Weekend Mail

      38 Comments on Weekend Mail

Here are some recent emails I’d like to share.  I’ve edited them down a bit, but otherwise they’re exactly as they arrived in my inbox.  Since most of the text in this post is from the emails, I’m flipping my usual rule for quotes:  the emails I’m quoting are in black text; my comments are in maroon text.

Nutrition for Preschoolers – email from Andrea

I have worked in education my whole life, and just had the opportunity to spend a day observing in a local daycare and preschool. It is run by careful, goodhearted, conscientious people — who are dead wrong. If you’ve got time, the story is below.

I spent the day in a preschool class for 3- and 4- year-olds. The children came in between 7 and 8 in the morning after a breakfast that, according to the 18 children I talked to, was made of starch and sugar, maybe with some skim milk, but usually juice. By the time they got to class, their blood sugar was tanking and their moods were already affected. But that’s okay! We gave them skim milk and sugar cookies for a snack at 9! They were hyperactive until they crashed and the behavior problems stacked up.

At noon they were fed skim milk, tater tots, canned peaches in heavy syrup, and a sandwich made with white bread, plastic cheese, and a slice of bologna. They crashed shortly after. Fortunately, it was nap time, which was two hours. They needed it, but were groggy, unhappy, and very, very difficult on both ends of their nap. Of course, they got another snack once they were all up. This time it was fruit juice, crackers, and cupcakes!

They got to go out for playground time after their snack, and they ran around like crazy for the first half hour, all manic fun. The second half hour was filled with minor scuffles, complaints of tummy aches, and lots of crying. After playground time, it was just a blur of teacher yelling “no” or “sit down” and the children screaming, crying, and pitching fits. I finally had my fill and concluded my visit around 5, spoke with the Director, and was free at last!

What I learned from my experience–other than that I will never, EVER be a preschool teacher–was that these kids’ bodies and minds were being horribly abused.  Their “bad” behavior was either hypoglycemic grumpiness or hyperactivity. There were minor issues with discipline, but the root problem was lack of good nutrition.

What hope do children raised in such environments have? Children deserve better care. And I am not blaming the daycare. It was a good place, with good people and a stellar reputation. They do their best and keep the kids as well-behaved and cared-for as possible. They are doing their jobs and following the rules. The rules must change, because they are killing us all.

Amen, Andrea.  As a father of two girls, I can assure you that even kids who live on a near-paleo diet can throw temper-tantrums and become scatter-brained now and then … but it’s now and then.  When we allow our girls to eat sugar and other junk on special occasions, we pretty much count on a crash or a meltdown occurring within the next hour.   As one of the doctors pointed out in The Sugar Trap, after the sugar causes a blood-sugar crash, you’re not talking to a functioning brain anymore — you’re talking to a spinal cord.

Almost 60 pounds lighter in four months – email from Alex

I’ve been heavy since 3rd-4th grade.  I remember my doctor, during my high school physical, saying “You know you’re big right?” and, in my opinion, being a little rude.  I have tried several times to lose weight and each time I’ve only been able to stay motivated for a week or two and never really lost anything.

On Saturday 3/19/2011, my sister and her husband were over for a movie night. They suggested your movie (because they had seen it once already and liked it) but at the time we decided to go for something a little lighter and I decided I’d watch it later instead.  Well, long story short, they left, and at about 3:30 am Sunday my eyes were closing and I said “Oh, I should watch Fat Head.”  I started watching and didn’t have any trouble staying awake.  At that point I told myself I would change my eating habits.  My wife and I woke up the next morning around 10 a.m. and the first thing we did was watch your movie again.  She agreed it was great and that we should start eating better.

Well, here we are in early July and my wife and I are still staying strong.  We have completely changed our eating habits and lifestyles.  I follow what you did in the movie by cutting my carbs and keeping them around 100.  I’ve also moved away from sugary and processed foods in general.  I currently weigh 199.3lbs and I’m still losing 1-3 lbs/wk.  I went from stretching a XXL shirt to make it fit to comfortably wearing a large, and from being tight in size 44 x 32 pants to comfortably wearing 38 x 32s. Among other things, we’ve taken up running, regularly dancing using our Wii, and now have learned to enjoy things such as yard work.  We are planning on running our first ever 5k in Sept and, while I don’t have much hope of placing or anything yet, I have confidence I’ll do pretty well.

