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New Research On Carbs

Carbohydrates get a new, critical look as the bad boys of our national diet. We’ll look at the research.

(Stephanie Kilgast/Flickr)

(Stephanie Kilgast/Flickr)

Talk about fixing health and health care in America and you’ve got to talk about fixing our national weight.  American obesity rates have climbed and climbed.  We’ve had all kinds of advice about how to turn back the tide.  And we struggle, one by one, to try.

A new study says we’ve got to look again and very critically at carbohydrates.  That calories from carbs are not like others.  That they drive up our weight and make it harder to bring it down and keep it down.

This hour, On Point:  we’re looking again at carbs, and getting serious about the path to a leaner USA.

-Tom Ashbrook


David Ludwig, professor of pediatrics and nutrition and is the director of the Obesity Program at the Children’s Hospital Boston. You can find his new study into the effects of carbs here.

Ellie Krieger, nutritionist, dietitian, and host of the The Food Network show “Healthy Appetite” now airing on The Cooking Channel.

Aner Tal, postdoctoral research associate in the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. He’s the lead author of the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine: First Foods Most: After 18-Hour Fast, People Drawn to Starches First and Vegetables Last.

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times “What it means is that a calorie of protein will generate the same energy when metabolized in a living organism as a calorie of fat or carbohydrate. When talking about obesity or why we get fat, evoking the phrase “a calorie is a calorie” is almost invariably used to imply that what we eat is relatively unimportant.”

USA Today “The research finds that dieters who were trying to maintain their weight loss burned significantly more calories eating a low-carb diet than they did eating a low-fat diet.”

Chicago Sun Times “The research finds that dieters who were trying to maintain their weight loss burned significantly more calories eating a low-carb diet than they did eating a low-fat diet.”

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  • http://gregorycamp.wordpress.com/ Greg Camp

    Food is bad for you.  Oh, no, wait, food is good for you.  How about we listen to the ancient Greeks:  Be moderate, and don’t worry yourself to death?  I’ve known health nuts over the years.  They probably won’t live much longer than I will, but their anxiety about everything will make their lives feel much longer.

    • JeanBruce

      Choices matter. Make smart ones.

    • ana

      Problem is our food supply has been radically altered since the the time of the Greeks.  It is just not the amount of food, it is the quality.  Highly refined processed food even in  small amounts is detrimental to health.

    • TFRX

      Tangent: You’re right, but the flipside is, what does one do with the calories?

      What percentage of the ancients got to dawdle around inventing theater and other goodies? A very small number, I’d say.

      But the USA has been under 50% rural-small town populated for almost a century (the 1920 census I think). Fewer people farming, less manual labor. Even when taking into account factory work, and the whole raw to finished goods bit requiring more manual labor, simply because we have the machines that allow us to think on that kind of scale, we simply don’t burn the calories at work the way we used to as a whole.

      We’ve gone from a subsistence economy to a place where tens of millions of people have to seek out physical activity they used to get in their work. In the space of a few generations.

      And we’re not fruitflies. We can’t mutate that quickly.

    • Jim

      It would help if we had slaves to do our hardest work for us, as did the ancient Greek city-states. Then we could hang out in the agora every day, enjoying philosophical conversations, good company, and a leisurely lifestyle. Of course, there’s also the olive oil and wine, both of which improve life considerably.

  • Roy Mac

    Bread:  it’s either the staff of life or the stuff of waist.  Another book tour.  Yawn.

    • JeanBruce

      JAMA http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1199154 

  • aj

    My question is what the fuck does bread have to do with the Higgs Bozon particle force?… bread?  HA!

    You dont ban me disqus! I BAN YOU!!!!! 

    • vandermeer

      how about just writing  WTF… people will get your drift without being crude.

  • potter

    We have serious obesity and overweight problems. We all pay for it in medical costs. 

    I think this issue is also about the studies and methods and what they have shown or not shown over the years; it’s about the conclusions drawn that have lead to certain conclusions and assumptions about diet over the years. That may not have been correct or the final word on diet. Lack of understanding/ knowledge about nutrition may be why so many have trouble with their excess weight, with taking it off and keeping it off. This is also about the food industry and our lifestyles.  Knowledge is power and our knowledge progresses in time thanks to good science. This it’s power over your health, your life quality. Being overweight is serious. So this addition to our understanding is welcome. Make light  at your own peril.

    • potter

      One of the conclusions that has been drawn over the years is that fat is bad for you. So we all went on low fat diets, got rid of the butter and bacon. Julia Child to her credit, never paid any attention to this.

  • Jasoturner

    Nutritional “science” has a hard time accommodating anything that doesn’t reinforce the received wisdom that fat makes you fat and clogs up your arteries.  As such, there will be grave warnings about this research, that we shouldn’t draw any conclusions about long term effects of reducing carbohydrate consumption in favor of protein and fat & etc.

    Yet we know that diets like Atkins obviously work, and work well, for those who follow them.  And we know that people can maintain their weight if they persist in eating low carbohydrate diets – thought this is admittedly difficult to do long term.

    Given the health benefits of carrying reduced weight, and the strange increase in refined carbohydrate availability that has coincided with the obesity “epidemic”, this is really an important topic to examine without preconceived notions about what constitutes “healthy” eating.

  • vandermeer

    Knowing people who have cut out bad carbs…white pasta, white bread, cookies, pancakes and bagels and cakes, chips etc…. I believe that one can reduce their weight consistently just by cutting out these foods.
    Also wondering why I see so many people carrying weight around their middles… I think this is a consequence of carb overload.
    Veggies, fruits, whole grains and protein are a winning combination. It takes a while to get off these but it’s worth it and the cravings do end.

  • Jim

    I’ve been on a low-carb diet for the past three months. There was a considerable (and difficult) period of withdrawal from the carbs, but after that . . . wow! The weight is coming off; my indigestion has gone away; I have more energy than ever; my moods don’t swing all over the place; I’m no longer constantly hungry, and I’m not constantly thinking about food. My experience totally backs up the scientific research showing that the carbs are really the problem in our national diet. Now if we could only get that through the thick, fat skulls of the self-righteous “fat makes you fat” crowd maybe we could make some nutritional progress.

  • pajpaj

    I agree with Jim below and I’d like to add that the single type of food you have to stay away from is the fat, salt and carb or sugar combination which really can become addictive. This combination is everywhere in new products… it the bbq potato chip for me.

  • Drew Carlin

    Please, please during the course of this discussion will someone mention the contribution of simple carbohydrates to the epidemic of tooth decay. Type 2 diabetes and obesity get a lot of attention when we talk about the American diet, but dental caries is the most prevalent chronic disease among children in America. The fact is that nearly a third of preschool age children are now afflicted with tooth decay according to the Centers for Disease Control. As a pediatric dentist, I see the results of our addiction to carbohydrates in processed food result in pain and suffering each and every day.

    • Joan Fahlgren

      The worst tooth decay I ever had was when I was eating  bagels regularly.  I have now been eating low carb for nine years–no new cavities.

  • wauch

    I am a mostly vegan who eats quite a bit of bread and pasta along with whole foods, with the rare exception being parmesan cheese and yogurt. We need to stop blaming carbs for the real culprit…..High Fructose Corn Syrup-based agriculture and production! Bread has been eaten for quite a long time by many cultures and they didn’t accrue diabetes as a right of passage. It is not carbs fault but rather sessile lifestyles, video games, and HFCS/packaged foods.

    • ana

      There is suggestion in book “Wheat Belly”  that our grain,s esp wheat, have been so altered by Agribusiness that they may increase the insulin level to the same degree as sugar.

    • John

      You say that bread has been eaten for a long time, and that is true. It has been eaten since the invention of agriculture (Neolithic Revolution) about 8,000 years ago. For the 200,000 years prior to that, we were hunter-gatherers, subsisting on a high meat-protein diet, for which we appear to be best suited. 200,000 years on meat vs. 8,000 years on grains. You might make many arguments to justify your mostly vegan diet, but history is not one of them.

    • Quadraticus

      HFCS is chemically nearly identical to table sugar: it’s 55% fructose/45% dextrose instead of 50% fructose/50% dextrose. History will show that HFCS is a red herring: the problem with carbs is the inflammation that excess blood sugar causes, which results in the body’s production of excess cholesterol as an anti-inflammatory measure.

      • Julia

        Wow. Thanks for repeating Big Corn’s HFCS propaganda. Well done, you!

        • Quadraticus

          It is what it is: you can attack the messenger all you want, but that has no impact on the truth of my statement.

          HFCS isn’t any worse than sugar IMO, but its promulgation is a symptom of a *real* serious problem: Big Corn’s collusion with government. This is also evident in the widespread use of artificial fertilizers, ethanol in gasoline, etc.

    • Euphoriologist

      “Liked” for mentioning the real culprit behind obesity (HFCS run amok in our diet), and for learning a new word (“sessile”).

      As for Jim’s comment, ancient communities that have been eating bread for millenia only began experiencing metabolic-based illnesses after they began adopting American-style diets. After years of being a healthy nation, Kuwait suddenly became the second-most obese country in the world only after 1991, when American fast-food restaurants rode our troops’ coattails into the country and changed Kuwaiti diets overnight:


  • Yar

    Burning fat without carbohydrates is like driving a car with a really dirty air filter.  Yes, energy consumption per calorie consumed will go up, but it will ruin the catalytic converter or in biological systems, the kidneys.  Filtering waste products from poorly metabolized fat very hard on the system.  
    Doctors understand little about nutrition.  A large animal veterinarian can give better diet advice than most doctors.  Western medicine deals in sickness, not health.  Healthy people are not profitable to the practice of western medicine.  We get what we pay for.  Watch the evening News and avoid every product advertised, then turn off the TV and take a walk.

    • Jasoturner


    • Jim

      If eating a diet consisting mostly of meat protein ruins any of our “biological systems,” then how did our Paleolithic ancestors, hunter-gatherers who subsisted on a meat-based diet for over 200,000 years, manage to survive and thrive? 

      • Yar

        Well, at least our ancestors survived to child bearing years.  
        Fat and protein are not one in the same.  A steer (castrated bull calf), fattened  on corn, or chicken raised in cages and feed soy and corn, were not in the normal diet of our ancestors. We are biologically programmed to desire fat because it was usually in (very) limited supply in the environment. Game had little chance to get fat just as did our ancestors.  
        USDA Grading of beef is an example of our distorted food supply system.  Lean grass fed beef will never grade prime or choice because it has a low fat content.  The age of the animal changes the quality of the product.  We should change the current grading system for lean beef.

        U.S. Prime – Highest in quality and intramuscular fat, limited supply. Currently, about 2.9% of carcasses grade as Prime.

        U.S. Choice – High quality, widely available in food service industry and retail markets. Choice carcasses are 53.7% of the fed cattle total. The difference between Choice and Prime is largely due to the fat content in the beef. Prime typically has a higher fat content (more and well distributed intramuscular “marbling”) than Choice.

        U.S. Select (formerly Good) – lowest grade commonly sold at retail, acceptable quality, but is less juicy and tender due to leanness

        The entire hour of the show provided little usable information.  If we had some of the restrictions in access to food that many of our Paleolithic ancestors had as well as the energy input required to hunt or gather our food then our diet would improve.  

         Many parts of the world have real food shortages, while we often make poor food choices and have some real shortages.  I have more empathy for the kids eating dirt cookies than ones eating Twinkies, even though both are symptoms of poverty.  I grow food for the farmers market, Food is way too cheap.  My production costs are far greater than market prices.  Yet, many families cannot afford to buy at farmers markets.  When a doctor can make  250 dollars per hour and a farmer can’t make 10 then something is wrong with our economic system.  Don’t tell me the doctor needs to know more than the farmer.  I know better.

      • JasonFrost

        Yeh I always wanted to live to be twenty eight.  This reminds me of a friend who visited Liberia, and commented on what good shape the population was in. Average age twenty. Very few people who couldn’t run have lived.

