There are several layers to this and, frankly, there are some things we can’t fully explain – I’ll always acknowledge this. Take a look again at the figure below, which shows you how many calories folks are consuming on each diet and, more importantly, where those calories come from. You’ll note that people on these diets, including the strictest low-fat high-carb diets, significantly reduce their total amount of carbohydrates (therefore reducing the amount of insulin they secrete). The reason, I believe, most of these diets have some efficacy – at least in the short-term – is that they all reduce sugar and highly refined carbohydrate intake, either explicitly or implicitly.
Someone made a great point in response to my post on why fruits and vegetables are not actually necessary for good health. I know a lot of people who eat this way and, I’ve got to say, these folks do not eat a lot of sugar or a lot of highly refined carbohydrates.
While I do plan to write an entire post on this topic of what one can and cannot conclude from an experiment, I do want to at least make the point here: The biggest single problem with nutrition “science” is that cause and effect are rarely linked correctly. I am, to be clear, not implying this is the case for this trial, but I want you to understand why it’s important to read papers fully. This trial, The Lifestyle Heart Trial, prospectively randomized a group of not-so-healthy patients into two treatment groups: the control group and the experimental group (or what we’d call the “treatment” or “intervention” group).
First off, and perhaps most importantly from the standpoint of drawing conclusions, compliance was reported to be excellent and the differences between the groups were statistically significant on every metric, except total average caloric intake. Take a moment to look over the rest of the table (or just skip reading it since I’m going to keep talking about it anyway).
Though not shown in this table, the experimental group also reported less chest pain severity (though chest pain frequency and duration were not statistically different).
Let’s take a leap of faith and hypothesize that the dietary intervention (rather than, say, the social support) had the greatest impact on the measured parameters in the subjects.  It’s certainly the most likely factor in my mind.  But what, exactly, can I conclude?
People don’t like to be hungry, and if they are reducing their caloric intake by reducing fat intake, they seldom find themselves satiated. Semi-starvation reduces basal metabolic rate, so your body actually adjusts to the “new” norm and slows down its rate of mobilizing internal fat stores. I argue that reduction of fat intake has nothing to do with it and that the reduction of total calories has a transient effect.
It’s *really* tough to study this stuff properly, especially compared to studying things blood pressure lowering pills, which are complex in their own right, but MUCH easier to control in a study. A nutrition department of a university accepts funds from a company that makes confectionery. Do you think the Academy’s supporters want to hear that if you eliminate their products you will no longer need to rely on the products provided by the biggest supporters of the Diabetic Association?
Pretty much solely because of their report, Suzuki was forced to eventually withdraw the Samurai from production in the US although they later won the lawsuit that was filed as a result of the forged report by showing videos from the actual testing of the car conducted by CR. Ironically, the fact that CR had to admit it was faked somehow wasn’t plastered all over their magazines and the front pages of a bunch of newspapers.
At that point, everything they publish became suspect and may as well line a birdcage somewhere. Peter, I have a coworker who has recently lost 80lbs over the course of a year on weight watchers. Looking forward to your next post, and of course people's comments for the current one! I will discuss all of this in great detail, hopefully in the coming month, when I do a post on PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids).
Anyway, it’s nice to discover someone who takes the Taubes viewpoint on things, and also takes the time to actually post online about it with some frequency, so thanks!
Oh absolutely, I was mostly referring to the fact that most of the excess carbs we eat are converted to palmitic acid, which is a SFA.
There was an (1) average protein, low fat group (65% CHO), (2) High protein, low fat group , (3) Average protein, high fat, and (4) high protein, high fat (35% CHO). Thanks very much, Bob, both for the kind comments and for sharing the other data with folks. Some believe that increased fat in the diet is a leading cause of all kinds of health problems, especially heart disease.
These organizations generally recommend that people restrict dietary fat to less than 30% of total calories (a low-fat diet). However… in the past 11 years, an increasing number of studies have been challenging the low-fat dietary approach. Many health professionals now believe that a low-carb diet (higher in fat and protein) is a much better option to treat obesity and other chronic, Western diseases.
In this article, I have analyzed the data from 23 of these studies comparing low-carband low-fat diets. The main outcomes measured are usually weight loss, as well as common risk factors like Total Cholesterol, LDL Cholesterol, HDL Cholesterol, Triglycerides and Blood Sugar levels.