I hope you don’t mind my long-winded email, I just figured you probably would like to hear good feedback and I definitely wanted to thank you.

I don’t mind at all, Alex.

Alex was kind enough to send some pictures of his progress.  The first pictures, when he weighed 256, are a little fuzzy, but you get the idea.  Look at him now at 199 pounds.  How’s that for an impressive body transformation?

The calorie-equation freaks will no doubt insist that Alex lost weight because he consumed fewer calories than he burned, and of course that’s true – I’ve never claimed otherwise.  But as he explained in the email, Alex tried losing weight many times before and failed.  So there are two possible explanations: 1) For most of his life, Alex didn’t have the character to stick with a diet, but suddenly developed character after watching Fat Head, or 2) The diets Alex tried before caused him to ended up feeling starved so he gave up, while the low-carb diet allowed him to eat less without feeling hungry and fatigued, so he stuck with it.

I don’t think it’s a matter of character.  I think it’s a matter of biochemistry.  The “character” part of it is in being willing to give up the foods you like once you realize they screw up your biochemistry.

A biologist changes her mind – email from Lorraine

The last week of April I was home – bored and depressed.  This was the usual night for me since I put on over 60 pounds.  I would just sit on my couch watching movie after movie.  Luckily, I discovered your documentary on Netflix.  April 27th was the night you changed my life.

I was always a thin child, but in my junior year of high school I gained about 40 pounds.  After being teased and bullied for my weight gain, I resorted to unsafe diet pills (ephedra) and over-exercised (approximately 1-2 hours a night).  I’m embarrassed to admit that I even resorted to throwing up on occasion.

I lost the weight and went back to 110 pounds, but I was tired, hungry, weak, and experienced heart palpitations.  I wasn’t aware of this at this time, but I could have caused severe damage to my heart.  I was able to maintain my weight for two years, but it was a constant struggle.  I received my A.S. in nutrition and dietetics, and thought I knew it all — calories in/calories out, fat is bad, salt is bad, meat is bad, and so on.  Our entire curriculum was based on the guidelines set forth by our government.

I eventually had a change of heart and went to pursue my B.S. in biology.  Over the course of four years, I slowly but surely regained the weight and then some.  I started a new diet almost every two weeks, but always failed.  I wrote down everything I ate and counted every little calorie to make sure I consumed 1200-1400 calories a day.  I worked out approximately 6 days a week.  I just gained more weight.  I had never felt so frustrated in my life, because I knew exactly how much I was eating.  I began to accept the fact that my thin days were over and I was just meant to be a heavy woman.

By April 2011, I was 25 years old and 171 pounds. I was depressed, antisocial, and I just wasn’t my normal self.  I gave up on living. I missed birthdays, social events, vacations,  and New Years Eve parties because I did not want my friends to see how big I had become.  Additionally, I turned down dozens of dates.  I knew I couldn’t be in a relationship if I didn’t love myself.  I lost two years of my life in hiding.

And then I watched your film.  I couldn’t believe it, because it went against everything I had learned in school.  Being a biologist, I checked and rechecked a lot of the research in your film.  I studied the pathways of the hormones and other metabolic processes.  I couldn’t believe how all this information is just simply ignored.  I ordered some of your recommended books such as Atkins, “Good Calories Bad Calories,” and “Protein Power.”  I studied the low-carbohydrate lifestyle as if it were a college class.  I realized that all the calorie-counting in the world would have never helped me.  I was addicted to carbohydrates and I had no idea.

I followed the Atkins diet because I needed some guidelines to get me started.  At the time, the low-carb lifestyle was a new concept to me.  Now I write to you a little over 4 months later and 33 pounds lighter.  I am 138 pounds and still dropping.  I went from a size 14 to a size 6.  I graduated with my biology degree in May and a new lease on life.  I was able to lose 33 pounds without feeling hungry, weak, or resorting to unhealthy dieting methods.  I am no longer depressed and chronically bloated.  I don’t count calories, I have more energy, and I am no longer starving myself to lose weight.

It is because of you that I am living my life like a 25-year-old should.  I am confident and happy.  I still have more weight to lose; however, this is the first time in my life I can confidently say that I know I can lose the weight and keep it off forever.  Now I work full-time as a secretary and a research assistant in a lab.  I am currently shadowing a physician, and I applied to graduate school to become a physician’s assistant.  Four months ago I dreaded going to my interviews, but now I actually look forward to them.  I hope to one day be a successful PA with a family of my own.

