I received one of those hate mails this week, full of the usual brilliant observations: 

Your film was obviously paid for by McDonald’s … Super Size Me was awesome and a really important film because it alerted people to the dangers of fast food … your on-camera experts must be beef-industry hacks if they say saturated fat isn’t bad for you … you think you’re funny but you’re not, you’re just really annoying … your film sucked so bad, I stopped watching before the end … etc., etc., etc.

People have asked me how I deal with those hate mails.  The answer:  I laugh them off, and find it increasingly easy to do so.  Because while I know Morgan Spurlock has plenty of die-hard fans and admirers, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts (and you can keep the donuts) he never received a letter along the lines of:

————————————————————-

Dear Morgan,

Thank you so much for making Super Size Me.  After watching it, I finally understood what’s been wrong with my diet all these years.  Like you, I was eating three huge meals at McDonald’s every day, along with several desserts and a couple of milkshakes.  It never occurred to me that eating this way could make me fat and sick, so I just kept doing it and getting bigger and bigger year after year.  It was really frustrating.

Then in your wonderful film, you explained to me that I’m really, really fat and stupid, but it’s not my fault because McDonald’s should have taken more responsibility for my eating habits by not offering me so much food.  Now there’s hope.  Thanks to your efforts, perhaps someday McDonald’s will stop selling sodas, french fries, desserts and milkshakes, and then I’ll be able to stop stuffing myself with them.  In the meantime, I know my lousy diet isn’t my fault — it’s theirs.  I can’t tell you how much better that makes me feel about myself.

I’d also like to thank you for explaining my post-meal puking problem.  About 20 minutes after every meal, I puke violently.  I thought it was some kind of serious medical condition.  Then I saw how you puked after stuffing yourself at McDonald’s and began to wonder if perhaps it’s the food that’s causing my puking.  When you showed a close-up of your own puke with bits of french fries sticking out, I knew for sure it must be the food.  It’s a real comfort knowing I probably don’t have stomach cancer or something like that, so the puking no longer worries me so much.

Sincerely,
One of the really fat and stupid people you care so much about

————————————————————-

Yeah, I’m pretty sure that letter has never been sent.  If Spurlock did receive a sincere fan letter, it would be something like:

Dear Morgan,

Thank you for confirming my cherished beliefs that McDonald’s is evil and fat people are stupid.  Now and then I feel a need to be reminded of my own superiority.  Your film did the trick nicely.

Around the same time I received the hate mail mentioned above, I also received this message from a gentleman named Cary:

————————————————————-

Dear Tom,

Where do I even begin? I don’t want this letter to turn into a novella so I will attempt to limit my typical long-windedness.  I was always a guy with an average-looking build. I’ve never been muscular and really never had the desire to be so. My frame was more typical of a lean, athletic basketball player. I was always fairly active until moving from Ohio to Georgia 12 years ago. After moving here, I became less and less active. That change to a sedentary lifestyle combined with my general poor eating habits quickly caught up with me in my early thirties.

For the past seven or eight years I have struggled mightily with my weight, general mood, and energy level. I’ve tried numerous diet plans and exercise routines with limited-to-no results. If anyone tried to categorize my frame of mind about this uninterrupted string of failures, the word “frustration” would be an understatement. I have chided myself so many times because I couldn’t lose weight or because I didn’t have the energy to exercise.

Basically, for the past 5 years I’ve felt like a “fat cow” with no motivation or energy to do much of anything to change my situation. I mean, I limited my calories and ate lots of carbs (you know… “your body’s fuel source” according to the so-called “nutrition experts”). And yet I felt tired ALL THE TIME. It didn’t matter how much sleep I got, I was ALWAYS exhausted upon waking. I went to see a sleep specialist because I thought I might have sleep apnea. Nope. I had my thyroid checked because of my weight gain. No problems there. I was at a complete loss as to why I went from an active 190 pound guy with tons of energy to a lazy 266 pound guy with no energy. For the past few years I’ve been rationalizing to myself that it was simply a product of “getting older.”

Then in mid-April I was on the Netflix website looking over their recommendations for me and your documentary “Fat Head” was listed. I read the brief description and it piqued my interest. I noticed that it was available through the Instant View so I added it to my queue and watched it later that week.

Watching your film was one of those ultra-rare moments in a person’s life when the vastness of the entire universe seems to scrunch together to form a lens of lucidity through which one can view the senselessness and mysteries of life with complete and life-altering clarity. Over and over again you and your interviewees made points and revealed facts and used human biology and physiology to explain things. Being a science geek, this caused me to become absolutely transfixed on your film. As more and more information was presented, a smile of empowerment and discovery kept involuntarily finding its way onto my face. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. This was way too good to be true. It’s as if you made this documentary with me specifically in mind.

After the film had ended I sat there on the couch with an overwhelming sense of hope and resolution for what seemed like an hour. THE VERY NEXT MORNING I changed my diet to match the one you practiced in the film – meats, cheeses, vegetables, lots of saturated fats, and hardly any sugars, carbs, starches or the like. I’m eating meals that fill me up and that I ENJOY! No more disgusting “diet food.”

