Dietary Confusion at MSNBC

      28 Comments on Dietary Confusion at MSNBC

I know I’ve made fun of nutritionists and health writers in the past, but I have to admit most of them possess an unusual skill: they can listen to a true-life story about weight loss and hear exactly what they want to hear, instead of what actually happened.

That skill became apparent after I read this story on the MSNBC web site and watched the accompanying video clip from The Today Show. Before we get into the details, let me summarize the how the story was covered:

“Today we’re talking to Cindy Dominick, who lost 130 pounds and went from a size 24 to a size 6. Cindy, how did you lose such an amazing amount of weight?”

“I walked a lot and cut all the sugar and starch out of my diet.”

“Well, there you have it, ladies and gentlemen … proof once again that a low-calorie diet and exercise will make you thin!”

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Okay, it wasn’t quite that bad. Cindy Dominick didn’t state directly that she’d given up sugar and starch, but it’s pretty obvious if 1) you listen to her describe her new diet and 2) you have a functioning brain. But as usual, whoever wrote the story managed to pound a round peg into a square hole and blame fatty foods for causing obesity. Take a look at this quote:

At 285 pounds, Cindy was certainly aware of her size, but felt hopeless about controlling her eating habits. She never felt satisfied by three meals and she’d often catch herself snacking on fatty fast food like fried chicken, McDonald’s fries or take-out pizza. She’d then top it off with a king-size Snickers bar.

Are those fatty foods? Yup. But they’re also loaded with refined carbohydrates.

If you eat a 12-inch pizza (which isn’t difficult for a fat person; I’ve done it many times) you can easily consume 200 grams of starch. A large order of fries delivers 25 grams of fat, but more than 60 grams of carbohydrates. Fried chicken isn’t particularly starchy, but if you snarf down three pieces of KFC extra crispy, you can still end up consuming 50 grams of starch from the batter.

And I found this part of the quote rather illuminating:  She never felt satisfied by three meals …

I can assure you from both personal experience and from the research I read while producing Fat Head that anyone who isn’t satisfied with three meals is almost certainly consuming a lot of carbohydrates. The insulin spike that results from a high-carb meal causes your body to store calories, either as glycogen or fat. With the calories locked in storage, you soon run out of fuel and feel hungry again.

This doesn’t happen with meals that are mostly protein and fat. Or as Dr. Mike Eades put it during our first interview, “Nobody ever binges on steak. Nobody ever binges on eggs.”

This quote was also interesting:

Soon she was taking medications for blood pressure, asthma, cholesterol and acid reflux. Tired from being overmedicated – and concerned after her home state had been named the fattest in the nation – Cindy put on her sneakers and started walking.

Let’s see … high blood pressure, asthma and acid reflux.   What could possibly cause those conditions?

Acid reflux can have a number of causes, including food allergies, but sugar and starch will do the trick for a lot of people. In fact, starch alone can cause reflux. When I was a starch-eating vegetarian, I didn’t consume sugar at all (I at least knew that was bad for me), but I still had acid reflux now and then. I also had asthma, which disappeared – along with the reflux – when I cut back on starch. And chronically high insulin is known to cause chronically high blood pressure, along with a host of other horrors.

To her credit, Joy Bauer of the Joy Fit Club pointed out the high amount of sugar Cindy Dominick consumed when she was 130 pounds heavier. But of course, she also had to bring out the butter sticks to demonstrate the high fat content.

Fat doesn’t make you hungry. Fat makes you feel full – unless you mix it with carbohydrates, which causes the fat to be stored instead of burned for fuel. 

(I always wonder what they do with the butter props after they tape a segment like this. Since the hosts seem to think butter is the nutritional equivalent of a loaded gun, I’m pretty sure they don’t take it home. One of the kids could find it and suffer a tragic butter incident – like taking a bite and realizing it’s delicious.)

Fortunately, Cindy Dominick herself provided a clue to the real cause of her admirable weight loss when she described her current diet as “grilled and green.” Unless she’s grilling bread and potatoes, that means she’s living on a low-carb diet. Her insulin levels have surely plummeted since the time when she was filling up on pizza and French fries, so when she takes those long walks, her body can burn fat for fuel.

