What “Everyone Knows” May Be Changing

Part of the problem with convincing people to cut back on carbohydrates and eat more natural fats is what I call everyone knows knowledge.  As in everyone knows whole grains are good for you.  Everyone knows saturated fat and cholesterol will clog your arteries and kill you.  Just try convincing someone who isn’t a critical thinker that what everyone knows can be flat-out wrong.

Everyone knows knowledge permeates the culture.  I enjoy watching old reruns of Seinfeld, and while they still crack me up, they include a lot of everyone knows ideas about health and nutrition.  I recently watched the episode in which Jerry is trying to get healthier by eating veggie sandwiches and salads.  Elaine’s cousin cooks dinner for him and asks how he likes his pork chops, to which Jerry replies, “I like mine with an angioplasty.”  In another episode, Jerry and his friends gain weight eating frozen yogurt that was advertised as fat-free, but turned out to contain fat.  (As if sugary fat-free foods won’t do the trick.)  And of course, in countless episodes, Jerry chows down on breakfast cereals.  Nothing wrong with those, right?  Everyone knows cereal is health food.

In the hilarious film My Cousin Vinny, a cook in a small-town diner plops lard onto a grill to begin fixing breakfast, prompting Vinny to remark something along the lines of “Are you by any chance aware of the rather large cholesterol problem in this country?”  And in the very witty film Thank You For Smoking, the scheming tobacco lobbyist defends himself against a crusading senator by pointing out the senator’s state is known primarily for producing “artery-clogging” cheese.

I’m not knocking the writers of these great films and TV shows, you understand.  They were simply relying on everyone knows knowledge.  I did the same while writing for a small health magazine 20-some years ago …Should you switch to a low-fat diet?  Of course!  Everyone knows fat is bad for you.

I’m an optimist, so I may be engaging in wishful thinking here, but it seems to me that what everyone knows about diet and health is changing — slowly, perhaps, but changing.  When I began my research for Fat Head, I discovered some well-researched articles claiming that the anti-fat hysteria sparked by the McGovern committee was misguided, but those articles appeared mostly on blogs and alternative-medicine sites.  (The Gary Taubes article What If It’s All Been A Big Fat Lie? was a notable exception.)

Lately, I’ve been noticing more articles in the mainstream media knocking the standard-issue advice.  Back in December, the Los Angeles Times ran an article titled A Reversal on Carbs with the sub-headline Fat was once the devil. Now more nutritionists are pointing accusingly at sugar and refined grains.  Here are a few quotes:

Most people can count calories. Many have a clue about where fat lurks in their diets. However, fewer give carbohydrates much thought, or know why they should.

But a growing number of top nutritional scientists blame excessive carbohydrates — not fat — for America’s ills. They say cutting carbohydrates is the key to reversing obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

“Fat is not the problem,” says Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the department of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”

Outstanding.  I can say it, you can say it, Jimmy Moore can say it, Dr. Eades can say it, a hundred other bloggers can say it, and the average mainstream journalist either won’t know or won’t care.  But when Dr. Willett at Harvard says it, mainstream journalists pay attention.  “Fat is not the problem” ends up being printed in the Los Angeles Times.  Now it stands a chance of becoming everyone knows knowledge, at least among newspaper readers.

Over the weekend, readers sent me links to other articles that appeared in the popular press.  An article in Consumer Reports that rated diets gave the top pick to the Jenny Craig plan because of a high level of adherence – that’s the bad news.  The good news is what the article said about the Atkins diet:

The 2010 edition of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which we’ve used as the basis for the diets’ nutrition Ratings (available to subscribers), still frowns on eating 10 percent or more of calories from saturated fat from meat and dairy products and more than 35 percent from fats overall. So the Atkins diet, which is 64 percent fat calories overall and 18 percent saturated fat, ends up with only a Fair nutrition score.

