The Men Who Made Us Thin

      59 Comments on The Men Who Made Us Thin

Awhile back, the BBC ran a documentary series called The Men Who Made Us Fat. Now the same producers are examining the weight-loss industry in a series titled The Men Who Made Us Thin.  Here’s the first episode.  Tell me what you think of it.


59 thoughts on “The Men Who Made Us Thin

  1. Daci

    Now that was really interesting…I hope the rest of the series will be this good.
    Are you going to post the whole series?

    I’ll post them as I find them.

  2. Chris K.

    I kind of didn’t like it at all. I didn’t agree with a lot of the video. The host seems to completely separate people from personal responsibility. I lost 140lbs over the course of a year and a half eating low carb…and kept it off. First thing, what the video refuses to understand is that yes, diets fail. The reason they fail is because success requires persistence and commitment. Whatever you do (that works) has to become a way of life. Second, in addition to watching Fat Head, I read tons of health books, papers, and saw other documentaries to find out exactly what works, what does, and more importantly “why”.

    Sure, if you believe a magic shake that you drink every now, while chanting the magic words “diet”, will make you lose weight, you’re destined to fail. If you actually learn how your body works and make an effort to figure out what works and what doesn’t and stick with it, you’ll succeed. People have to just stop looking for “what’s popular”. You can’t be a “low information dieter”.

    Certainly some diets work better than others. I tried Slim-Fast, and it left me so shaky and light-headed, there was no way I could stick with it. Low-carb was relatively easy for me because I wasn’t hungry.

    I believe in personal responsibility as well, but I was personally responsible when I was failing to lose weight due to bad advice handed out by supposed experts.

    1. Rae

      We know that low carb works, but there’s still a misconception that it’s dangerous and will kill you. It’s no wonder people keep trying Lean Cuisines, Slim-Fast, Weight Watchers etc instead, even though they fail, because at least they’re “safe”. Even if they do undernourish you and put you on a blood sugar roller coaster.

      I remember eating Lean Cuisines and feeling VERY disappointed when I was on that last bite. “That’s it? That’s supposed to last me until dinner? ARGHHHH!!”

      1. Paul B.

        I had the same problem when I did the low-fat diet thing.

        What will destroy any diet is hunger. People can deal with being hungry occasionally and for brief periods but no one can deal with being hungry all the time (except someone with an eating disorder and that is a different but related topic). So the first requirement of a successful weight loss plan is that it not require hunger.

        That’s one of the major reasons a low-carb diet works for many people who can’t stay on a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet. In some studies, the people on low-carb spontaneously ate less than the people who were on limited calorie diets.

    2. Bernardo

      If you are following a low calorie diet your body overrides your “will power”. For instance, you consciously “decide” that you can make it up tomorrow, so today, since you are extremely anxious, you want to indulge with some ice cream. Also, only in the last few years it became possible for people to search for the “truth” (and still have a full time job). I searched for it many times, went to doctors, since 1992, and nobody ever mentioned low carb diets. I also read every article I could find on the subject. It was all about calories. Low-carb was a fa, “dangerous” and forbidden. I did loose the weight and it came back, over and over and over…

      Willpower has a cost. For me, to keep the weight down (before low carb) I had to be on a diet 100% of the time, no exceptions, always hungry, tired and feeling bad. 100% of the time thinking about not eating. That cost was too high for me, it was impossible to sustain for long periods. It wasn’t worth it. It happens to a lot of people.

      What started to changed my life was stumbling upon the “Big Fat Fiasco” talk on youtube. I do believe in personal responsibility and I do agree that the video focus too much on the money theses diets are making, as if making money was some kind of a sin.

      You went straight to low carb, that’s like playing a game on easy difficulty. Now, the guy who is 15 years on weight watchers and still controlling his weight is a freaking hero of willpower! 😛

      Yup, I lost my willpower several times on low-fat diets. Then, of course, I blamed myself.