Too bad nobody at MSNBC or The Today Show managed to figure that out. The readers and viewers might’ve learned something useful.

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28 thoughts on “Dietary Confusion at MSNBC

  1. Matt

    Well, I’d say she’s probably eating something more than just something grilled and something green. If that was the case, she’d basically be doing the PSMF, and has either completely tanked the hell out of her metabolism and is now maintaining on those levels or is still losing weight.

    I guess it would depend on what she’s grilling, which they didn’t specify. If she’s grilling burger patties or steaks, she could still get plenty of fat and calories.

    The explorer Stefansson lived on nothing but meat for a year in a hospital ward after trying to convince health authorities that during his time living with the Inuits, he consumed nothing but meat, fish and fat. They insisted that diet would wreck his health. It didn’t, and he only lost two pounds that year.

  2. TonyNZ

    Oh, the irony!

    I found this article amusing, it is written by the executive director of the Obesity Action Coalition in New Zealand, our labeliser (yes, I use Brit English spelling) branch of the Church of Accepted Advice for Living A Long And Healthy Life.

    In the same article it states “…eating meat and vegetables is what we are designed for” and “Bilboards showing sugary donuts and bread tempt passers by. Food companies have become adept at pushing their products”.

    Sounds like they are onto low carb… but this is the same group that lobbies the government to legislate against fatty foods and install food pyramids built on grains into everyone’s kitchens. Fortunately our government recently cut off their funding (score one for common sense).

    As for reflux, I only ever get reflux after eating bread or potatoes.

    In a way, I’m relieved to see other countries worrying about an “obesity epidemic.” To hear some of our self-loathing citizens tell it, obesity in the U.S. is the result of some deep-seated American character flaw … you know, like wanting big things: bigger house, bigger car, etc. That’s the approach Spurlock took in his opening scene.

    I kind of like the Brit spellings. Both Ben Franklin and Andrew Carnegie led movements in the U.S. to make all U.S. spellings phonetic (which would have been “fonetik”). Thank God they failed; can you imagine the confusion today?

    CSPI is similarly self-contradicting. They lobby against sugar, but recommend cereals and crackers for kids.

  3. Laurie

    Are you familiar with the Warburg hypothesis, about the connection between dietary sugar and cancer? When I saw all those sodas, snickers and all that sucrose, I had to avert my eyes. I read an old copy of Yudkins’
    “Pure, White and Deadly” and I will never look at table sugar the same way again. And he wrote before HFCS appeared. If you look up ‘Warburg’ you could be excused for missing the main point. You will see obfuscation like, cancer is now known NOT to be CAUSED by consuming sugar. Well, maybe so, but Warburg is still correct in my view in that sugar exacerbates and fuels cancer cells after whatever caused it to begin has done the deed and is gone.

    I’m familiar with the hypothesis. In fact, I tried (without success) to convince a friend of mine who won’t eat meat because it “causes” colon cancer that if anything will encourage tumors to grow, it’s all the blood glucose resulting from her high-starch, meatless diet.

    I believe I read that rates of smoking were similar after WWI and WWII, but the lung-cancer rate was much higher in the WWII generation — as was sugar consumption, which may have made the difference.

    1. Walter Bushell

      Sugar and “vegetable” oil. That and tobacco is a hellish mixture, what with the immune suppression from the industrial seed oils.

      IIUC no one bothered to test the incidence of lung cancer among smokers who did not eat industrial seed oils.

  4. MrsEvilGenius

    I would also LOVE to know what exactly she’s eating now.

    I swear it just burns me up when the media vilifies fat. It’s smiling ignorance on an epic scale AND it’s causing thousands of Americans to live miserable lives attempting low-fat diets.

    As someone who has done both low fat (and was like a crazy person) and low carb (lost over 150lbs – with ease and without crazy) I can say that this sort of crap should be illegal.

    How many obese women went in their kitchens and tossed out all of their lovely butter, porkchops, cheese, etc after this lie was broadcast?

    If they’d toss out the TV instead, they’d probably end up better off. (Well, after they watch Fat Head, of course.)

  5. Laurie

    I’m going to make an inflammatory statement. In most non-smokers who develop cancer, heart disease, diabetes, obesity or alcoholism, the cause is a diet high in sugar, wheat and processed vegetable oils.

