[TRIGGER WARNING FOR BODY IMAGE ISSUES AND EATING DISORDERS]

Health. Fitness. Weight loss. Body fat. Lean muscle mass. Dieting. Fat loss. Ketosis. Low-fat. Low-calorie. High protein. Low-carb. Calories-in calories-out. BMI. Scales. Clean eating. [Insert specific diet name here]. Cardio. Gym. Running. Abs. Lifting. Gains. Reps.

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There’s a reason why mentioning any of the above terms, no matter how obliquely, will inevitably lead to a debate, one where fiery passions are stirred and devotees of various exercise and/or eating philosophies will fight to the death over whom of them is Right. Because, you know, it worked for my diabetic dad/my super obese coworker/my cancer-ridden great-aunt/some person somewhere/me?

As far as the scientific research shows, there are no easy answers and there is nigh nothing in the way of consensus on the matter. Nutritionists, doctors, personal trainers, biologists, and other professionals can’t seem to agree on what’s scientifically best beyond a few basics. These mostly seem to consist of “High body fat percentages, high blood pressure, elevated pulse rate, and low levels of good cholesterol/high levels of bad cholesterol are bad, mmkay?” and maybe “Whatever makes you stick to a weight loss and exercise program is fine as long as your doctor says it’s okay” (which is hilarious since doctors can’t seem to agree).

I’m not even going to touch the “Can thin be unhealthy?”/”Can fat be healthy?” debate (not going there, no no no). There is one area that could easily be tested on a personal, somewhat empirical basis. One of the biggest recent disputes in nutrition/health/fitness is between low-calorie/low-fat and low-carb. Advocates of the former can appeal to most of the medical recommendations of the past 30 years or so as well as to the appealing simplicity of the calories consumed vs. calories burned formula. Meanwhile, those in favor of the latter talk about ketosis, fat burning, and carbohydrate addiction.

Too much bread?

Too much bread?

After listening through the backlog of the incredibly awesome Oh No, Ross and Carrie!, I’ve decided that it’s high time some self-styled skeptic conducted experiments on herself.

In other words, what am I doing? Using myself as a test subject. What is this? An experiment: nothing more and nothing less.

Background
I’ve been calorie and weight tracking for six months. I’ve averaged 1300-1400 calories a day (as per The Daily Plate) and have lost 0.62 lb. a week (according to my nearly daily weigh-ins tracked on Skinnyo).

Hypothesis
While detractors counter that low-carb eating reduces people’s dietary options so much that low-carb dieters cannot help but consume fewer calories (and that, by extension, any weight lost can be attributed to that reduction), proponents of low-carbing claim that it causes weight loss in a way that cannot be attributed to simple calorie reduction. I am primarily testing the latter claim, i.e. seeing if I lose weight by eating far fewer carbs but more calories than before. It will also be interesting to see if my weight loss is accelerated (though that claim would be better tested if I combined low-calorie with low-carb) and if low-carbing is easier to follow than calorie reduction.

Control Data
The aforementioned ~6 months’ worth of data as well as the body composition results I obtained about a year ago at a dunking facility.

Experiment Guidelines

  • Reduce daily net carb intake to <30 grams for a month, then upping to <50 grams after a month if it gets too unbearable.
  • Continue the daily logging of food, exercise, and weight.
  • Utilize keto test strip results weekly.
  • Check in after a month and then after two months.
Peeing. FOR SCIENCE!

Peeing. FOR SCIENCE!

If you can’t handle waiting, you can observe me complaining daily on Twitter.

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy

Heina Dadabhoy [hee-na dad-uh-boy] spent her childhood as a practicing Muslim who never in her right mind would have believed that she would grow up to be an atheist feminist secular humanist, or, in other words, a Skepchick. She has been an active participant in atheist organizations and events in and around Orange County, CA since 2007. She is currently writing A Skeptic's Guide to Islam. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

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153 Comments

  1. Avatar of vega
    January 2, 2013 at 1:34 pm —

    I predict weight gain if you’re doubling calories. While studies have shown that low carb might burn more calories, it’s not double. If you want a real test, you should hold your calories steady and see if you lose weight faster than you were, at least after the initial water loss.

    Also you’re in for some trouble if you jump into it too quickly. Going from high carb to very low will result in you feeling sick for the next week.

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 2, 2013 at 2:08 pm —

      I’ve been reducing carbs for a month now, so I’m doing okay.

      Aside from the fact that it wouldn’t test the claim I hope to (i.e. that low-carbing makes you lose weight regardless of caloric intake), holding steady on calories but lowering carb intake sounds like the worst of both worlds. My one comfort in doing 1200 calories a day was the fact that I could eat nearly anything I wanted in moderation/controlled portions; my comfort on low-carbing is that I don’t have to worry about how much low/no carb food I eat. I’m not intentionally doubling my caloric intake; that kind of happened yesterday thanks to the NYD party I attended. We’ll see how my day-to-day life goes.

  2. Avatar of BugLady
    January 2, 2013 at 1:47 pm —

    Good luck!
    I’ve been “paleo” (my own modified version) for about a year and a half now. That diet is low carb by default, depending on how many sweet potatoes you eat.

    I’m on it because I’m lactose and gluten intolerant, and it simply makes my life easier to have strict rules. I avoid all filler food and processed food as much as possible.

    I found that within one week, I felt like a brand new person – physically and emotionally. As much as I love carbs, it was easy to give them up because I felt so much better. I hope you also find yourself feeling better because of the change! (I also lost about 10lbs in two months, though I was eating a lot of calories)

  3. Avatar of Luna
    January 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm —

    People are making this simple issue WAY too complicated. There are 3 issues here: nutrition, exercise and weight gain.

    1. Nutrition: of course the experts agree on this. The USDA, doctors and your grandmother have maintained for decades that fruits, veggies and some animal protein (fish etc) are ideal. Just because we don’t want to eat our broccoli and sardines does NOT mean that nutrition is “complicated” and that the experts “can’t agree”. Americans have chosen a shit diet and now they want to know what’s the best of the worst. Don’t go there. If you want to be healthy, suck it up and eat your spinach, brussel sprouts, fruits and small fish.

    2. Exercise: humans evolved to run. So put on your sneakers and run your ass off. Pretend you’re chasing your prey (or you are being chased, whichever floats your boat). Do some weight lifting. Done.

    3. Weight loss: it is dangerous to assume large people are unhealthy, even more dangerous to assume model-thin equals healthy. Can you outrun a football player? A 200 lb Army woman? Do you think your doctor would say she’s unhealthy just because she weighs more?

    I think this all depends on what your goals are. Do you want to look thinner and be supposedly “prettier”? Don’t confuse that for health. Do you want to live forever or be a 100 year old marathoner? You have to factor in dozens of other things like thyroid issues, genetics and enviromment.

    But if you want general health, follow the steps above and don’t confuse thin for heathy. There is new evidence that overweight folks may not be any less healthy than thin folks. I’ll link to the study if anyone’s interested.

    Also remember David Allison’s study, that pollution, plastics and a change in gut bacteria has caused obesity in dozens of other animals even lab rats and primates whose diet has not changed.

    In summary: greens, fruits, many veggies, some fish. Go outside and run your ass off about 3 times a week. Realize that each of us has a unique frame and that thin does not automatically mean healthy. In light of Allison’s findings, try eating some yogurt with live culture, use glass instead of plastic (avoid synthetic hormones)and take pollution seriously.

    • Avatar of marilove
      January 2, 2013 at 3:43 pm —

      Yes, because everyone is able to “run [their] asses off 3 times a week”. Lololol.

      As someone with feet problems, yeah, fuck that shit. I have a hard enough time on a treadmill.

      Also: Not everyone can afford nice running shoes. A good pair of shoes for feet like mine are $100 a pop (I have average-sized but wide feet, and bunions).

      Will you help buy shoes so people can run their asses off?

      Not to mention those with disablities. Or people who don’t live in a safe place to run in, or maybe the climate where they live isn’t conductive to running outside. Or can’t afford the gym to run on a treadmill.

      Getting the right amount of exersize is nowhere near as simple as you ilke to make it out to be. Nor is exersizing free. Ever. It always costs something, even if it’s just a freakin’ sports bra or decent socks.

      And of course, one must fine time. What about single mothers with limited transportation?

      I just love this “JUST EXERSIZE, idiots!” mantra that people spew without really considering how difficult it can be for some people.

      “Eat healthy and exersize, DUH!” is what your comment comes down to, and no, it’s just not that fucking simple for a lot of people.

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:23 pm —

        @Marilove I think I mentioned algae; there are two types of Omega 3s (sorry I’d have to dredge that up) fish has both but the big sort of scam is the idea that flax seed oil has it all. It’s not really absorbable so that kills the whole benefit.

        Fish eat algae. This is where they get their Omega 3s from. I should add that only certain types of fish have Omega 3s, and certain types of algae have some (not all) of the benefits and it’s much more absorbable.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm —

          So …. dislike or cant eat fish? Eat algea!

          Hahahaha. Yea. No.

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm —

        @Marilove well as I said to Will, I was responding to the idea that there is one “right” diet or exercise. It’s all gimmicks. So no, not everyone can run but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s perfect for the human body.

        If someone can’t run they probably can’t do a number of other cardiovascular exercises either. Hopefully those folks can at least benefit from swimming.

        Just a few hours ago I ran on the ice around a frozen lake. No, not everyone can do that but there’s also tracks at universities that are outdoors and let people use them, there’s also parks in most states. Very few people would be unable to find SOMEWHERE they can run.

        Geez, I bought my sneakers for ten bucks and my sweats aren’t pretty but they were very cheap too. They double as my lounge clothes.

        • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
          January 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm —

          “I was responding to the idea that there is one “right” diet or exercise.”

          Who is making that claim? Where is that idea being advocated? Not to be too attack-y here, but the closest thing I can find to that idea that there is one “right” diet or exercise is in your original comment.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 4:36 pm

            Perhaps Luna needs to get off HER high horse and read more carefully? Kind of ironic, dontcha think?

            Also, I love when people claim you’re doing something that they themselves are doing. Hilarious.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 4:41 pm

            Good lord, Heina, did you forget what you wrote in your own article?

            There’s a reason why mentioning any of the above terms, no matter how obliquely, will inevitably lead to a debate, one where fiery passions are stirred and devotees of various exercise and/or eating philosophies will fight to the death over whom of them is Right

            Maybe I’m guilty of not being clear in my comment: I meant to say that gimmick diets are nonsense because they claim that they are right, and other diets are wrong.

            I’m not saying which diets are wrong, I’m simply pointing out that certain food groups have been maintained as ideal for decades before these competing diet fads ever came along.

          • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
            January 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

            I didn’t forget, your comment seemed to be aimed at me, i.e. as if I were making that claim instead of pointing out that others do. Thanks for pointing out that it wasn’t.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 4:35 pm —

          “I was responding to the idea that there is one “right” diet or exercise. It’s all gimmicks.”

          You’re contradicting yourself.

          “So no, not everyone can run but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s perfect for the human body.

          BULLSHIT. It’s perfect for some human bodies. Not all humans are the same. For many people, running is TERRIBLE for their bodies.

          Also, can you prove to me that humans are “made to run”? And that it’s the best exersize for all humans, since you claim that it’s perfect for the human body?

          You’re making a lot of claims, but I am not seeing the science behind it.

          Also, exersize and eating right is good for humans? OH WOW! I never knew that :D

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 4:51 pm —

          It must be nice to be able to run while wearing cheap, flimsy shoes.

          But, GEEZ!!! I was just trying to explain to you a simple concept: you are not everybody.

          Also, I sggest getting better shoes. Running on cheap/worn out shoes can be dangerous. It is bad for the back, knees and feet. You do know that running requires a lot of impact on solid ground, right? Running can be hard on the joints – very hard.

          I didn’t even realize how much of a difference GOOD shoes make until I finally saved and bought a pair. My feet no longer ache all the time and my posture is better.

          I have to plan carefully so I am able to buy new shoes when these wear out. And that means no outside running to help minimize wear.

      • Avatar of jose
        January 4, 2013 at 8:34 pm —

        It is, actually. If your calorie intake is greater than what you consume, you’ll get fat. Works the other way around too. That’s all there is to it.

        It may be difficult for people to find a way to either burn more or reduce their intake, but that’s the only thing that needs to happen. Doesn’t matter how you consume those calories. Doesn’t matter if you run, swim, lift weights or anything you can imagine. All the tutorials you see on the web aim at reaching that state of consuming more than the intake, just in a smart way, a way that requires less effort. But the bottomline absolute and only requirement to lose fat is that the calorie cash flow needs to be negative. It’s not complicated.

        Btw, don’t worry about lifting weights. If you are consuming more calories than you take in, you won’t build any muscle no matter how much weightlifting you do because muscles need an excess of calories to be built at all.

    • Avatar of Will
      January 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm —

      There’s a lot of assumptions built into your simple approach that, once examined, show how it’s not necessarily so simple. Much of what you say comes from the perspective of able-bodied people with expendable income.

      For example, processed foods are generally cheaper and more widely available than fresh produce, so some people simply cannot afford to always or even regularly eat healthy foods. Especially for the 23.5 million Americans who live in food deserts.

      Exercise: humans evolved to run. So put on your sneakers and run your ass off

      Setting aside the problematics of appealing to evolution as the way to judge healthy exercise regimens, not all people can run. Not all people can do rigorous exercise. Your simple solution leaves out many people with disabilities.

      Also just going out and running can cause serious injury, and people should be careful about what kinds of exercise they engage in–especially if they haven’t exercised before or in a long time.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 4:07 pm —

        I posted something somewhat similar but it’s still in the moderation queue. Pooey.

        I just love the whole, “Eat better and exersize more, DUH! It’s that simple! DUH!” attitude. Really? Really, really? If it was that “simple”, we’d be thinner as a whole.

        • Avatar of SamBarge
          January 2, 2013 at 5:43 pm —

          Well, saying it is simple. Doing it is hard.

          I took off 100 lbs and have kept it off for 2 yrs. I’m not a crazy diet fiend or exercise nut but I lost the weight by restricting my calories, exercising 6Xs/week and eating more fresh vegetables, low-fat protein and complex carbohydrates. It wasn’t voodoo or complicated. On the other hand, I wouldn’t call it “easy” either. Whenever people say “oh, you’ve lost weight,” I always counter with “no, I didn’t lose it, I know where it went.”

          Of course, I have a lot of privilege: money (to buy goood food, pay a trainer, etc.), I’m sufficiently educated to decipher nutritional information and I was lucky enough to have been taught to cook from scratch when I was young. I am able-bodied, and still the exercise program I followed was bowel-shatteringly hard. I can’t imagine trying to get healthy if I had any outstanding health issues at the outset or I didn’t have the funds to purchase what I need.

          So, I guess I can get the “it’s easy” argument. True, it’s not rocket science. On the other hand, it’s fucking hard to do and, for some people, beyond reach.

          Although, Luna, you’re off the mark with ‘just run or swim’. Seriously, you need to include weight-training to get any serious improvements to your health. Swimming actually has the affect of hampering weight loss, although it can be extremely beneficial to your cardio health and, for people with injuries, etc., it can be an affective, low-impact exercise. I wouldn’t recommend it for weight loss though.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 6:28 pm

            Well, it wasn’t complicated for YOU; for others, it may be different. Also, you’re a man, and men (in general) have an easier time with weight-loss.

            Metabolism is a really important factor, as well, as are health problems in general.

            AND, many people assume that all they need is to work out and eat differently/better to lose weight, without considering they may have other underlying problems. PCOS in women, for example. Not every woman has PCOS, of course, but such points tend to get lost in these discussions, with the focus totally on “eat better and exercise more”.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 8:48 pm

            Sam, you should read my comments much more carefully. I actually said weight training was important. And I did not say “just” run or swim. What I said was despite these simplistic, expensive fad diets, many people can reap the same benefits by rushing their asses out of the house and running around. That is a sweeping statement however thousands of people reap those same benefits without thundreds of dollars of fancy equipment or classes.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm —

        “Also just going out and running can cause serious injury,”

        And I bet she thinks running is totally free, too! I mean, shoes are dirt cheap, right? Especially GOOD shoes that won’t harm your feet.

        You know you’re supposed to get new shoes every six months to a year depending on how much you run/exersize?

        It costs me $100 for a pair of decent shoes. I “won” the shitty feet lottery. Thanks, mom! :)

        • Avatar of SamBarge
          January 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm —

          Hi Marilove,

          I agree with everything you said in your response to me above (which I can’t reply to for some reason) except that I’m not a man. I’m a cis-gendered woman.

          But I wholly agree that the “simple” calculation doesn’t work for everyone and, even when it does work, it is simple but hard as f*cking hell.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 3, 2013 at 10:07 am

            I apologize; I was on my Kindle and didn’t read your name correctly and thought you were another Sam (who now that I think about it, hasn’t been around in a while!). Sorry about that. :)

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:20 pm —

        Oh Will, it must be so nice that you can ignore part of my comment to make yourself look good. Since you clearly can’t read properly, I’ll repeat myself.

        PEOPLE HAVE TO CONSIDER THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL HISTORIES

        This was in response to the idea that one diet or exercise program is the “right” one. If the author had specified her medical history, I could have said well, if you have bad knees then you need to consider a whole new plan.

        But she did not. And the article was specifically about what the “right” regime is. So get off your high horse and read more carefully next time.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 4:24 pm —

          Running isn’t free, you know. Shoes aren’t free. Not everyone has the ability or resources to run. What if they live in a shitty neighborhood, or a place with shitty weather? Or they lack the time?

          Your “advice” is silly. You mean it’s a good idea to exersize and eat properly? NO WAY! What a shocker! That’s totally a new thought that no one has EVER shared! Wow!

          All you’ve said is “eat fruits and veggies and fish and get off your ass and run!”

          It’s shitty advice that’s far too simplistic and does nothing at all to help anyone.

        • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
          January 2, 2013 at 4:27 pm —

          Where do I specify what the “right” regime is? Because I’m not advocating any approach, just testing one that has piqued my curiosity.

        • Avatar of Will
          January 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm —

          PEOPLE HAVE TO CONSIDER THEIR INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL HISTORIES

          INDIVIDUAL MEDICAL HISTORIES ARE BUT ONE FACTOR IN WHY PEOPLE MAY OR MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FOLLOW CERTAIN DIETS AND EXERCISE IN CERTAIN WAYS. THUS, THERE IS NO “SIMPLE” ANSWER TO WHAT THE BEST WAY FOR PEOPLE TO DIET AND EXERCISE IS BECAUSE PEOPLE AREN’T ALL THE SAME. SOME PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES, SOME PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD HEALTHY FOOD CHOICES, SOME PEOPLE CANNOT AFFORD GYM MEMBERSHIPS OR RUNNING SHOES, SOME PEOPLE’S BODIES CANNOT RUN, AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.

          well I agree about food deserts but it should be looked at as a human rights issue

          Sure. And this has what to do with why people can or cannot follow your “simple” health plan?

          Again, you missed my point: I’m not talking about access to food, I’m talking about the science of healthy food.

          In the context of giving advice to people on the best way to be healthy. You did not just say “hey eating healthy is good, here’s science that says so.” You said: “People are making this simple issue WAY too complicated. There are 3 issues here: nutrition, exercise and weight gain.” And I’m telling you that for many people it is much more complicated than that.

          I’m really tired of people in the skeptical community trying to strip all nuance and complexity out of everything.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 5:03 pm

            Right, Will. And as I said to Heina, maybe I was not clear. I was ranting against fad diets that claim they have some BRAND NEW idea for diet and exercise. Those ideas are decades old and have not changed.

            Whether or not people have damaged legs or feet or whether or not they can afford healthy food is an important issue. But that’s not what I was addressing. I was addressing the basic science.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm

            I think at this point your just backpeddling.

          • Avatar of Will
            January 2, 2013 at 5:10 pm

            No, you weren’t. You were giving advice on how to be healthy in a simple way. If that is not what you meant, then you need to stop with the “maybes” and accusing people of “misunderstanding you.” Don’t be all offended when people point out the absurdity behind your comments as if there’s something wrong with us when in reality you said something but meant something else. We aren’t psychic, we don’t know your motives.

            PS> I really wish you’d stop with the appeals to tradition and nature, by the way. It doesn’t matter if something is natural or traditional as to whether or not it’s true or efficacious.

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm —

        @Will well I agree about food deserts but it should be looked at as a human rights issue; I would also say people need to drink clean water to stay healthy. If someone does not have access to clean water, that doesn’t mean it’s not healthy.

        Again, you missed my point: I’m not talking about access to food, I’m talking about the science of healthy food.

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 2, 2013 at 4:11 pm —

      My goal is simple: to test a claim. I thought that was clear but I will make sure to emphasize this.

      People are making this simple issue WAY too complicated. There are 3 issues here: nutrition, exercise and weight gain.

      1. My grandmother isn’t white and didn’t live in the US for most of her life. She thinks that vegetables are for Hindus and that the healthiest thing to eat is as much meat and white rice as possible.

      That minor quibble aside, have you read Michael Pollan et. al.? While I have my issues with his writings (oh so many at that), he does point out that there are cultures worldwide that subsist on diets quite different from each others’ and yet are healthier than those who subsist on the sort of diet most nutritionists would recommend. My point is that it isn’t so cut-and-dried.