      1. mezzo

        You are trying to fight your own body – it wants to live and survive and therefore urges you to eat. Most diets are deficient in nutrients and the body senses that. No willpower in the world can fight the survival programme in your genes. And even if you manage for a while you probably end up as a nervous wreck.

  3. Buzz

    I’ve been watching the series–Part 3 aired this evening–and it just reinforces much of what you and other “intelligent” people have said: the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry and governments are all in bed together and all they care about is the money.

    Tonight’s episode was about bariatric surgery and the BMI table. The guy in the UK who lowered the BMI “normal” weight cutoff from 27 to 25 said he was not influenced by the 1 million pounds he received from the pharmaceutical industry to come up with his findings. Yeah, right.

    Next week’s episode is partially about a group who wants to tax sugar and fat. I have a feeling this is going to be made to look good because as everyone knows, fat is BAD for you!!!! (can you sense the sarcasm?)

    Last night, the BBC aired another documentary titled “Welcome to the World of Weight Loss.” It followed people attending three different weight loss centers–Weight Watchers and two similar types of programs–in the UK. You might find it interesting. Here’s a link to it on Youtube:

  4. Firebird7478

    So, it was the limit of calories that drove the men crazy, not the fact that they were kept in the basement of a football stadium with no sunlight, now windows and no interaction with people outside the program.

    Now I get it. Keys was a tool long before the Lipid Hypothesis.

    I suppose the environment didn’t help much.

    1. Lori

      The video was misleading on that point (and a few others). The men in the starvation experiment exercised by walking the grounds of the university, took classes there (although few of them were able to complete them due to their malnutrition), and could go into town, as long as they had a buddy with them to prevent cheating.

      Someone wrote a book on the subject a few years ago called The Great Starvation Experiment.

    2. rudy-in-la

      I read the book about this whole starvation experiment. The men weren’t locked up at all. They could go out as they pleased, date if they wanted and had off campus jobs. They could go to restaurants as they pleased. Early on they had chaperones but later were on thehonorsystem. Keyes was positive he could tell if anyone cheated. He accused a few people of cheating when in fact they weren’t. The phenomenon forgotten for this revelation is either that there are NOT 3500 calories in a pound of fat or that calories in did not always match calories out. It actually was very interesting. If the bookis accurate, Keyes appears to have really tried to be objective. It does kind of introduce info that he was a bit of an egomaniac. You can find used copies on Amazon.

    1. Alex

      If their job was to make money they did very well. Failed diets blamed on bad willpower means repeat customers.

      1. Walter Bushell

        Quite. The industry doesn’t need and doesn’t want a method that works. As long as the status remains quo you get plenty of repeat customers.

        I’ve heard that women who actually attain the desired weight in Weight Watchers usually become trainers.

        I’ve know one woman who did achieve and hold low weight through starvation, but she had a most unpleasant personality. It’s like you have to be a Nazi extermination camp guard over yourself.

        Starving yourself will do that.

  5. Alan Kelch

    Great video!
    My main problem with this industry is that our federal government not only enables this misinformation about diets but takes part in it by forcing their views (aka special interest views) on the rest of us. Plus they are affecting the food market with regulations and “socially unacceptable” diet behaviors. This, frankly, pisses me off because not only are they lying about what makes us “health”, but it makes the cost of eating healthy more expensive for the rest of us and limits our options.
    The most unhealthy thing a person can do when trying to loose weight is cut calories and fat from their diet. but this is exactly what our government is telling our schools to do with their new lunch programs. If any age group needs a lot of calories it is our growing kids.

    Keep up the great work,

    Agreed. These diet-pushers got a major boost from bad policies in Washington. Meanwhile, the guy promoting a diet that works for many people — Dr. Atkins — was dragged before Congress.