Insulin levels went down by 27% in the LC group, but increased slightly in the LF group. Overall, the low-carb diet had significantly more beneficial effects on weight and key biomarkers in this group of severely obese individuals. Overall, the low-carb group lost more weight and had much greater improvements in several important risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Many other health markers like blood pressure and triglycerides improved in both groups, but the difference between groups was not statistically significant. On the LC diet, the LDL particles partly shifted from small to large (good), while they partly shifted from large to small on LF (bad).
The majority of studies achieved statistically significant differences in weight loss (always in favor of low-carb). Despite the concerns expressed by many people, low-carb diets generally do not raise Total and LDL cholesterol levels on average.
There have been some anecdotal reports by doctors who treat patients with low-carb diets, that they can lead to increases in LDL cholesterol and some advanced lipid markers for a small percentage of individuals. Having higher HDL levels is correlated with improved metabolic health and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease.
You can see that low-carb diets generally raise HDL levels, while they don’t change as much on low-fat diets and in some cases go down.
Triglycerides are an important cardiovascular risk factor and another key symptom of the metabolic syndrome. It is clear that both low-carb and low-fat diets lead to reductions in triglycerides, but the effect is much stronger in the low-carb groups. In non-diabetics, blood sugar and insulin levels improved on both low-carb and low-fat diets and the difference between groups was usually small. Only one of those studies had good compliance and managed to reduce carbohydrates sufficiently.
In this study, over 90% of the individuals in the low-carb group managed to reduce or eliminate their diabetes medications. However, the difference was small or nonexistent in the other two studies, because compliance was poor and the individuals ended up eating carbs at about 30% of calories (10, 23). A common problem in weight loss studies is that many people abandon the diet and drop out of the studies before they are completed.
I did an analysis of the percentage of people who made it to the end of the study in each group. The reason may be that low-carb diets appear to reduce hunger (9, 11) and participants are allowed to eat until fullness.


This is an important point, because low-fat diets are usually calorie restricted and require people to weigh their food and count calories.
Keep in mind that all of these studies are randomized controlled trials, the gold standard of science. It's a little known nightmare that will effect more than half of men and 43% of women over the age of 80.
Our mission is simple: to bring you the latest information in health breakthroughs that will help you live a happy, fulfilling, and active life. It's easier thank you think to eat large portions and still be healthy, slim, and satisfied. According to a recent paper in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, those looking to lose a few pounds and get back in shape would do well to choose a low-carb diet over a low-fat one.
More so if these people also wish to experience a considerable improvement in the overall health of their cardiovascular system, researchers explain. Thus, it appears that, when it comes to losing weight and reducing cardiovascular risk factors, low-carb diets can really work magic. The researchers now saying that low-carb diets trump low-fat ones when in terms of promoting weight loss and protecting the cardiovascular system base their claims on data obtained while carrying out a series of experiments. After sticking to these diets for one full year, the volunteers, who were all obese at the beginning of the study, had their overall health condition assessed, EurekAlert informs. Hence, the specialists behind this investigation recommend that people who have taken a fancy to the idea of getting fit do their best and reduce their daily carbohydrates intake rather than opt for low-fat dishes.
Rolls of fat around your middle are often described as 'love handles' but that's only to be kind I'm afraid. Anyone can lose weight quickly by starving themselves but this can seriously damage your health because your body starts to burn lean muscle as well as your stores of fat. Slow weight loss programs like this are more likely to burn off fat not muscle and give you a good chance of keeping the weight off permanently but it's no good if you have a wedding to go to in 2 weeks time. Conventional wisdom tells us that slow weight loss of around 1 to 2 pounds a week is a healthy target when achieved through good nutrition and exercise.
However you should not reduce your calorie intake too much or you'll start to lose muscle as well as fat.
The trick is to reduce your calorie intake a little, exercise regularly and persuade your body to burn as many calories as possible. Eating many small meals rather than fewer large meals can also help your body to burn the calories that you eat and so make it easier for you to lose your stomach fat. This means that if you reduce the amount of calories that eat in an attempt to lose weight then your body just compensates by not burning so many. A relatively new technique puts you on a diet where you actually change the types of calories that you eat on a daily basis. If you change the type of calories that you eat daily then you can actually trick your body into keeping your metabolic rate up and burn calories fast. To prepare for her wedding Kim is said to be eating a lot of lean protein and only green vegetables because they have more fiber. Jessica also eats more fiber, putting flax seed in her water 30 minutes before a meal to make her feel fuller. To get all the latest news from Have U Heard – Like us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter. Kim Kardashian West Reveals That Her Baby Boy Is Breech- What Does That Mean For His Birth?
