As some of you already know, I occasionally receive messages from “Fat Throat,” a high-level researcher who works behind the The Ivy Wall.  I receive these messages on the condition that I don’t reveal his name or the organization that employs him.  (He refers to that organization as The Committee to Re-Erect The Pyramid, a.k.a. CREEP.)

Fat Throat alerted me to a recent article on WebMD (which is basically bought and paid for by Big Pharma) bashing the Atkins diet.  Same old, same old … you need carbohydrates for energy and brain function, all that fat might kill you, blah-blah-blah.  You can read the full nonsense here.

Anyway, in reaction the WebMD article, Fat Throat sent me the following email.  Truth is, I don’t know anything about the doctors he mentions in the email, but obviously he does and isn’t impressed:

WebMD recently published an examination of the Atkins diet with commentary by notable scientists with final facts checked by the well-known medical expert Dr. Jonathan L.Gelfand.  The following true-or-false quiz is part of CME credits offered for this article.

1.  The Atkins Diet requires that you be in ketosis for a long period of time (T/F).

False. Ketosis is recommended only for the first two weeks but it is not necessary to be in ketosis to obtain benefits of the carbohydrate restriction.

2.  Dr. Jonathan Gelfand is an expert on metabolic diseases (T/F).

False. Dr. Gelfand’s specialty is pulmonary medicine.

3.  The Atkins diet requires high fat consumption (T/F).

False. The Atkins diet specifies only low carbohydrate and most patients do not increase the amount of fat.  Shown as early as 1980 and borne out by recent studies.  The diet is higher in fat than that recommended by health agencies but that is also true of the American diet before the epidemic of obesity.

4.   The WebMD Article did not interview any physicians who actually used the Atkins diet.

True.

5.  Dr. Gelfand is an expert on pulmonary asbestosis (T/F).

False. Dr. Gelfand testified in a case in Pennsylvania that an auto mechanic had died of asbestosis but it turned out that what looked like pleural thickening was really sub-pleural fibrosis and the jury found for the defense.

6.  The Atkins diet severely limits food choices (T/F).

False. Numerous cookbooks, online recipes for low-carbohydrate dieters now number in the thousands.  The diet is less restrictive than those limiting fat.

7.   Dr. Gelfand, Dr. Eckel and other physicians quoted in the article never took a course in nutrition (T/F).

True. Physicians do not study nutrition.

8.  Higher protein diets do not pose any health risk for people with normal kidneys (T/F).

True. This has been shown by many studies.

9.  Dr. Gelfand was recently seen on Dateline’s To Catch a Predator but was later exonerated.  (He was actually making a house call).

False. This a rumor of unknown origin.

10.   Dr. Robert Eckel, former head of the American Heart Association and quoted in the article is a well-known creationist (T/F).

True.

11.   The Atkins diet is the most effective method of lowering triglycerides and one of the best for raising HDL (“good cholesterol”) (T/F).

True.

12.   WEbMD provides accurate reliable content (T/F).

False. WebMD, its licensors, and its suppliers make no representations or warranties about accuracy, reliability, completeness, currentness, or timeliness of the content on or through the use of the WebMD Site or WebMD.

13.    In most clinical trials to date the Atkins diet does as well and generally better than low-fat diets for weight loss, glycemic control and markers of cardiovascular disease.

True.

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47 Responses to “Atkins-Bashing on WebMD: ‘Fat Throat’ Replies”
  1. Nate says:

    What’s CME?

    Continuing Medical Education. No doubt Fat Throat was being sarcastic.

  2. David H says:

    The Atkins diet in a way can be considered “normal” carb rather than low-carb. Veggies was Man’s carb source in nature, not whole wheat bread, and it actually has nutrients. Low-carb is natural in that way. But the energy source, like it or not, is fat and meat has the lipids, proteins, and some micro nutrients.
    I think the problem is most people think the Atkins diet is this
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFB_vHVFM_8

  3. Sean says:

    Tom, I’m a little surprised that a libertarian such as yourself jumps on the Big Pharma bandwagon.

    http://praguestepchild.blogspot.com/2011/04/see-its-all-big-pharmas-fault.html

    As a libertarian, I’m neither pro-business nor anti-business. I’m pro-freedom. Big Pharma has developed some fabulous life-saving drugs, and I give them credit for that. They’ve also bought off a lot of doctors and played games with their clinical-trial data, such as picking end-points of studies (sometimes ending the trials early) specifically to produce the best possible statistical outcome, and dividing side-effects into as many categories as possible so each category would show a low incidence. For those and other dishonest practices, they deserve all the criticism we can heap on them.