Within the first three days I noticed a serious change in my mood and energy level. Rather than feeling run down and tired I was feeling awake, alive, alert, focused, and energetic. I began exercising to get rid of the excess energy I had… and I’ve been exercising four or five days a week for 60-90 minutes each session ever since! And that still doesn’t tire me out! I am overflowing with energy now. I never wake up tired any more. I feel full between meals instead of feeling hungry all the time. I used to snore… not anymore! I’ve had an embarrassing facial skin “condition” for the past six or seven years… it’s almost completely GONE! And in the first month of this lifestyle change I’ve lost 20 pounds! If anyone had told me 6 weeks ago that something like this could happen, I’d have told them they were certifiably crazy.

Tom, I don’t know how else to say this except to say that YOU HAVE GIVEN ME MY LIFE BACK. I can’t begin to put a price on what you have done for me. I’ve been sharing your worldview-changing documentary with everyone who will listen to me. I’m eagerly awaiting the continued transformation of my body and mind back to what it was before I started doing what the “experts” told me to do.

Tom, from the deepest depths of my mind and soul… THANK YOU!

Cary

————————————————————-

Maybe it was Cary’s obvious sincerity, maybe it’s that I have my own clear memories of feeling like a frustrated “fat cow,” or maybe I just happened to read this one at the right moment, but by the time I read the last line, I had a lump in my throat.

This is why we do what we do … and it’s why anyone who thinks he’s going to wound my ego with a snarky little hate mail is dreaming.

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44 Responses to “This Is Why We Do What We Do (Part Two)”
  1. That’s such a great and moving letter. How I hope that you will receive many letters like it in the future, and that we’ll see this thing turned around in our lifetime. Long live Fat Head!

    It was a touching message, largely because Cary expressed his frustrations with his weight so honestly and clearly. All of us who’ve had those self-loathing moments in front of the mirror know exactly what he was feeling.

  2. Jeanmarie says:

    “Watching your film was one of those ultra-rare moments in a person’s life when the vastness of the entire universe seems to scrunch together to form a lens of lucidity through which one can view the senselessness and mysteries of life with complete and life-altering clarity.” WOW!
    I loved the movie, too. Keep up the good work.

    WOW was my reaction as well.

  3. Firebird says:

    I wrote just such a letter to Morgan Spurlock…then woke up and recorded it in my dream diary over my protein powder/whipping cream mousse breakfast.

    LOL.

  4. Sam Elowitch says:

    You rock, Tom! You’ve made an invaluable and brilliant contribution to the world by spreading the low-carb, real-food, science based message in a manner that is humorous yet also intellectually rigorous. Letters like these should make you feel like a million bucks!

    It sure helps to stand on the shoulders of giants. Then I poked my head up just far enough to be spotted by a lot of people, and I’m grateful for that.

  5. Amy Dungan says:

    Wow. I could cry tears of happiness for this man! That is just so fantastic. Sending your more pats on the back Tom. You certainly deserve them for helping so many people.

    Thank you.

  6. Be says:

    I am so happy for you Cary! Keep it up – you won’t believe that it keeps getting better!

  7. Jimmy Moore says:

    You just never know how much you can be loved and hated until you put yourself out there in a blog, podcast, book or making a movie. It’s not for the feint of heart. Kudos to you, Tom, for knowing how to deal with it so brilliantly. :)

    I know you feel the same way I do about it: one letter like that negates every hate mail you could ever receive.

  8. Rahul says:

    Dear Tom,
    I love this post, and while I can’t express my gratitude in such a nice letter like Cary I’ll try my best. I will say you have been the core reason for my own amazing change in my life, its like I was walking a unknown path where nothing I did gave me a sense of understanding and helped me learn from my mistakes, like all the bad diets and failed exercise attempts, it never gave me a good reason except for I’m too fat and lazy, but that explanation always confused me as even in my best state of dieting I would still have problems losing weight effectively, and more importantly any real weight-loss I had rarely showed significant result in my body and how I looked in the mirror.
    This just made the whole process worse as I have always needed visual proof of my growth to feel motivated. Then when your film came along on the “Documentary Channel” in NZ the first time I just stumbled on it and only started watching from second part of it but I was hooked as just like Cary said your documentary just provided validation and clear science behind every statement you claimed through the film which is exactly what I was looking for. The one that was by far the best proof or validation of your claims was “mother nature isn’t stupid” and what was our primary food source before farming was introduced in human history. That alone was enough for me to say DUUUH, how the hell did that never strike me lol.
    In conclusion, I would like to say THANK YOU VERY MUCH TOM, your film picked me up from that unknown road and let me start my journey to fulfilment on the right path and I’m sure it was a lot of hard work putting that film together but that film is your masterpiece. It has been the biggest contribution you have made in my life and I’m sure in most of the other Fat Head fan’s lives. I wish you good luck for all your future journeys.

    Warmest Regards,

    Rahul

    Thank you. I hate that DUH! moment during my interview with Dr. Al Sears. I pointed out that we read and hear all this conflicting advice, and he was the first who explained it to me in terms of “Mother Nature isn’t stupid.” Then he talked about what humans ate for most of their evolution. Light. Bulb. On.

