Friday, January 4, 2013

Yes, Dr. Lustig, I really NEEEED to be this extreme

What?  Where do people come up with this?

Dr. Lustig is on the soapbox again, with a weird new piece on dieting.  Here's an interesting quote: 

"All successful diets share three precepts: low sugar, high fiber (which means high micronutrients), and fat and carbohydrate consumed together in the presence of an offsetting amount of fiber. Anything after that is window dressing."

I guess he gleaned all that information out of Dr. Gardner's A to Z study, which showed the Atkins diet to be the most successful.   Despite the fact that the Atkins diet doesn't require one to take great pains to be sure that they are mixing their fat and carbohydrate together in the correct ratio that Dr. Lustig inadequately specifies, I am sure Dr. Gardner managed to sneak that part into his study, and that is the sole reason for the superior results on Atkins over the Ornish, Zone and "Mediterranean" diets.

Could it be that the Atkins dieters achieved results by eating all that window dressing?  Nom, nom, hope the dressing was high fat, or at least from the window frame instead of the glass, providing as much of the fat-melting woody fiber as you could get from a piece of industrial high-fiber bread back when you were eating it.  Hey, chopsticks anyone?

Dr. Lustig thinks we shouldn't be so extreme as to embrace the Atkins diet.  Why?  Hey, cause there's no MILK, he says!  No milk, no vitamin D!!  That is because all the cheese that those stooopid low carb jihadists are eating on the Atkins diet must have had all the vitamin D removed or never added.  But somehow, the Paleo Diet (OK, where's my trademark key on this font??) gets a free hall pass, even though it specifically bans the essential food, even during the "ongoing weight loss" part of the diet.

Newsflash Dr. Lustig!  The Atkins diet does not ban milk.  The Paleo diet does. Now, which is more extreme?  Oh, by the way, lets take a look at all the REAL foods that people on the Atkins diet are eating that contain vitamin D.  If you follow the above link, you will see a list of really great foods that are staples of the diets my friends on Atkins eat. (Personally, I eat epi-paleo, an even more extreme diet. No Vitamin D there, either.)  You will also notice that the list contains a sprinkling of foods that are usually not high on the list for Atkins or Paleo.  Things like FORTIFIED milk, FORTIFIED soymilk, FORTIFIED cereals, etc.

Hey wait a minute!  FORTIFIED MILK??????  What Dr. Lustig is telling us to do is to be careful about "extreme" diets that contain really great sources of vitamin D, and recommends diets that contain vitamin D supplements instead.  How about a gob of FORTIFIED margarine with that FORTIFIED cereal?  When did this form of fake eating become not only typical, but preferred?  Just because it is typical doesn't mean it is optimal.

Dr. Lustig ends with this:

"All real food is inherently good. It's what we do to it that is bad. Food processing is the Mr. Hyde of the obesity pandemic. The way to reverse it is to do the opposite, to stop altering food and instead consume it in its natural state." 

Great idea, but I am pretty sure that doesn't include drinking altered milk products.

Here's my advice for Dr. Lustig, if he really wants to navigate through the diet mess.  First, read some of the clinical studies.  Second, learn a bit about biochemistry and human body systems.  I have stated recently on another blog that I am not a biochemist, but even I know that fiber is that stuff that goes through your intestines without getting broken down.  Micronutrients are nutrients you need in small quantities.  These are two different things.  High fiber doesn't necessarily provide a high number of micronutrients like Lustig contends.


  1. He didn't exactly give paleo a free pass:
    "One issue with the Paleolithic diet is the lack of vitamin D and calcium — not an issue for our ancestors, who spent all their time outdoors. This diet also excludes all grains, including those with fiber. But perhaps the biggest problem is its expense: To do this diet right costs way more than a trip to Whole Foods, which means the poor aren't invited to the Caveman Party."

    But he did include another inaccuracy about Atkins: "And the higher protein forces urinary calcium loss, putting your bones at even greater risk." Atkins really does not push protein, although people who ate nothing but pasta while they were getting fat may find the protein amounts higher than they were used to.