      2. We also evolved from ancestors who didn’t stand upright and a lot of us have knee issues that preclude running.

      3. I didn’t get into the fat/thin/healthy/unhealthy debate on purpose.

      In summary: My guess that someone would grossly misinterpret and read into what I’m trying to do came true. I will definitely add some clarifications to my piece, but again, this is an experiment.

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:37 pm —

        @Heina yes my rant was not aimed toward you in particular, more the idea that is promoted in the media that there is some trick diet. There is no magic to it.

        I should post some studies to back up what I’m saying, I’ll have to get away from my iPad to do so as the studies are not saved here. But the idea is that the human body evolved to run. It’s one of the most natural things that humans do.

        Keep in mind that early humans rarely lived beyond 30 years old; if we’re not in our teens or twenties we can expect all sorts of physical problems. I’m afraid the media has made it sound like there’s some miracle cure for aging. There is not.

  4. Avatar of ihatemusic
    January 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm —

    This article just makes me really sad. Low carbing is such a scam and there is so much good research against it so… what is this?

    • Avatar of Will
      January 2, 2013 at 3:58 pm —

      Care to link to the research? I’m interested in seeing it. =)

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 2, 2013 at 4:03 pm —

      Out of curiosity, do you get sad when skeptics overdose on homeopathy, try PowerBands, or go for acupuncture? I see myself as doing something quite similar.

      • Avatar of ihatemusic
        January 2, 2013 at 7:07 pm —

        Heina, I think it’s something else. Low carb diets are shown to work for weight loss and to be bad for overall health. and yes when people do this, it makes me sad. It’s not the same as doing something that has no affect whatsoever because it certainly does have effect. My boyfriend’s uncle currently has lost weight on the atkins diet and it actually makes me very very sad. Not just because he is unhealthy but because it presents the idea of “this diet is working, great, lets all do it”.

        That said, low-carb diet isn’t low carb diet. I’m sure they are healthier ones than Atkins or Paleo, considering what kind of protein you get and how little carbs. But I saw my grandfather spend fews in a hospital because of it, so it’s not the same as acupuncture to me. More in the league of taking weight loss pills bought on ebay.

        There’s a collection on studies on this even on wikipedia.

        http://www.mdconsult.com/das/citation/body/393200455-35/jorg=journal&source=MI&sp=6033517&sid=0/N/6033517/1.html?issn=

        http://www.jacn.org/content/19/5/578.abstract?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=anderson&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=19&issue=5&resourcetype=HWCIT

        http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/161/4/359.abstract

        This is a great website on atkins especially: http://www.atkinsexposed.org/

        Just this morning I was watching a great (but very long) youtube series on Gary Taubes and his shitty “science”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QImWYirF0es
        I actually read Taubes “good calories, bad calories” and it made me scream. I was so angry I bought it and gave it a chance. Scammer of the worst kind.

        • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
          January 2, 2013 at 7:43 pm —

          A lot of pseudoscience has adverse effects, actually http://whatstheharm.net/

          I am not embarking on this blindly. I’ve had bloodwork done, asked my doctor (who is a fairly reasonable person), and done my homework.

          In any case, I’m not planning on doing this for the rest of my life and believe that hypothesis is well worth testing. I apologize if that causes you any unnecessary grief. I can assure you that I’ll be fine. I’m eating a fairly balanced diet — plenty of lean protein, veggies, olive oil, water, tea, and the like (not a ton of bacon and steak or whatever). The main difference is that I’ve cut out sugar/rice/bread etc. and upped the amount of heart-healthy fats, lean meat, and dairy. It’s probably healthier and more mindful than most people’s diets, low carb levels nothwithstanding, and I’m under the care of my attentive doctor. I’ve done far worse for myself healthwise.

          • Avatar of ihatemusic
            January 2, 2013 at 8:14 pm

            I know a lot of pseudoscience has harm, but there are degrees.

            I just wanted to say if anyone is replying to my comment now I probably wont read this. This tread is so incredibly triggering to me I will try to stay away from skepchick for the next weeks at least.

        • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
          January 2, 2013 at 8:51 pm —

          For any/all concerned, I will be putting trigger warnings before every post on this topic and will only be blogging about it twice more, at the one-month and then two-month mark.

    • Avatar of marilove
      January 2, 2013 at 4:08 pm —

      “what is this?”

      Really? You don’t know what she’s trying to do? She’s testing out a hypothosis becuase she’s a nerd. That’s what this is. :)

      • Avatar of ihatemusic
        January 2, 2013 at 7:08 pm —

        So if I go Raw I can count it as being sceptical now? Huh. Ok.

        • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
          January 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm —

          Try it out for a period and report back. Lots of skeptics try lots of things for temporary periods and report their findings. Indeed, people invested in old-school skepticism accuse people like me of NOT being skeptics because we don’t do enough of this sort of thing.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 3, 2013 at 10:12 am —

          I never said that? I said she was a nerd testing a hypothosis. She’s a Skeptic and interested in science so she probably has more of an interest than a regular ol’ nerd in this sort of thing, but … you know, yeah, if you want to test a wacky hypothosis out, then sure, you’re a Skeptic then?

          I’m not sure why you’re so against this. You’re coming off as very paternalistic. I think Heina can handle herself just fine.

        • Avatar of jose
          January 4, 2013 at 8:41 pm —

          Haldane used to inhale poisonous gases just to see what would happen, so there’s that…

  5. Avatar of Luna
    January 2, 2013 at 3:23 pm —

    **I should add that Dr. Weil posted a pretty good new food pyramid, consistent with what I said but also added good fats like olive oil that are now shown to help you absorb nutrients from certain vegetables. If you want an non-fish Omega 3, forget flax, it can’t be absorbed properly. Try certain types of algae. Also cruciferous vegetables have some chemotherapeutic agents in them. See? Fish and veggies! I would only take issue with Weil’s posting of wine; alcohol overall is terrible for health; get your nutrients from grapes instead. Same benefits from what I understand.

    http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART02995/Dr-Weil-Anti-Inflammatory-Food-Pyramid.html

    • Avatar of marilove
      January 2, 2013 at 3:51 pm —

      What about people who dislike fish or who are vegetarians?

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm —

        Oops, yeah my response to the fish issue ended up above. Bah.

    • Avatar of Alterjess
      January 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm —

      Wait, did you seriously just suggest that a bunch of skeptics take nutritional advice from Andrew Weil?

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 4:38 pm —

        Why does it matter who it’s from? Did you look at the pyramid? Good, then tell me which part of the pyramid is wrong, and why.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm —

          It matters. I wouldn’t take advice from Romney.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

            If the advice is correct and consistent with medical findings I think that disbelieving it just because you don’t respect the person is really, really silly.

            He presented a good graphic. I could have flooded people with studies that are behind a paywall but I wanted something more accessible. His graphic was good and consistent with good science.

            Done.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 5:06 pm

            And I refuse to give shitty people validation with page hits.

  6. Avatar of marilove
    January 2, 2013 at 4:21 pm —

    Luna, becaus I keep getting moderated and I’d like you to see this: Do you know that it is recommended to buy new shoes every six to 12 months, depending on hwo much you exersize/run? And that shoes aren’t cheap? Especially if you want GOOD shoes that will last and not harm your feet? Or if you have crappy feet like mine? Hundred bucks for my shoes; the best shoes I’ve ever owned; but I had to activley safe for them. I can’t always do that.

    Will you buy me new shoes every year, since you seem to think it’s so “simple” to just get off your ass and run?

    And will you pay for my medical bills when my already painful feet become even worse, since running is bad for my feet?

    Oh, are you a doctor and can you safely tell a stranger that they SHOULD run?

    And what an odd claim this is:

    ” Exercise: humans evolved to run.”

    Care to elaborate? Care to show your source that proves that we humans evloved TO run? And as opposed to what … evolved to swim? to do jumping jacks? to crawl on the floor? I mean, we evolved and CAN do a lot of stuff, but it seems a bit odd to claim we evolved TO do something like run.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 5:00 pm —

      I posted a bunch of studies up above, Marilove.

      Not to get into this too much, but according to some studies you should be running barefoot.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm —

        In the city? Are you fucking kidding me? I’d rather not stab myself with needles and glass, thank you.

        Your advice sucks.

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm —

          @Marilove ah, that’s where you are going wrong. It was not advice. I am not a doctor. I am simply regurgitating what the science says.

          If you live in the city, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?

          You have disadvantages. And you seem to think that changes the science of nutrition and exercise. What the fuck?

          • Avatar of Will
            January 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm

            Wowwwwwwwwwwww.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm

            Where did I say it changes the science? What the fuck?

            And I never asked you to help me in any way. I’ve actually found what works for me — the gym, and moving from one machine to the next when I find myself getting uncomfortable. Treadmills are great becuase unlike concrete, they are padded, and a big incline keeps the pressure off of my bunions. I am not coordinated to run on them, lol, but I can power walk until my hip gets sore, then I move on to something else.

            I’m just trying to point out to you that your comments are useless. EAT BETTER AND EXERSIZE! That’s new stuff, folks! Never heard of that!

            Can you stop reapeating yourself, please? We get it. Science is awesome. But science doesn’t help much if you don’t apply it correctly, now, does it?

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 5:26 pm

            “If you live in the city, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?”

            And way to be a priviliged asshat. Let’s change it up:

            “If you live in a place not safe enough to run, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?

            “If you live in a food desert, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?”

            “If you can’t afford decent running shoes, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?”

            “If you are disabled and can’t run, that’s your problem, not mine. Why do you think it’s my job to solve your problems?”

            Part of my point was that you were waving the science around without actually considering societal and cultural reasons why people can’t/don’t eat properly or get enough exersize.

    • Avatar of Will
      January 2, 2013 at 5:04 pm —

      Not to mention it’s an appeal to nature. Just because humans evolved in a certain way doesn’t mean anything necessarily.

      Generally speaking, humans have the ability to run. How do you know that this ability evolved for exercise? Is it not possible that running is simply a byproduct of bipedalism? Why do you think running for long periods of time is what the human body is meant to do? Perhaps humans evolved to ambulate on two legs in multiple fashions. Why aren’t you arguing that “humans evolved to walk, so just walk!” You’re choosing “run” and it’s based on some weird understanding of evolution that probably has more to do with the fact that you like running than it does with the evolution of human bodies.

      I guess since we didn’t evolve to ride bicycles or climb stairs that we should stop doing those kinds of exercise, huh!

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm —

        @Will your refusal to read the studies I posted puts you to shame in light of a supposedly enlightened community.

