This article originally appeared at AnthonyColpo.com, June 1, 2008.
1. an incompetent or stupid person.
2. a person’s bottom.
For those of you that don’t already know, Dr Michael Eades is co-author of Protein Power, a best-selling diet book that is essentially a knock-off of the diet regimen that made the late Dr Atkins very famous (and rich). Like Atkins, Protein Power recommends a low-carbohydrate diet that features an initial 2-week strict ketogenic phase, followed by incremental increases in carbohydrate intake.
Like Atkins, Eades has adamantly maintained in his book and on his website that carbohydrate intake and insulin, not calories, are the primary arbiters of fat loss.
Both of these famous authors are wrong. They have made assertions that are flatly contradicted by the published scientific literature. The one that really cracks me up is their famous claim for the existence of a weight loss “metabolic advantage”. This term was popularized by Atkins, who claimed it was possible to gain weight on a high-carbohydrate diet but lose weight on a low-carbohydrate diet even when the 2 diets contained the exact same number of calories. Metabolic advantage believers maintain that it is possible to lose more weight at a given calorie intake on a low-carbohydrate diet than on a high-carbohydrate diet.
There’s just one wee problem with the metabolic advantage theory of weight loss: It is complete bullshit.
While internet chat rooms abound with people of unknown motive (and usually unknown identity) who swear they lost much more weight on low-carb diets than on isocaloric (equal calorie) high-carb diets, actual clinical trials conducted by professional researchers in which the caloric intake of the subjects was strictly controlled have completely failed to demonstrate any weight loss advantage to low-carb diets that cannot be explained by greater water, muscle or glycogen losses.
Atkins was the first to popularise metabolic advantage dogma (which bears the highly apt pseudonym of MAD). Eades has eagerly carried on the torch from his mentor, arguing vigorously for the existence of MAD despite the fact that over seventy years’ worth of tightly controlled clinical trials have shown the theory to be a complete crock.
My regular readers know that a little while back, I had a rather heated disagreement with Eades over an utterly absurd and blatantly misleading comparison he posted involving two very different low-carbohydrate and low-fat diet studies. I won’t detail the entire history of this disagreement – that has already been done in a free PDF that you can access here:
This public dispute culminated with me issuing a $20,000 challenge to Eades and the rest of his deluded metabolic advantage cohorts on January 30, 2008:
The challenge was simple. All Eades and his fellow MAD believers had to do in order to collect a quick 20 grand was:
1. Provide published peer-reviewed metabolic ward research that compared isocaloric low- and high-carbohydrate diets and found statistically significant greater fat-derived weight losses among subjects following the low-carb diet.
2. Present conclusive proof that the metabolic ward studies I have cited in Table 1, Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible have been misreported, and in fact really show greater fat loss in the low-carbohydrate groups.
Judging by the extreme level of cocksureness among MAD proponents, I should have been flooded with responses from people prepared to meet my challenge. However, despite their virulent antagonism towards me and anyone else who dared highlight the falsity of MAD, and their repeated assertions that MAD is a very real and scientifically demonstrable phenomenon, no one even attempted to meet the challenge.
The only response was an email from Eades himself, who complained the challenge was “rigged”. Well, if asking Eades to present tightly controlled evidence that backs his MAD assertions and to simultaneously invalidate the seven decades of tightly controlled research that shows MAD to be nonsense is “rigging”, then I plead guilty as charged.
After admitting he could not meet the challenge, Eades attempted to buy my silence with a highly suspect offer of assistance in getting a book deal. He also requested that I keep the fact that he had contacted me and made such an offer secret from our readers, a rather repugnant request that I immediately rejected:
Angry that his shady tactics did not have their desired effect, Eades promptly reverted back to his usual strategy of personal insults and character assassination.
The bottom line is that Eades and his MAD cohorts had an entire month to prove the existence of MAD and earn their favourite charity a quick $20,000. The reason they could not do this is because there is no tightly controlled clinical evidence demonstrating the existence of a weight loss metabolic advantage for low-carbohydrate diets.
Eades Finally Admits I’m Right
It’s time now to explain just why I think Eades is such a prat. Before I do so, let me explain just why I have publicly made such a strong stance against the metabolic advantage theory.
My main point when addressing the MAD hyperbole has always been that MAD distracts people from the true requirements of weight/fat loss. Namely, a calorie deficit. By doing so, many people will fail to establish a calorie deficit and will not lose weight – a scenario that could be avoided if people were told the plain truth that a calorie deficit is the fundamental requirement for weight loss.
Another sad consequence of MAD is that many individuals who do experience initial weight loss will eventually plateau. This is because their weight loss has resulted in a lower daily calorie burn, which effectively negates the efficacy of any calorie restriction they initially employed. To re-start their fat loss, they need to re-establish a calorie deficit. This is an important point that, until the release of my book, evaded many people including ‘diet gurus” like Eades, who typically made ineffectual recommendations about further restricting carbohydrate intake in order to re-ignite fat loss.