    Yup … there’s a reason those are called the Diseases of Civilization.

  6. Josh Goguen

    If my math is correct, just the daily snickers bar and soda that was pointed out was over 600 calories or 21000 calories a month. She’s lucky she only weight 285 because by the calories in calories out logic she should have been putting on about 72 pounds a year just from the snack. Clearly she had a weight problem for a while and didn’t gain it all in just 2 years, so what’s up with that?

    Also, if the overly simple 2nd Law of Thermodynamics held true for weight gain, if she just cut that snack and didn’t change anything else, she should have lost the same amount of weight with out having to add walking or eating “grilled and green”.

    This looking at the math thing is kind of fun.

    “Doc” would be proud of you.

  7. Dave

    I suspect that a dietitian would consider me as binging on steak and eggs. I’ll often have five eggs plus bacon for breakfast, and if hungry will easily put down a two-pound steak. And of course there’s my 1500-calories 2x3x3 In&Out lunch (which I suspect has more chance of inducing heart-failure in said dietitian than it does in me).

    The difference, of course, is that after my “binge” I’m not hungry again for a long time. When I have a large breakfast, I generally skip lunch, not because I’m minding my calories, I’m just not hungry. Quite the opposite – I really don’t even want to think about food. After a 2 lb. steak, it might be 24 hours before I’m hungry again. Were I to eat the same number of calories as mostly carbs, I’d be hungry again in an hour.

    The other aspect of this is that insulin gives you a “buzz” by poking at an area of the brain called the insula. The insula’s job is to reinforce feeding behavior that was evolutionarily positive, and it projects to many other areas of the brain to ensure you do its bidding. Back in the day, the only way to get an insulin rush would have been to find a whole bunch of nice ripe fruit, or maybe raid a bees nest. The reward in the latter case would likely be tempered by having to deal with angry bees. Ripe fruit, on the other hand, is literally “easy pickins”, doesn’t last long, and nearly every other creature is after it too. So it makes sense to have strong reinforcement to keep eating while it lasts.

    But the fruit and honey would run out quickly, leaving you to eat steak and greens again. Today we have the ability to diddle our insulas (insulii? insulae?) at will, and problems likely arise. The insula is also stimulated by cocaine, opiates, and nicotine. All of these things are hard to kick because they trigger a “reward” in the brain that evolved as a key to survival. How often have you heard someone say “I don’t think I could live without cigarettes/cocaine/beer?” That’s really the message being sent by the insula (roughly), and to first order, your brain considers all of these things the same.

    Interesting side-note: we all know how hard it is for most people to quit smoking. However, smokers who suffer damage to their insula, perhaps through a stroke, can stop on a dime.

    And of course the “experts”, media, and everyone else are all basically hooked on sugar. Dr. Eades has mentioned in one of his posts how cigarettes were once considered “healthy”. There was no evidence for this, it was just that everybody smoked, and thus rationalized this as healthy, probably as directed by their insulas. I suspect a lot of the dogmatic rationalization of the health of carbs originates in the insula, which is why it’s so tough to shake people off that idea.

    Fat, on the other hand, has little or no effect (in fact it may be slightly negative in that more dietary fat can reduce insulin release). So it’s psychologically easy to demonize fat. The reward from fat, however, is even more deeply hardwired, starting with special fat sensors in the tongue. I find it very interesting that our society rationalizes carbs as healthy and fat as bad, yet continues to eat both in large quantities.

    Excellent points … but now I’m wondering where the heck you find a two-pound steak?!

  8. PaleoRD

    Joy Bauer really signifies the problem with dietitians, and I have seen it myself being involved in that profession. She has NEVER been overweight and has no idea what it is like for an overweight person who has tried to do the ADA diet and became excessively hungry and lacking enough energy to exercise. She’s like your wife, regulates her body fat well at a low level. The mistake is to assume that what works for her will work for everyone else. I actually get a kick out of watching her little segments on just to hear her repeatedly say our favorite phrases: “low-fat” and “artery-clogging-saturated fat!” (she uses them liberally, and they sound even better in her east coast accent)

    Those of us who have tried low carb are willing to tell someone who has struggled with weight loss to give it a try. But, if someone can eat whatever they want and remain thin, then we don’t try to convert them unless they have shown interest. The ADA only provides one option and insists that it is proven to work for all.

