This Is Why We Do What We Do …

      87 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.



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

  1. Jeanie

    Thank you, Tom. Your blog is a go-to for me for information as well as entertainment. The blogging world, especially the paleo/low-carb world has seemed small to me so I feel like I know you and so many of the other bloggers. I am glad, however, that the paleo word is growing and growing. Doesn’t it seem like we are on the cutting edge of something great? My husband and I have been living the low-carb/paleo lifestyle now for nearly two years. As Amy Alkon says, “and staying effortlessly thin”. THANK YOU!!!

    Yes, I believe we’re on the edge of something great. We’re blowing past the information gatekeepers.

  2. Susan


    I have been a faithful reader of your wonderful blog since March 2009. I check your blog about six time a week looking for your next post. It is your blog as well as Jimmy Moore’s, Mark Sisson and the rest that you mention in this post, plus others as well that have kept me going in the right direction regarding proper nutrition and improving mine and my husband’s health. Reading these great blogs has been like going back to college and really learning how to think! I try not to drive folks batty with what I am discovering, but if someone gives me even a tiny opening I am afraid that I am just about unstoppable. Annoying is probably the proper description. But, it is only because I really do care about people getting the correct information to make better decisions with. I think I am just going to start carrying around copies of the blog sites I visit (your’s and Jimmy’s are at the top), and when someone wants to know how I’ve lost 44 lbs., stopped my headaches and eliminated almost all of my arthritis then I will just hand them a copy and leave it up to them.

    You’d think the results speak for themselves, but unfortunately too many people still see a low-carb diet as a way to lose weight at the risk of heart disease. That will change.

  3. Be

    What a sad but wonderful story. Tom, you are doing important work here and I wish all the best to your writer, and newest fan. The detractors can poo poo the ideas and science but dang it, it works. Maybe not for everyone, but it did for me (down 20%) and I am willing to bet that it will work a hell of a lot better for your reader than all past programs encountered.

    You have helped me, my family and friends. I have a co-worker who, influenced primarily by you, is weaning himself off of insulin because of dietary changes. Maybe it is anecdotal, but if it works for us it works and we don’t care why. Though we are all geeks and believe the science that backs up our own experiences.

    Keep up the good work!

    Outstanding news about your co-worker.

  4. Pasturedbeef

    Awesome Post, thanks Tom! I hope you never quit doing what you do.

    Not until I open my newspaper and see health articles about “artery-clogging white flour.”

  5. Cindy Drake

    Thank you so much for your movie and blog. There are many people who wouldn’t dream of reading a low-carb diet book, but they will sit through a very funny and informative movie. Without FatHead, the low-carb educational world would not be the same!

    That was part of the plan; a little humor to draw them in.

  6. Dana Carpender

    We’re breathing the same air, Tom. I started writing because I had the overwhelming urge to run up to people who had a grocery cart full of low fat and fat free food and yell, “DON’T DO IT, BUDDY! IT’S A LIE, IT’S ALL A LIE!” It was breaking my heart.

    And yes, it is the emails from people telling their low carb stories that are the greatest reward. Years ago, I got one from a woman detailing how she and her husband had lost weight, had a reduction in blood pressure, improved blood work, the whole thing — plus, she said, her husband had stopped coughing up blood. How, exactly, a low carb diet did that, I am not certain, but I’m guessing it had to do with the overall improvement in health.

    Anyway, she ended with “You have been a blessing for our family.” That’s the sort of thing that keeps a body smiling all day long.

    You are a blessing for people and their families.

    As are you, Dana. Thank you.

  7. Stephanie

    Great post. I’ve just finished watching Fat Head and loved it. I’ve also read your entire blog, and I love how you use humor and good, solid facts. I tell as many people as possible about the movie because so many people could improve their health if they just had the right information. I’m about to finish nursing school, and its going to be hard for me to work with doctors who believe the Lipid Hypothesis. Anyway, thanks for the great movie and blog, I look forward to reading every week.

    Glad to know we’ll have a rebel in the medical world.

  8. Michael Landier

    Have you considered doing a Fat Head style film on the fitness industry? There is enough bad advice and misinformation in that field for a miniseries.

    By the way, great blog. I’ve been reading it for about a year now and I always look forward to seeing new Fat Head posts appear in my RSS reader.

    Thank you. No plans for another film, but you never know.

  9. Linda Duffy

    You are saving people from the hell of yoyo dieting, physical deterioration, and misery. This doesn’t get you out of taking out the garbage, but still…great job 😀

    Ha, nothing saves me from taking out the garbage.

