More of What They’re Up Against

      91 Comments on More of What They’re Up Against

I receive a lot of thank-you emails from people who’ve seen Fat Head. I’ve posted a few here and there, and readers have commented that they enjoy reading them, but frankly the main reason I don’t share more of them is that it feels egotistical.

Despite that, I’m going to post a few today because they serve as examples of This Is What They’re Up Against, the topic of my last post.  Unless the people who wrote these emails are hermits, they’re probably talking to friends and family about their success.  The so-called experts can recommend lowfat diets and healthywholegrains all they want … when ordinary people see their friends achieving extraordinary results by ignoring that advice, it’s got to make them think.

On to the emails:

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Dear Tom,

After viewing Fat Head, I had what can only be described as a paradigm shift.

Since the age of 10, I had been a chronic dieter. Losing 10 lbs, then going back to eating normal amounts but slowly and consistently gaining the 10 lbs back. Repeat cycle. A strict adherent to the “calories in/calories out” mantra, I could never understand why a healthy, disciplined diet would lead to weight gain. Every 4 weeks or so… for years… I had to drop down to a starvation-level diet just to get back to a “healthy” weight and maintain. An unhealthy cycle, granted. But I didn’t know what to do! I felt my options were (1) be miserable on a diet (2) be fat.

When I saw your movie, I was floored. The facts. The research. The common sense. Something about your argument just rang true. Even as a child, I remember thinking that the Food Pyramid seemed strange. 6-11 servings of bread or cereal a day? But as Dr. Mary Eades so eloquently puts it in your film: I fell into lock-step with the “experts.”

After seeing Fat Head, I immediately made changes. I replaced granola bars and low calorie cereals with almonds, eggs, and delicious, full-fat cheese. I felt good. The constant hunger, irritability and sluggishness started to abate. I even began using real salad dressing (THAT’S real freedom – let me tell you!).

I shared your film with some fellow documentary buffs. One of them has Coeliac Disease. Out of necessity, she has had to figure out how foods actually affect the body. Several times during the film she would throw her arms up and say, “FINALLY! Someone who actually knows what they’re talking about!” The four of us have since begun a high protein, low carbohydrate diet as a group. And we are all felling better!

Thank you eternally for using your own time and money to benefit humanity! (I’ll keep you posted on our progress, too.)

Much love,
Hayley

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Hey Tom,

I would like to say thanks so much for making Fat Head 🙂 I started a low-carb diet awhile before watching your movie, and I had my doubts (there were some “reports” that low carb diets are dangerous), but after watching your movie, it set me straight. I’ve been on the diet since mid-March, and I weighed 185lbs. Now I’m at 154lbs(my goal is 130lbs), and it’s the easiest diet to stick to ever (I’ve tried so many and probably spent thousands on gimmicky solutions-Jenny Craig, sensa, Arbonne, herbal life, raw diet, low sodium diet, eDiets, PGX, lots and lots of weight loss exercise dvds from infomercials, paid this internet “trainer” $180 for diet and exercise plans which required me to weigh all the food I ate ).  Other people and my family have tried to debunk my diet, but having watched your movie I can defend this diet a lot better. I can’t imagine eating breads or pasta ever again!

Anyways, thanks so much, keep up the good work and take care!

-Vanessa

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Dear Mr. Naughton,

I don’t use the term “dear” lightly. Though we have never met, I want you to know how much your work has done for me and my family. I watched Fat Head on Netflix some weeks ago for the first time, and found it interesting. Then I watched Big Fat Fiasco on YouTube, and when you got to the explanation of the study with the insulin-injected mice (particularly the picture I have named “Jabba the Mouse”), I was stunned. I went back to Netflix and watched Fat Head again, then again. And then I started making notes, lots of them.

I found your blogs and have read every post on the Fat Head blog. Your work has helped me tremendously. I went starch- and sugar- free a week and a half ago, at 388 pounds, and have lost over a pound a day since. I am not hungry. I have energy, the arthritis in my knees and back are diminishing rapidly, and my blood sugar has completely normalized.

That’s the short version. The long version is below, but I wanted to front-load the good news in case you’re rather too busy to read the whole story. The information you brought to me has quite literally saved my life and improved its quality in ways I cannot begin to explain. Thank you so much for that.

I was a fat baby, a fat toddler, fat kid, teenager, and adult. At age 20, I weighed 484 lbs after 15 years of highly-restrictive diets, including a diet my mother forced me to stay on for a full month that was a 1000 calorie diet, consisting mostly of a horrid cabbage-tomato soup that tasted like, well, over-cooked cabbage and unsalted, unseasoned tomato juice.

At age 22, I stopped drinking regular soda and eating white bread, went semi-vegetarian, wasted tons of money on high-priced “natural, healthy” foods and smoothies that looked like swamp water and didn’t taste much better. After five years of torture, I lost 150 lbs. At 27, I gave up on the flax seed and smoothies, the calorie-counting and starvation, and gained back 50. At age 29, I weighed 388 pounds.

After watching Fat Head and Big Fat Fiasco, I started following the guidelines of no sugars (except for a bit of fresh fruit) and no grains at all. I have working the low-carb/no-sugar/no-grain plan for 11 days and weigh 371 pounds now. That’s 16 pounds! I lost more in a week and a half on this plan than I did in SIX MONTHS on any other plan. But that’s not the best part.

The best part of this is that I am feeling good for the first time in years. The crippling pain in my joints, in my very bones, has almost completely disappeared. I track everything I eat, and despite having a “huge” fat intake percentage-wise, I eat half the calories that I was eating when I was on a high-carb/low-fat diet. And I’m not hungry. I’m not tracking my calories because I’m worried about them, but rather to have a record to show people that when you eat nutrient-dense real food, you wind up–by accident–cutting your calories significantly.