I have never written anyone before, but I needed to tell you my story.  I know you must get e-mails like this all the time, and I don’t expect a reply.  I just needed to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  God bless you and your beautiful family.



God bless you too, Lorraine.  Good luck with your career – and enjoy those new clothes!


38 thoughts on “Weekend Mail

  1. Tom Pentzer

    Very cool. I’m also 50 lbs lighter than I was last October as a result of ditching the carbs and gluten. I recently discovered your movie and blog, and I’ve recommended it to everyone I work with, including the doctors. Thanks for all you do!

  2. Anna, Fair Flavors

    I can really relate to Lorraine’s story. Never understood why I was so terribly overweight while I was constantly dieting. Once I starved myself and lost 80 pounds, but since no one can keep that up, the weight slowly came back…and more. I went ultra low calorie and it didn’t work. I went vegetarian, thinking that very low fat must do the trick. It didn’t. All it gave me was depression and an even bigger butt!

    One day I was desperately searching the web for info and stumbled upon Mark’s daily apple. I read a lot of the info and in one post, someone mentioned “Fat head”. I watched it and cried. I felt like I was robbed of a healthy weight, not because of a character flaw, but because of all the wrong information. I radically changed the diet and now, three months later, I have lost 20 pounds without effort, no hunger and no hard exercise. My partner is doing great as well and is a huge support. And for the first time in my dieting life, I don’t consider this a diet I can’t wait to quit, but a sensible and managable lifestyle I can maintain. And the best part is, that the guilt tripping days are gone! My big thighs are not the result of a crappy character, but just wrong info!

    Thanks, Tom, for helping me with the right information. I will now try to spread the word (I’m Dutch and our government is just as stupid as yours, trying to feed us lower-than-low fat. Recently a supermarket got a price for “Good food product of the year” bij making “extra low fat” ground beef. 30% of the product wasn’t actually meat, but soy protein. When the government thinks that those kind of frankenmeats are better than the real thing and deserve a price, there’s a lot of work to do…..)

    Sorry to hear your government is just as stupid as ours, but I’m glad you’ve learned to ignore them.

  3. Patricia

    Lorraine’s story is beautiful. How fortunate she is to have found what works for her; so many people go through their lives blinded by conventional wisdom that they can’t see what is right in front of them. She’s right . . . so many of us are lucky that you do what you do, Tom.

    Alex’s difference is phenomenol! And it’s just going to get better for him the longer he lives the lo-carb life. It’s great that he sent pictures because they speak volumes. Isn’t it great that it’s the belly that is the first to go when you eliminate the carbs?!

    It’s mind boggling that these are just two of the thousands of stories out there. I sure hope the tide is turning so that thousands and thousands more get the message.

  4. Gary McRiddle

    That last e-mail struck me funny. A couple weeks ago I was out at dinner with my wife and out of nowhere I theorized that bulimia is the government’s fault. Makes sense, when you think about it. You’re a vulnerable teenage girl, following government-approved dietary advice with body composition to match, constantly reading in magazines and seeing on television that the only healthy and sustainable way to lose and/or maintain weight is to “balance your calories,” and after months or years of failed dieting and constant bullying about your supposed lack of self-control, you resort to an act of desperation to boost your self-worth.

    That’s my theory, anyway

    And of course refined sugar and wheat don’t do a person’s mental health any favors as it is (my own included, but perhaps I’ll get into that another day).

  5. Peggy Holloway

    I sent my daughter a message to read this blog post. About a year ago, she took a job at a preschool as she was considering going back to school to earn a degree in early childhood education. (Her previous degrees are in theatre and and she thought she needed to do so something where she could actually find a job). Her experience was exactly as described above and she lasted about a month and completely reversed her change of career plans. She was appalled at the behavior of the 4-year olds in her charge, which included a child who literally ran around the classroom, over the tops of tables, destroying other children’s papers and shouting obscenities. She plans to start her own family in the next few years and is really concerned about sending her own children to daycare/preschool because she was told that the government mandates feeding children cereal and that a friend got into a fight with a daycare director when she asked that her child not be fed cereal.
    I am a college professor, and I have to say that student behavior at that level has deteriorated over the years. I have a 3-hour night course for elementary education majors this semester, and even those 20-somethings are cranky and rude. By 9:00, they are tired and whiny and asking to get out early. (I would never want any of those future educators to teach my kids/grandkids!) I am 58-years old, taught at another college all day, and I’m still going strong! I have no doubt that the high-carb college diet has something to do with this as well.