  10. Larry

    I know of Harvey and Marylin Diamond. I embraced their book back in the early 90s. Let’s see, I got out of high school in ’89, six feet tall, 190 lbs. Was studying the martial arts, so I also started eating “healthy,”… though the years there was, Fit for Life, then macrobiotic, then vegetarian, then vegan, added back in chicken and fish, loaded up on whole grains, plenty of brown rice, quinoa, bowls of buckwheat or steel cut oats for breakfast, and so on. So, 22 years later, I’m still six feet tall, but weigh about 275.

    Each time I changed my diet, I adopted it with the fervor of the religious zealot. This time, it was going to work. Oh, it worked, alright. Just not in the way I intended.

    Low carbing has been a slow struggle. I have to keep reminding myself that it took 22 years to do the damage, so I can’t expect fast results. But (and this but is bigger than mine) your movie has really helped alot. The humor made the information easier to swallow, made it easier to fight my own cognitive dissonance and years of food habits. Thank you.

    I tried Fit For Life. Good thing I couldn’t stand it for long. Knowing what I know now, I see it as an invitation to develop type 2 diabetes.

  11. Zoe Harcombe

    Awesome post – the internet is speeding towards a tipping point when the enlightened will be numerous enough that the ignorant can no longer get away with the bad advice. The more people doing what you do, the quicker we will help the poor guinea pigs in this horrific human experiment.

    The information gatekeepers are losing control of the gates.

  12. Tammy

    Tom – That lady was also lucky to have a DR. who questioned her like that. That’s pretty unusual in itself.

  13. anand srivastava

    It is really painful to read her account. It is sadly very common. The most painful were in The Vegetarian Myth.

    Yup, Lierre Keith’s story was pretty sad too.

  14. Jason Sandeman

    Happy 2 year bloggiversary Tom! I have you to thank for introducing me to Dr Bernstein. I was an uncontrolled diabetic who managed to bring my A1C of 17.1% (mind numbing to think of) to a better than normal (6.1%) in 3 months. Indeed it was the MASSIVE amounts of carbs I was eating. So thank you too Tom!

    Those are great results, Jason.

  15. Laurie

    If you want to accelerate aging, be in pain, be unhappy, obese, and ill this is what you should eat and do- (first have weight loss surgery) then eat low-calorie, low salt, low-fat, live in a high Northern latitude and away from any volcanoes and their sulfur-rich volcanic soils, slather on suncreen, consume lots of sugar and HFCS and lots of cereals, take Lipitor , eat imported vegetables from a depleted of sulfur-soil farm, eat lots of PUFA’s (polyunsaturead fatty acids), and other vegetable oils and be a devout, uncompromising vegan.

  16. Tracee

    “We need to get the information out there to people who might learn something useful before the damage is done.”

    Amen brother Tom!!!!! Congrats on two years.

  17. Dianne

    Congrats on your two year anniversary! Love your blog, keeps me supported by pointing out all the misinformation out there (which, to the detriment of my health, I believed at one time).

  18. Bridget

    I remember clearly stating last year that I don’t know why people kept bashing carbs, carbs are good for you! And now I am eating my words. This documentary actually makes sense, because I was starting to go towards a more vegetarian lifestyle and I would be tired all the time and hungry all the time, despite the fact that I would get a good amount of calories. I am so glad that I didn’t just have a weird body, just a weird diet.

    What I loved most about your documentary is that you kept to the facts and kept it simple. I admit, as soon as you said that Morgan Spurlock would not show his food logs I went to your website to see if you would put yours up. And, you did! Today is my first day lowering my carbs to 100 and I am really excited about it! Thanks for putting this information out so that stories like that can be prevented.

    Good luck on the new diet. You may go through a little carb withdrawal at first, but when you get past it, you’ll probably feel great.

  19. JimmyJohn


    I’ve never met an obese Vegan. I’ve met plenty of obese people who eat fast food twice a day.

    I’ve met a couple of obese vegans, but I’ve met more who look like walking cadavers. Neither is the look I want to have.

  20. Melissa Martell

    When I read this lady’s vegetarian horror story I totally comprehend as I spent 3 years being a vegetarian then eventually vegan and was much fatter than when I ate meat.
    I’m just thankful I said “to hell with this” long before I had my son. I mean when you’re constantly fighting the urge to eat meat for 3 years that has to be a sign! And I don’t mean a sign that you’re a sinful omnivore- but that you need protein and fat to be healthy!

