How a Low-Carb Diet is Metabolically Like Being Obese

Image Credit: Eugene Bochkarev © This image has been modified.

How a Low-Carb Diet Is Metabolically Like Being Obese

Free fatty acids (meaning fat circulating in the bloodstream not packaged into triglycerides) result in inflammation, toxic fat breakdown products, and oxidative stress, which can gum up the insulin receptor pathway and lead to insulin resistance in our muscles. Insulin resistance is what causes prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. I explain the process in my video What Causes Insulin Resistance? As the level of fat in the blood rises, the body’s ability to clear sugar from the blood drops dramatically.

Where does this fat in our blood that’s wreaking all this havoc come from? It comes from the fat that we eat and from the fat that we wear.

The number of fat cells we have stays constant in adulthood. The way researchers figured that out is by measuring the amount of radioactive carbon still trapped in our DNA from all the nuclear bomb tests. After massive weight loss, our fat cells shrink as they offload fat, but the number stays the same. Conversely, when we gain weight, our fat cells stretch as we pack more and more into each individual fat cell. So, when our belly, butt, or thighs get big, we’re not adding more fat cells, we’re just cramming more fat into each cell. At a certain point, our cells become so bloated that they spill fat back into the bloodstream.

This is called the spillover effect. Not only does an obese person have more fat, but they’re constantly spilling that fat into their bloodstream. So, that could be the link between obesity and diabetes. Fat is spilling out from our fat cells and gets lodged in our muscle cells, leading to the insulin resistance that promotes the onset of type 2 diabetes. I show this in my video The Spillover Effect Links Obesity to Diabetes.

The fat can also enter our bloodstream through our mouths. If you put people on a low-carb diet, fat builds up in their muscles within two hours and insulin sensitivity drops. And the more fat found in the muscles, the lower the ability to clear sugar from the blood. It doesn’t take years for this to happen, just hours after fatty foods go into our mouths. A fat-rich diet can increase fat in the blood, and this increase is accompanied by a decrease in insulin sensitivity.

Studies clearly demonstrate that fat in the blood directly inhibits glucose transport and usage in our muscles, which is responsible for clearing about 85% of the glucose out of the blood. These findings indicate that fat consumption can play an important role in the development of insulin resistance.

Normally, we only have 10 to 50 micromoles of free fat floating around in our blood stream at any one time, but those who are obese have between 60 to 80. But, we can reach 80 just eating a high fat diet. So, a skinny person eating a low-carb diet can have the same level of fat in their blood that obese people do. Similarly, being obese is like eating some horrible bacon and butter diet all day, because obese persons are constantly spilling fat into their bloodstream, no matter what goes in their mouths.

Are all types of fat the same? Find out the answer in my video Lipotoxicity: How Saturated Fat Raises Blood Sugar.

The fat leaking into our bloodstream may also contain fat-soluble pollutants that accumulated from our diet: Pollutants in Salmon and Our Own Fat.

The spillover effect may also help explain the increased heart disease risk associated with obesity: Low Carb Diets and Coronary Blood Flow.

In health,

Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my free videos here and watch my live, year-in-review presentations:



Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

242 responses to “How a Low-Carb Diet Is Metabolically Like Being Obese

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  1. This makes sense but I understand that insulin resistance has other complexities. You’ve previously mentioned that some fatty foods improve insulin resistance (avocado). Why would eating an avocado not inhibit glucose transport?

    1. Hi Lucaso, I found a study that shows an inverse relationship between fatty acid intake and metabolic syndrome. I think you are right. This whole thing is a little more nuanced than what many on here would like to believe.

      “We evaluated that carbohydrates and fatty acids intake modifies the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MetS) and we also determined gender-nutrient interaction in 38,766 adults in KNHANES (2007-2014). Carbohydrate intake was positively associated, and fat intake inversely associated, with the incidence of MetS. The association exhibited a gender interaction with the macronutrient intake; this association was significant in females. Furthermore, saturated fatty acid (SFA), monounsaturated fatty acid (MUFA) and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) intakes were inversely associated with MetS risk and only females showed the positive association. Both n-3 and n-6 fatty acids intake showed inverse associations with MetS risk, similar to PUFA intake. Among the MetS components, serum triglyceride levels and blood pressure had significant inverse associations with fatty acid intake irrespective of fatty acid types and exhibited a gender interaction. In conclusions, high carbohydrate intakes (≥74.2 En%) may increase the MetS risk and moderate fat intakes (≥20.7 En%), irrespective of fat types, may decrease it. These associations were significant only in women.”

      1. That study doesn’t discriminate between refined and complex carbs. It’s a questionnaire study of a large population. Most people in Western cultures eat more refined carbs than complex. Refined carbs are known to be less sating and more likely to cause insulin resistance. Seriously look at the Blue Zone obervational studies. All of these cultures eat a high % of complex carbs (starch) and have the highest longevity and lowest morbidity rates in the world. Further, the only Blue Zone group that has an advanced Western lifestyle is the Seventh Day Adventists (AHS-II). Amongst them, the less animal flesh eaten, the healthier people are, including for insulin sensitivity. These longitudinal findings need to be considered to counter reductionist observations such as the study you quote.

      2. That study doesn’t discriminate between refined and complex carbs. It’s a questionnaire study of a large population. Most people in Western cultures eat more refined carbs than complex. Refined carbs are known to be less sating and more likely to cause insulin resistance. Seriously look at the Blue Zone obervational studies. All of these cultures eat a high % of complex carbs (starch) and have the highest longevity and lowest morbidity rates in the world. Further, the only Blue Zone group that has an advanced Western lifestyle is the Seventh Day Adventists (AHS-II). Amongst them, the less animal flesh eaten, the healthier people are, including superior insulin sensitivity.

    2. Perhaps because unlike oils, butter, etc., it’s not strictly fat. It contains a good amount of complex carbs and fiber (12 grams of carbs/cup, including 10 grams of fiber.)

  2. This is correct for many Type-2s, but flat-out wrong for those of us who follow a Vegan low carb diet, such as the Eco-Atkins that has been mentioned on this site before. Dr. Greger, please be careful to distinguish between the two.

    1. Could you name an animal that eats a vegan+low carb diet. Perhaps the low-carb-diet a product of the imagination that has become popular by pillow thinking and the land of oportunity

  3. Could you say a bit more about the low carb bit. What do you define as low carb? I tend to avoid processed carbs – pasta, bread, beer – and try not to eat much oil (except in nuts and seeds) – so my carbs come from vegetables, along with some rice, lentils etc. Should I up my carb intake? If so, what sources of carbohydrates do you recommend? And in what quantities?

    1. nigeyb: It is a good question. Dr. Greger has detailed his food recommendations in what he calls the “Daily Dozen”. You can download a free phone app of the daily dozen. You can also see even more details in Part 2 of the book How Not To Die. For a brief peak, you can see a screen shot in the trailer for the book How Not To Die:
      But to answer your question in a broad overview way, in my opinion, Dr. Greger recommends you fill your diet with whole plant foods. Especially a variety of : intact grains, beans, veggies, and fruit. Abstain from meat, dairy, eggs and oils. Include 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed and consider including 1 ounce of nuts. Don’t forget a B12 supplement. The details of how much of what are part of the Daily Dozen. While not part of the Daily Dozen as a special category, Dr. Greger has also covered mushrooms as a healthy food group. If you ate a diet like this, you would naturally get the right amount of carbs, fats, and protein, along with all the other important micronutrients.
      Hope this helps.

      1. That’s great Thea – and reassuring too. I do pretty much all of that. I’m not losing weight and am at what I regard as a healthy weight and BMI. It was just that I do describe my diet as fairly low carb and the headline (and article contents) were a bit alarming in terms of being low carb but – I guess – it would be more accurate to state Low Carb PLUS high fat. My fat intake is low so I feel pretty relaxed now – and it’s very nutrient dense. Thanks again. I’m ticking every box I think I should be ticking – and I feel great. Thanks also for these great daily updates – I love them and will be reading some of Dr Greger’s books soon (just got to finish the Dr Fuhrman one I’m reading at the moment).

        1. nigeyb, maybe you’re thinking of carbs as refined carbs. Your diet probably isn’t low carb as defined by Paleo or Keto diet eaters, if you’re eating lots of beans and grains with your fruits and veggies.

        2. Hi nigeyb,
          Correct me if I am wrong. You think of your diet as low carb because you don’t eat crap. I think this is the problem we are having with the comment sections over the last couple of days. People associate the word carb with donuts etc. And yet broccoli is high in fiber and low in fat. People are using the word carb as a synonym for junk food or sugary processed foods. When I tell people I eat a high carbohydrate diet they are confused. I will explain I eat low fat, and maybe 10-15% protein. So I’ll ask what’s left? Carbs right?

          My high carb diet –In order of what I eat-veggies, fruit, and than beans, nuts, seeds, and grains. Those last 4 kinda change position from day-day just depending on menu. One day I may have a veggie and fruit smoothie and the next a bowl of oatmeal with bunch of fruit. High carb.

              1. WFPBRunner: I thought you would be interested in today’s BREAKING MEDICAL NEWS from PCRM
                Vegetarian Diets Aid Fitness
                Vegetarian diets aid aerobic exercises, according to a study published in Nutrients. Researchers followed the diets of 70 participants and monitored strength and endurance patterns. Athletic performance from those who followed vegetarian diets matched or exceeded those who followed omnivorous diets despite no differences in protein intake as relative to body mass index. These data suggest vegetarian eating patterns provide sufficient cardiorespiratory and oxygen efficiency for athletic activity and may provide advantages over nonvegetarian diets.
                Lynch HM, Wharton CM, Johnston CS. Cardiorespiratory fitness and peak torque differences between vegetarian and omnivore endurance athletes: a cross-sectional study. Nutrients. 2016;8:piiE726

        3. nigeyb: Nice reply! Just to be talking with you, here’s my 2 cents: One (out of many) of the harmful consequences with the low carb pushers has been a massive societal misunderstanding of what “carbs” means. I tend to find that people equate carbs with sugar and refined grains–without understanding or acknowledging the vital difference between sugar and healthy starch based food. So then this inaccurate understanding of “carbs” leads people to avoid healthy whole starch-based foods as they are also seen as “carbs”. It also leads people to think that excessive fat and protein is healthy since “carbs” are best avoided or minimized in that philosophy.
          Without knowing details, it generally sounds like you are eating a rather healthy diet–and seeing the results. I think you might consider proudly proclaiming your diet as a high carb diet, known as a Whole Plant Food Based (WPFB) diet. Describing your diet as WPFB could be your little part to start to educate people on what is a healthy diet. ;-) Just a thought.
          Have you seen the NutritionFacts video on the traditional Okinawan diet? That population is one of the longest lived and healthiest people on the planet. They ate 69% sweet potatoes, something like 85% carbs if I remember correctly. I proudly tell people that I eat lots of carbs (in the form of beans, intact grains, veggies, and fruit) as I understand that carbs are the majority macronutrient my body needs.

          1. Nicely said. Proudly proclaim! I always say you only have 3 choices. That is a lower fat food and a lower protein food so what is left? Carbohydrates. People are so confused.

        1. Kenny Ritchie: What supplement do you mean? The only supplement that is required is B12 and that is more an issue of our modern, clean/sterile world than diet. Do you know where B12 comes from? It comes from bacteria that lives in our lower intestine and other dirty areas — like dirty ponds. (Which is why WFPBRunner’s post is so on point.) The bacteria in our bodies are too far down in order for our bodies to absorb the B12. So, you can eat poop encrusted chicken (look up how chicken is killed/processed) or drink dirty water or eat a clean pill. Up to you.
          To learn more:

          1. Actually, Dr Greger recommends a few supplementations for vegans, some of them for non vegans as well:
            – B12 – 3500 microgram per week,
            – Vitamin D – 2000-3000 IU per day (for most people, except if you spend an hour in the sun in equatorian countries),
            – Iodine (150 microgram per day for anyone who does not eat fish’ seafood or algea)
            – and recently he added EPADHA omega 3 from algea 150 mg per day for brain preservation for people who do not eat fish.

            1. Doron: Thank you, but I’m talking about absolutely required supplements pertaining to a vegan diet. As you noted, vitamin D is only needed when sun exposure is inadequate. It’s not really about diet. Iodine can be obtained from algae or iodized salt or other fortified foods.
              Dr. Greger has not recently added EPA/DHA. That recommendation has always been there. But if you look at the wording in his book, the EPA/DHA recommendation is more a “consider supplementing with algae based DHA/EPA” as opposed to the absolute need that B12 is. I believe that’s because the science isn’t quite as clear cut for DHA/EPA as it is for B12. Also consider that there is a question about whether our bodies can make enough DHA/EPA. (I can quote some studies if you are interested.) Depending on diet, supplementation may not be needed at all. As NutritionFacts shows in one of the DHA series videos. There is a test you can take if desired to see if your body is low or not.
              People can review all of Dr. Greger’s nutrition recommendations here where you can see some additional “nutrients of concern” if interested: You can obtain adequate calcium in a vegan diet, but if you chose not to eat those healthy foods, then you may need a supplement…

          2. Originally people received their B12 mainly from bacteria on leaves that were not washed, cooked, or disinfected. That’s how vegetarians in India got it, and when they began overwashing they began to be defficient. Even foday if you eat a lot of organic unwashed leaves you may get enough.