  6. Barry

    As with most hindsight analysis looking to blame someone or something, he’s turned a chain of “good intentions” into an evil, capitalist master plot/conspiracy. Look, people have to spend money to eat. Is there really a big cost difference in what they pay when its marketed as a diet regime vs. an ordinary diet (or even vs. Whole Foods aka Whole Paycheck)? I view the growing obesity problem as years and years of the blind (i.e. supposed nutritional experts) leading the blind (i.e. ignorant population). The current day tragedy (or conspiracy) is those who now know the truth that is emerging about the impact of carbs/sugars and refuse to acknowledge it due to vested interests (e.g. ag, pharma). The core solution is disseminating information on how the body reacts to blood sugar spikes (due to carb intake) and the complications that follow (i.e. fat accumulation, insulin resustance, and likely chronic illnesses down the road). Then, you just have to cross your fingers that you have a population that can change its mind after years of anti-sat fat propaganda.

    I think the population can change its mind, but it will take time and a lot of effort at the grass-roots level.

  7. John

    Despite the show being a searing indictment of diets and their fads, those of us who know that Robert Atkins died from trauma to his head after slipping on an icy sidewalk should be annoyed that the show went no further than Atkins’ critics suggesting that the good doctor died from his own diet. Would it have killed them to do an ounce more research or did that just not fit the tone of the show?

    I’m guessing that repeating the rumors without explaining why those rumors were false supported their theme.

    1. Kattbelly

      This is the comment I left on the video, and why I’m not wasting any more of my time watching the rest of it.

      “I quit watching at the 35 min mark because of an outright, provable fraudulent “reporting” bit. Whether you agree with Dr. Atkins or not, he did not die due to obesity or complications from his diet, but from a fall where he hit his head on a curb-to not accurately report how he died makes me distrust anything else that might be “reported” in this documentary. What else has been reported inaccurately? I don’t have the time to research each of his assertions.”

      I was annoyed that they simply repeated the rumor without clarifying that it was false. Surely they knew.

  8. Dave

    I think the assertion “diets don’t work” is false. My diet works for me. Tom’s diet works for him. Mark Sisson’s diet for him…and lots of other people, too.

    I’m all for exposing the diet industry–of which this video did a pretty good job–but to claim that no diet is effective is just flat out wrong.

    That was the disappointing part for me in an otherwise excellent documentary. Diets that rely on deprivation without addressing the underlying hormonal issues fail, but not all diets fail.

  9. Sizzlechest

    I haven’t seen this new series, but “The Men Who Made Us Fat” was slightly infuriating. It focused way too much on “OMG, the evil corporations are TRYING to make us unhealthy!!!” The “evil” corporations are basing their products on what people want. Well, it’s true that I may want sweet/salty/savory/fatty foods that are bad for me and the corporations are more than willing to provide them to me, but I also want healthy options. The corporations didn’t make Snackwells because they were trying to kill their customers. They made them because the government was sold on the low-fat idea. The government created the demand for low-fat foods and the corporations responded. This isn’t a situation like the tobacco industry knowing cigarettes cause cancer and lying under oath to congress. Most of the medical and scientific community are still buying into the “all calories are equal” and “fat is bad” nonsense. If they can’t get it right, what are we supposed to expect of corporations?

    While the “The Men Who Made Us Fat” included Gary Taubes and Robert Lustig, the focus was on overeating, not insulin.

    I agree. Corporations are an easy target — people love to view corporations as evil. But HFCS and grains are cheap because of government subsidies, and it was the federal government that pushed the low-fat message. Corporations can only sell what people will buy, as McDonald’s found out with the McLean burger.

    1. Bernardo

      I think one of the problems with the general public is that they believe too much in big institutions. Corporations, governments, universities and so on. I think this is changing faster each day with the death of the mass media. People tend to think that if things that are important will show up on TV then things that show up on TV are important and represent the current consensus. I think the mass media era created a false sense of “unanimity”, of consensus, that fooled too many for too long. People will start mistrusting TV, commercials, studies, authorities more and more. It’s the peer-to-peer era, and I’m loving it! I’d never have heard about Fat Head and low carb diets if it wasn’t for the internet.