  • Charles Vigneron

    IF you lower carbs in preference to proteins what changes may be expected in triglycerides, LDL & HDL blood levels?

    • Joan Fahlgren

      Most people report improvement in lipids.

  • http://twitter.com/mjhall Matthew J Hall

    If carbs are so evil, why aren’t we looking/learning from Japan where there is a high volume of carbs consumed on a regular basis?  I believe it comes to lifestyle, balance, and the true evildoers: High Fructose Corn Syrup & the poor American food culture which promotes cheap, unhealthy foods/drinks over healthy ones and the concept of “bigger is better”

    • http://twitter.com/mjhall Matthew J Hall

      WRT my Japan comment, I should have stated that the vast majority of Japanese are height/weight proportional despite the carbs they are taking in on a daily basis.  Echoing Julia’s comments above – eat human sized portions and throw in a dose of exercise.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFT7UZYYS2GGV7MKJKBLLNJYJY John M

    Independent of calories? Calories are the problem. People are eating too much food. People are filling themselves with food to satisfy what they are lacking spiritually.

  • Julia

    If your great-grandparents wouldn’t know what the food product is, don’t eat it. Junk food is just that, junk. Eat real food in human sized, not giant sized, portions and you will be fine.

  • Sam

    Of course the equation “calories in, calories out” is correct. You just can’t claim that the content of those calories coming in doesn’t have an impact on the rate at which the calories come out.

    • Carone

      Not every calorie you consume goes to the same use or even ever gets metabolized. Insulin tells your body to store fat and carbs spike your insulin levels. It’s more complicated than a two stroke engine.

      • Sam

        You and I are not disagreeing. Calories, like processed carbs, that increase insulin, decrease the rate at which the calories that come in go back out. It is a complex relationship. (Hey, they just said what I said.) Of course the quality of what comes in and the way things go out can impact health way beyond weight, but weight ultimately comes down to calories in/calories out, together with the complex way in which various factors impact that formula.

  • Salzburg

    Thought ‘low carb’, ‘no carb’ diets were out. 
    Isn’t the new thing ‘good carb’ vs ‘bad carb’ diets?

  • Barbara

    I believe that in the same publication in which this article was published there was another article with many more subjects tested stating that a good way to lose weight is the old fashioned low fat, high exercise type of diet.

  • arydberg


    On he subject of food safety there is a real dilemma out there.    This is the safety of aspartame.    Aspartame is the most studied food additive ever.    Therefore  it must be safe .   Right?  Not quite.  it turns out that aspartame was approved by collusion between President  Reagan and Donald Rumsfeld after being refused approval by the FDA many times.    When it was approved it was on the support of studies that were later found to be flawed.    

    Now 30 years later there exists many people with serious charges about health problems including obesity they say are due to aspartame.    They say it is highly addictive.   they say it causes 92 separate illnesses They have posted thousands of web pages.    

    Who should we believe.    Is this stuff safe or not?

    Why do we allow studies made of rats in a cage to trump the suffering and illness of thousands of people with documented illnesses that they are truly believe were caused by a highly controversial substance.    A substance made in  Japan where it is not even sold.    

    Perhaps we should take a page from Groucho Marx with his line.  “Well!   Who are you going to believe?   Me or your own eyes”.

  • Cara

    First, not all carbohydrates are the same.  Eating a plant-based diet high in whole-grains is very different from getting the bulk of your carbohydrates in the form of refined grains.

    Second, if you’re not getting your calories from plant sources, that means eating more animal foods.  With 7 billion people on this planet, it would not be possible for everyone to eat a low-carb, high animal food diet.  The land, water, and resources required to produce enough meat and dairy products to meet everyone’s caloric needs make a meat-based diet extremely expensive,  inefficient, and environmentally devastating.   

    • Quadraticus

      Humans did not evolve to eat grains: so much preparation is required to eat them that they can’t be ideal food. Fruits, veggies, greens, nuts, and red meat can all be eaten raw (or with minimal searing to remove bacteria): unlike grains, they do not need to be highly-processed before consumption.

      • Cara

        My point is that we have so many people on this planet that the “caveman diet” is just not going to feed everyone.  Sure, we Americans have plenty of agricultural land and can afford to eat whatever we decide is an “optimal” diet but what about the rest of the world?

        • Quadraticus

          We can replace our grains with greens, fruit, veggies, and nuts and get agricultural density close enough to grains. This transition will happen naturally as people demand more healthy food and fewer food-like substances.

          • Cara

            I’m not arguing that nuts, vegetables, and fruits aren’t highly nutritious, and I would LOVE to see people eating them instead of meat. But I don’t think the majority of Americans are going to do that.  The demand for meat will only increase if Americans adopt low-carb diets, and even if we convert all the agricultural land that currently grows grains for human consumption to growing feed for livestock, we’re still stuck with the environmental consequences of the meat industry.

          • Joe

             “Environmental consequences” of the meat industry?  For example?

            Aren’t humans allowed to exchange some land where few humans want to live anyway, for some of the most nutritional produce known to man?

            How many small animals do you think are killed during the harvesting of grains?  You should follow along behind a combine for a few hours. You’ll get a much different view of the world.

          • Cara

            The large amounts of water used in raising and butchering livestock, and the huge quantity of manure they produce (much of it loaded with antibiotics and hormones, by the way) are two of the negative environmental consequences of meat farming. 

    • An G

      You should look into Joel Salatin’s way of farming, it would open your eyes!  We need to return to this type of farming and stop the industrial way of farming.  His newest book is called “Folks This Aint Real”  or something like that.  Best book I’ve read in a long time!  Actually modern day agriculture will not sustain 7 billion people, better ready his book to find out why.

  • Doug

    Calorically restricted animals have lower metabolism, lower body temp and live 30 – 40% longer. For those without a weight problem, could the low fat diet be advantageous?

  • LorenzG

    Wish I could tune in live, but will have to listen later.  Any chance you can touch on the idea that differentiating between more and less processed carbohydrates matters, and– especially– that there is a greater consensus that sugar in particular can be the worst kind of carbohydrate when consumed in large quantities?  I’m particularly referring to the study (at the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center  of Boston Children’s Hospital) that Mark Bittman recently mentioned in the Times (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/26/which-diet-works/?hp) and the incredibly enlightening Times Magazine article from earlier this year, “Is Sugar Toxic?” by Gary Taubes (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?pagewanted=all).

  • Rob

    The discussion calls to mind the research done by Weston A. Price  during the 1930′s.  He studied traditional cultures all over the world and found that peoples who ate traditional diets – for wherever they were on Earth – had excellent health.  These diets were overwhelmingly high in whole grains, healthy fats, etc.
    I am perpetually perplexed why this research is so little known.

  • Jamesconnelly1

    Does TA have any idea just how disruptive his interruptions, pointless interpolations, and knowing umm-hmms are to the doctor’s presentation and also to the listener’s ability to absorb what the doctor is saying?  Evidently not.  It’s not about you, Tom!

  • at

     Yes it is bad for you to eat garbage that the food industry sells you like twinkys, but it is much worse for you to eat animal protein and dairy.  How much worse?  We are talking cancer and heart disease — not being flabby.
    Here is a link to the most important factors you can understand about diet and it’s effects on health.  You may want to ask yourself just why it is that this information on the largest nutritional study ever conducted on humans over a period of 27 years is basically unknown, and why every time it is brought up the toadys from the meat and dairy industry try to discredit it.
    The food net or pyramid or whatever it is is nonsense — sponsored by the same people whose riches depend on you eating harmful animal proteins.
    Plus it is immoral to kill animals kept in concentration camp conditions now that we have the possibility to see through the nonsense of milk calcium and the need for animal protein.
    You should have to kill these animals yourself.
    You have the truth, you still eat meat and dairy, we can only attribute it to a lack of ethics.


    • Bobby2soups

       You are light years beyond the discussion that is taking place here.  In another twenty years or so, maybe what you are talking about will be common knowledge and common sense.  I am in  my seventies and am frequently thought to be in my forties.  I haven’t eaten meat or dairy for decades, and I am still stay up all night potent and still look best with my clothes off no matter what I wear.
      This is not a matter of lucky genetics, everyone else in my family is overweight and many are obese. The China Study is absolutely correct.

  • Ellen Dibble

    It isn’t a choice between carbs and protein/fats.  There’s vegetables and fruits.  When people ran around more, burned more calories, then carbs and fats played another role.  Now we get as much high-quality protein as we can afford, but I think bodies complain if we vacillate between fats and carbs.  Mine complains on either one of those.  It wants beets, for example, if it isn’t up to dealing with peaches and escarole.

  • Jodi

    How does one lose weight by counting calories when eating good fats? One teaspoons of olive oil can have over 100 calories. If you’re on a 1200/day calories budget, you’ll quickly reach your quota by eating good fats. How does this work?

    • Ultimate Trainer

      Hi Jodi!  this is my advice and it might be contested by some, but from my experience with clients as a personal trainer and with my own diet, don’t worry too much about calories from good fats.  Cut down on calories from sugar, especially refined and from refined carbs like pasta, bread especially, also rice and potatoes.  Use sweet potatoes as much as possible for carbs.  This is very general advice.  For example, I recommend a lot more fruits to high level athletes, and other mods depending on the individual.

    • Teboal

      I’d recommend focusing on increasing your intake of whole, nutrient dense foods, and decreasing high-glycemic foods (as discussed here on the show), and what I’ve personally found is that I don’t need to count calories…too much work and it breeds resentment. If you are eating enough nutrient dense, healthy food, it’s hard to eat too many calories (unless you binge on, like 6 handfuls of nuts and 4 avocados per day, or something like that).

  • Steve

    Anthony Colpo: 

    “OK, before I report the results, I must reiterate that this study – published only 2 days ago – is already being loudly paraded all over the Internet as proof of the metabolic weight loss advantage for low-carb diets.
    Which is most interesting when one considers absolutely no such advantage was observed during the study. In the researchers’ own words:
    “Body weight did not differ significantly among the 3 diets (mean [95% CI], 91.5 [87.4-95.6] kg for low fat; 91.1 [87.0-95.2] kg for low glycemic index; and 91.2 [87.1-95.3] kg for very low carbohydrate”.

    Whole Health Source:
    Previous studies have suggested that:
    The carbohydrate:fat ratio of the diet has little or no detectable impact on energy expenditure in people who are not trying to lose weight (2, 3).
    The carbohydrate:fat ratio of the diet has little or no detectable impact on energy expenditure in people who are being experimentally overfed, and if anything carbohydrate increases energy expenditure more than fat (4, 5).
    The carbohydrate:fat ratio of the diet has little or no detectable impact on energy expenditure during weight loss (6, 7, 8), and does not influence the rate of fat loss when calories are precisely controlled.

  • None

    Take a look at how agri-business works…the way they process the initial inputs into the food supply chain (ie the soybeans, corn, wheat, etc) is why you have the end result you see….

  • Sam

    Hi Ellie. My wife was your daughter’s pre-school teacher. Keep up the good work.

  • Gail

    I have lost over 90 pounds on weight watchers over a 4 year period. My diet would probably be classified as low fat, though I also have concentrated on eating less processed carbohydrates. I eat a LOT of fresh fruits and vegetables. I also have increased my activity level and exercise an hour a day five days a week. I feel satisfied and healthy, and could live on this plan for life.

    Some people on Weight Watchers find that they have to limit their fruit level to lose. Is there a difference (either genetic or otherwise) between people in the effects of fruits on your weight loss/maintenance?

  • Janie

    Are corn-based products — corn, corn syrup, corn flakes - good or bad carbohydrates?  
    How about BROWN rice, DENSE brown bread? 