            1. Doron: It sounds like you are quoting from a specific study for two. I’ve very interested. Do you happen to have the study link handy? Thanks!

              1. Thea, about Long chain Omega 3’s , until October I thought like you, but then came this quote from , from two months ago, when Dr Greger’s jury was in on the Omega-3 issue:

                “And so, that’s why I recommend everyone eat a plant-based diet, along with contaminant-free EPA and DHA, to get the best of both worlds—omega-3 levels associated with brain preservation, while minimizing exposure to toxic pollutants.”

                About Iodine, of course you are right that every supplementation decision depends on many factors, bue we’re talking about vegans, or rather WFPBers, who eat no animal products, no fish , no seafood.
                You can still say they may eat algea, but you have Greger’s warnings that algea have extreme variations in Iodine content, so much so that one package of kelp may contain Iodine supply for 5 years- way over the uppper limit, and on the other hand Nori provides just a fraction of the recommended dose.
                Fortified food is supposed to be a solution, but many so called fortified include just a tiny amount of the required dose, and you want to avoid added salt anyway, so to me it looks like the conclusion from Greger’s recommendations are as I have mentioned, but clearly everyone should and will make his own decisions, preferably based on some knowledge.

        2. Most omnivores are low or deficient in B12 and vitamin D and should supplement as well, especially as we get older. I once ate what I considered a “healthy” omnivore diet and was low in both. It’s an easy fix, supplement vit. D during the winter months and add B12 or eat fortified foods. I was also prescribed a B12 supplement when I ate animal foods. When I switched to a WFPB diet I continued the same supplement regiment. My blood work has improved tremendously and I have the energy level I once had as a kid. I was exercising before but had to increase exercise intensity and duration because I have so much energy now. I’m never going back to eating animal foods again!

  4. Can someone give me examples of a variety of meals that would be eaten on an eco-Atkins diet? I had been eating a good plant based low fat diet for at least a half year (lots of salads, bean based meals with some brown rice or quinoa; berries) and my fasting blood glucose went up along with all my bad blood fats. I’m not overweight at all, but my family apparently has a genetic tendency toward diabetes. Over the past few weeks I’m experimenting and going back to a low carb diet that has more meat and fish with vegetables, and as I monitor my fasting glucose levels they are finally at lower levels I’ve never seen before. What do I do with that, Dr. Greger??

    1. Hello. A few doctors have found similarities between diabetes and beriberi disease. In The Vitamin Cure to Diabetes, thiamine Vitamin B1 supplementation is recommended. Doctor Greger recommends specific foods for diabetes. Including hibiscus tea, flax seed meal, amla, beans, coffee, soy, green tea, pulses (dried beans), Chamomile tea, purple potatoes. sprouts, whole grains, apple cider vinegar, and beans. Thiamine is lost in most food manufacturing, in my opinion.

    2. In addition to the response from Panchito, have you watched your intake of oils? If your salads or other meals have been prepared with added oils or too many nuts, the fat from those foods will worsen your insulin resistance.

  5. I’m on board with WFPB with minimal SOS and have been working at it for a year or so. I feel much better and I’m thankful for the efforts evidenced by this website. I’m still wearing more fat (50. lbs) than I would like, but have made modest improvement which is good. This article makes a lot of sense, but I’m not sure where I am with spillover circulating fat in my blood. I’m sure I have less than I would if I were eating SAD diet, but is spillover still likely promoting insulin resistance. What should my expectations be for success in getting where I would like to be. Is there anything I can be doing to improve my progress?

    1. Exercise! Exercise will reduce the spillover fat, burn the fat in your muscles that increases insulin resistance, and make it easier for blood glucose to enter your cells. Win Win.

    2. Eat a low calorie dense diet. That is, whole plant food and preferable plants that have water content. Keep calorie dense food to a minimum, even WFPB calorie dense food like grains, breads and food made with flour. Minimize whole plant food with a high fat content like nuts and seeds and avocados. See this newsletter article on the McDougall Maximum Weight Loss Diet for more details:

      Exercise every day at a low intensity as long as you have time for. Walking, easy bicycle riding, etc. At low intensity exercise the favored fuel (but not exclusive fuel) is fat. At high intensity exercise the favored fuel (but not exclusive fuel) is carbohydrate. Even though you do burn fat during high intensity exercise you can burn more fat over time by exercising longer at a lower intensity.

    3. I would also suggest intermittent fasting. Check out Dr Michael Mosley’s books. His 5:2 approach is a simple and effective way to reduce weight and has other added health benefits too, particularly a reduction in the growth hormone IGF-1. Win-win.

      1. No! Please do NOT go near any of Dr. Michael Mosley’s books. He is responsible for most of the food confusion in Britain. He promotes a high fat low carb diet that is not sustainable long term that also causes disease and suffering….. he is way behind on the “science”.

        1. I think promotes “high fat” is overstating it – but I agree he is not as wary of fat as many other nutritionists. However, the suggestion I was making was specifically about the health benefits associated with intermittent fasting and short term calorie restriction which seem incontrovertible, and which he also advocates.

        2. High fat low carb actually works for some people. Personally, I was on a high fat low carb diet for over a year but decided to switch to higher carb because I felt fatigued and not so energetic. However, there are plenty of people on Reddit r/keto that actually thrive on this diet.

          In this paper, , they compare the effects of high- and low-fat diets on triglycerides and concluded that the response depends mainly on the person. It is not a one diet fits all scenario!

          “…although mean triglyceride levels did not differ significantly between subjects that consumed the high- and low-fat diets, the individual serum triglyceride responses to these diets differed strongly. Whereas some subjects had distinctly lower serum triglyceride concentrations after consuming the high-fat diet, others had distinctly lower triglyceride concentrations after consuming the low-fat diet. These results suggest that many patients with hypertriglyceridemia are not treated optimally if general advice for either a low-fat diet or a high-fat diet is given. Instead, it appears to be more appropriate to fit any dietary recommendation to each patient individually.”

          So what this means is that it would be smarter to find out which metabolic type you would function optimally at rather than follow generic nutritional advice.

  6. I would like follow up: Does this mean Obese people on WFPB diet will not get the benefits before arriving at a lower BMI? Is there anything that can be done to minimise the toxicity (pollutants in fat) while losing the weight?

    1. It may mean that the benefits of blood sugar regulatory pathways will accelerate after reducing the adipose stores to a level where lipid spillover subsides. Be that as it may, benefits will accrue the longer you stay on a WFPB diet, so stick with it.

      For motivation, here is the story of George Sanders who sometimes comments at
      Other success stories are on the right side of that page.

    2. That’s a great question. First of all, being on a WFPB diet (avoiding added oils and sugars) will help you achieve an ideal weight. Yes, according to the above article, an obese person still has the spillover effect, however, the hypothetical obese person on a WFPB diet ONLY has the negative effects from the spillover effect, as opposed to the hypothetical obese person eating a SAD diet having the spillover effect plus the fats being directly poured into the bloodstream via a meal. Does that make sense?

  7. I would really love for Dr. Greger, Dr. Peter Attia, and Dr. Tim Noakes to get in a room and just hash out what the truth is. Attia and Noakes present science that supports the health benefits of a low-carb, high-fat (“LCHF”) diet. Greger presents science that shows how LCHF diets are bad. This is why people just give up on nutrition science and eat whatever the hell they want.

    1. hi Mike, I am not familiar with Drs Attia or Noakes, so I am curious to know if they present studies on reversing heart disease with the diets they espouse ? How about kidney disease? thank you

          1. Interesting, susan. Will watch. Dr. Attia emphasizes over and over that dietary fat is not what leads to arterial clogging. Dr. Phil Maffetone talks about this too. Attia regularly posts his own scans to show that, despite eating lots of fat (including saturated fat!), his arteries are clear.

            1. NEPAMike: Does Attia show “before” scans that show that his arteries were all clogged up? And then after his diet change, this arteries cleared? If not, then the anecdote is entirely unconvincing. There could be any number of reasons why his arteries have not clogged up on his current diet. When we talk about diet affecting arteries, we are talking about probabilities and risk. For example, just because you smoke for decades doesn’t mean that you will get lung cancer. If you gave me an example of a person who smoked and never got lung cancer, it would do nothing to disprove the science we have linking smoking to lung cancer.
              We do have studies published in respected, peer reviewed journals showing before and after pictures of patients who were able to open up their arteries after a diet change. These patients ate a low fat whole plant food based diet. To my knowledge, this is the *only* diet proven to reverse heart disease in that way. Not just lower risk. But to open up arteries. There is a *giant* body of evidence backing up that eating fat clogs arteries. A google search does nothing to change the science.
              While we don’t have Dr. Greger and Dr. Attia in a room duking it out, we do have videos from Plant Positive. Plant Positive goes through claims made by cholesterol denialists in great detail. He shows their evidence and evaluates whether or not it is valid. I find the material to be as pretty close to a debate (though a bit one sided of course). You could think of it as what the answer to Attia might be if Dr. Greger were in the room. Plant Positive even covers Attia’s work in particular. If you are interested, here is the website:

              1. Thea, thanks for the plantpositive link. I found it to be heavy on snark and light on actual evidence that could persuade me or anyone else. My reference to an Attia anecdote was not meant to be more than an anecdote. But yes Attia’s story is that he was very overweight and had the blood markers to show for it. Then he went on a LCHF diet, and lost a significant amount of fat, and his blood markers all improved significantly. I realize that’s still only one person, but it’s getting in the direction of persuasive evidence. Finally, Attia, Noakes, Maffetone, Phinney, and Volek are all LCHF guys who are into strenuous athletics — in stark contrast to the photos I see of Greger and his band of seemingly recent refugees from a concentration camp. Okay, that crossed a line, but the plant positive site inspired some snark.

                1. NEPAMike: Improved blood work is not the same as actually opening up arteries.
                  As for athletes, vegan athletes are breaking world records and winning world metals right and left. After going vegan, these athletes improve over their previous performance. You gave me some anecdotes of athletes. Below are some anecdotes for you.
                  It’s true that Plant Positive is high in snark, but he references all the studies and brings in real science. You skip it as your own loss.
                  (article from meatout mondays)
                  Vegan Bodybuilders Dominate Texas Competition

                  The Plant Built ( team rolled into this year’s drug-free, steroid-free Naturally Fit Super Show competition in Austin, TX, and walked away with more trophies than even they could carry.

                  The Plant Built team of 15 vegan bodybuilders competed in seven divisions, taking first place in all but two. They also took several 2nd and 3rd place wins.

                  For More Info:

                  When Robert Cheeke started in 2002, being the only vegan athlete he knew of, he may not have imagined that the website would quickly grow to have thousands of members. Robert says, “We’re discovering new vegan athletes all the time, from professional and elite levels… to weekend warriors and everyone in between.”

                  For More Info:
                  There was that other guy who did a world record in weight lifting. “Congratulations to Strongman Patrik Baboumian who yesterday took a ten metre walk carrying more than half a tonne on his shoulders, more than anyone has ever done before. After smashing the world record the Strongman let out a roar of ‘Vegan Power’…” For more info:
                  another article on the same guy:
                  And another article: “I got heavier, I got stronger, I won the European championship title in powerlifting, I broke three world records so everything was going perfect … my blood pressure went down, and my recovery time was so much faster so I could train more.”
                  Here’s a story about a bodybuilder who doesn’t use any supplements. Just eats whole plant foods:
                  Mr Universe – “Since going vegan, he has actually gained even more mass, now at 107 Kilos…”
                  Bite Size Vegan has a youtube channel
                  “In this video series, you’ll hear from various vegan athletes from all walks of life and athletic abilities speaking to such topics as vegan athletic performance, building muscle on a vegan diet, vegan endurance running, bodybuilding, body image, and more!”
                  Here’s another site that I like:

                  I found this story on the above site: “Pat Reeves has set a new world powerlifting record at the WDFPA World Single Lift Championships. The 66 year old lifter, who has been vegan for 46 years, lifted 94 kg to set a record for the under 50.5kg weight class while competing in France in June 2012. The lift was more than 1.85 times her bodyweight, which is exceptional for her division. Pat is now officially the oldest competing weightlifter in Europe.”

                  Hope everyone finds this helpful.

                  Story of Mac Denzig, winner of season six of The Ultimate Fighter
                  Book: Vegan Bodybuilding And Fitness by Robert Cheeke
                  And another article from Meetout Mondays:

                  Vegan Figure Skater Takes Silver
                  Canadian Olympian Meagan Duhamel and her partner Eric Radford won a silver medal in pairs figure skating at this year’s Olympic games in Sochi, Russia.