        • Avatar of Will
          January 2, 2013 at 5:35 pm —

          I’m aware of the arguments of endurance running, Luna. You posted one article, there are other articles written (such as by Pickering and Bunn (2007), which questions the hypothesis proposed by the article you cite, which those authors admit is difficult-to-impossible to test. Please do not sit there and pretend that one published paper means the issue is settled.

          The other two articles look interesting, but you know what? You’re using them in an argument that is an appeal to nature. Even if I were to grant that everything you linked to is completely correct and true, what does that have to do with saying “2. Exercise: humans evolved to run. So put on your sneakers and run your ass off.”? Further, how can you sit there and lecture me about not reading the articles you link when the thing I just quoted is in contradiction to the second article you posted? Should I put my shoes on to run or not, Luna?

          What is your urge to simplify this all about? I don’t get it. It’s really not as simple as you make it out to be, even if you provide a couple of studies talking about evolution, those are not settled issues.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 6:23 pm

            @Will, not sure what your point is. You keep saying I’m “appealing to nature”. No, I’m appealing to science. Can you find studies which show that any other exercise is more fit to the human species than running? I can’t, and that’s why I brought it up.

            Just like fish is the ideal food, running is the ideal exercise. I’m not saying it’s the PERFECT food or exercise, I am saying that relative to the rest of our choices, it’s the one that I, and I alone, have found the most evidence for in the scientific community. If you have better suggestions, please do share.

            I am happy, VERY happy, to read contradicting articles. I come to Skepchick SPECIFICALLY because readers and posters insist on sound science, unlike other forums where it’s all about blind, stupid, unfounded opinions.

            So I expect the same from you. I appreciate the article you posted. My point is that despite the uncertainty, as with most science it’s the best information we have to date.

            I don’t see how your article changes the fact that some evidence shows running is ideal exercise for humans. You put words into my mouth; I never said the science was settled. What I said was that there was all the evidence I could find.

            Can you suggest a better exercise than running, and why?

          • Avatar of Will
            January 2, 2013 at 7:00 pm

            *sigh*

            Okay, I will try this one more time.

            not sure what your point is.

            My point is that you were wrong in your initial post that there is no complexity to this issue. There certainly is complexity, and you do a disservice by pretending otherwise.

            You keep saying I’m “appealing to nature”. No, I’m appealing to science.

            Appeal to nature:
            “Humans evolved to run, therefore it’s healthy for you”
            “Running is one of the most natural things that humans do.”

            Appeal to tradition:
            “I was annoyed at all the commercials for diet trends that claim there’s some NEW revolutionary diet when in fact fruits, veggies, nuts and fish have been the standard for hundreds of years.”

            Neither of those things are appeals to science. They are fallacious arguments because they are based in the thinking that because something has evolved or has been done for a long time that they are therefore healthy or good. Even if humans have evolved to run, if someone has a knee injury for example running is then harmful for that person. Acupuncture has been around for more than hundreds of years–that doesn’t mean it’s healthy or good.

            If you were using science, you wouldn’t have to rely on arguments from nature or tradition. You would instead say “research shows that running can be a healthy form of exercise”–no argument from me. “Research shows that a diet consisting of fruits, veggies, nuts, and fish is healthy”–no argument from me. Do you see the difference?

            Further, I’m not interested in what kinds of exercise are more fit to the human species as a whole. Even if I grant your premise that running is the best kind of exercise, there are people who cannot run, and you coming in saying “it’s simple. Do this.” is completely unhelpful and out of touch with reality.

            Just like fish is the ideal food, running is the ideal exercise. I’m not saying it’s the PERFECT food or exercise, I am saying that relative to the rest of our choices, it’s the one that I, and I alone, have found the most evidence for in the scientific community.

            How can you not see this is contradictory?? Either fish is the ideal food and running is the ideal exercise for the human species, or it’s ideal for you alone. You cannot have it both ways. Do you not see how entire human species =/= you alone?

            So I expect the same from you. I appreciate the article you posted. My point is that despite the uncertainty, as with most science it’s the best information we have to date.

            No, what you said was that science shows this to be true. You did not say that “it’s the best information we have.” You said we evolved to behave in certain ways, it’s simple, do it because science. Which is exactly the kind of simplicity that I’m saying is unhelpful and obfuscates lots of problems.

            Can you suggest a better exercise than running, and why?

            And here’s the crux of the issue. I’m not here to offer generalized exercise advice to all people–it’s exactly what I’m arguing against.

      • Avatar of Robin Graves
        January 3, 2013 at 11:39 am —

        Well, I did have an Anthropology 101 prof who managed to convince one of my classmates that “bipedalism” was derived from the latin term for the ability to ride a bicycle ;-)

      • Avatar of Robin Graves
        January 3, 2013 at 11:43 am —

        Quoth Will: I guess since we didn’t evolve to ride bicycles or climb stairs that we should stop doing those kinds of exercise, huh!

        Well, I did have an Anthropology 101 prof who managed to convince one of my classmates that “bipedalism” was derived from the latin term for the ability to ride a bicycle ;-)

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 5:07 pm —

      @Marilove “run your ass off” was meant as inspiration to those who have tried all sorts of other exercise and wonder what’s the “right” one. If people are doing the treadmill and doing Zumba or whatever then clearly they could get out and run. Outdoors, preferably.

      But again, this was about the basic science. Did you read the articles I posted? I’d be interested to hear your opinion on them.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm —

        I’m alrady fairly aware of the science, actually; I just wanted to see what you were basing your claims on.

        It’s all rather useless information, though.

        Okay, awesome, you’ve shared with us the science of food and running. Okay. Great. Now what?

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:09 pm —

        ““run your ass off” was meant as inspiration to those who have tried all sorts of other exercise and wonder what’s the “right” one”

        AND WAIT! I thought you weren’t trying to claim what the “right” “regimine” was????

        How do you KNOW running is “right”?

        And you think you were being inspirational? TO WHOM?

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 5:12 pm —

          You don’t seem to get what I’m saying. You’re twisting my words. I did not say running is right, I’m saying some people THINK there is some new, fancy, fad exercise that is better than what humans have done for thousands of years.

        • Avatar of marilove
          January 2, 2013 at 5:17 pm —

          And you think what people did for thousands of years in a different time, place and culture is going to be totally, 100% relevent to today’s world?!

          STOP APPEALING TO TRADITION AND NATURE.

          And stop assuming that what worked for people “thousands of years ago” will work for people today.

  7. Avatar of marilove
    January 2, 2013 at 4:25 pm —

    Sorry for the multiple posts; I was moderated and then my internet took a shit and I didn’t realize one of my comments went through; Luna, feel free to respond to whichever commnent(s) you feel is appropriate. Wee.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm —

      Same here, that’s why I keep using that dumb ampersand symbol, LOL

  8. Avatar of Luna
    January 2, 2013 at 4:57 pm —

    Heina, yes sorry for not being more clear. That tends to be a problem for me when I rant. LOL. I was annoyed at all the commercials for diet trends that claim there’s some NEW revolutionary diet when in fact fruits, veggies, nuts and fish have been the standard for hundreds of years.

    Glad you brought up this important topic.

  9. Avatar of marilove
    January 2, 2013 at 5:08 pm —

    Great! The science of food is well established! (I don’t agree with that, but you seem to think that, so let’s go with it.) Okay. Awesome. NOW WHAT? What does that mean? “Run and eat better” isn’t at all helpful to the discussion.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 5:11 pm —

      Okay, Marilove. It’s your turn. What is wrong with the studies I posted, and why do you disagree with the types of food I say are ideal?

      I posted three scientific studies. You did not bother to comment on them. Now it’s your turn.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:14 pm —

        I don’t necessarily think you’re wrong. I just personally think the science and CULTURE of food is far more complicated than you seem to believe, and that “science” in and of itself doesn’t really do much to actually HELP anyone.

        The science is rather irrelevent if it’s not applied correctly. YOU DO realize that’s what we’re getting at, right? Just telling people “SCIENCE!” does fuck all to actually help anyone.

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 6:32 pm —

          The science and culture of food is complex and also fascinating, I agree. I wish there were more forums for discussion on this; from what I understood this post was more about day to day general health, so to me we get the basic information then tailor it to our particular challenges.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm —

      @Marilove no, of course you’re not “defective”, but like all of us you have a unique body and so do I. That is why these fad diets and exercises are shit. If you can’t run, do something that does not hurt your feet, like swim. And just because you think algae is yucky does not mean it’s unhealthy.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:19 pm —

        ” And just because you think algae is yucky does not mean it’s unhealthy.

        And where the fuck did I say it’s unhealthy? *waits*

        You honestly think people are going to eat algea? Especially if they already dislike fish?

        That was my point. Screaming about the science doesn’t do much in the real world.

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 6:12 pm —

          Allow me to start over, Marilove.

          In college I was sickly. I was an alcoholic chain smoker. I developed a horrible autoimmune disease, then a heart condition. Technically I should be dead or at least seriously disabled by now.

          At some point I was sleeping 14-16 hours a day and my life was crap. So I found a great doctor, began running (in a cemetery, at night, that’s how self conscious I was about my body) and I began to read studies about omega 3s, probiotics, pollution, etc.

          Now 15 years later I’ve completed 2 Tough Mudder races, the heart condition is gone (at least according to the latest echocardiogram) and I feel amazing.

          I’m just trying to share my knowledge because obviously I’m so enthusiastic about it. I didn’t make this stuff up; I’m not that smart, I just know what I’ve read. People are free to say I’m wrong but I expect evidence.

          Hypothetically, imagine that some scientist found that your neighborhood has a pollutant that causes cancer. And the only solution is to live somewhere else. No, that doesn’t help you if there is no way for you to move. But wouldn’t you rather have that information under your belt than be kept in the dark?

          This is why I brought this science up, so people could have the information.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 6:22 pm

            So, your doctor said, “Eat better and get exersice” and you seem to think this generic, general advice is helpful? To whom?

            ‘Cuz I mean no shit, Sherlock! So what now?

            You also keep claiming you’re just sharing the science, and not giving advice, but you’ve contradicted yourself AGAIN on that!

            And why do you think that what works for you will work for everyone?

            Awesome, I’m glad you found something that works for you and are now healthy, truly, but you need to realize that you are not everyone, and you need to stop acting like your advice is somehow new or amazing or helpful.

            If you had simply started with THIS VERY COMMENT I am replying to *right now*, then I don’t think there would be a problem. But you didn’t. And you keep contradicting yourself and back-pedaling.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 2, 2013 at 5:27 pm —

        “If you can’t run, do something that does not hurt your feet, like swim.”

        Also, lol. ‘Cuz everyone has access to a pool! :D

        • Avatar of Will
          January 2, 2013 at 5:39 pm —

          It’s pointless. Luna is only concerned with seeing this argument from as simple of a perspective as possible. Any complexity or nuance is dismissed because it doesn’t fit into the narrative.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

            She’s totally just trying to share with us the SCIENCE! SCIENCE, WILL! SCIENCE!!!!!!!