    • Wendyearmin

      After 35 years of struggling with overweight, irritable bowel syndrome and chronic inflammation, my chiropractor/holistic doctor gave me a few simple rules that changed my life.
      1.  Reduce or eliminate: wheat, corn, soy products, milk, processed sugar, artificial sweeteners, and chemicals.2. Increase nuts, protein, olive oil, red berries and fruits and raw vegetables.
      3. Add 1-2 tsp of flaxseed meal and 1-2 tbsp raw cider vinegar daily.If you want something, eat it – all you want of it, once. Then be finished and get back on track.I learned to read food labels; and corn, sugar and soy are in lots of “natural/organic/etc.” foods, especially sugar. Keep it simple. If you’re not sure what is in it, don’t buy it.

    • Teboal

      Oops, meant to reply, not hit ‘like’. Generally, corn products are higher glycemic starches, so if you are trying to follow a low-glycemic diet (which is what is basically being recommended on this show), corn should be eaten only in its whole form (kernals). All processed sugars (basically, all sugar that isn’t found in the form it naturally occurs, like fruit) should be eliminated or greatly reduced. Brown, black, red, wild rice are all ‘good carbs’, while white rice is much less so. Basically, avoid ‘white food’ and avoid anything that’s processed.

  • Shara

    My husband and I are on a low carb diet for the last three weeks and we feel great.  What are the grains/carbs that both Ludwig and Kreiger agree are good for us and good to eat.

  • Suzie in Newport

    An important distinction that needs to be made is that between natural, whole foods (whether protein, carb, or fat) and food contaminated by industrial practices, for example: genetic modification of foods; artificial substances that the body cannot properly process (high fructose corn syrup; hydrogenated oils); the addition of high fructose corn syrup and sugars to foods where they have no place (tomato sauce, salad dressing); substances that change your hormonal balance in plastics and cans; pesticides; mysterious products made from corn.

    The enemy is not natural food, but artificial industrial foods that create, as Michael Pollan calls it, “food like substances,” that our bodies cannot process.

    We need to dismantle the industrial food system and the special interests that protect them, and move back to local, organic agriculture, which will also help deal with global warming by decreasing C)2 expelled through long distance trucking.

  • Shara

    Where does dairy fit into the mix? And what about artificial sweetners?

  • Mark Russell

    Read Joel Fuhrman’s Eat To Live.  It has changed my life.  How?  My blood pressure has dropped from 145/100 to 110/80.  My weight has dropped 15 lbs and I plan to take off another 25 lbs.  My type II diabetes is disappearing for good.  What is at least as important is I have my memory and mental clarity back.  All these things are exactly what Fuhrman said would happen in his book if I followed his recommendations.

    Dr. Fuhrman advocates becoming a vegan for six weeks, which will dramatically impact your health.  What you realize after that is that you don’t want to eat the way you used to.  That includes eating meat, fish, chicken, and dairy.

    This is all about the industrial food chain and the profits they make off us.

    The good news is that in this industrial food chain there still really great and healthy things to eat.

    Nibbling around the edges doesn’t work here, as all your guests are advocating.  Change what you eat, and you’ll see dramatic changes.

    Just ask people like Bill Clinton.  It’s what he’s done.  http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/08/18/bill-clintons-vegan-journey/

    As an aside, I have never met, never communicated, don’t work for, and have no financial interest in Dr. Fuhrman’s business.  I’m just a reader of his book.

    • Whitney

      I have been trying to get a phone call in to say the same thing!!! Eat to Live is amazing. The China study is another book everyone should read! People have been grossly mislead about nutrition for years.

    • Mark Russell

      What I should have added above is this has nothing to do with carbs or not carbs and has everything to do with nutrients.  We “normally” eat a nutrient-deficient diet here in North America.  That’s why we eat more and more.  Our bodies want the nutrients they aren’t getting.

      Furhman attributes the explosion of cancer, cardiovascular, and type II diabetes to this nutrient-deficient diet.For many more comments and experiences, go to Amazon.com to read about people’s experience using Fuhrman’s principals.  http://www.amazon.com/Eat-Live-Amazing-Nutrient-Rich-Sustained/dp/031612091X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1341500384&sr=1-1&keywords=eat+to+live

  • Luisella Simpson


    I have always loved eating good butter, even sometimes on its own, and am no fatter for it! The
    taste-buds of many Americans have perhaps forgotten what good butter is,
    although they can find it relatively easily as a local product in New England.


    I have never eaten “0% fat” branded products, feeling that such
    yogurt, for example, is not much else than water and some replacement



    • SomeFrigginGenius

       The protein in dairy has been used to turn the cancer cells in tumors on, then off again merely by removing casein from the diet.  Butter is not good for you, no matter how much you like it.

  • Erica

    Any insight on the debate on coconut oil? My sister-in-law swears by it but my husband looked at me like I was trying to poison him when I told him I’d used it in preparing dinner one night!

    • http://cranburypres.org/whyibelieve.html Matt Rhodes

      I use it a lot.  I really like it for cooking, because it makes food not stick to my stainless steel frying pan.  If taste is an issue, try it 50-50 with real butter.  I also use it in salad dressings.  Leave the jar in the sun to melt it & then mix it roughly 50-50 with olive oil in the dressing.  That keeps it from solidfying when it cools down.  I combine that with Bragg’s apple cider vinegar & a Good Seasons italian seasoning mix.  I’ve made my own seasoning mix too to avoid any hidden MSG, but didn’t see that it made any difference, so I went back to Good Seasons.  I also use a tablespoon in a smoothie I make for breakfast.  Coconut oil is one of the good saturated fats.  It can help those suffering from Alzheimer’s stabilize & even get better.  All that said, my wife doesn’t like it either.

  • Jim

    This is really old news. When my mother and her sisters would go on a diet to lose weight in the 1950s and 1960s, they would cut out the carbs: spaghetti, bread, pastry, etc. Look at old menus from before 1970 that include a “diet plate.” They almost always consist of a piece of meat (or cottage cheese) with salad or a bit of fruit. Also, I take issue with the caller who said in the 1960s we ate a lot of rice and pasta. The typical American family did not. We ate meat and vegetables. We had spaghetti perhaps once a week or once every two weeks. Pasta was the exception to the daily diet, not the rule (then in the 1990s, with the low-fat advice, we started eating pasta much more frequently). The only people in my town who were consistently fat were the Italian families (especially the women), where pasta and bread were much more central to the diet than was the case in our WASP home with its roast beef and carrots. 

  • Troyrayg

    I lost over 70 pounds on low-carb diet about 9 years ago, and still mantain my lower weight.  I began running marathons after I lost the weight, and figured I needed to “carb-up” for these because that is what everyone told you to do.  I have now run 30 marathons and 7 ultra-marathons.  Recently, I have went back to low-carbing again. It takes a couple of weeks to teach your body to burn fat instead of carbs, but then your energy level is higher.  I am “researching” running without carbs, ie, fat-burning throughout.  My last couple of marathons I did this…does not make you faster, but you don’t experience hitting the wall which is where your body runs out of carbs and starts fat-burning and your system is not use to it.  Will be be doing a 24-hour/100 mile run on low carb on July 14 in Philadelphia.

    • Go Primal!

      Check out Mark Sisson’s website and what athletes there are saying about fat-burning when running distance.

  • Bill

    Jillian Michaels has a great program to get rid of the food industries processed garbage. If it’s fresh, put it in your grocery cart. Our family has switched to her program that really works to eliminate sugar,fat, breads and dairy (wife and I grew up on the farm) to jump start your system back to a good operating metabolism. Fear would be that the meals would be blaw but they are delicious. Jillian makes you write out a menu for the weak and that then is your guide for shopping and eating all week. Wife has lost 35#, I’ve lost 15# and daughters have lost 15# and 20#. Exercise is encouraged and the program includes a workout schedule but wife can’t exercise due to bad knees so that isn’t what takes all of the weight off; it is the mix of food and type of food. Her system will make you do a lifestyle change that you must do if the weight is to stay off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

    Fake whole grain bread is everywhere. Bread and cracker manufacturers are experts at making them look like they are healthy when actually they are white flour with food coloring and seeds added. Trader Joe’s is the worst offender when it comes to fake healthy bread. Also sugar has infiltrated almost all foods lately and has increased in quantity. Buyer beware! The food industry is out to trick you! Read the ingredients labels! Become a smart and healthy shopper!

    • nj_v2

      Okay…reading my Trader Joe’s “Sprouted Multi-Grain” bread label:

      “Organic high protein wheat berries, organic grain mixture (millet, rye flakes, corn meal, rolled oats, cracked what, flax seeds, sunflower seeds), filtered water, wheat gluten, pure honey, unsulphured molasses, sea salt, fresh yeast, soy lecithin, cultured wheat.”

      Not sure what “cultured wheat” is, but nothing looks too “fake” here.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001436729213 Wes Nickerson

        Good for you that you read the label! The “organic grain mixture” is not described as whole grains, so I suspect it is not.

        • http://cranburypres.org/whyibelieve.html Matt Rhodes

          The TJ’s sprouted multi-grain is just a knock off of the Ezekiel 4:9 bread that TJ’s also carries.  Zeke’s costs more, but much lower glycemic index that traditional white bread.  It’s right there on the label.  Zeke’s is 35 vs. 70 for white.  Much more dense.  As a type II diabetic, I don’t eat a lot of bread, but when I do, it’s Zeke’s.

          • nj_v2

            I avoid any products with religious over-/undertones.

          • http://cranburypres.org/whyibelieve.html Matt Rhodes

            It’s not like you have to convert to Christianity or Judaism to eat it. Ezekiel 4:9 is a pretty innocuous verse about mixing grains together to make bread. For me it’s about keeping my blood sugar stable. Wonder white bread just doesn’t do that for me.

        • nj_v2

          Do you have any evidence the grains in the grain mixture are adulturated? Do you really think that oats, flax, etc. are somehow made unwhole before being added to the bread?

          Really, if you look through the breads in any store, i TJs probably fares better than most.

          (Not affiliated with, nor do i own stock in, or have any relation with TJ ownership or management.)

  • Realist

    What about the prevalence of Soy?  Is there a difference between soy oil and soy protein?

  • Roy-in-Boise

    Back in the 1950′s & 60′s kids played outside and burned energy. Now with gym classes dropped from schools and a suburban lifestyle plus endless fast food outlets things have changed for sure.

  • Lcmartin65

    How about listing name brand food products we can purchase that are acceptable

    • Jim

      Forget name-brand processed food. Eat meat, fish, eggs, fresh vegetables (especially salad vegetables), some fruits, some cheese and dairy. Most of those things don’t come with a name-brand label.

    • Andrea

       Vegetables don’t have brand names….. that’s the point. You should be shopping in the produce section….and maybe the bulk section for nuts, etc…. the aisles are filled with poison!!

    • Norm

      Shop from the ‘outside aisles of the supermarket’ (meat, dairy, produce) and avoid the interior except for canned fish, nuts, etc

  • Melanie

    What a lot of words you’re using to discuss a topic Michael Pollen summarized with the command “Eat food.”  I thank him for that every day:  when my kids ask for some nasty processed snack they’ve had at a friend’s house, I can just say “Nope, it’s not food.”  End of discussion.

  • Mi_Me

    I am considering a 10 – 15 day juice fast, followed by an on-going mixed diet (ie: sensible low fat high fiber, plus juice). I’m about 30 pounds over ideal weight and addicted to sugar. 

    Any comments on juice diets as discussed by Joe Cross and “Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead”?

    • ConnieDunn

       Juice is inferior to whole foods, and will spite your blood sugar when the whole foods you juice will not.

    • Teboal

      Bad idea. Juice is basically the sugar in fruit with all the healthy elements (most of the nutrients and all the fiber) removed. Juice is basically a worthless food, not much different than soda. Just eat the fruit.

  • Diana

    I’ve been in recovery from food addiction for over 14 years in a program called Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous. Over the years that the program developed, people came to understand that the foods that set up the addictive, uncontrollable craving were flour and sugar. Not just white flour or sugar, but all forms. The definition of abstinence (sobriety) from addictive eating eliminates those two substances. I have been maintaining over 50 pounds of weight loss all this time, craving free, eating proteins, vegetables, whole grains, and fruits. In short, foods in their natural state. 