    I agree, of course, with your points about the FDA and the fact that statins were developed because of government pushing the Lipid Hypothesis in the first place.

  4. Dan says:

    I tend to shun the Atkins plan myself. I’ve always been weary of any diet that tells you not to eat fruit. I’ve been following a primal diet for awhile now and I think that is a better alternative to Atkins. I don’t disagree with the principle but I just think eating fruits and lots of veggies can’t be too bad. I realize that primal suggests you limit your fruit intake so I might sound like a hypocrite but I don’t think having 1-2 fruits a day should be a bad thing.

    The article seemed quite well written and didn’t actually offer any bad points to the Atkins plan aside from people “worrying” that it “might” be bad. Since going primal my cholesterol has gone up and my doctor even suggested I eat more whole grains in my diet. I’m going to wait until my next physical and see if things even out.

    I don’t think eating a bit of fruit is a bad thing either, but telling people to load up on fruits and vegetables — as if fruits and vegetables are the same things — is useless advice. If I fulfill the “Eat 5!” advice by consuming five high-sugar fruits per day, I can definitely cause myself problems.

    The worrying that the Atkins diet “might” be dangerous is exactly why the article is a pile of nonsense. The intention is to scare people away from it, based on nothing but conjecture without evidence to back it up. And of course, the statement that we must consume at least 150 carbohydrates per day for proper brain function is just flat-out wrong.

  5. Sarah M says:

    I heard Atkins died of a heart attack. Is that true?

    Atkins died after slipping on ice and hitting his head against a curb. The rumor that he died of a heart attack was spread by the vegan Hezbollah.

  6. Elaine says:

    Excuse me, but #10 is a non sequitur. Sure, he makes and drinks the heart disease kool-aid, but the fact that Dr. Eckel is a “well-known creationist” is irrelevant. I don’t like the implication that because of that, he is some kind of crackpot. Evolutionary science is far from proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Those of us who believe that God created the earth are perfectly able to discern the truth of the low carbohydrate way of eating.

    I don’t know what his creationist beliefs are. I suppose if Dr. Eckel believes the world was created in seven days a mere 6,000 years ago, that would negate the whole theory behind paleo diets, because paleo people wouldn’t have existed.

  7. Lucy says:

    I’m with Elaine on this one. Throwing out a non-sequitor like that casts more aspirations on the thrower than the target. But it did prompt me to google the doctor, and I found this interesting article from 2008 “http://www.canada.com/windsorstar/story.html?id=30781555-ad21-4535-a484-1a4b9cda06f7&p=2″ heh, don’t tell Jimmy Moore ;-)

    FWIW, being a creationist doesn’t necessarily equate with being a young-earther. One can believe that things were ‘flung’ into existence a mere 6000 years ago, but that doesn’t mean that Adam was dropped on the ground in the garden of Eden as a brand new squawking baby boy with the umbilical still attached.

    I would though, like to see the theories behind paleo explained in terms of punctuated equilibirium or some mechanism more likely to have contributed to an evolutionary development than the usual easy-out “natural selection” (which is very unlikely to be able to account for the existence of our modern world).

    Personally, I think creation vs. evolution is a false dichotomy. It’s entirely possible to believe in God and also believe evolution was God’s plan.

  8. john says:

    Okay, this is exactly why I trust nobody’s advice (on any subject) unless I know them or their ideas on a subject I do know about. I’ve never looked into global warming, but if you’re a vegan, I’m not going to give your idea any weight. People cannot be this stupid…you can’t rely on heart disease markers like cholesterol and trigs and then say they don’t matter in high fat “just because:” talk about basing facts on theories, bad theories at that. How pathetic is it that I (a 24 year old mathematician) can treat a wide variety of patients & ailments, by simply spending one day researching on pubmed, better than a 20-year veteran medical doctor?