    I actually had the same thought while watching the segment: Joy Bauer is built almost exactly like my wife — who was back at her pre-pregnancy weight within weeks after delivering both of our daughters.

    The difference is that my wife knows her lean build has nothing to do with discipline or wise food choices. It’s hereditary. Her father is also quite lean, despite consuming a diet that was so unbalanced, he became a type II diabetic.

  9. Tim

    I had a 65lb weight loss (and kept it off a year now), and really didn’t realize I had indeed gone low carb until well after the loss. It was after buying “Protein Power” for 25 cents at a thrift store, on a whim, and reading it that I realized what I had done. And so, continue to do. Heck, the first time I watched Spurlocks show, I nodded and said “right on, fast food is the enemy!” After my education in these matters, I re-watched his show and thought “booooo”! So I can see how mainstream media and dead-horse beaten dogma stays with us all!

    I am now a rabid reader of nutritional books and blogs. And your movie and this blog are tops.

    I am right now 29 days into my own all-meat, zero carb test (going 90 days, likely more) with a nutritionist and doctor monitoring. I had all baseline tests run May 1, and will again in 90 days. Stefansson was onto something!

    Be sure to report back to us after the 90 days. I’d really like to hear about your results.

    But let’s not tell Dr. Eades you got his book for 25 cents.

  10. Sherri

    Following on @Dave’s comment re lack of hunger after the 2 lb steak….I have recently become a bachelorette again. I am busy acquiring all those basic things to set up a household and don’t feel like cooking for myself. So I have found it easier to eat just meat, eggs, butter, cheese & cream. Plus I have always wanted to try close to zero carb so now seems like a good time as any – no one else to comment on my weird food choices! I find I need very little of the zero carb items to feel full (no 2 lb steaks here) and don’t get hungry again for a while. Like Richard Nikoley says at Free the Animal, it is all about the hunger. I’ve also been doing a bit of IF. About noon yesterday, I had 2 eggs fried in butter, a bit of feta cheese and a small portion of leftover roast chicken. The rest of the day all I had was water. I was a bit hungry later in the evening but it is a different hunger, one that is easily ignored. It is now almost 11 am here and all I’ve had is 2 cups of coffee with cream, and a bit more cream swigged down. Again, I am a bit hungry but not very. I will go do my workout and then I will eat a pretty similar meal to yesterday.

    This last few days has really hit home to me how misguided the calorie counters are. The eat carbs because they have less calories per gram idea is SO misguided. As you pointed out in your film Tom, it is your cells that dicate your hunger, not your stomach! And your cells want meat and fat! Yet the holy church of healthy eating gives us tips on filling up our stomachs with so-called healthy low calorie food, all fibre and carbs. So you eat a big salad with low fat dressing and a whole grain bagel and you are hungry again in an hour. That hunger is your body complaining about what you fed it!

    In my carburertor days, I could eat large portions of pasta with tomato sauce, whereas only a small portion of fatty meat has me full. I see the not getting full on the pasta as my body continually asking for some real food – it doesn’t signal me being full because it keeps hoping I will give it some real food. Eventually your stomach does get full and you do stop eating. But your cells are still hungry! And so once their is room in your stomach again, the cells scream hunger again, hoping that you will feem them properly.

    That to me is why calorie-restricting diets so rarely work in the long run: hunger. When I was living on pasta, I’m sure you could’ve stuck a gun to my head, forced me to limit my intake to 1800 calories or so, and I would’ve eventually lost weight. After all, prisoners of war lose weight.

    But when my meals were based on pasta, it took BIG portions before I felt full. And the feeling of fulness didn’t last more than a few hours.

  11. Matt

    It’s amusing how some people on here say the “calorie theory” people are extremist, when they’re just as extremist. I find that calorie theory works well to within about 5%, which given that the body is not a completely closed system, isn’t too bad IMO. I know I’ll never convince anyone here, but whatever. If it makes you happy, go for it.

    Anyway, my point in my first post was that these days, something that is “grilled” typically implies that it is low in fat, e.g. grilled chicken (breast). Hence the support by mainstream dieticians.