  9. Phocion Timon says:

    One of my favorite activities is reading the hate mail occasionally published by the blogs I follow. I am always amused by the complete cluelessness and lack of critical thought by the writers of the hate mail. I know why you bloggers don’t publish more of the mail but I get a kick out of them.

    I recently had lunch with a writer for Dave Ramsey, whose books, lectures and radio shows about personal finance have helped lord-only-knows-how-many people get out of debt and get their lives together. We talked about the hate-mail issue, and apparently Mr. Ramsey likes to read his hate-mail aloud at staff meetings so everyone can have a good laugh.

  10. Alexandra says:

    Wonderful post! Cary has even more good things to look forward to as he progresses.
    I have transformed myself from a way overweight always hungry sugar eater to a happy to forget about food for 5-6 hours at a time slender person (about 15-20 lbs to go!).. it took several years but I am over 100 lbs lighter so far, full of energy and I feel much younger than my years.
    Eating very low carb and high fat has changed my life.
    Thank you for spreading the word in such an approachable and easy to understand way. I only talk about the subject of weight loss if asked…that’s when I suggest your movie as a good place to start.

    Thank you.

  11. Jackie says:

    What a wonderful testimonial! That’s fabulous!

  12. :-D :-D :-D :-D :-D

    Tom, you’re changing lives, even saving lives. You can be justly proud of your work.

    As can you. Humbling, isn’t it?

  13. Phyllis Mueller says:

    “Watching your film was one of those ultra-rare moments in a person’s life when the vastness of the entire universe seems to scrunch together to form a lens of lucidity through which one can view the senselessness and mysteries of life with complete and life-altering clarity.”

    It just doesn’t get better than that, does it? Congratulations, both of you!

    Thank you.

  14. Gretchen says:

    I have to add my WOW to the other commenters. Thanks for sharing this.

  15. LISA says:

    I can relate to his letter because I felt the same way the first time I’d seen FatHead. I literally sat there with my jaw wide open.

    But Tom, it goes beyond the information, it’s your process. I had read studies about low carb, had friends on Atkins, even heard lectures by Gary Taubes on the radio. I remember thinking that it was interesting, and leaving it there. Not until I saw your documentary, did it ALL CLICK. It’s the way you present the facts that cause such an epiphany for so many people.

    It is the voice of truth that comes through, backed up by all that science and presented in such a viewer-friendly way, that it is impossible not to have an ‘aha’ moment. I could literally see the light bulb come on over my head during your movie.

    I appreciate that. I couldn’t do any of this without all the outstanding work by those authors, lecturers and researchers. I figure my job is take what they’ve done and try to make it entertaining so people who aren’t natural science geeks will pay attention.

  16. Chloe says:

    I love it when people think they can hurt me with insults. It’s so amusing, because even if they care, I certainly don’t. My first name actually means “rock” in Gaelic and I’ve always said that mentally, it’s completely accurate because I’m both stubborn and impossible to insult.
    Great letter. I still find it hard to believe how many people believed low-fat was the way to go. For years, I thought low-carb was the only way to diet. When I was 6 my mom and sister would go on Atkins all the time, Paleo, South Beach, ect, and that’s how I grew up. It’s simply odd to consider eating any grains and high-carb fruits in attempt to lose weight.

    I learned both as a college newspaper columnist and as a standup comedian that you will ALWAYS make some people angry when you express an opinion. If you can’t take an occasional insult from the anger-issues people, you’d better choose a career outside the public view.

  17. Chris says:

    Cary sure tells it beautifully! And ditto, my story is definitely his! And I owe you an enormous thank you! I think one reason your movie “clicks” with people is how at the very beginning, you tell us ” we’ve been fed a load of balogna” and we’re like…”I KNEW IT!” because we’ve been doing what “the experts” told us for years to just feel older and tireder and fatter and sicker, and you start talking, and the scales start falling off our eyes. The wonderful and personable doctors, scientists, and science journalists you brought together in your film sure laid it out very logically. And your blog is super to continue learning and to be encouraged, and to not feel crazy because most people around you think yer nuts that you eat fat instead of “heart-healthy Oatey-O’s w/ skim milk. Fantastic work your doing, Mr. Tom!

    Thank you, and of course I can’t say enough about the people who agreed to be interviewed for the film. They didn’t know me from Adam, and it’s not as if I could send samples of my previous documentaries. When Dr. Eades pointed out some errors in the first edit and then offered to serve as a technical adviser to help me get the medical science right, I knew I’d met a real mensch.

  18. Ellen says:

    That guy ought to write for a living.. wow, powerful stuff. Congrats on making a difference! That should keep the glow on for at least a few days. :)

    I didn’t ask what he does for a living, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s a writer. I think that’s partly why he managed to put a lump in my throat; he expressed himself with such grace and sincerity.

  19. Tony K says:

    Congrats Tom.brilliant.

    Tony

    Thank you.