    I’ve seen more and more research recently from the medical community on the topic of food addiction. It is exciting that the published research is finally starting to catch up with what years of experience has taught us about the addictive nature of food and its real threat as an addictive substance.

    • http://cranburypres.org/whyibelieve.html Matt Rhodes

      Making foods addictive is why so many processed foods include MSG, but the manufacturers seldom put monosodium glutamate on the ingredients list.  They like to use things that are high in MSG, so for example it might say “natural flavoring”.  If it was natural cherry flavoring, they’d be trumpeting the “real fruit”.  When they don’t say what kind of flavoring it’s probably a source of MSG.  

  • followyourart

    I once taught health in a high school, asked kids to bring in something healthy for a group snack.  One child brought in Chips Ahoy cookies and touted the “made with whole grain” label!  
    I’m so glad to hear someone finally say that just because a processed food says whole grain does NOT make it healthful.  I eat almost no processed foods; my grains are whole — steel cut oats, wheat berries, quinoa — in small amounts.  Not afraid of fat, love my almond/peanut butter, avocado, olive oil and sharp cheese grated into my grains, all good.  LOTS of veggies, LOTS of movement, it all works.  

  • Rain

    I would love to know if the guests have heard of a researcher from the early 20th century named Weston Price, and if so what they think of his research. There is a growing body of research that very strongly suggests that the 1948 Framingham study, the original reason why people have started thinking that animal fats and proteins are bad for us, was flawed and reached incorrect results. If you look at a variety of things- human diet throughout our evolution, the structure of the human digestive system, the diets of isolated, pre-industrialized societies who gather/hunt/grow their own food; the signs all point to human beings functioning much better on animal fat and protein than they ever do on grains and carbohydrates. This research is very unorthodox when compared to mainstream nutritional advice, but it has a very solid scientific basis.

    If you want to do your own research, look up:
    Weston A. Price- Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
    Sally Fallon/Mary Enig- The Nourishing Traditions
    Lierre Kieth- The Vegetarian Myth

    • ConnieDunn

       If you want to do YOUR own research you should look up the China Study.
      Or perhaps we should just dismiss the most important dietary study ever done?

      • Rain

         That is interesting. The book obviously has very different health conclusions than the books I mentioned previously. I have not read the book, so I obviously cannot give an informed opinion on it. I can only comment on what I have personally read. I would also caution against calling any one study “the most important dietary study ever done”. If there are hundreds of seemingly rigorous, scientific studies conducted around the world on similar topics, different ones of which reach squarely opposite results, then where does that leave us? It means there must obviously be more to the story. One must consider not just what results a study has reached, but also- who funded the study (which can have a huge impact on its outcome), what assumptions are the researchers going off of that might be flawed and lead to misinterpretation, what other possible variables might be involved that could change the results?

         An interesting quote from a researcher who helped to direct the Framingham Study here in the U.S:

        Framingham, Mass., the more saturated fat one ate, the more cholesterol
        one ate, the more calories one ate, the lower the person’s serum
        cholesterol. The opposite of what… Keys et al would predict…We found
        that the people who ate the most cholesterol, ate the most saturated
        fat, ate the most calories, weighed the least and were the most
        physically active.”This shows that there are studies which contradict The China Study referenced. Another thing- there are many well-documented cases of people who have, by our standards, an extraordinarily high amount of animal fat and protein in their diets, yet generally live long and healthy lives. Two of the most well-known are the Inuits and Maasai. The basic point I would like to make in terms of healthy diets is this- what has the human animal eaten over the very long course of it’s evolution, and how have those foods affected the species as a whole? Answering that question takes a lot of research, and a lot of critical analysis of all that you read. Keep in mind, please, that the most straightforward evidence is staring at us right from our stomachs- the human digestive system is much  closer in structure to that a carnivorous animal than that of an herbivorous one. One last book I forgot to include before- The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan.

        • at

           The very reasons you give are the reasons that he is correct in calling it the most important dietary study every done.  The biggest by far with most people, the longest time, the highest professional standards.

        • JonBon22

           I know it happens, but just think of how unnatural it seems for a chimp to eat other animals.

    • Rob

      Finally, someone else who knows about Weston A. Price!

  • Rebecca

    I’d love to know how this fits into a vegetarian diet.

  • Andrea

    I’ve been doing a very low carb vegetarian thing for the past year. Lots of nuts, seeds, and eggs. I’ve lost a bunch of weight and feel great. I’ve heard that the body processes the carbs from alcohol differently than other carbs? Any thoughts on this?

    • Lisavaas

      Are you talking about let’s-have-a-bloody-mary alcohol, or sugar replacements in the form of sugar alcohols? Pure-grain alcohol has the lovely effect of paralyzing your liver, which means you can have a drink (without the sugary add-ins, such as you get in a mojito, say, or a margarita, which are just sugar fests) without much blood sugar fluctuation, since your body can’t really process it. As far as sugar substitutes go, I think the reason sugar alcohols are good replacements are because they burn off without getting metabolized.  

    • Jasoturner

      The body will preferentially burn the energy in alcohol before it will burn carbs, fat or protein.  Thus, a two martini steak dinner means your body spends a lot of time burning 400 or 500 calories of booze before it starts on anything else.  Which give the body time to start storing those items as fat.

      N.B. that alcohol has no carbs.  It is one of four sources of energy in our diets:


      Note also that minerals play a large role in health maintenance, though they do not introduce a caloric load.

  • Andy

    Any thoughts on people who have had thyroid cancer or have hypothyroidism?

    • Go Primal!

      I was diagnosed profoundly hypothyroid in 2007. Get your meds up to where your TSH is below about 1 (you might have to convince your doc on this one). You will feel much better and energetic, like “normal” people!

      I began a primal (paleo, low-carb, moderate activity) lifestyle in October 2011, and have effortlessly lost 20 of the 60 pounds I put on before my hypothyroidism was diagnosed. I have done a ton of reading and it turns out that in addition to providing unneeded carbs, grains have lots of anti-nutrients, such as gluten, which seem to promote the development of auto-immune diseases… including hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. The chronic inflammation of the entire body due to consuming grains and legumes seems to provide the right conditions for cancerous cells to grow, and strictly limiting carb/sugar consumption is known to help treat some cancers.

      Good luck to you!

      • at

         Yeh the paleo thing was championed by a few docs at Emory back in the seventies, but the only way you can seriously think that large amounts of animal and dairy protein is good for you is to ignore all the real research.  I remember they used to recommend blended raw liver drinks — how inane.
        If you don’t know that meat and dairy cause cancer and heart disease you can thank the meat and dairy industry — the science is there.

        • Go Primal!

          Believe me, I have read the research (my training is in biochemistry, animal nutrition, veterinary medicine, molecular biology). See Gary Taubes’ books for a great introduction to why high-carb diets are damaging and the breakdown of good scientific method that got us into this mess. Then pick up Wheat Belly by cardiologist William Davis.

      • GRittinA

         You have it exactly backwards fats and animal proteins cause cancer not some “chronic inflammation of the entire body”, you were probably just eating too much.  That’s the problem with fad diets, they seem to work for a while.

  • Kaysweeney44

    I lived on high protein diet for years.  When I reintroduced fruits and carbos….I could only eat a little before my mouth would go desert dry and I would get a horrible taste in my 
    mouth that would stay all day.  Never heard of anyone who had this “syndrome”….
    Kay in Brookline

    • Lisavaas

      I’ve had Type 1 diabetes for 47 years, and one thing I know well is the dehydration that results from high blood sugar. It sounds like you’re suffering from that, perhaps. I don’t know about the bad taste, though. hmmm… 

  • Ellen Dibble

    I think different bodies at different can tell us what is going to mobilize our best energies.  If you can’t remember what happens when you eat the whole package of oreos, then what can I say.  I am one who’ll eat the whole container of salsa without any chips, which is not socially acceptable, but I do it in private.

  • T_croce

    The Paleo diet is extremely popular with CrossFit enthusiasts. Crossfit is a highly physically challenging workout, particularly geared towards athletes, which stresses complete fitness, and those Crossfitters I know who have switched to Paleo have experienced increased energy, strength, and focus.

    • CarryThrue

       Placebo effect — twenty percent of all people will report improvement if told that a therapy will afford improvement and not a one of them will admit that it is merely their own suggestibility.  Why do you think diet fads happen, because for this same percentage of people they work, for a while, then the placebo crowd has to go on to the next new diet because it doesn’t last.

  • Joyceandpat

    I have been familiar with this diet for about 15 years.  It is found in books by Diana Schwarzbein, MD.  She has written three books that I know of that describe this way of eating exactly.  While the explanations are a bit difficult to read, there are extremely helpful lists of “good” and “bad” foods, menu suggestions, including for snacks, and recipes.  I have used this “diet” for years, and as long as I follow it, I either lose weight or maintain my weight.  

  • Lisavaas

    The dietician is wrong about hunger on a low-carb diet. Fat and protein satiate you. 

    • SK

      I agree. Whenever I reduce carbohydrates and increase protein and fat, I do not get hungry. I had a whole wheat bagel for breakfast this morning and my stomach is already grumbling.

    • Go Primal!

      In fact, carbs do not induce a satiation signal except in the form of bulk filling the stomach, whereas protein and fat both elicit specific hormonal satiation signals. Since going low-carb (primal, paleo), I often “hit the wall” of complete satiation long before I finish what is on my plate. Of course, my plate is filled with veggies, meat / fish / eggs with plenty of fat, but no grains or legumes of any kind (and of course nothing sugary). For me, this is a novel and astonishing phenomenon. No wonder I have effortlessly lost 20 pounds since October 2011.

      • Whitney

        Unfortunately animal protein is strongly linked to promoting cancer and heart disease. Non starchy vegetables, fruits, legumes, they have all the nutrients we need to protect against heart disease and cancer. And many vegetables have more protein per calorie than meat, even lean meats. And let’s not forget the healthy fats in nuts, seeds and avocados.

        • at

           Not to mention that eating lots of protein almost assures kidney problems to go along with the cancer and heart disease.

        • Rob

          That is certainly true for modern industrial animal proteins.  NOT true for animals raised according to their natural needs – for example, cows are meant to eat grass, not grain.  Grassfed meat/dairy has a totally different nutritional profile – Dr. Tilak Dhiman has done a lot of research on this.  Turns out it all fits with what Weston A. Price discovered when he studied the diets of indigenous peoples all over the world in the 1930′s

          • TimmCollin44

             The length of the human digestive system and the fact that the jaw is able to move in such a manner as to cause a grinding motion indicates that man is not designed to eat meat. So according to your own axion of animals eating for their natural needs, we should not be eating meat at all.  No tiger or wolf can make a grinding motion with their jaws because they are designed to eat meat, that is why their digestive system is so short, so that the meat can be dumped as soon as possible.
            Other than that, I think you are also dead wrong about grass feed meat being harmless.  It is still the same protein and it is the animal proteins that cause cancer and heart disease in direct proportion to the amount ingested.  Harvard recently announced that statistically every piece of meat you eat shortens your life. But the China Study gives the real scoop on how this is unrelated to genetics etc.

  • Mkingreed

    Be rational. There is absolutely no basis to summarily reject / accept any “nonfood” / “food” based upon its package or lack thereof. Healthy, low glycemic impact nutrition may indeed be plucked from an organic, sustainable backyard garden, or may be created on a laboratory shelf from chemically defined components. All sorts of laboratory animals are shown to thrive throughout extended life spans being fed entirely “artificially created” chow with caloric and glycemic restriction. And brief aside on fruits – most have fairly high GI scores, although some, such as red cherries are remarkably low (around 25)

    • Whitney

      That may be, but fruits are also rich in nutrients we know we need as well as many nutrients we don’t know about. You cannot manufacture nature. We must reduce the calories and increase the nutrients. Check out the research. Eat to Live and the China Study!

