If David Ludwig Is Right, Everything We Thought We Knew About Obesity—and Low-Fat Diets—Is Wrong

But it’s not too late to change our eating habits.


David Ludwig is rethinking how we eat. / Photograph by Tony Luong

In the late 1990s, David Ludwig brought 12 obese teenage boys into his clinic for the day, and fed them each prescribed meals. It was a simple experiment: The meals all had the same number of calories, but contained different kinds of food.

At the time, it was generally believed that a high-fat diet led to a high-fat body: You were what you ate. Americans had spent decades cutting down on the fat in their foods, in an effort to be leaner and more healthy. And yet studies consistently showed that this didn’t work—people on low-fat diets experienced high rates of hunger, and any weight they lost was soon regained. Ludwig wanted to know what was going wrong. Maybe it had to do with the kinds of calories we ate, not just how many.

Ludwig, who now treats obesity at Boston Children’s Hospital and is a professor of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health, fed his teenage subjects meals that all had different ratings on the glycemic index, which measures how rapidly sugar rises in the bloodstream after a meal. For example, instant oatmeal is high-GI: Highly processed and refined, it is quickly digested and dumps sugar into the blood in minutes. But old-fashioned oatmeal made with steel-cut oats, a lower-GI food, gets digested much more slowly, doling out sugar into the bloodstream little by little.

Over the next few hours, Ludwig and his team monitored how hungry the teenagers felt, and how much they consumed in snacks. Teenagers on the high-GI regimen became ravenously hungry and ate a lot of snacks after the meal—80 percent more calories in snacks that day than those who had the low-GI meals. “If just half of that calorie difference occurred day after day,” Ludwig says, “it could explain most of the obesity epidemic in the United States.”

Later, Ludwig followed 21 overweight young adults over a period of three months while feeding them three different diets: low fat with high carbs, low carbs with high fat, and a diet with an equal amount of fat and carbs.

In the end, the low-fat diet had a strongly negative effect: When subjects were on it, they burned 325 fewer calories per day. That is, their metabolism slowed dramatically compared with when they were on the low-carb diet, which did a much better job of burning calories rather than storing them. In effect, it was as if those on the low-carb, low-GI diet put in an extra hour of exercise every day without lifting a finger.

If what Ludwig was seeing was correct, it meant that everything we thought we knew about food was wrong. The body is not just a gas tank. A calorie is not just a calorie. As Ludwig’s colleague Mark Hyman, an author and physician at the Cleveland Clinic, says, “Fo od is not just food—it is information used by the body.”

It also meant that the past 40 years of food advice had been a terrible, costly mistake.

For decades, the advice about food and obesity from nutritionists and the government had a strong, simple message: Eat less fat. The food industry responded with a massive campaign of substitution to get the fat out of foods. “Fat free” and “lower fat” became almost mandatory marketing points. Hostess offered low-fat Twinkies, and Nabisco offered fat-free SnackWell’s devil’s food cookies. It worked: At the start of the 1960s, our diets were about 42 percent fat; now they are 33 percent fat.

But we didn’t get any healthier. In the early 1960s, 13 percent of adults were obese and only about one percent had type 2 diabetes. Now, 35 percent of adults are obese and 13 percent have type 2 diabetes.

“Despite eating less fat, we are fatter than ever before,” Ludwig says. What was going wrong? And how could it be fixed?


Throughout the history of the species, humans have been used to natural, largely unprocessed foods that take time to digest and deliver energy to the bloodstream. This is the natural pace of eating and energy: digestion over hours, not minutes.

But when we cut the fat out of our diet, a problem emerged: Without the fat, foods didn’t taste as good, so the industry replaced fat with refined carbohydrates. The result: highly processed, refined foods. For the past 20 years, Ludwig has been studying the effects of these new edibles, which he refers to as essentially “pre digested food.”

When these carbohydrate-rich foods rush-deliver sugars to the blood, the body reacts by producing large amounts of insulin.