    BTW, I’m from Mississippi and I know that commercial she refers to. The fat governor and his fat wife waddle away from the camera at speed-walking velocity. Hilarious.

    I’d like to see that commercial. Is it on YouTube?

    If by “works” you mean dramatic calorie restriction will produce weight loss, I agree; it will. In the semi-starvation study conducted by Ancel Keys, the subjects lost weight. But they were also ravenously hungry and eventually began to show signs of mental deterioration. (One cut off his own finger to escape the study.) And as soon as they were allowed to eat without restrictions, they gorged themselves and gained back all the weight, plus more in many cases.

    The other problem, as Gary Taubes recounts in his book (which I hope you get to read eventually), is that the weight loss over time rarely matches the 3500 kcal=1 lb. fat theory, because the metabolism slows down.

    By contrast, Taubes dug up studies in which the calories were about the same or even less than in the Keys study, yet the subjects said they felt satisfied. Those were studies of low- or zero-carb diets conducted decades ago.

    For a more recent example, Jimmy Moore once lost nearly 200 pounds in a year on a high-carb, low-fat, Slim-Fast type diet. He spent that entire year feeling hungry and cranky. And he regained all the weight, because you can’t ignore hunger forever. Later, he again lost nearly 200 pounds, but this time on the Atkins diet. He wasn’t hungry, and he hasn’t regained the weight.

    The calories do matter when you’re trying to lose weight. You MUST create an energy deficit. (Mike Eades has said so in interviews and in his books, despite what certain Australian authors think.)

    But you can create that deficit in a way that keeps your insulin up, continues to block the flow of fatty acids from the fat cells, and starves your body of fuel; or you can do it a way that lowers insulin, encourages fatty acids to flow from you fat cells, and provides the fuel your body needs.

  12. Matt

    I can’t seem to find it on YouTube. Maybe Google “Let’s Go Walkin’ Mississippi” and you’ll have better luck finding it than I did.

    It seems like you’re acknowledging that calorie theory is correct. What you seem to be arguing is that calories shouldn’t be equated with satiety, and this is, in many ways, true. By the way, the 3500 number is off, it’s actually 454g * 9 calories = 4086 calories per pound of fat (with a small amount of water). Why they chose 3500 instead of 4000 is beyond me; probably something to do with 3500 being divisible by 7 and not 4000, but it seems like they could have just gone with either 3850 and just said to cut 550 calories a day or 4200 and cut 600. Whatever. Also, I’m not trying to discount that over time, metabolism slowdown will reduce the rate of weight loss, but it doesn’t change the number of calories per pound of fat, really. You also have to consider that muscle is inevitably being consumed as well (can’t remember the calories per pound there, but it’s definitely less than that of a pound of fat).

    With fat loss, it seems to come down to insulin sensitivity. There was a study that took several obese women, of which part were insulin sensitive (sounds crazy, I know) and the other part were insulin resistant. The sensitive group lost almost twice as much weight on a high-carb diet as on a low-carb diet, and the resistant group, seemingly by extension, lost almost twice as much on a low-carb diet than on a high-carb diet. Low carb in this case wasn’t ketogenic, so obviously there would be a greater weight loss there due to a depletion of glycogen and release of water (I know you don’t agree with me on this part).

    Unless I’m mistaken, the Ancel Keys study was performed on already lean (~10-12% BF), insulin sensitive men, so their starvation was taking them into the extremes of the extreme conditions of starvation. Also, I thought the guy bit off his finger?

    Interesting. I know the men who went into the Keys study were young, and since this was the WWII era (they were conscientious objectors) it’s safe to bet they were mostly lean.

    We do agree, actually, that ketogenic diets lead to water loss as well. That’s partly why they’re good for controlling blood pressure. I don’t doubt some of my weight loss during the fast-food diet was water, but since I went up to 120+ grams of carbs on many days, I don’t think I was constantly in ketosis.

    It doesn’t surprise me that some fat people can still be insulin sensitive. Some people, as Dr. Eric Oliver told me in our interview, are born pre-disposed to be fat. And as my father-in-law found out, you can definitely be insulin-resistant and remain lean. But I think most fat people, especially those who became fat as adults, are insulin-resistant. That’s what’s driving the increase in obesity today.