  • Karrief

    Any comments about the “Reboot Your Life” diet? It focuses on juicing fresh fruits and vegetables.

    • Ixlivex4xsoccer

      Juicing’s okay but not great, it doesn’t seem like it has enough benefits to form the basis of a diet: 
      basically juicing is the same as eating the fruit or vegetable except that it destroys some of the nutrients and most/all of the fiber.

  • Norm

    Our family moved to a low refined carbohydrate (a side effect of moving to a gluten free diet) about 18 months ago.

    I had gradually gained weight from the time I was in high school to present (40 years) and was beginning to have health problems.

    Since moving to a diet low in refined carbohydrates, I easily lost 35 pounds without being ‘hungry all the time’.

    9 months after beginning the diet, I had a complete physical. Triglyceride levels had moved from ‘above average’ to ‘below average’. Good cholesterol was up. Bad cholesterol was down. Blood pressure down.

    I believe that the ‘obesity problem’ is actually an ‘insulin problem’ caused by insulin spiking from high refined carbs on the ‘fat storage system’.

    When I was at school in the 50′s and 60′s, the only obese people were generally those with ‘hormonal problems’. Now everyone seems to have hormonal problems…namely high insulin levels.  

  • JoeBoston101

    I thought Cheerios was the perfect breakfast food- 1 gram of sugar/serving, whole grain oats, with 3 grams of fiber.

  • Judith

    I highly recommend that everyone have a couple sessions with a certified nutritionist (about $50 to $100 per hour session).  You will learn to fit healthy fat and protein into a moderate carb daily diet that will keep you satisfied.  With the right balance, you will feel great and not be hungry.  But also, I recommend putting some money into buying higher quality foods — better meats, for example — and some cooking lessons.  You can change your palate so that frozen entrees no longer seem appealing, and simple raw and home cooked meals taste like meals for a king.

  • rfra20

    Calories in foods are essentially “calculated” in a laboratory environment under lab conditions.  While this will produce the theoretical amount of energy in a food, clearly our digestive system is a different “machine” which will process the energy in a different manner than the lab standard.  Additionally, all our digestive systems are unique.  This will result in a considerable variaton in how calories are actually processed in real world conditions and on an individual basis.

  • EatToLive

    My wife and I recently started the ‘Eat To Live’ book, by Dr. Joel Furhman. I am a huge lover of meat, dairy, chips and soda – so when I read that I had to give up all processed foods and eat only unprocessed foods (e.g., fruits, veggies, and a little beans and nuts) I thought it was absolutely ridiculous! How could I feel full? How could I get enough protein?

    As it turns out – we’ve been on this program for 2 weeks now. We’ve both never felt more energy. We’ve each lost almost 7 pounds. We never feel hungry – in fact I can almost never finish the meals we make. A closer look at the scientific literature behind this book makes it so clear just how bad what I was eating before was, and how proper nutrition through natural foods is going to change our lives. We make sure to get all the vitamins and minerals we need – and I’m looking forward to a blood test in a few months to see just how much better my cholesterol will be.
    As the old adage goes: quality over quantity. And that’s just as true for calories. 

    • Niki

      Is this a vegetarian diet? I am glad to hear that you are feeling better. Anytime you remove processed foods from your diet you will lose weight. It doesn’t really matter if switch to vegetarian, vegan or paleo. You will lose weight and feel better if you go from eating processed foods to a real food diet. If this is working for you go with it. Keep in mind the real test will be a couple years from now.

      I felt great the first couple of years when I went vegan. Then little issues started and they just kept getting worse and worse. Don’t get so stuck to a lifestyle that it won’t allow you to make changes if that specific diet becomes insufficient.

      • EatToLive

        Thanks, Niki. You make a great point. This diet is sort-of-vegan while you are trying to lose weight. But once you are at a healthy place, you are supposed to maintain >90% of your diet in this style, while affording for <10% being in the form of dairy or meats (like chicken or turkey), or fish – but no beef and no processed foods.  I think they term it 'nutritarian'.

        Vegans still often incorporate too much processed carbs and sugars into their diets which can result in other problems, but Furhman's point is to stick to as natural as possible while eliminating the processed garbage. I'm looking forward to seeing how this will help us for years to come, but I've already heard and read statements from a lot of people who have had amazing results with this lifestyle.

  • Roy Mac

    I missed the introductory statements.  Who funded Ludwig’s research?

  • Jenniferdsantiago

    I’ve been on a diet study at the University of Connecticut for the past 5 months. It’s been very illuminating. I lost 15 lbs from fat, and gained 10 points in HDL while at the lower carb stages. We started with 35 grams of carbs and are now ending with 350 grams of carbs. We went from low-carb to the standard American Diet, the food pyramid.

    It’s really telling, how much bread one eats to get to 350 g of carbs in one day. There’s also no room for me to eat 5 fruits and veggies. Also, since this section of the diet is low fat, I find that I’m missing the good fats.

    This diet was really telling to explain where I need to be keep my reactive hypoglycemia -sugar spikes and crashes -  in check. I’m also now sold on the benefits of good fats, like coconut oil, sunflowers seeds, avocados.

    I think more people than we know probably have sub-optimal sugar reaction, and I’d recommend doing a diet study to nearly anyone.

    • Jay

      Good fats is a misnomer, these fats are “good” in that they have more nutrition and less cholesterol and saturated fats than animal products, but they are still fats and fats make you… fat. Even olive oil is %35 saturated. Most americans get way too much of their caloric intake from fat (%40-75) when they should be around %10-20. Also, eating bread is sort of pointless for carbs, its bulky and tough to eat a lot of, whereas had you got your 350g of carbs from fruit, you would have gotten the carbs and the nutrition in one hit. Glycemic and insulin problems are caused by having too much fat in the blood which interferes with sugar metabolism, it is not from eating sugary fruits and starches. If you have an issue with blood sugar levels, consider a Dr. Esselstyn type program or even 80/10/10.

      • Kklaers

        Where the heck are you getting your information from Jay?  Wow, totally incorrect.

      • Guest

         Jay, you are either a NUT job or a BOT for the Frito company. You know nothing about nutrition.

  • Ellen Dibble

    Here I am linking to all sorts of sites in India and Pakistan on Facebook while I’m hearing this is illegal.  I have asked that on the site.  Is this okay?  And apparently it is.  I don’t see any difference if I downloaded it, except I’d have to store it in my computer, versus the cloud.  Do you know the answer?

    • Ellen Dibble

      I have also stolen images from the net, and I end up with sort of “followers” from that.  They could certainly say give me back my photo of the Brooklyn Bridge or my lunch in Riyadh.  But they don’t.  They keep coming back, maybe to make sure it’s still there.

      • at

         Ellen, everything you do on the internet is either downloading or uploading — that is all you can do, no matter what it seems like.  There is no “cloud” the cloud is just a misuse of the unknowable route any data packet will take (that’s why they called it the cloud) This has been misused firstly by Mac fanboys then picked up by others. What they are actually saying when then refer to “the cloud” is “someone else’ hard-drive” There is no cloud were data is stored in the ether. There is nothing illegal about downloading.  You can download anything and it is not copyright infringement.  If the file is copyrighted, it is the person who has made a copy and sent it to you who is infringing a copyright.
        The illegal downloading he is referring to is as big a mistake as his carb story.  The only reason it is illegal to download on a peer to peer network (p2p) is because the software automatically copies parts of the file you get and forwards it on to other downloaders.  It is the copying that is done in your computer that is copyright infrinegment (which the supreme court decided long ago was not theft) not the downloading.
        Everytime you open an email or look at a web page you are downloading.
        Take CA for instance: it is legal to download anything here, as long as you didn’t break any laws to get the file — like hacking a secure system or something.  In your case, as long as you are not connected to a peer to peer network there is no chance you are breaking any law.

  • Ellen Dibble

    People think the system is unfair, and Robin Hood comes to mind.  I cheat the system because the system cheats me.  One thinks of our attitude to the Supreme Court.  If they seemed to favor the already wealthy and powerful in voice, then we’d cease to consider our justice system just, and take things into our own hands.  We’d say:  This is my turn, and help ourselves. 
        Apparently certain people on Wall Street have no problem with this, using amounts of money that are inconceivable, so it’s hard to know how our honesty survives at all, sometimes.  It’s vestigial.

    • at

       Just so Ellen.  The power elite have never been moral. Morality is for other people to protect their property, not for them.

  • TRF

    How can I listen to this in full?  

  • Duncan Macleod

    I wish people would get out of the habit of talking about fat and carbs as if they are all the same. it is not low carb, low fat that matters… it is the kind of cab and fat you eat. low fat has never been good for you… you need fat to live. you also need the carbs but never processed, simple carbs. this discussion brings up a false dichotomy that is typical of the problem we have in our society. the key is a balance of complex carbs which almost always are accompanied with good fats. nature has already given us the proper balance… we just have to stop messing with our foods by refining it.

    • Jackson23220

      Did you listen to the broadcast at all? That was the main point of the program.

      • SomeGuyNamedMark

        Oh come on, do you expect people online to actually listen to or read an article before commenting on it?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502491461 Sue Belzer

        Duncan may have been referring to the comments v. the people on the program.

  • Occam24

    This Ludwig character is all over the place, and he should be forbidden from appearing anywhere.  Tom tried valiantly to pin him down, but Ludwig stubbornly refused to speak English.  I’ve heard other interviews with Ludwig, and they all went the same way.

    “Long Chains”?  If I wanted long chains, I’d go to a biker bar.  I sure wouldn’t eat them. 

    We don’t need to know chemistry, and you can’t teach us chemistry in 5 minutes. 


    The female guest comes much closer to that goal.

    • Jackson23220

      You know in general what he meant. He did elaborate that the sugar molecule is contained within the starch “chain” and the sugar is released from chewing and digestive enzymes. Not everything needs to be dumbed down for a 3rd grader. Basic high school science classes give general overview on these concepts.

    • SomeGuyNamedMark

      How much simpler do you need it?  This is a show about nutritional chemistry.  Learn some basic nutritional chemistry then. 

      And did you actually expect him to recite a list of items and quantity (adjusted for your personal weight of course)?  Anyone knowledgeable on the subject knows there is no magic list.

  • Kathleen A Middlebrooks

    Healthy eating is not usually budget friendly. I am a single mom and full time student. I am so busy and strapped for cash. The blue box of Mac and cheese is easy, cheap and my kids like it. F

    • Meganquinlan

      CAn I suggest a rice cooker?  That way you can prepare some whole grain (low glycemic) foods like brown rice and quinoa quickly and with minimal effot (for cheap!)  I definitely understand, though – never mind the expense, it can be quite time-consuming to cook healthy food when you’re a busy working mother.

      • http://www.facebook.com/GuyatitianDarin Darin Kyle Spurlock

        Rice cooker/crock pot, frozen vegetables although not best are better than any restaurant choice, add some beans (dried not from a can), add some quinoa, add some water, add the spices you’d like, turn on the machine and walk away. You’ll never have an excuse again.  

    • Niki

      We are a family of 4 living off one income. We are very tight on money. Sardines, canned tuna, some cucumber slices, avocado, and frozen fruit is not expensive or difficult to prepare. healthy eating is not expensive. Its a matter of priorities. If it was important to you, you would find a way to make it happen.

      • Nikigrits

         I forgot to add that I am also going to school. We are very busy as well.

        • Guest

          There is NOTHING more than your health. Eating properly should be mandated and insurance companies might be the solution.

          Obesity will cause this generation to die earlier than their parents. Think what that will cost!

        • smartpotato

           Can we suggest getting up an hour earlier each day (you chose to have children), and spend Sundays making food for 6 days? It’s not. THAT. HARD.