And insulin is the signal that sends incoming energy off to be stored, rather than burned. “So much insulin is secreted when we eat these rapidly digested carbohydrates that it drives all our nutrients into storage in the few hours after a meal,” Ludwig says. But that leaves the body without anything to burn. It’s like depositing money in a bank but not leaving yourself any cash on hand.

“When calories are cut like that, the brain perceives starvation. It doesn’t register that there are plenty of calories still stored in fat cells. It just sees that there aren’t enough calories in the blood. It thinks that it’s a famine; there’s not enough food. It doesn’t matter how many calories are stored in your fat cells. If your blood sugar is crashing, your brain is at immediate risk.”

A few hours after eating a high-GI meal, the rush of sugar passes, and then the levels of sugar and other fuels, especially fatty acids, in the blood crash. The low level of calories in the blood now causes hunger and sends out stress hormones.

“The body [perceives] this as a crisis…a metabolic crisis,” Ludwig says. “So it’s not what happens at the meal or an hour or two later. It’s what happens four hours later. That’s the time when you either snack or not, or if you’re sitting down to your next meal [you choose] normal-sized or supersized [portions] based on your hunger.”

This is a problem for dieters: When people cut back calories and start to lose weight, “The body begins to fight back,” Ludwig says. And the first defense is to raise the level of hunger. “We can ignore it for a few hours, or a few days. But imagine feeling desperately hungry day after day without relief. And the longer you continue on the diet, the more severe the hunger becomes.”

Ludwig’s research also undermines a lot of our prejudices against those who struggle with their weight. “We as a culture seem to believe that people with this particular medical problem have a more fundamental character defect than people with almost any other medical problem,” he says. “We assume they just lack the willpower to do what they know is right for them. We blame them. It is patently false.”

Instead, Ludwig says, the American diet “puts our hormones and blood sugar through a roller-coaster ride—meal after meal, day after day.… If these theories are right, this explains a substantial amount of weight gain observed over the last 40 years.”


When Ludwig gets peckish after lunch, he turns to the snacks stashed around his office. He opens the top drawer of his desk to show me: “I usually have a bunch of nuts here, and…” There, in a red wrapper, is a big bar of dark chocolate. “I recommend a minimum of 70 percent [cocoa],” he says. High-fat foods. And the jar next to the desk, with a spoon beside it?

Raw coconut butter. Loads of fat. Does he spread it on something? “No, just eat a couple of spoonfuls in the middle of the afternoon.”

As much as he can, Ludwig and his wife, Dawn, a master chef, eat according to his new theory of food—they favor slow-digesting foods without a lot of processed carbohydrates. Their seven-year-old son helps make dessert: dark chocolate with a dollop of peanut butter on it. They serve tea with heavy cream only, not milk.

Together, the Ludwigs are trying to bring this new science to the mainstream, to change the way Americans eat. They’ve recruited 235 people—some at Boston Children’s and some across the U.S.—to go through a 16-week training course in their new concept of healthy eating. Dawn, who has trained chefs and home cooks for years, worked with David to put together a manual and a step-by-step program, the object of which is partly to help subjects lose weight, and, more important, to establish sustainable habits of cooking and eating.

“This is a lifestyle, not a diet,” she says. The people in the program don’t count calories, but instead learn to choose foods that will make them feel satisfied and not hungry, while eliminating a lot of highly refined foods. Their program forms the basis of Ludwig’s new book, Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells & Lose Weight Permanently. The book is due to be released on January 5.

At the same time, Ludwig and his colleagues have embarked on one of the largest and longest feeding studies ever attempted—following 150 students and faculty at Framingham State University, for an entire academic year, on controlled diets. The entire group will first lose 10 percent or more of their weight on a start-in diet, then be switched for the rest of the year to one of three diets: 20 percent fat with 60 percent carbs; 40 percent fat with 40 percent carbs; or 60 percent fat with 20 percent carbs.