      The internet has accelerated the Wisdom of Crowds effect.

    2. js290

      This may all be semantics, but for all intents and purposes, the govt and corps are effectively the same thing now.

      Nothing new there. Regulatory capture is as old as government. That’s why I want a small government.

  10. George Wilson

    I noted on the Fat Head Facebook page, that first introduced me to the new series, that humans are complex organisms and that programs that only have 15-20% success rate should not be dismissed out of hand. Success being defined as long term weight loss. For that percentage, it may be close to a miracle.

    On further consideration, I also believe the low percentage is driven by the fact that a lot of people who are driven to diet are not really fat. As previously noted, the good BMI was lowered from 27 to 25 by fiat. Even now data is showing that 25-27 is a sweet spot for overall health, particularly as we age.

    I was surprised to see that half the population was considered overweight in the 1950s. That shows how ridiculous the standard for “overweight” is.

  11. Gary Katch

    At 13’40”: “I’d be happy to weigh what I did when I was 25, but the human body doesn’t work that way”

    Really?! Is that a fact? I know a few people my age who have weighed the same their whold adult lives.

    I’m 57, “paleo” going on five years and I’m 10 lbs. under my college weight. I wonder then if my body is human.

    Are other people able to see you in a mirror? That’s one test.

  12. SamMac

    So many of the managers of those companies were seriously overweight…..
    Shame he didn’t mention Atkins died from a fall and didn’t join-up the dots or mention the latest revolution in Scandinavia or basically didn’t do any homework on food choices that scientifically work.

    Yeah, I was surprised that after mentioning the rumors surrounding Atkins’ death, he didn’t set the record straight.

  13. Elenor

    Just referred a friend to Science for Smart People — and vaguely/dimly remembered inflict… er… showing Fat Head to him long ago… He wrote back:

    “Thanks for all the great info! Yes, I bought Fat Head. It changed our lives around here. Mary’s a dedicated adherent, especially.”

    YAY! (He’s a 74-yr-old mason, about to start building a 20-foot, dry-fit, fieldstone wall at my house — in the 90-degree weather, which, he says, he likes.) (!!)


  14. Demosthenes

    Keys, Ancel et al. The Biology of Human Starvation. The University of Minnesota Press: Minneapolis, MN, 1950.
    p. xviii
    “It is interesting that the obese man or woman can be placed on a diet as low as 600, or even 400, calories without loss of body nitrogen or other ill effects and without depression of the basal metabolic rate. In these respects obese persons and persons of normal weight differ strikingly in their response to a low intake of calories.”

    I have to wonder if his finding is legit. Other studies, including one of former contestants on The Biggest Loser, reported a decline in metabolic rate beyond what the weight loss alone would predict.

  15. Julie

    What a fascinating series. It was so shocking to see the men in Ancel Keys’ starvation experiment. They looked like walking skeletons! And yet they were eating 1500 calories a day, a number I’ve heard many times is the right amount for men to lose weight on. Just amazing.

    It also blew my mind to see the image of the woman in the corset. What on earth were people thinking when they decided 17 inch waists were beautiful?

    I can only guess that it was a matter of the waist-to-hip ratio. Wide hips compared to the waist is supposed to be considered a sexy look for women.

    1. Molly56

      I think that actually it was for the reason made in the clip: the “New Look” was a fashion style post WWII (Some say deliberately to help France climb out of post war recession) that emphasized a huge, long, bouffant skirt. But if you’ve ever tried one of these on and you have a regular sized waist you can look pretty awful. The same thing was true in the 1860’s with those wide hoop skirts. It’s just a visual trick…but a pretty unhealthy one!

      PS: That’s why Barbie has such gruesome measurements…she’s a fashion doll.