But there’s more to the story. Evidence is accumulating that refined carbohydrates promote weight gain and type 2 diabetes through their effects on blood sugar and insulin. “If you have insulin resistance, your insulin may go up to 10 or 20 times normal in order to control your blood sugar after you eat sugar or carbs,” says Eric C. Westman, M.D., an associate professor of medicine at Duke University who co-wrote the newest version of the Atkins diet. “But the insulin also tells your body to make and store fat. When you restrict carbs, your insulin goes down and you can burn your body fat, so you eat fewer calories and aren’t as hungry.”

Isn’t it dangerous to eat so much fat? That’s still a subject of vigorous scientific debate, but it’s clear that fat is not the all-round villain we’ve been taught it is. Several epidemiology studies have found that saturated fat doesn’t seem to increase people’s risk of cardiovascular disease or stroke.

Moreover, clinical studies have found that an Atkins or Atkins-like diet not only doesn’t increase heart-disease risk factors but also actually reduces them as much as or more than low-fat, higher-carb diets that produce equivalent weight loss.

So there’s an interesting admission for you:  Consumer Reports uses the USDA Guidelines as the basis for its nutrition rankings, then explains that actual research doesn’t support those guidlines.  Perhaps in the future, Consumer Reports can do one of its famous reliability tests on the USDA Dietary Guidelines.  (“A whopping 92% of our readers report these guidelines failed within the first year.”)  But this article is a good start.

Another reader informed me over the weekend that the Dallas Morning News ran an opinion piece that shredded the government’s dietary advice.  I couldn’t access that article without a subscription, but found that the same article (I think) was also published in City Journal magazine:

America’s public-health officials have long been eager to issue nutrition advice ungrounded in science, and nowhere has this practice been more troubling than in the federal government’s dietary guidelines, first issued by a congressional committee in 1977 and updated every five years since 1980 by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Controversial from the outset for sweeping aside conflicting research, the guidelines have come under increasing attack for being ineffective or even harmful, possibly contributing to a national obesity problem. Unabashed, public-health advocates have pushed ahead with contested new recommendations, leading some of our foremost medical experts to ask whether government should get out of the business of telling Americans what to eat—or, at the very least, adhere to higher standards of evidence.

… The McGovern committee, in coming up with its diet plan, had to choose among very different nutritional regimes that scientists and doctors were studying as potentially beneficial to those at risk for heart disease. Settling on the unproven theory that cholesterol was behind heart disease, the committee issued its guidelines in 1977, urging Americans to reduce the fat that they consumed from 40 percent to 30 percent of their daily calories, principally by eating less meat and fewer dairy products.

… The latest nutritional thinking has indeed zeroed in on carbohydrates as a likely cause of heart disease. Easily digestible carbs, in particular—starches like potatoes, white rice, and bread from processed flour, as well as refined sugar—make it hard to burn fat and also increase inflammations that can cause heart attacks, several studies have concluded. A 2007 Dutch study of 15,000 women found that those who ate foods with the highest “glycemic load,” a measure of portion sizes and of how easily digestible a food is, had the greatest risk of heart disease.

Looking at such evidence, several top medical scientists have concluded that the government’s carb-heavy guidelines may actually have harmed public health …“In general,” the doctors wrote, “weak evidentiary support has been accepted as adequate justification for [the U.S. dietary] guidelines. This low standard of evidence is based on several misconceptions, most importantly the belief that such guidelines could not cause harm.” But, they concluded, “it now seems that the U.S. dietary guidelines recommending fat restriction might have worsened rather than helped the obesity epidemic and, by so doing, possibly laid the groundwork for a future increase in CVD,” cardiovascular disease.

I certainly don’t expect the nutrition geniuses at the USDA to change their guidelines, no matter how many articles like these appear in the mainstream press.  But I don’t think it’s overly optimistic to believe we’re approaching the time when everyone knows those guidelines are a load of bologna.