At Framingham State, the study has its own kitchen setup and is careful to offer appealing dishes that are similar for each group. For example, a Mexican meal will have similar flavors but with different proportions or kinds of foods.

They’re looking to provide more evidence that what you eat is as important, if not more, as how much you eat. And there’s evidence that Ludwig’s work is having an effect.

This year, for the first time in more than three decades, the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group of scientists who set government nutrition policies, removed their limit on fat, and they no longer are recommending low-fat foods to treat obesity. It is a revolutionary shift toward worrying more about processed carbs than fat.

“The limit on total fat is an outdated concept, an obstacle to sensible change that promotes harmful low-fat foods, undermines efforts to limit refined grains and added sugars, and discourages the food industry from developing products higher in healthy fats,” Ludwig and his colleague Dariush Mozaffarian wrote in the New York Times after the committee’s recommendations were published. “Fortunately, the people behind the Dietary Guidelines understand that. Will the government, policy makers and the food industry take notice this time?”

If they do, it will largely be because of the efforts of Ludwig and his colleagues.

“The calorie-balance approach to weight control, enshrined in the low-fat diet, has proven utterly ineffective,” Ludwig says. “But with a focus on food quality rather than calories, we can put biology back on our side to lose weight without the struggle.”

  • Leanna Kelly

    In general, I’ve found that any diet that restricts you from eating “bad foods” is not the best diet you could be following. What matters is calories in, calories out.

    • Noah

      Well, the entire article is showing it’s not just calories, but the substance of them.

    • Phil Winkel

      lol are you kidding me. might want to read the article again.

    • Galina L.

      What makes you think you know what matters?

    • Spellbinder

      Hmmmm, so if I eat 1800 calories of butter (grass fed) and burn 1800 calories in anaerobic or aerobic exercise I am good to go?

      • earthtone55

        “Good to go” is sort of vague.

        Addressing this indirectly, diets high in saturated fats are probably NOT the “killers” that stated US Gov’t policy and the accepted (but currently dissolving) medical consensus for years says they are.

        While a diet comprised of 100% animal fat (eg butter) probably isn’t optimal, it probably **IS** better for you than than diet comprised of 100% refined carbohydrates.

    • Johnmeli

      I think when Leanna says, “What matters is calories in, calories out,” she’s mostly right, and that doesn’t contradict the researchers in this article. Whatever diet you choose, if the calories in are greater than the calories you burn, you’ll gain weight. And the reverse is true. No research will ever change that. The makeup of those calories coming in can make a difference in how you quickly or slowly your body uses them, or how they affect your appetite, or your metabolism, or any of a million things now being written about. I think that’s partly what this article is saying.

    • hang100

      Leanna, I think the article says exactly the opposite of what you said.

    • Tracey Harden

      Virtually every piece of recent research on diet contradicts this notion.

    • Fiona Hook

      I think you didn’t read the article. It states exactly the opposite. Not all calories are used the same. You 100% want to avoid the bad food. The bad foods are foods that cause your blood sugar to spike such as refined processed carbs. Please read the article.

    • earthtone55

      >>What matters is calories in, calories out.

      Completely missing the point of the article here, that contradicts the above with actual tests on actual human beings.

      What determines “calories in” is diet, and that’s largely controlled by HUNGER.

      The gist of “good foods/bad foods” is that SOME foods make you much hungrier than others. IE, eating a diet comprised of “bad foods” leads to a slippery slope that causes you to be more hungry and eat even more food, leading to and compounding obesity. Eating a diet comprised of “good foods” keeps appetite down, and leads to leanness.

    • tkent26

      Both “calories in” and “calories out” are _effects_, not root causes.

  • Galina L.

    I am one of many internet users who were fighting on internet against previous low-fat recommendations, especially for children. The only thing to say for me – the right approach to eating healthy is finally approved by the government. I am significantly healthier and 30 lbs lighter because at November 2007 I read the “Protein Power” book by Drs. Eades and gave a high-fat/low-carbs diet a try. BTW, I eat home-cooked food and regularly exercise all my life, so it is impossible to explain a diet success in my case as a life-style change.