                  Duhamel proudly took to Twitter announcing that she is an “Olympian, vegan, yogi and nutritionist.” Wonderful! Congratulations to Meagan for being an outspoken and shining example of what healthy vegan eating looks like. …

                  (from Meetout Mondays)
                  Plant-Powered Athlete: Griff Whalen [NFL Player]
                  His teammates say he has the most enviable body on the team. They say he consumes an average of 6,000 calories and 200 grams of protein a day. They also say, he does it all by eating plants!

                  In a recent interview on, Indianapolis Colts’ wide receiver Griff Whalen, talks about his vegan ways.

                  “I feel a lot lighter, faster, quicker on the field. There isn’t that heavy feeling, that groggy feeling after I eat,” says Whalen.

                  Hooray for another plant-powered athlete for us to cheer on. w00t! w00t!

                  Read the full article on :
                  (from Meetout Mondays)
                  NFL’s David Carter on Living Vegan: In an interview last month on Rich Roll’s podcast, 27 year old Chicago Bears’ defensive lineman, David Carter spoke of a day in the life of the NFL, what he eats daily, his vegan journey, and his commitment to animal advocacy.

                  “I can honestly say that being vegan is not only the most efficient way to be full-body strong, it’s also the most humane; everyone wins,” Carter said on the podcast.

                  Carter is also the founder of The 300 Pound Vegan, a lifestyle blog where the NFL player writes about his journey through veganism and shares plant-based recipes. If nothing else, Carter shows us that living on plants is not just for endurance athletes or yogis but can positively impact heavy hitters in terms of their size, speed, agility, power, and quickness. Aww, yeah! Thanks for being so rad, David. We love it!

                  Listen to the full interview on Rich Roll:
                  Or for a written story with sample menu plan:

                  And another article from Meetout Mondays:

                  Record Setting, 92 Yr Old Vegan Runner

                  Mike Fremont has been vegan for over 20 years, and has been setting single age marathon running records just as long.

                  “At age 88 [Mike] ran a 6H5M53S marathon in Cincinnati Ohio and at age 90 ran a 6H35M47S marathon in Huntington West Virginia. [He] also set a single age world record for 90 years old in the half marathon in Morrow Ohio in August 2012,” said Veg World Magazine.

                  According to an interview with Veg World Magazine, Fremont credits his vegan lifestyle for his continued record setting runs, at his age.

                  We love seeing vegans making positive media waves, and what better way to showcase the health benefits of plant-powered living than Mike’s awesome running career. Here’s to you Mike, and vegan athletes of all ages!

                  Learn more about Mike Fremont a

                  from Meatout Mondays:

                  World’s First Vegan Pro Soccer Team

                  The Internet went wild last week as the news that English soccer (A.K.A football) team, the Forest Green Rovers, announced that the entire team and club is going completely vegan.

                  “We stopped serving meat to our players, fans and staff about four seasons ago,” said club owner Dale Vince (via a recent article on He continued, “We’ve been on a mission since then to introduce our fans to this new world.” The article explains that while the club has been vegetarian for the past few years, they’ve decided to take the next step in going fully vegan (including their beer and cider options). Also cool to know: the club’s field is organic and they collect rainwater to use for irrigation. This is seriously super cool, you guys. Keep it up!

                  Read the source article on:

                  from Meatout Mondays:
                  Vegan Arm Wrestler: Rob Bigwood

                  “Some of his opponents say that since going vegan Rob is stronger, his stamina grew, and he became more difficult to pin,” notes an interview-style Facebook post by ‘Starry N Ight.’

                  A competitive arm wrestler since 2000, Rob Bigwood has been making a name for himself in the arm wrestling community—not only as the one to beat but also as the guy who eats plants. Rob has said, “I was concerned at first [about not eating meat for strength] but didn’t care. I made a conscious and ethical decision to give up meat…It is more important to practice what I believe in than to worry about being a strength athlete. I have never felt better in my entire life and it was one of the smartest decisions I ever made.”

                  Check out one of Rob’s interviews on

                  from Meatout Mondays:
                  Vegan Bodybuilder Bucks Stereotypes

                  Vegan bodybuilder Joshua Knox shares his game changing and inspiring vegan story during a TEDxFremont, California presentation.

                  In this five-minute long video, shared by Mercy for Animals, Knox talks of his ‘meat and potatoes’ upbringing and what led him to give veganism a try. The results were nothing short of wonderful.

                  “Not only was I able to continue increasing my strength and performance but also saw massive gains in endurance as well… [and] rather than feeling like I was missing out on foods I really felt that I was opening my mind to so many things I would have never put on my plate…” Knox said during his presentation. Joshua also noted a drop in his cholesterol, while experiencing mental and emotional health improvements as well. Rock on, Josh! Thank you for sharing your story

                  Watch the short video on Mercy for Animals’ youtube channel:

                  from Meatout Mondays:
                  Vegan Breaks World Record in Push-Ups

                  A vegan from Kerala (a South Indian state) has just broken the Guinness World Record for knuckle push-ups (press ups). K.J. Joseph—a manager of an ayurveda centre in Munnar—completed 82 push-ups in 60 seconds, beating out Ron Cooper from the US who held the record at 79 push-ups in 2015. “Joseph has already entered the Universal Record Forum by doing 2092 push-ups in an hour. He is currently the record holder in the India Book of Records,” notes Thanks for making us vegans look good, Joseph. And congrats on your win!

                  Check out the original story:

                  from Meatout Mondays:

                  Professional Bodybuilding Couple Celebrate Veganism
                  Named 2014 Mr Universe, Barny Du Plessis and his fiance, named UK’s strongest woman, Josie Keck are excited to share and to celebrate their one year vegan anniversary this month. In a comprehensive interview by British publication, Daily Mail, the vegan (literal) power couple are “…serious about [their] crusade to save the Earth, the animals, [themselves], and our dignity as a species,” said Barny. The articles noted that, “Barny is on a mission to destroy the idea that eating meat is associated with manliness.” He said, “I’m living proof that you simply don’t need to eat meat or animal products to make great gains, be strong, healthy, fit, and feeling mighty.” We couldn’t agree more, Barny. Congratulations to you both on your anniversary! We’re so jazzed you’re passionate about veganism.

                  “When training for competitions Barny eats up to 4,500 calories a day, while Josie consumes 2,200 of vegan food. While preparing for a competition their typical diet consists of a wide variety of vegetables; fruit such as apples, bananas, dates and berries; grains such as basmati rice, quinoa and tapioca, pulses like chickpeas and brown and red lentils; as well as powders such as rice protein, hemp protein and vegan protein blend.” And the article includes a sample daily menu for each of them.

                  From PCRM Weekly News Update:
                  What do the world’s top male and female tennis players have in common? They love vegan food! In a new Huffington Post piece, Dr. Barnard talks about plant-powered Novak Djokovic’s recent win at the French Open.

                  from meetout Mondays

                  Weightlifting Record Set by Vegan

                  With a record-setting deadline of 452 pounds, Iceland native Hulda B. Waage says it was her vegan diet that helped her pull out the win. “You can be strong without eating meat and animal byproducts,” she said. “I’ve reached the age when the body produces more swelling. I believe my diet helps with this, and I recover more quickly after practices.” Hulda has her sights set on the 2023 World Weightlifting Championships. Awesome, Hulda! Way to represent vegan athletes in a most wonderful way. And thank you for all you do to help inspire and forward a cruelty-free world.

                  1. Dang! We are a study bunch. And don’t forget Scott Jurek and Rob Rolls. Two of my favorite. I was watching a promo video of him (Rick) doing the butterfly across the pool and I was sold.

                    1. WFPBRunner: I stopped adding to my list long ago, because it got so long! But maybe there is room for one or two more…

            2. Mike it doesn’t matter what these guys say. It is what the research says.

              If Dr. Greger said, “Eat your fat. It’s good for you. It makes your hair pretty.” And doesn’t link a research article for me to see that fat makes my hair pretty I would never come back. That is the difference.

    2. Can you think of a single population group anywhere on the planet that has demonstrated that eating a LCHF diet is healthful? It didn’t work out so well for Dr. Atkins. Don’t think of research studies for the moment, just look at the various populations of the world to see what works and what doesn’t.

      1. Of course, most of human history was marked by a lack of agriculture (i.e., growing grains, corn, etc.), so they went for long periods in between meals and went into ketosis. Didn’t work out well for Dr. Atkins? He died when he slipped on ice and hit his head, not from a heart attack or stroke. But the point of my question is that Greger points to studies showing that low-carb diets lead to problems, and other well-respected doctors (Attia, Noakes, Maffetone) point to studies showing that carbs should be very limited and that fat should be the primary fuel.

        1. Hawaiians are an example of a Pacific Island culture – their traditional diet was primarily carbohydrates from taro root and sweet potatoes (but did contain coconuts and fish, mind you). There was a study done putting overweight modern Hawaiians on a traditional equivalent diet, and their weight and health problems started going away within a matter of days.

          And as Thea mentions, Inuits may have survived in those harsh conditions but they did not live very long or healthy lives

    3. I’ve tried all these diets. I’ve been a borderline diabetic for 30 years. I can’t stay on a vegan diet. I stayed on the Atkins diet for 18 months and lost 100 pounds. I felt good during this time. On the vegan diet, I’m hungry all the time. I tried the usual diets that include “good” carbs. I can handle a FEW, but a bowl of oatmeal, quinoa, or a sandwich with whole grain bread let me know I’ve eaten too many carbs. So I try to eat a few carbs, some fat, and veggies. A bit of fruit, yes, but just a bit. I get confused by all the recommendations that disagree with each other, but I’ve finally decided that people are different and that we all weren’t meant to eat the same.

      1. Try Intermittent Fasting. Well shown to rid the body if excess glucose, reverse insulin resistance as well as reversing type 2 diabetes. In addition LCHF is also shown to aid in this. For information contrary to what you see here check out the YouTube channel BeALoserToday. I lost 50 pounds in 3 months with the information on there as well as lowering my blood glucose and HBA1C

  8. No, this is not correct. First of all it has been proven that the number of fat cells can actually increase and decrease. There are many factors that can affect this such as toxins known as obesegens (increase #) and intermittent fasting (decreases number.) Fat in the diet does not require insulin for utilization yet can be broken into ketones and used for energy. So it would actually help decrease high insulin levels.

      1. baggman744, you’re almost correct. Breastfeeding will decrease fat cells in the mother as they are expressed in the milk. That’s just one of many of the healthful benefits of breastfeeding.

  9. “If you put people on a low carb diet, fat builds up in their muscle within two hours and insulin sensitivity drops”. But you do not explain why this is so!

      1. So Greger is basing his statements entirely on an observation study from 2001? Did they ever follow up this observational study with an RCT? If so where is the RCT? If not, then he is making claims based on a hypothesis that hasn’t been proven (much like the cholesterol hypothesis).

  10. So LCHF worked for him and you’re mad about that? Both Noakes and Attia have demonstrated that LCHF is perfectly healthy — even optimal — for endurance athletes.

    1. Mike are you an endurance athlete? The reason I ask because after running let’s say 15 miles the last thing I want to eat is fat. I crave potatoes. Fat as fuel on a run? That is harsh sounding. My stomach can barely tolerate coconut water.

      He just seemed like he bought into the Atkins thing. Well yeah a little mad because I used to think of him as this running MD. And then he turned into what health care people should never be. We are supposed to be really good examples.

      1. WFPBRunner, yes, I run ultras. I know exactly what you mean, but that’s because you’re not keto-adapted. It takes a while to get adapted to using fat as a primary fuel. And carbs still play a role unless you find a way to run completely flat surfaces without surges in speed (not happening in Northeast PA). But that’s the only time that carbs are tapped. And there’s a product that allows for the slow digestion of carbs while in ketosis. I don’t consume much in the way of fats during a run except for salted nuts. I drink water and take electrolyte tablets.

        And I wouldn’t equate all LCHF diets with Atkins. But to the extent that you do, you seem to assume incorrectly that dietary fat or dietary cholesterol leads to being fat or having blocked arteries. See Attia generally for proof that this is not how it works.

        1. With all due respect there is absolutely nothing I would learn from a LCHF believer. I have studied this for too long, we have too much data at this point to counter it.

          My family has a history of severe heart disease. Play with that! No chance.

          I don’t spend alot of time running slow.

          1. My original comment was calling for a squaring of data from the Attia side and the Greger side. Simply saying you won’t look at the Attia data and referring to “too much data at this point to counter it” is far from convincing. I don’t doubt that you personally have looked into the question, but efforts to square both sides have not been successful and I’m not closing my mind on the question just yet.

            Also, on “running slow,” see genius Dr. Phil Maffetone. Can I assume that you have too much data to show that he’s wrong too?!

            1. Hi Mike
              So Phil Maffetone has a very fancy website. So you use him to train for your ultra runs? Good for you for getting out there. I absolutely love to run!! Have you read any work by Jack Daniels, PhD? He is my absolute favorite researcher on running.

              I don’t see any linked research articles on his website. Am I not looking in the right place?