  16. Emaho

    I liked the middle but the beginning and the end presented a slanted picture. The first slant was the insurance man who found that heavier people died early. The video establishes that as the primary reason for starting the diet industry. Well, at the same time the consumption of sugar and bread were increasing. Maybe another driver was that these foods were in deed causing people to gain excessive weight and to lose their health.

    The second slant was with the Ancel Keys 1500 calorie starvation diet test. This diet consisted of mostly potatoes and cabbage and very little else, aka a high carb, low fat, low protein diet. Another diet test was done ten years later with a different macronutrient content. It was a high fat, normal protein and low carb diet and had the same number of calories, 1500. All of the participants lost weight, had more energy than when they started and were just as healthy as when they started.

    Finally, having that guy at the end say that you just need to eat a balanced diet (whatever that is) and be more active is just plain wrong. Basically, he was blaming heavy people for their plight. He is using the same business model that many in the diet industry use. So, like the commentator points out in the middle of the video, his theory/business model won’t fail. Well, unless you read Fat Head, Taubes, Eades, Lustig, Bernstein, etc.

    There were definitely good points and not-so-good points in the episode. In defense of Ancel Keys (can’t believe I’m saying that), he was attempting to mimic the likely diet in war-torn Europe, so potatoes and cabbage probably made sense.

    1. Annlee

      I believe in a balanced diet. But I’m pretty sure he and I don’t agree on what that means. 🙂 Seriously, I am still trying to figure out my real protein requirement; I already know my carb limit. The rest is fat, preferably saturated or monounsaturated. If I want to lose weight (which really means lose fat), some of that comes from internal stores. For weight stable, it all comes from diet. Or, as Peter put it, you can get the fat from butter, or your butt.

  17. labrat

    Ugh – thanks – I think. I ended up watching all of the “fat” shows as well as this one. Lots of good stuff in them but way too much pushing for more regulation. Isn’t that what got us into this mess in the first place?

    Best thing we can do to start is to government out of the food and diet business.

  18. Chris Bennett

    I saw the second episode of this program last week. I actually got my wife to watch it with me. I think she liked it because they interviewed a researcher at the same hospital she works at.
    The second episode was about using exercise to lose weight. I thought most of the program was very good as it busted the myth that exercise was good for losing weight. I think the two main conclusions it came to was increasing exercise will just make you either move less throughout the rest of the day or eat more later but is a very poor tool for losing weight.
    Of course exercise has many health benefits but weight loss is not really one of them. It was nice to see this on a mainstream channel.
    When I was talking to someone at work about it the next day they were spouting the exercise is good as part of a weight loss program with a balanced healthy diet. And seemed to get angry by me suggesting exercise was a healthy activity but has little impact on weight. Convention is still people are fat because they are lazy rather than they are less active because they are overweight and this is often a metabolic problem caused by excessive carbs in their diet.

    It’s difficult to let go of the idea that exercise produces weight loss — I required some convincing myself. We want to believe that all that effort is rewarded with weight loss.

    1. Alex

      Shouldn’t exercise spur fat loss, or slow down fat gain, if fat gain is a function of insulin resistance? Exercise is known to improve insulin sensitivity significantly.
      Maybe fat loss != weight loss, but at the same time, I feel like it goes against the whole insulin resistance theory of obesity to say that exercise will do nothing.

      To the small degree that exercise works, I believe that’s how it works.

      When I saw !=, I thought I was at work for a moment there.

      1. Roy

        Exercise works when your LCHF, once you’ve improved your ability to burn fat. For example, if you exercise in the AM before breakfast (in a fasting state), your body will use body fat to provide energy. I don’t think would cause a commensurate rise in appetite as it would if you were in a primarily glucose burning mode. How about that?

  19. Sam

    Pretty shallow when it come to low carb. He managed to mention low-cabr diets, in particular Atkins, but was very thin on the fact that they work. As we know there are lots of studies that show low-carb works and plenty of scientific studies that show why.