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 6:06 pm

            Don’t be all offended when people point out the absurdity behind your comments as if there’s something wrong with us when in reality you said something but meant something else. We aren’t psychic, we don’t know your motives.

            Oh, you’ll have to try harder than that to offend me, Will. I am almost impossible to offend. All I ask is that people provide evidence for their point, which you finally did. Thank you, see my response above.

            PS> I really wish you’d stop with the appeals to tradition and nature, by the way. It doesn’t matter if something is natural or traditional as to whether or not it’s true or efficacious.

            Please copy and paste the sentence where I make those blind claims. What I said was that fad diets hone in one single ideas that are not new or original.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 7:54 pm

            @WILL

            SORRY, NO REPLY OPTION AFTER YOUR LAST COMMENT.

            Yes, absolutely right. I was sloppy at best in making it sound as though “nature” was my main argument. I don’t think *most* of my comments were written like that, but some were.

            Of course I understand that not everyone can follow that advice. I had a burst of enthusiasm for what works for me. Keep in mind that it also works for hundreds of thousands of other people as well.

            No, it’s not an option for everyone. But as I told Marilove, if there’s a toxic chemical in my town, and I cannot afford to move away, it’s still vital that I at least know the chemical is dangerous.

            The issue of what people can do if they’re at a disadvantage is a whole other ball of wax. It is one I am very passionate about, would love to discuss it, but it would be an extremely long and somewhat (in my opinion) off topic discussion.

            Incidentally I live in an urban rat hole down the street from a coal plant. So trust me, I get it.

            Scientific research is what I should have mentioned. I will say, however – humans are animals. We have adaptive body forms. This is not controversial. Fish evolved to swim, human forms evolved for something specific too. There is nothing “new agey” about saying that.

            Most early humans only lived to be 30 years old, and from my understanding we’re still past our primes at around 25. If a cheetah breaks a leg in the wild, they’re done for.

            This is not some new agey naturalistic view. In very early times I would have been dead years ago from my particular health issues and that’s not controversial either.

            My point is that while we base our views on science, diet fads twist the science around and oversimplify; the complex issue is how to beat the odds. Modern medicine and awareness of the benefits of fruits and veggies are what advanced this.

  10. Avatar of marilove
    January 2, 2013 at 6:17 pm —

    Please copy and paste the sentence where I make those blind claims.

    Okay, I will!

    “2. Exercise: humans evolved to run. So put on your sneakers and run your ass off. Pretend you’re chasing your prey (or you are being chased, whichever floats your boat). Do some weight lifting. Done.”

    That is an appeal to nature.

    Also, can you stop saying “Done” at the end of your “advice”/”claims” as if it’s really that simple? Because as we’ve said, it really isn’t that simple.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 6:30 pm —

      @Marilove whenever I run in the forest where it’s freezing fucking cold, I complain to my boyfriend that it’s miserable and I don’t feel like putting in the effort. He jokes, “pretend you’re being chased by a bear”.

      So I guess that joke fell flat. Oh well.

      Yes, I am guilty of sounding like a bad Richard Simmons impersonator. My bad. Much of the time I figure no one’s even going to read my comment anyway (boy was I wrong about that!) so I’m not terribly careful about what I say.

      But don’t ever ask me to not be enthusiastic about new evidence I find, especially when it’s potentially life changing. I am very disappointed no one commented on the findings by David Allison.

      23 species gained weight over 30 years, some of them lab animals. Pollution, plastic and gut bacteria could be making people obese! Does no one else find this worth a raging debate except me??

      • Avatar of Feats of Cats
        January 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm —

        Luna, you’re saying that anyone who claims there is one right diet/exercise claim is wrong, then giving everyone a specific (and unrealistic for many) diet/exercise plan and saying it’s the right one for everyone.

        Then backpedaling when you’re called on it. Just own it and say you were wrong. We’re not misreading you. Your diet plan works for you, and you should just leave it at that.

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm —

          Thank you for the laugh. That has got to be the most idiotic comment I’ve ever read. Please, by all means, copy and paste my sentence where I give a single diet and exercise plan.

          Doctors all over the world, the USDA and nutritionists will all tell you the same thing I did; that a variety of fruits and vegetables are vital to health. Hell, most Americans got this advice for FREE in schools or in PSAs even before the Internet existed.

          Fruits and veggies are not a single diet. So maybe get off your couch and take some classes in botany or agriculture / foraging. Take some reading comprehension classes while you’re at it. Fad diets have very specific foods and meal plans you’re supposed to abide by. Who in the hell would PAY for that information when it’s been offered for free since the 1950’s?

        • Avatar of Will
          January 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm —

          This looks familiar…

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 2, 2013 at 7:56 pm

            Very mature.

            Copy and paste please? (I’d prefer it from the cat commenter though)

            :D

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 3, 2013 at 10:19 am

            And you’re being mature? HAHAHA. It’s hard to respond to someone who is being willfully dense.

      • Avatar of greenstone123
        January 2, 2013 at 9:20 pm —

        @Luna: I think I understand what you are saying Luna. I also run outside. I run during the evenings and at night, near one of the most dangerous cities, although where I am at things are a little safer! I am dead broke. I have so little in my checking account following a health issue that happened with my husband six months ago and a move. Running is hard, I run at night, sometimes after my child is in bed. I run as long as it is above 15 degrees F and below 30 mph winds. It is not easy and *I* make it a priority.

        Since making my health a priority, I have gotten a lot of flak from others about how it is easier for me to run or eat healthy. It is annoying as I have worked so hard to get where I am. I have problems with sugar and in my teens had to learn healthy eating. Slice of chocolate cake, no thanks. But without that motivation of diabetes lurking, I can’t say I would take such *great interest* in what I am consuming. Perhaps you too Luna, have a motivating factor that helps you in making healthy choices, that is beyond what you have read in a journal or an article online. If I didn’t have to work out my dietary needs to maintain my health, I would probably try something like Heina is doing today.

        And then there is the exercise. I have always been an active person. That is until I participated in the war and had to overcome some physical obstacles. Following my return, I couldn’t run or walk at a brisk pace, for that matter, for some time. I have worked hard for the ‘privilege’ to run, but I take total exception how it is somehow easier for me. It has been ten years in the process to get back to my activity level. I guess what I am trying to say here is that generally, yes running is great exercise, but it doesn’t fit everyone. If I had said, man in TEN years, I am going to be able to run again and have a healthy body and size, I would have given up long ago. When I put twenty extra pounds on while nursing injuries, it would have been disparaging to hear, run my ass off.

        Asking obese people to do running exercise is meaningless. They should consult their doctor before taking on strenuous exercise. A moderately fit person seems more likely a candidate for running exercises. There is no easy answer for healthy diets or fitness. Your suggestion for healthy living is a good one for you or someone like yourself, but the broad strokes of the plan simply doesn’t fit everyone. (And here is a kick in the pants, how do you stay healthy and active as you age? How about as you are approaching your seventies like my parents and husband’s parents? What happens when your meals are three foods you seem to still digest well? Ugg may the day never come!) I don’t know if this helps Luna.

        Run on! And way to make a healthy lifestyle a priority!

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 2, 2013 at 10:44 pm —

          @Greenstone thanks for a great comment. I also am surprised how people seem to think I’m “privelleged” when all I have are some cheap running sneakers and a local reservoir that’s all iced over, treacherous to run and have had women assaulted out there to boot. I choose to take that risk because running changed my life, and that’s a common story.

          I should have added that walking is also a great form of exercise, especially outdoors. I certainly never said this applies to every single person and there are great alternatives even for people who have disadvantages. My point is to get outside if possible, and get moving especially with some form of cardio that gets the heart pumping. It has been shown that people who have not gotten moving in a long time actually benefit a tremendous amount even from a small amount of exercise.

          As for older folks, I think people are very lucky if they can be very fit when they become elderly and not all of us will be that lucky. But we have to live with the genetic hand we’re dealt and some folks if they keep doing what they can to,exercise might luck out. I can tell you that sedentary young folks have little to no chance of being very fit as they age.

          I have some info,on that carb addiction thing, btw, I can comment here this week or (maybe better) you could email me, [email protected] and I could know it won’t get lost in a sea of comments.

          Bravo to you for serving our country, thank you. Sorry to hear you went through so much. I admire your determination. Keep in being tough in that cold weather, it’s always heartening for me to hear I’m not the only one facing that harsh winter cold. Cheers,

        • Avatar of mac
          January 4, 2013 at 11:13 am —

          “Asking obese people to do running exercise is meaningless. They should consult their doctor before taking on strenuous exercise. A moderately fit person seems more likely a candidate for running exercises.”

          Oh lord, “moderately fit” and “obese” are not mutually exclusive categories. I am both. I have asthma, a disability, and a fat ass and I can run without keeling over (admittedly I prefer biking 20k these days).

          I have been differing amounts of fit while fitting into differing sizes of pants.

          • Avatar of marilove
            January 4, 2013 at 11:54 am

            I wonder what people imagine when they think of an obese person.

            I bet it’s not someone like me, even though I’m obese according to the BMI. And, yet, I can still somehow run! Well, sort of — it hurts my feet terribly, but I can (I used to do it a lot when I’d get to the bus stop late, and somehow, I didn’t fall over dead!).

            Even at my lowest weight, I was still “overweight” according to the BMI — and I wore a size 9 at the time. I have big breasts, I’m short, I’m stout, I have huge freakin’ thighs and calves. I’m NEVER going to be in the “normal weight” catagory — unless I starve myself, that is.

            Obese isn’t what you think it is, people. Please stop and consider your biases before making such comments.

          • Avatar of mac
            January 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm

            This is me, 5’2″ on a good day and 170 pounds (therefore obese). OH NOES MY JOINTS!

          • Avatar of mac
            January 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm
          • Avatar of greenstone123
            January 4, 2013 at 10:06 pm

            @ mac and marilove: When I talk about ‘running exercises’, I am talking about a sustained running program. When I say ‘moderately fit’, I mean this to mean a fit candidate or a person in good physical condition, in good health. Is not weight also an indicator of that? Am I wrong to think this way? From what I have read, doesn’t an obese, no overweight, person have a much greater chance of injury from a strenuous workout routine? I would in fact suggest having a person meet with their doctor if they are not moderately fit before taking on a running program. My response to Luna was one of to another runner, my intention that everyone should not *just* take up a running program. Saying it, I felt in the form that she did to combat obesity, was meaningless. I had felt that Luna was a runner and she or he was over exuberant about running and its benefit for everyone.

            BTW: Good for you guys with the active lifestyles. Run and bike on!