              I also just visited Dr Attia’s website. I have the same question to ask. Where are his linked articles? That is the difference between and the websites you link. They should not be making a health statement without posting a research article for us to refer to. Here is a quote from Dr. Attia

              “Does this mean I won’t succumb to heart disease? Of course not. But this is a stochastic game and the objective of the game is to increase the odds in your favor while delaying the onset of bad outcomes. It’s up to each person, and their doctor if necessary, to determine how aggressively they want to confront the inevitable—we all have atherosclerosis at some level.”

              After reading that I am under the impression that his “inevitable” is via medication. I personally would never see a doctor like that. And had he been trained properly he would know he should never make a statement without linking a research article.

              1. WFPBRunner, I have heard of Jack Daniels, but I don’t know much about him. Will definitely check him out. For the science that Attia and Maffetone rely on, search their names in YouTube. For me (with no science background), it gets over my head pretty quickly. But they both rely heavily on research.

        1. That would be a very bad idea. The only macronutrient you can survive without ingesting is carbohydrate. Your liver will make that from proteins. You must ingest fat to survive. If you adapt to fat as your primary fuel, you will be in optimal shape. This can be done while still eating whole-food plant-based foods.

          1. Sure if you want to die of heart disease! Our bodies and brains run on complex carbs, glucose. Ketosis is a survival mechanism to help us survive under the stress and duress of starvation, not a long term solution to health! Do yourself a favor and learn the actual science, not the wishful bunk from jokers who echo what you want to hear. Show us the science, not somebody’s opinion!

            1. There is a lot of science showing that the brain and red blood cells can run on the glucose produced by the liver through gluconeogenesis. Carbohydrate does not need to be consumed in order to feed the brain. Sadly the false rhetoric of the past 50 years is deeply ingrained.

        2. You get all the fat you ever need from whole plant foods. Eating animals is a bad idea all around not just because of their fat content, but plant oils are as bad as they are just the caloric waste product left behind after the nutrients and fiber are processed out.

          1. Wrong. Vegetable oil is the most harmful fat and it’s not even saturated fat.

            And you can also get inflammation and atherosclerosis by eating plant foods that have a lot of Omega 6 such as peanut.

    1. All whole plants contain carbohydrate, protein and fat. So when you eat whole plant food you do consume fat, but the percent fat is kept down to a healthy level and the type of fat is healthy. Food that is nearly or all fat like oil, butter, mayonnaise and food that is all or mostly simple carbohydrate like sugar, hard candy, pastries, straight fruit juice is to be avoided (or severely limited).

      If you eat a whole foods plant-based (WFPB), then you don’t need to calculate the percent carbs, protein, and fat or count calories because that part of it is already optimal. You just eat and let Mother Nature take care of it. Well, no matter what food you eat a little supplementation is a good idea.

        1. For optimal nutrition ALL diets need supplementation. Especially the standard western diet and low carb diets. Well, those diets can never be optimal, at least not for a normal human. Those diets need subtraction as well as extensive supplementation!!

        2. I disagree, except for B12 (which is cheap and known to be effective for everyone, including non vegans) that we used to get from soil, “poor” hygiene, and untreated water supplies… before the age of over zealousness. Not that I’m fond of cholera and the like, but we overdo it with our germophobia and antibiotics, to our detriment.

    2. This is completely backwards. The lower limit of carbohydrate consumption for life is zero as long as humans eat moderate amounts of protein and high amounts of fat. There are cultures in the world that eat no carbohydrate from adolescence to adulthood with no negative effects. Additionally we developed to sustain ourselves through long periods of no food which is why Intermittent Fasting is a powerful health and weight tool. You can learn more on the YouTube channel BeALoserToday if you want an opposing viewpoint.

      1. John Thevenet: The longest lived, healthiest populations in the world have a few things in common. One of those things is a whole food plant based diet. The traditional Okinawans typically lived to be a healthy 100 and ate about 85% carbs. What cultures are you referring to where you think they ate no carbs and had no negative effects?

  11. Im sorry but this is about Low Carb and I dont see one single Low Carb study cited… Whats happenning? Can we really extrapolate infusing people with fat on their bloodstream to what really happens on high fat diets? Thanks

    1. Hi Alexandre, Dr. Greger does site this study in the above article. Also, you say, “Can we really extrapolate infusing people with fat on their bloodstream to what really happens on high fat diets?” Correct me if I’m wrong, but a high fat meal DOES create a direct increase of fat in the bloodstream.

      1. Also, Dr. Greger provides a link to one of his previous videos in which he sites multiple studies showing the harmful effects of a low carb diet. Here is the link again. And although not linked above, here are more of his articles on low carb diet (with plenty of credible sources). Lastly, Dr. Greger wrote a book on the negative effects of the Atkins diet (again, with PLENTY of references cited).

      2. Stephanie thanks for replying. That study is on rats.. about the question I honestly dont know…wasnt it easier to make a high fat meal instead of infusing fat into the bloodstream?

        1. It’s not a study done a rats but on humans.

          the abstract starts with saying “Rat muscle studies suggest competition between free fatty acids (FFA) and glucose for oxidation, resulting in glucose-6-phosphate accumulation.”

          But then it goes on to say “However, FFA decrease glucose-6-phosphate in HUMAN skeletal muscle, indicating direct inhibition of glucose transport/phosphorylation.”

          ergo, in rats free fatty acids don’t seem to inhibit glucose transportation, but it humans it does. It was using rats as a comparison to humans.

    2. Low Carb diets are of the paleo variety that are predominately meat and vegetables so since there is so much meat in the diet it adds the fats that he cites in the article above. All of the fat in the bloodstream of the individuals he refers to was there because they ate fatty foods or the fat was released from fat stores either in fat cells or the spill over effect of the fat depositing in the muscles. Watch the series of videos – they are very informative.

  12. I want to add that I really believe there is a lot more to people’s individual body metabolisms and genetic tendencies. I’ve read numerous books to lead me to believe there is a lot to this. Has anyone read Dr. Nicholas Gonzalez’s books or heard him as he followed the experiences of Dr. William Donald Kelley in regards to cancer? They have found that there are different metabolic types and to try to make everyone eat the same diet can be disastrous. It has also been interesting to read Dr. Richard Berstein’s book (The Diabetes Solution) along with Jenny Ruhl’s book (Blood Sugar 101) which is a compilation of a lot of research. Dr. Greger has been a great source of information and encouragement to continue to press on and eat smartly, but I found that I just can’t eat whole grains, starchy vegetables, or most fruits without my blood glucose going too high. And through my readings it only takes it to go to 140 to begin causing cellular damage–whether it’s from pure white sugar or a meal of beans with brown rice and a cluster of organic red grapes in the side. So, I encourage everyone to be watchful of your own personal responses to food.

    1. Like any other animal on the planet, we humans DO have an ideal diet, and our physiology makes that quite clear. The confusion comes from financial interests and preferences, not science. We may have different tolerances to abusing that diet, but when you eat a whole food plant based diet (without processed foods including oils) and plenty of complex carbs, you will find health issues will dissipate or disappear. Scores and scores of people (like me) have reversed severe heart disease, diabetes, a myriad of auto immune issues and on and on. No other diet can accomplish this, so it’s pretty obvious if you WANT to actually see it. If not, oh well, your life your call.

      1. You may also find plenty of people that when they ate a whole food plant based diet their health worsened. You might also find a growing number of people that have reversed heart issues, diabetes, obesity, arthritis and many other ailments by following a keto / LCHF diet. You will probably also find those that suffered on such diet.

        Your point is mute as we are all very different people. Some (not myself) can tolerate a lot of processed / sugar laden crap whereas others (myself) do quite well on full fat, moderate protein and lower amounts of carbs (notice I didn’t say no carbs).

        You say no other diet can accomplish what this diet does yet there are loads of people out there doing it. I think you might be slightly blinded by your own results and as such wish to preach it to everyone. I like to look at it like this, if you have been struggling with health / diet issues then why not try keto / LCHF. You really have nothing to lose but lots to gain and if you are worried about cholesterol (of which has been debunked over and over again as ineffective mark for heart disease) then have you bloods taken before and after. Judging from some of the writings on this site you should be able to tell within minutes of eating fat if the diet is for you (tongue and cheek of course. Give yourself at the very least a month).

        I can tell by the way you write that this WOE is working for you so you should stick to it but just keep it in the back of your mind that there is no perfect diet for everyone. Some people just can’t eat as many fruit and veg as you do and will likely fall off the wagon back in to processed carbs and sugar crap.

        1. Luke– The host of long-term, epidemiological studies of diet and culture removes the personal variation factor. And data from traditional cultures show extraordinarily low morbidity values on diseases which are the top killers in Western, omnivore “first world” countries. Obviously, we have no Neolithic data of comparable scientific rigor, but we do have glimpses of a diet in which vegetables were a very important part.

          See the latest on recovered Paleo Poo–

  13. Sorry, Doc. You got it bass ackwards. It’s high carb diets that make our bodies produce more fat. Fat isn’t necessarily the root culprit here. It’s an overwhelming symptom of our over-consumption of processed sugars. Of course an overabundance of fat isn’t good, but you might want to go back to the lab to research and figure out the true cause of which you speak not the symptoms.

    1. Sorry but you are DEAD wrong and the actual research is very clear. Processed carbs are problematic, but complex carbs like grains, legumes, tubers and starchy veggies are extremely beneficial and fuel our cellular functions and microbiome. You get everything you need from whole plant foods, no added fat or oil is necessary and in fact is the cause of insulin resistance and T2 diabetes. I know this because following the science instead of the advice of profiteers who have financial interests, I reversed my diabetes after just a few week trial. Easy to echo the blogosphere garbage until you are backed into a corner and need the truth.

      1. Greger sells a book therefore he is also one of the “profiteers” that you speak of. The science is muddy at best when it comes to diet. Too many scientists from both sides of the equation lining their pockets with dirty money. I believe, like everyone should, what works for them. I’m eating LCHF and among others are doing just fine. Bloods come back fine and in fact, you can hack cholesterol results if you want. Might want to see an n=1 study where he lowers his cholesterol (LDL etc…) just by eating loads of saturated fat. Look here:

        1. Luke: To set the record straight: Dr. Greger donates every single penny from his books, speaking engagements, and DVDs to charity. He works a day job. The information he gives the public regarding nutrition is a donation / a “labor of love” as he says it. That doesn’t make him automatically right, but there is no conflict of interest here.

          1. I believe that as much as the Clinton Foundation. Maybe if accounts were open and viewable but I most definitely wouldn’t take someone’s word for it without evidence.

        2. Dr Greger’s proceeds from his book sales go to maintain this website, so no, not a profiteer, quite the opposite, and just a part of the many reasons we have so much respect for him.

          As far as cholesterol, since we make all we will ever need, (why do you think that is?) it’s essentially a moot point because there is too much science showing the detriments of animal products overall and they are a package deal, you don’t eat components. I really wish you would consider the long term effects of the diet you feel is okay though, and investigate some new valid info here: which always includes the studies in the links.

          I wouldn’t put too much faith in blood work, since it is based on the averages of our western population with dietary induced atherosclerosis (and poor overall health)…absent in people who avoid animal products, which speaks volumes. My brother was dying of cancer and had severe atherosclerosis, yet was told his “numbers” looked great shortly before he died! Another anecdotal report that is certainly not an exception… I reversed diabetes, RA, fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, IBS and several other serious health issues by switching from what you’re doing, to a low fat, high complex carb plant based diet as a desperate experiment, and never looked back.

          1. Meh?? He does or he doesn’t. If I don’t see where his profits from all his DVD’s / Books are going I will make the assumption it’s lining his pockets. Seeing is believing and believing blindly what someone says is true isn’t smart too. Not the issue though.

            I don’t really place much faith in cholesterol. I’m happy with how I feel and the issues I have resolved with my WOE. Just as you say, there have been lots of people that drop dead from heart attacks and their blood works are normal so that doesn’t help at all. I don’t think cholesterol is the issue but what we eat is. Processed carbs and sugars seem to stick out as the main drivers of metabolic disease lately. Lots of research to point towards them. However, I wouldn’t put it past big business (sugar) to fund their own studies to prove otherwise. Wouldn’t be the first or last time they have.

            The only people that cholesterol matters to are statin manufacturers. They need it to stay the hot topic because as soon as it is vindicated, they are out of pocket. Not only are they so called “treating” high cholesterol but you can guarantee that they have other medication for the side effects caused by statins.

            I’m sure your WOE is working and can help people but at the very least just know that meat / fat / cholesterol isn’t bad for you and people have survived on it for a very long time without any issues. Only now with grains are we really seeing these metabolic diseases that have causing the health issues we see day to day.

              1. Wasn’t really an issue for me. The link still only points to words that state the same. Still no real proof though is it? Not the issue though so thanks for the link.

  14. In a plant based diet, how do you determine which foods are optimal for you? I mean, when you balance out the micronutrient content vs the anti-nutrients? For example, I once learned that you can’t eat kidney beans raw because the uncooked anti-nutrients could potentially kill you. (Sorry, I’m going off of memory without references.)

