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Should the USDA admit that its dietary guidelines are flawed.

Peter Attia's TED Talk is just one aspect of how much damage the USDA dietary guidelines have caused. Gary Taubes has documented how the current low fat dietary guidelines were based on bad science. His critics counter by saying that science does not prove that a low carb diet is better. But that misses the point.

It could be that diet is far more complex that what we formerly thought and no dietary guidelines can be given. Also with so many success stories on a large variety of diets, it could be that our physiologies differ so much that a single dietary recommendation will not be suitable for all.

Perhaps the only common factor in successful diets is the limiting of sugar consumption, particularly in the form of fructose. Robert Lustig has been the primary proponent of this view. Yet the USDA has refused to make any recommendations against sugar.

At very least, TED should invite Gary Taubes and Robert Lustig to speak.

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    Jun 27 2013: if you trust the government to tell you what to eat, you are in trouble
    • Jun 27 2013: It not just what you eat, it what the general population eats. The heath crisis will bankrupt the nation even if you stay healthy. I know what to eat and have stayed healthy, but my medical insurance bill is ridiculously high and continues to rise.
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        Jun 27 2013: the solution is easy: get rid of government mandated health insurance.
        • Jun 27 2013: The problem is that I need health insurance in case I break a leg or get burned. Unfortunately, I have to pay for all the people who are sick from unhealthy diets.
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        Jun 27 2013: you need private health insurance on a free market. the price of which should be calculated based on your risks.

        private insurance companies do a great job following the newest scientific results, and recommending the best practice to be healthy. for example insurance companies promote drinking a small amount of alcohol for a long time now. not something you can expect from a government agency.
        • Jun 27 2013: The problem is bad health not bad heath insurance. While I may suffer a little from higher insurance cost, the people who are sick are much worst off. I would not make myself sick just so I can get my money's worth from my insurance premiums. The people who follow the dietary guidelines by eating the so called healthy low fat foods are making themselves sick, but as Attia said, it may not be their fault.
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        Jun 27 2013: i thought this conversation is about the USDA. they can admit they were wrong, but then what? they will be wrong again. and again. the problem IS state involvement. if there is no coercion, people can listen to different sources, try different methods, and we all can see what works and what does not work.
        • Jun 28 2013: This is about the USDA dietary guidelines which is contributing to the Heath crisis.
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        Jun 28 2013: then you need to rephrase the title, because it says "should the USDA admit ..."
  • Jun 30 2013: Anyone who follows issues on nutrition and health knows that the FDA food pyramid is controlled by big ag and the industrial food industry. When there was an effort to redo the food pyramid a few years ago the sugar industry railed at the removal of sugary foods from the list. The meat and dairy industry have temper tantrums at the idea that their products should be given lesser importance. So of course the pyramid needs to be rejected.

    There is enough science and clinical experience that shows the paramount importance of plant based diets. We need adequate amount of vegetables and fruit grown in soils that are replenished thru organic/sustainable methods in order to ensure the plants have the maximum amount of mineral content for good health. Fats are another area of concern. We need fats that are healthy and corn, soy and canola are not, particularly since the huge % of these are GMO --at least in the US and perhaps Canada. Coconut oil was given a bad name when the US went to a mono-culture agricultural model. The US does not produce coconuts in large amounts for commercial value. Coconut oil is one of the healthiest oils for us to use. Hemp was also made illegal to grow in the US and that oil is also super healthy.

    The USDA and the FDA are known prostitutes for the chemical and big ag industries. Nothing that comes from them can be trusted, ever.
    • Jun 30 2013: Coconut oil is a saturated fat and the USDA still recommends against it:

      Coconut oil has traditionally been considered healthy, but was condemned because the USDA decided that all saturated fats were bad, even though there are many kinds of saturated fats. One result was that movie theaters stopped using coconut oil for popcorn and used trans-fats instead. This is yet another example of how the dietary guideline affect you even if you don't believe them.
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    Jun 29 2013: - The USDA needs to admit that their dietary guidelines are inherently flawed.