What really kills me about this whole thing is the number of doctors I went to over the years, one after another, who told me that my problem was a lack of willpower. They told me I had no self-control. They made me feel worthless, which only made the problem worse! I believed them when they said I couldn’t be “that hungry” and walking couldn’t hurt “that bad.” I believed them when they told me I was being a wuss, a whiner, a lazy gluttonous slob. I took it all, year after year. And I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have had to. I should have been allowed the chance to grow up healthy. But you can be damn sure I’m going give my kids (if I ever have any) a better shot at it than I had.

Thank you again for your work. I appreciate it more than I can say. I’m sure you get that a lot, but I still needed to say it.

Andrea

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Tom —

Of course you’ve received thousands of contacts with glowing reviews for the positive change you’ve helped engender in their lives! Or scathing ridicule, but it’s nice to be noticed, right?

I say thank you for using your brain, for sharing your experience, for continuing the edutainment!!

My blood sugar is under control, I’m losing weight and enjoying life so much more since I’ve modified my diet. Walks with my 9-year-old daughter, laughing again after so long feeling angry and depressed because I had cut out fat and was eating more and more whole grains!!

I hope you wanted to change peoples lives for the better, because we’re going to let you know the good you’ve done whether you like it or not!

THANK YOU!

Çhase

[Note from Tom:  Yes, I get scathing emails now and then too.  As soon as I realize what they are, I delete them without reading them.  I’m not interested in absorbing negative energy from angry dolts.]

———————————————————————–

Hi Tom!

I saw your documentary Fat Head this past July. I am 35 years old, 6’8″ tall and weighed about 330lbs. I have struggled with my weight since early childhood. In fact, I remember a teacher in the third grade making a joke about me weighing “as much as a full grown tiger” I think I weighed 100lbs back then. I don’t know why I brought that up, probably because it was a sad moment.

I have always been confused about different diet fads and have been temporarily successful at getting down to a healthy weight, only to watch it jump back up.

After seeing your movie, I felt like “diet” finally makes sense to me. There is so much noise coming from different experts, it was a relief to finally hear something that makes sense. I have been able to shed some significant weight, changing nothing but some of my eating habits. I’ve cut out the french fries, and usually go ‘bunless’ when I get a burger, but I have learned to actually avoid the “fat free” or “fat reduced” options when eating and find myself able to manage my hunger much better.

At this point, it has been a little over 3 months since I made the changes, and I have lost 63 lbs and still losing. I’m hoping to get down to 230lbs (or close to it).

Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for putting this documentary together. I don’t think you designed it to necessarily help people lose weight, but it was inspiring for me and has made a huge difference in my life, as well as my family’s life.

Thanks again.

Sincerely,

Phil

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Hey Tom,

I know you probably get this a lot.  But you know what, dammit?  I’m gonna say it anyways.  I first saw your movie about 5 months ago and thought the way you approached the subject with comedy and real scientists and doctors giving real facts, I found it very interesting.  Since then I have consulted with some firefighter buddies who are also professional bodybuilders.  They confirmed every word you said, so I decided to give it a go.

I can tell you that in 3 months after beginning the diet, I have lost 29 lbs, going from 210 lbs to 181 lbs.  And the ease that the weight melted off was staggering.  I barely increased my exercise regimen although I am a semi active person.  The results speak for themselves.

Some other changes that I have noticed in my body are:  I used to have savage allergies but I haven’t even blown my nose in at least 2 months.  Also I used to down water like it was running out, the thirst I had was enormous, now I barely drink 64 ounces a day.  My energy level is through the roof, and I am not as tired as I used to be (sleep wise).  I just thought that I should write you a letter letting you know that you at least changed 2 lives because of your common sense and lack of tolerance for stupidity.  Keep up the good work, son.

Josh

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I just saw Fat Head and it was the best documentary I’ve seen in about a thousand years. It dovetails with the books my wife and I have been reading and the research we’ve been doing.

No need to reply; I just wanted to say THANK YOU!

You are my new god. I’m sacrificing a goat to your magnificence (and eating its fatty meat in an orgy of rationality). Incidentally, I’ve cut out (most of) my carbs and dropped from 217 to 206 in about two weeks, all while dining on steak, chicken, fish, bacon, sausage, cheese and veggies.

I will recommend your documentary to one and all. I work in a school, a place where your perspective is sorely needed.

I’ve promoted Sen. McGovern to my list of “The Five People You’ll Meet in Hell.”

Kudos!

Don

———————————————————————–

Thank you all for writing, and thank you to everyone else whose kind emails I didn’t post.  Hearing your success stories means a lot to me.

This is what they’re up against:  all of you.


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91 thoughts on “More of What They’re Up Against

  1. Peggy Cihocki

    Awesome! You are, indeed, awesome, and deserve every word of praise you get. I hope people keep watching Fat Head (I plug it whenever I can) and spread the word to their friends. Common sense will prevail–some day!

    Fat Head is going on most cable systems as a pay-per-view movie and on iTunes soon, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  2. Elizabeth

    I know you might not have control over the ads from Google, but “The Portion Plate” keeps coming up. I thought you had put it there, so I clicked.

    I definitely experienced a moment of confusion before realizing it was an ad.

    Feel free to disregard this if you already knew. 😀 (I love your blog!)

    Google makes some very strange choices. I’m considering just pulling their spots — imagine how I feel when I see a link to an ad put up by the Corn Refiners Association.

  3. Peggy Cihocki

    Awesome! You are, indeed, awesome, and deserve every word of praise you get. I hope people keep watching Fat Head (I plug it whenever I can) and spread the word to their friends. Common sense will prevail–some day!