          • Avatar of greenstone123
            January 4, 2013 at 10:28 pm

            “doesn’t an obese, no overweight, person have a much greater chance of injury from a strenuous workout routine”

            So when I said this “no overweight”, the no was suppose to be *not* with a *t*. I think the categories of healthy weight vs overweight and overweight vs obese maybe subjective in context to what I had posted.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 8:59 pm —

      @Marilove OK all screwed up in the reply system now!!

      I certainly was not trying to speak from privellege, you don’t know my poverty status and I don’t know yours, nor should either of us have to reveal that. My point was, don’t shoot the messenger. I don’t have clean air to breathe but if the EPA intern (or whomever) tells me that, it is not their job to figure out where I’m supposed to live.

      If we want to get on that topic though I will say that urban community gardens and soil restoration are hugely important. Cities should have parks for people to jog in, my Grandma swam in the local lake much of the year even in really cold weather. It was not ideal but she stayed limber and never needed a cane.

      Look into agroforestry as well. There are places in very underprivileged, polluted countries that have home gardens and mixed species crops that can feed entire communities. It’s obscene that city residents are denied community food.

  11. Avatar of James Fox
    January 2, 2013 at 7:42 pm —

    Hey Heina, the only thing that I can imagine being more difficult than giving up good bread (for science and potential weight loss) would be giving up wine. Hold on, wine is carb’s so you’ve given up wine and bread!? Damn, I’ll raise a glass in your honor this evening!

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 2, 2013 at 7:45 pm —

      Wine is lower in carbs than beer, so I’ll probably be drinking more of it, not less (; Feel free to raise that glass for me regardless.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 2, 2013 at 7:57 pm —

      I could use a glass of booze right now…..

      ;)

  12. Avatar of Jack99
    January 2, 2013 at 9:11 pm —

    One thing about losing a lot of weight, that I’m surprised nobody has mentioned yet:

    It makes you SUPER horny.

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm —

      I keep hearing that, but it’s never been true for me. My sex drive, especially my willingness to do more active/acrobatic stuff, was at its lowest when I was at my lowest adult weight. Not being indulgent about food made me feel less sensual overall, plus I was often sore and tired from working out (especially on busy days when I prioritized working out over sex in terms of both time and energy). And does no one else experience inevitable munchies afterwards? Resisting those can be tough.

      • Avatar of Jack99
        January 2, 2013 at 10:05 pm —

        Heina, I’m sorry to hear that. Maybe in my case it happened because sex was the prime motivation..and as Greenstone says above, most of us do need an extraordinarily powerful motivation.

      • Avatar of Anthropologist Underground
        January 7, 2013 at 12:22 am —

        I have heard credible evidence that some people actually find exercise appetite-suppressing. I have no idea what that’s like, but I sure wish I could flip that switch.

  13. Avatar of Displaced Northerner
    January 2, 2013 at 9:25 pm —

    Weight loss is the most difficult topic I deal with on a daily basis. In part because of all of the things that have been mentioned here: there’s no single solution for everyone; there is no consensus on the best methods for sustained weight loss; for some patients there are no good options when it comes to exercise. Admittedly, I’ve never had a BMI greater than 22 without much effort- I love to run and I have access to wonderful fresh foods (sidebar: I just had to upgrade to $135 running shoes because the $90 ruined multiple joints, so yes running shoes are expensive) which makes giving personally tried advice difficult to give. But it’s also difficult because I don’t think I had ANY courses that focused on nutrition in medical school. I don’t think I’m alone in that, either. The medical community is in general a terrible place to go for nutrition and exercise advice- because most of us have minimal to no training in it.

    When I was in medical school as a second year I spent one day a week with a family med dr. She had a patient who was doing all of the right things from a healthy lifestyle perspective: well rounded, fresh, non-processed diet and walk/jogging daily. Instead of encouraging her patient, the dr told her, “you’ll never lose that weight until you start doing sit ups”. What. The. Fuck. And this was a woman teaching medical students. Scary.

  14. Avatar of greenstone123
    January 2, 2013 at 9:27 pm —

    Ummm, I don’t know if I can ask it here, but does someone know of any research on carbohydrate addiction? Is that really a thing? I remember hearing something about it on Oprah once…and was a bit skeptical when I had heard about it. Not to say that Oprah couldn’t have stumbled onto some real science and shared it with America. :)

  15. Avatar of congaboy
    January 2, 2013 at 9:53 pm —

    I am currently doing a low carb diet. I have been on it for almost 2 years. When I started, I weighed 223 pounds. I started the diet in March of 2010 and by July of 2010 I weighed 190 pounds. I have been maintaining a low carb diet and my weight has been stable. I don’t count calories, I just watch non-fiber carbs. After losing the weight, I had my blood work done and all of my numbers went down; so much so that my life insurance carrier has reduced my monthly rates. My diet, before the low carb, consisted of mostly sugar and simple carbs. I felt like crap for the first month and a half of the diet, but after I got over the sugar addiction, I began to feel really good. I have more energy and I’ve started doing more physical activities. I’m 49 and I’m a vegetarian and I maintain a low carb lifestyle. I do eat eggs and cheese, though. The diet works, but it does take some discipline.

  16. Avatar of criticaldragon1177
    January 2, 2013 at 11:01 pm —

    Heina

    Sorry I wasn’t able to comment on this earlier, but I’ve been very busy.

    My mom, tried the Atkins Diet. It worked for her, but she had a lot of trouble staying on it, especially the first couple of weeks.

    She doesn’t think its healthy long term even through she did loose weight on it, it caused some problems for her.

  17. Avatar of dr. dr. professor
    January 3, 2013 at 6:40 am —

    Well I think in general, you will lose weight if the sign of Abs(Qout) – Abs(Qin) is negative on most days.

    Now it’s definitely more complex than (carbs vs. long chain fatty acids) that but keeping that trend over a long period of time can work. I lost weight a while ago on high carb (complex carbs only), but low fat diet + daily exercise. But a strict atkins diet + minimal exercise would’ve also worked.

    Also there’s been a lot of talk about access to exercise & eating facility (ability to run, access to gym, food deserts) and that’s certainly valid. And it goes without saying that no one who is overweight has any less value as society pretty clearly states.

    But if it’s possible to make Abs(Qout) – Abs(Qin) negative over a long term, weight will be lost for a lot of people.

  18. Avatar of ansuzmannaz
    January 3, 2013 at 9:02 am —

    I have to say, I’m really disappointed that (part of) this discussion dissolved into a mini-flame war. I understand that passions run hot on this subject, and that makes it easy to enter attack mode. I’ve fallen prey to that temptation many a time. But I don’t think this result was at all necessary. I would very much like to have seen a more level-headed discussion on the subject.

    Speaking of which, Luna does make a few good points. His (Her? Please forgive my ignorance of your gender.) general prescription for health reflects the consensus I have seen amongst medical professionals and writings on the subject. However, Marilove, Heina and Will are also correct in asserting that individual circumstances, including contemporary economics and lifestyles, can complicate the execution of these general principles and foil Luna’s particular recommendations entirely.

    From what I have read of the discussion, there doesn’t appear to be much disagreement on the basic facts. The heat of the debate revolves around Luna’s apparent conviction that the aforementioned barriers to diet and exercise can be handily surmounted by an exercise of will on the one hand, and Marilove et. al’s apparent belief that such an attitude does not fully respect these complications, which can be insurmountable by will alone, on the other. In other words, Luna doesn’t understand why people don’t stop whining and -do- this thing they’ve been worrying about, and Marilove et. al wonder why Luna holds people in places of genuine difficulty in disdain.

    What’s funny about the whole situation is that both of these sentiments are entirely appropriate. It makes sense to understand and sympathise with the circumstances that prevent people from living healthy lives; to respect and, as a society, seek to remove those limitations. However, it also makes sense to respect peoples’ individual agency and hold them accountable for their decisions and the pursuit of their goals.

    Both of these perspectives are entirely necessary. As someone who suffers from major depression, I face many more challenges than others my age at dealing with basic life skills. Maintaining a normal sleep schedule frequently seems impossible, and my motivation can flag at the most inconvenient of times. I have to be forgiving of my own weakness in these circumstances, or else life becomes a dreadful affair indeed.

    But I also have to challenge myself. If I don’t remind myself of the importance of my own agency and my own decisions, and surrender all my power to my weakness, I am lost. My condition is no longer simply a complication: it is an excuse. When I also take action to work with and overcome my difficulties, I do far better than I would otherwise.

    It seems to me the question is not which of these perspective is correct, but in what circumstances do they each prevail.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 3, 2013 at 10:34 am —

      Yes, well said. Marilove and Will are well known attack dogs on Skepchick, and that’s fine. I’m not sure of their motivation, but this is what they do. Sometimes they criticize others for a good reason. Sometimes they appear to do so just because they feel like schoolyard bullies that day. Not level headed at all.

      They could have asked me to clarify (Luna, are you saying that everyone, even people in wheelchairs, should be able to run?) But instead they put words in my mouth.

      For the record, I have zero “distain” for anyone. That was not the correct assumption on your part. What I said was strictly about what I have learned from my doctor, and other scientists. None of that stuff was my own research, or even my opinion.

      In general I was speaking as a former heart patient, former alcoholic and also as someone with a Master’s degree in science who knows how to read the literature.

      I probably should have added that running is ideal, but certainly not the only way to reap those benefits. As I said, people can reap similar benefits from swimming, or even walking. Totally sedentary people actually benefit more from walking than those already in an exercise routine.

      If someone is disabled to the point where they cannot walk or swim, I am absolutely, positively the wrong person to be getting advice from and my comment should be ignored, not lambasted.

      I get the frustration; I’m allergic to wheat and every time I see a pasta recipe dripping with butter and cheese I want to yell, for cripes sake, I can’t eat that! But I’m not going to shoot the messenger. Dozens of health articles mention running as an effective route towards physical and mental health. I’m not saying anything new.

      Again, access is an important issue. And I do wish Marilove and Will had simply brought it up in a level headed way as you mentioned, not in a childish manner.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 3, 2013 at 10:42 am —

        Did you just call us bullies for calling you out? Please.

        You were the one that said “eat better and exerscise — and by exercise, I mean run, because humans were evolved to run! Done!”

        “Done”? Really? Not to mention, “It’s really that simple!”

        No, it’s not that fucking simple. If it was that simple, people wouldn’t find it so hard to stay healthy.

        Then the appeals to nature and denying the appeal to nature, which is what REALLY got me going. Not to mention the CONSTANT contradictions, which Will pointed out and you’ve ignored.

        You’re being willfully ignorant, dense, and quite frankly, obnoxious.