      • bluemimi

        I’m glad someone brought this up.  Ms (or Dr) Krieger sounded like an ad for Whole Foods or Fresh Market.  A working mother of 2 gets an hour for lunch in which she has to go to the post office to pay a late bill and then an insurance office.  She can go to Whole Foods for Ellie’s suggestions and end up with about a $12 purchase (yes, I’ve been there) or get a burger w iceberg lettuce for $1.59 and give the bread to the birds.   This mother could also get the items from the food coop on her one precious day off and chop and cook all afternoon instead of taking her kids to the park.  I believe what they’re saying; they, and particularly, she, are just not in touch with how people live who don’t make $70,000 a year and have jobs with flexibility.

        • Jackson23220

          You are making a gross generalization. You could get a salad with grilled chicken at almost every major fast food establishment these days. Also, many less expensive grocery stores have cafes and healthy food bars. Whole foods is quite expensive but not the only option. You are also suggesting that an afternoon in the park prevents you and your family from eating fruits an vegetables. Broccoli, squash, roasted cauliflower are not time intensive preparations. Low carb grains like quinoa are fast to prepare and not expensive. Try doing some reading and do what is better, rather than easiest for you and your family. 

      • smart Potato

         I am SO glad that you said this… it’s sad that parents cannot do this math.

        One can of tuna = 50 cents (2 meals)
        One burger = 1 dollar (1 meal)

        Which is most healthy?

        One box of salad = $4 (2-6 meals)
        One box of McNuggets = $4 (1 meal)

        Which is more healthy?

        It goes on and on and on…

    • Wendydearmin

      I found that when I changed my diet, I did purchase more expensive food. But my appetite is not out of control any more and it takes much less food to satisfy me. 
      I spend less money on more expensive food and feel so much better. I also spend less money on medicine and doctor bills.
      But I was in your shoes once and it wasn’t easy. You can’t be perfect at everything. I had to choose my battles. 

    • wsb

      Not to lecture but, if you try to raise children on a diet of Mac & cheese (even if you made it from scratch with organic products) those children would most definately pay a price.  But you make an excellent point that we need to subsidize whole and organic foods in this country. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613482437 Kyra Richter

      Agreed. However, when you eat healthy, you eat less food. Americans have become accustomed to seeing a certain amount of food on their plates, in their pantries and fridges. Amounts that I still find hard to believe (I grew up in many countries around the world).

      Healthy eating satisfies at smaller quantities, hence the eventual savings. 
      We all know that high fructose corn syrup and white flour etc. are not quite filling and return hunger with a vengeance. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=613482437 Kyra Richter

      In addition, what you may add in expense for better quality food, you will save in medical costs.

    • SmartPotato

      This is not true; meanwhile you are poisoning your children and they will have health issues later.

      If you buy meat in bulk, frozen veggies, and some herbs and spices, you can make meals every Sunday for the week, then freeze the portions per person. This takes as long as it takes to “cook” mac & cheese for ONE meal.

      Cut them all up, and put them in a crock pot. You can study all day, portion them out, and put them in the freezer for the week and send them to school. You can also pre-make meats for sandwiches. The kids make their own lunches the night before. This is EASY, and they should learn how to do it.

      If you have “cable” or “TV”, cancel it. This is up to $500/year toward food.

  • Eldermuse

    Did any mention that ONLY 21 subjects were involved in Dr. Ludwig’s study?  Not statistically relevant.  BUT, it doesn’t take away from the study’s point that we’ve GOT TO CHANGE the quality of the carbs that we eat.  The corn, sugar, soy federal subsidies are killing us!

  • Wendydearmin

    I think there’s also a connection between high carb diets and neurological problems, such as dementia and attention deficit disorders. Our brains need fat to function optimally.

    • Jay

      You should really verify the accuracy of the effluent you are spewing, some less skeptical souls might actually believe it. Carbs are the source of energy for the human body and are vital to glycogen production and brain functioning, also everyone gets more fat than they need from their diets already, don’t believe it? Go look at the people on your street.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Acupuncture.herbs.Karen.Vaughan Karen Vaughan

         Carbs make you fat, not fats.  Although we do have bad seed oil fats  in abundance.

      • Guest

        Jay, you are completely off base. Low carbs is the way to stabilize one’s diet. Fresh fruits will give you the carbs that you need.

        Avoid sugar, HFCS, white breads, etc. It’s really simple. Avoid any processed drinks, such as sweetened fruit drinks or colas.

        It is simple, except that people eat poorly and eat at bad fast food places.

        • jay

          Low carb is the way to crash and burn out, whether in sports or in life. Show me one competitive/olympic level athlete who is on a low carb/paleo diet. You can’t, because there’s not one. A few have tried it briefly but always go back to a high carb low-fat diet because they perform better. If you want to get carbs from fruit which I recommend, you’re going to need to eat a lot of fruit, like 10 bananas + 10 dates a day. 

          I agree one should avoid refined sugars, and nutrient void food stuffs, but the real culprit in most people’s health issues in the US is too much fat in their diet, good, bad, plant or animal, a lot of fat makes you… fat. Be weary of taking advice from people who are obviously overweight, would you ask an obese person how to run a marathon? No, so why ask them how to eat to live?

          • Guest

            Jay, you are still wrong even though you think you are correct. 1) I wasn’t discussing athletes 2) I was talking about normal people who are eating way too many carbs, which makes them fat.  Of course, one should eat as many carbs as their activities demand but for most people their carbs are much higher than their physical activities.
            Try learning instead of arguing.

        • Sy2502

          As soon as I hear “avoid food X, Y, and Z”, I smell the manure. No food is to be AVOIDED. Everything in the proper amounts.

  • Ned

    How does this fit with Robert Lustig’s work at UCSF Medical School  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dBnniua6-oM

  • Jay

    Wow, this article and ensuing comments just go to show people’s utter lack of understanding about their diets and their bodies. We’ve got the full gamut of diets represented in the comments here, from high carb, processed/unprocessed, to paleo. Everyone needs carbs, period. They are the source of glycogen for our brain and muscles. Americans don’t get fat from carbs, they get fat and insulin from… fat! No one is getting obese eating steamed rice or potatoes or fruit, it’s the butter, sour cream, peanut butter, and spread that they’re putting on those, then calling them “carbs”. If carbs are so awful why don’t we see diabetes and obesity in places like rural china where the vast majority of the diet is carb based? It’s not until these people start eating the meat and dairy in large quantities that they get these issues. Don’t let the Paleo cult try to assure you a bacon wrapped chicken breast is a good dinner, cause it just ain’t so.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1370145626 Annie Harris

      Processed carbs are the real problem, not the carbs in potatoes and rice that are combined with fiber and nutrients.  It’s the nutrient void carbs like sugary drinks, white bread, high fructose corn syrup and the like that are the problem carbs.

    • http://www.facebook.com/Acupuncture.herbs.Karen.Vaughan Karen Vaughan

       You obviously don’t understand digestion well if you think fat raises insulin levels. ONLY sugar raises blood insulin, and starches almost instantly turn to sugar.  Try listening to this podcast. Your body can make all the glycogen it needs from vegetables, seasonal fruit and the breakdown of protein. 

      The Chinese have almost 4 times the diabetes levels of people in the US, although they do have more thin diabetics.  Insufficient protein and fats and too much rice are the problem.  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120705194138.htm#.T_YgDAyfi9Y.facebook..

      And don’t believe Colin Campbell’s bastardization of the data collected in the China Diet – either read Denise Minger’s re-analysis of the data or http://www.acupuncturebrooklyn.com/diet/the-china-study-misrepresents-data-does-not-support-a-vegan-diet

      • Jay

        High fat intake produces increased insulin resistance, this is not a debatable question at this point, it has been exhaustively reviewed by multiple peer reviewed medical journals and one study can be found here, http://diabetes.diabetesjournals.org/content/40/2/280.short

        Unlike Denise Minger, who is a mere english major, these studies were carried out by real Doctors in clinical settings.

        As your link on China says, “What is unprecedented is the changes in diet, weight and cardiovascular risk for children age 7 and older.” The changes are what is unprecedented, because of their new found wealth, many chinese have changed their diets and what do you think to? They’re not buying more steamed rice and fruits and veggies with that money, they’re buying dairy, meat, and lard with it and thats creating serious issues.

        Frankly Karen you should do more than a topical cherry picking of the information you trawl to support your theory, if you’re citing people like Denise Minger you’ve got a long way to go. Try instead to look at peer reviewed data within it’s historical and clinical perspective.

      • Sy2502

        While true that fat by itself doesn’t cause release of insulin, there are very few sources of pure fat. Protein on the other hand does cause release of insulin. Consider that even butter contains proteins.

    • Smart Potato

      It’s the processed food, period. Anything that has added chemicals is processed. This includes bread with a high content of sugar and/or salt, as well as these “diet” fast food meals, etc. They all have corn, or some sort of hydrolyzed or chemically processed corn (xanthum gum? Corn. Dextrose? Corn. Even the simple “safe” ingredients: starch? Corn. Baking powder? Corn. Cereal, malt, malodextrose? Corn. “Healthy” chips and cereal? Corn). Butter? Sour cream, salad dressing, mayo? CORN. And sugar.

      The rest have sugar, especially canned fruits: peaches, mandarin oranges, pears, etc. All canned with sugar, dextrose, etc.

      Same with meat; if it’s not “organic” it was fed with corn, if not with antibiotics because the corn made the animals sick, since many cattle ranchers are trying to make more money by doubling their outcome of cattle head by feeding their animals with the cheapest feed: CORN, o5 corn-processed feed.

      And China is dying from diabetes and obesity just as fast.

      • Syrlinzzz

        China is only suffering such effects were they have adopted a more affluent western diet. In the rest of China such health problems are found in direct proportion to the amount of dairy and meat that is consumed.

    • cynthia atwood

       it seemed like you knew what you’re talking about until this.  Fat that you eat DOES NOT translate into fat on your body.  That’s the whole point of the Low Glycemic emphasis of the program. Sugar triggers an insulin response that the body, and especially the brain, cannot process.   Moreover, as stated, the whole reason food scientists started to investigate fat was that it was the more dense (9g per calorie) contributor to overall calorie content.  However, time has shown that substituting sugar for fat and restricting caloric content has allowed diabetes and heart disease and obesity to sky rocket.

      Lastly, Americans on average eat a TON of packaged, processed, highly refined, and junk (fast) food. In addition to being ‘carbohydrate’ loaded, they are filled with tons of phony ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, which includes mercury, so that they can be made cheaply.

      Rural chinese, or even modern NYC dwellers for instance) rarely get fat because they eat ‘real food’ and also because they remain mobile and active.  They rarely commute for hours during the week sitting behind the wheel of an automobile, or a desk, or a couch, jumping up for relief to eat a hamburger or a chocolate chip cookie or  a fourteenth cup of coffee.

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  • andrew

    I want a photo of everyone who has commented with a strong opinion so I can judge who to listen to.

    • Teboal

      Ok, this made me laugh out loud!

  • Citrongarden

    I wonder what part is the genetically engineered Monsanto’s super
    seeds play a part of us gaining weight, and have all this health issues. Whenever
    I go to Europe for a vacation,  I indulge
    in their croissants and pastries and still come home losing weight, when I come
    back to U.S. I eat small amount, walk a lot and still gain it back, it is very
    puzzling.  I told it to somebody; he had same
    experiences, lives in Africa 6 months of the year and also looses up to 30
    pounds there, eating a lot more than here. Do anybody know any studies on this

    • Sy2502

      Not sure about genetically engineered foods, but it’s the same for me, when I go to Europe I eat all sorts of stuff (ice cream, pastries, pasta, bread, etc) and lose significant weight. I wish I knew what the deal was.

  • Ibbiyaya

    The story kind of glossed over the fact that if we all  tried to eat the fruits and veggies we are supposed to, we would not have enough to do so due to lack of farmland–how do we solve that problem? I think that the big problem is that we industrialized our food (feeding our meat sources unnaturally) and thusly ourselves trying to solve this lack of real food for what is now 7 billion people. Seems obvious eating real unprocessed food is the solution, but many of us do not have enough $ to eat real food and there is a true dilemma with having enough real food for all of us.