    - Too many fruits and grains in the American Food Pyramid.

    - If SUGAR were to be "invented" today,
    it would be considered a pharmaceutical DRUG - WORSE than COCAINE.
    • Jun 29 2013: The USDA will not admit that they erred on their own. But they have shown that they will bend to outside pressure. If Attia succeeds with his research, the USDA will come under pressure to revise their guidelines.
  • Jun 28 2013: Personally, I agree with much of what has been said so far - that too much of anything is harmful, and that moderation is key. A calorie is a calorie, regardless of the source - however, it is important to break down foods into macronutrients - i.e. carbohydrates, fats and proteins - as different macronutrients have different roles in the body. So eating equal calories of a pop tart as opposed to chicken and rice will obviously be different in terms of overall health as the macronutrients vary considerably. This is not a new idea but it seems to be the best way of summing it up.

    Also I would like to draw attention to the claims made by Dr Lustig in regards to fructose in particular - while I am in no way proposing that sugar in all its forms is healthy (it is all about moderation), I wanted to question the notion that fructose itself is unhealthy and evil. I read some posts from Alan Aragon which investigate Lustig's claims made in his documentary - overall it appears his reasoning and studies cited are flawed on many different levels (for example much of the research he draws from is based on rodents and is correlational). Lustig's claims appear to be alarmist and the evidence he uses not sound - you just have to read the discussion between him and Mr Aragon to see this. I fear inviting Dr. Lustig to speak (mainly on his views on fructose) may not be the most appropriate idea based on this.
    • Jun 29 2013: Thanks for the link. I did not expect the sugar lobby to go down without a fight. Lustig makes a very compelling case that fructose is the main culprit. He correlates the increase in infant obesity and the spread of obesity in other countries with the increased consumption of fructose. Aragon's focus in US calorie consumption ignores the big picture. Lustig is concern with the unnatural high amount of fructose, not any fructose in the diet. Aragon's has no case when he says that the Japanese diet has some fruit.

      For over three hundred years, increased obesity has correlated with increased sugar consumption. Before the 1970's, this was common knowledge. In the 1970's, the sugar lobby started a campaign to change the image of sugar. They basically shifted the blame from sugar to calories, and made fat the villain because it was more calorie dense than sugar. The story of the sugar lobby campaign was uncover in this issue of Mother Jones,

      This revelation should have made big news, except that it came out the same time Hurricane Sandy hit.
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    Jun 26 2013: I pay less attention to the what the USDA says I should eat than I do to what Madison Avenue says about it. It's Grandma's job to teach young people what, and how much, to eat. She thinks USDA is a Norwegian exclamation. Seriously, does anyone still rely on government guidance for anything important?
    • Jun 27 2013: A few people do rely on USDA guidance. Most US public school districts, the US military organizations, most local and state food charity organizations, and those who happen to not have grandmothers, I suppose. This is aside from the entire food industrial marketing machine that is legitimized by those guidelines which seem to imply that it's "OK" and even "Recommended" to eat a months worth of refined sugar every day.
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        Jun 27 2013: I stand corrected. My reply was not well thought-out. I remember long before the government dictated the Minimum Daily Requirements the rules came from "Grandma" and we did OK. You have prompted me to give a more intelligent answer to Micheal's important question, so here goes. . . like the IRS and the NSA, the USDA should absolutely be subjected to a thorough investigation and all necessary corrective action should be given highest priority. Again, sorry for my cavalier treatment of this serious question. Thank you John.
        • Jun 27 2013: I take it from your comments that you are a Libertarian. I am a Progressive and all I can say is that the Libertarians were right about this one. But I hope that we can work together on what we agree.
    • Jun 27 2013: The school lunch program is also influenced by the Dietary Guidelines. The program no longer allows whole or 2% milk, but still allows 1% and skim milk. There are no recommendation against sugar in any form.
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        Jun 27 2013: I ignored the fact that many people are seriously impacted by Big Brother's rules of nutrition. I apologize for that. You are correct. Mr. Attia has pointed-out the tip of the iceberg and, once again, we are left with shoddy, self-serving government leadership which must be exposed and corrected. Grandma, not Uncle Sam, should be making lunch for the kids (but that's another problem). Thank you for an important topic.
  • Jul 3 2013: There was a comment that the DGA was based on science, in fact they are require to be based on science by law. However, the science that forms the basis for the DGA is flawed. That is the whole point of Attia's talk. Attia created NuSI which will conduct proper scientific studies. The co-founder of NuSI is Gary Taubes, who is a long time critique of the science used to support the DGA. Here is a link to NuSI's critique on the current studies:
  • Jul 2 2013: I looked into the FAQ for the 2015 DGA, Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Here is what it says on how the guidelines are determined. ( ) :