    Yeah, I think they wanted to stick with the theme that diets don’t work, but people get rich promoting them.

  20. Tale

    People have mostly made the points I wanted to make, except for one. It is appalling to me that the Chief Scientific Officer of Weight Watchers would say, “Is it everything we would want? No. But then what’s the alternative? The alternative is doing nothing.”

    A scientist that sees the options as a simplistic Hobson’s choice — “this way or no way” — is a poor scientist indeed. When she states something so flatly wrong, it makes it very hard to give credibility to anything else she says.

  21. Alex

    Some good points but ruined by the typical BBC mentality – blqme private, profit making businesses for the failure of government schemes and regulations, then demand more schemes and regulations to rectify the problem.

    If you want people to eat better, start with the people. So long as people think low fat, organic or some other label means that their packet of stodge is healthy then this will continue.

    My rule of thumb is that if food comes in a packet it’s probably bad news. If it comes from a plant or an animal and tastes good then it probably is good.

    That’s the mentality in showbiz, unfortunately. One network that turned down Fat Head actually included a note saying “We did not appreciate the attacks on the government.” This from a network that has no problems attacking the Pentagon, the CIA, etc. What they meant was “We did not appreciate the attacks on the USDA and George McGovern.”

  22. Alex

    Actually I watched the previous series “The Men Who Made us Fat” but I am confident my response still applies. If you entrust your health to government advice and entrust your governmen to “experts” then don’t be surprised to find yourself taking on certain traits of a farm animal.

    Well said.

  23. Bex

    This is better than the fat version but the bmi man had me shouting at the telly…I did enjoy him having a go at mr slim fast last week..and his exercise session this week was quite entertaining……the most shocking thing was the Swede with the vomit tube. . Urgh

  24. Norman Robert Spencer

    I have now watched both documentaries. It turns out the the host/narrator and I are the same height (5’9″), but whereas he weighed around 82 kg, I now weigh 69 (30 inch waist at the navel), which, according to the occupational health service provider at work, is the ideal weight for my height according to the actuarial tables. In one of the episodes, the host/narrator had an MRI, which revealed a not especially reassuring level of visceral fat (his kidneys were “swimming in it”, if I remember rightly). I was not surprised. All you have to do is look at him. He screams “skinny fat”.

    So it’s not surprising that he seemed happy to be able to imply a conflict of interest in the man who was responsible for changing the definition of overweight according to the BMI. I have news for him. A BMI of 27 is not healthy in the long run, no matter what one’s aerobic fitness might be (let’s see these fit-but-fat girls from episode 3 when they are my age – hip replacements?). My brother’s BMI never exceeded 28. This did not prevent him from developing type-2 diabetes at the age of 42 and needing a quadruple bypass this summer (age 49). Nobody except me would have considered my brother fat. By the way, my BMI was as high as 27 eight years ago, thanks to a suburban lifestyle and olanzapine. Since then, I moved within walking distance to work, discovered Mark Sisson and ditched the meds, in that order. My BMI is now 22.4.

    The mortality rate for men with a BMI of 23 is the same as for men with a BMI of 29.

  25. Jim

    Wow! Thought I was the only nut who came to this conclusion. My own thoughts are here:

    For a period of time, I personally believed the health of an individual like Jack Lalanne could only be explained by the intense exercise. However, I’ve since learned intense exercise(particularly when eating poorly) is not a positive but a negative in the long term(not short term however). Sort of like saying our car is in great shape because we drive it 100mph to work everyday. No. It’s in great shape because we maintain it well and so we’re able to drive it 100mph to work everyday.

    This brought a serious question to mind, how on earth could Jack Lalanne live a long healthy life while eating virtually no animal fat? Unless of course he ate bacon on the side(no indication of that).

    Only one answer that I can come up with and I now believe it’s the common denominator when it comes to our health. It’s bacteria, bacteria, bacteria. For example, bacteroides increase linearly with weight loss. Essentially, we’re feeding our own gut flora and the gut flora is feeding us. In theory, if we find a method of shifting the balance in our favor, then ultimately we could consume anything we like and benefit from it.