  • Mary

    Be careful not to mistake this advice as advocating animal protein and animal fat-heavy diets. Note most of the doctor’s fat and protein sources are non-animal. Research at Harvard School of Public health, backed elsewhere, shows higher all-cause mortality from long-term low carb diets that are heavy on animal sources (whereas mortality improvements for plant-based low carb….Google “low carb and mortality” to see some meta-analyses). Of course, this article isn’t saying low carb at all, but rather to avoid processed carbs and no longer fear fat. It’s just that I know many will jump to the wrong conclusion if they cut carbs after seeing this: They’ll add animal protein and fats and forget he’s advocating slowly digested foods, which would include “carbs” like fruit, veggies, beans, and whole grains.

    • Alan Marcero

      Cool, the vegan police are here to rescue us all from ourselves.

      • Mary

        My brother-in-law was a heavy guy who got lean eating low carb Paleo for almost 14 years. He looked fantastic, exercised, etc. He died of colon cancer at 51 last July. Reading about the risk factors for colon cancer led my sister into a rabbit’s hole of nutrition research. Frankly, we’re all pretty angry the risks of low carb meat-centered diets aren’t better known. We had an empty place at Christmas dinner this year. Any other snarky comments you’d like to make?

        • melinda

          I’m sorry for your loss.

        • Sabretruthtiger

          There’s zero proof it was meat that caused it.

          • earthtone55

            Even if meat DID cause it, that doesn’t mean that the high meat diet was the wrong choice.

            Heart attack and stroke deaths are FAR more frequent than colon cancers. So it well make sense to trade increased risk of colon cancer for decreased risk of heart attack and/or other obesity related illnesses.

            Bad outcome doesn’t mean the “bet” itself was a bad one, just bad luck.

          • This Old Housewife

            More likely the lack of decent amounts of fiber in the diet. If the protein source (in this case meat) is allowed to sit and putrify in the colon, cancer is what’s gonna happen.

          • tkent26

            Animal protein doesn’t rot in the colon. In general, meat is completely digested before even reaching the colon.

        • Sabretruthtiger

          Yes the central banking oligarchy that controls the western governments and the media would love the population to be weak, under-muscled and sickly big pharma-dependent vegans unable to resist or fight the encroaching new world order tyranny.
          Let me guess, you believe in man made global warming despite all the evidence supporting the skeptics and you’re vehemently anti-gun.
          You are?…big surprise…

          • Beth Prichard Robison

            Wow, the tin-foil hat conspiracy theorists are here to the rescue.

        • Shari Bambino

          I’m so sorry for you loss, Mary. I can understand why you feel the way you do. I think I would propose that your sister fell into the vegan propaganda rabbit hole which is simply not the truth. There really is no solid science that shows that meat causes cancer. I don’t think meat has anything to do with colon cancer but I think there is evidence that lack of fiber may be deleterious for some people. I agree that we should all follow a “plant-based diet” but that the diet should include unprocessed meat and other animal foods in addition to a lot of plants matter. Again, I understand your anger and I am sorry for your loss.

        • Margueritte Puryear

          Sorry for your loss Mary, however, there is no proof that meat was the cause. As an oncology nurse, I have seen people with lung cancer that have never smoked a day in their life or been exposed to any toxic substances. Vegans with colon cancer, children with various types of cancer and no family history. On the other side of the coin are the family members that eat bacon daily and smoke like trains that live well into their 90’s or beyond. I can certainly empathize but, truth be told, they just don’t always know the causes.