    • Avatar of Will
      January 3, 2013 at 2:04 pm —

      Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for policing our tone! I don’t know whatever we would have done had we not had someone come in to tell us that we’re being meanies! *eyeroll*

      What’s funny about the whole situation is that both of these sentiments are entirely appropriate.

      No.

      However, it also makes sense to respect peoples’ individual agency and hold them accountable for their decisions and the pursuit of their goals.

      Who in the everliving fuck are you to “hold someone accountable” for their decisions regarding their weight, exercise, health, etc.? You don’t know their whole story, and that’s my fucking point. Too often the sort of discourse that Luna engaged in (“It’s simple, just eat well and exercise!”) has implicit and/or explicit moral judgments attached to it. Luna’s original post had implicit moral judgments. For example:

      “People are making this simple issue WAY too complicated.” In other words, regardless of your health problems, it really is this simple. And if you’re not doing these things, you’re making it COMPLICATED and you’re doing it wrong.

      “But if you want general health, follow the steps above and don’t confuse thin for heathy.” And Luna said this wasn’t advice, but here you go. And guess what, if you are concerned with your body image, you are unhealthy!

      Imagine that you are a poor person with health issues living in a food desert with little access to exercise spaces. And now you have some person telling you “you’re doing it wrong. You’re making it too complicated.” And when these points are brought up, that person says “that’s not my problem!” Yeah, real fucking supportive.

      Luna claims that they “quite clearly said I was wrong” in a few places, but this is a lie. What Luna did in multiple places was say “maybe I was unclear” or “you’re misunderstanding what I wrote.” That’s not the same thing as saying “I was wrong.”

      As far as being “known attack dogs,” I’m fine with that. I attack bullshit, and I’m not going to back down from that. What Luna originally posted was insensitive at best, and my first reply to Luna was not anything at all like an attack. It was not at all emotional or irrational. It was, as you complain is lacking, completely level-headed.

      Luna’s response? IT MUST BE NICE TO BE SO STUPID.

      Yeah, I’m the one being flamey and shouty. Her immediate response to me was to yell at me in all caps and tell me I cannot read. Do you see why Luna’s revisionist history is fucked up? Because she did not “clearly admit she was wrong.” She didn’t even hint that she might be a little bit off until later in the conversation, after being called out by Heina.

      PS> Just a little piece of advice: In the future, don’t lecture people on their tone. This is the sort of thing that is done to silence social minorities. Talk about the substance of the argument. If you don’t like the atmosphere of a comments section, no one is forcing you to engage with it.

      • Avatar of Luna
        January 3, 2013 at 5:40 pm —

        I think it’s stellar someone finally called you out on your rude behavior, Will. It’s one thing to (at first) calmly ask someone if they intended to be judgemental, or give advice. Many people (like me) post rather spontaneously and from sheltered personal experience. I do ‘t mind at all someone challenging my potentially narrow view. But you are angry, inappropriate and if you acted that way to someone’s face no doubt you’d have your ass hauled out of whichever establishment you were in. And rightfully so.

        But you’re on the Internet. So you feel it’s your right to behave any damned way you please, then call it tone trolling when someone calls you out. Where I come from, you would be known as a boor and a coward.

        • Avatar of Will
          January 4, 2013 at 5:49 pm —

          It must be nice to live a life so out of touch with reality, where you can pretend that you are on some moral high ground as if you never said anything “childish” in this conversation. I pointed out how I clearly tried to engage you in a level-headed manner and how your response was to yell at me and pretend as if I cannot read.

          You’re a real piece of work.

          And you don’t know how I behave or talk to people in person, so I would appreciate if you would stop making assumptions about why I write the way I write and what sorts of consequences I might face. What a completely stupid thing to say. And it’s tone trolling in the extreme.

      • Avatar of ansuzmannaz
        January 4, 2013 at 5:34 pm —

        Will, my intent with that post was to try to cool people’s passions and encourage a more productive discussion. A glance was enough to tell that no one was being convinced of anything. If my attempt to change that is “policing tone,” then I’m guilty as charged. And it’s a shame. Policing tone is the responsibility of the person speaking. When someone else has to step in, it means the speakers themselves have failed to do so.

        Look, I know it probably comes across as arrogant for a lurker to jump in and ask people to calm down in the way I did. However, my observation was correct: the thread had become a flame war. Not a discussion or an argument, but a fight. I love reading this blog. I love the science news, the essays, and how it gets me thinking. I go here for a good read and, I hoped, a good discussion. I have left fora and abandoned blogs because the community was more interested in picking fights than thinking. I didn’t say what I did to seem high and mighty, or to take any one poster’s side, but because I saw an interesting subject getting lost in pointless aggression, and hoped the Skepchick community to be capable of more than those other online destinations.

        I see you’ve replied to my arguments as well. I thank you, and I would like to discuss them at greater length. Unfortunately, the sarcasm your reply employs and its apparent hostility leaves me unsure whether you’re looking to debate me or fight me. As a contributor to the Skepchick network and not a mere commenter, you should consider this carefully. Though Skepchick and its network don’t charge a fee, it’s not exactly free to read. It takes time, it takes ignoring banner ads, and your goal is to persuade others of the worthiness of your cause and to commit to that as well. Who is going to even bother listening if the price of admission is derision and disdain?

        • Avatar of Will
          January 4, 2013 at 5:59 pm —

          Wow, patronizing much?

          If you’re so delicate that you can’t take some snark and sarcasm, this is probably the wrong blog for you to read.

          I don’t want to debate or fight with you. I don’t know you and I have nothing to debate about this post. I posted to call out someone’s narrow-minded comment and instead of that person admitting to being narrow-minded up front and clarifying, she accused me and others of being unable to read and of misunderstanding.

          The thing is, if you’re new around these parts, there’s a history that youre likely unaware of. Luna’s narrow-minded bullshit has been called out in the past and she just seems utterly incapable of accepting criticism of her myopic positions. There’s a level of frustration that stems from regularly confronting the same kinda of crap from the same commenters all the time. You’re also in a space where there is very little tolerance for tone trolling and concern trolling because those are tactics that are often used in an effort to silence social minorities. It’s often a way for people in positions of power or privilege to control what social minorities are talking about.

          So, I honestly don’t really care if you like my tone or not. If you want to talk about substance, fine, let’s talk about substance. But that means not patronizingly lecturing us about tone and just responding to the substance.

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 5, 2013 at 11:05 am —

          I’m glad you said that. I moderate all comments on my blog so this crap does not happen. The flaming trolls disappear almost immediately when they see their comments have to be approved.

          I have only had to block 2 comments in 6 year’s time, fortunately. One was from a woman replying to almost everyone with completely off topic, vile sexual comments and the other was just someone being very rude to a woman who admittedly did not understand how electricity worked.

          Personally I would not change the free exchange of speech on Skepchick. However, I think the authors need to step in and remind Will and Marilove that freedom does not mean you get to derail the conversation with diaper-filling tantrums such as they’ve displayed here.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 5, 2013 at 11:06 am

            That was in reply to Ansuz.

  19. Avatar of marilove
    January 3, 2013 at 10:42 am —

    “Again, access is an important issue. And I do wish Marilove and Will had simply brought it up in a level headed way as you mentioned, not in a childish manner.”

    And just stop. I wish you wouldn’t act so childish and assume that everything is super-super simple. It’s also rather childish to appeal to nature. And to put your hands in your ears and go “LALALALALALALALA!!!!”

  20. Avatar of marilove
    January 3, 2013 at 10:46 am —

    Doctors all over the world, the USDA and nutritionists will all tell you the same thing I did; that a variety of fruits and vegetables are vital to health. Hell, most Americans got this advice for FREE in schools or in PSAs even before the Internet existed.

    AND DUH! No shit, Sherlock. I’ve mentioned before that your advice is really obvious and not helpful.

    This advice is everywhere and still people have a hard time staying healthy, so why do you think repeating the same advice over and voer is going to help, and why do you think ending your advice with “Done.” and insisiting it’s “not that complex” is helpful?!

    You just don’t want to admit you’re wrong. I get it. It’s hard. But it just makes you look silly.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 3, 2013 at 11:09 am —

      Actually I said quite clearly that I was wrong in several of my comments to you, Marilove. Anyway, I don’t mind the tone I sometimes see here on Skepchick.

      It’s not as though you guys are my coworkers or anything, LOL. Just strangers; but as I said I come here because it seems like people respect science. Sometimes.

      More benefits to cardiovascular exercise are being discovered all the time. If someone who cannot run wants to discuss what the hell they’re supposed to do instead, I’d be happy to chat about it to the extent that I understand. If someone wants to put words in my mouth without clarifying first, well, I won’t be bothered.

      I’ve said this a million times, and it’s apparently fallen on deaf ears. There is new research that shows pollutions, plastics and an evolution in gut microbes may have changed our bodies and might even make us obese.

      This is brand new information. So is the idea that algae is better than flax oil for Omega 3s. So is the idea that some oils are vital in absorbing nutrients from certain salad ingredients.

      That is what I’m here to disucss. If someone has scientific evidence pertaining to this, I’d love to hear it. I’d love to hear it debunked, if it’s wrong. That’s what I wanted to spark a debate about.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 3, 2013 at 11:22 am —

        I am totally, 100% unsurprised that you, ONCE AGAIN, ignored my points about your “Done.” and “it’s not complex!” comments (and *I* am the bully?), when you know damn well that’s exactly what Will and I are arguing about. Yet you keep insisting we’re trying to prove your “science” wrong when that wasn’t what we are doing, and you damn well know that. You were wrong to claim it’s NOT complex, and you were wrong to say “Donn” as if it really is that simple.

        Not to mention you ONCE AGAIN complete ignore and deny your constant appeals to nature.

        You’re always like this, though: Willfully ignorant, dense, and obnoxious. I’m done.

        And seriously, don’t appeal to nature THEN FUCKING DENY IT like it didn’t happen. I mean come on, now. As soon as you did that, I knew you were just arguing because you can’t admit that hey, perhaps it really isn’t that fucking simple, eh?

  21. Avatar of Luna
    January 3, 2013 at 11:28 am —

    My dear, you are taking what I said waay too personally. I am not your mother. I am not your boss. I have no influence over your life except as a piddly commenter on this blog so your reaction is over the top.

    Anyway, if you want a civil discussion I think you and Will are perfectly intelligent with a lot to offer. But I have computer work to do so get back to me if you all want a calm discussion. Okay? Thx.

  22. Avatar of marilove
    January 3, 2013 at 11:29 am —

    “My dear”. Seriously? Fuck you and your sexist, patrnoizing language and tone trolling.

    A civil discussion, huh? Yeah, ‘cuz “My dear” is TOTALLY CVIL and not sexist at all. Yep.

    You know, I’ve never particularly liked you. You’re a patronizing, completely dense asshole, is what you are.

