Links and Quick Hits

~ A good and brief interview of Good Calories, Bad Calories author, Gary Taubes in Testosterone Muscle. "The argument I'm making is that [obesity is] a disorder of excess fat accumulation, not of sloth and gluttony. Overeating is the side effect of the disorder, not the cause. What you want to know is, what regulates fat accumulation?"

~ The Vitamin D Council has released their June Newsletter, replete with information about vitamin D deficiency in pregnant women, the risks of such deficiencies, as well as potential problems with gestational deficiency. "Dr. Dijkstra and colleagues studied 70 pregnant women in the Netherlands, none had levels above 40 ng/mL and 50% had levels below 10 ng/mL. Again, prenatal vitamins appeared to have little effect on 25(OH)D levels, as you might expect since prenatal vitamins only contain 400 IU of Vitamin D."

~ Good advice from Mark Sisson on evaluating your blood pressure. This is especially true if you've been prescribed medication based on only a few readings. And, while you're at it, you might want to check out Mark's Definitive Guide to Fish Oils.

~ Looks like Stephan is beginning another series. Here's his first go at the Lyon Diet-Heart Study. He prefaces this with a look at MRFIT: "After 6 years, 46% of the intervention group had quit smoking, compared to 29% in the control group. The intervention group reduced their cholesterol intake by 40% and their saturated fat intake by more than one-fourth, and increased their consumption of polyunsaturated fat (omega-6) by one third relative to the control group. The results? After seven years, total mortality was 41.2 per 1,000 in the intervention group and 40.4 in the control group, a difference that was not even close to statistically significant. There were also no significant differences in heart attack rate or heart attack death rate."

~ Low-carb wins againEffects of a popular exercise and weight loss program on weight loss, body composition, energy expenditure and health in obese women; Nutrition & Metabolism, 2009.

~ A Primal Donut, anyone?

Since Covid killed my Cabo San Lucas vacation-rental business in 2021, this is my day job. I can't do it without you. Memberships are $10 monthly, $20 quarterly, or $65 annually. Two premium coffees per month. Every membership helps finance this work I do, and if you like what I do, please chip in. No grandiose pitches.


  1. on June 5, 2009 at 13:04

    In the Nutrition and Metabolism paper, I don't understand how 63% carb (even at 1200kcal) is "very low carbohydrate high protein." I thought it might be a typo in the abstract but it's in the methods section too.

    "a very low carbohydrate, high protein diet (VLCHP) [1,200 kcals; 63:7:30]"

    I am still waiting for a good study on the 70% fat diet, especially without artificial vegetable oils… I wonder how many more years it wil take.

  2. John on June 5, 2009 at 13:34

    They must have the Carbs(63) and Fats(30) reversed! Maybe a typo?

  3. Tin Tin on June 5, 2009 at 18:43

    I agree. The VLCHP (very low carb, high protein) composition of 63% carbs, 7% protein must be typo. The high carb diet had 15% protein.

    I flicked through the full paper and the typo appears to be repeated throughout the paper. Page 5 of the paper though seems to suggest that the composition of the VLCHP diet would be closer to 20% carbs and 50% protein. This is the carb/protein percentage in the "curves" program that the study is modelled on.

    A word of caution before you interpret too much from the results – if you look at table 1 on page 28 of the paper you will see that starting weight and BMI of the VLCHP group was significantly higher than the rest of the sample (108 kilograms versus 94 kilograms). I would think this may go some way to explaining the greater weight loss in the VLCHP sample.

    Also on page 8 it says that participants in the VLCHP diet were chosen because it appeared they were carbohydrate intolerant. This too may have biased the results.

    I don't doubt the benefits of eating primal for a minute but my experience with statistics has taught me to treat it with a healthy dose of scepticism.

  4. Tin Tin on June 5, 2009 at 19:38

    I'm gonna guess they meant 7% carbs and 63% protein.