  20. Gerard says:

    Hey – after quitting the booze for just 5 days and keeping my carbs down to 20g a day i’ve lost 4cm around my gut. That is INSANE!!!! Booze must be really screwing me right up. I reckon for morons like myself the paleo community should really come down hard on alcohol and label it as what it is. As bad as fructose….both are exempt from the GI/GL indexes too but do far more damage then glucose.

    Great news on another convert! Your speeches, blogs, and movie are rippers…. A grade mate!…..I can identify with this bloke. While its nice to receive I don’t think you need re-enforcements from your fans… I think your too intelligent to let even 100 hate mails with no rationally constructed argument get in the way of objective truth & the affect its had first hand on so many people you know in person and on cyberspace.

    I suspect a lot of hate mail comes from vegans. Which is ironic. Vegans spreading hate and violent intent. Its a mad world.

    Yeah, booze can torpedo weight-loss efforts, no doubt. A glass of wine or two is fine, but if the goal is drop some pounds, even that should go for awhile.

    I may not need reinforcement from fans, but believe me, a letter like Cary’s is a real day-brightener and motivator.

  21. Torstein says:

    Hi Tom.

    When I discuss the topic of food with friends, I sometime make it kinda historical argument.

    As an example to get them to think I tell them that archeologists are really trying but having a hard time finding any of these light-margarine and no-fat products that we know are so “heart-healthy” in archeology-digs. They only seem to find marrow-eaten bones and lots of fish and animal-bones.

    I’m sure it must be possible to make a funny line about the nonsense that is creationism with the lack of light-products in archeology :) It seems they (proponents of fake foods) have a bit of the same attitude to (historical) science?

    Cheers,
    Torstein

    The usual comeback is that people only lived to around age 25, so heart disease didn’t have time to develop. That figure is, of course, based on an average that’s skewed downwards by lots of infant deaths and childhood deaths. When we adopted agriculture, the average lifespan went down to something like 19 or 20 for a long time.

  22. Laurie says:

    Welcome Cary. Tom’s documentary is a treasure! I’m so thankful for it because some of the people I blather to, aren’t able or won’t slog through GCBC, but the documentary form, and ‘Fat Head’ in particular is rapidly powerful. In the era of ‘instant gratification isn’t quick enough’ (Carrie Fisher), even the most harried and the busiest can veg out for long enough to sit through a movie. After ‘Fat Head’, they won’t be veg any longer, they’ll be carn. Justin and Tom Timberlake. “I’m going to have you carni (vorous) by the end of this song”

    Never thought I’d be mentioned in the same sentence as Justin Timberlake. Maybe I can participate in a wardrobe failure at some future Super Bowl.

  23. Gretchen says:

    I want to add my reaction to first watching Fat Head. My daughter was gung-ho about it, so I watched it with her. I enjoyed it for sure because of the comedic style, and the science was clearly presented and easy to understand. But at the end of it I have to admit I was angry. Seriously angry at being lied to by the “experts” for so long. And in a way I was also skeptical because it didn’t seem possible that I’d been lied to for so long. But then about two weeks later I watched Fat Head again and that’s when it all clicked. I began my low carb journey, tried to slog through GCBC with some success, read your and Dr. Eades’ blog, bought a book about low carb, bought my own copy of Fat Head to immediately begin to disseminate through my extended family, and switched the way I cook and prepare meals. I will add my voice to the many who have said it has been life-changing. I was carrying around about 12 extra “mid-life” pounds and those are gone now, and I’ve never felt better. I hit the milestone 50th birthday a couple months ago and know that I am healthier than ever because of finally eating right! I also especially appreciate your active blog and frequent posts. Cheers!

    I must say, I’m pleased at the number of people whose kids either told them about the film or watched it with them. Those are young people who won’t become type 2 diabetics.

  24. Janey says:

    Thank you for mentioning the eating-till-vomiting in “Supersize Me!”

    When that movie came out people everywhere were heaping praise on Morgan Spurlock and exclaiming over how eye opening it was for them. I was dumbfounded. I wondered if we had seen the same movie. How could anyone overlook the VOMITING? If McDonald’s is so addictive and fat-inducing, then why did he need to FORCE himself to eat to the point that the food wanted to come back up? Who does that in real life? And how could that type of experiment reveal anything except the stupidity and bias of the experimenter?

    I wondered about all the praise myself and concluded some of the reviewers must not grasp basic logic. If the food is making the guy sick, if he’s celebrating at the end because he doesn’t have to eat it anymore, then how the heck is it addicting?

  25. Alllen says:

    Great post Tom. I loved the “Dear Morgan” letters. That should be a weekly feature!

    And yes, Dave Ramsey’s team reads the best hate mail aloud in our staff meeting. Nothing diffuses someone’s pitiful attempt at hate and disdain like having 300 people laugh at it altogether! I’ve heard Dave say that, if you’re doing something significant, expect resistance. If no one disagrees with what you’re doing, you aren’t trying hard enough. We bail our hate mail around Dave’s place. :)

    I was surprised when you told me Dave Ramsey receives hate mail — what’s to hate about a guy who teaches people how to get their financial lives in order? — but of course he’s right; put yourself before the public, and you will draw some haters, no matter what message you deliver.