    When a kid’s (or an adult’s) blood sugar goes on a roller-coaster ride, bad behavior is often a result.

  6. Angel

    Thank you to Andrea, Alex, and Lorraine for sharing their stories, and thank you Tom for sharing them with us. No one in my immediate circle of family/friends/acquaintances eats low-carb, and it’s posts and stories like these that help reinforce my determination to eat low-carb and stay healthy.

  7. Paul Bourret

    I also started the low carb lifestyle back around May. I was 265 lbs and have been a T-2 diabetic for about 5-6 years. After my quarterly doctor’s visit at the end of April, with my A1C at 7.4, I decided that I really had to make some changes. My sister-in-law suggested that I read Good Calories Bad Calories and it was an eye opener. At the start of July, I started cutting back the carbs to around 50-75 g/day and the weight started melting away. In addition, by blood sugars have been in much better control. At the time, I was in Weight Watchers (started before reading the book) and got the “yellow card” for losing weight too fast. Needless to say, I am not in that program any longer.

    At my doctor’s visit in July, my A1C had dropped to 6.5 and for the first time in years, I came out of the office needing one less medication. Since then, I have gone even lower on the carbs and I am feeling great. Down now to 235 and have lost a good 3-4 inches on the belly. My achy knees no longer ache and my energy level is high.

    Best of all, I don’t consider this a weight loss diet – it is my new diet for life.

    That’s exactly how you need to view it. It should be a permanent change.

  8. LCNana

    Another thing that’s kinda sad, Tom, when people have the wrong information is that they can never simply let go and have a wonderful treat without a lot of guilt, red faces, “oh gee I really shouldn’t” talk etc.

    Last night at a family BBQ, I brought a huge batch of Mexican Cheesecake – a ton of cream cheese, butter, sugar, and dough. From a low-carb perspective it was not so great, but from the low-fat folks’ perspective it was like a bomb ready to explode.

    Me? I ate a large piece with no guilt because I know today I’m back to lamb chops with greens cooked in bacon fat for breakfast. I got to eat this really terrible treat because I know it’s a once in a while thing – no worries.

    My poor family! They looked at this treat – goggled at it! Asked what was in it. Went: Oooo, ahhh! Told each other they just should not be eating such fatty, sugary, buttery, creamy, cheesy stuff. Yet out went their hands too. The difference? I know what it is, I know I only have it once in a great while, and then I go back to sanity. With them they soon reached for seconds and even thirds, got the huge fat/sugar rush, went home making me promise to send the recipe. And today they will try to get on that sad train down the low-fat tracks.

    Tom, thanks for sharing your mail, and encouraging us with those wonderful stores.

    I’m a big believer in the notion that if you’re going to cheat (rarely, we hope), just enjoy it. When I have pizza once or twice per year, I don’t feel guilty the next day.

  9. Lynnanne

    My fiance and I almost effortlessly lost an entire person (90+60 pounds) low-carbing it, which we kind of accidentally stumbled into. For the first time in our dieting lives we’re not hungry and we’re full of energy. I’ve been telling him what I’ve learned from the FatHead video (and your blog) about how the whole “fat is bad carbs are good” meme came about, but I guess a picture (or movie) is worth a thousand words. I finally got him to watch your movie last night and my normally laid back guy took several hours to calm down; he was royally cheesed off to learn what was behind how he’d been misled (and fat) for most of his diet life. He’s been on the phone nonstop telling friends and family to watch your movie.

    He has every right to be angry over how we were misled. Tell him I appreciate the marketing efforts.

  10. Lori

    “The ‘character’ part of it is in being willing to give up the foods you like once you realize they screw up your biochemistry.”

    Agreed. There’s a lot of talk about loving your body, but once you realize that something makes you feel lousy, and you know what to eat to feel good and be healthy, eating it on more than a rare occasion shows a lack of respect for your body.