    1. Kidney beans are normally cooked. Most people don’t eat poisonous mushrooms and deadly nightshade either. All kidding aside, unless you have botanical knowledge of wild edible plants then buy your whole plant food in a grocery store and you’ll be OK. Of course it is better to buy organic and non-GMO if possible, but it isn’t always possible or affordable.

      For what type of plants to eat here are Dr Greger’s general recommendations:

      The term “antinutrient” is an unfortunate misnomer because many have powerful health benefits. Here is an easy to understand explanation for why you shouldn’t fear antinutrients:

      For Dr Greger’s antinutrient videos, related topics, and related health & nutrition articles see:

      1. Gatherer: You have become one of the shining stars on this forum. Such great posts!
        Thank you for the link to the article about “anti-nutrients”. I’ve bookmarked that one. Great article.

        1. You are too kind! I’m just trying to repay a little for the great job you are doing. You are so pleasant to everyone, even the incessantly contrarian whose sole purpose appears to be try to drive away readers.

          1. Gatherer: Thank you for that nice feedback!
            re: disruptive participants. Thank you for your tactful wording while still communicating something important to me as I know what you are talking about. I often tell people to leave the moderating to the moderators. At the same time, if someone is being really disruptive, having feedback from others allows me to make a better case with the NutritionFacts team for doing something about it. Rest assured, I am definitely keeping an eye on the situation.

      2. Would you suggest a pathway to any whole food plant based protocol to help with digestive issues? Basically, if you were in need to heal your gut how would you do that? At this time I do not tolerate many vegetables and all fruits, berry included. How would you help me with that – hypothetically, of course as you can not give any medical advice :)
        Appreciate !

        1. I’m not a good person to ask that question, Marina, as I’ve never had a serious gastrointestinal (GI) problem. Also you probably didn’t want to go into specifics, but “digestive issues” is a wide brush. That said, here are a couple of suggestions that you have likely have considered already.

          Seek the advice of a gastroenterologist who is familiar with plant-based diets.

          Any change in your diet should be gradual. Some digestive problems are due to a mismatch between what you eat and what bacteria exist in your GI tract. Time is required for the proper bacteria to colonize and propagate. For example, this is important for introducing a healthy amount of fiber in your diet. Avoid unnecessary antibiotics (such as that given for a viral infection).

          Here is an article written by a woman who had digestive problems and wanted to eat plant-based.

          In general this web site has menus that use oil, butter, salt and other items that Dr Greger suggests you eventually cut out of your diet, but that specific page is pretty consistent with the WFPB diet.

          Good luck. Perhaps one of the moderators can make further suggestions.

    2. To be fair there would be a lot of things you can’t eat raw , I don’t eat raw beans , so that would not be a problem for me , just like even when I did eat chicken I never ate it raw .
      Cooked kidney beans have a proven health benefit .

  15. Meat consumption has fallen. Did you know that Beef or cow uses the most water? Then pork or pig, then chicken or turkey or white meat, followed by fish? I ask if the most water usage means the least healthy. No, chicken can cause obesity through the chicken virus. Meat is not environmental. It is possible the California water shortage has the cow industry at partial fault. There was a glut of cheese recently. Perhaps this means better water usage. People are tied to plants in a variety of ways. Perhaps we are tied to plants we grow here, like corn and pumpkin (Halloween) and beans. Grapes have been worshiped as a sign of decadence in history, a celebration of the spirit of man. Freedom from hedonism and indulgence in one.

  16. Oh great, this topic is an open invitation to all the delusional low carbers to come defend the rhetoric they’ve been fed! Arrrgghh! Dr McDougall says people love to hear good news about their bad habits, but stopped short of saying how ludicrously defensive they get when their fake facts are challenged by actual science.

      1. Oh good so you can disprove the actual science set out in major reports on health and nutrition by genuine health authorities and panels of scientific experts (among others)? Because people selling fad diet books, Youtube videos and crank websites with their cherry picked studies and speculations are just so much more trustworthy and credible, eh?


          Bio – Peter Attia

          Peter is the founder of Attia Medical, PC, a medical practice with offices in San Diego and New York City, focusing on the applied science of longevity and optimal performance. The practice applies nutrition science, lipidology, four-system endocrinology, sleep physiology, stress management, and exercise physiology to minimize the risk of chronic disease onset, while simultaneously improving healthspan.

          Peter trained for five years at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in general surgery, where he was the recipient of several prestigious awards, including resident of the year, and the author of a comprehensive review of general surgery. He also spent two years at NIH as a surgical oncology fellow at the National Cancer Institute where his research focused on immune-based therapies for melanoma. He has since been mentored by some of the most experienced and innovative lipidologists, endocrinologists, gynecologists, sleep physiologists, and longevity scientists in the United States and Canada.

          Peter was the founder and president of a medical research organization that funded human clinical trials in nutrition and metabolic disease. During his four years as president, they raised and deployed over $40 million.

          Peter earned his M.D. from Stanford University and holds a B.Sc. in mechanical engineering and applied mathematics. He is licensed in California (A96452) and New York (281406-1).

          1. Thanks for copypasting his bio but I am not sure how you think that is supposed to refute the findings of high powered scientific panels on nutrition and health. Attia is quite famous for cherry picking and misinterpreting evidence. You might find these links informative – the first one is from an odd source but it is hard to fault the analysis


            1. Funny you resort to the info from a libertarian web site to blast Dr Attia who has a lot of credentials and received many awards. Of course if you search the Internet on Dr Greger, there are also a lot of articles that are not too complimentary of him.

              And before you accuse someone of being a quack, show the ulterior motives behind these fine scientists. Do they talk like this to sell their supplements which is the main accusation that I often see here?

              1. Funny you talk about Attia’s credentials but choose not to believe the many scientists, researchers and physicians who are even better credentialled than Attia.

                The articles I linked showed how Attia has misstated and distorted the evidence. He is a smart guy though and I have never said that he is a quack. I think he is probably sincere. However, even smart people are not immune to self-deception and those articles probably demonstrate that rather than deliberate, cynical quackery.

                Regarding your posts, I think this quote below sums them up nicely because you seem to be going down both these routes.

                “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.”
                ― Søren Kierkegaard

  17. If I’m on a vey low carb, high fat diet, would it matter if my insulin sensitivity changes? I’m wondering if the insulin sensitive changes are a natural and desirable response to being in ketosis?

    1. LloydChiro: I’m not sure I understand your point/question, but I’ll take a stab at a response.
      Suppose for the sake of argument that a very low carb, high fat diet did help you manage your blood sugar levels. (I’m not aware of such managing your insulin sensitivity, but blood sugar, yes.) The question is, is that a good diet to be on all around? Or are you helping yourself with one symptom, but putting your health at risk in general in other areas? For starters, note that a high fat diet is associated with higher mortality (dying sooner). That’s something to think about, especially when you have an all around healthy alternative for actually helping insulin sensitivity.

  18. Don’t blame on the fat in diet.
    all excess intake energy, fat, protein, or carbohydrate, that exceeds the body expenditure will result glycation, not just fat.

  19. Question: does the same effect happen during/after endurance sports, e.g. a 10mi run without much carb intake? or helps the fact that in that case the fat is being ‘burnt’?

  20. This article is crazy and I am proof. 3 months ago my cholesterol was 590 and triglycerides were 3,083 with an A1C of 8.1. I immediately cut all carbs and rearranged my daily macro intake to 5% carbs, 65% fat and 35% protein. NO MEDS! Blood work this morning shows cholesterol of 179 and triglycerides of 168. A1C is down to 4.8. If your article is true then explain my results…

      1. For example, the author pointed to this study where obese people had higher levels of free fatty acids than normal controls. But this doesn’t mean they eat a fatty diet. I’ll bet you $10 they eat a sugary diet. It’s doesn’t necessarily mean that having free fatty acids causes diabetes. Especially when you commonly see a turn around with the condition with a low carb, high fat diet.

    1. Willliro: Moderator Darchite explains your results in the following comment. It is well worth a read: Basically, you are treating the symptom of your diabetes, but not the cause. She lists some of the risks you take with the path you have chosen. Elsewhere on that page, I covered some other risks. Eating both excess protein and fat is a long term health concern. Your choice of course. I’m just making you aware of the tradeoff.

      1. Interestingly, it appears, if you are insulin resistant, the answer is in the extremes. You cannot really do some of both. Fat by itself, if not in ketosis, is harmful. Likewise, excessive carbs, in a diet that contains saturated fat, is harmful. The magic seems to be in the extremes.”

        Contradictory much? So is it dangerous or not? I would say I’m pretty extreme and my numbers show great improvement. I’m much healthier today than I was 3 months ago.

        1. Williro: Thank you for your response.
          My 2 cents: I don’t think it is contradictory if you understand the mechanisms involved. A high fat diet treats the symptom because you aren’t consuming carbs to begin with. So, of course your blood sugar is to going to shoot up. A diet of low fat whole plant foods treats the cause of diabetes, bringing back insulin sensitivity.
          I’m impressed that you read Darchite’s post. Most people don’t bother to actually click through.
          Also, I truly am happy to hear that you are feeling healthier today than 3 months ago. That really is great and I fully believe you. Darchite pointed out some of the long term concerns/risks you have taken with your current path. If you would like to address your diabetes in a way that is healthy for long term, I recommend checking out the following book. Dr. Barnard has published research on type 2 diabetic patients showing that his diet is clinically proven to be 3 times more effective than the ADA diet–AND it has long term health benefits. The book has meal plans and recipes at the back if you decide to give it a try.

  21. What a croc….what an agenda……Dr Richard Bernstein (a diabetic dr)….advocates a very low carb diet….he has type 1 diabetics and is 81…30 years past his life expectancy…..

      1. He treats type 2 diabetics and type 1 with a 100% success rating……vegans have such a biased agenda….the science speaks for itself….just google dr Bernstein….and you can see his own blood work numbers.

      1. Watching this for the first time, I did not know what to expect. To my surprise, this group of former- diabetics-to-be varied all over the chart– they were in constant flux, as though they had regressed in therapy to a starting point of sorts, and did not particularly like it, at times. Call it a metabolic rebirth, but all went through a struggle, and I could see raw suffering that even the camera could not hide.

        “Detoxification” is the term staff used for this process, manifest in depression, morning sickness, exhaustion (“I’m too old for this.”) and an excuse to return to the awful place they came from. But they had come too far to give up, and though one or two toyed with the idea of dropping out, they eventually realized they could have what they wanted, if only they held on. That seemed the hardest part.

        To their surprise, one-by-one, people in the group began to achieve good results they never had seen before– as their daily glucose reading slowly normalized, their puzzled look made that clear. It was sheer cognitive dissonance– they did not know how to accept what they saw. For some, they were so accustomed to being “sick”, it had become a way of life.

        Although I do not know how the staff managed to see past the symptoms to the core process underway, they were experienced therapists and had seen the whole recovery sequence, time after time. Staff explained for the camera that each of the group was undergoing major changes, but might respond differently. In fact, some seemed reluctant to leave behind the lifestyle that ultimately might kill them.

        (Here I cannot kill the suspense, even if I would– the video server froze at 3:13am EST, and I must work tomorrow. Good night, dysfunctional video server, wherever you are. [Are too many other visitors trying to watch the same video?] )

        1. alphaa10, thank you for your thoughtful post. I hope you were able to see the end of the video ! I recommended it for several reasons. I am not diabetic, but I sought to learn more. This video gives a view to how each person was impacted in their life by diabetes and how each responded to their ‘detoxification ‘ process in healing. This part I think many of us can identify with.. the struggle of our attachments to food, intense food environment pressures, and fear or dislike of change. What totally amazed me was the type 1 diabetics… I hope people will set aside an hour to watch this courageous group redesign their lives in health.

  22. Low Carb High Fat vs. Plant based: for every book “proving” one is superior to the other, there are other books proving the exact opposite. I tried Plant Based for a year, I ate very healthy foods, no junk food, no sugary crap and still gained weight. Beans may be a good source of protein, but they’re loaded with carbs which raised insulin levels which causes you to get fat. I switched to LCHF and lost 25 pounds without trying. I eat like I want: chicken, steaks, fish, green veggies, some fruit. But NO bread, baked goods, candy, beer and other high carb foods. My blood work came back recently, the cardiologist said my numbers were “excellent”. Despite myriad diet systems and so-called “experts” I don’t think anyone, Dr or Phd or anyone else, knows the truth. They’re all wrong in the their own ways.

  23. It’s remarkable how many anonymous internet testimonials there are to the great health benefits of a high fat low carb diet when every person I’ve ever known that eats one is in abysmal health. And since the SAD is high fat low carb, that would explain the fine state of health of the average American.

    1. The SAD is anything but low carb. It’s very high in processed carbs. But if you want to use anecdotal evidence of how people look on each diet, please compare all of the leading LCHF scientists (Volek, Phinney, Attia, Maffetone, etc.) — all of whom are lean and athletic — with Michael Greger and any photo of a gathering (people look weak and often emaciated). There is no comparison.