    Regarding the above list, it’s not even necessary to be an “expert on metabolic diseases:” you just have to be logical. It doesn’t take a biochem expert to realize that Chris Masterjohn, who uses references that actually follow support what he says, is a good source for nutrition advice while Dr. Mcdougall, saying that dietary protein isn’t necessary because horses eat grass and they have lots of muscle, is a moron (or deliberately harming people).

  9. Angel says:

    I basically agree with Elaine … items 9 and 10 are character smears that are in no way related to diet, and cause me to question the integrity of the rest of the post. It is unfortunate that Fat Throat chose to include them.

    I’ll pass that on.

  10. Elaine says:

    Regardless of whether the earth is 6 thousand or 6 billion years old, hunter-gatherers lived. “Paleolithic” is a geologic term. BTW, I don’t mean to get into a debate, and I certainly mean no disrespect–my point is that Dr. Eckel’s creation beliefs are irrelevant to his diet opinions. Case closed?

    Minor quibble, I grant you, but “paleolithic” generally refers to an extremely long period of human history. Dr. Cordain and others who promote paleo diets do so largely on the basis that 99% of human evolution occurred before the advent of agriculture.

  11. Stephanie O. says:

    @Dan “I tend to shun the Atkins plan myself. I’ve always been weary of any diet that tells you not to eat fruit.”

    The Atkins Diet does not tell you not to eat fruit. It tells you to add carbs back in slowly to see what each individual can tolerate. Not everyone with a damaged metabolism can handle fruit everyday. They do recommend berries and melon (except watermelon) at a level you can handle while keeping your weight stable. And the Atkins Diet most certainly requires you to eat a lot of low starch vegetables. It is not the Steak and Bacon diet.

    Are you “shunning” the Atkins Diet or the Atkins Myth?
    Do you think of Atkins the way Gary Taubes describes it as the “Meat Boy Persona”?

    I am not sure that any of us would be having this conversation today if not for the work of Dr. Atkins, and although I would consider my eating style more primal at this point (I don’t eat grains or buy processed foods including Atkins products) I am happy to recommend the new Atkins book to people looking to start low carb, whole food eating.

  12. Sarah M says:

    How do you know that’s how he died?

    After the vegan-Hezbollah rumors began, his wife released his hospital records. The vegan Hezbollah also claimed he was obese because he weighed something like 245 pounds on the day he died — which was true, but that was due to fluid retention caused by a steroid he’d been given in a failed attempt to prevent brain damage. The hospital admission records showed his weight at 195 on the day he was admitted.

  13. Sean says:

    @Tom “As a libertarian, I’m neither pro-business nor anti-business. I’m pro-freedom.”

    Well said. I’ve probably become overly-allergic to the Big Pharma label.

  14. Greg says:

    I’m pretty sure he has stated he believes that the earth was created 6000 years ago. I agree that simply being a creationist isn’t reason to discount him.

  15. Sarah M says:

    I googled what you said and read this:

    “The Atkins diet recently gained renewed popularity after studies showed that people lost weight without compromising their health. The studies showed that Atkins dieters’ cardiovascular risk factors and overall cholesterol readings changed for the better.”

    Here:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4230348/ns/health-fitness/

    Do you have info on any of these studies? It’s hard to know the credibility of whatever I find on Google myself. thanks

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/297/9/969.short

    http://www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/nejmoa0708681

    http://www.ajcn.org/content/81/4/762.short

    http://www.annals.org/content/153/3/147.short

  16. Lyford says:

    “It’s entirely possible to believe in God and also believe evolution was God’s plan.”

    Exactly. Which is why the “creationist” ad hominem is so irritating…

    Like I said, I’m not sure what his particular creationist beliefs are. If he literally believes the world was created 6,000 years ago, I suppose that would require him to automatically reject the argument that 99% of our evolution occurred before we began living on grains and other post-agriculture foods.

  17. Andy says:

    @Elaine Evolution is a fact, just google “instances of speciation” and see for yourself. You’re right, though, that it really has nothing to do with a man’s opinion on nutrition. Unless we’re talking paleo nutrition. I’d say evolution played a key role there.