    Fat Head is going on most cable systems as a pay-per-view movie and on iTunes soon, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  4. Andrea Lynnette

    I love it. And I love reading what others have said about the movie, too. I’m the Andrea in the email, and while my weight loss has slowed, I’m down to 351 now, which is the least I’ve weighed since I was about 14. I actually walked over a mile today, which might not sound like much to y’all, but it’s a BIG thing for me. Six months ago, I could only walk on a treadmill for 2 minutes while leaning heavily on the siderail for support.

    The most important thing for all of us is to remember to talk about it. Tell everyone you know, as often as you can. You’ll be surprised what happens.

    Congratulations, Andrea. It’s natural for weight loss to slow — smaller bodies need less energy — but I’m sure you’re in this for the long term.

  5. Paul L in MA

    Is this a comment thread for all of our testimonials now?

    Yes, thanks to you, Tom, I followed up your sources, I read the Eadeses and Gary Taubes and others, I found the rich world of low-carb and real-food bloggers out there, and I changed my ways.

    I had a borderline obese BMI and had felt resigned to just packing on the spare tire as an inevitability of my early-middle age. But I got past apathy about my diet and health. I’m down 22 pounds now in about four months, to the lightest I have been in a decade or more.

    Today I punched a new hole in my belt! None of the rest are tight enough!

    Though I suppose I COULD grumble and damn your eyes now about the need to pay the tailor for alterations…

    Please, everybody, watch Tom’s “Science for Smart People” too! You won’t often hear such a great combination of smart and funny. Learn not to deduce too much whenever you see a headline about a health study.

    Thank you, Paul. Congrats on the tighter belt.

  6. April P in Maryland

    Definitely correct about being up against so many years of (unintentional?) brainwashing. A few days ago Yahoo posted the usual tripe touting whole grains:

    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/5-things-you-didn-t-know-about-carbs-2596384

    It was disheartening… until I saw that the comment section had morphed into a battle between warring factions. The majority said “Counting calories is common sense!” But they were interspersed with a compelling minority that said “Oh yeah well I starved myself for X years and it didn’t work, then I dumped grains and lost 31 pounds.”

    In the end, I think results will win over the “experts.” Pioneers like you and Gary Taubes and others are making headway, but I think it will take some time. Thank you for all you do.

    p.s. at the end of that article on Yahoo, the author writes: “Best Carb Picks;
    Here are a few of my favorites” and then provides a helpful list of whole grain commercial junk, complete with brand names. What a shill.

    That article was written by Joy Bauer, one of those annoying naturally-thin people who believes that because she’s thin, she knows how to lose weight.

  7. Lynnanne

    You’ve changed so many lives, Tom!

    The Fiance and I showed FatHead to the world’s most crabby skeptical man. He is a wealthy skinny miser who thinks that fat people just don’t have the willpower he does. Mr. Miser’s jaw fell open about 1/4 through Fathead and stayed that way through the end. For the first time ever, he was speechless. He admitted that you had some points he couldn’t refute, which believe me, is a very reluctant admission from him. He slunk home and it was a week before he called to tell us that he’d talked to his vegetarian friends, who told him why Fathead was wrong. 🙂 He’s still upset because he can’t reconcile his wish that he’s thin because he’s superior with your movie that explains that fat people aren’t fat because they’re morally inferior.

    Keep up the good work! You’re reaching people who aren’t even in the choir.

    I had a naturally-skinny friend who also believed fat people are fat because they lack willpower. He would express this belief as we were having dinner together and he was consuming just as many burritos and beers as I was.

  8. Valerie

    I love reading about people’s easy success on low car/high fat. Especially when you consider how most overweight people are told to try the “healthy low fat” diet by their doctors and then are told they are basically lazy with no willpower when they don’t lose weight! What a crock.

    It’s like your doctor telling you to cure your asthma by huffing on fiberglass from a bag and then ridiculing when you start coughing up blood for not “keeping up with your regimen strictly enough.”

    A friend posted a diabetes awareness month poster on her Facebook, so I responded with the fact that the ADA is full of it and gave links to you, Dr. Eades, and Dr. Eendfeldt. Let’s try to make this a REAL awareness month for diabetics! I know I will be bringing it up anytime anyone else mentions it.

    Thanks for everything you do Tom. Your blog always breathes fresh inspiration into my views on health.

    Thank you. Hearing from readers is what make this all worthwhile.

  9. Gary McRiddle

    I’ve been wanting to send you my own you-changed-my-life-and-thank-you-for-everything e-mails, but I haven’t decided if I should send it now, in the midst of my transformation, or some months from now, closer to when it will be complete.

    Needless to say, your cheap and obscure documentary changed my life, and especially my father’s life, in ways I can’t begin to thank you for.

    Email me about your results whenever you feel it’s appropriate.

  10. Elizabeth

    I know you might not have control over the ads from Google, but “The Portion Plate” keeps coming up. I thought you had put it there, so I clicked.

    I definitely experienced a moment of confusion before realizing it was an ad.

    Feel free to disregard this if you already knew. 😀 (I love your blog!)

    Google makes some very strange choices. I’m considering just pulling their spots — imagine how I feel when I see a link to an ad put up by the Corn Refiners Association.

  11. Andrea Lynnette

    I love it. And I love reading what others have said about the movie, too. I’m the Andrea in the email, and while my weight loss has slowed, I’m down to 351 now, which is the least I’ve weighed since I was about 14. I actually walked over a mile today, which might not sound like much to y’all, but it’s a BIG thing for me. Six months ago, I could only walk on a treadmill for 2 minutes while leaning heavily on the siderail for support.

    The most important thing for all of us is to remember to talk about it. Tell everyone you know, as often as you can. You’ll be surprised what happens.

    Congratulations, Andrea. It’s natural for weight loss to slow — smaller bodies need less energy — but I’m sure you’re in this for the long term.

