lies we’ve been fed since childhood.
    I mention your documentary whenever I can.
    If someone is struggling with their weight loss, I point them in your direction and point them towards paleo/primal.
    I just wish more people would listen and open their minds.

    I appreciate the word-of-mouth marketing.

    Reply
  11. LisaL

    I love your documentary. I watched it once, then watched it again with my husband. It led me to start eating Paleo and I am not looking back.
    Your doc just really opened my eyes to the truths and all of the lies we’ve been fed since childhood.
    I mention your documentary whenever I can.
    If someone is struggling with their weight loss, I point them in your direction and point them towards paleo/primal.
    I just wish more people would listen and open their minds.

    I appreciate the word-of-mouth marketing.

    Reply
  12. Phil Garnett

    I’m 52 and decided to lose some weight for my daughters wedding this year. I thought while I’m at it, I would love to get rid of some belly fat. I read somewhere that reducing carbs is the only way to get rid of belly fat, so I cut the carbs and lowered the fat. I went from 208 to 185 in 3 months (6 feet tall). Then I saw your video and now I’m mad because there were lots of times I could have had a cheeseburger and extra meat by just getting rid of the cereal and toast I ate. Anyway, I’m now eating all the meat I want and throughing away the bun, cereal and toast. I also ditched my statin meds which the doc insisted I need even though my HDL ratio was excellent when he insisted I start taking the crap. Thanks for the movie! I bought a copy on Amazon today.

    Thank you for supporting the film.

    Reply
  13. Phil Garnett

    I’m 52 and decided to lose some weight for my daughters wedding this year. I thought while I’m at it, I would love to get rid of some belly fat. I read somewhere that reducing carbs is the only way to get rid of belly fat, so I cut the carbs and lowered the fat. I went from 208 to 185 in 3 months (6 feet tall). Then I saw your video and now I’m mad because there were lots of times I could have had a cheeseburger and extra meat by just getting rid of the cereal and toast I ate. Anyway, I’m now eating all the meat I want and throughing away the bun, cereal and toast. I also ditched my statin meds which the doc insisted I need even though my HDL ratio was excellent when he insisted I start taking the crap. Thanks for the movie! I bought a copy on Amazon today.

    Thank you for supporting the film.

    Reply
  14. Becky

    Hey, Hector (and Tom), you guys didn’t ask me but I have a suggesstion for awesome green veggies: broccoli (I always just thaw out frozen) quickly tossed in either olive, walnut or sesame oil (use the latter sparingly) with some minced garlic & red pepper flakes. Mmmm 🙂 One of my favorite side dishes, low carb and super easy.

    Reply
  15. Becky

    Hey, Hector (and Tom), you guys didn’t ask me but I have a suggesstion for awesome green veggies: broccoli (I always just thaw out frozen) quickly tossed in either olive, walnut or sesame oil (use the latter sparingly) with some minced garlic & red pepper flakes. Mmmm 🙂 One of my favorite side dishes, low carb and super easy.

    Reply
  16. Carole

    “In my dream world, the documentary prevents at least a few cases of diabetes.”

    I’m a little late to the party here (catching up on your old posts), but have to join in…I think you’re safely past “a few” cases of diabetes prevented, but you can add me as one more!

    When I first watched Fat Head last fall (thanks to Netflix and my husband’s general documentary interest at the time), I laughed through the first half (take that, Morgan Spurlock!) and sat with my jaw on the floor for the second half.

    Then I went out and got a blood sugar monitor. Both of my parents had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the past few years, and I’d begun noticing how badly I felt when I ate lots of sugar — which was all the time, because I constantly craved it!

    My fasting sugars were between 110 and 118 (and up to 175 after eating) over a period of several weeks, until I finally got it together enough to stop the carbs. I was *well* on my way to becoming a Type 2 diabetic! But within a couple of weeks, my fasting sugars were down around 85. 🙂

    Even when I was “off the wagon” for several weeks recently & eating lots of carbs, my fasting sugars stayed below 90. (Of course, “lots of carbs” has a much different meaning now than it used to!) And I am SO grateful — without Fat Head, even if I’d decided to do something about my sugar intake, it would have been terribly un-healthy (veg oil, lowfat, grain-loaded), and miserable. As it stands, I eat lots of healthy, yummy fats and meats (and am continually encouraged by your blog to do better with the veggies).

    So, thank you, Tom, for preventing one more case of diabetes! 🙂

    You just made my day.

    Reply
  17. Carole

    “In my dream world, the documentary prevents at least a few cases of diabetes.”

    I’m a little late to the party here (catching up on your old posts), but have to join in…I think you’re safely past “a few” cases of diabetes prevented, but you can add me as one more!

    When I first watched Fat Head last fall (thanks to Netflix and my husband’s general documentary interest at the time), I laughed through the first half (take that, Morgan Spurlock!) and sat with my jaw on the floor for the second half.

    Then I went out and got a blood sugar monitor. Both of my parents had been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes in the past few years, and I’d begun noticing how badly I felt when I ate lots of sugar — which was all the time, because I constantly craved it!

    My fasting sugars were between 110 and 118 (and up to 175 after eating) over a period of several weeks, until I finally got it together enough to stop the carbs. I was *well* on my way to becoming a Type 2 diabetic! But within a couple of weeks, my fasting sugars were down around 85. 🙂

    Even when I was “off the wagon” for several weeks recently & eating lots of carbs, my fasting sugars stayed below 90. (Of course, “lots of carbs” has a much different meaning now than it used to!) And I am SO grateful — without Fat Head, even if I’d decided to do something about my sugar intake, it would have been terribly un-healthy (veg oil, lowfat, grain-loaded), and miserable. As it stands, I eat lots of healthy, yummy fats and meats (and am continually encouraged by your blog to do better with the veggies).

    So, thank you, Tom, for preventing one more case of diabetes! 🙂

    You just made my day.

    Reply

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