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134 thoughts on “What “Everyone Knows” May Be Changing

  1. Falzy

    This article fills my heart with hope! 🙂 I’ll just try not to get too optimistic. lol. and since when can the government decide on these guidelines FOR us? Shouldn’t they have at least let the people know about every option and vote for the one with the most scientific evidence? Oh well, anyway cheers to ya dude! And keep doing what your doing my man.

    I think the best option would be for the government to announce that they’re getting out of the food and nutrition business. No subsidies, no guidelines.

  2. Lori

    @Sam, if it’s the minerals in the Powerade that you crave, you could try mineral water. I used to hate the stuff, but now I really like grapefruit flavored Perrier (0 carbs, of course). You could also try decaf coffee–it has even more minerals in it.

  3. Digger

    “Controversial from the outset for sweeping aside conflicting research, the guidelines have come under increasing attack for being ineffective or even harmful, possibly contributing to a national obesity problem.”

    Understatement of the year?

    That would get my vote, yes.

  4. New Caveman

    I saw Fat Head on Netflix yesterday. I am now doing my body a favor and embracing the diets of our Paleothic ancestors. About 10 minutes ago I cooked up some bacon, used the fat to cook my egg and then licked up all of the leftover fat. I feel reborn.

    😀

    Now that’s breakfast. And you probably won’t be hungry for hours.

  5. Laurie

    Everybody knows salt will kill you. Except I have thought for a long time that it won’t. We are made out of salt. This link and blog is good. “The Skeptic’s Health Journal Club” May 14 post. “Did They Just Say Salt Cures Heart Disease?”
    It’s worth your time to read this post. I especially LOVE the last lines.
    ” I think the AHA needs to re-evaluate their position and look for a new hobby horse to ride. As a suggestion, once past all the sound and fury concerning salt intake, there actually is very good evidence that the vast increase in sugar consumption that has gone along with a modern diet has greatly increased diabetes, heart disease and numerous other serious chronic diseases, why not pester people about that? ”

    I can only guess that the sugar lobby is much more politically connected than the salt lobby.

  6. Day

    Things might change, but it’s going to be a long slow pull. I just read this article http://247wallst.com/2011/05/17/the-american-companies-with-the-most-valuable-brands/3/, and was dismayed to see that fully eight of the top ten most valuable brands in the US are purveyors of virtually nothing but junk food.

    1)Mars
    4)PepsiCo
    5)Kraft Foods
    6)The Coca-Cola Co
    7)General Mills
    8)ConAgra Foods
    9)Kellogg’s
    10)Dr Pepper Snapple Group

    Combined those companies have a lot of clout with the government and media. Throw in Big Pharma and the battle to get the facts out seems daunting. Thanks for giving it your best, though.

    Those rankings may not be as disturbing as you’d think. If people buy eggs, pork, beef and vegetables from hundreds of sources, none of those sources will show up in a list like this, even if those foods are highly popular.

  7. Firebird

    “I really want to drop the carbs, but I am addicted to Powerade. I have made the switch to their “zero” branded ones which are (slightly) better, but I know there has to be a better option out there. Do you have any suggestions?”

    @ Sam — the late Steve Reeves (Bodybuilder and star of the “Hercules” movies of the 1950s) use to drink this homemade concoction, which predates Gatorade by 20 years:

    1/2 gallon water

    1 C lemon juice

    1 T honey

    pinch of salt

    Personally, I’d replace the honey with Splenda, though I don’t think the honey is high enough in carbs to worry anyone.

  8. Susan

    I LOVE Walter Williams!!

    Same here. He actually agreed to be interviewed for Fat Head — I was going asked him many of the same questions Jacob Sullum addressed — but we couldn’t work out the schedule, since he was on sabbatical during the summer I was flying around doing interviews. I would’ve loved to just shake the man’s hand.