  12. Paul L in MA

    Is this a comment thread for all of our testimonials now?

    Yes, thanks to you, Tom, I followed up your sources, I read the Eadeses and Gary Taubes and others, I found the rich world of low-carb and real-food bloggers out there, and I changed my ways.

    I had a borderline obese BMI and had felt resigned to just packing on the spare tire as an inevitability of my early-middle age. But I got past apathy about my diet and health. I’m down 22 pounds now in about four months, to the lightest I have been in a decade or more.

    Today I punched a new hole in my belt! None of the rest are tight enough!

    Though I suppose I COULD grumble and damn your eyes now about the need to pay the tailor for alterations…

    Please, everybody, watch Tom’s “Science for Smart People” too! You won’t often hear such a great combination of smart and funny. Learn not to deduce too much whenever you see a headline about a health study.

    Thank you, Paul. Congrats on the tighter belt.

  13. wolverine

    Results like these make all your efforts worth the time. My 73 year old father has always been overweight and has suffered two heart attacks, had angioplasy with 7 stents, and eventually a by-pass surgery.

    He finally got fed up with his lipophobic doctor and I talked him into watching “Fathead”. He enjoyed it so much, he watched it 3 times. He’s decided to go low carb. I think it was the science coupled with the sarcastic humor that won him over. Thanks!

    Sorry he’s had so many health issues, but here’s to his recovery. Better late than never.

  14. April P in Maryland

    Definitely correct about being up against so many years of (unintentional?) brainwashing. A few days ago Yahoo posted the usual tripe touting whole grains:

    http://shine.yahoo.com/channel/health/5-things-you-didn-t-know-about-carbs-2596384

    It was disheartening… until I saw that the comment section had morphed into a battle between warring factions. The majority said “Counting calories is common sense!” But they were interspersed with a compelling minority that said “Oh yeah well I starved myself for X years and it didn’t work, then I dumped grains and lost 31 pounds.”

    In the end, I think results will win over the “experts.” Pioneers like you and Gary Taubes and others are making headway, but I think it will take some time. Thank you for all you do.

    p.s. at the end of that article on Yahoo, the author writes: “Best Carb Picks;
    Here are a few of my favorites” and then provides a helpful list of whole grain commercial junk, complete with brand names. What a shill.

    That article was written by Joy Bauer, one of those annoying naturally-thin people who believes that because she’s thin, she knows how to lose weight.

  15. Lynnanne

    You’ve changed so many lives, Tom!

    The Fiance and I showed FatHead to the world’s most crabby skeptical man. He is a wealthy skinny miser who thinks that fat people just don’t have the willpower he does. Mr. Miser’s jaw fell open about 1/4 through Fathead and stayed that way through the end. For the first time ever, he was speechless. He admitted that you had some points he couldn’t refute, which believe me, is a very reluctant admission from him. He slunk home and it was a week before he called to tell us that he’d talked to his vegetarian friends, who told him why Fathead was wrong. 🙂 He’s still upset because he can’t reconcile his wish that he’s thin because he’s superior with your movie that explains that fat people aren’t fat because they’re morally inferior.

    Keep up the good work! You’re reaching people who aren’t even in the choir.

    I had a naturally-skinny friend who also believed fat people are fat because they lack willpower. He would express this belief as we were having dinner together and he was consuming just as many burritos and beers as I was.

  16. Valerie

    I love reading about people’s easy success on low car/high fat. Especially when you consider how most overweight people are told to try the “healthy low fat” diet by their doctors and then are told they are basically lazy with no willpower when they don’t lose weight! What a crock.

    It’s like your doctor telling you to cure your asthma by huffing on fiberglass from a bag and then ridiculing when you start coughing up blood for not “keeping up with your regimen strictly enough.”

    A friend posted a diabetes awareness month poster on her Facebook, so I responded with the fact that the ADA is full of it and gave links to you, Dr. Eades, and Dr. Eendfeldt. Let’s try to make this a REAL awareness month for diabetics! I know I will be bringing it up anytime anyone else mentions it.

    Thanks for everything you do Tom. Your blog always breathes fresh inspiration into my views on health.

    Thank you. Hearing from readers is what make this all worthwhile.

  17. Patricia

    Low carb is becoming more mainstream; much more so than it was 10 years ago. I believe you have contributed so much to the movement, Tom, because your movie didn’t come right out and say “Hey! This is about low carb dieting!” because it’s not. The message was methodical and fairly subtle until it hit you square between the eyes. The fact that it was not only personal opinion and experience, but had great expert interviews in it was credible and added to the excitement of the multi-faceted message. I loved it. It’s one of those movies that I watch again and again when there’s nothing good on tv and I need a grin and a boost.

    Thank you.

  18. Gary McRiddle

    I’ve been wanting to send you my own you-changed-my-life-and-thank-you-for-everything e-mails, but I haven’t decided if I should send it now, in the midst of my transformation, or some months from now, closer to when it will be complete.

    Needless to say, your cheap and obscure documentary changed my life, and especially my father’s life, in ways I can’t begin to thank you for.

    Email me about your results whenever you feel it’s appropriate.

  19. wolverine

    Results like these make all your efforts worth the time. My 73 year old father has always been overweight and has suffered two heart attacks, had angioplasy with 7 stents, and eventually a by-pass surgery.

    He finally got fed up with his lipophobic doctor and I talked him into watching “Fathead”. He enjoyed it so much, he watched it 3 times. He’s decided to go low carb. I think it was the science coupled with the sarcastic humor that won him over. Thanks!

    Sorry he’s had so many health issues, but here’s to his recovery. Better late than never.