    • Jay

      The grain used to feed the world’s cattle populations could feed 8.6 billion people (look it up). Animal products take exponentially more land and resources to produce the same calorie amount as plant foods, this argument is a complete red herring. If you want to have more open space, be healthier, and avoid many chronic illnesses, just cut the animal products out of your diet.

      • Rob

        As a farmer, cutting out animals from agriculture ends sustainability – no animals, no fertility.  Modern agriculture, with its reliance on petroleum based fertilizers, is an anomaly and may soon become an anachronism.  There is also the issue that a lot of very good land is not suitable to grow anything but grass – too steep, rocky, etc.  Animal agriculture, done right, on such land can produce an amazing amount of food.

        • JamesTimm

          But if the food is killing people — what’s the point?

          • Rob

            Not at all sure I follow your comment.  Animal based foods from animals raised in the right way doesn’t kill people, it makes them extraordinarily healthy – I’ve referenced Weston A. Price’s studies of peoples all over the world who ate traditional diets, of virtually every kind, from almost all animal to almost all plant.  They were all healthy.  It was when peoples starting eating a modern, processed food diet that all kinds of health issues erupted and people started dying from the food they ate

          • Guest

            Many of us who are actually healthy don’t eat any meat at all. Absolutely no seafood or chicken, which are just as unhealthy as is beef or pork.

            This habit is 40 years of a wonderfully healthy life of 60+ years. I have an awesome garden, too. Enjoy.

          • jefe68

            So you’re saying that sardines and wild salmon are as high in fat as beef?

            The thing that amazes me is how when ever there is a show like this all the experts come out of the wood work.

            If you don’t want to eat  sea food or chicken good for you.

          • atheistmessiah

            This remark is ludicrous. I have lost boatloads of weight and have a ton more energy from being on a ketogenix diet. My liver kidneys and cholesterol are all very well.

          • atheistmessiah


          • Comment

             Let’s see, your expression of anecdotal evidence based on personal experience, with no double blind and an unlimited and undeterminable influence from the placebo effect and just plain suggestibility vs the largest and most extensive dietary study ever done on humans. No contest it is your remark that is ludicrous, all the more because you believe it is some sort of evidence.

          • Guest

            TOOOOO FUNNY. Thanks for an intelligent response.

      • http://www.facebook.com/Acupuncture.herbs.Karen.Vaughan Karen Vaughan

         That isn’t true Jay.  Cows are ruminants and should be raised on NO grain- it destroys their digestion.  Joe Salatin raises his cows solely on the roughage that humans can’t eat.  And monocrop grain culture is strip mining the prairies of their topsoil, down to a few inches from 20 feet.  Grain monocrop is unsustainable while ruminants build soil through their excrement. The information you cite is based on bad management of animals and the water figures usually seen with it assumes that the rain wouldn’t fall if grain weren’t raised and that animals don’t return water to the soil.

        • Jay

          What part is untrue? I agree cows shouldn’t be raised on grain/corn feeds, but this is how %85 + of the beef Americans eat is raised. Also if all of this beef were to be grassfed instead of feedlot raised, it would take an even vaster amount of land to raise them. Anyone who knows the slightest thing about farming or how cattle are raised will support that fact. Animal products simply take more resources per calorie produced than plant foods, while they simultaneously make you sick. 

      • SmartPotato

         And it’s not “grain”; it’s corn. It’s unnatural, and makes the animals sick. If looking to make a profit via head/turnover, most farmers give their head of cattle, etc. a ton of antibiotics. Then we eat that meat.

        Thus, many of us are made of corn, and most of us are sick.

      • An G

        Cattle are supposed to eat GRASS not grains.  There is a big difference for you, me and the cow! If you just let the animal graze naturally then you won’t have to worry about supplying grain which involves soil errosion, artificial fertilizer, pesticides, you name it.  Which one is bettter for the environment?  HELLOO!

  • Mmslaw1

    Wow, can’t we all just get a long!  I think it all comes down to moderation.  Eat a rainbow and stay active.

    • Jay

      People can’t agree because of years and years of indoctrination from our current food system. This has led us to think that things like milk and meat are good while rice and bread and sugary fruits are bad, the result is the unhealthy society we have. There should be no moderation of things poor for one’s health, would you have a small helping of arsenic… you know… in moderation? Of course not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GuyatitianDarin Darin Kyle Spurlock

    Yes carbs are a cause of weight gain, but not the sole cause of our inability to lose excessive weight. 

    The difference between high fiber carbohydrates and low fiber carbohydrates should be discussed. High fiber carbohydrates such as those found in fruit, are completely different than the carbohydrates found in fruit juices. 4 oz of juice is the same as 1 entire baseball sized apple. Yet people consume, unnaturally, 16-20 oz of juice at a time. This amount to 4-5 apples in one sitting. 

    Then when people try to make healthier choices, and increase fiber in their diet, such as wanting to buy whole grain breads, the industry misleads consumers and markets their bread that is NOT whole grain, as being whole grain. 

    I hope this exemplifies, two huge causes of obesity, misleading and lack of knowledge. Yes two out of 100 reasons. It isn’t as simple as people, and the media portray it to be. 

    Darin Spurlock RD/LDN 

    • Jay

      How are carbohydrates in fruit different than a fruit which has been pureed into juice? They are the exact same carbs. If the pulp is filtered there will be less fiber but the carbs are the same. Perhaps what you mean to say is that the carbs in high fructose corn syrup which is in most store bought “juices”, are different. Also there is nothing un-natural about eating 4-5 apples in a sitting, if most americans had that and 5 bananas for breakfast instead of eggs, bacon, grease soaked potatoes, and sausage, they’d be much better off.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502491461 Sue Belzer

        However, the presence of the fiber has a great impact on how the body processes those “exact same carbs”, and that’s what makes the difference.

      • Comment

        Consider this: eating a carrot will not spike your glycemic index but drinking carrot juice will.  It is always better to eat the whole food and get the fiber, unless part of it is toxic like in some jungle sources of starch.

      • http://www.facebook.com/GuyatitianDarin Darin Kyle Spurlock

        No I meant what I said. And the two who commented before me know what I mean. 

        They are the same carbs, fruit vs fruit juices, as they are both fructose.

        But the matter comes from a misunderstanding, that fruit juice usually as advertised as “natural” or “high in vitamins” or “full of anti-oxidants,” cant be bad for you and are usually consumed in excess.

        Think about the amount of time it will take you to consume by mouth 5 apples (75g of carbohydrates), versus 20 oz of juice (also 75grams of carbohydrates). Along with feeling more satisfied and fuller if you actually ate the apples because of the fiber. Consider the amount of time it takes to drink 5 apples compared to eating 5 apples; drinking juice is easily consumed. 
        But of course its “natural” right so it cant be bad for you, right?

        As with everything, too much of any good thing, is a bad thing. 

    • Oceanhandler

       how does the industry mislead consumer that their products are whole grain?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=502491461 Sue Belzer

        Mostly because the regulations under which a manufacturer can put a “whole grain” label on their products allow a ratio of processed to unprocessed that is not healthy. Same with “low fat”–very misleading regulations.

  • chris

    Carbs, fat, processing, sedentary lifestyles, genes–okay, okay… Now, how about adding certain environmental chemicals to the obesity-brew, too? 
    I don’t know if you can publish it, but here is a link to an article about this: http://jnci.oxfordjournals.org/content/99/11/835.full

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=62601283 Taramaria-Molejinha Gabriel

    what do you guys make of the new paleo diet that seems to be a more refined version of Atkins in that it advocates a fair amount of meat but goes into encouragement of vegetables and the like along with running and exercise…

  • Guest

    This is NOT rocket science folks. Remember an old rule, Shop the outside of the store, since that’s the only “real” food. That covers produce and diary, plus most of the good carbs.

    Stay away from the bread and all things WHITE. Sweet potatoes vs white potatoes, for example. I never go down the chips row, which has the sodas and beer on it, too.

    Of course, no Burger King, McDonalds, or any other garbage foods allowed. All of this is just good sense and I do not see that fat people care. 

    • nj_v2

      A life without beer is not worth living.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=62601283 Taramaria-Molejinha Gabriel

    I would also like to comment as I was listening to Ellie describe her meal plan, as good as it sounds it doesn’t necessarily sound affordable and therefore accessible to everyone…

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  • Nkanafan

    Strategy that I teach parents:  The NO grocery list!  Make two columns.  One is your usual grocery list.  The other is the list of things you are committed to NOT bringing home.  Parents are stunned when they make this list in front of me and find that it really helps them.  The simple carbs and added sugars disappear from the home after parents use the NO grocery list.

  • Beth Triner

    Ellie Krieger’s advise is great! 
    David Ludwig’s research– just confuses the public?  How can he say refined grains decreased calories burned or low carb diet increases calories burned? Has he measured actual absorption of nutrients?!

  • http://www.facebook.com/GuyatitianDarin Darin Kyle Spurlock

    I felt the entire show was great. I would like to see more research on the diets and for a longer period of time, to look into the physiological adaptations of the hypothalamus when the body loses significant weight via slowing down metabolism exponentially. 

  • CommaCommaDownDoBeDoDownDown

    If you are a victim of the Paleo fad you should watch this before it’s too late and you have actually harmed yourself.
    This is a graphic demonstration to what you are doing to your blood.


    • Sy2502

      More garbage information in that video than I have seen in a long time. You need to develop better critical thinking skills. 

  • Cheryl Lemke

    My grandson is 14 years old, we think his weight looks very good. His football coach wants him to gain weight for football this fall. I am concerned he is loading up on white pasta, white bread, cheese,greasey meat,soft drinks…   I believe this added weight will not help him run faster, or any other athletic ability. muscle moves athletes not fat. also concerned what this diet will do to his health in general. what training do coaches have in diet-nutrition, good carbs, bad carbs,  and how that relates to weight training? How will this affect his health concering poor eating habits? future  dental problems? Should our children be encouraged to gain weight in an environment of obesity, and weight related health  problems, heart disease, diabetes, and more.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/R5PEYYGNO7JUP6B5733CM6PBKE Nick

      that’s silly … if his coach wants him to gain weight like that remove him from the team. Boys should be “thin” … it’s normal !!! Only in America where men at 200lbs are considered average weight is this acceptable !!

    • jefe68

      Funny, I was having this conversation about school sports.
      There was a time when it was Varsity and Junior Varsity.
      I don’t remember there being a football team in my Junior High.

      The problem here is I don’t think a 14 year old should be playing football in the first place.

      Get him off the team, this sounds like he’s setting himslef up for a life time of health problems including the injuries.

    • duijoe

      In a world suffering from an obesity epidemic your grandson’s coach is encouraging your grandson to develop bad eating habits that he will suffer from for the rest of his life.

      It will probably be difficult to talk your grandson out of following his coach’s advice. 

      You would probably be more effective if you talked to the coach and told him that if he did not retract his advice that you will get the coach fired. Do it now.

    • Jay

      I wouldn’t worry about the pasta and bread but the soft drinks, grease, lard, and meat should be avoided. I second the poster above who says that only here is a 200lb man “average”. This is obese for most heights. If the coach is advocating putting your grandson’s health in jeopardy so the team has a pudgy lineman, I’d say it’s time to try another sport.

    • Slipstream

      I am with you!  These coaches should not be in the business of fattening boys up for the football field, so that they can be better at bashing into other overweight boys.  

  • Comment

    It’s natural to eat meat.  Brilliant argument.


    • Jay

      It’s natural to eat meat? Put a kid in an apple orchard what does he do? Send a kid to camp and you have to tell them not to eat the berries in the woods.. Put a kid in the petting zoo does he go up to the goat and take a bite out? I think not. When pushed any species will compromise it’s diet, including ours.