          • Mary

            No, of course there’s no “proof,” but that doesn’t mean we don’t know what the major risk factors are. You’d have to argue that the WHO and leading colon cancer researchers in peer-reviewed major medical publications are all in on some conspiracy to prove meat intake is associated with significantly higher colon cancer risks. Go to Pubmed and search “meat and colon cancer” to see the many articles on it. The Harvard Health letter has a March 2015 issue saying “Vegetarian Diet Linked to Lower Colon Cancer Risk.” Anecdotes can show exceptions, but science can show us trends and risk factors.

          • tkent26

            All based on observational studies using self-reported food intake surveys. Confounded with numerous other variables of diet and lifestyle. And the increased risks (if they exist) are tiny in magnitude.

        • Galina L.

          Do you think that your brother-in law would live longer if he stayed fat and sedentary?

        • earthtone55

          Mary, would you like hear self-righteous stories about all my first degree relatives who died of heart disease and how they’d be alive today if they didn’t follow the gov’ts “low fat” suggestions?

          Heart attacks and strokes kill roughly 14x as many people in the USA every year as colon cancers, most (though certainly not all) of which are potentially detectable early with routine colonscopies. Morbidity and costs associated with obesity and diabetes in this country utterly dwarf that associated with colo-rectal cancer. Its not even close.

          Granting you that a high meat diet roughly doubles ones’ lifetime risk of getting colon cancer (and that’s the best current estimate, I think) if that same diet even generates a SMALL reduction in heart-attack or stroke deaths (of say 25%), more lives are going to be saved from the high meat diet.

    • Sabretruthtiger

      Bullshit, animal fats and protein are by far the best.

      Peddle your marxist, new world order, vegan propaganda elsewhere moron.

      • 29Victor

        Remember when they went around in the 90s and convinced McDonalds, Nabisco and the rest to replace saturated animal fats in their foods with tran fats. Now it turns out that all those decades of eating trans fats are what’s killing us.

        Good time….good times…

      • Fiona Hook

        She is correct though. I am not vegan but I totally agree he does not once mention go eat a steak. He mentions coconut oil, steel cut oats and nuts.

    • tkent26

      Animal foods (with accompanying fats) are both nutrient dense and satiating to the appetite. There are numerous populations who have eaten diets rich in meat and animal fat while enjoying excellent health. Humans have _preferentially_ eaten animal fats since before we were even human.

  • carrottscarroll

    The one item not mentioned which has a tremendous impact on health and the ability to maintain a healthy weight is preservatives. While not only found in processed foods, it stands to reason if you eliminate processed foods you also eliminate the majority of preservatives in your diet. A very good thing.

    • Alan Marcero

      “I base this on absolutely nothing.”

    • earthtone55

      Which “preservatives” are you talking about, and what evidence do you have that removing them is, in any way, beneficial?

  • cmaurojr

    Simply an amazing find…

  • kmr

    Gary Taubes’ book Good Calories, Bad Calories – great read on this subject!

    • Montana Jack

      No, it isn’t. Taubes’ is a hack journalist at the NY Times…look at books by people who’ve actually done the work on the subject such as Boston’s Dr. Barry Sears and others.

      • Sarah Jahn

        How exactly is Gary Taubes a hack journalist? He has won the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers three times and was awarded an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship for 1996-97. Not exactly a newbie pushing out junk.

        • Olog Hai

          He’s about as knowledgeable of what he writes as Bill Nye the low-level math guy is.

          • tkent26

            Try reading one of his books, you might be surprised.

      • tkent26

        In his book, Taubes reviews the research of hundreds of doctors and researchers who have worked in the field. Sears is in there somewhere.

  • Cause

    DGAC has not removed their limit on fat. This claim has come up in many places. I wish source would be mentioned.

  • hang100

    Do opposite of what the government tells you (food pyramid says eat mostly bread and grain for 40 years) and you will do fine in life.

    • 29Victor

      Yup. What a lot of these stories leave out is that it wasn’t doctors deciding that we shouldn’t eat high-fat diets, it was the government telling doctors to tell us we shouldn’t eat high-fat diets. It was the government subsidizing the high-fructose corn syrup industry that dumped millions of tons cheap sugar into the America diet.