  5. Richard Nikoley on June 5, 2009 at 13:21

    I must say I wondered about that too, but concluded that the 7% must have been the carb load. I mean, how could 63% carb be VLC?

  6. Guy on June 5, 2009 at 19:42

    Taubes is my hero. I read "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and laid off the carbs and the weight just melted away. I wasn't even trying to lose weight. I just said, 'this stuff is bad for me and I won't eat it,' and didn't.

    Thanks for the post! And you're a hero too Richard!


  7. Don Matesz on June 5, 2009 at 20:41

    That N& M abstract states:

    "Participants were assigned to either a no exercise + no diet control (CON), a no diet + exercise group (ND), or one of four diet + exercise groups (presented as kcals; % carbohydrate: protein: fat): 1) a high energy, high carbohydrate (CHO), low protein diet (HED) [2,600; 55:15:30 %], 2) a very low carbohydrate, high protein diet (VLCHP) [1,200 kcals; 63:7:30 %], 3) a low carbohydrate, moderate protein diet (LCMP) [1,200 kcals; 50:20:30 %] and 4) a high carbohydrate, low protein diet (HCLP) [1,200 kcals; 55:15:30 %]."

    Taking this abstract at face value means these researchers consider 15% protein "low" in arm 1, 7% protein "high" in arm 2, 20% protein "moderate" in arm 3, and 15% protein "low" in arm 4.

    Then 63% CHO is "very low carbohydrate" in arm 2, 50% CHO is "low" in arm 3, and 55% is "high" in arm 4.

    I can't make heads or tails of such poorly reported results. I find it hard to believe no one caught this before posting it. I find my crap detectors going off. Can we trust any author(s) who would fail to catch such obvious mistakes?

    Reminds me of George Carlin, paraphrased: Think of how stupid the average scientist/physician is, then realize that 50% of them are stupider than that.

    N&M usually has good stuff, but this is bottom of the barrel.



  8. Don Matesz on June 5, 2009 at 21:04

    Also notice the authors of that study must have fat phobia, since the all the arms had the same percent of calories from fat: 30.

    Did they realize that the 2600 calorie, 30% fat diet has 86 grams of fat, whereas the 1200 calorie diets have only 40 grams of fat?

    I suspect these researchers would call 30% fat "low" regardless of caloric content, but this illustrates, one "low" (30%) fat diet can have more than twice as much fat as another.

    So which is "low" fat, 86 grams daily, or 40 grams daily?



  9. jon winchester on June 6, 2009 at 12:31

    unless somebody else is already doing it, I think I'll email the corresponding author for clarification, and post here anything I receive. in a month or two it will be interesting to see if the journal publishes a correction or any letters as well.

  10. minneapolis j on June 7, 2009 at 13:17

    its funny i was reading something on brad pilon's blog about how he thought an article about caloric intake totally disproving taube's ideas.

    sometimes i get confused too……is it more about calories or is it more about carbs

  11. jon winchester on June 7, 2009 at 19:46

    I couldnt find anything about totally disproving taubes' ideas, but in the link above pilon praises taubes' book overall and then cites evidence that fat people claim to eat less than they really do, and so taubes' belief that fat people eat the same amount of calories as fit people is therefore wrong.

    I lost my copy of GCBC, but I am quite sure that taubes never claimed fat people eat the same amount of calories as fit people. Taubes line of reasoning was something like this: some people eat nasty high-refined-carb food, which makes them perpetually hungry. They will be hungry if they eat 1000 kcal/day of this junk, and they will still be hungry eating 4000 kcal/day of this junk. Not only will they be hungry, but their hormones will signal the body to be sluggish and to store away as much fat as possible. This holds true regardless of the fact that fat people feel guilty about calories and lie.

    That being said, it is not just about the carbs either. There are bad fats and there are good carbs… But the bottom line is in 10000 BC nobody was obese, and nobody knew what a calorie or a carb was. They did know what food was.

  12. Daisy on June 8, 2009 at 02:19

    Very informative! Thanks for the link suggestions…

    Passing by from BE…

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