  26. Julie says:

    Now you went and made me cry.

    Thanks for what you do.

    We can have a little cry together.

  27. Chris says:

    Tom,

    Cary’s letter has to make you feel good. His education starts with Fat Head but shouldn’t end there. Cary needs to read Taubes and get his mind right about cardio. More bologna debunked by Dr. Sears and Dr. Doug McGuff.

    I always hope people who start with the film move on to the books. McGuff’s explanation of how the cardio craze began and what cardiovascular fitness actually means was excellent.

  28. Vanessa says:

    The thing I really hated about Super Size Me was that his girlfriend felt the need to include a detailed explanation of her sex life. Nobody cares, girl, or wants to know for that matter. I’d rather watch Morgan puke up that oh-so-addicting food again.

    That’s why my wife’s response to my question about our sex life gets the biggest laugh in the film. I think most of us who saw Super Size Me squirmed a bit during that detailed explanation. Waaaay too much information, not to mention Spurlock’s girlfriend came off as a ditz who doesn’t know diddly about biology.

  29. Peggy Cihocki says:

    Yay, Tom! You go, guy! Love it. May the word keep spreading.

  30. My Spurlock Letter would say something like this:
    Morgan;
    I sure Di feel like a tard now. For all these years I couldn’t figure out my wright gain. Boy you sure opened my eyes! I guess I should avoid them golden arches from now on.
    There is only one thing I don’t understand – I guess it proves your point though – I too the number 5000 and subtracted what you ate on the film. The numbers didn’t match up. I guess it must be a “New Math” they’re teaching you smart kids up there. I won’t worry about it thOugh, ’cause the head might explode with the quantum nutrition numbers you got going there!
    Your tarded, obviously fat and inferior lesser,
    Me.

    Now that would be an honest fan letter.

  31. Walter says:

    Articles you might find interesting:

    What’s worse than bad cholesterol? Meet ultra-bad cholesterol

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20066791-10391704.html

    Senators rail at big pharma’s secretive lobbying

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/05/29/eveningnews/main20067228.shtml

    The CBS article failed to mention that “ultra-bad cholesterol” results from glycation — cholesterol becoming bound up with fructose or glucose.

  32. Chris says:

    Hi Tom! I just watched your film last night and greatly enjoyed it. While I had already decided I was going to change my diet into a “primal” one without grains of any kind and with lots of meats, veggies, and fats, your film cleared up a lot of questions that were running around in my mind in a manner that I was able to easily understand.

    A few years ago, I was pushing upwards of 200 pounds on my 5’4″ frame and it took years using the “conventional wisdom” diets of calorie restriction, tons of cardio, and low-fat to get down to 120. Of course, I lost any muscle mass I had and looked the dreaded “skinny fat”. And then, just a few months ago, my weight started creeping right back up when I let go of my calorie restrictions.

    I’ve only changed my diet for a WEEK and I’ve lost 3 of the 8 pounds I had gained back. And I feel pretty darn good too. I don’t feel sluggish at all and I’m not beat dead tired like I would be when I’d get home from work. And most importantly, I don’t feel ravenously hungry all the time.

    I’ve started to incorporate strength training into my exercise routine and I’m cutting down on doing intensive cardio.

    Please keep doing what you do. I think the information you’re spreading will help a lot of people. Hell, I’m hoping to get my family members to watch your film with me when I see them this July.

    That’s the crucial difference, as far as I’m concerned. Yes, it’s possible to lose weight by semi-starving yourself, but why go through that when you can feel satisfied and energetic instead of hungry and tired?

  33. Nowhereman says:

    I don’t know what to say to add after reading that testamonial that anyone here has not already said. I can only say that I fall into that category of people who discovered Paleo and Atkins well before seeing Tom’s most excellent documentary.

    I’ve already heaped praises about Fat Head in the commentaries for each of the YouTube videos, so that’d be redundant, except to say I agree that Tom has done a great job of actually crystalizing this rather complex information into a form that anyone can comprehend (well, ALMOST anyone), and is entertaining at the same time. Yes, hate comments or mail is a given considering that you (Tom) are killing quite a few and very tasty sacred cows. Much of my amusement in reading the hate comments on YouTube is seeing how many sock puppets one lone, fanatic vegan can cook up to make it seem as though hordes of angry vegans are descending apon Tom in rightous anger! I think good ol’ Durianrider has at least three or four such sock puppets at last I bothered to count.

    Ah well, I wish I had your movie back in the day when I was first getting started on the Paleo diet to explain to people more clearly what it is I’m doing, and maybe get them to think about their own dietary habits. It certainly would have saved me a bunch of time pouring through all the junk alternative medicine that was floating around out there, and I could have narrowed down which books to put money into and where the real science is quietly tucked away.