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner Spend the Holidays Together But Are Tired Of Living Together! Take a look around and you'll find that I am in the minority for believing that you can bulk up and cut simultaneously. The evidence isn't just anecdotal however, there's solid scientific evidence for my position, but we'll get to that later. The logic is, since you can't do both of the above at the same time, you can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time. However, for those of us in the know, we can use our knowledge to activate a fat metabolism and achieve remarkable results. A fat-burner is simply someone who restricts carbohydrate intake to encourage the body to burn fat for fuel.
When you eat high-carb and create a calorie deficit, you'll lose weight alright, but you'll lose up to 50% of that weight in muscle.
Hey, the next time someone discourages you and tells you that you can't build muscle and lose fat at the same time, point at their big gut and suggest that they start using some of those calories in future. That said, many of the successes (at least weight-wise, though hopefully by now you realize there is much more to health than just body composition) of popular diets can be explained by a few simple observations.
You can argue that those who are overweight probably consume an even greater amount of carbohydrates. Even the Ornish diet, which is the most restrictive diet with respect to fat and most liberal with respect to carbohydrates, still reduces carbohydrate intake by about 40% from what people were likely eating pre-diet. No one on the Ornish Diet or Jenny Craig Diet is eating candy bars and potato chips, at least not if they are adhering to it.
The point was, essentially, that telling people to eat 5-6 servings per day of fruits and vegetables can hopefully drive a beneficial substitution effect.
I have no intention of engaging in a battle with proponents of plant-based eating or no-saturated-fat diets.
Stated another way, it’s one thing to observe an outcome, but it’s quite another to conclude the actual cause of that outcome. In other words, for every intended difference between the groups a difference existed, except that on average they ate the same number of calories (though obviously from very different sources), which was not intended to be different as both groups were permitted to eat ad libitum – meaning as much as they wanted. Ornish’s study?  I think the reduction in sugar and simple carbohydrates played the largest single role in the improvements experienced by the experimental group, but I can’t prove it from this study any more than one can prove a low-fat vegetarian diet is the “best” diet.  We can only conclude that it’s better than eating Twinkies and potato chips which, admittedly, is a good thing to know. And, the majority of the benefit folks receive comes from the reduction of sugars and highly refined carbohydrates. Case in point…they recently reported that olive oil is not good for you because it does not contain omega 6. 3, has a good point about some plans (including WW) having the advantage of group support, which I think is a very major confounder. It is wonderful to watch these people glow once they have found some sort of solution to their weight problem.
One of my favorite things to say to people who are scared of saturated fat is that even on an entirely plant based diet, (ala Ornish Diet), if they are restricting their caloric intake, their bodies will be running on the saturated (animal) fat that they have stored on themselves. For example the degree of unsaturated fatty acids in our membrane bilayer probably plays a role in our insulin sensitivity, just as one example.
The low-carb group had greater improvements in blood triglycerides and HDL, but other biomarkers were similar between groups. Study went on for 30 days (for women) and 50 days (for men) on each diet, that is a very low-carb diet and a low-fat diet. The men on the low-carb diet lost three times as much abdominal fat as the men on the low-fat diet. There was no difference in triglycerides, blood pressure or HbA1c (a marker for blood sugar levels) between groups. Both groups had similar improvements in mood, but speed of processing (a measure of cognitive performance) improved further on the low-fat diet.
Triglycerides, HDL, C-Reactive Protein, Insulin, Insulin Sensitivity and Blood Pressure improved in both groups.


Various biomarkers improved in both groups, but there was no significant difference between groups. There was significant improvement in glycemic control at 6 months for the low-carb group, but compliance was poor and the effects diminished at 24 months as individuals had increased their carb intake. The few studies that looked at advanced lipid markers (5, 19) only showed improvements. For this reason, it is not surprising to see that low-carb diets (higher in fat) raise HDL significantly more than low-fat diets.
This lead various improvements and a drastic reduction in HbA1c, a marker for blood sugar levels (15).
Sign up for our free report "How to Start a Paleo Diet" and get started on the road to a healthier you today. I say 'believe' but I really mean 'know' as I have 'done the impossible' on many an occasion and so have my readers by implementing my advice. If you don't meet your caloric needs through food, you tap into your 'stored calories' to do the job. Let's say a guy eats 500 calories less than what his body needs to get him through the day (his maintenance calories including exercise).
Please note that it is impossible for fat tissue to directly turn into muscle tissue but you can trade that fat for muscle by using it for fuel.