    And juice, tater tots, canned peaches, baloney sandwiches and cupcakes at the preschool? Really? Did the four-year-olds choose the menu that day?

    I found that aspect of it got easier and easier once I noticed the difference in how I felt after different meals. I think when you remove the junk from your diet, you lose some tolerance for it, so the occasional indulgence makes you feel worse than you ate junk all the time

  11. Underground

    I’m just waiting for some enterprising lawyers to latch onto this issue and beat the grain industry about the head with it. I’m surprised no one has bit on that yet.

    I hope that doesn’t happen, frankly. I’d rather we just stop pushing grains as magical health food.

  12. Susan

    I will never get enough of these success posts! Please keep posting these whenever they come in to you. I have been following your blog since 02-19-09, and these are always so enjoyable to read. They help reaffirm my resolve to stay LC and grain free. I’ve lost 45 pounds eating this way, and have managed to keep it off for about two and 1/2 years so far. I try to stay on top of many of the LC blogs to keep up on the most current information on LC and paleo eating.

    By the way, you will never get tired of hearing “Wow! You look great!”

    I’d end up posting several per week some weeks, but I’ll keep posting some now and then. I hope readers who are just getting started with a change in diet find them inspiring.


  13. C

    I have a 5 year old sister, and my mom is constantly complaining about how they give her PB&J in kindergarten and goldfish after soccer practice. They need to stop giving kids that junk! How do they know the kids don’t have diabetes, but their parents haven’t had it diagnosed yet? How do they know the kids don’t have ADD and the doctor prescribed a low sugar diet, but the parents were unaware of the snacks being given? They have no way of knowing, and they could be doing some kids serious harm! Even if they don’t have a medical condition no kids should be eating that!

    I’m afraid that’s what I see most kids eat these days … all carbage.

  14. emi11n

    Geez, you know fat phobia has taken over when people are giving three and four year olds SKIM milk! And what’s with giving them cupcakes in the afternoon after giving them cookies in the morning??? Does anyone really think that’s a good idea?? Gahhhh!!

    But the cupcakes are low-fat, you see …

  15. cTo

    This reply is to Lorraine, if she’s reading this:

    Lorraine: So much of what you said sounded familiar to me. I too am a female biologist in my 20s who has always struggled with weight and appearance and let it sink my self esteem. When I first figured out how everything we’ve been told to do is so blindingly, obviously wrong when you look at the biology closely, i was appalled, and angry, but also relieved, because I felt I had finally risen above the lies and bullshit that had held me down for so long.

    I been on a paleo diet for about 3 months now (although I only saw Tom’s movie the other day; I too have been studying and absorbing as much information in this field as I can 😉 ) and I just wanted to recommend to you another great site, http://www.marksdailyapple.com/, in case you havent discovered it yet. I recommend it specifically because it has a great community of people associated with it that are not only happy, but eager, to help support and encourage each other as they work to find better diets and better health. That community support has been one of the most important things in keeping me moving forward on this path. Since I identify with your story so much already, then I hope it might be of help to you as well.

  16. Jean-François

    I’ve made big changes to my diet ever since I saw your film late last year. Unfortunately, I’ve not had the will to let go of carbs and junk food as much as I’d want. Hopefully I’m getting there, though, and will develop increasing resolve. I do feel a whole lot better ever since I gave up on most cereals and started eating meat and eggs instead. I check the ingredients list of everything I used to buy, most of which disgusts me. I’ve already had a lingering problem with constant tiredness/lethargy that no one seems to be able to pinpoint. This diet seems to at least make parts of it better.

    I have not been successful in converting any family member, though, as I live in a French speaking area in New Brunswick. I tried to show your film to one or two of them but although they understand English they are not fluent enough and the finer points are lost on them. I can’t find any pro-paleo or Atkins literature in French either, in Eastern Canada people seem to view proponents of such diets as heretics needing to be discredited at all costs. There is Dr. Michel Montignac from France who passed away recently, who enjoyed a fair amount of notoriety in neighboring Quebec and published a bunch of successful books, but he didn’t go as far as in cutting out cereals and promoting the consumption of animal fat, although he recommended to avoid starchy foods and other food with a high glycemic index, which is at least a start. But needless to say, all of the nutritional community in French-speaking Quebec banded together to brand him a quack. It looks like a smaller and more insular population will not allow any room for proponents of diets that contradict the USDA’s dogma to build credibility and grow an audience like it is the case in the US.