    "The DGA is congressionally mandated under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act (Public Law 101-445, Section 301[7 U.S.C. 5341], Title III). The DGA is required to be based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge and to be released by the Secretaries of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) every five years. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the current Federal nutrition policy document. The process for revising the guidance for 2015 is currently underway."

    While this sounds fair, it is fundamentally flawed. First, it assumes that there is a single diet that can be recommended for all people. Second, it assumes that science can come to an agreement on what that diet is. Even when there is scientific disagreement, a winner has to be declared, which may be detrimental to a sizable minority. Third, it assumes that a good diet is good for all health conditions. A diet that is good for some conditions may be bad for others. Anecdotal evidence indicates that this is the case. The low fat diet supposedly addressed the cardiovascular problem, but seemed to have caused a obesity and diabetes epidemic.

    The DGA picks the diet that seems to be healthy for most people for most conditions, but may harm a minority of people with different dietary needs, and it may potentially harm all people under some conditions. This actually might violate the civil rights of some people. It fact, dietary health seems to be correlated with race.

    It might be time to bring a federal lawsuit against the DGA, under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
  • Jul 1 2013: Yes, but they will always promote wheat and sugar.
    • Jul 1 2013: They could undo most of the damage by simply admitting that the lipid hypothesis was wrong and remove all recommendations against eggs and saturated fats.
  • Jul 1 2013: I'm passionate and this is a great place to reach people of like minds. :) thank you.
  • Jul 1 2013: All I know if I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes at 18 and my doctor said I probably had it for years. I wasn't too active, was physically and mentally abused as a child, on top of having a "food pyramid" diet and my mom was a sugar pusher is it any wonder I became diabetic?

    Something changed in the last 100 years, stores featured local and seasonal produce without refined ingredients, but now everything is made for connivence, chalked up with corn, corn, corn. As a child I didn't have a choice and denial, depression and anger have made my slow realization to change a difficult journey. According to a 2010 court case against the FDA, the plaintiff, Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund, were told "a) there is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular food b) there is no generalized right to bodily and physical health". This is the most terrifying revelation about the American government to date.

    Corporations have no loyalty to the American people, it's all about profit to them. Not only do dietary guidelines need to change, but we need a food revolution.
    • Jul 1 2013: Thanks for sharing this. I signed the petition.
    • Jul 1 2013: I found the link to your court case:

      It has to do with the direct selling of raw milk by farmers to consumers across state lines. I personally have never had raw milk, but I can see how the the legal precedent can affect all foods.
    • Jul 1 2013: Did you submit your WH petition as a TED conversation to get more visibility? It takes about a day for TED to approve a new conversation.
  • Jun 30 2013: What do you mean, "particularly in the form of fructose?" I have always been told that fructose is the least damaging form of sugar. Fruit is a food that prehistoric man could have eaten, whereas most grains need to be cooked first.
    • Jun 30 2013: Glucose and fructose are both sugars but are digested in completely different ways. Insulin resistance pertains to glucose, so fructose was previously overlooked when studying diabetes. Recent studies on how fructose is metabolized has shown that consumption of large amounts of fructose can be dangerous. Robert Lustig is the leading proponent of this view. His YouTube video went viral:

      Fructose has to be metabolized in the liver, much like ethanol. We evolved to handle a small amount of fructose, but we cannot handle the high amount of fructose found in processed foods. Lustig suspects fructose because there are more problems associated with sugar than with complex carbohydrates. Fructose is found in sugar but not in complex carbs. Lustig believes that high consumption of fructose leads to insulin resistance, which allows glucose to accumulate as fat.
  • Jun 30 2013: I just discovered that process for the 2015 dietary guidelines has just started. I hope that Attia can get some results in time to influence the 2015 guidelines.
  • Jun 30 2013: When the human species evolved it was a slow process with many genetic changes along the way. There was no science recipe book on how to build a person. Our evolution as a species resulted in beings that are biologically and energetically extremely complex with all parts working synergistically. We have great adaptability which is why we can survive all kinds of environmental, social and biological stresses. However, that is not health; it is just basic survival.

    Western science has refused to see the whole picture. Caught up in its materialistic/mechanistic view of the world with a compulsion for control and conquer, western culture has set up the institution of science to work on this level. What I simply mean is that what goes for science is designed to cherry pick our body and its symptoms in order to find drugs to control those symptoms. There is little concern for how these drugs affect the human body. More so, there is high level of hubris with an attitude that man can overpower nature. Further, more symptoms means selling more drugs means greater fortunes.

    Thus, we arrive in our current economic and political state where we have no social value other than the profit of corporations. Sounds pretty harsh and not the way people like to think of themselves. But get used to this idea if you really want to free yourself from the propagandistic control of the chemical and big ag industries.

    As someone wrote in another article the other day, whenever the FDA/USDA/CDC say anything, know it is a lie and think the opposite.

    Type II diabetes is caused by nutritional aberrations. This relates to stress directly as stress uses up many nutrients such as the B vitamins and Vit C. Cortisol levels rise with stress and impact the way the body works, including the utilization of nutrients and how our hormones work regarding blood sugar. Many holistic practitioners, some of them even MDs work with nutrition to cure diabetes. This is not new.
  • Jun 30 2013: Follow the money is one of the best guides for living under a corporate state. Aside from the issue of American mono-culture; ie, massive plantings of a single crop like corn, wheat, soy, canola, cotton, there was the issue of how to get the public to fear coconut oil. So when they realized the dangers of transfats, they decided, arbitrarily, to include saturated fats. So butter also took a big hit as it was replaced with margerine or other fake butters, all equally disastrous for our health. Thus, the fear of coconut oil and saturated fats.

    Of course, there was no meaningful science behind this. And as you noted, there are many other saturated fats as in meat. The marketing spin has been subtle enough to create a mental divide in people betw things like coconut oil and meat.

    What needs to understood is that the oil in coconuts is a medium chain oil and that provides great health benefits. Read for some good articles on coconut oil. Much other stuff online. Best book out that i know of is The Coconut Oil Miracle by Bruce Fife and Jon Kabara. FYI, I have not financial interest in selling this book. It has many references and is easy to read.

    Other interesting thing to note is how coconut is extensively used in cakes and candies as if there was no oil in it. Of course if it is over processed than all you have left is the dry fiber which is pretty tasteless.
  • Jun 30 2013: For those that do not see what the fuss is about a guideline that nobody follows, here is a talk that came out in response to the release of the latest dietary guideline:
  • Jun 29 2013: Knowing what we know about the FDA & the USDA of late, I have to wonder why anyone would trust their opinions in the first place? There are far more reputable sources for this information without the corrupt influences of the gigantic industries they supposedly regulate. Who really lives their lives by this over simplified bologna anyway? Just another huge waste of their time and our money to me.
    • Jun 29 2013: Schools, hospital and registered dietitians all have to follow the dietary recommendations wether they trust them or not. Perhaps the dumbest rule came out in the latest school lunch program. Whole milk and 2% milk were disallowed, but skim milk and 1% were still allowed.
      • Jun 30 2013: Milk...that's a whole other can of worms.
  • Jun 29 2013: Research recently published found that changes in gut flora seem to be a precursor to diabetes Other research a number of years ago showed that feeding GMO food to rats caused a change in gut flora, which they observed but had no hypothesis as to what that might meam. I have been unable to find that last study again, I only remember it was done by a scottish group of researchers. The independent Italian study on GMO corn fed to experimental animals for a little more than 90 days (the length of study Monsanto uses to show GMO foods are safe) showed an astonishing array of health issues erupting from massive tumors on.