  18. PrincessKimmy says:

    Wow. The general public and WebMD really need to educate themselves. If any of you haven’t read Good Calories, Bad Calories by Gary Taubes, you’re cheating yourselves. My life will never be the same after that book or after watching Fathead. Once you look at the research done over more than a 100 years, it’s kind of hard to deny the facts that these morons are exactly that, MORONS (I’m specifically referring to the doctors and researchers that obviously haven’t done their research or refuse to acknowledge the truth of such research, not the unknowing general public whose been force fed the “benefits of carbohydrates and low fat diets” for way too long). It just makes me want to scream.

  19. The guy who calls himself Fat Throat sent me this too. I guess WebMD is not really offering this as CME (continuing medical education) credit but most of these things, ridiculous as they are, it seems they’re all true — no April Fool exaggeration. Last April Fool’s Day Fat Throat published a press release on the merger of ADA and the Nutrition & Metabolism which has been reprinted on Dr. Su’s webstite:
    http://www.carbohydratescankill.com/1750/old-news-for-april-1-2011

    I think creationism is neither here nor there. For example, Raymond Damadian, who invented the MRI is a creationist; he was probably denied the Nobel Prize for that reason. Of course, Raymond Damadian is a brilliant scientist and has made a great contribution to world health. Bob Eckel is not burdened with those characteristics.

    That was a brilliant April Fool’s joke … the food ball in particular.

    I wouldn’t dismiss a scientist’s work based on his or her religious beliefs, but would, as I mentioned to another commenter, have to assume that anyone who believes the earth was created 6,000 years ago doesn’t believe the paleolithic era ever happened.

  20. Greg says:

    If you Google him he’s all over the place talking about the “young earth” and referring to himself as a “6-day creationist.” I think the issue is that, like many of the more extreme folks in that camp, he discounts most science outside of his area of expertise as being flawed since it doesn’t support his position, and does so talking as if he is an expert at all the science he’s dismissing, and (supposedly) making lots of major errors/leaps. That’s people’s issue with him.

  21. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Since it came up, I feel compelled to jump into the discussion of evolution. Elaine says “Evolutionary science is far from proven beyond a reasonable doubt. ” Actually, that is not strictly true. That evolution occurred and is occuring is a fact undisputed by any true scientist (who looks at the evidence without preconceived notions.) How it occurred is still being tweaked, but the overarching prevalent theory (not hypothesis) first put forth by Darwin, Natural Selection, has yet to be falsified by any scientific evidence, despite 150 years of study, so is as strong as any other scientific theory, such as the theory of Gravity. And yes, it’s possible to believe in God and accept evolution. They are not mutually exclusive and many devout Christians do accept the fact of evolution and the theory of Natural Selection. And I’m not so sure Dr. Eckel’s Creationist beliefs are, in fact, irrelevant to his qualifications as a doctor, but perhaps this isn’t the right forum for that discussion.

    When I was a schoolboy in Catholic schools, we were taught about evolution. We were also taught that God created the universe according to His plan. Most definitely not mutually exclusive ideas.

  22. js290 says:

    @David H: The only problem I have with Epic Meal Time is their occasional use of flour and deep frying in industrial vegetable oils. Otherwise, some of their ideas are brilliant, like using crispy bacon in place of corn chips in their nacho dish.

    @Sarah M: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eREuZEdMAVo

  23. Lori says:

    It’s kind of funny how the article says that the Atkins diet will correct your weight, improve your lipids, and help control blood sugar and insulin levels, but may nevertheless make you die of a heart attack or stroke. So…none of these bodily systems are related, apparently? Or, what’s bad for your heart is good for all your other organs? It’s been said that engineers study whole systems, whereas doctors study parts of the human body separately.

    Yeah, isn’t that amazing?

  24. Karen J says:

    Regardless of how much Atkins weighed at the time of his death (which was a direct result of his treatment), the elephant in the room is that the records were obtained illegally by people who wanted to smear him by taking advantage of the ignorance of people who don’t know the medical implications of coma inducement.

    I believe Eades had some recent comments about Eckel.
    Here: http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/lipid-hypothesis/rooting-out-more-anti-low-carb-bias/

    The PCRM’s behavior after Atkins died was disgusting. Trying to portray him as obese — when the hospital records they obtained showed his weight at 195 the day he was admitted to the hospital — tells us all we need to know about their commitment (ahem) to truth.