    Gary Taubes doesn’t dispute the energy equation — he is, after all, a guy with a degree in physics. His point is that the calories-out side of the equation can be markedly affected by the type of calories consumed. If fat is able to flow freely from your fat cells, your metabolism could go up. If it’s not, your metabolism can go down.

    But if you’re eating enough food to satisfy all your energy needs, you will not lose weight, because the body has no need to burn your body fat. Dr. Mike Eades talked about that in one of our interviews. I’ll put that up in a future bonus clip.

  13. Dave Dixon

    Just to follow on a bit to Tom’s comment above: your body will regulate hunger in response to total availability of energy. The systems that monitor energy availability don’t care whether the energy comes from inside the body or out, just the amount available. If fat is coming out of your fat cells, hunger is down-regulated accordingly. The problem with most starvation diets is that they accent foods which raise insulin and thus lock the energy away, causing hunger. If instead you lower insulin enough to allow the excess fat to escape (and your body really doesn’t like hanging on to too much fat), that fat will displace food from energy in the body’s overall energy budget, causing appetite to drop.

    If you really tried hard (or had some malfunction of appetite regulation, like genetic leptin problems), you could stuff yourself on a low-carb diet and forestall fat loss. Protein causes insulin to rise (albeit much less than refined carbohydrate), and there exist other metabolic pathways (like ASP) to regulate fat storage without the help of insulin. However, most people find it very VERY hard to overeat like this regularly. A “binge” results in an energy excess, which turns down the appetite signals sent by the brain, slows transit of food through the digestive tract, etc. If your metabolism is working properly, you shouldn’t have to think about how much you eat. After all, no other organism on the planet requires this mental effort to maintain a healthy energy balance (and very few even have the capacity to do so).

    In short, calories DO count, but your body is counting calories. It doesn’t need help from your higher mental functions to perform this task, provided the regulatory mechanisms are working properly.

    More details found here:

    Well put. We battle our waistlines now because we eat foods nature didn’t intend for humans to consume, and the result is a dis-regulated appetite.

    By the way, I had one of those 3×3 protein style concoctions from In N Out after my workout this morning. Still full.

  14. Matt

    Well, when you two put your views that way, you don’t sound like kooks at all.

    I can’t speak for Dave, but I’ll probably find a way to reclaim my kook status soon enough.

  15. KD

    Like many of the other commenters, what I like most about about low-carbing is the lack of real hunger. My job is sometimes in the field for up to 16 hours and it’s super inconvenient to take food with you. Most of the food provided to us is high carb snacks. (I’m sure you’re familiar with what craft services often serves) Sometimes meals are ordered from a restaurant that I could get something low-carb, but if that’s not the case (ie sometimes they just bulk order pizza, no choice for a salad) I like not having to worry that I’ll starve by skipping a meal… if I eat a 1 lb fatty rib eye just before leaving for work, I know I can go a good 12-15 hours before I feel like eating again, and even then it’s more “I could eat, if food was here, but if it’s not, I’ll be okay.”

    Before low-carb, I’d eat all those snacks and be desperate for the pizza to arrive. It’s a huge weight off my mind and I think I work better too!

    I’ve had pretty much the same experience, which is why it’s clear to me that for many people, the type of calories consumed has a profound effect on what your body decides to do with those calories — make them available for fuel, or store them.

  16. Heather

    It’s soo frustrating, isn’t it? People see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear. I know someone with a young daughter — under 10 — who is obese and the doctors keep cutting back her fat and cutting back her fat even more and at last count she was 54% body fat. I’ve tried to talk to the friend, but everything I say is met with “yes, but the nutritionist says…” I know they’ll have that little girl on meds by the end of year and I just want to scream.

    That poor girl. When people cut out fat, they nearly always replace the calories with carbohydrates, which means they’re making the problem worse. You’d think seeing the nutritionist’s advice fail repeatedly would give them a clue.

    Any chance you can get the parents to watch Fat Head? Maybe they’ll get the concept.