    And thanks for doing what you do Tom 🙂

    I was at my fattest and sickest as a vegetarian.

  21. Kelly

    Thanks for all you do, Tom! I have recommended Fat Head to many, many people in the hope that they will also see the light. It’s so easy to do now that it’s on Netflix!

  22. tracker

    “We need to get the information out there to people who might learn something useful before the damage is done.”

    The damage is already done. Plenty of people have died from the non-sense that the government and the medical community have been espousing for the last thirty years. My mother’s best friend died of diabetic complications at a very young age, after losing her leg. I’m sure they told her to eat plenty of carbohydrates, as little fat as possible, and lots of fruit.

    You know, the medical community has often made mistakes in the past (like thinking bleeding with leeches was a good idea), but that was because they didn’t have any evidence and were weak on the science of what caused people to die. Now they have the evidence, and they’re so enthralled with profit and being “right” that the evidence might well not even exist.

    To any doctor who wants to hold onto what they’ve been told in medical school, denying any other evidence to the contrary, I say burn in hell. That is the historical destination of murderers after all.

    Yup, lots of damage has been done. I hope we can prevent more people from being damaged in the future.

  23. Julie

    Thanks for being here.

    I keep sending Fat Head to everyone I know. It makes finding Birthday presents for my friends so much easier. They just have to promise to pass it on to those they know who need to hear the story. Or give it back so I can pass it on to others.

    I appreciate the orders.

  24. Lori

    A thought on how the man Dana Carpender wrote about might have stopped coughing up blood on a low-carb diet: he probably cut way back on grains. Grains contain antinutrients that bind to minerals and keep you from absorbing them. You need minerals, especially zinc, to heal wounds. Without as many antinutrients, and possibly more meat in place of carbs, this man had more zinc and other minerals available to him to heal whatever was bleeding.

    The diet of the former vegetarian in your post reminded me of one of my coworkers, who told me he thought that was a healthy diet. (Did I mention he went to medical school?) He’s overweight and, according to him, has bad teeth. Just yesterday he needed to open a plastic package, and he turned to me and said, “Do you have good teeth? Can you open this?” My teeth are way better than they were on a high-carb diet. Minerals and fat-soluble vitamins FTW!

    Good grief. I hope he changes his mind before he becomes a doctor and starts handing out dietary advice.

  25. Stacie

    Hi Tom:

    Absolutely love the movie, ordered two copies yesterday. Congratulations on your anniversary. I also have a sad story story, and maybe you or your readers can offer some input. In March 2010 my husband was doagnosed with CAD, had 1 stent put in. Soon afterwards I discovered the Eades, and then other numerous bloggers. Started educating myself, put us on very low carb diet. My husband has lost 25 + pounds, no more GERD, drop in blood pressure. Has not been taking a statin, and feeling pretty well. Now to the sad part. Three weeks ago he was back in the cath lab and now has two more stents. Amazingly, he had no symproms of a blockage, blood pressure was great, no shortness of breath, etc. Even cardiologist was surprised. Although now I think he thinks it was a statin deficiency. My personal opinion is that it was stress and illness which caused this. He had a bad case of shingles over the summer, and in addition was under a lot of stress. Of course he was bullied in the hospital, and started taking the poison, er statin. Stopped that two days ago because he is exhausted, feels like crap, has headache, backache. I will continue the good cooking and eating and see what happens. I wonder if you or your readers have any words of wisdom.

    I can only suggest ordering Malcolm Kendrick’s book “The Great Cholesterol Con” and hoping he looks at the evidence. Dr. Duane Graveline’s web site also has many articles on statins:

  26. Lacie

    I just watched your film last night (I used to like Super Size Me-not anymore, the evidence is damning-because I believe in hearing both sides) and was blown away and re-watched it this morning and still in a bit of a shock. I maintain a healthy diet (thankfully personal preferences led me to a low carb/low sugar diet) and active lifestyle, but I painfully watch my family members suffer from obesity, type two diabetes and heart disease, trying the low fat diets diligently & exercise with worse results. I want to steal all of their vegetable oil, processed sugars and grains now.

    Thank you so much! I hope your movie’s evidence can educate my family as much as it has me and help them get and stay healthy so they can stick around longer.

    I hope so too. In my dream world, the documentary prevents at least a few cases of diabetes.

  27. Debbye

    Tom, our family watched “Fat Head” the other night and literally laughed until we cried. As low carb devotees we never had the ammunition to defend our food choices — until now! Armed with the facts from your fabulous documentary, we’re ready to strike a blow for low carbers everywhere. You lay out the case for low carb with such clarity that it will be easy for us to memorize the why’s and wherefore’s.