  9. Pete Ballerstedt

    Yes, there ARE grounds for optimism. Great post. But while we’re on this road, we need to guard against some of the new “everybody knows” ideas that are common in our own subculture. I call them “new conventional wisdom,” with a hat tip to Mark Sisson:
    http://grassbasedhealth.blogspot.com/2011/02/new-conventional-wisdom.html

    Thanks, again, for all you do. (I hope your desk is well padded!)

    Pete B.

    I agree completely. We should always be asking questions.

  10. wilberfan

    Along these “Everyone Knows” lines: Over the weekend Roger Ebert tweeted about his review of a new documentary called “Forks Over Knives” ( http://goo.gl/hKrI9 ), wherein he says,

    “What every human being should do is eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods. Period. That’s it. Animal protein is bad for you. Dairy is bad for you. Forget the ads: Milk and eggs are bad for you. Skim milk is no better, because it contains proportionately more animal protein. What you’re trying to avoid is dietary cholesterol.”

    Which is why I’d never take nutrition advice from Roger Ebert.

  11. Jan

    @Firebird – I wouldn’t replace the honey with Splenda; the reason it is probably there is because raw honey (and before the 60s or 70s, most honey available was probably raw) has numerous important vitamins and minerals, such as B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. And, as you pointed out, the amount of honey isn’t going to boost the carb content noticeably at all.

    As for Weight Watchers, they are now focusing on “whole foods” (probably because they are no longer owned by Heinz), but their stance on fat is still frustrating and misguided: http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=110&sc=3046

    Because everyone knows that saturated fats are every bit as bad for you as trans fats. *rolls eyes*

  12. Milton

    I consider this to be step one in the process of getting the country on the proper dietary track. Step two will be the backlash as low-fat advocates fight back for various reasons (conditioned by Everyone Knows, protecting a reputation, protecting a job, protecting the cash flow from government grants, protecting the cash flow from statin manufacturers, etc). Step three will probably happen when a hacker dumps an email archive on a Russian server and we learn about how “Mike’s triglyceride trick” was being used to “hide the decline” in overall mortality when cholesterol readings go up.

    LOL. Did Mike rely on belt-ring data from just six or seven people to reach his conclusions?

  13. Johnny Lawrence

    So we should eat quest bars instead of a white potato? Freakin retarded. You low carb people are no different than the other side.

    I’m trying to remember in which post I recommended Quest bars in place of of potatoes. Can you point me to it?

  14. Barbara

    In medicine, instead of “everybody knows”, they use the phrase “standard of care”. If you are following the “standard of care” and you get sued, your “expert witness” can testify that you were following the “standard of care” (the new hot buzz phrase is “evidence based medicine”), therefore you are not at fault.

    I think an MD who chooses to prescribe a low-carb diet could easily defend himself since Taubes has clearly shown the evidence is not there to support a low-fat diet. Actually, it might be a great case to have an obese, type 2 diabetic with heart disease to sue the USDA for causing their health problems! Get the whole debate in court and have the supreme court tell everyone the USDA food guidelines are wrong!

    Then the schools can start serving my children some real healthy food. Well, one can dream.

    Maybe, but that would require a jury to understand and believe Taubes. I wouldn’t want to bet on that.

  15. Peggy Cihocki

    @Thom, I grew up in India and my brother still lives there. He confirmed what Tom said–both type II diabetes and heart disease are on a meteoric rise in India, at least in south India, where we grew up and he lives and where they are predominantly vegetarian. I suspect they are increasing their carb consumption (more prosperous), decreasing their good fat consumption and increasing their vegetable oil consumption. I can’t explain why we didn’t have problems growing up–though we did eat some meat in our family and were not afraid of fat (we ate a lot of coconut, peanut oil, peanut butter (the natural kind–that’s all we could get) whole milk yogurt and ghee mixed in with our rice and lentils. Probably more about genetics than anything else. There isn’t any obesity in my family tree and I feel very fortunate about that. Didn’t keep me from gaining a lot of weight when I switched to low fat vegetarian as an adult in this country, though! I mistakenly believed that it was the vegetarianism that kept us thin as kids! But I also lost most of that weight when I cut down on carbs and increased my fat intake. (No, I’m not Indian-my parents lived there for all their adult lives and raised us kids there.)