    My hopes of finding a credible scientific figure of authority for my family to make the paleo diet seem credible are now almost gone. As much as I love the likes of you, Jimmy Moore, Mark Sisson and a handful of others, they’ll only view them as “snake oil salesmen from the Internet”. I guess my only hope is now to become a living example of how it should be done.

    If you end up finding some credible sources in French, let us know.

  17. Underground

    “I hope that doesn’t happen, frankly. I’d rather we just stop pushing grains as magical health food.”

    I’m not for the whole attitude of sue every chance you get either, but I’m afraid it may take something like that to make significant changes.

    I was overweight after some surgery, bad knees, I was really bummed out because I had always been very active and it was difficult recovering and getting back into it. So that just became the vicious circle of gaining weight and feeling like doing even less. Which in turn made me feel even worse in every way.

    I was eating far too much also. Unfortunately going from where I needed over 3000 calories a day to keep up, the appetite didn’t adjust down on it’s own. I got to where I was 1 point away with my blood sugar from having the doctor want to put me on medication.

    I decided I couldn’t have that. So I figured high blood sugar, well, if I avoid carbohydrates that should come down right? It turned out to be far more effective than I ever thought. But I struggled with it.

    If I wasn’t going to eat carbs, and I wasn’t supposed to eat saturated fats, what the hell was I going eat then? That pretty much leaves lean chicken and non starchy veggies. And things like tofu and low fat manufactured foods.

    I like salads, but it was difficult. I wasn’t exposed to the idea of LCHF until after I had already lost a fair amount of weight. I was doing pretty well, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to maintain it.

    Fat Head was certainly a catalyzer for me. LCHF seemed like a good idea, the actual research I could find (or not find) seemed to imply that it may be a good idea. So I gave it a try.

    I lost some more weight, but the main thing I noticed was the increased mental clarity. As a software developer also I’m sure you know, being able to concentrate intently on a problem for extended periods is important and can affect your performance. It felt like some sort of fog had been lifted that I didn’t even fully realize had been there until it was gone.

    And I don’t feel like I’ll start eating unhealthily again, that surprised me also.

    So now I’ve been trying to figure out how to work some carbs back into my diet to compliment intense and/or extended activity again. I don’t want to go overboard, I think the key is to match it before and during dependent on what I’m doing.

    If you need some carbs for intense exercise, I’d suggest you avoid getting them from grains or refined sugars. Tubers, nuts and whole fruits would be the better choices.

  18. Underground

    I will say one thing that really helped keep me away from the ubiquitous chip are microwave pork rinds.

    You get that crunchy, savory satisfaction without any carbs. And it’s generally just pork rinds without a bunch of crap added.

    Just make sure you’re not buying pork rinds fried in some nasty vegetable oil. I’ve seen some of those.

  19. Nowhereman

    “I think when you remove the junk from your diet, you lose some tolerance for it, so the occasional indulgence makes you feel worse than you ate junk all the time”

    Lori, Tom, I know I’ve mentioned how badly I react to the junk food now, but I think it needs reiterating to folks that once you’ve kicked it, it’s hard to go back to anything else precisely because it does hurt so much sometimes since you now no longer have a tolerance for the after-effects.

    The only way I can describe it to folks sometimes is that it like the saying about the man who didn’t know he had a headache until it was taken away. You don’t know sometimes you are suffering until you take the suffering away!

    I believe when we stop eating sugar or other refined carbs, our bodies down-regulate the ability to process them. So when we eat them now, we really feel it.

  20. mrfreddy

    I’ve always poo-poo’d the idea of a “sugar-buzz” but just recently, we ate at a McDonald whilst on roadtrip. I was starting a holiday cheating binge, so I had a double quarter pounder, with bun, large fries, and a large vanilla shake (ultra decadent, no?)… In the aftermath, my wife had a lot of fun mocking my odd behavior and weird outbursts, and I had to admit, I WAS on a some sort of sugar high. Definite mood change, and my brain wasn’t really operating on all cylinders… I was kind of hyperactive and nutty for a little while.

    So I guess there is such a thing as a sugar buzz. In my case, it was probably exacerbated by the fact that my body isn’t used to sugar coming in in such huge amounts.