      Joe Rogan (black belt in jiu jitsu) and Jocko Willink (former Navy SEAL and athletic beast) are both LCHF advocates. So, by all means, show me the puffy LCHF people. (scroll down to photo)


      1. That was me mike that commented on the puffiness. But each his own. That second link doesn’t look attractive to me. Sorry. He looks fat. The guy on the right look better.

      2. I used to think that vegans looked emaciated too, but now that I’ve lost weight I’ve realised it’s all perception.

        I just got used to seeing the large amounts of bigger people, so regular sized people looked skinny to me.

        If you watch a movie from the 60s/70s/80s/90s the actors (from the stars to the extras) look emaciated compared to todays “normal”. My family photos are the same, and we certainly weren’t emaciated or poorly fed, that was just how regular people used to look.

        Even the “fat comedic relief” characters weren’t that big in those movies, and neither were the “muscular tough guys” compared to what we view as muscular these days.

        I used to think Jean Claude Van Damme was super buff watching his movies when they were released in the 80s/90s, but now when I see those same pictures and movies of him even in his prime, he does not look muscly compared to the hulking masses of muscle that we are exposed to all of the time in fitness industry adverts and videos – that’s just how it is, because that’s what sells their powders.

        Jocko and Rogan are very likely on some kind of muscle enhancing substance – I’m not judging, I would be too if my profession (and life in Jocko’s case) depended on being at super human performance all of the time. But I’m just pointing it out because I believe the perception is that they are musclar from their diets, but really it’s because of their extra supplements(and unrealistic amounts of exercise thanks to the substances too). And that really goes for everyone in the fitness industry too. When they’re on the right substances it really doesn’t matter what you eat, you just gain muscle and lose fat. (of course it’s at an incredible cost to health, don’t do drugs kids[who am I kidding, no kids these days would read this far :P]).

        1. Hank Schkorio: Thanks for taking the time to write all that out. I am often writing something like, “When every one you see is overweight, healthy looking people look off.” But you explained it much better.
          (As an aside: I originally wrote, “much butter.” :-) Time to go to bed!)

      3. Dr Greger is only 43 year old and gosh he looks old. Not just emaciated but his skin looks terrible. This kind of super low fat diet and no collagen destroys your skin and joints and gosh who knows what inside the body.

        Dr Hyman who promotes eating fats looks skinny healthy.

        Eating fat does not make you fat, that’s for sure.

    1. oh, sorry! I probably need to reboot, didnt see your post. Yeah, his story is amazing and I love how his whole family is taking the journey with him. Awesome.

  24. Back in 1975, journalist William Dufty wrote “Sugar Blues”, a personal and historical tour critical of the role of sucrose through European, MidEast and American history. Today, it remains a vivid and fascinating book, filed with anecdotes only a deep reader of history like Dufty could provide, yet inadvertently a casualty of the battle between paleo diet “ketone cultists” and those who follow the whole foods, plant-based diet.

    Dufty is relevant to this discussion because his personal anguish from a poor, sucrose-soaked diet is used indirectly by others as a strawman argument against carbohydrates, in general. Anyone familiar with the process of creating white table sugar understands sugar is to carbohydrates, in general, as heroin is to the lovely poppy blossom– an ultra-refined and completely different substance with altogether different properties. A sugar-laden diet may be typical of the grocery-derived menu, but is not a whole foods, plant-based diet, by any means. The completely valid argument against dietary sucrose– a heavy-grade, food industry commodity– has little to do with a healthy cuisine built on fruits and vegetables.

  25. i don’t doubt that some individuals can manage their diabetes symptoms very effectively on a low carb diet, especially when this is combined with weight loss and sustained vigorous exercise.

    Some people appear to be “diet resistant” – ie they do not become obese on high fat diets. This will help symptom management. Further the type of fat consumed and the amount of protein taken can also affect results. However, by and large diets containing more than 30% of fat are believed to be obesogenic. And obesity itself is a big risk factor for T2D.

    The literature, however, seems to pretty clearly indicate (as Dr G shows) that fat is a key if not the key mechanism by which T2D is induced. Many HFLC devotees appear to be outraged by this evidence and argue that because they can control their symptoms with high fat low carb diets, this must mean fat is not the problem the problem, The logic is obviously faulty.

    I don’t want to appear flippant but this really reminds me of alcoholics who use the hair of the dog to manage their hangover. However, very few alcoholics try to argue that because they can manage their hangover symptoms by drinking more alcohol, this must prove that alcohol does not cause hangovers.

  26. This article is false and makes no sense. First of all, there are so many researches that show that a low carb diet will help people lose weight. Of course it cannot work for everybody because each person may have different metabolism and some people may require a high carb diet to stay healthy. But low carb diet does work with a lot of people and it is irresponsible to say that it does not work and makes people fat.

    Furthermore the following statement makes no scientific sense: “So a skinny person eating a low-carb diet can have the same level of fat in their blood that obese people do”. How can people eating low carb have the same amount of fat in their fat cells as obese people? It makes no sense.

    Researches showing the contrary:

    1. Agreed. Absolutely false correlation being toughted as causation. Low Carb High Fat will kick your insulin resistance to the curb. Fasting will also decrease your resistance. But until you increase your fat intake you’ll never be able to fast because your a sugar burner…

    2. Talking about making no sense ….
      “Furthermore the following statement makes no scientific sense: “So a skinny person eating a low-carb diet can have the same level of fat in their blood that obese people do”. How can people eating low carb have the same amount of fat in their fat cells as obese people? It makes no sense.”

      Free fatty acids in the blood and fat cells are two different things.You and your pals seem to have no compunctions about stating your beliefs as unassailable facts even when it is embarrassingly obvious, even to laypeople like me, that you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and are making very basic factual errors like this.

      Not to mention your frequent 2+2 = 5 arguments. For example, the article does not even mention weight loss yet here you suggesting it says that people eating LCHF cannot lose weight. I wonder if the effect of saturated fat consumption on cognition play a role in the quality or arguments that you routinely deploy here

      “diets that are high in saturated fat are becoming notorious for reducing molecular substrates that support cognitive processing and increasing the risk of neurological dysfunction in both humans3 and animals4”

      Compared with the standard diet, subjects who consumed the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet had 44% higher plasma free fatty acids (P < 0.05), 9% lower cardiac PCr/ATP (P < 0.01), and no change in cardiac function. Cognitive tests showed impaired attention (P < 0.01), speed (P < 0.001), and mood (P < 0.01) after the high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet.
      Raising plasma free fatty acids decreased myocardial PCr/ATP and reduced cognition, which suggests that a high-fat diet is detrimental to heart and brain in healthy subjects diet:"

      "As an example, Zhang and collaborators [66] found that high cholesterol intake is strongly correlated with poor performance in cognitive tests on school children (6−16 years of age). Other studies demonstrated that greater intake of cholesterol and saturated fat increased the risk for impaired cognitive function in middle-aged or aged populations [18,33,42,58]. "

      etc etc

      There is a lot more to high (saturated) fat consumption than just its ability to increase T2D risk.

      1. Paleo-Atkins types are just so passionate. Talk about the downfalls of eating, fat, eggs and meat with them and they always get upset. And Dr. Geger must just sit back and enjoy the heck out of it. I wonder if he is having a chuckle.

        1. Well, it’s hard to know whether to laugh or cry.
          Their views are obviously irrational, given what the evidence shows, but they are still capable of convincing others who don’t know much about the subject because of the utter certainty with which these people can state their opinions no matter how ridiculous. After all, the con in con trick is short for confidence. And one thing these people are not short of is confidence.

  27. And the concept that “fat comes from the mouth” is all wrong. Yes you can eat a high fat low carb diet and fat comes from the mouth but does not stay in the body because the body burns them off since there is no glucose to burn. So many people eat a lot of fats and gain no weight. I am trying this myself now for the last few months and I gain to weight and feel great. I will do a blood test next month to see my cholesterol and blood glucose level but I think it will be very good

  28. Out dated garbage, check out bulletproof. Fat is a superb clean energy source; unlike glucose metabolism which can lead to alzheimer’s diabetes obesity. in fact we are born in ketosis; our body are not designed to run on sugar 24/7. This is the most unscientific thing ive read today “gum up” “spillover effect” its clean the person who wrote this lacks a basic understanding of human anatomy and enzymatic processes.

    1. Out of date? They used an MRI to watch the process fat/glucose/insulin interactions inside muscle cells.
      They can actually see what is happening! :)

      The problem I have with Bulletproof is David Aspey is advocating health through eating group 1 and group 2 carcinogens. And if you want to talk pseudo-science, then it’s David Aspey who was the one visiting remote Tibetan monasteries – does he think he’s Bruce Wayne because he’s rich?

  29. How odd my inflammatory markers are very low when I went low carb. High carb gave me not only inflammation but fatty liver with a benign mass that is no longer there after changing diets. Who paid for this article? You should have your license taken away. Fat does not cause insulin resistance. The cycle of high glucose and insulin presenting that glucose to cells does…causes down regulation from oversaturation. High insulin causes an inflammatory cascade. This is documented in countless studies. Erroneous information like this is exactly why our populus remains so ill, and healthcare providers who promote something so dangerous have no business in treating people

    1. You can click the links in the article to read the research for yourself if you would like to see who paid for the study – Dr. Greger only reports on the research, so you’ll have to dig a little deeper if you’re looking for someone to get upset at.

    2. Sorry but saturated fat especially causes insulin resistance. That is a scientific fact even if people selling fad diet books or operating crank websites tell you otherwise. Check out Dr G’s references or go to the literature directly eg
      “Epidemiological evidence and intervention studies clearly show that in humans saturated fat significantly worsen insulin-resistance, while monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids improve it through modifications in the composition of cell membranes which reflect at least in part dietary fat composition. A recent multicenter study (KANWU) has shown that shifting from a diet rich in saturated fatty acids to one rich in monounsaturated fat improves insulin sensitivity in healthy people while a moderate alpha-3 fatty acids supplementation does not affect insulin sensitivity”

      Of course, junk carbs are also inflammatory. Nobody denies this but it is hardly proof that high fat diets are harmless or that fruits and vegetables are unhealthy or cause insulin resistance.

  30. In looking at the full study, it is stating that during the equivalent of a fasted state, when FFA are introduced, the cells will use those rather than use glucose. This is exactly what a low carb diet is intended to do. If you are in a fasted state, you do not have elevated blood glucose, therefore your cells use the fat for energy. If your cells were to use glucose, then one of four things would have to happen – 1) your liver would have to release glucose which should only happen if the cells have no other fuel source, 2) glycogen stores in your muscles would need to be released, again this should only happen if the cells have no other fuel source, 3) gluconeogenesis – converting protein into glucose either from diet or by breaking down muscles within your body, or 4) you would become hypoglycemic because you would be burning your blood glucose down to dangerous levels.

    I am not understanding why anyone would want any of those 3 things to happen if there is fuel available to the cells in the form of FFAs especially if the goal is weight loss. The only way to have weight loss is to burn fat. If our bodies insisted on secreting glucose via the liver and/or glycogen in the muscles or breaking down muscle tissue when there is fat available to burn, then it would be impossible to ever lose fat weight.

  31. BUT… a big but, if a person is on a LCHF diet, their carb intake is quite low, ideally around a max of 50g a day. At this point the body does not need to eradicate loads of sugar from the bloodstream as it is simply not being ingested in the first place, they’re using the fats as their energy source opposed to sugar, sure the 50g of carbs will be converted to glucose or whatever & will be burnt as a preference to fats, but after that then you supply the body with enough fats then it will happily continue to thrive without the need for more carbs. And it is carbs which in abundance which will cause the spill over and fat storage etc etc.
    Fact is that people who consume a high fat low carb diet will lose weight, it has been proven if carbs are kept low, just ask Christine Cronau – she is the dietitian who wrote books about it – she has the full explanation. Do something for yourself and start cutting down on sugar/carbs from your diet. You might get a nice surprise.

    1. It’s a nice theory and, if you keep calories low (and exercise) or are genetically blessed, you can lose weight on such diets (my understanding though is that after a year or so most people regain the weight lost plus some).

      The fact is that the evidence paints a different picture
      “Human studies have shown that high-fat diets ($30 % of energy from fat) can easily induce obesity(10,12 – 15). Epidemiological studies conducted in countries such as China, Canada and the USA have shown that, when the average amount of fat in the diet increases, the incidence of obesity also increases(16 – 19). This has led to a worldwide effort to decrease the amount of fat in the human diet.
      Diets rich in fat not only induce obesity in humans but also make animals obese(20 – 22). In both rats(23,24) and mice(25,26) a positive relationship has been found between the level of fat in the diet and body weight or fat gain. In the scientific literature it was first shown that rats consuming diets containing high proportions of fat gained weight faster than those on diets containing minimal amounts of fat(27,28)”

      Of course, people selling sensational books promising that you can eat all the butter, cheese and fatty meats you want, never mention this. After all, it doesn’t exactly help sales.