      Now that same government is trying to control our diets to “fix” the problems that they created.

      • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/642397293/ Pilar Quezzaire

        Conspiracy theorists are really annoying.

        • John Mayer

          Apart from the “government is trying to control” vibe this is an accurate historical description of events. You can read all about in the crackpot gazette called Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences:

          Ann F. La Berge (2008): How the Ideology of Low Fat Conquered America. J Hist Med Allied Sci, 63 (2): 139-177.

        • 29Victor

          I don’t understand the “conspiracy theorist” comment. The first paragraph is history and the second is a fact. City and state governments are governments are taxing sodas & other “bad” foods to keep us from consuming them, changing menus in schools based on todays “science” and outlawing different kinds of fats in processed food. How is that a “conspiracy?”

  • Brutus974

    You mean he disagrees with the consensus opinion of politicians everywhere?

    Science denier!

  • nickjuntilla

    As a scientific measure a calorie is still a calorie. Let’s stop promoting ignorance. That slogan has become a battle cry for fat people. The glycemic index of food will still matter in how fast you process food and how much fat you gain, but the amount of energy in a calorie is still exactly the same and you can still lose weight eating only crap food if you eat just a tiny amount. A calorie is still a calorie. Don’t eat inappropriate glycemic indexed for the level of activity you are at. That is what we should be saying.

    • SouthTexas

      You completely missed the point Nick, this is not physics.

      • Johnmeli

        Nick is right. And what he’s saying doesn’t necessarily contradict the article, although the article oversimplifies some points.

        • SouthTexas

          Technically yes, thus my response. Maybe you don’t remember “chicken is good for you, no wait, it’s bad for you, eggs are good, no bad, chicken is OK if you remove the skin, eggs are OK if you separate the yolks….

          A roux en-Y surgery will cure diabetes but requires almost a solid protein diet because of the size of the pouch, but wait-shades of Adkins?

          There are truths and un-truths in all of this. What is being researched here is the type of calorie intake does make a difference in overall weight loss, not the amount of energy requires to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1° Celsius.

          • Johnmeli

            Agreed, SouthTexas. And I’m still trying to figure out the chicken or the egg thing.

          • TxDan

            The rooster came first.

          • Katie B

            A dietary calorie is actually a kilocalorie. Right temperature change, wrong quantity.

          • SouthTexas

            I was being sarcastic Katie. 🙂

    • earthtone55

      Yes, different types of calories (by definition) contain the exact same amount of chemical energy, but the point is, their effect on the body is NOT the same. Some types of calories make you hungrier than others.

      More to the point, 50+ years of experiments trying caloric restriction show again, and again, and again (etc) that attempting to reduce the number of calories you consume DOES NOT lead to durable weight loss. “Eat less” simply DOES NOT WORK in the real world.

    • Montana Jack

      Not true. Sugar has a completely different impact on the body’s hormonal system vs. Omega 3 fats, for example.

    • Glen Sorensen

      Nonsense! This is easily disproved. A calorie is only a calorie to THE FLAME, which cannot tell the difference between peanut oil and kerosene. Your body is a little more sophisticated than that, right? There are TWO classes of food you need to be concerned about–those that BURN fat and those that MAKE fat. I lost 50 pounds in 90 days by eating FAT BURNERS, and avoiding FAT MAKERS. Eat crap and you WILL be fat, SIMPLE AS THAT. Cheers!

    • tkent26

      The body digests, absorbs, and processes different foods in different ways, _independent of calories.

      Different types and qualities of foods have different effects on fat storage, hunger/satiety, and metabolic rate, again _independent of calories_.

      “Calories in, calories out” logic is like saying a room becomes full when more people enter than leave. Absolutely true and also completely useless.

  • Chriscom

    It’s borderline malpractice to write this story without citing, extensively, Gary Taubes.