  17. Gita

    Another thing that is puzzling, is that they say that Cindy weighs 155lbs and is a size 6. She does not look tall at all, so I don’t know how this is possible. I am 5’10” and when I weighed 150lbs, I was a size 10. I know there is some disrepancy among people, but at my height, the last time I was a size 6 was when I was a growing teenager and weighed 125lbs. (and was 5’9″ tall).

    So I guess it is just more hype, they can’t say that Cindy looks great without exaggerating her size.

    Great work on exposing this, Tom. I heard about your movie and ordered it for myself and also for several friends across the US, but just watched it this weekend. I have read “Good Calories, Bad Calories” and “Nourishing Traditions” and was blown away. Your movie does something I thought was impossible, put all the technical information from those wonderful books into an easy to understand and fun to watch movie. Wow, really, really awesome! I will be ordering more copies for more folks.

    Another excellent book to add to your list is “Trick and Treat: How ‘Healthy’ Eating Is Making Us Ill” by Barry Groves. Here’s his website:

    I’ve read some articles by Barry Groves and thought they were excellent. I will order his book.

    I appreciate your guerilla marketing campaign. I read Good Calories, Bad Calories between the third and fourth (final) drafts of the film at the urging of Dr. Mike Eades, and knew I had to try to include some of the concepts. Fortunately, Gary read those sections of the script and helped me get them right. He’s a good guy, in addition to being brilliant.

  18. Sue

    Heather, do try and get them to watch Fat Head. How sad for the little girl.

    And I can tell you, as someone who became a fat adolescent, that she’s likely blaming herself. It’s a shame what the lousy advice is doing to her.

  19. Ben P

    A mention of Vilhjalmur Stefansson! Thanks for that, because it led to a little looking around and I found his book“The Fat Of The Land”(about 5MB) on pdf, which is an expanded version of his book “Life Without Bread”. I had been wondering why such an old book wasn’t online, but it is. Excuse me while I go and read it…

    Have you heard of The Bear, Owsley Stanley? He was greatly influenced by Stefansson and has written a good bit online in low-carb forums. A collection of his posts is here.

    Speaking of reflux, I too only get heartburn when eating starch. For me it’s take-out pizza, lasagna, or sometimes bread that bring it on.

    About the story, I went and read through all the stories, looking at food intake and exercise. Of the ones that gave info, they pretty much all massively decreased their carb intake and massively increased their protein intake. The main exercise was an increase in walking. A few of them even ended up running marathons, which is something I’ll never understand. Back to food, the foods mentioned were almost all what bodybuilders call “clean foods”, and what a lot of other people call “whole foods”. Lots of lean meats, nuts, and fruits replacing fast food, junk food, and sodas. Sounds like a basic lowered carb diet.

    Hadn’t heard of The Bear, but I liked what I read on his blog.

    I checked out some of Joy Bauer’s diet success stories, and while she focuses on how many calories they cut, they did indeed cut carbs as well. Of course if you’re living on a high-carb diet and decide to reduce calories significantly, that pretty much has to happen. She just doesn’t seem to make that connection, at least not in what I’ve read.

  20. Ben P

    Gah. Too many books with “bread” in the title. Stefannson’s earlier book is titled “Not By Bread Alone”, not “Life Without Bread”.

  21. AC

    This type of thing really frustrates me. About 10 years ago, I lost 95 pounds low-carbing and kept it off for quite a while. At the three-year mark, I decided to join the National Weight Control Registry–a database of people who had lost a significant amount of weight and kept it off for a significant amount of time. They sent me the (LONG) questionnaire and I started filling it out. I got to one question which went something like this:

    How did you lose the weight?
    a. Limiting fat
    b. Limiting calories
    c. Increasing exercise
    d. Limiting calories and increasing exercise

    I wanted to answer “none of the above” and write in low carb, but just put it down and never finished it. A few months later, I heard a news report that went something like this: “According to the National Weight Control Registry, low carb diets were not reported as a method used by successful dieters.” I thought–“Duh! But only because there was no where on their form for someone to report their low carb diet.”

    Verrrrry interesting! I’ve heard the relative lack of low-carb dieters listed in the NWCR mentioned as evidence that low-carb diets aren’t more effective than any other diet. Now I understand the reason for the under-reporting.