  16. HW

    I believe Weight Watchers came in only 3rd in that ranking, after Jenny Craig and Slim Fast. Interestingly enough, Weight Watchers has revised their latest program, and the result is something that encourages more fat and protein consumption, and less emphasis on carbs. So even Weight Watchers is getting the message.

    If they’re basing the rankings partly on how well the diets match the USDA Dietary Guidelines, that means Weight Watchers will fall farther down the list. That’s how silly the rankings are.

  17. Falzy

    This article fills my heart with hope! 🙂 I’ll just try not to get too optimistic. lol. and since when can the government decide on these guidelines FOR us? Shouldn’t they have at least let the people know about every option and vote for the one with the most scientific evidence? Oh well, anyway cheers to ya dude! And keep doing what your doing my man.

    I think the best option would be for the government to announce that they’re getting out of the food and nutrition business. No subsidies, no guidelines.

  18. The Older Brother

    Several years ago, I got Walter Williams to autograph my copy of his “The State Against Blacks” book. It’s probably the only book I own that I would refuse to lend out!

    @Laurie re: salt — someone put a link to a a recent JAMA article in the comments on Tom’s “Speech: Science for Smart People” post, where the researchers found that:
    1) Dietary salt intake didn’t affect the odds of subsequent onset of hypertension (high blood pressure) and
    2) The people with low dietary salt intake where MORE likely to die of cardiovascular events.
    I used it for my current blog entry.

    Cheers.

  19. Lori

    @Sam, if it’s the minerals in the Powerade that you crave, you could try mineral water. I used to hate the stuff, but now I really like grapefruit flavored Perrier (0 carbs, of course). You could also try decaf coffee–it has even more minerals in it.

  20. Digger

    “Controversial from the outset for sweeping aside conflicting research, the guidelines have come under increasing attack for being ineffective or even harmful, possibly contributing to a national obesity problem.”

    Understatement of the year?

    That would get my vote, yes.

  21. Peggy Cihocki

    Tom, This is good news, indeed! I’m spreading the word as best I can–I’m sure some of my Facebook friends are a little tired of my constant posting of links to your site and sites that I find through your blog, but oh well. Tough. As you said, if at best you, others like you, and articles like the ones you quote in the media can get the majority of people to ignore the USDA food guidelines and realize they are crap, most of the battle will be won. I’m sure it’s happening–slowly, but surely!

    Does this mean I’ll meet some of these people for the first time, and they’ll immediately say, “Shut up! I’m sick of you already!” … ?

  22. New Caveman

    I saw Fat Head on Netflix yesterday. I am now doing my body a favor and embracing the diets of our Paleothic ancestors. About 10 minutes ago I cooked up some bacon, used the fat to cook my egg and then licked up all of the leftover fat. I feel reborn.

    😀

    Now that’s breakfast. And you probably won’t be hungry for hours.

  23. Peggy Cihocki

    Oh and oops. Correction: I mistakenly assumed it was the low meat consumption, not vegetarianism (obviously we weren’t vegetarian!), that was responsible for our thinness and health growing up.

  24. Laurie

    Everybody knows salt will kill you. Except I have thought for a long time that it won’t. We are made out of salt. This link and blog is good. “The Skeptic’s Health Journal Club” May 14 post. “Did They Just Say Salt Cures Heart Disease?”
    It’s worth your time to read this post. I especially LOVE the last lines.
    ” I think the AHA needs to re-evaluate their position and look for a new hobby horse to ride. As a suggestion, once past all the sound and fury concerning salt intake, there actually is very good evidence that the vast increase in sugar consumption that has gone along with a modern diet has greatly increased diabetes, heart disease and numerous other serious chronic diseases, why not pester people about that? ”

    I can only guess that the sugar lobby is much more politically connected than the salt lobby.