    A few years ago, researchers found that chickens who had been exposed to avian flu virus but who had shown no symptoms, had unusual heavy deposits of fat in and around their abdomen.

    So it would seem to be that depositing fat may be a way for the body to try to isolate problematical substances that it cannot otherwise dispose of. Things in nature are seldom simple, even if they appear so on the surface.

    Kudos to Dr. Attia for being able to step out of his conditioning and look critically at the issue, and also for bringing attention to the last group it is socially acceptable to deride mentally if not in fact. Blaming the victim, indeed.
    • Jun 29 2013: Yes, fat deposits is the body's way to isolate problematic substances. That substance is glucose. If glucose stays in the bloodstream too long it can react with protein. It is called the Maillard Reaction. So in a way fat accumulation is better than the alternative, sugar accumulation in the blood. That is why Attia said that the thin people with insulin resistance may be in worse shape than the fat people.
  • Jun 29 2013: Peter surmises in his TED talk that sugars and simple starches are the main factor in creating insulin resistance. This has been common knowledge for a long time now. There are many web sites dedicated to promulgating this viewpoint and giving dietary advise. Peter Attia has his own such site. The FDA and USDA have political concerns such as keeping their main constituents (not you or me) happy. It would be a great disaster if Americans suddenly stopped drinking their sodas, stopped eating their donuts, and gave up their frosted flakes. There are billions of dollars to be lost.
    • Jun 29 2013: Billions better spent elsewhere I would say!
    • Jun 29 2013: Yes, we seem to now have an economy based on sickness.
  • Jun 29 2013: "Should the USDA admit that its dietary guidelines are flawed?"
    Sorry. You pose that as if it is a serious question, whereas it is pretty obvious (at least to many physicians) that the "agri-business" industry has controlled the USDA for many years. Milk, corn, soy products, refined grains and starch -- all of these must be drastically reduced in our diet but the "business" of food and their supporters are not going to allow that to happen.
    I'm not suggesting that the Government should out-law these foods, but the Government's scientists should at least be honest with the American public and say it over and over again -- errors have been made for many years with very serious consequences, and until changes are made in our national diet, it isn't going to get better.
    John W. Aldis, MD
    • Jun 29 2013: Actually, the USDA does make recommendations against certain foods, like eggs and saturated fats. Apparently their lobbies aren't as powerfully as the sugar lobby.
  • Jun 29 2013: I seems to me the FDA works in the interest of various industries and not in the interest of the people They are not a reliable source of information. It is best to do ones own research through Pub med etc.
    • Jun 29 2013: This not about personal heath. We all have the freedom to decide what to eat. The problem is in institutional settings like hospitals and schools which follow the USDA recommendations. Also the USDA recommendations affect how the nation eats as a whole. This is a NATIONAL health crisis.
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    Jun 27 2013: Yes, the current food pyramid is flawed. Yes, there is allot of science to back up the fact that it is flawed, but how can science stand up to big money? The USDA is an institution owned by the obese food industry. I think that a better approach is going to be to change our food culture. We have more access to that. If the demand for Kale vs Cheetos spiked over night for instance, the industry would be forced to change. Farmers would grow more Kale. Subsidies for corn might be more frowned upon, and in fact less needed. Policies are slow, and fought over by many competing interests. Our culture however, well that is owned by the people.
    • Jun 27 2013: Actually people loved eating eggs and butter. It is the dietary guidelines that is making people scared of these foods.
  • Jun 27 2013: There was a post on the main blog from a diabetic who was told it was all right to eat sugar because it conformed to the food pyramid. This is the kind of harm that the food pyramid is doing.
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      Jun 27 2013: That is not the food pyramid doing the harm.
      It was the person who gave the advice.
      • Jun 27 2013: Actually, it might have been the pyramid. Here is a video from a registered dietician who said that if she worked in a hospital she would be forced to follow the dietary guidelines even if she did not believe in them:
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          Jun 27 2013: She gave high fat cheese to the elderly lady who was supposed to eat low fat cheese didn't she?