  20. Patricia

    Low carb is becoming more mainstream; much more so than it was 10 years ago. I believe you have contributed so much to the movement, Tom, because your movie didn’t come right out and say “Hey! This is about low carb dieting!” because it’s not. The message was methodical and fairly subtle until it hit you square between the eyes. The fact that it was not only personal opinion and experience, but had great expert interviews in it was credible and added to the excitement of the multi-faceted message. I loved it. It’s one of those movies that I watch again and again when there’s nothing good on tv and I need a grin and a boost.

    Thank you.

  21. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat Pe

    Yesterday was my weekly indulgence: pot roast with baby potatoes, garlic bread — ohh, garlic bread, how I still love you — soft pretzels brought all the way from Philly.

    And now I’m sitting here going through most of a box of tissues having my first allergy attack of the season. I’m sure it’s a coincidence.

    By the way, I hear Vanessa with family members trying to “debunk” how I eat. Sure, I’m losing weight, but there must be something wrong with it. After all, not only have they been trained in what counts as “healthy”, they’ve also been trained that losing weight can’t be easy and delicious. So I must be doing something wrong.

    Just keep being wrong. Nothing is more fun that achieving the right results with the “wrong” methods.

  22. Firebird

    Drew, I’m from Philly and don’t touch Philly pretzels! While I love cheese steaks, I don’t do the comparison between Geno’s, Pat’s, Jim’s or Tony Luke’s. I go down the street to a little pizzeria that makes it low carb, just a whole lotta meat with a generous amount of melted cheese. $5!

  23. Kevin

    All of those testimonials are from people trying a low-carb diet for the first time. It says nothing about the long-term sustainibility of the diet.

    If you go to sites like ‘180degreehealth.com’ you will find hundreds of testimonials from people who ran into serious problems with low-carb dieting after a number of years of apparent success. Such problems include weight stalls and regains, symptoms of hypothyoidism, fatigue, depression, a vicious return of allergies after temporary relief, dry skin, and worsening of autoimmune problems. Matt Stone terms the initial benefits of low-carb dieting the ‘honeymoon effect’, and for himself and many of his readers it doesn’t last long and brings many new problems after it wears off. He attributes the intitial invigoration to rises in catecholamine hormones, and the eventual deterioration to an adrenal burnout of sorts, as well as a lowered metabolism and impaired thyroid.

    I find it interesting that Richard Nikoley and Jimmy Moore both complained of cold extremities and low body temperature. And in his original book, even Dr. Atkins himself acknowledgeed the risk of impaired thyroid function on his diet.

    There are countless anecdotal reports on the internet of disastrous failure on low-carb diets after intitial improvements. Many of these people who emailed you will likely have their health take a serious turn for the worse as a result of carbohydrate restriction. Are you comfortable with that?

    And it is sad, because there are other options, like Stephan’s low-reward approach to weight loss, that appear just as effective as low-carb dieting, if not more effective, without the dangerous pitfalls of severe macronutrient restriction.

    Please don’t tell me you’ve been on the diet for years without the slightest trouble. Even if I chose to believe that, the fact that it has been sustainable for you – so far – does not mean it will be so for a substantial number of people.

    Yes, I’ve heard all those dire warnings, but I’ve yet to see them come true. Dr. James Carlson has treated thousands of patients long-term with low-carb diets, yet reports he hasn’t seen those supposed thyroid problems develop.

    If my low-carb diet is causing a slow metabolism, why am I leaner now and getting a little leaner each year? And if people on long-term low-carb diets are all likely to take a disastrous turn for the worse, why did entire populations who lived on low-carb diets thrive?

  24. Kirby

    Tom- Since watching Fathead and reading your blog for the past six months, I’ve stopped eating sugar (never ate that much anyway), flour (and all grains) and starches… and I’ve got a bone to pick with you, Because:

    – Had to buy new pants having lost 4″ on my waist
    – Had to buy new belts (or a leather punch to make new holes!)
    – Had to buy new sports jackets (44longs), because my 48Longs were too big
    – No more complaints from wife on my snoring.. because it stopped
    – Have a medicine cabinet full of Advil, don’t need it anymore
    – Have to find a new hobby with the extra energy I seem to have

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    Keep up the good fight!!

    I apologize for causing you to buy new clothes.

  25. Linda

    So I am writing this from a hospital bed, after some odd chest pressure and other weird sensations on Friday night, and am scheduled for an angiogram in the morning. Had a lipid profile after fasting a few days ago, plus more testing done here. My total cholesterol figures are both high, 285 and 251, however, my HDL/Total ratio and my TRIG/HDL ratio are both ideal.
    I am already being told, by nurses here, that if any blockage is found and stents are inserted, they will attempt to put me on a statin. So I sense a battle ahead.
    I am looking for any and all posts to back me up.
    BTW I am having one hell of a time finding something to eat here! Everything on the menu is “heart healthy”!

    I trust you won’t give in to the statinators.

  26. dlm

    My sudden weight gain (35 lbs over usual 115 small frame) at menopause was just a sign I had a familial body type. My hypoglycemia was a different disease from the oncoming type II diabetes. The Candida (low carb, etc) Diet worked wonders — weight fell off like water. But I would do myself harm without complex carbs. Why was I not needing diabetic drugs? How could being a sugar junkie be harmful? You better swallow your Lipitor.

    And they wonder why we trust nothing more that they say. Luckily we have you, Dr. Richard K. Bernstein (diabetic expert), and Gary Taubes to make sense and give us validation that low carb w o r k s ! And my husband is glad I’m no longer interested in low-salt, low-fat, etc. b.s. and he can enjoy his full fat food/meat. We pass it on to anyone who wants to listen that we keep weight away easily the low carb way.

  27. Drew @ Willpower Is For Fat People

    Yesterday was my weekly indulgence: pot roast with baby potatoes, garlic bread — ohh, garlic bread, how I still love you — soft pretzels brought all the way from Philly.