  25. Misty

    What a great post! I am having a hard time convincing my friends and family that this is the right way. you should see the dirty looks I get when i say I’m a low carber and pregnant! “that’s so bad for the baby!” it gets very annoying. then I say being on a low carb diet saved my first trimester, by finding your movie and emailing you. But they still do not believe me. I hope that people wake up soon and find that you need to stop listening to the government and listen to your body, it’ll tell you what you should eat. My other two pregnancies were very tiring, this one so far is going great! I feel better now nearly 4 months in then I did before I was pregnant! plus the food taste so much better! I’m exploring food I haven’t eaten since I left home, I snack less, and all around can do more during the day! Keep up the great work Tom!

    You would’ve enjoyed Dr. Fox’s lecture on how low-carb diets benefit pregnant women. Congratulations on the pregnancy.

  26. Firebird

    “I really want to drop the carbs, but I am addicted to Powerade. I have made the switch to their “zero” branded ones which are (slightly) better, but I know there has to be a better option out there. Do you have any suggestions?”

    @ Sam — the late Steve Reeves (Bodybuilder and star of the “Hercules” movies of the 1950s) use to drink this homemade concoction, which predates Gatorade by 20 years:

    1/2 gallon water

    1 C lemon juice

    1 T honey

    pinch of salt

    Personally, I’d replace the honey with Splenda, though I don’t think the honey is high enough in carbs to worry anyone.

  27. Susan

    I LOVE Walter Williams!!

    Same here. He actually agreed to be interviewed for Fat Head — I was going asked him many of the same questions Jacob Sullum addressed — but we couldn’t work out the schedule, since he was on sabbatical during the summer I was flying around doing interviews. I would’ve loved to just shake the man’s hand.

  28. wilberfan

    Along these “Everyone Knows” lines: Over the weekend Roger Ebert tweeted about his review of a new documentary called “Forks Over Knives” ( http://goo.gl/hKrI9 ), wherein he says,

    “What every human being should do is eat a vegetarian diet based on whole foods. Period. That’s it. Animal protein is bad for you. Dairy is bad for you. Forget the ads: Milk and eggs are bad for you. Skim milk is no better, because it contains proportionately more animal protein. What you’re trying to avoid is dietary cholesterol.”

    Which is why I’d never take nutrition advice from Roger Ebert.

  29. Jan

    @Firebird – I wouldn’t replace the honey with Splenda; the reason it is probably there is because raw honey (and before the 60s or 70s, most honey available was probably raw) has numerous important vitamins and minerals, such as B6, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. And, as you pointed out, the amount of honey isn’t going to boost the carb content noticeably at all.

    As for Weight Watchers, they are now focusing on “whole foods” (probably because they are no longer owned by Heinz), but their stance on fat is still frustrating and misguided: http://www.weightwatchers.com/util/art/index_art.aspx?tabnum=1&art_id=110&sc=3046

    Because everyone knows that saturated fats are every bit as bad for you as trans fats. *rolls eyes*

  30. Johnny Lawrence

    So we should eat quest bars instead of a white potato? Freakin retarded. You low carb people are no different than the other side.

    I’m trying to remember in which post I recommended Quest bars in place of of potatoes. Can you point me to it?