  25. Verimius says:

    Eckel’s belief in creationism calls into question his overall competence as a scientist. Scientific evidence is strongly in favor of a 4.5 billion year old earth, and also in favor of evolution. If he’s willing to let his personal beliefs override the evidence in one area, then why not another?

  26. Greg says:

    Even if they hadn’t gotten the info through fraud and even if the numbers meant what they claim (no to both, of course), the PCRM’s takeaway that, if Atkins was fat when he died, that his work is disproven, is unscientific and ridiculous. N=1, right? It would make a nice press release but would be meaningless. Which, of course, they know, but cynically don’t care.

    I’ve seen T. Colin Campbell talk online about Atkins’ supposed weight and supposed heart problems as if they reflected all of low-carb also. Really? All we have to do is find one person (who may or may not have practiced what they preached) and then we’re done studying whatever issue they promoted? How ridiculous. Same kind of crap the Dr. Oz show tried to pull on Gary Taubes – let’s compare cholesterol numbers (the numbers the show chooses to look at, never mind what each person is genetically predisposed to have, never mind what the numbers might have been before whatever eating plan they’re on). A test group of *one* without any assurance of adherence to the plan they espouse is absolutely meaningless scientifically.

    Exactly. Unless Campbell can prove no vegetarians have ever died from heart disease, his logic is flawed.

  27. Swintah says:

    Agreed with Verimius. To be a standard Creationist (in the if-the-Bible-said-it-I-believe-it sense), one must disregard a heaping ton of facts. I think/hope Fat Throat was trying to emphasize Dr. Gelfand’s disregard of facts (but, of course, only Fat Throat can clarify his/her/its intent.)

  28. David H says:

    You should do a post on Okinawa, Japan. Vegan biased reports say that because the Japanese eat mostly plants they are healthier. However, it is the Okinawans only that live the longest of them all, and surprise surprise… okinawa is not even close to vegan, but it is The Island of Pork. Hahaha Vegans can no longer lie about Okinawans or the Japanese if this is publicised.

    I downloaded a study from awhile back showing exactly that.

  29. David H says:

    (sorry forgot to add) To add to my previous post I am studying at an international school and the Chinese tell me they eat a lot more meat than Ameicans think and they cook with Lard. I looked it up and Per Capita Chinese eat 40 kilos of pork a year while it is 24 Kilos in the USA. This might be one kind of meat, but still. They also slaughter animals fresh and eat all the parts including the organs, and organs are basically superfoods Packed with Vitamins A, B vitamins, Iron and Zinc, Vitamin D, Even Vitamins C and E which are associated with plants.

  30. PJ says:

    I really don’t care whether earth and humans magically sprang into being or ‘evolved’ and since I’m a jungian I’m prone to suspect it might all kinda be the same thing (and several other things besides) in a very weird way in any case. So the doc’s ‘young earth creationist’ stance means nothing to me technically. I’ve known people who were quite intelligent about their job and complete idiots outside that, so I’m willing to let most ‘personal issues’ slide.

    However if the basis of thinking the human should eat certain things and not others for health, is that for a few million years leading up to circa 10,000 years ago that’s what they evolved eating, then I can see how someone who thinks humans just popped into being 6,000 years ago might have an impossible conundrum between personal belief and professional opinion. For that reason, I think it makes sense to include it.

    In sympathy, it is difficult to maintain beliefs in that category and make them play well with the modern world we call reality. As a perfect example, the Letter to Dr. Laura, who also used biblical certainties to apply to the modern world, and you can see the many philosophical dilemmas this causes:
    http://www.snopes.com/politics/religion/drlaura.asp

    Re: the comments on Dr. Atkins’ death, one of the truisms in life is that your enemies do not dig up personal insults and intentional lies if they have anything worthwhile to throw at you; they get personal, and they start to lie, as a last resort when they’ve no better ammunition. The very fact that it required intentionally stealing records, intentionally removing all context, and so intentionally lying and promoting those lies in national media, only demonstrates the irrational hysteria–and lack of any decent ammo–of which the crusade against him and his work is comprised.

    At this point it’s difficult to tell if it’s simply that people’s belief in the over-marketed bad science of the last few decades has become their religion, or if the financial (and/or potential-financial [as in funding, recognition, media, etc.]) incentives of doing so are driving the behavior.