    I’ll just ignore you from now on, since clearly you’re not worth my time.

    I can’t be expected to converse with a rock, can I?

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 3, 2013 at 12:09 pm —

      “My Dear” is restrained scolding. It’s what my teachers used to say to us when we were in grade school. Just trying to speak to you on your maturity level, Marilove.

      • Avatar of marilove
        January 3, 2013 at 12:15 pm —

        WOW.

        No, it’s not “restrained scolding”. It’s what men say to women and girls when they want to condesend

        Wow.

        Here you are, being willfully dense, obtuse, ignorant, and obnoxious AGAIN! How shocking.

        And I don’t give a fuck if you think I’m “mature”. How do you EXPECT me to respond to someone who appeals to nature OVER AND OVER and then fucking denies it?!

        Are you just … not that bright, or something? Is that it? I just don’t get how you can be so fucking dense, honestly.

        Oh well. *throws up hands*

        You win!

        • Avatar of Luna
          January 3, 2013 at 5:31 pm —

          You can’t see my expression obviously Marilove but you made me laugh. You remind me of my older sister’s tough motorcycling friends who were brash but still good people. I suppose you think that’s condescending too but really, it’s not meant to be.

          My initial comments were written with very little forethought. I admitted to Will that I did not phrase my comments right, I acknowledged to you that I should have mentioned walking and swimming. At the same time I stand behind every word I said; I absolutely, positively did not consider myself a judge of anyone nor did I consider my comments as advice; just personal enthusiasm.

          Very hard to communicate over the Internet what someone’s core meaning is.

          • Avatar of Luna
            January 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

            Anyway you two, please carry on with your childish antics. I’m sure the readers have had a stellar day watching us argue, but what a waste of time when if we cut through all the bullcrap we could have come up with some really good solutions and scientific debates. It’s a shame.

  23. Avatar of carriepoppy
    January 4, 2013 at 1:39 am —

    Very cool, Heina! Enjoy the experiment. What I’ve read about low-carb diets (admittedly, not a lot) is that while most people lose weight, it has one of the highest regain-ratios (that is, most people end up heavier than they were before, a year after they are done dieting). I’m interested to hear what happens to you!

    And while you’re busy being inspired by ONRAC, might I note that I lost 50 lbs going vegan, ten years ago? ;) I did it for ethical reasons, though, and don’t deny that.

    Ross and I are both honored that you’re a listener!

    • Avatar of dr. dr. professor
      January 4, 2013 at 5:58 am —

      Well that’s because you cant really lose weight on a temporary eating change and then just go back.

      Any change in diet should optimally be permanent (i.e. a lifestyle change).

    • Avatar of Heina Dadabhoy
      January 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm —

      I’m planning on low-calorie-ing it after low-carbing, so I hope to keep off the weight that way. We’ll see what happens, though.

      I’ve gone veggie/flexatarian before, but I gained because mmm pasta with cheese. I might try veganism and see what that does. Heck, I might want to after all of these piles of low-carb meat and cheese.

      • Avatar of dr. dr. professor
        January 4, 2013 at 4:56 pm —

        Yeah keeping it off is tough.

        Veganism is helpful, but not entirely a %100 solution since there are still things like delicious cake and chocolate and pasta with (vegan) cheese to be had.

        Let us know what you find.

      • Avatar of Jack99
        January 4, 2013 at 7:30 pm —

        Heina, or anybody, regarding the weight rebound post diet – are we better off weightwise on average despite the rebound than we would have been without any diet at all?

        I suspect that we are indeed better off but is there any research on this?

        I am thinking somewhat by analogy to current antismoking campaigns that emphasise persistence in quitting despite many and repeated failures.

        I believe there are studies to support the health benefits of this i.e.every cigarette you smoke does you damage and every one you don’t smoke benefits your health.

      • Avatar of carriepoppy
        January 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm —

        There was a really funny article in Herbivore magazine years ago where a bunch of the staff went on a vegan low-carb diet. They basically ate fake meat for a month. It sounded hideous (though not as bad as the regular kind of low carb diet, but still). Dogspeed to you! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  24. Avatar of shohreh
    January 4, 2013 at 7:46 pm —

    Thanks for the article + experiment :-)

    > As far as the scientific research shows, there are no easy answers and there is nigh nothing in the way of consensus on the matter.

    What we *do* know is…
    1. Obesity is virtually unknown in Japan (130 million people) and South Korea (50 million), although those two countries are as rich and sedentary as the West
    2. When Japanese or Korean people move to the US, they start putting on weight within a few years.

    For a test, switch to a Japanese/Korean diet for six months and see how it goes. This means much less meat (especially red meat), a lot more fish, more veggies and fruits, and less sweets.

    http://www.livestrong.com/article/362644-japanese-diet-and-nutrition/

  25. Avatar of JP
    January 4, 2013 at 10:09 pm —

    Heina,

    I hope your experiment goes well. I have done the low-carb diets before. I have always lost weight on them, but I couldn’t sustain it.

    I did my own low-calorie diet one time. I just ate all the things I normally would, but cut all the portions in half. That worked really well actually. It was one heck of a lot easier than low-carbing. That was a pain in the butt.

    I stopped dieting altogether though, and focused more on a life change so I could sustain weight loss.

    Now I just try to eat a balanced diet; not too much of any one thing. I focus on unprocessed fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. The closer they are to the way the grew on the plant/hoof/fin the better. And of course, portion control, portion control, portion control, and in case I forgot to mention it, portion control.

    I drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and I exercise regularly. I am primarily a cyclist, but I have been getting more into yoga in the off-season. Yoga really tests me. It is a lot harder than I ever thought. I especially like that it doesn’t take any equipment at all, which is the opposite of cycling.

    My weight has been stable for a few years now, and I don’t think about it too much any more. The key for me has been all things in moderation, and finding exercises that I love to do. I have found that an exercise I have to force myself to do doesn’t last very long.

  26. Avatar of ansuzmannaz
    January 6, 2013 at 10:46 pm —

    Will–I wasn’t calling you out for calling someone else out. I made every attempt in my initial post to be neutral. The way I saw it, I was trying to salvage a discussion that was generating more heat than light. I did so as respectfully as I could. That everyone still interpreted it as me defending Luna, I think, is very telling.

    Because while I understand your frustration, and I would agree Luna’s initial post was unfair to a lot of people and a bit insensitive, you were wrong to start ripping into Luna and not her argument. That was tactless and unneeded. And that you’ve treated me with the same disdain is, frankly, infuriating.

    I understand you like to employ a flippant and irreverent style, but do me a favor and look at your rhetoric in the mirror. Because this isn’t just a matter of style or tone: you’re belittling and insulting the very people you’re supposed to be persuading.

    Don’t see how? Take our conversation as an example.

    In your first reply to me, you said: “I don’t know whatever we would have done had we not had someone come in to tell us that we’re being meanies! ” With the use of that last word, you characterize my complaint as infantile, without even addressing the substance of it. The opening of your last comment, “If you’re so delicate that you can’t take some snark and sarcasm, this is probably the wrong blog for you to read,” implies that I’m sort of emotional hypochondriac who can’t take criticism. You don’t resort to overt name-calling, but the names are clearly spelled out in your text.

    That last comment in particular is also egregiously wrong. Compared to you, I’ve handled this situation with a great deal of aplomb. And it’s not easy. If you thought arguing with Luna was hard, just try arguing with yourself! You call that “patronizing,” but for someone as unconcerned with tone as yourself, that’s hardly relevant.

    You may cast yourself as the man to lay the truth down and call people out on their bullshit, but that’s not what I see. I see someone who’s taking their own shit out on other people. I don’t care if Luna has a history of being unreasonable, irrational or insensitive. That is no excuse for bad behavior on your part. Nor is that behavior–or your “sarcastic tone,” as you like to call it–at all necessary. Did your “sarcastic tone” persuade Luna to accept your position as true? Obviously not, as a glance at this thread will tell. Why, then, should you bother with it? If she wasn’t going to be convinced, there are a million other ways to deal with the situation. I can only conclude that you have an axe to grind. And that’s not cool. Even if Luna’s been annoying you to all hell, that is -not- cool. It is also unbecoming of a public intellectual. Someone with your credentials is capable of better.

    Apparently, though, the fact I have an issue with this means that I’m “so delicate that [I] can’t take some snark and sarcasm, this is probably the wrong blog for you to read,” and should pack my bags and leave. That’s a remarkable sentiment. Doesn’t this ring a bell to you? Don’t you remember Aris Bakhtanians? The coach of the Tekken team on Cross Assault who said that the fighting game community was entitled to sexually harass women, and that those who couldn’t handle it should get out? The man who also considered his antics a matter of “tone” and the “culture” of the fighting game community, as you consider your actions a matter of “tone” and the “culture” of Skepchick. And the man who this very blog excoriated for being a bigot and a bully. How can you so criticize this man, and not see how you, yourself, do much the same thing?

    I’m not leaving, Will. I love this blog. Overall, it’s the best on the internet. But I’m not going to pretend that doing so means I should be silent in the face of abuse on its pages. As for speaking of content, I’ve apparently found more in your posts than you, yourself, were aware of. And I’d love to go back to the original subject. But you’ll have to choose what’s more important to you: your so-called “tone,” or a proper discussion of the subject matter. Passionate as well as rational, I hope—honest emotion has its place in a discussion. Contempt does not.

    • Avatar of Luna
      January 7, 2013 at 12:36 pm —

      Ansuzmannaz That pretty much sums up Will’s game, in case you’re new to this forum it should be noted that he’s gone after people dozens of times in the exact same way – so it’s nothing to do with me at all.

      Since you’re clearly able to speak to people in a reasonable manner, I should mention that we should be careful using the word “insensitive”. Maybe not most, but many, people take that to mean deliberately insensitive.

      I read Heina’s post. In it she herself mentions cardio and running. She mentioned nothing about bad knees or any other problems that would prevent someone from running. Now, had she mentioned her or other people’s disabilities, my comment would have been completely insensitive.

      But she didn’t. Since she mentioned running and cardio, gym exercises, etc, my only point was that among those activities , running was the most simple and in fact a FREE activity if you already own a pair of sneakers and some sweats.

      So in the context of that conversation, Ansuzmannaz, there was zero that was insensitive about my comment. Maybe overly simplistic, but still in the context of what was said originally, although I know some trolls come to a forum and only read the headline, then go on narcissistic rants that have nothing to do with the subject at hand.

      What I’m supposed to be “persuaded” of is beyond me. Once Will and Marilove brought up disabilities, I readily said it was a good and important point and that I should have considered that.

      So insensitive? Hell no. But since you are willing to have a civil conversation I’d consider it a great thing to converse with someone like you over this topic.

      Cheers.

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