    For example, we provide a Twinkie loving environment in our gut and we receive the necessary nourishment(indirectly) through the consumption of Twinkies. Nothing more than a theory from my own crazy mind at this point. Someone like Jack Lalanne could hold the key, however.


    I believe exercise (if done correctly) is good for health, just not for weight loss. Jack LaLanne was all about meat and protein early in his career.

    1. Jim

      As you indicate, he does say that in this interview:

      Jack LaLanne: I was a strict vegetarian. Then I decided to enter a Mr. America contest (which I won) and in those days they thought that in order to build muscle you had to have meat. So I ate meat for a while.

      Share Guide: Why did you stop being a strict vegetarian?

      Jack LaLanne: In those days everybody was saying that you had to eat meat to build muscle, so I went on a meat thing for awhile. NowI only eat fish–no chicken, no turkey, just fish. I get all my protein from fish and egg whites.

      So he did get plenty of protein.

        1. Jim

          Yes. Red wine, enzymes, fish, and juicing is the apparent focus. All four point to gut flora. In the case of juicing, the fiber is removed and the vegetables are not cooked(still life in them and no fiber to inhibit absorption). Personally, a pile of bacon, a milkshake, and a cigarette is whole lot more appealing than some crummy juice concoction. However, the method does appear to have worked. Unless of course we attribute it to some genetic anomaly(the boogeyman).

          Awesome forum you folks have here!

          Thank you,

  26. Jim

    What I do find interesting was his mentor, Paul Bragg. A strong fasting advocate. Fasting with a particular focus on certain types of bacteria could serve to shift the balance?

    However, Jack Lalanne’s success could simply be attributed to his positive attitude? Consistency is important and many young folks with positive attitudes certainly die of massive heart attacks.

  27. George Wilson

    A side note on YouTube videos, since it relates to this discussion. As I previously posted on the Fat Head Facebook page…

    If you tried the YouTube viewer on your BluRay player in the past and just gave up, you might try it again. I wanted to watch episode 2 of Thin on my TV, so I resigned myself to the ordeal of getting the Sony to play it.

    Surprise, the Sony had downloaded a new YouTubeTV app. I opened it up and when I went to the Search function it asked if I wanted to connect to an external device. It provided a code number, which I entered into my iPhone YouTube app and, voila, I was controlling the TV from my iPhone.

  28. Firebird

    I just rewatched “The Perfect Human Diet” on Amazon Prime, or as I call it “Fat Head without the personality”. The best section in the film is when the doctor goes to the grocery store and spells it all out for the viewer. That’s all you need to know.

  29. Marilyn

    A slightly off-topic report on the “obesity epidemic”: I spent three hours this afternoon watching the people parade at the Minneapolis-St. Paul airport. While I saw a number of people who were anywhere from “normal” to “plump,” I saw NO one who would qualify as attention-getting fat. What I did see were a remarkable number of women who appeared to be trying to out-twiggy Twiggy. Maybe the eat-less-exercise-more campaign is working for the wrong people?

    I don’t see many huge people around here either. Seems to depend on where you are when you’re looking. When we were in rural Arkansas, I saw lots of them.

  30. LaurieLM

    There are a few things that I gleaned from this. I didn’t really like too much of it and I thought a lot was pointless and salacious tautology. But,
    1) If an entrepreneur has ever dreamed of a profit making cash-cow business investment, they could hardly have found a better one than the current perpetual motion low-fat, high-carb diet industry- that’s for sure. It’s what billionaire wannabees dreams are made of.
    2) Gary Taubes wrote somewhere, that in the early ’80s we were at a crossroads and could have gone down the other path- this one- it’s sugar and low-fat that are the problems, but we didn’t. This path has had poor health inducing implications for millions and millions…… but there is a bronze lining.
    3) I think that we’ve been traveling upon an enormous and unintended ‘Natural’ experiment that is of massive and consequential proportions. No entity would have been able to design, conduct and fund, nor recruit and get consent from the hundreds of millions of people (unwittingly) participating in this, so far, three decades long exercise. The results are astounding and fulsome and rich. The data is in, and it is available too- to virtually everyone, mostly freely online.