  22. P.Mythe

    Aw didn’t realise low carbing gave you such a great tan also.Or did they overpaint the slim image!

    Perhaps she stands too close to the grill when she’s making that grilled-and-green dinner.

  23. Cindy Dominick

    Wow, I didn’t realize all of this conversation was going on about me until I googled my name today. First of all, about my tan, it is from spending many hours boating and swimming, I live in Mississippi for goodness sake where summer starts in April and doesn’t end until October. My tan was not supposed to be the focus. Get you some sun, it will make you feel better.

    Now for my plan, I basically have eaten healthy foods of all kinds, from carbs to fat. I still have my chocolate each day, which is what was said. I have toast and juice for breakfast, lean cuisinie or a small salad and something that is baked or grilled, and pretty much the same for dinner. I snack on nuts, I don’t drink calorie filled drinks. The biggest reason I have been so successful is my exercise regiment. I spend two hours a day 5 days a week in the gym. I get in 1 to 1 1/2 hours of cardio a day and I strength train 3 days a week. I have a 15% body fat, which for age 45 is great.

    I am truly disappointed that something so positive could have been turned into something negative. Those of you who only had negative things to say should be ashamed. My story was meant to inspire, not hinder.

    I really wish everyone the best. I know I feel better than I have in my entire life. I was fat as a child and as an adult. For the first time in my life I am slim and most importantly, healthy. That is all that matters.

    Hi, Cindy — Thanks for weighing in on the issue. (No pun intended!)

    Your story IS inspiring, and I hope no one gave the impression that any of the criticism is directed at you. The remark someone made about the tan and my reply were an attempt at humor … perhaps a poor attempt.

    Our beef is with the show’s nutrition experts and the article’s author, all of whom focused so much on calories and fat, when it’s clear that you also drastically reduced your sugar and starch intake. The diet you described in your comment is very low in carbohydrates, compared to both your previous diet and the diet that most people consume today.

    People don’t eat more fat these days compared to a generation ago, and men on average actually eat less. But our carbohydrate consumption has gone WAY up, and that’s why we have an obesity problem, not to mention a diabetes problem. And yet the coverage of your story, if you read it again, focused largely on fat.

    Lowfat diets that focus on restricting calories have about a 1% long-term success rate. Many people, in the effort to cut out fat, end up increasing the proportion of their calories that come from carbohydrates, which raises their insulin levels and encourages their bodies to store fat. People have gone on those diets and ended up even fatter over time.

    So while your story is very much a personal triumph, the message that came from the media coverage wasn’t useful to millions of frustrated dieters out there, most of whom will never lose weight until they’re told, clearly and unambiguously, to drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake.

    I wish you the best as well. You look great, in spite of the silly comment about your tan.

  24. jason

    Lets see if you will tell the true story or if you are only trying to be-little someone you know nothing about to sell a book.

    Cindy Dominick is my wife and I am here to tell you the weight loss is true and so is the size six clothes. The point you all missed is not that she found a particular diet to follow, she found healthier foods she enjoyed eating and began exercising. The reduced caloric intake along with the increased exercise allowed her to lose the weight.

    What no one wants to hear is that if you want to lose weight it takes exercise, Cindy started by walking, she now Runs five miles and does three hundred crunches five days a week and three days a week she weight trains with a strength trainer.

    I find it amusing that people have put someone down that has done what they can not do, just to make themselves feel better.

    Hi, Jason — No one is doubting her weight loss or belittling her. She looks great, and her story is inspiring. Our issue is with the media coverage, which focused on fat and calories, but barely mentioned how much she reduced her intake of carbohydrates, especially starch.

    If you look at the scientific research on exercise as a means of losing weight (I have), you’ll find it does very little for most people. Exercise of course provides many health benefits, and I’d encourage everyone to exercise (I do), but people have actually trained for and run marathons without losing a pound because their high-carb diets kept their insulin levels high, which commands the body to store fat.

    Simply telling people to eat less and exercise more is the common advice, but in their own scientific journals, obesity researchers admit it rarely seems to work. But if you take the same advice and add “restrict carbohydrates to the level that allows insulin levels to drop,” it does work. Unfortunately, people didn’t get that message from the coverage of your wife’s story — which again, is our complaint.

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