    My suspicion is that he's dissing all these other approaches to sell his own form of diet. Maybe he should follow his own diet himself! He looks pretty puffy in the interviews I've seen with him and admits to eating bagels for breakfast. Hmmmm. Add amylase in the mouth and what do you have when you eat a bagel? SUGAR.

  2. i'm terribly disappointed with Lustig. he impressed me when i watched that first video and he was showing what happens to fructose in the liver, but after that it's been all downhill! :-( just too mainstream to be any help!

  3. Just reading Lustig's new sugar book. The man is a disgrace. So many mistakes... Where to even begin dissing?

  4. Dr. Lustig stumbled upon a great truth, "sugar is bad" but he didn't follow through. He still doesn't see a "bagel" for the sugar, gut bomb that it is.

    Just like Dr. Wahls discovered that a diet of vegetables plus protein sans grains and dairy improves MS and other health issues. She also didn't follow through. Could it have been the dumping of grains that made the improvements. She's just concentrating on the veggies and fruits. She's vague about protein (although she does mention organ meats almost as a necessary evil) but never does she mention the dirty word "fat" Where does fat have a place in her diet? And which fats?

    Sometimes these brilliant discoveries are incomplete and brilliant by default.

  5. @Jan, yea, wuzza, Cavemen went out of their caves and the calcium came raining down from the sun. Must have been a different time. I understand that he did diss paleo, but the truth is, there really isn't too much data on it yet compared to Atkins. Atkins was really tried in a real clinical study and somehow the participants still had bones in their bodies afterwards. It seems like he hasn't visited Atkins for many years, if ever.

  6. @Tess, I liked his vid and some of the things he said, and, like Dr. Davis, gave him somewhat of a get-out-of-jail-free card for some of the errors. But this was just plain weird. I wonder if it was heavily edited by some clueless person and he ok'd it without reading it.

  7. Sid, I didn't read it yet, probably won't seek it out after this preview.

  8. @horf, I believe that Dr. Wahl's is a big fan of organ meats and fatty fish. I did not read her book, though, just the ted lecture and some of her other vids. Personally, whenever we try to do Wahl's except in the dead of summer, we get sick, that is just too much veggie stuff for our digestion.

  9. I agree with Lustig that paleo is much more expensive than a "clean" grain-based diet, but maybe that is what we need. We need to move our entire food system towards better health. But, I am surprised that Lustig goes after paleo this way, after all wasn't he the one for taxing soft drinks and sugar. Such a solution by the rich man. Let the little people pay for their transgressions, while the rich can pay a premium for their debauchery if they want.

  10. What I like about Wahls is that she has vids showing how easy it is to grow a few veggies if you have some space. But hey, have you checked out the price of her book?????? It's the grass-fed, organic rib-eye steak of the publishing world.

  11. ..oh,....and don't get me started about church-sponsored fund-raising potlucks....Grrrr.........

  12. Lustig really only sees a small piece of the puzzle and just doesn't get the big picture. He might see more if he decided to try to lose weight.

    EB- thanks for blogging, by the way, I've been reading for several months.

  13. OK, I'm going to give Lustig a little more credit. He was doing an hourlong interview on the Diane Rhems show (it's available in podcast) and at about 57 minutes in a registered dietician called in to complain that all these so called "experts" make a lot of money selling books villifying one macro-ingredient when "we all know that it comes down to calories in, calories out" at the end of the day. It was like she lit a firecracker under Lustig, and he really went after her, but his diatribe was sadly constrained by the clock running out. He did a very good job in a very brief amount of time. So Lustig earned back a lot of points with me for that.

    I'd kind of like to see the AND (what used to be called the American Dieticians Association) go after him because he's ready to come back with both barrels and the public needs to hear it. I think more people would listen to him because he's an MD AND he was on Sixty Minutes.

  14. Are You Having Trouble FOLLOWING with your Paleo Diet?

    Want to eat healthy tasty recipes TONIGHT?

    Download your amazing Paleo Hacks Cookbook.