    • Montana Jack

      Chriscom – Dr. Barry Sears, PhD, was advocating this in the early 1990s, based on real science. Dr. Ludwig has actually performed work at Harvard which has validate Sears’ Zone approach and proven the validity. Gary Taubes is a journalist with no scientific training and has no place in the discussion.

      • Chriscom

        Nonsense. I salute Dr. Sears for his work on this. But Gary Taubes is a serious, award-winning science writer who probably more than anyone else has brought these issues into the public eye. What do you think Taubes based his work on, unreal science? He holds science degrees from Harvard and Stanford (superb training to be a science writer; skip the communications degrees kids). He is deeply knowledgeable about these issues, so much so that after Good Calories, Bad Calories went over the heads of some of his readers, he came out with Why We Get Fat for a wider audience. Taubes is one of the reasons we’re *having* a discussion.

        I’m faulting the writer and Boston Magazine’s editors, not Sears. This stuff happens all the time–somebody publishes a piece utterly innocent of the past. Up next: What if mankind could visit the Moon?

        • Montana Jack

          First, from his own website “Born in Rochester, New York, Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard
          and aerospace engineering at Stanford (MS, 1978). After receiving a
          master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1981, Taubes
          joined Discover magazine as a staff reporter in 1982.” Second, Taubes’ books are pretty much a re-write of the legacy Atkins pseudo-babble. He fails to recognize or address the fact that saturated fats are highly inflammatory, due to the arachanoid acid content. He also fails to acknowledge that oxidized cholesterol does damage the endothelial lining of the arteries. Finally, his fictional belief that farm-raised animals, etc., represent our ancestral diet is a sad statement people will believe anything. Having gone through survival school, I can attest what Taubes claims is our ancestral oil vs. what we survived on in the wild is night and day. One does not find fatty animals in abundance in the wild, obtaining eggs is both impractical and nearly impossible–you burn energy trying to find nests, which are typically hidden, which is better used finding tubers and roots and bugs for energy to find your big meal.

          Desk jockeys pushing fiction as science or anthropological fact? I guess it is a free society…

          Further, there was an article by Dr. David Katz, MD, of Yale two or three weeks ago called out the NY Times for allowing misinformation like this to be published as credible.

          • John Mayer

            David Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM of “Yale” or should I say Samhu Iyyam? The guy who reviews his own books calls out the NY Times …

          • tkent26

            David Katz is a high-carbohydrate hack.

            Saturated fats have never been demonstrated to cause inflammation or any other harm.

            Oxidized lipids are much more likely to come from cooking in unstable “vegetable” oils, cooking with saturated fats is more stable and produces less oxidation.

      • earthtone55

        >>Gary Taubes is a journalist with no scientific training

        The ad hominem nature of your criticism aside, you’re simply wrong.

        Apart from his numberous awards for scientific writing, G. Taubes, has a bachelors degree in physics from Harvard University and a Masters degree in Aerospace engineering from Stanford. Not only is this “scientific training”, but its more than most MDs have.

        • Olog Hai

          Physics and aerospace qualifies one to write about nutrition? Hilarious.

          • tkent26

            Try reading his books. They’re well-written and meticulously researched.

          • Olog Hai

            That tells me nothing.

          • earthtone55

            To answer your question, yes, having degrees in scientific and engineering disciplines (among other things) qualify one to be a science writer. Since when is it necessary to hold a degree in something to research and/or write about it?

            With respect to Mr. Taubes writing on the subject, obviously that’s not based on his undergraduate/graduate academic work, but rather on his extensive personal review of the relevant literature, including communication with a variety of medical experts. Of course if you refuse to look or simply persist in ad hominem attacks, you’ll learn nothing. Should you look, you might note that Taubes cites fully 60 pages of sources in his literature, part of the extensive review he did in writing that book. Preview, including much of the bibliography, is available on Amazon.com for free.

          • Olog Hai

            Attempting to invert argumentum ad verecundiam? Seriously?