    And now I’m sitting here going through most of a box of tissues having my first allergy attack of the season. I’m sure it’s a coincidence.

    By the way, I hear Vanessa with family members trying to “debunk” how I eat. Sure, I’m losing weight, but there must be something wrong with it. After all, not only have they been trained in what counts as “healthy”, they’ve also been trained that losing weight can’t be easy and delicious. So I must be doing something wrong.

    Just keep being wrong. Nothing is more fun that achieving the right results with the “wrong” methods.

  28. Andrea Lynnette

    “Congratulations, Andrea. It’s natural for weight loss to slow — smaller bodies need less energy — but I’m sure you’re in this for the long term.” –Tom

    I am definitely in for the duration. Why wouldn’t I be? I get to eat when I’m hungry and enjoy what I’m eating! My diet is (roughly) 20% protein, 5% carbohydrate, and 75% fat. If I want a big ole glass of milk with extra cream, I’m drinking it! If I want bacon at midnight, I’ll eat it! And despite doing “everything wrong,” I’m shrinking! After being on diet after diet, it’s so wonderful to NOT have a huge list of rules! I can sum my “diet” up in three rules!
    #1: Avoid refined carbohydrates.
    #2: Avoid grain.
    #3: Eat when you’re hungry.

  29. Firebird

    Drew, I’m from Philly and don’t touch Philly pretzels! While I love cheese steaks, I don’t do the comparison between Geno’s, Pat’s, Jim’s or Tony Luke’s. I go down the street to a little pizzeria that makes it low carb, just a whole lotta meat with a generous amount of melted cheese. $5!

  30. Firebird

    If people who are low carb dieting are running into those problems, then they’re doing the diet wrong. 😉

  31. Kevin

    All of those testimonials are from people trying a low-carb diet for the first time. It says nothing about the long-term sustainibility of the diet.

    If you go to sites like ‘180degreehealth.com’ you will find hundreds of testimonials from people who ran into serious problems with low-carb dieting after a number of years of apparent success. Such problems include weight stalls and regains, symptoms of hypothyoidism, fatigue, depression, a vicious return of allergies after temporary relief, dry skin, and worsening of autoimmune problems. Matt Stone terms the initial benefits of low-carb dieting the ‘honeymoon effect’, and for himself and many of his readers it doesn’t last long and brings many new problems after it wears off. He attributes the intitial invigoration to rises in catecholamine hormones, and the eventual deterioration to an adrenal burnout of sorts, as well as a lowered metabolism and impaired thyroid.

    I find it interesting that Richard Nikoley and Jimmy Moore both complained of cold extremities and low body temperature. And in his original book, even Dr. Atkins himself acknowledgeed the risk of impaired thyroid function on his diet.

    There are countless anecdotal reports on the internet of disastrous failure on low-carb diets after intitial improvements. Many of these people who emailed you will likely have their health take a serious turn for the worse as a result of carbohydrate restriction. Are you comfortable with that?

    And it is sad, because there are other options, like Stephan’s low-reward approach to weight loss, that appear just as effective as low-carb dieting, if not more effective, without the dangerous pitfalls of severe macronutrient restriction.

    Please don’t tell me you’ve been on the diet for years without the slightest trouble. Even if I chose to believe that, the fact that it has been sustainable for you – so far – does not mean it will be so for a substantial number of people.

    Yes, I’ve heard all those dire warnings, but I’ve yet to see them come true. Dr. James Carlson has treated thousands of patients long-term with low-carb diets, yet reports he hasn’t seen those supposed thyroid problems develop.

    If my low-carb diet is causing a slow metabolism, why am I leaner now and getting a little leaner each year? And if people on long-term low-carb diets are all likely to take a disastrous turn for the worse, why did entire populations who lived on low-carb diets thrive?

  32. Kirby

    Tom- Since watching Fathead and reading your blog for the past six months, I’ve stopped eating sugar (never ate that much anyway), flour (and all grains) and starches… and I’ve got a bone to pick with you, Because:

    – Had to buy new pants having lost 4″ on my waist
    – Had to buy new belts (or a leather punch to make new holes!)
    – Had to buy new sports jackets (44longs), because my 48Longs were too big
    – No more complaints from wife on my snoring.. because it stopped
    – Have a medicine cabinet full of Advil, don’t need it anymore
    – Have to find a new hobby with the extra energy I seem to have

    Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    Keep up the good fight!!

    I apologize for causing you to buy new clothes.

  33. Linda

    So I am writing this from a hospital bed, after some odd chest pressure and other weird sensations on Friday night, and am scheduled for an angiogram in the morning. Had a lipid profile after fasting a few days ago, plus more testing done here. My total cholesterol figures are both high, 285 and 251, however, my HDL/Total ratio and my TRIG/HDL ratio are both ideal.
    I am already being told, by nurses here, that if any blockage is found and stents are inserted, they will attempt to put me on a statin. So I sense a battle ahead.
    I am looking for any and all posts to back me up.
    BTW I am having one hell of a time finding something to eat here! Everything on the menu is “heart healthy”!

    I trust you won’t give in to the statinators.

  34. dlm

    My sudden weight gain (35 lbs over usual 115 small frame) at menopause was just a sign I had a familial body type. My hypoglycemia was a different disease from the oncoming type II diabetes. The Candida (low carb, etc) Diet worked wonders — weight fell off like water. But I would do myself harm without complex carbs. Why was I not needing diabetic drugs? How could being a sugar junkie be harmful? You better swallow your Lipitor.

    And they wonder why we trust nothing more that they say. Luckily we have you, Dr. Richard K. Bernstein (diabetic expert), and Gary Taubes to make sense and give us validation that low carb w o r k s ! And my husband is glad I’m no longer interested in low-salt, low-fat, etc. b.s. and he can enjoy his full fat food/meat. We pass it on to anyone who wants to listen that we keep weight away easily the low carb way.