      1. There is such a process as de novo lipogenesis where fat is made from excess carbohydrate by the liver largely. When we consume carbs the glucose is converted to glycogen as a storage form of carbs, in the liver and muscles. When these glycogen stores are replete, additional glucose is converted to fat. So beyond a certain level of carb intake, it forms fat.
        It stands to reason that, if we are encouraged to eat more carbs as we have for 30 years or so then more will be converted to fat by de novo lipogenesis. Is it a coincidence that we have been eating less fat and more carbs for that period and obesity has increased not decreased. These figures are however derived from epidemiological studies. Epidemiological studies, as you stated, look at average intakes and population wide incidence of disease. They do not mean that the individuals who are eating more fat are the people who are becoming obese in the population. Causation can in no way be assumed from these types of studies.
        Is that statement saying that a high fat diet is 30% fat? (There is a typo.) This is not generally considered a high fat diet diet. In fact studies such as the Women’s Health Initiative achieved ~30% dietary fat as the goal for a low fat diet. Protein in the diet is usually of the order of up to 25% of the calories, leaving a minimum of ~45% of the calories as carbohydrate. A genuine high fat diet is up to ~65% fat and even 80% fat in a ketogenic diet.

        1. Thanks John but in my opinion the highly sensational books, websites and videos that tell us these things are trying to deceive by omission.

          What they do not say, for example, is that Americans are eating fewer carbs now than before WW1, And that Americans are now eating more saturated fat, more total fat and more protein than before WW1, And because Americans are now eating more calories in total, carbs were a MUCH higher proportion of the US diet before WW1 than they are now. If the claims these people make were true, then most of the US pre WW1 population would have been obese and diabetic. They weren’t. Which clearly refutes these claims. No wonder all the low carb promoters forget to mention such inconvenient facts.

          The low carb promoyers also don’t mention that total calories have gone up from eg 3300 per person per day in 1970 to 4200 per person per day in 2000 which also just might have something to do with increased rates of obesity.

          The statement you questioned is based on studies showing that diets consisting of 30% or more fat (as a proportion of total calories) lead to obesity. Anything over 29% is therefore considered a high fat diet – even if a high fat diet in the US is normal (I understand that on average the US diet is 33% fat). However, there is no “official” definition of what is a high fat diet so people are free to make up their own definition, Nevertheless, I repeat that studies show that diets of 30% or more fat appear to be obesogenic. That is why the World Health Organization advises that a healthy diet should contain
          “Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats (1, 2, 3)”

          The websites, videos etc where you get these claims from are also trying to deceive us by saying that the studies showing fat consumption increases obesity are only epidemiological. They aren’t. The people who make such statements know this or should know it (fact checking isn’t difficult) but they make the statements anyway. There are plenty of experimental studies demonstrating that high fat diets induce obesity and insulin insensitivity. You only need to follow up the references in the documents I have linked in this and previous posts. Or just Google diet induced obesity.

          I would note that the high-minded low carber objections to epidemiological and other observational studies seem to disappear when many low carb promoters argue that “we have been eating less fat and more carbs for that period and obesity has increased not decreased.” to imply that carbs cause obesity and fats are protective,

          1. Tom, The USDA site you used for details of macronutrient proportions states that the figures are for production in the USA, not consumption. One clue is that the average Calorie consumption in 2010 is given as 4000C, while for an average adult male the figure is ~2500C.
            This CDC site:

            gives the real estimates and states that at least since 1971, when the obesity and diabetes epidemics began, there has been an increase in the mean energy intake in kilocalories as you stated. The mean % of kilocalories from carbohydrates increased. The mean % of kilocalories from saturated fat and total fat have decreased. The last 2 statements are the opposite from what you have stated.

            1. John, yes, as the name shows, these are annual food supply statistics. So it is available food calories not necessarily those consumed. There is always some degree of spoilage and waste in the food supply system so actual consumption will necessarily be a proportion of the total available. However, most authorities accept that the food supply series is a good proxy/indicator for food consumption trends over time.

              The last two statements you made are not the opposite of what I said.

              I wrote that total carbs now (the last year quoted is 2010) are less than before WW1 (the first year for which data are available is 1909) and calories from saturated fat, total fat and protein are now higher than before WW1. This is why I argue it is deceptive to construct an argument based on using a relative low point for carb consumption as a start point and not to mention that, using annual data going back as far as 1909, it is clear that total carbs were previously higher in absolute terms and much higher in relative terms (ie as a proportion of total calories).

              It is also misleading not to note that total calories increased significantly between 1970 and 2000 (about 27% by my calculation based on the food supply series but a considerably smaller increase using the NHANES series survey data which however are based on self reported figures and subject to recall bias) when trying to claim that increasing diabesity in that period was due to carb consumption rising from a relative low point.

              1. Tom, Let me first say that for more than 30 years, I have believed in and lived by the diet heart hypothesis but have been convinced by genuine evidence that it is no longer tenable. I would urge you to keep an open mind. Though I doubt you would do it, I recommend reading Gary Taubes book “Why We get Fat” on the political, not medical decision to promote carbs and Phinney and Volek’s scientific book on “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living”. You may find that these are highly sensational, as you say, because we have been led to believe something beyond doubt that may not be true.
                Over those 30 years, I have never seen production figures used as surrogates for average individual consumption, so I would appreciate it if you have evidence that most authorities accept these figures. These figures were produced by the US Department of Agriculture for their own purposes, after all. If we take the average male (2475C) and average female (1833C) given by the Centre for Disease Control, the population average for adults at least is ~2150 C. This makes an estimate of 4000C out by more than 80%. I do think it somewhat perverse that data from the Centre for Disease Control is overruled by data from the Agriculture Dept on matters medical.
                Given that diabetes and obesity really accelerated in the late 1970’s, I would think pre-WWII data to be less relevant than the later comparisons.
                In actual fact, using the USDA data, I calculated the average carbs intake for the 5 years before WW11 ie 1935-39 at 444gms and used the last 5 years up to 2010 ie 2006-10. That average was 479gms. I thought a 5 year average was more reliable than selecting any given year. So on this basis, there was more carbs consumed, using the USDA data, in 2010 than immediately before WWII.

                1. John James Kellett: Since you are interested in more recent times, Darryl recently gave us a nice graph showing how fat consumption has remained constant in America since 1965. It is from this article: “Statistical review of US macronutrient consumption data, 1965–2011: Americans have been following dietary guidelines, coincident with the rise in obesity” Which includes this conclusion: “Since 1971, the shift in macronutrient share from fat to carbohydrate is primarily due to an increase in absolute consumption of carbohydrate as opposed to a change in total fat consumption.” Ie, people are eating more total calories, including carbs, not cutting down on fat. This is what Tom Goff has been explaining.
                  People like Taubes are misleading you. “Plant Positive” has reviewed the claims of cholesterol denialists in great detail, including covering Taubes. His stuff is high in snark, but the content is very scholarly and fully backed up. If interested, here are some videos (with links to references) covering Taubes:
                  He covers Volek too, among others. It’s very educational.

                  1. Thea, “Since 1971, the shift in macronutrient share from fat to carbohydrate
                    is primarily due to an increase in absolute consumption of carbohydrate
                    as opposed to a change in total fat consumption.” That is precisely the point I have been making: in the period of increasing diabetes and obesity, the association is with increased carbohydrate intake. My understanding is that Tom associates increased fat intake with these increasing frequencies of illness.
                    I don’t think it appropriate to say that I am being mislead in making up my mind about the quality or otherwise of my reading. Nor do I think that I should accept that the opinion of a nameless person who goes by the handle of “plantpositive” is necessarily an unbiased academic whose opinion should value.

                    1. I think you mean that you are being “misled”.

                      Associating all carbs with diabetes etc is obviously false. Whereas there is actually meaningful evidence that saturated fat consumption is associated with eg T2D incidence and prevalence.

                      As for PlantPositive, it is not merely his opinion, since he shows and cites the evidence that Taubes makes false claims. However, f you want to dismiss that evidence as mere opinion, go for it.

                      Strange though that you are quite happy to accept a reporter’s views when said reporter is also not necessarily an unbiased academic (which is your reason apparently for rejecting PlantPositive’s evidence). And of course unbiased academics HAVE produced major reports on nutrition and health (see my other posts for the references) that show that saturated fat consumption is a health risk – contrary to Taubes’ claims. You appear not to accept those either.

                    2. Thanks for the exchanges over the most recent few days. I will conclude by asking you to read a reference published in a peer reviewed journal which states the position as far as I understand it. We share some substantial agreement in that we seem to agree that highly processed carbs may be almost a different food category with regards to metabolic effects compared with plant based carbohydrates. I have been a pesco-vegetarian for the last 8 years or so.
                      You will note that the vast majority of references in this article have been published since 2000 which may indicate a shift in understanding.
                      I would appreciate some comments regarding the article if only to convince me that that you have not been guilty of confirmation bias ie only considering evidence that supports your pre-existing view.

                    3. Thanks John.

                      I couldn’t help chuckling at your last sentence. Beams and motes?

                      The article you link to is written by some very prominent low carb advocates, several of whom have had financial links with the Atkins Diet organisation for many years. Incidentally, I am not sure why you think that noting that the majority of references have been published since 2000 is important..Especially when many of the references are to their own papers or fad diet books – which is somewhat unusual for articles in professional journals. All in all, I think it is a textbook example of confirmation bias in full flow.

                      It is of course a pretty tendentious piece and contains a number of statements that are at best half truths. For example, it contains the same misleading claims about increases in carbohydrate consumption in the US and obesity that we have already discussed at length.

                      It also says that “the lack of association between the levels of dietary fat and diabetes in humans is of real significance”. It does not mention that there is strong evidence of an association between high levels of saturated fat consumption and diabetes in humans. It also states that dietary saturated fat does not correlate with CVD risk. Both claims are highly misleading eg

                      Further, their discussion of lipid analyses and CVD risk prediction models doesn’t seem to accurately reflect the extensive investigations and studies of these factors that have been conducted over the years Nor the latest risk prediction algorithms embodied in the US, UK etc risk calculators.

                      But anyway, I am not sure why you think this article is relevant. The article is primarily about diabetes management. Nobody I think would disagree that low carb diets can effectively manage diabetes symptoms. I don’t.

                      There are two important reasons why this is not particularly relevant (unless you diabetes). One , diabetes management isn’t the same as addressing the root cause of (Type 2) diabetes which is something discussed in videos on this site for example. The article of course seems to deny the role of (saturated) fat in increasing T2D risk. Second, there is well-founded concern among medical professionals that long term consumption of low carb diets is detrimental to eg heart health and may increase the risk of other chronic diseases. Most credible health authorities therefore recommend that diabetics include sufficient healthy carbs (vegetables, fruits, grains) to ensure long term health. However, the article pretty summarily dismissed this concern.

                      All in all, therefore, I think this article is misleading and deliberately misstates certain key issues.

                    4. Hi Tom, One of the more persistent themes you pursue (as above) is the association between saturated fat intake and DM2 and CVD as though the matter was beyond dispute. The evidence to support those statements is far from conclusive as this conclusion from a recent systematic review and meta-analysis, indicate.
                      Conclusions: Saturated fats are not associated with all cause mortality, CVD, CHD, ischemic stroke, or type 2 diabetes, but the evidence is heterogeneous with methodological limitations. Trans fats are associated with all cause mortality, total CHD, and CHD mortality.
                      Definitely my last post. Couldn’t help myself.

                    5. Thanks John. I am glad you raised this

                      That study does not indicate what you seem to think it does (or at least what someone has told you that it means). The last sentence of the conclusion gives the game away “Dietary guidelines must carefully consider the health effects of recommendations for alternative macronutrients to replace trans fats and saturated fats.”

                      It is only a meta analysis of observational studies that do not consider what is eaten in place of saturated fats. In Westernised countries this likely to be white bread, chips (fries), crisps, pasta, fat-free processed foods and the like, which are just as unhealthy as high saturated fat foods. Hence it is no surprise that a null result was found. The authors also say as much.

                      It is a very good study though and I urge you to read the entire article instead of just the bits that reinforce your opinions (remember confirmation bias?). For example it states

                      “Therefore, because of this inconsistency, we document the inconsistency between this finding (positive) and that of the pooled prospective cohort studies (null), and rate the confidence we have in a true quantitative “null” association as “very low.”
                      “A Cochrane review of randomized trials of reduced saturated fats and cardiovascular events found a 17% reduced risk with lower saturated fat intake (risk ratio 0.83, 95% confidence interval 0.72 to 0.96; 13 studies with 53 300 participants; moderate GRADE).8 Methodological advantages of randomized controlled trials over prospective cohort studies include the balancing of known and unknown confounders and better measurement and finer control of dietary fat levels.”

                      Again, let me repeat that this study’s conclusion is “Dietary guidelines must carefully consider the health effects of recommendations for alternative macronutrients to replace trans fats and saturated fats.”

