The following question is not an actual email sent to me by a reader; rather, it is a representative composite of countless emails I've received over the years by people who somehow have it in their head that I'm their unpaid, on-call, mind maker-upper. If you're one of these folks, please read the following:
Q: Hi Anthony, I've read your articles about the exaggerated claims made for low-carb diets, and you sound pretty convincing. But I also read an article by Byron Bubblegut saying low-carb diets are stupendously awesome, and he's offering $5 to anyone who disagrees so they can buy themselves a clue. I must say, he sounds very convincing too. As a result, I'm confused, I don't know who to believe, and I think I'm going to cry. Please help!
A: I get emails like this all the time. Despite having already posted a wealth of free information about this and other topics, many undecided folks think it's my job to donate even more of my time and attempt to decisively convince them, and hence end the crippling confusion that apparently keeps them up at night tearfully hugging their teddy bears.
Well, it's not my job - or if it is, no-one's been sending me the pay cheques.
To all you folks who send emails like this, please read the following very carefully:
All your life you've been spoon-fed information and told what to think by your government, education/indoctrination system, church, etc, etc. Your parents, as wonderful and well-meaning as they may be, were also likely indoctrinated by the same sources. The sad result is that many, if not most, people are incapable of truly independent thought. Instead of researching things for themselves, they rely on others for information, and when that information is conflicting they want someone with the requisite persuasiveness and charisma to come along and convince them, in the process magically relieving them of their cognitive dissonance.
In other words, they want someone else to do their thinking and to make their mind up for them. Never mind that persuasiveness has no direct correlation to truthfulness; in fact, these traits are often negatively correlated to each other (see the advertising industry, successful politicians and popular diet gurus for excellent examples of this).
You want my advice? Then here it is:
GROW THE HELL UP.
Break the cycle.
Put down your teddy bear, wipe away your smudged mascara (yes, you too gentlemen), and start learning how to think for yourself. In the case of Colpo vs Bubblegut, don't "believe" either of us. Instead, pull up the abundant research I've cited and whatever research Mr Bubblegut has cited, then READ IT FOR YOURSELF and MAKE UP YOUR OWN MIND.
Most of my articles contain hyperlinks and/or reference lists of published studies. I include these, not for shits and giggles, but so people can check the veracity of what I'm saying. In addition to the voluminous volume of free articles I've posted over the years, I've also written three fully-referenced books, whose reference lists number up to 1,400 citations. If you're too lazy too pull up the relevant citations for yourself, then you have absolutely no business writing to me.
By the way, next time you're at Byron Bubblegut's website, tell him to send me $5. Yes, I already have a clue, but I need to stock up on cannolis.
For more information on Anthony's books, click here.
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