    The shake did taste good tho..

    Before we went low-carb, Chareva’s drug of choice was a Snicker’s bar or some other sugary snack. Afterwards, she’d become glassy-eyed and giddy — I called it “going to Charevaland.” Then her blood sugar would drop and I would go from being the world’s greatest husband to a generally objectionable person.

  21. Ailu

    I hope you keep doing these Weekend Mail posts, Tom. I really look forward to them. Kinda reminds me of Mark’s Weekend Link Love, I just gotta read ’em! 🙂

    I may start posting them more frequently.

  22. Rhonda Cowsert

    I remember writing you a rambling (seriously rambling) e-mail thanking you for all you’d done in getting this information to the public. Fat Head marked a massive shift in my dieting experiences. After years of doing low fat/low calorie starvation type diets with nothing to show for it except a bigger butt and a cranky disposition, I started LCHF after watching Fat Head at the end of May.

    As of this morning, I’ve lost 48 pounds! 🙂 For the first time in my life I’m able to lose weight easily without resorting to unhealthy starvation type diets.

    Outstanding. I appreciate all the emails (rambling or not) from people who made a positive change after seeing the film.

  23. Andrea Lynnette

    I (the Andrea from the email) went low-carb after a diabetes scare about two months ago. I went to a baby shower yesterday, and there were candies and cakes and cookies all over the place. I had a piece of candy which tasted far too sweet to me. And all I could think when I looked at a gorgeous strawberry shortcake was “they ruined the strawberries!” It’s amazing how your body readjusts. The smells that used to entice me to binge on sugar made my stomach want to have an emergency evacuation. But it does take time. Withdrawal from these addictive substances can be a real bear.
    I know I had the Atkins Flu when I first went Paleo-ish, but I was giving up alcohol, caffeine, sugar, and grains all at the same time. Can you say withdrawal? Those first days were awful. My mood was foul and my energy was non-existent. But I was losing weight, so I kept at it. After three or four days, I woke up feeling *good* and haven’t looked back.

    It’s amazing how those foods lose their appeal over time. I used to like pancakes. Now the smell of them makes me gag.

  24. Bean

    Underground: you may not need extra carbs for extended exercise (though admittedly each person is different). My husband, who along with me has been eating low-carb for over a year now, just completed a sprint distance triathlon – just over 1.5 hours of pretty high-intensity activity – on a ham & eggs breakfast. No “sports drinks”, just water. He also commented that he didn’t bonk and had gas left in the tank to really sprint to the finish line. And he did the whole thing about 6 minutes faster than last year. As for me, I play hockey regularly and typically at lunchtime with only the breakfast of bacon & eggs to fuel me (eaten five hours earlier), and I feel like I have limitless energy. Getting off the carb cycle seems to remove the “bonking” part of intense exercise. It’s a surprisingly handy side effect – no more complicated pre-game/pre-workout meal planning, just go out and have fun.

  25. Tricia

    The preschool story hit home for me although some may read it and think that the issue was with the cupcakes, cookies, etc. Our son is in a federally funded preschool which strictly follows the USDA guidelines. Recently there was a change from 2% milk to skim milk as a “healthy” initiative to compliment the carb-loaded menu. But, a meal consisting of chicken nuggets, tater tots, fruit cup, and skim milk is considered healthy?? I had to laugh when we got a note home indicating that they would no longer be able to offer sugar-free ice pops on hot afternoons because they are considered “junk food.” Yes, please keep the evil sugar-free ice pop away from my son. I’m sure that’s the problem with childhood obesity. :rolls eyes:

    And even school officials who know better are stuck with the USDA rules.

  26. Lorraine


    I am glad to hear another biologist has “seen the light” just like me. Unfortunately, I believe many men and women are able to relate to my story. The misinformation about food and our bodies greatly influences the physical and mental health of those who are overweight.

    Thank you for your recommendation. 🙂

  27. Robert

    > And even school officials who know better are stuck with the USDA rules.

    Amen to that. My girlfriend is a public school health/PE teacher, and despite the fact that she finds the low-carb science compelling and follows it herself, there’s nothing she can do. In fact, the national exam on physical education and health ensures that all teachers will disseminate the low-fat + starve + exercise formula that has failed us so miserably. It’s like teaching evolution in the South[ern U.S.A.], except the whole world is the South…

    I feel for her. Must be frustrating.