  35. Andrea Lynnette

    “Congratulations, Andrea. It’s natural for weight loss to slow — smaller bodies need less energy — but I’m sure you’re in this for the long term.” –Tom

    I am definitely in for the duration. Why wouldn’t I be? I get to eat when I’m hungry and enjoy what I’m eating! My diet is (roughly) 20% protein, 5% carbohydrate, and 75% fat. If I want a big ole glass of milk with extra cream, I’m drinking it! If I want bacon at midnight, I’ll eat it! And despite doing “everything wrong,” I’m shrinking! After being on diet after diet, it’s so wonderful to NOT have a huge list of rules! I can sum my “diet” up in three rules!
    #1: Avoid refined carbohydrates.
    #2: Avoid grain.
    #3: Eat when you’re hungry.

  36. Galina L

    @ Kevin,
    I understand that I am just another anecdotal evidence, however, I have been on VLC diet for 4 years (minus 2 weeks) and resolved basically all my health issues (asthma, eczema, frequent infections, leg edema, pre-menopausal issues), it helped me to manage migraines and now I have a great feeling of well-being, also more than 35 lb of a weight loss. I was diagnosed with low thyroid 15 years ago, since I started LC, my symptoms are better, probably because my thyroid is being attacked by immune system, and all autoimmune conditions got better for me on LC. I am not saying I don’t believe people who report some problem while on LC, just, please, consider my statistics too. I tried different diet approaches during my life and my experience makes me very skeptical about importance Steven’s theory. Food reward is a very small factor, on my opinion.

    I sure as heck don’t want to spend the rest of my life on a tasteless “low-reward” diet when I can enjoy my meals and still keep my weight down.

  37. Firebird

    If people who are low carb dieting are running into those problems, then they’re doing the diet wrong. 😉

  38. Alex

    My diet isn’t strictly low-carb because my daily carb intake is somewhere around 100-150 grams. However, I have been eating this way for eight years, and I have yet to have any problems. The only problem is unwanted weight gain whenever I try to introduce starch back into my diet on a regular basis. I can get away with a sushi roll once a week, but that’s it.

    I don’t it’s necessary for most people to go zero carb (which is nearly impossible anyway). Low means low, not zero. For me, low probably works out to around 50 grams on most days, a little more on weekends. While I was on my fast-food diet, I averaged around 100, but some days the count was higher.

  39. Galina L

    @ Kevin,
    I understand that I am just another anecdotal evidence, however, I have been on VLC diet for 4 years (minus 2 weeks) and resolved basically all my health issues (asthma, eczema, frequent infections, leg edema, pre-menopausal issues), it helped me to manage migraines and now I have a great feeling of well-being, also more than 35 lb of a weight loss. I was diagnosed with low thyroid 15 years ago, since I started LC, my symptoms are better, probably because my thyroid is being attacked by immune system, and all autoimmune conditions got better for me on LC. I am not saying I don’t believe people who report some problem while on LC, just, please, consider my statistics too. I tried different diet approaches during my life and my experience makes me very skeptical about importance Steven’s theory. Food reward is a very small factor, on my opinion.

    I sure as heck don’t want to spend the rest of my life on a tasteless “low-reward” diet when I can enjoy my meals and still keep my weight down.

  40. Alex

    My diet isn’t strictly low-carb because my daily carb intake is somewhere around 100-150 grams. However, I have been eating this way for eight years, and I have yet to have any problems. The only problem is unwanted weight gain whenever I try to introduce starch back into my diet on a regular basis. I can get away with a sushi roll once a week, but that’s it.

    I don’t it’s necessary for most people to go zero carb (which is nearly impossible anyway). Low means low, not zero. For me, low probably works out to around 50 grams on most days, a little more on weekends. While I was on my fast-food diet, I averaged around 100, but some days the count was higher.

  41. Nowhereman

    @Kevin
    When you throw around only anecdotes, like with observation-based statistics, you can come up whatever the hell answer you want. Me? I’ve been doing LC/Paleo for nearly 20 years. I’m not dead yet, though quite disturbingly enough, there are those wish I was for my success on the diet and lifestyle.

    Is my health perfect? No, I can still stub my toe with the best of them, and get health problems from stress-related issues. But I’m a helluva lot better off than if I hadn’t done this. That I know. I’m still lean and strong and young-looking compared to my friends who failed to heed what I had to say to them. They’ve starting to jump on the LC bandwagon these past 3 years, but for at least two of them, it’s possibly too late; the damage is done and irreversible. All of them got the way they are by following the low-fat, high-refined sugar, high-carbohydrate via whole grains diet.

    So what alternative would suggest, Kevin, for those of us who’ve tried vegetarianism and vegan diets, but failed miserably on those? To try them again? Why? It seems we’ve found what works for us, and that’s all that matters. I hope those people you claim have problems find their solution, but that is for them, not for us, and I’m sure we all here wish them luck in doing so.
    You see, unlike certain militant and elitists that are found among the vegetarian and vegan communities, we don’t push our way onto others. We share the information with others, but we do not try and push this on them. It is for them to decide. Live and let live.

    So why not let us be?

  42. Nowhereman

    @Kevin
    When you throw around only anecdotes, like with observation-based statistics, you can come up whatever the hell answer you want. Me? I’ve been doing LC/Paleo for nearly 20 years. I’m not dead yet, though quite disturbingly enough, there are those wish I was for my success on the diet and lifestyle.

    Is my health perfect? No, I can still stub my toe with the best of them, and get health problems from stress-related issues. But I’m a helluva lot better off than if I hadn’t done this. That I know. I’m still lean and strong and young-looking compared to my friends who failed to heed what I had to say to them. They’ve starting to jump on the LC bandwagon these past 3 years, but for at least two of them, it’s possibly too late; the damage is done and irreversible. All of them got the way they are by following the low-fat, high-refined sugar, high-carbohydrate via whole grains diet.