    It’s difficult to read a book like Taubes’s ‘Good Calories, Bad Calories’, and look at the last century of science from that perspective, without losing all respect for the strident head-banging of the same message that seems to have its best effect on contributing to the horrible disease and death of a good percentage of the planet. If that were the goal, it would be an impressive accomplishment.

    PJ

    Well said. When the PCRM zealots resorted to stealing medical records and lying about what was in those records, they just exposed themselves for the irrational fools they are.

  31. Touchstone says:

    What Lori said above: in one paragraph WebMD quotes an “expert” who is “wary” but says that Atkins is good for weight loss and for improvement in HDL and triglycerides. Next paragraph quotes another “expert” who is worried that Atkins leads to heart disease. LOL. They are trying to keep their (high-carb) cake and eat it.

    They also bring out another old chestnut, that Atkins does not stress exercise. The 2002 edition specifically points out several times that if you are not exercising you are not doing Atkins. It has a whole chapter called “Exercise: It’s Non-Negotiable” for chrissakes!

    Not that it’s such a big deal (personally, I am w/ Gary Taubes on the exercise/weight loss issue: that eating low-carb leads to weight loss and releases more energy to exercise and not that exercise leads to weight loss). Still, such glaring inaccuracies about Atkins often show the level of “research” of the typical Atkins-basher (they haven’t read the book but they just *know* it is wrong).

  32. Larry says:

    Did you see this in Arizona?

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42379077/ns/health-health_care/?ns=health-health_care

    The state government may add a $50 fee for medicaid patients who are overweight or have diabetes who don’t follow their doctor recommended weight-loss diet. Considering the failure rate of doc recommended diets, this would be like a money making perpetual motion machine. $50 for being overweight. Next year, $50 dollars for gaining weight on our slimming diet. But stay on that diet, or we’ll bill you another $50.

    Another program doomed to fail.

  33. Larry says:

    The WebMD article quotes Barbara Rolls* spouting the usual only calories count nonsense. Have you seen her book, Volumetrics? I think it was a precursor to the Eat This, Not That series of books. The book shows two pictures, and explains how the meal on the left was modified to become healthier and transformed into the meal on the right, the one you should eat. What I found most obnoxious about the book was that the healthier meal on the right, while having less calories, was almost always larger. It was like she saying, “Look, Fatty, we both know that given a choice, you’re going to choose the larger meal, so why not stuff yourself in a low calorie way?”

    In my life, I’ve been fat, I’ve been thin, I’ve been fat again, rinse, repeat. But the one constant has always been, when I’m really hungry, I eat a big meal. When I’m not so hungry, I eat a smaller meal. But what has made the difference is since I’ve gone almost completely no carb, I get hungry less often, and my hunger isn’t as great. My near zero carb meals are generally half the size or less of my carb heavy meals, but far more satisfying and stay with me longer.

    *I’ve seen pictures of Barbara Rolls and, honestly, she looks like one of those people who can eat a few carrot sticks and then say, “I’m stuffed,” Maybe the content of her meals don’t count, but changing the content in mine has made a world of difference.

    As usual, they’ve got the causality backwards.

  34. Be says:

    While this whole discussion has gotten way off track, I agree with Verimius – it does matter. You either believe in science or you don’t. You can’t have your cake after you’ve eaten it. Bravo Verimius!

  35. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Verimius says “Eckel’s belief in creationism calls into question his overall competence as a scientist. Scientific evidence is strongly in favor of a 4.5 billion year old earth, and also in favor of evolution. If he’s willing to let his personal beliefs override the evidence in one area, then why not another?” My sentiments exactly!

  36. kat says:

    Regarding Creation Vs Evolution – “6 days” isn’t necessarily SIX DAYS. it could be a many years. but, 2 major problems evolution scientists have that they can’t explain are 1. how does the nucleus of an atom stay together, and not explode? and 2. the lack of Fossil record. it’s the dirty secret they hate to have brought up. if it took millions of years for a species to evolve, there should be a fossil or 2 (or zillions) of that species in transitional forms. but, there are not. they say (simplified) a cow wandered into the ocean and turned into a whale – well, there should be a fossil record of that change. and that is just one example – there are gazillions of species life in the oceans, and on land, mind blowing. I don’t have enough faith to believe it was all by chance.