On a high-carb diet, this is not going to be achievable by anyone except those very few genetically gifted individuals. As most of us aren't going from 'overweight' to lean, and we aren't restricting calories to 1000 or less per day, this is where we'll find relevant answers. A low-carb group consuming just 1000 calories per day was observed alongside a group that ate absolutely nothing for 10 days. I'm just a regular guy who got his wish by continually learning and being my own guinea pig.
We are your personal trainer, your nutritionist,your supplement expert, your lifting partner, your support group.
But for the purpose of simplicity, let’s assume even the folks who go on these diets are consuming the national average of approximately 450 grams of carbohydrate per day (in compliance with governmental recommendations, as a percent of overall intake). If you tell someone who eats Twinkies, potato chips, and candy bars all day to eat more fruit (and they do), you’ve almost guaranteed an improvement in their health if they eat bananas and apples instead of the aforementioned junk food. I’m reasonably confident that the proponents of these diets are good people who really want to help others and have nothing but the best intentions. Ornish was the principle investigator on a trial published in the journal The Lancet in 1990. In other words, there were not enough subjects in the study to determine a difference in these “hard” outcomes, so we can’t make a conclusion about such events, only the changes in “soft” outcomes.
Good science, bad interpretationGravity and insulin: the dynamic duoIf low carb eating is so effective, why are people still overweight?
His clinical interests are nutrition, lipidology, endocrinology, and a few other cool things. Eg, the criticism of the Ornish Lifestyle Heart Trial is excellent (and I LOVED the kitten-stroking quip), and really could and should have stood alone. After short diologue with her on the particulars of her daily intake I quickly realized her consumption of carbohydrate was significantly reduced and eliminated almost all fructose. Learn and Ornish (low-fat) had decreases in LDL at 2 months, but then the effects diminished. Since those stored calories are in the form of body fat, you therefore have to lose fat in order to build that muscle. For some reason, most people seem to forget that not all your calories have to come in through your mouth.
Sure the fasting group lost more total weight, but the low-carbers lost almost twice as much fat! We provide the technology, tools, andproducts you need to burn fat, build muscle, and become your best self. Popularity, of course, was determined by a number of factors, including compliance with current government recommendations (sorry Atkins), number of people who have tried the diet, and reported success on the diets. That doesn’t mean bananas and apples are “good for you” – it just means they are less “bad for you.” Here’s the kicker, though. But that doesn’t mean we can or should overlook the errors being made in drawing their conclusions. I’m not discounting soft outcomes, only pointing out the distinction for folks not familiar with them. They never factor in that the chicken was breaded or that when someone ate steak or fish they had a large amount of bread of potatoes along with it.
We’re led to believe that the reason such folks get leaner and more healthy is because they are eating more fruits or more vegetables or more grains or more [fill-in-the-blank], rather than because they eliminated the most egregious offenders from their diet. Ornish personally, and I can only assume that he is a profoundly caring physician who has dedicated his life to helping people live better lives.
But as always, I STRONGLY encourage folks with access (or folks who are willing to purchase it) to read the paper in its entirety. For people who don’t want to read the study completely, or who may not have much experience reading clinical papers, I want to devote some time to digging into this paper. The end conclusion is the whole thing must be bad and therefore needs to be reduced or outright expunged from the diet.
I recall hearing Gary talking about his discussion with a participant from the Biggest loser on Larry King and the rapant weight gain after the show.
It’s hard to tell if this change was statistically significant by inspection, so you glance at the p-value which tells you it was not.
That is one big difference I’ve noticed between studies cited by writers who want to condemn the entire diet consumed by Americans vs those who look at it with a more in depth eye and realize that certain components are the problem not the whole diet across the board. Why did the people in the China Study who ate more plants do better than those who ate more animals (assuming they did)?
Well, for starters, reading abstracts, hearing CNN headlines, or reading about studies in the NY Times doesn’t actually give you enough information to really understand if the results are applicable to you. Parenthetically, if you actually want the answer to this question, beyond my peripheral address, below, please read Denise Minger’s categorically brilliant analysis of the study.
Beyond this reason, and let me be uncharacteristically blunt, just because a study is published in a medical journal it does not imply that is worth the paper it is printed on. Steve Rosenberg, once told me that a great number of published studies are never again cited (I forget the exact number, but it was staggering, over 50%). Translation: whatever they published was of such little value that no one ever made reference to it again.
The thing is, it is possible to eliminate wheat and still eat way too many carbs (can we say ice cream?).
I’m now happily in ketosis, and the best part is, I know the WHY of weight loss now, how totally liberating and hope giving.



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