    So what alternative would suggest, Kevin, for those of us who’ve tried vegetarianism and vegan diets, but failed miserably on those? To try them again? Why? It seems we’ve found what works for us, and that’s all that matters. I hope those people you claim have problems find their solution, but that is for them, not for us, and I’m sure we all here wish them luck in doing so.
    You see, unlike certain militant and elitists that are found among the vegetarian and vegan communities, we don’t push our way onto others. We share the information with others, but we do not try and push this on them. It is for them to decide. Live and let live.

    So why not let us be?

  43. Justin B

    @Kevin

    I’m sure there are at least just as many of us who have been on low carb for a decade or longer with testimonials of the exact opposite nature.

  44. Charlie

    Dr. Ron Rosedale posted a great response to the LC and thyroid issue on the Jimmy Low Carb Blog.

    http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/more-safe-starches-stuff-and-why-ive-decided-not-to-test-them-on-myself/12068?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LivinLaVidaLowCarbBlog+%28Jimmy+Moore%27s+Livin%27+La+Vida+Low+Carb+Blog%29

    I believe that Jaminet and most others misunderstand the physiologic response to low glucose, and the true meaning of low thyroid. Glucose scarcity (deficiency may be a misnomer) elicits an evolutionary response to perceived low fuel availability. This results in a shift in genetic expression to allow that organism to better survive the perceived famine. Intracellular antioxidant systems, heat shock proteins, DNA repair, autophagy, all tricks that nature has, are up-regulated to allow the organism to increase repair and maintain itself to remain healthy and alive. As part of this genetic expression, and as part and parcel of nature’s mechanism to allow the maintenance of health and actually reduce the rate of aging, certain events will take place as seen in caloric restricted animals. These include a reduction in serum glucose, insulin, leptin, and free T3.

    The reduction in free T3 is of great benefit, reducing temperature, metabolic damage and decreasing catabolism. TSH is not elevated. We are not talking about a hypothyroid condition. It is a purposeful reduction in thyroid activity to elicit health. Yes, reverse T3 is increased, as this is a normal, healthy, physiologic mechanism to reduce thyroid activity. It is not always a sign of malfunctioning thyroid as is frequently taught, but is instead one of the redundant ways that thyroid action is controlled. Reduced thyroid level in this regard is analogous to reduced fasting insulin that generally indicates improved insulin sensitivity, which also occurs in fasting and caloric restricted animals, and is also part and parcel of the benefits seen. Sometimes our complexity is indeed paradoxical.

    “Decreased production of molecules like hyaluronan and mucin and reduced levels of T3 thyroid hormone, then, are outcome of dietary glucose deficiency.”

    Reduced levels of T3 occur secondary to leptin reduction that occurs secondary to reduction in glucose. This is not a detriment and is not hypothyroidism, but part and parcel of genetic expression of increased maintenance and repair. See above. As far as ‘glucose deficiency’ impairing mucin and hyaluronan production; I respect your theory but cannot agree with it as it lacks evidence, nor do I agree with the concept of glucose deficiency while on a VLC diet such as mine (moderate protein, relatively high fat).

  45. HW

    Great letters. I think the part of your movie that really drove the point home to me was when you simply said “maybe nature does know what it’s doing…” I think that was really the moment when everything came together and just felt obvious.

    But unfortunately, I think this is a much bigger paradigm shift than it first appears to be, because it extends to so many other areas of life besides just diet. For some people, even if the science itself makes sense, this may be just too big of a leap. I try to share this information with my family and friends. People ask me how I’ve managed to lose weight so easily, and I tell them the truth. But as soon as a doctor says otherwise, they will usually follow what the doctor says… almost always.

    I think it’s really going to take more people in the medical establishment, before the ship will really start to turn. But then we also have powerful political forces at work. With the US government getting more and more involved with medical care, and with the government actually promoting the foods that make us sick… challenging someone’s diet may also indirectly challenge their political views that the government is necessarily acting in their best interest. This is not something people want to hear or talk about. Personally I’m not one to want to get into political matches over such things. I don’t bring up my political beliefs. I really dislike it when some vegans start bringing politics into it… and yet, there it is. As much as I don’t like it, it’s really kind of the elephant in the room.

    It could be a long battle, but we could reach a tipping point that will accelerate things as well. I’ve had several doctors order copies (sometimes 20 or 30 copies) of Fat Head to give to patients, which means more people are hearing this from doctors as well.

  46. cTo

    “What really kills me about this whole thing is the number of doctors I went to over the years, one after another, who told me that my problem was a lack of willpower. They told me I had no self-control. They made me feel worthless, which only made the problem worse! I believed them when they said I couldn’t be “that hungry” and walking couldn’t hurt “that bad.” I believed them when they told me I was being a wuss, a whiner, a lazy gluttonous slob. I took it all, year after year. And I shouldn’t have. I shouldn’t have had to. I should have been allowed the chance to grow up healthy. ”

    This, right here. This was the huge epiphany I had when I began low carb/paleo. Realizing what a huge lie that all that “medical wisdom” is was a huge weight off my shoulders, but I continue to be angry at the fact that the lies are perpetuating. This is why I respect and admire the efforts of Tom and other leaders in the field to bring the information to the people as openly and helpfully as they can, and stand up to the dissenters who continue to claim that they’re wrong.

    That was the big “aha!” moment for me too, when I finally grasped that we can be starving at the cellular level even if we’re fat. That changed the whole picture.

  47. Justin B

    @Kevin

    I’m sure there are at least just as many of us who have been on low carb for a decade or longer with testimonials of the exact opposite nature.

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