    Like other folks here I have tried the other diets, I had even tried the vegetarian diets. I got horribly sick on them weeks into it. But soldiered on, mainly at the insistance of my vegetarian friends who assured me up and down that I was just “detoxing” or some crap like that, and that I’d get better after making a few adjustments. Well, I tried that, and when it came down to having to go to high-priced specialty health food stores to buy B-12 supplements, that’s when I knew to quit and go back to including meats in my diet. Supplements were my first indication that all other things being equal, that vegetarianism, veganism, fruitariaism or whatever was just not freakin’ natural for humans.
    And yes, like everyone else, for a number of years I’d been drilled into believing that carbs were great, especially grains, and saturated fats and red meats bad, ect. But as my years wore on, and I wasn’t able to lose much weight despite being an avid biker, walking, and lifting weights, I knew something was wrong, but I couldn’t place. I just knew from experiance that vegetarianism and veganism and the like were not the answer. That’s when I’d remembered way back to a television program from the late 1970′s with an early Paleo diet proponent. I remembered what he said about having to go out and do your own research to save your health, and so in my spare I began looking up everything I could at libraries and such (this was still in the late 1980′s and early 90′s and the Internet as we know it didn’t exist as a tool for research). Finally I pieced together the archeological data about hunter-gather societies’ diets from the Paleolithic to modern times, and set out to give my grand experiment a try as there was little to nothing about any of this in the existing local health communities of the time near me. Only a few had home raised beef, or venison, and a precious few had buffalo meat (the rest was easy and cheap since it consisted of whole nuts and seeds, plus various greens and fruits). But I perservered, collecting what I needed and enough of it at anyone time to last, and started off!

    Unlike my failed vegetarian experiance, within a couple weeks of eating and adjusting on my makeshift Paleo diet I noticed I was losing weight, feeling better and getting noticably stronger. Many of my usual allergies also gradually disappeared, the feeling of just raw, pure energy without a drop of coffee, tea, cakes, or excess sugar of any kind was exhilarating! And the lack of hunger…. Oh how many times I had people ask me if I had some sort of a metabolism problem since I only ate every 6-8 hours! I watched friends of mine get fatter and unhealthy while I remained trim, but not overly thin. Lean and well-muscled as long as I exercised properly. The only real issue was planning the cooking around my busy work schedule and in going out to eat at restaurants. When I ate “junk” food after nearly a full year on the diet, I seemed fine at first, but then felt very sick later on. It felt like someone was punching me in the gut, and then came the sugar crash! Ouch! When you haven’t experianced it in months, it’s like getting socked across the jaw! I learned to not over do it the next time around when I binged on the very occasional slice of pizza, cake, or cookie. When I went to eat out to eat with friends, I always managed carefully what I ate. I had to figure out on my own by going to various docotrs and experimenting that while I’m not a Celiac, I probably do have sensitivities to wheat as well as to soy. I also learned to follow my body’s instincts, and that’s where I found that I do well eating animal fat, and not gaining any weight at all for doing so. Later, I found out there is good science behind that, and that he Key’s Lipid Hypothesis is garbage.

    Anyway, I’d better wrap this up. I’m just glad that Tom is here to help educate people, and get them on the right path much quicker than I and probably a lot of other folks here were able to on our own. Keep up the good work, and I’m looking forward to seeing one day soon The Guy from CSPI t-shirts!

    Thank you. The Guy From CSPI is high on my list of t-shirt ideas.

  34. Barry says:

    Tom,

    You should have an official Facebook page. It would make it easier for us fans to publicize the movie without having to evangelize too much. I want to tell the world but they always look at me like I’m crazy. Kind of like when I tell them that a lot of the science behind the whole global warming thing is bogus. Clump these two things together and I feel like a conspiracy theorist. The thing is, I’m certain I’m right.

    I just hope we’re all vindicated before the people we care about pass away.

    Great work.

    My wife set up a Fat Head group and a Fat Head fan page. I don’t understand the difference. (No, don’t explain it to me. That would require me to think about Facebook.)

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/fathead.movie
    http://www.facebook.com/#!/home.php?sk=group_57440891958

  35. Laurie says:

    Spurlock’s girlfriend is a ‘vegan chef’.

    Yup. At the end of Super Size Me, Spurlock put himself in her capable hands, going on her vegan “purifying diet” to lose the weight he gained. And wowzers, it only took him six months to lose 20 pounds — that’s 20 pounds he’d just gained, which should have been the easiest kind of weight to lose.

  36. Peggy Cihocki says:

    At a party last night, I had a nice long chat with a new friend who is a nutritionist, and an unusual one at that. Her clients are lucky because she knows a) natural fats are not bad for them–to eat low fat is not healthful and b) wheat, sugar, and vegetable oils are poison. She said she is ashamed of what people in her profession have been doing for so many years and wants to be an agent of change. I suggested she watch Fathead and check out this blog–that she would find lots of helpful information here and through your links. Always happy to spread the word!

    That’s encouraging. I’ve heard from a few nutritionists who wanted me to know they don’t all think alike.

  37. Dana says:

    I don’t dismiss the idea of global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it just because science is wrong about low-fat diets. First off, science isn’t wrong about low-fat diets. The science is perfectly fine, what we understand of it so far. *Ideologues* are wrong about low-fat diets. Secondly, I had earth science in school, back when everybody thought global warming was bogus, and I learned about the carbon cycle. And I don’t care who you are, you can’t tell me that adding carbon to the carbon cycle that was not there previously (at least in recent history, on a geological scale) is going to have no effect at all.