  31. Peggy Cihocki

    @Thom, I grew up in India and my brother still lives there. He confirmed what Tom said–both type II diabetes and heart disease are on a meteoric rise in India, at least in south India, where we grew up and he lives and where they are predominantly vegetarian. I suspect they are increasing their carb consumption (more prosperous), decreasing their good fat consumption and increasing their vegetable oil consumption. I can’t explain why we didn’t have problems growing up–though we did eat some meat in our family and were not afraid of fat (we ate a lot of coconut, peanut oil, peanut butter (the natural kind–that’s all we could get) whole milk yogurt and ghee mixed in with our rice and lentils. Probably more about genetics than anything else. There isn’t any obesity in my family tree and I feel very fortunate about that. Didn’t keep me from gaining a lot of weight when I switched to low fat vegetarian as an adult in this country, though! I mistakenly believed that it was the vegetarianism that kept us thin as kids! But I also lost most of that weight when I cut down on carbs and increased my fat intake. (No, I’m not Indian-my parents lived there for all their adult lives and raised us kids there.)

  32. The Older Brother

    Several years ago, I got Walter Williams to autograph my copy of his “The State Against Blacks” book. It’s probably the only book I own that I would refuse to lend out!

    @Laurie re: salt — someone put a link to a a recent JAMA article in the comments on Tom’s “Speech: Science for Smart People” post, where the researchers found that:
    1) Dietary salt intake didn’t affect the odds of subsequent onset of hypertension (high blood pressure) and
    2) The people with low dietary salt intake where MORE likely to die of cardiovascular events.
    I used it for my current blog entry.

    Cheers.

  33. Peggy Cihocki

    Tom, This is good news, indeed! I’m spreading the word as best I can–I’m sure some of my Facebook friends are a little tired of my constant posting of links to your site and sites that I find through your blog, but oh well. Tough. As you said, if at best you, others like you, and articles like the ones you quote in the media can get the majority of people to ignore the USDA food guidelines and realize they are crap, most of the battle will be won. I’m sure it’s happening–slowly, but surely!

    Does this mean I’ll meet some of these people for the first time, and they’ll immediately say, “Shut up! I’m sick of you already!” … ?

  34. Peggy Cihocki

    Oh and oops. Correction: I mistakenly assumed it was the low meat consumption, not vegetarianism (obviously we weren’t vegetarian!), that was responsible for our thinness and health growing up.

  35. Misty

    What a great post! I am having a hard time convincing my friends and family that this is the right way. you should see the dirty looks I get when i say I’m a low carber and pregnant! “that’s so bad for the baby!” it gets very annoying. then I say being on a low carb diet saved my first trimester, by finding your movie and emailing you. But they still do not believe me. I hope that people wake up soon and find that you need to stop listening to the government and listen to your body, it’ll tell you what you should eat. My other two pregnancies were very tiring, this one so far is going great! I feel better now nearly 4 months in then I did before I was pregnant! plus the food taste so much better! I’m exploring food I haven’t eaten since I left home, I snack less, and all around can do more during the day! Keep up the great work Tom!

    You would’ve enjoyed Dr. Fox’s lecture on how low-carb diets benefit pregnant women. Congratulations on the pregnancy.

  36. TonyNZ

    @Sam
    Tried fruit or fruit-infused teas? Semi refreshing, semi sweet and a whole lot better than sugary junk. I like them because I drink pretty much exclusively (bar alcoholic indulgences) hot drinks and need some of them to be caffeine free. Some are alright cold.

  37. Johnny Lawrence

    “Jimmy Moore can say it….”

    Ok you didn’t say it but the quest bar king says it.

    After seeing a lecture by Dr. William Davis, I started testing my glucose reaction to various foods, as he recommends. One white potato sends my glucose up to around 170 and keeps it there for nearly two hours. So in fact, yes, I’d pick the Quest bar over the potato. But I’d pick a nicely cooked piece of meat or some eggs over either.