    We’ll be faithful readers of your blog, too. Keep preachin’ it, brother!

    Will do. I’m always pleased to hear about families watching it together.

  28. Katrina

    I’ve been an on and off low carber for about 6 years now. Every time I’ve tried, I end up feel great and start losing weight, but I still had nagging doubts. It seems everywhere you look there is a new article or study promoting low fat diets as the way to lose weight and stay healthy, and even though I thought I knew they weren’t correct, they feed into the little nugget of doubt which would end up derailing my low carb attempts. Worse than that however was my husband. He meant well, but everyone “knows” that fats are bad for you, and listening to him talk about how unhealthy low carb diets are did not help. We were originally fans of Super Size Me, but lately I’ve been trying to get him to watch Fat Head for a different view point. We were scanning Netflix’s instant watch selection, and when I saw Fat Head I just clicked on it and started watching (even though we alread own our own copy). I kept expecting him to make sarcastic points about how wrong you were, blah blah, blah. He really didnt’ say much of anything, but after the movie was over he looked at me and said, “You’ve convinced me we need to eat less carbs.” That, my friend, is nothing short of a miracle. I can’t tell you thank you enough!!!

    Happy to provide a little marital peace.

  29. LISA

    I’ve been telling everyone I can about ‘Fat Head’ and the mind-blowing information in it. I also posted about it on Facebook, on my Parenting message boards, and emailed everyone in my address book. I’m annoying, but I want to get the word out.

    I have three kids and would love to see your documentary part of the curriculum as soon as the kids are old enough to understand it. Imagine the difference it would make if you could get schools on board to spread the word. I’m a teacher and think this information is just as, if not more important than what the kids are learning now in health and biology.

    (then we could tackle the lunch menu…)

    We’d like to get it into schools. A distributor is supposed to be looking into that.

  30. Pete B

    Thank you, Tom, for “Fat Head” and for your writing. You’re an inspiration for many, myself included. I’m sure your experience is like mine – I’ve had conversations with individuals who have been VERY poorly served by the “experts.” I don’t know if they’ll apply the information I try to transmit, but I’m convinced that they have the right to know it.

    In my more optomistic moments I like to think I see signs of change. But I must admit that there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to let the “experts” ‘get up easy.’ I want to hear them say “I was wrong, and I know I hurt a lot of people … ‘ I’m pretty sure THAT ain’t gonna happen!

    Keep up the great work!

    Kind Regards,

    Pete B

    They’ll never say that, but we can make them irrelevant, which is my goal.

  31. Valerie

    Keep it up Tom!
    Just last night during drunken ramblings at a bar, I told a friend of mine whose father has severely high blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. about “Fathead”. I sent him the Hulu link as soon as I got home!
    You’re doing very important work.

    Thank you. Strange to think Fat Head is part of a drunken conversation, but I’ll take all the PR I can get.

  32. AJP

    It’s (Buh-low-nee) ya know. Only a well traveled intelligent soy fueled mind would recognize that.

    And I take issue with how you pronounce the word LIVE when the intelligent pronunciation is LIVE, yet you still use it as LIVE.
    And don’t get me going on the misuse of Duck!

    You..Silly.. stupid… healthy American…yooou

  33. Rebecca

    “She’s only recently learned this his problems are probably related to her PCOS and metabolic disorders.”

    I (for one) would love to read more of her fan-mail. How did she learn this? Is there anything she can do about it now – ie, does a low-gluten diet help her son’s symptoms?

    Always (always always) when the kiddos come back from a night with the grandparents, I can tell instantly whether they had real food for dinner or franken-take-out. They don’t have any problems – thank the lord – but they definitely show some behavioral defects when they’ve been loaded up with wheat, sugar and chemicals.

    I posted some links she sent me in my reply to another comment.

  34. Morgoroth

    Can anyone expand on the part about PCOS being related to the child’s problems?
    Is that because mom and the kid are on the same diet, or is there a link between PCOS and those disorders?

    Keep fightin’ the good fight Tom.

    She sent some links:

  35. Dina

    Congrats for the 2-year anniversary!

    Speaking of spreading the word, are you familiar with the Swedish physician Andreas Eenfeldt? Anyway, he wrote a book “Matrevolutionen” (“The Food rEvolution”), about why we should eat low carb etc. It’s selling like fresh buns (pun intended) and there’s a huge debate in media about low carb and saturated fats and the whole shebang 🙂 Hopefully the book will be translated English and other languages eventually…

    I met Andreas on last year’s cruise.