    Rabbits changed the climate in Australia. We’re bigger and more numerous than rabbits.

    Part of the problem is that we used to adapt to local climates. That is how we became indigenous in places outside of Africa even though Africa is where our species originates. We don’t adapt anymore. We do whatever the hell we want and the planet just needs to keep up. Well, that doesn’t work. It’s exactly what any species does when it’s placed outside its natural habitat; witness the behavior of kudzu in the American South. But we’re smarter than kudzu. And if we’re different than animals in few other ways, the one thing that really differentiates us from the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to adjust to different environments without utterly destroying them. Changing them somewhat, sure–the book 1491 is instructive in that regard–but there’s a difference between tweaking things slightly to make it easier to find food, and totally devastating the landscape and the biosphere. We used to do the former. We now mostly do the latter.

    If the scientists haven’t figured out everything that is going on with the global climate thing, maybe that’s because global climate is a bit more complex than human metabolism. Which we have also not completely figured out. Even the people on the side of low-carb or Paleo eating don’t have all the answers. But it’s not difficult to spot general trends. Just because some people see no reason they shouldn’t slaughter oil rig workers and Gulf sea life just so they can drive an Escalade or H2 around town doesn’t change the reality.

    Of course, it doesn’t matter what you’re driving, in the end. The oil’s on all our hands just sitting here having this discussion–where do we think the plastic in our laptops comes from?

    I guess you could call it another case of carbs killing. HydroCARBons this time, not just CARBohydrates.

    And in the end this isn’t really about planetary survival. The reason some of us on the we-are-probably-heating-up-the-earth side of the argument get so upset isn’t because we all necessarily believe humanity will kill the planet–oh sure, some of us believe that, but it’s by no means a united front. But more importantly from our point of view, we’ll be killing ourselves. Already with the extreme reliance on plant agriculture (there goes that “carbs kill” thing again!), our population has exploded beyond belief. We don’t know at this point whether it can all be supported on foraging, as we did before the Agricultural Revolution. Most people say no. I say maybe there’s a chance, since on a Paleo diet one has a lower appetite. But it’s real dicey. Now with this climate change thing, if indeed we’re causing it (and I’m open to interpretation–as I said, nobody knows for sure yet, we just see some general trends), that will likely complicate the problem. How do you convert six-going-on-seven-billion people back to foraging? You can’t even get them all to speak the same *language.* It’s going to be a mess.

    And that’s just food going away. Never mind what the weather might do in terms of direct damage. Is already doing. I know people living in the Memphis area and in south Louisiana and things have been real ugly lately.

    If we don’t care about any other species–and history shows we don’t, I really think we only preserve species now because it gives some college kids a job on the government dime–then you’d think we’d at least care about our own.

    But history also shows that we don’t pay attention to warnings. It’s that getting everybody to go along with one idea thing again. So I’m dreading the thought that my kids or their kids will have to witness one hell of a die-off. It’s not a comforting thought.

  38. Elenor says:

    About the things you do, Tom…. Will you redo The Big Fat Fiasco DVD (with the slides more visible) like you have done the new one? I’d fer shure buy two again (and pass on my old ones). What you did with your Freakin’ Liars vid {wink} is super! (I watched it for the third time today, which is why it’s on my mind… Fingers crossed!

    The slides in the Big Fat Fiasco DVD were imported as graphics. Are they not clear in your copy?

  39. Jesrad says:

    That last letter describes so accurately and thoroughly my own recent history I could have written it ! Or actually, I couldn’t have because I don’t have a tenth of this gentleman’s awesome writing skills. Reminds me of a certain documentary-making edutainer around here (watch out for competition;) )

    It was a beautifully written letter. Cary told me later he’s a financial analyst. If only they all wrote so well.

  40. Barry says:

    Dana said, “I don’t dismiss the idea of global warming or climate change or whatever you want to call it just because science is wrong about low-fat diets.”

    Nor do I. I dismiss the idea that humans are causing the earth to heat up and it’s going to lead to worldwide catastrophe because the science supporting this view is awful.

    But this blog is not about Global Whatever so I’m sorry I brought it up. There are many similarities between the poor science and conventional wisdom on both subjects. The histories mirror each other. “Science” accepts a hypothesis, all of the money/funding/prestige/fame backs a poorly supported hypothesis and they’re off to the races. Very similar.

    So, when people like Dana blame the recent tornadoes, Katrina, hot weather/cold weather and the like on human caused man made Global Whatever I kind of shrug and say, “Okay.” Just like most of do when someone says, “Oh, you shouldn’t put butter on your broccoli because it’s bad for you.” Same reaction.

    Again, sorry for bringing up another religious topic here. If I comment any more I’ll keep it to nutrition.

    I don’t recall Dana blaming Katrina or tornadoes on global warming.