          • tkent26

            He can’t be an unqualified amateur and an authority at the same time. Unless we’re somehow dealing with Schrodinger’s journalist…

          • Olog Hai

            Then why cite him as an authority? That’s what ad verecundiam means.

          • tkent26

            My broader point is that he is not a random amateur. He is a journalist, he did research, a lot of it, that we might call good old-fashioned investigative reporting. He summarizes and interprets enormous volumes of nutritional science to support his arguments. He may turn out to be wrong, or partially right and partially wrong, but I think his arguments and research are worthy of consideration.

          • Olog Hai

            Yes, he’s a journalist. That again tells me nothing.

      • tkent26

        Gary Taubes is a journalist who has researched and written extensively about these topics. He has worked hard to bring these ideas into the public understanding.

  • veggiegrrrl

    i want the vegan version

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/642397293/ Pilar Quezzaire

      Umm..what do you think coconut and peanut butter are?

  • Shirley Márquez Dúlcey

    On the other hand, all evidence suggests that manufactured trans fats are bad. So it is still good nutritional practice to avoid those.

    • hariman

      Which means that margarine and processed/prepackaged foods are full of unhealthy ingredients, and fresh meats, veggies, and fruits should the the base of any diet, with breads/cereals/grains being just below candy/sweets.

  • erp617

    Check out the Perfect Health Diet also developed by a physicist and you’ll never be hungry again.

  • hariman

    This coincides with weight loss I experienced a couple years ago. I cut out the breads and cereals I had been eating, and switched my diet to mainly meat, veggies, fruit, and sometimes homemade sweets like ice cream or cookie dough truffles made with almond flour and no wheat.

    I lost about 40 pounds over that winter, and while part of that was due to an increase in exercise, diet had an impact too. I had already been walking to work for over a year before that, which is how I get my exercise.

    • Methinks1776

      Since we know (from lots and lots of studies) that exercise has a minimal effect on weight, I’m pretty sure that almost every pound you lost was attributable to your dietary changes. Diet is just that important. Well done on the weight loss, btw. That’s a lot of weight lost.

  • nigella125

    My mother was in the hospital for a stroke. Her blood sugars were sky high, yet they were feeding her high carb foods. She LOVED high carb foods. They wanted to start her on insulin, I told them no way, that I would take care of it with a diet change. The nurse gave me a dirty look and walked out. After my mother got home I put her on a low carb, HIGH fat diet, her blood sugar dropped from 275 to 100 within a couple of days. All you have to do is look at this country, the low fat, high carb craze started in the 70″s and this country has exploded with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. It’s pretty evident that all the high carb junk they’ve pushed on us is NOT getting us healthy.

  • Olog Hai

    Why do we have a federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee in the first place? These executive departments (this is part of the USDA) are unconstitutional.

    Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.

    That is from the Communist Manifesto, of all books. This is the source of the madness of refining foods and over-industrializing farming. It has to be rejected.

  • T Hal

    Armchair philosophy is clearly alive and well. From the number of “experts” in the comment section, it’s a wonder the problem of obesity, at least in the USA, hasn’t already been solved.

  • TJTruth2

    Is David Ludwig going to pretend that he came up with idea himself, or his he going to give Robert Atkins proper credit for coming up with it 40 years earlier?

    • Katie B

      The Atkins diet is different from this. The Atkins diet depends on you putting your body into an inherently unhealthy state, ketogenesis, in order to burn weight. It’s NOT a natural form of eating, it’s a very UNnatural form.

      • billstreeter

        Nope. It’s the same thing. The idea has been around for a long time Atkins, before that Banting, later LCHF, Low Carb even the Paleo Diet is a variation on this. Ketosis isn’t unhealthy at all. It’s just the body burning fat rather than glucose for energy. It’s often confused with Diabetic Ketoacidosis which is a different condition unrelated to a low carb high fat diet.

  • Babyl On Dementia

    very interesting i will be following this