    I can believe in God and science and Atkins and Paleo and I have no problem with a man’s religious beliefs, or lack of, to judge his abilities as a doctor, nutritionist, or researcher. I hear you, Tom, on the timeline, and I have not studied that period, so, can’t say. there are some things we won’t know.

    thanks, kat
    PS – this cracked me up – (He refers to that organization as The Committee to Re-Erect The Pyramid, a.k.a. CREEP.)

  37. Walter says:

    Every time I see might I’m tempted to respond “and flying monkeys might jump out my butt.” Tom, is there a specific comedian I should cite after saying that?

    I think the creationist part is relevant, especially with paleo. As is a vegetarian doctor having been influenced by Hinduism (I’m not naming any names) or for that matter a new age philosophy.

    The simple fact is that we cannot divorce our overall world views from individual issues. There are libertarians out there who do not believe in AGW not because they’ve examined the science and found it lacking, but because they are libertarians. There are also environmentalists who believe in AGW not because they’ve examined the evidence and found it compelling, but because they are environmentalists.

    Its always easier to see this flaw in out groups as opposed to your in group.

    Absolutely. (Not sure who deserves credit for the flying monkeys.)

  38. Galina L. says:

    There is not only another PCRM zealot – Dr.Neal Barnard.Actually, he is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. According to Wiki, “Up until 2005, Barnard also sat on the board of the Foundation to Support Animal Protection (the PETA Foundation)… Barnard also writes a medical column for Animal Times, PETA’s magazine.” He also is a famous author of the Program for Reversing Diabetes with a low-fat vegetarian diet. Everybody who is interested in the Diabetes knows about his book, and it is a popular argument for the not doing LC for that disease. Almost no one is aware about Dr. Barnard background. Does the background matter?
    Sorry, Tom, if it looks of-topic. I am waiting for the moment when it would be shameful to be among the doctors who were fighting Atkins, Eades, Bernstein and others who really made the difference in the people’s health. Looks like I am waiting in wain.

    His background definitely matters. He has no interest in the actual science; his goal is to get people to stop eating animal products, period.

  39. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Kat says “2 major problems evolution scientists have that they can’t explain are 1. how does the nucleus of an atom stay together, and not explode? and 2. the lack of Fossil record. it’s the dirty secret they hate to have brought up. if it took millions of years for a species to evolve, there should be a fossil or 2 (or zillions) of that species in transitional forms.” Again, I hate to add to the off topic discussion, but as a person who is passionate about the science of evolution, I can’t let that go. 1. This is more a matter of Physics than Evolution and I’m not a physicist, (though I have studied Physics) so can only say that I believe they do actually have it figured out and if they don’t, they most certainly will in due time. Something about strong forces versus weak forces. The attraction between the particles in the nucleus is greater than the repelling forces of the like charges. 2. The “lack of fossil record of transitional forms” is an argument that Creationists and Intelligent Design people love to trot out, but it doesn’t hold up. First there are plenty of fossils of transitional forms already available and others keep turning up, but it is never enough. Secondly, the fossil record is only one of many types of evidence that biologists have that evolution occurred and is occurring–there are plenty of others–DNA studies, to mention only one. Try reading Richard Dawkins’ “The Greatest Show on Earth” and/or Donald Prothero’s “Evolution: What the Fossils say and Why it Matters”. Again, I’m sorry to continue on the divergent topic, but felt I had to. It bothers me that nearly 50% of the people in this country are either in denial or don’t know the science regarding evolution–only a few predominantly Muslim countries are below us in scientific literacy on this topic, and since it is central to the science of Biology…and central to whether one accepts scientific evidence regardless of personal beliefs in other areas…perhaps it is relevant, after all?

  40. Peggy Cihocki says:

    P.S. I should add that I have nothing against anyone–Muslim or Christian, Vegan or Vegetarian, or whatever–who chooses to adopt a particular belief and ignore the scientific evidence to the contrary. That’s a personal choice to which we all have a right. Just don’t try to push those personal beliefs on others. And no, I would not want to be treated by a doctor who chooses on religious grounds to ignore a large body of scientific evidence. You can’t cherry pick which scientific evidence you accept and which you don’t.