  31. Ben

    Terribly done–lazy and/or intellectually dishonest. This was a “Supersize Me” class disappointment for me. I believe Jacques had started this project with a conclusion in mind, and he was careful not to let any facts or critical analysis get in his way.

    I admire his willingness to ask tough questions and challenge conventions, but his final product does more harm than good in my mind (e.g. spur increased and ineffective regulation, downplay personal responsibility, incite misdirected moral outrage, propagate”bad science”).

    There were good points and bad points. I don’t agree with his apparent conclusion that all diets are a waste of money and/or effort. Some work — mine works for me.

  32. Ray Kelley

    I guess what I mainly get from this is the memory of all the things I tried and products I bought over the many, many years I struggled with my weight. My mom and I did Weight Watchers when I was a chubby middle school kid, and it worked for both of us at the time, though I seem to remember it being a lot more starch-restrictive than I understand it is now. I’ve bought Slim Fast, Lean Cuisine, Weight Watchers and Healthy Choice frozen meals, and thought that subsisting entirely off that kind of stuff would solve my problem. It didn’t.

    In the end, what worked for me was the HFLC/Paleo thing, but if you look at it, there’s precious little to sell the masses in that. You can’t really merchandise it, as it’s just meat and vegetables really. There’s no exclusivity there to market to, so no wonder certain parties try to dismiss it.

    What we have here is sort of the non-diet diet, built on a handful of books and a couple of documentaries. There’s nothing to sell except information that anyone can find online for free, and food that’s available from any number of producers and retailers.

    I’m just thankful that I no longer have to deal with that dismal feeling of spending money I don’t have on something that I already know is probably not going to work.
    That just sucked.

    You nailed it. That’s why advertising-supported media outlets are hesitant to push LCHF/Paleo: it’s not based on packaged foods whose manufacturers buy advertising (have you ever seen a commercial for broccoli?) and it’s a threat to the big-food companies that do advertise.

  33. Cyborcat

    Thanks for introducing us to this series. I’m about halfway through Episode 3 now.

    It was interesnting when they talked about Richard Simmons in Episode 2. I remembered liking his show when I was a kid and I always thought he seemed like a decent guy who genuinly wanted to help people. So I braced myself when they got to his segment, but they ended up being surprisingly positive. He may not be helping people to lose weight through exercise, but he makes them feel good about themselves so they will WANT to lose weight. And sure it sounds cheesy, but it makes sense.

    I also remember that whole “aerobics” culture in the 80’s where they basically built a fashion industry around it–good ol’ leotards, headband, and legwarmers. I grew up around that time and really dug that look for some reason–not that I could ever pull it off (probably most women couldn’t).

    I used to do a bit in my standup act about those aerobics fashions.

  34. Mark

    I’m late to the party on this one, but I just watched all four episodes last night of “The Men Who Made Us Thin” on You Tube. The thing that struck me was that after three episodes of explaining why diets, exercise and drugs fail to work long term, in the fourth episode they finally got around to talking about what they described as “the food environment.” But did they spend any time on the most ubiquitous high-GI food of all: Wheat, and its usual partners in crime: all other grains and starchy foods? No. They zeroed in exclusively on soft drinks. Now I’ll admit that soft drinks are unhealthy, but knowing what I know now thanks to Fat Head and Wheat Belly, I think they were barking up the wrong tree, and completely missed the very key to unlock the reasons why the diets, exercise and drugs discussed in the previous three episodes fail. What a missed opportunity!

    I haven’t see it yet. Sorry to hear that.


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