                      That is, saturated fats need to be replaced by less unhealthy foods – eg low GI complex carbs or PUFAs – to reduce CVD and T2D risk.

                      You would also find this video informative

                2. I have read a couple of Taubes ‘books. It was years ago now though when I borrowed them from the library.

                  However, they were full of false claims and ignored or falsely depicted the evidence that refuted his thesis. Good reads though.
                  I thought they were textbook examples of the old adage that a good reporter never lets the facts get in the way of a good story (Teichholz’s book is more of the same stuff, I understand). If you have an open mind you could look at these dissections of of taubes’ claims

                  I have never read any of Phinney and Voolek’s stuff. They are serious scientists but they have had financial ties with the Atkins Diet empire for a very long time. They even sell books promoting the Atkins Diet eg “:New Atkins for a New You”. I doubt that they would bite the hand that feeds them. I would rather spend my time reading reports on nutrition and health from panels of genuine world class experts. And these are absolutely free – although nowhere near as sensational a read. You might even – with some justice – call them dry and difficult reads..

                  We are also talking about food supply statistics (not necessarily production statistics). If you say that tyou have never seen the food supply series data used as a proxy indicator for food consumption trends and diet composition analysis, then clearly you haven’t been looking at the professional literature. The quotes and links I have already given you indicate they are. If you don’t want to believe this and are unwilling to Google it, that is your choice.

                  One of the problems with survey data (like NHANES) is that they are based on self reported food consumption questionnaires. It is pretty well known that people – especially overweight people – underreport total calories consumed and overreport consumption of healthy foods like fruits and vegetables (carbs). That is why food supply data is so useful and a better guide to macronutrient ratios in the diet. You cnb Google this if you want but here’s a start
                  “Percent macronutrient intake indicated lower fat intake, and higher carbohydrate and protein intake in low energy reporters.”
                  in other words people underreported their fat intake and overreported their carb intake.

                  I don’t know why you are talking about pre-WW2 data when my posts all referred to pre WW1 data. The whole point is that it is misleading to select a very restricted time period that appears to support your argument, Looking at the total time series data clearly disproves these claims.

                  In fact I do not know why we are even spending time discussing the claim that carbs cause obesity and diabetes. It is clearly absurd. The great majority of the human race throughout recorded history has basically lived on carbs [ – rice in Asia, wheat, oats, barley etc in Europe and the Middle East, maize and potatoes in the Americas. sweet potaoes in papua New Guinea etc etc. Obesity and T2D were relatively rare until Western high fat foods began entering their diets. It is only wealthy in Western countries

  32. Hm. Doesn’t correlate with “The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living: An Expert Guide to Making the Life-Saving Benefits of Carbohydrate Restriction Sustainable and Enjoyable”. Not sure what to think about article above…

    1. That is because fad diet books like that are inconsistent with what the totality of the science shows.

      This is why eg the World Health Organization advises that
      “A healthy diet contains:

      Fruits, vegetables, legumes (e.g. lentils, beans), nuts and whole grains (e.g. unprocessed maize, millet, oats, wheat, brown rice).
      At least 400 g (5 portions) of fruits and vegetables a day (2). Potatoes, sweet potatoes, cassava and other starchy roots are not classified as fruits or vegetables.
      Less than 10% of total energy intake from free sugars (2, 5) which is equivalent to 50 g (or around 12 level teaspoons) for a person of healthy body weight consuming approximately 2000 calories per day, but ideally less than 5% of total energy intake for additional health benefits (5). Most free sugars are added to foods or drinks by the manufacturer, cook or consumer, and can also be found in sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, fruit juices and fruit juice concentrates.
      Less than 30% of total energy intake from fats (1, 2, 3). Unsaturated fats (e.g. found in fish, avocado, nuts, sunflower, canola and olive oils) are preferable to saturated fats (e.g. found in fatty meat, butter, palm and coconut oil, cream, cheese, ghee and lard) (3). Industrial trans fats (found in processed food, fast food, snack food, fried food, frozen pizza, pies, cookies, margarines and spreads) are not part of a healthy diet.
      Less than 5 g of salt (equivalent to approximately 1 teaspoon) per day (6) and use iodized salt.”

      And the World Cancer Research Fund expert report states that we should “Eat mostly foods of plant origin” and absolutely nothing about eating mostly low carb

  33. It’s a gross simplification to say that “At a certain point, our cells become so bloated that they spill fat back into the bloodstream.” Fat cells only release fat back into the blood, when insulin levels are sufficiently low. Insulin functions as an energy storage hormone and as long as insulin levels are high (largely from dietary carbohydrate) fat cannot be released from adipose tissue. In other words, dietary carbohydrate intake has to be low to decrease insulin levels to sufficiently low levels to permit triglycerides to mobilize from fat stores to provide energy.

  34. So I stupidly moved from a mostly plant based diet to low carb high fat and now my cholesterol is sky high and I’m prediabetic, I have switched back to my plant based diet, but my question is, how long will it take me to reverse what I have done to my body??

    1. Not all diet is for everybody.

      According to this web site, a WFPB diet will cure any disease. Seriously, I think in a couple of months, you will be able to reverse everything. But you can still have diabetes for other reasons but no diet works 100% for everybody.

      1. broccoli: You wrote, “According to this web site, a WFPB diet will cure any disease.” This is a complete mischaracterization of this website. Please refrain from making false statements about this website. – Moderator

    2. Certain aspects as far as lab tests will change quickly, like your serum triglycerides. Cholesterol will take a bit longer as will the glucose levels. Any fatty deposits in vessels and muscle tissue will take longer. You may want to review what Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn has to say in “How to Reverse Heart Disease” where he describes his diet as “Plant Perfect” in that he emphasizes no fat in the diet whatsoever so that you can resorb whatever you have deposited and reverse the fatty deposits. Best wishes as you reclaim your health

  35. Hmmm… I’m pretty sure this guy isn’t a doctor.

    I’m POSTIVIE he’s wrong. I’ve been on a keto diet for 2 years now and I’ve never felt better, looked better or been healthier. My doctor is amazed at the improvement from being a pre-diabetic obese person to a high teens BMI with excellent metabolic numbers across the board with no signs of diabetes anywhere in sight.

    All due to bacon. Well, bacon, cheese, meat, veggies and pretty much everything else that militant vegans (like the author here) hate.

    Do your research. This guy’s a quack.

  36. Do anyone know if the massage oil (let’s say it’s the worst kind of oil with respect to my concern) can damage the arteries? During massage, after a while, you can notice that at least a part of the initial oil ‘disappeared’, so, where did it get? It was absorbed by the skin? And what was absorbed? Exactly the fat that we don’t want to get into the bloodstream? And even if this fat doesn’t get immediately in the blood, does it end up in the fat cells (making them bigger), and maybe later on, like dr G says, “our cells become so bloated that they spill fat back into the bloodstream”? Is the situation any different if in the massaged area the skin has a little wound/cut so that we may have a direct contact between the oil and the lymphatic system (I hope this is the medical term)?

    You can see from my questions that I have no idea how the human body works, but my concern verbalized in these silly questions is based on a clear observation – a (large) part of the massage oil disappears, and thus the question: where?

    1. Hi, George. I am Christine, a NF volunteer. These are not silly questions at all. Very little research has been done on this topic, but it appears that some of the oil is absorbed by the outer layers of the skin, particularly the stratum corneum, making them swell a bit and become more supple. Some of it probably rubs off onto clothing and other surfaces with which your skin comes into contact. Unless you has a very large, deep wound, it seems unlikely that large quantities would be absorbed that way. I am not aware of any scientific evidence that fats are absorbed into the bloodstream or lymphatic system in significant amounts through topical application. Thanks for your questions. I hope that helps!

  37. This guy really doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He should review the science on this before spouting off his ignorance. But then, if your claim to fame is bragging about being on Dr Oz, or Colbert, that much is obvious.

  38. Please explain:

    Study shows reduced cholesterol and improvement in various markers like insulin sensitivity on high fat low carb diet.

  39. In opposition to your post, Dr. Catherine Shanahan (MD and molecular biologist) in her book Deep Nutrition argues that decades of lipid science reveal that saturated fats are not the enemy, damaged, oxidized fats are. Saturated fats are much more sturdy, while polyunsaturated fats (omega 6, 3, etc.) are extremely chemically unstable. Of course we need omega 6s and omega 3s, but they should never be damaged. When any PUFA is heated it creates extremely toxic free radicals which wreak havoc upon the body through a variety of mechanisms. People may be mislead by the above post into thinking that a low carb diet will raise their blood sugar. This is silly because carbs break down into glucose which raises blood glucose markers and triggers insulin response. It makes vastly more sense to treat insulin resistance with a low carb diet, because otherwise you are just adding more glucose to your already fried system.

    1. Hi Neil- The authors’ conclusions were that those assigned to low carbohydrate (and high fat) diet may lead to increased energy expenditure during the maintenance phase of weight loss compared to those assigned to high carbohydrate (lower fat). That modest claim may be true within the 20-week time frame of the study and its very specific parameters.

      One point is that there was a significant difference between the assigned (intention-to-treat) group and the on-treatment (actually following the protocol) group. A significant portion of subjects were excluded from on-treatment analysis because they failed to maintain weight loss during this testing phase, even though the study provided the foods for them to eat. This points out one concern of low carbohydrate, high fat diets (LCHF): long-term acceptability and compliance. Even when given the food to eat, a not-insignificant portion of people could not stay on protocol. Other important concerns (not intended to be addressed by this study) are how LCHF diets affect LDL and other harmful cholesterol particles, and rates of heart attack, cancer, and stroke. Even if it’s true that those who use LCHF diet following weight loss can burn more calories for 20 weeks, we do not know if this translates into lasting weight loss and improvement of hard outcomes like heart attack or death.

      -Dr Anderson Health Support Volunteer

      1. Dr. Anderson,

        Thank you for the reply.

        Yes, I thought that the lack of diet oversight and adherence was one of the two, glaring shortcomings of this study. How do they know what these people ate when they went home? Maybe they got tired of eating their high-fat foods, resulting in them eating less calories.

        Also, the authors compare their study to the DIETFITS study, which was partially funded by the Nutrition Science Initiative–the essentially defunct brainchild of the high-fat, low-carb gurus, Gary Taubes and Peter Attia (the latter having long since fled that sinking ship).

        The DIETFITS study found no difference in weight loss between low-fat and low-carb diets. The authors of the recent study oddly noted, in an almost negative tone I thought, that the DIETFITS study focused on eating whole foods, sans added oils, sugars, and refined grains. This makes me wonder exactly how the recent study overseen by Ludwig fed the participants their macronutrients. Was it via real food or lab-created supplements and processed foods?

        Finally, one wonders how indigestible carbs and starches are calculated in these studies. They provide minimal energy via calories due to their indigestibility, but they feed our gut microbiota, which which can have a vast array of effects on our health via short chain fatty acids and other by-products.


        1. You make very good points. I’ll learn more about the DIETFITS study. I agree that there is a great deal to learn about fostering a healthy and diverse microbiome, and that it’s likely key to understanding human health. Thanks for your thoughtful response and best to you! -Dr Anderson

  40. I didn’t read the entire study in detail, so feel free to point this out, but I saw no mention of what the different cohorts was actually eating from a refined/processed perspective. As an example, I have no trouble maintaining my weight (5’6″, male, 140 lbs) by eating fresh/frozen fruits and veggies that are unprocessed (no juicing, smoothies or any other processed foods). This is what I eat all day. But if I eat whole wheat bread all day (which I’d LOVE to do), I’ll gain a massive amount of weight in no time due to the extreme calorie density of this food, even though it’s still “Whole Food Plant Based”. This is just one example. For all we know the high carb participants in this study were drinking soda all day. Remember, my diet of unprocessed plants would be classified as high carb, just like someone drinking soda and eating white crackers all day, but you already know the health consequences of these two diets is completely unrelated. In other words, this study does not have relevance to those of us that follow Dr. G’s advise and eat unprocessed plants.

    Dr. Ben

    1. In the study: “At the end of the run-in phase, we adjusted energy intake to stabilize body weight on the basis of the recent rate of weight loss for each participant…” They adjusted the calories and controlled the % of each macro. The reason you (and I) would gain weight eating bread all day is because it is much more calorie dense that cooked, intact, whole grain AND we do not calorie adjust our intake to maintain weight goals. Calorie density automatically covers all that for you IF you stay with the original form whole plant foods and emphasize the lower end of the calorie density scale. A high fat diet, being much more calorie dense, will be lower in volume and weight of the food and instead relies on the satiation from fat to control intake. According to the study, the high fat seems to accomplish exactly that by changing the output of appetite controlling the appetite hormones ghrellin and leptin.

  41. Compare “Low fat” with “Keto” on google trends. Against all industry advertising “low fat” is dwindling away whilst keto is stronger every day. It seems keto has more real science to offer.
    Besides, 2 generations of low fat advice, has left us with monster scores of obesity an metabolic syndrome,who still believes these people?

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