          Goes to show that it's not the pyramid. It's the people.

          Common sense should rule.

          And, a well read, well educated person who sees what their diet is doing to their health should take action.

          I don't for one minute buy that changing the food pyramid changes everything.
          Bottom line, it's a matter of money and politics....just like the video you linked states at the beginning.
      • Jun 27 2013: Actually, we were talking about the nutritionist who gave the advice to the diabetic to eat carbs. Was she acting on her own or was she just following the dietary recommendations in spite of what she actually thought. Normally, I would not want a dietitian who went rogue, but considering how bad the dietary recommendations are, I would prefer the dietitian in the video.
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          Jun 27 2013: What I was trying to say is that people many times act using their own judgment.
          Having standards of any kind does not guarantee that those who are designated to uphold the standards will do so...........and then there are those who will uphold the standards even though there might be proof that they are flawed.

          I would prefer the dietitian on the video too!!

          It would have been nicer if she hadn't been reading her speech......that she had spoken from her heart.

          I think we really need to read and learn.
          I'm very thankful that we have the internet, and are able to research all kinds of information quickly.

          What do you make of msg? Did you notice that Peter consumes a bouillon each day? Do you happen to know the reason for this?

      • Jun 27 2013: I am of Japanese ancestry and was raised on MSG. I don't use it anymore, simply because I did not think it enhanced flavor not because I thought it was unhealthy. A quick glance at the article says that Attia consumes bullion for the extra salt he needs when he exercises. I guess he though it was more healthy than Gator Aid.
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          Jun 28 2013: Out of curiosity, because I do not know the answer.......msg is used like table salt and sprinkled on all foods in Japan?

          And, there is alot of controversy here with msg and Gator Aid........we just do not know who to believe.....somewhere along the line, we have to take care of ourselves, and make healthy choices regardless of what this study or that study says.

          Information is always being manipulated in this country, and all too often it is to line somebody's pockets.
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          Jun 28 2013: Here is a presentation on sports drinks:

      • Jun 29 2013: When I was growing up in Hawaii, my mom used it during cooking. It was not at the table like salt and pepper. It was known to us as Ajinomoto, I did not realize it was MSG until later.
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          Jun 29 2013: That is very interesting.

          You know, there are alot of individuals I know who are involved in projects where they travel alot, and are exposed to many varieties of foods.

          As part of their training they were warned to stay away from msg.....but, I do not know the reasons for it.

          Like I said before, there is alot of information out there.....some of it is very controversial.
          Sooner or later, we all have to decide for ourselves.

          What I do hope is, that those who are being exposed to excess starches, which in turn become glucose in the body, are helped.............especially the children who are eating free breakfast and lunch at schools, and are being given a horrific diet.

          Nobody seems to be doing anything about it............I really think it comes down to money.
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      Jun 27 2013: What happened to good old common sense in eating.
      Eat real food...........stay away from the processed stuff that has a two year shelf life.

      I think it is a big matter of lifestyles.

      People want fast and easy.
      Many individuals do not want to eat fresh anything.........they have to rinse it, peel it, chop it, season it, steam it, serve it..etc etc.......alot of people just don't want to bother with all this work anymore.