  36. Gal @ 60 in 3

    I think most people confuse vegetarian with healthy. The two are not necessarily the same. You can eat nothing but twinkies and french fries and call yourself vegetarian but it wouldn’t be healthy. At the same time, I do find most vegetarians to be healthier than the general public, but I think that’s more of an indictment of the general public than a kudos to vegetarians.

    As for me, I spent 2 years with no meat and I was just fine. I ate plenty of protein and fats through eggs, dairy, seeds, nuts and beans. I stayed away from most cheap carbs (no breads, pastas and such) and everything was good. My weight was stable and my fitness was great. Then, while going through a divorce, I started eating way too much junk carbs. Candy, fast food, chocolate and sodas were my friend and it was wrecking me.

    These days I eat very few carbs but I also eat a bit of meat two or three times a week. I feel great!

    Bottomline, I don’t think vegetarian diets have to be unhealthy nor are they specifically healthier, just like McDonald’s isn’t necessarily unhealthy (as you yourself showed). It’s all in the details. Get enough protein and fats (and exercise!) and you’ll be ok, even if you don’t eat that much meat. Just stay away from the junk carbs.

    By the way, I was one of the people who just saw your movie on Netflix. Great stuff. I highly appreciated it and even reviewed it on my blog. Thank you for the great information and the highly entertaining movie. I showed it to my fiance and I’m hoping to use it to get her to cut down on some of the carbs.

    They’re a highly self-selected group. Most people who become vegetarians are health-conscious, and those of us who try vegetarianism and experience negative results quit the lifestyle.

  37. Adrienne Larocque, Healthy Nation Coalition

    I just watched Fat Head with my kids. As a low-carber for the last 6 years, none of it was new to me, or even my kids. But we all, and my son in particular, found it very entertaining, and I congratulate you on your use of humor to address a difficult subject. I can attest to the significant health benefits of eating less carb and more fat, and I encourage you and Jimmy and Dana and Gary and all the others to keep doing what you’re doing. You will be remembered as the saviors of our society, while Ornish, Oz and others like them will be spending all their time in court when people finally realize that they’ve been misled. I particularly enjoyed your plug for personal responsibility. It’s up to people to educate themselves, experiment, and figure out what actually works best in their own bodies. People shouldn’t give up their power to some doctor or other “expert.” They can’t possibly be as invested in your health as you should be. Keep up the great work Tom!

    I’m all for personal responsibility, but of course we need correct information to take the correct actions.

  38. Howard

    Congrats on two years, Tom. Love your insight and your humor. As with others, yours is often my stepping-off point to other blogs.

  39. Brandon

    That story reminds me of my nutrition professor. She constantly preaches eating low-fat, vegetarian meals to be healthy and lose weight, yet she’s one of the more obese professors I have. It make me very sad to know that misinformation is being spread around college class rooms.

  40. Pamela Schoenfeld RD

    I know many RDs who struggle with weight – and I know they put their faith in the low-fat dogma. Unfortunately, despite their own misfortune, they continue to pass on this misinformation as if it was without dispute.

    They’re probably doing what I did (for awhile, anyway) when my low-fat diets didn’t work: blame the dieter. I thought it was my fault.

  41. H

    Tom, the email from the former vegetarian really hit a personal nerve with me. I am also another overweight former vegetarian…and I too suffered a lot of health problems as result. The idea that a vegan/vegetarian diet will make you naturally thin is a MYTH. I lived for years on a very high carb meatless diet and I do not look anything like those stick thin vegan celebrities you see on TV and in magazines.

    For years, I could never understand why I had a problem with my weight when I thought I was doing all the right things. I stayed away from red meat and butter and drank skim milk. I exercised, but could never seem to lose more than 5 pounds after hours in the gym. Now I know why.

    Perhaps the thing that makes me most angry though, is that this low-fat, rancid vegetable oil, high carb diet that has been pushed is so dangerous to many people. My mother was overweight and had all the tell-tale symptoms of metabolic syndrome, and she struggled so hard to follow the “Mediterranean diet” to lose weight. Well it finally killed her. She was only 48 yrs old.

    Thank you for your documentary and blog, and keep doing what you do. Since I started eating low carb I have felt better than I have in years…perhaps now I will not be following in my mother’s footsteps, I hope, and will have the opportunity to teach my son how to eat healthy too. By the way I think the idea of a children’s book is a fantastic idea.