      • Billy Boy

        Exactly.  Whenever I explain to people that a hungry human doesn’t salivate when looking at a live animal like an actual carnivores does, or like a human does when we see or smell a sweet fruit I get crazy looks.  Humans starting eating meat because, like you basically said, there were times when they HAD to in order to survive.  As we know, there have been some situations where humans ate dead humans because there was nothing else to eat.  So I guess the person above you thinks we should do that regularly as well. 

  • Teboal

    I’ve been following the eating style advocated here for nearly 15 years, mainly in order to control blood sugar fluctuation and other symptoms related to a hormonal disorder. I do eat meat, but about a third of it is game meat (venison/duck/grouse, etc), and I don’t eat a lot of it. Weight control wasn’t my goal, but I had spent my youth as a simple-carb eater, and had a tendency to carry an extra 10-15 lbs. When I switched how I ate, I lost that weight and have since maintained at my college weight (5’4″/~115 lbs) even though I’m pushing 42. This has been pretty effortless, despite my sadly intermittent exercise habits. During those periods where I do work out, I find I have to eat considerably more calories or I tend to quickly drop into the 105-110 range. I realize everyone is a bit different, but this has certainly worked for my sample size of 1.

  • Gabirel Aguilera

    when I went carb and gluten free I dropped 50lbs in two months

    • Billy Boy

       You may have gone low-carb, but you didn’t go carb-FREE for two months or you’d be dead.  Also, the reason many people lose weight so quickly on a low-carb diet is because of water loss.  Each gram of carbohydrates has almost 3 grams of water stored with it.  If you lost fat, then you were consuming fewer calories than you were using.  It wouldn’t have mattered if you did it low-carb or low-fat.  Of course ZERO fat for an extended period would also result in death, just like zero carbs.

  • Guest

    The chemistry is simpler than is being presented.
    All foods break down through digestion by either ACID or ALKALINE. If anyone mixes acid and alkaline together they do not get what they might have wanted but instead they expel gas (burps and farts).

    The web search is easy and the necessary information is available for those who care to learn. The following site just happens to be the first on my list and other than that I use it as a great reference. There are others, if you do a search.


    • TheInsomniac

      the acid v. alkaline dichotomy is pseudo-science. The foods listed are completely inconsistent with what we know about their chemistry. It’s made up.

      Don’t believe everything on the internet. And especially don’t believe that mixing acid and alkaline will give you something more, rather then less, reactive.

      • Guest

        Actually, this is science as has been proven for decades. If one knew science, then they would know that acid and alkaline neutralize each other. That’s basic science.
        Go back and look at an elder’s cookbook and compare to today’s diet. There were no chemicals that disrupted digestion. Do research before spouting nonsense.   

    • ptp1600

      This site is complete horse shit.

  • guest

    could it be the thermic affect of protein (up to 30% of calories) that explains the increased calorie expenditure in the higher protein diets?

    • Guest22

      My thoughts exactly.  Seems strange this was not talked about at all.  Total caloric intake is also barely mentioned.  He says it’s important but never says anything else. 

      Does the human body violate the 2nd law of thermodynamics?  Can you gain a pound of fat without eating 3500 cal in excess of what your body uses?  Seems to me most people think so. After hearing this those people will still think so. Isn’t “metabolism” just the number of calories your body uses?  I think most people think it’s some kind a magic property that you can change by eating this or that. Some foods are harder to digest so the body uses more energy to digest them.  Can these results be accounted for by this thermic effect or not?  

      I think the speaker could do a LOT more to educate people on the reality of diet. I don’t dispute anything he is saying per say, but I KNOW lots of people are going to misinterpret this study and continue their endless confusion regarding WHAT to eat and continue ignoring HOW MUCH.  They will stay fat.  I’m 57 and have maintained a healthy weight by weighing myself several times a week and adjusting my caloric intake accordingly.  My brother is continuously dieting, and trying to eat the “right foods”  he has been 100 -150 lbs overweight for his entire adult life.  He has never counted calories. He, like many other fat people have no idea how many calories are in a pat of butter or piece of toast. Even if they do know, they fool themselves by not counting everything they eat. Last week I almost had him convinced he will never lose weight until he starts counting calories and paying attention to HOW MUCH he eats.  I know the reports of this study will send him back to his old ways.  He’ll be eating 3400 cal a day of fruits, whole wheat, meat, etc AND HE WILL STAY FAT.  The primary determinate of what you weigh is still HOW MUCH you eat. WHAT you eat, while important, is secondary.  Exercise, too, is great but look at the numbers, it’s very hard to work off that extra burger you had for lunch.Ok, this is turning into a book – sorry.  But one more thing.  The speaker summarized the low-glycemic-index-driven “suger spike” and how that makes people feel hungry soon after they have eaten. Perhaps it could occasionally be mentioned that just because you feel like eating DOES NOT MEAN YOU HAVE TO EAT!!  If you are fat, you are NOT starving (in the sense of chronic caloric shortfalls).  I know it’s a lot to ask of modern Americans, but it is possible to DECIDE NOT TO EAT when you know intellectually that you do not need the food.  We do not HAVE to do everything we feel like!! Will power to me is like a learned skill.  I’ve been working on it with some success.  Kind of like learning to play guitar or something.  Work on it, practice it, when you fail, try again until you develop the skill.  The ideas of will power, self control, doing what you know you should do even if you don’t FEEL like it, seem to have fallen out of favor over the last several decades.  I talk to young adults who seem to have NEVER BEEN EXPOSED to the concept!  I talk to some who are philosophically opposed to the whole concept of will power.  You have a frontal lobe, it is possible to use it and not be a complete slave to your low-brained feelings and emotions. Just a thought. Wow! I can’t believe you read this far :-)–END OF DIATRIBE–

      • guest

        yes, and I’m wondering if the study measured postprandial insulin levels.

      • Dbts

        Nice diatribe:)

  • Roy Mac

    I am reading a lot of opinions from people who seem to be long on opinion and short on objective knowledge.  This program seems to have been a micro-internet:  you can find anything to bolster what you already think, and you’re not going to pay attention to anything that doesn’t fit your preconceived notions.  We eat, therefore we are experts.

    Cue The Boxer:  “…a man hears what he wants to hear, and disregards the rest…”

  • Slipstream

    While there is no doubt that Ludwig is a fine researcher, I am concerned that the takeaway from his argument might be something like: “Carbs bad, meat good.”  This was not what he was saying, but by framing the argument around carbohydrates rather than about the specific forms of carbohydrates that really contribute to obesity, Ludwig’s poorly framed argument undermines good nutrition.

    I also think that Ludwig was far too easy on meat and milk products, and gave the impression that eating large quantities of these things is harmless.  Not true!  No everybody is different, but I know from personal experience that what really makes me put on weight is cheap, lardy meat products – burgers, hot dogs, washed down with a big soda pop, and with a side of greasy fries.  That is the problem in a nutshell, and not “carbs”, a category that includes many healthy, nutritious foods.    

    There was nothing new in Ludwig’s presentation and also by failing to say much about what foods are good and what are not, and in what quantities, this scientist made a pretty weak presentation.

    • Frank Flargsburg

       “washed down with a big soda pop”

      In other words, carbs. 

      • Garyallen

         The worst kind of carbs if high fructose corn syrup is involved.

    • Slipstream

       I think I spoke a little too soon.  I am listening to the show again and Ludwig is making the point that high carbohydrate diets, especially those with lots of the lower quality carbs (like sugar and corn syrup) make it harder to take weight off once you have put it on.  I hadn’t heard that one before.  But I think a lot of people will still misread his findings, and reach conclusions like “If I switch from bread and potatoes to more meat, that is just like doing an hour of exercise every day!”  (lol)

    • cynthia atwood

       i agree.  One thing to notice as well —-Ludwig was constrained  to ‘not dispense medical advice.’ it’s a very tricky business to go on the radio (or in print) and present only the facts.  

      His real point is that a Low Glycemic Diet is the preferred diet. But every research who begins to proclaim this gets inadvertently snowballed by the media (who says things like “oh, so keep doing everything in moderation) or Big Pharma and their lynch men.

  • Bob Gasper

    One point that I heard in the program that was from Dr. Ludwig that there is never a down side to reducing carbs and going from saturated fats to poly unsaturated fats. If the research on the low carb diet used a high amount of poly unsaturated fats in the diet, then I can see why the low carb outcome increased risk factors for heart disease. The poly unsaturated fats are the dangerous ones and are very chemically unstable. These fats can generate the damaging free radicals especially when heated in cooking. The quality of fats in the research should be disclosed before you can draw any conclusions. Are researchers still stuck back in the 1950′s with Ancel Keys flawed data on cholesterol and the heart disease?
       Back in 1977 my father had bypass surgery and so several family members went on the low fat diet and even followed the recommendation of consuming a tablespoon on safflower oil each day. Well no one ever died of heart disease but starting in 1981 three family members including my father came down with cancer with my dad the last to pass away in 1984.
      I also take issue with whole grains still being preached as healthy. If you read “Wheat Belly” by Dr. Davis, whole wheat bread has a higher glycemic index of 72 than white bread of 69 and of white table sugar. Wheat also has gluten which which in itself can cause inflammation levels to rise. Many grains and seeds also contain anti nutrients that prevent the absorption of minerals. Soaking over night in many cases is required to neutralize these chemicals. Today I stay away from grains in the diet. There is no such thing essential grain in the diet.  

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  • http://twitter.com/cynththepoet Cynth The Poet

    According to the CDC, the portion size for most fast food meals has increased at a staggering rate.  In 1955, the average hamburger weighed in at 3.9 oz whereas now it is at 12 oz.  Maybe this is why we have an obesity problem in the first place.  We’re bigger because our servings have nearly tripled over time.

  • http://twitter.com/cynththepoet Cynth The Poet

     sorry…here’s the link to the infographic:


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  • rockhauler

    in the 60′s i found myself on welfare and the recipient of “donated” commodity foods, prior to food stamps becoming prevalent. every month i received whole wheat flour; peanut butter; lentils, peas, or dried beans; dried milk, etc. the extension service provided recipes for those items, and i learned to cook by using wholesome foods. that went away with food stamps. the feds did it right once upon a time.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FDAMZDSYFW2WZ3SWC2WZKUKL5M Andrew Page

    Cooking while commuting   

       Using a small green Stanley stainless steel thermos, 17oz container, and the ratio for steel-cut oats to water is 4to1, so last night I measured out 1/2 cup of oatmeal into the thermos and threw in some mixed raisins.  Before I started shaving I turned on the stove with a kettle of water and was about boiling when I was dressed.  I poured it into the thermos about to the fill line, sealed it up and give it a few good shakes.      By the time I’m at my desk (maybe 40minutes later) It’s just about ready.  There was some water left on the top, but it’s still steaming hot and given a few minutes to cool down it thickens up.  Probably the water evaporating off, or there some process that thickens it up that doesn’t happen until it’s exposed to air.  
         It’s not bad, the raisins and berries mix seem to to do well.   I think they have some added sugar so maybe that’s helping.  Curious to try it with dried blueberries.

  • Sy2502

    Reading the comments would be entertaining for some of the ignorance displayed, if it wasn’t that ignorance is quite a sad thing.
    Americans are always into the “magic bullet”. They always try to pinpoint one thing, and if you can eat (or avoid) that one thing, then every problem will be solved. Sadly for them, life is much more complex than that, and problems need a complete approach to them. If fat is the problem, why aren’t French people fat? If rice and carbs are the problem, why aren’t Asian people fat? But of course simple minds want simple solutions. It’s fat.  No, it’s sugar. No, it’s high fructose corn syrup. No, it’s soda. No, it’s meat. 
    The best way to tell if they don’t know what they are talking about is if they say “Absolutely avoid X”. That’s the best sign that they have no idea. 

    • Ralph Emery

      Whilst there is some truth in what you’re suggesting, the only people that gain from total confusion are those making a profit from it.

      Asian people can get fat for example, however eating fewer high-glycaemic carbs than is inferred, along with fat and protein reduces the tendancy.

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