  41. Luke says:

    Dear Tom,

    I remember the old cheerios commercials and getting confused as to what could possibly be so bad as to raise your cholesterol. The immediate thought that came to my mind was candy, which is mostly sugar (ironic, isn’t it).

    Over the years I learned that eggs supposedly raised cholesterol. Then I learned that animal fat raises cholesterol. I was a little confused as I felt that we have been eating that way for centuries. It was also a little confusing as I had a friend who went vegetarian (he still is). This is our conversation (in meaning):

    “Find me one thing that meat is better at providing than a vegetable substitute.”

    “Protein”

    “Tofu has more protein in it than meat does. Anything else?”

    “Hmmm.”

    “See, the only good thing about meat is that it tastes so good.”

    I didn’t express it out loud, but I took issue with that statement. If meat has no place in the human diet, we wouldn’t have the desire to eat it. I concluded that we need meat because we are used to it being a reliable source of protein. Also, humans couldn’t be vegetarians before the 20th century as there are a number of nutrients that you couldn’t get from plant sources alone.

    In health, the whole jumbo got mashed up even more. First off, I felt that my teacher condemned saturated fat too early with little or no clinical evidence that he presented to me. We also watched Super Size Me.

    In the television program “Avatar: The Last Airbender,” morality is a mix of both European (children kissing, girls in skimpy clothes, Sokka having a lot of girlfriends, etc.) and Asian (death is bad, killing is evil, war is evil, civilians must remain safe at all costs, etc.) values. This annoyed the heck out of me as the values are often shoved down your throat with the opposing side getting little say in it. Out of all this comes a very clear side to food: Meat just tastes good, and that is it. This line is said by Sokka, who is supposed to be based off of an Inuit Indian.

    My main hypothesis throughout all of this was that humans consumed protein before they were agricultural because it was the most plentiful source of protein around. I also felt that undernourishment and heart disease were inversely proportionate.

    That is about the time that I discovered Fat Head on Netflix. I originally got a little ticked as I felt that losing weight on fast food was simple as all you needed to do was limit consumption. I then watched the trailer on youtube and saw the comments on the bottom saying that it was an eye opener.

    When I started to watch the documentary, I was very against what you were saying (It isn’t about taking you in and shoving food down your throat, it’s about human psychology). Slowly, I began to see your standing, blaming government and business. Once you got to nutrition, I was floored. Your arguments actually made sense (as opposed to Spurlock). The most profound statement that you made was “Mother nature isn’t stupid, she didn’t make humans the only species on earth that prefers food that will kill us.” From then on, everything clicked into place and I was a convert.

    When I told my family about this, they just shot me down stating that the film was biased, the same reason that they didn’t want to watch Super Size Me. Regardless, I quickly changed my diet to a diet of veggies and fruit and saturated fat. My mom helped me by buying me bacon to cook.

    After about a month, I decided to watch Fat Head again, and my dad watched it as well (he has been struggling with health because of stress at his job). After watching the movie, he said, “I think back on all the mistakes that I have made with nutrition in my life.”

    Since then, my family has moved from skim milk to 2%. My dad has also made the comment that he no longer has a ravenous hunger.

    It gives me great pleasure to know that it was just a chance meeting that I found out about you and your documentary. You have changed my life. Thank You!

    Thank you for watching. I hope your dad’s health improves.

  42. Bruno says:

    About the Dave Ramsay reference. His approach is fine for those who can’t think for themselves, but unlike you he is closed minded, arrogant, and unwilling to admit he doesn’t have all the answers. In fact he epitomizes the same type of thinking you’re fighting with the lipid theory zealots.

    There’s some good advice tucked in there with the self-serving “I’m religious, trust me and give me your money” (known as affinity marketing, very sleazy) approach of his, but this guy was calling those who bucked the norm and who warned of the ’08 economic collapse (like you’re going against the norm in your message) “nut jobs” and telling listeners to buy real estate that year. He went off on Peter Schiff (a fellow libertarian leaning individual) and put him down for having a father in prison. Check the Case-Shiller index and gold prices since his statements on Schiff? I haven’t listened lately but I doubt he’s issued any mea-culpas. He also scoffed at gold when it was $700/oz and now it’s over double that.

    It’d be a mistake to consider all rational criticism or skepticism of one’s ideas as equivilent to “hate mail”, and worthy of derision. They don’t get much more arrogant than Ramsay, despite his periodic professions of modesty.

  43. Paul Eilers says:

    Have you ever thought that maybe your background and experiences as an “edutainer” was to prepare you for such a time as this?

    Keep up the good work and God bless.

    It was a long and winding road, but I like where it’s taken me.

  44. Steve Martinson says:

    Between Fathead and a couple good books (“The Primal Blueprint” and Good Calories, Bad Calories”) this guy’s letter could have come from me. In a little over 90 days, here’s what I experienced:

    Cholesterol – 2/22/11: 231; 6/2/11: 170
    Triglycerides – From 249 down to 76
    A1C – From 6.3 down to 5.5
    Weight – From 189 down to 168
    Blood pressure is now 102/70.

    Knowledge is POWER!!!

    Indeed. The huge drop in triglycerides is especially impressive.

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