  38. Elly

    What the school knows certainly isn’t changing. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just sit down and listen to crap, so if anyone tries to tell me fat is bad for you and grains are good for you, I will fiercly debate it. Once in math class we had a substitute who took a look at what all the kids were eating and started talking about cholesterol and heart disease, to which I responded with all the points I’d gained from Fathead. It ended with him saying that it depends on which cholesterol it was (HDL or LDL) and then him walking away before I could start on those being proteins and not cholesterol. Also once in math class the teacher was saying that during testing we could bring in only healthy snacks (my math teacher has a policy that we’re allowed to eat in class) like pretzels and popcorn, and I called out that popcorn and pretzels were NOT healthy snacks and some other kid yelled back YES THEY ARE THE SCIENCE TEACHER SAID SO. Also in science class the subject was somehow brought up to Supersize Me at my table when we were chatting, which we had watched in class, and I tried and tried to tell them Morgan Spurlock hadn’t followed his own rules and it was impossible to eat 3 meals a day every day without supersizing and eating 5,000 calories EVERY DAY, and they started blabbing on about how he almost died and yes it was possible and yadda yadda yadda, and it was SO ANNOYING, I swear if I teacher tells kids something they will not let go of it.

    You’re a bad teacher’s worst nightmare. Keep it up.

  39. Firebird

    @ Jan, I get an insulin spike from honey, so I WOULD replace the honey with Splenda.

  40. Peggy Cihocki

    @Elly, as a former science teacher, I can tell you I would have LOVED to have you in my class! Keep it up and don’t let anything you know is not true slide. Just be polite about it. A good teacher will listen, check it out and–if it pans out–learn (yes, teachers do learn from students!) And if they’re not willing to listen, their loss. Teachers are human and they make mistakes, too. Not everything they say is gospel The good ones are able to admit their mistakes, learn from them and move on.

  41. TonyNZ

    @Sam
    Tried fruit or fruit-infused teas? Semi refreshing, semi sweet and a whole lot better than sugary junk. I like them because I drink pretty much exclusively (bar alcoholic indulgences) hot drinks and need some of them to be caffeine free. Some are alright cold.

  42. Peggy Cihocki

    Oh, and Elly, provide them with the evidence. If a student took issue with something I said, I listened and then asked for his/her source so I could check it out. (“My Mom or Dad said so” was not acceptable). If it turned out to be a valid point, I told them–and the class. If it turned out not to be valid, I provided my own evidence to the contrary so they could make up their own minds and not just take my word for it.

  43. Johnny Lawrence

    “Jimmy Moore can say it….”

    Ok you didn’t say it but the quest bar king says it.

    After seeing a lecture by Dr. William Davis, I started testing my glucose reaction to various foods, as he recommends. One white potato sends my glucose up to around 170 and keeps it there for nearly two hours. So in fact, yes, I’d pick the Quest bar over the potato. But I’d pick a nicely cooked piece of meat or some eggs over either.

  44. Elly

    What the school knows certainly isn’t changing. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t just sit down and listen to crap, so if anyone tries to tell me fat is bad for you and grains are good for you, I will fiercly debate it. Once in math class we had a substitute who took a look at what all the kids were eating and started talking about cholesterol and heart disease, to which I responded with all the points I’d gained from Fathead. It ended with him saying that it depends on which cholesterol it was (HDL or LDL) and then him walking away before I could start on those being proteins and not cholesterol. Also once in math class the teacher was saying that during testing we could bring in only healthy snacks (my math teacher has a policy that we’re allowed to eat in class) like pretzels and popcorn, and I called out that popcorn and pretzels were NOT healthy snacks and some other kid yelled back YES THEY ARE THE SCIENCE TEACHER SAID SO. Also in science class the subject was somehow brought up to Supersize Me at my table when we were chatting, which we had watched in class, and I tried and tried to tell them Morgan Spurlock hadn’t followed his own rules and it was impossible to eat 3 meals a day every day without supersizing and eating 5,000 calories EVERY DAY, and they started blabbing on about how he almost died and yes it was possible and yadda yadda yadda, and it was SO ANNOYING, I swear if I teacher tells kids something they will not let go of it.

    You’re a bad teacher’s worst nightmare. Keep it up.

  45. Firebird

    @ Jan, I get an insulin spike from honey, so I WOULD replace the honey with Splenda.

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