    A book directed at parents and children is appealing more and more to me, for the same reason: If we can prevent some kids from following lousy advice and ending up overweight and sick, it will be worth the effort.

  42. Zachary

    Good post, and very telling. Your movie fat-head has changed my life as well and I’m still very amazed at how every single person I meet is convinced butter and cholesterol is bad for you (as I once was).

    My only weakness is homemade popcorn.. But I at least pop it in coconut oil and smother it in farm fresh pasture butter now. It’s just nice that when I do make a bad choice, I have the knowledge at least that I am making a not so good choice as supposed to actually thinking I was eating healthy!

    Better popcorn with coconut oil and butter than popcorn slathered with some rancid vegetable oil.

  43. Karen Ranney

    Three years ago, after battling weight issues all my life, I began keeping a computer food journal. I went low fat, 1000-1200 calories a day. I exercised religiously for an hour every single day. I did weight training. At the end of the first year, I’d gained twenty pounds, and it wasn’t muscle.

    Thus began my search for sanity.

    My diet is now low carb. I’ve lost a huge amount of weight, but the most important change is that I’m no longer on medication. I’m no longer pre-diabetic. I don’t have high blood pressure. I took myself off statins, because of my doctor’s inability to listen to me – or the evidence.

    I went back and looked at that journal recently. I was eating huge amounts of carbs in the misguided notion that I was doing something good.

    Thank you, and to people like you and Jimmy Moore, who have shown me that I wasn’t nuts, I wasn’t alone, and there was an answer – one that made sense.

    You were definitely not alone. Countless frustrated dieters have ridden on that merry-go-round.

  44. JimmyJohn

    If you were fat when you were a vegetarian Tom, then you were doing it wrong bro. A real vegetarian diet is low in calories and fat, while promoting protein, complex carbohydrates, and an all around healthier lifestyle. Of course, technically you can eat pizza, french fries, and drink pepsi and still be vegetarian, but you won’t get the results you’re looking for.

    But you trying to compare a ‘walking cadaver’ vegan to an insanely obese person who, more than likely is eating a high fat diet, can’t even wipe their own ass after they poop, is kind of funny, and shows how defensive you are on the subject.

    Insanely obese people become that way from eating sugars and other refined carbohydrates along with the fats. If you can find an insanely obese person who became obese eating a diet of meats and vegetables but no sugars or grains, please let us know.

    My “real” vegetarian diet was a low-fat diet based on rice, pasta, whole-grain cereal, etc. Those foods jacked up my insulin, which encouraged fat accumulation, as they do for many people. The lectins in the grains also provoked several autoimmune reactions, which are gone now. To say that people who don’t do well on vegetarian diets “aren’t doing it right” assumes we all have the same biochemistry and all have the same reactions to the same foods, which simply isn’t the case.

    Yes, I’m so defensive about my diet I go trolling around the internet looking for bloggers who don’t recommend the diet I think they should and preach to them. No, wait … that would be you.

  45. Graybull

    YES……vegetarian diets are inherently less healthful than diets that include meat. You may not think so……but facts are facts. You should do more research and read Lierre Keith’s masterpiece……THE VEGETARIAN MYTH.

    Won’t argue any more… I believe as Tom does……..adults have the right to consume a diet as healthy or unhealthy as they choose.

  46. Amanda

    I’m curious as to the what the women who emailed you did to resolve her problem is anything. I have been a vegetarian for 14 years, not because I think its healthy but for a laundry list of political reasons, and I have always struggled with my weight. I understand why someone might shun a vegetarian diet but the idea of ending mine is not a possibility. Based on the information you have presented, what do you think someone should do in that position?

    I’d run a search on “low carb vegetarian” on Amazon and pick up one of the cookbooks.

  47. Laurie D.

    Congratulations on two years! About three years ago, I discovered gluten caused my migraines. That led to finding The Primal Blueprint, your blog and Fat Head, the blogs of the Eades, Harris, Moore, Wolf, and so many more that are now listed in the sidebar of my modest blog (and a big improvement in my health). In that short time, eating paleo/primal has become so much easier with sources of properly raised meats and vegetables more available than in times past. Slowly but surely, the word will get out, but I imagine the Big Ag and Big Pharm folks will not give up without a fight. Interesting times.

    According to Loren Cordain, “paleo” has become a hugely popular term. Richard Nikoley demonstrated as much in one of his recent posts:

    So I’m optimistic.


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