  41. Gabrielle says:

    I started reading that article, but couldn’t finish because of all the nonsense. They say the only thing the Atkins diet does is count calories. Lol.

    I’m actually not using the Atkins diet but rather my own version of it, but i know enough about the Atkins diet to know that what these guys are saying is a bunch of bull. I especially loved this paragraph:

    Carbohydrates, especially in the form of vegetables, grains, and fruits, are more efficiently converted to glucose. And this more efficient use of glucose has developed over a long period of time, according to Frank. “Fruits and berries are much more indicative of early man’s eating pattern than eating only protein, and we haven’t changed all that much physiologically.”

    I love how “vegetables, grains and fruits” turned into “fruits and berries” there. Lovely bit of magic, don’tcha think? And then saying the Atkins diet promotes only protein. Priceless. And better yet, there is no commenting on WebMD, nor is there a way for me to call the people who manage the site to rant. Bah.

    I’m pretty sure my Irish ancestors weren’t able to fill up on fruits and vegetables all year.

  42. gallier2 says:

    2 major problems evolution scientists have that they can’t explain are 1. how does the nucleus of an atom stay together, and not explode?

    Oh my god, how dumb must one be to even consider that evolution has anything to do with atom nuclei?

    That’s of the resort of nuclear physics and the explanation was found in ’70s.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strong_force
    and even if it wasn’t a solved problem, it would have no bearing on anything evolution says or not, because nuclear physics has nothing to say about evoluton.

    As for the fossil record, it is so full of transitional forms, you couldn’t expose them in one place.
    kat, it would be a good idea to read things (books, sites, magazins) that are not written by the know-nothings of your specific cult.

  43. dlm says:

    Dr. Atkins gained 50 lbs while being treated in the hospital — what drugs?

    I remember his book from around the 60s (and the general knowledge that starch and of course sugar make you fat, avoiding them helps you lose weight). If orthodox medicine had not vilified him and forced lowfat/high carb on us, I might not have become hypoglycemic and diabetic (and who knows what other health deficiencies I have that could be blamed on poor diet).

    The medical industry has a LOT to answer for. You could begin to believe they want to keep you sick and sicker forever, to make more money.

    I don’t think they’re that evil. Just misinformed and/or unable to admit they’ve been wrong for the past 40 years.

  44. Amber says:

    I would credit Wayne Campbell (Mike Myers) with the flying monkeys.

  45. Amy Dungan says:

    I was dismayed this morning to see WebMD magazines on the waiting room table at my doctors office (while waiting to get blood work done). I wonder how many people pick those up and think they are getting top notch information.

    Unfortunately, probably most of them.

  46. Hi Tom,

    I liked your story about Atkins Bashing on Web MD. I just gave a lecture to the medical staff at my local hospital about the benefits of carbohydrate restricted diets. Here is a link if you are bored:

    http://denversdietdoctor.com The 2nd video down.

    BTW, I love to discuss the Ansel Keys story of bad science that you discuss in great detail in your movie! I still recommend your movie to my patients

    All the best,
    Dr Jeff Gerber

    Glad to know there are doctors enlightening other doctors on the topic. That’s where the change will happen, at the grass-root level.

  47. Nick S says:

    Noting that someone is a Young-Earth Creationist in this context is neither ad hominem nor tangential. Being a YEC in the first place means that you’ve rejected the proper philosophy of science (hypothesize, observe, re-hypothesize, observe, conclude) in favor of the philosophy of religion (conclude, observe, manipulate or cherry-pick results, employ rhetoric to attack opponents.) YEC is a formalization of all of the worst practices of science.

    More important to this discussion, though, is the fact that YECs reject several notions without which an understanding of human digestion and diet is practically impossible. One cannot discuss prehistoric humans’ diets without acknowledging that there were prehistoric humans in the first place. There is also no reconciling the fact that the food that God explicitly told man to eat (see Ezekiel 4:9, for example) is not a healthy food for humans. Finally, an understanding of why humans eat as they do requires an understanding of the *evolved* traits which dictate that our diet be based on animal protein.

    That’s my main issue with the guy as well, assuming he truly believes humans have only been around for 6,000 years.

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