  28. Andrea Lynnette

    Tricia, I wish I could say I was surprised. But they classify certain things as healthy or unhealthy pretty arbitrarily.The way the rules are structured in my area, you can give a kid all the Sunny D you want, but a diabetic-friendly frozen fruit pop is out of bounds.

    Even if you could convince the day care centers and schools that the rules were bogus, what then? The state and federal government won’t LET them make choices for themselves!

  29. Lori

    Re: occasional indulgences, after I quit wheat for awhile, it only took a couple of re-exposures with stomach aches and horrible sinus congestion to break me of the habit.

    Other foods are sickening sweet (like the yogurt I got for a friend when she visited) or don’t even taste like food (like some of the junk in the cupboard at work). Perhaps it really is easier to get to one side or the other regarding healthful eating.

    Once you stop eating junk, it tastes like junk when you try it again.

  30. Underground

    “Underground: you may not need extra carbs for extended exercise (though admittedly each person is different).”

    Caving for 8 hours +, I need some carbs to be able to keep moving. Although not nearly as much as I thought I did in the past. I’ve tried staying low carb, and it just doesn’t seem to hit me fast enough to help.

    There’s also the issue that it needs to be durable, non perishable and compact. Pudding cups are not a pleasant thing to find squished in your pack.

  31. Peggy Holloway

    My partner and I are distance cyclists.I have been low-carbing for nearly 12 years and started cycling 5 years ago. I refused to change my diet, in spite of being told I could not possibly do distance rides without carbs. I never felt the need to snack and did fine on my diet. My partner’s been cycling for over 10 years and this summer, for the first time, did the rides as a low-carber. He is amazed at the extra energy and stamina he has. We ate steak and eggs for breakfast (usually about half-way through the 60+ mile rides) and had nothing at the SAG stops but water. He is convinced that having converted to ketone-burning prevents “bonking.” He’s nearly 70 years old and is in the best health ever. He also lost 35 pounds this summer that refused to budge on exercise and a conventional diet. Steve Phinney is also a proponent of intense exercise on a ketogenic diet – I highly recommend reading “The Art and Science of Low-Carbohydrate Living,” because Steve did a lot of research with elite cyclist. That was the book that finally convinced my partner to go low-carb.

  32. Keith

    “The state and federal government won’t LET them make choices for themselves!”

    … and the state and federal governments have been captured by the food-industrial complex. This is the root cause of the problem, and I have no idea how that root cause can be corrected. Until it is, only a small number of people will have accurate information about proper diet.

    That’s why I want a much smaller government. Take away their power, and there’s no one worth bribing anymore.

  33. Jeff S.

    Hi Tom, just wanted to thank you again for making this movie and opening up our eyes. Just giving you an update from last time I left a comment, 3 1/2 weeks have passed and I’m down a total of 15.5 lbs while my wife is down 12lb as well. I’m even walking to work now (only about 3 miles a day, but it’s a start). While I do miss pizza and fries (boy do I miss fries) The happiness and satisfaction I get looking in the mirror far exceeds what I could get from eating those foods.

    We still have about 20-25lb more to go, but with the results we’ve seen we are now both confident that it’s within our reach.

    Thanks again and take care!

    Those are great results, so keep it up. Trust me, after awhile you’ll taste a french fry and wonder why you liked them.

  34. Tricia

    “The state and federal government won’t LET them make choices for themselves!”

    I was reminded of this fact today. My son is lactose-intolerant and therefore we have to provide an acceptable milk alternative. (Here’s a thought, just provide water!) I got a call from the center this morning asking if I could run out to the store to get him some more milk alternative because if he didn’t have one of his “components” for lunch, they couldn’t receive federal funding for him for the day.

    Head. Bang. On. Desk.

  35. Susan

    That’s why I want a much smaller government. Take away their power, and there’s no one worth bribing anymore.

    Amen, to that!

  36. Alison

    I couldn’t believe this article and am praying that this doesn’t happen in my state. This obsession with BMI in children is truly getting out of hand! They need to look at the bigger picture, why this is happening…I really wish we could send a copy of your movie to Michelle Obama. =)


    What a stupid idea. So we track BMI scores for kids … and then do what, exactly? Tell the parents to put them on low-fat diets?


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