      Having the USDA come up with new guidelines is not going to make people change their eating habits........I could be wrong now...........but I don't think so.
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        • Jun 27 2013: Peter Attia is very physically active. He even shaves head because he is an active swimmer. He said that exercise did not help him loose weight. He was only able to loose weight when he went against the dietary recommendations by switching from a low fat to a low carb diet.
    • Jun 27 2013: LaMar, as a nutritionist I can tell you that calories are not calories. Calories are not equal and it is what types of foods you eat that affect weight and health problems. The same amount of calories of a McDonalds big mac is not the same as an calorically equivalent meal of organic grass fed meat/wild caught seafood and organic vegetables. In fact that was the point of the Peter Attia's talk. The government guidelines are flawed and more and more research is showing this. Sugar, refined grains and simple carbohydrates as Peter alluded to are a major factor driving insulin resistance and diabetes. Not only that, but the shift in our ratio of omega 3:omega 6 fatty acids is causing issues too, particularly with inflammation which is an underlying factor in many diseases. Feeding animals manufactured feed made of corn and other grains instead of letting them eat their natural diet has shifted our diet to be higher in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids. As well all the hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils are playing major roles in the multitude of health problems we suffer with in this country today. Just restricting caloric intake is not the answer; 1200 calories a day of diet soda and refined carbohydrates is just not healthy. And while I agree with you that exercising is important again it is not as black and white as needing to exercise for X amount of minutes to burn off X amount of calories. If it were that simple we would not be dealing with the weight and health problems that we see everyday.
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        • Jun 27 2013: I'm not going to get into a lengthy discussion with you because clearly you have very strong opinions on the subject but as I said I think exercise is important and I agree with you that proper nutrition should be linked to exercise, it is one of many reasons I'm in the process of getting my crossfit coaching certification. I'm also not entirely disagreeing with you. Of course at a certain point eating too many calories will cause weight gain even while eating healthy foods. However, there's a lot more going on biochemically. Without going into detail protein, carbohydrates and fats are all broken down through different mechanisms in the body and cause different hormonal responses. These hormones (such as insulin, glucagon, cortisol etc) are responsible for signalling the body to turn off and on different pathways that involve the formation and degredation of glucose, glycogen, lipids etc. There are many hormones, including leptin and ghrelin that also play roles in energy homeostasis. For example hormones such as leptin and insulin act on neurons POMC and NPY that are involved in food intake and energy expenditure. Not to mention food intolerances play a role. From personal experience I've lost 180 lbs and I can say that while I was heavy I tried restricting my calories and exercising and it wasn't until I removed the foods that I was intolerant to that I was able to lose the weight. I eat more calories now that I've gotten the weight off than all those years dieting and am still able to maintain my weight. So again, I'm not entirely disagreeing with you but the point I was trying to make is that its not black and white as to caloric intake/exercise and weight loss.
      • Jun 27 2013: Hi Natalie,
        I am glad that you identified yourself as a nutritionist because I need to ask you a question. I saw a YouTube video by a nutritionist who said that nutritionist could loose their license if they did not follow the party line. Is that true?
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        Jun 27 2013: Are experts still promoting the food pyramid? I thought it had been abandoned by now.
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        • Jun 27 2013: well I think this is an agree to disagree situation, although in actuality we have a lot of the same basic beliefs about nutrition and exercise. I agree there are a lot of people out there who want that fad diet/easy fix but I have to disagree that the food source doesn't matter. That's like saying it doesn't matter whether you eat a pop tart or the equivalent caloric intake of lets say chicken, or some vegetables. Again I think the point of his Ted talk was that we need to rethink our food guidelines on sugars and refined grains and not look at nutrition and weight loss as such a black and white issue and more importantly to treat overweight individuals with the same respect as someone who was lean.
  • Jun 27 2013: If the USDA were to admit they were wrong, the NIH would have to spend money on new research. Attia has created NuSI to fund the research that the NIH refuses to do, but there is a limit to private funds.