Such recommendations are doomed to fail because the weight loss plateau, just like weight loss itself, is a function of calorie intake versus versus calorie expenditure. Carbohydrate restriction without concomitant calorie restriction will not produce any fat-loss derived weight loss. The only benefit of carbohydrate restriction is that, for many people, it enhances satiety, a crucial factor in achieving and maintaining a calorie deficit. That’s why all these vocal low-carbers on Internet chat rooms may lose more weight on low-carb diets – whether they realize it or not, they have lowered their caloric intake. The fact that they have atrocious mathematical skills or that they did not intentionally lower caloric intake does not change one iota the fact that they nevertheless unintentionally lowered their intake, and that it is this unintentional lowering that produced the weight loss.
However, if carbohydrate restriction does not lead to a calorie deficit – and it often doesn’t – then you and your weight loss efforts will be stuck in Turd Creek without a paddle.
Resistance is Futile
At every step of the way during our heated disagreement, Eades and his followers have virulently resisted my assertions and have attempted to discredit me for pointing out the inescapable fact that calories, not carbs and/or insulin, are the ultimate arbiter of weight loss. It doesn’t matter how low you drop your carbohydrate intake, if you fail to establish a calorie deficit, you will not enjoy any fat-derived weight loss. Period.
After using all manner of desperate and dubious tactics to discredit me and dispute this contention, on May 27 Eades finally posted a piece on his blog titled “Low Carb and Calories”. You can read it here:
A sad consequence of the metabolic advantage BS – one that I have been trying to alert people to all along – is alluded to in the very first sentence of Eades’ post:
“One of the most common questions MD and I get via email and snail mail and now through the comment sections of our blogs is about failing to lose weight while following low-carb diets.”
I can tell you right now the reason why this predicament is so common: Many people following low-carbohydrate diets have been sucked in by MAD – preached by people like Atkins and Eades – that downplays or even totally ignores the critical role of calories and instead tells people to focus on carbohydrate intake.
Giving such advice to someone who badly wants to lose a chunk of excess weight is like telling someone to lift a bucket while they are standing in it – an undertaking bound to cause frustration and failure.
Eades proceeds to reprint a letter from a female reader who has succumbed to MAD and experienced just such frustration and failure:
“I’m a 47 year old woman, and I’ve been overweight for the past 20 years or so. I was normal sized most of my life, but after I had my third baby at age 27, I started gaining and haven’t really been able to lose much weight. At least not until I started a low-carb diet about 6 months ago. When I started your Protein Power diet I lost almost 16 pounds the first month. I continued to lose for the next 4 months, but not at the rate I did in the first month. Over the last month, though, I haven’t lost any weight at all. I’m really dedicated to this WOL, and I religiously keep my carbs below 30 grams a day. I’ll admit that I occasionally (maybe once every 10 days) have something I shouldn’t have, a small bowl of ice cream maybe, but the next day I buckle down and cut my carbs to below 15 grams to make up for it. This falling off the wagon doesn’t seem to make me gain any weight especially since I cut my carbs the next day, but I just can’t seem to lose any more. I’m still about 20 pounds from my goal. Any suggestions?”
Those who have read The Fat Loss Bible will know exactly why this lady’s weight loss had come to a complete halt. As you drop weight, your maintenance calorie requirements drop also. Due to the reduced lean and fat mass, your body burns less calories at rest. And when you move around, you are now pushing around less weight, so your calorie burn from your usual level of physical activity also drops. If this lady had read The Fat Loss Bible instead of the Eades’ Protein Power, (the latter of which tells people that obesity is primarily due to carbs and insulin and not calories) she would know full well why she had hit a weight loss plateau – and she would know exactly what to do about it.
But let’s see what Dr Mike – the man who has vigorously opposed just about every assertion I’ve ever made on fat loss – has to say about this reader’s predicament.
“If you are meeting all your body’s energy needs with the food you eat, the body doesn’t need the fat in the fat cells. On a low-carb diet your body burns fat for energy. But it doesn’t care where this fat comes from; it can come from the diet or it can come from the fat cells or it can come from both. If you are consuming enough fat to meet all your body’s requirements, your body won’t go after the fat in the fat cells no matter how severely you restrict your carbs. You will burn dietary fat only and no body fat. And you won’t lose weight. It’s that simple.”
“It has been shown countless times that when people go on low-carb diets they spontaneously reduce their caloric intake. Most foods available on low-carbohydrate diets are satiating and those following these diets get full quickly. They just don’t eat that many calories. In most studies of low-carb diets people drop their caloric intake down to the 1500-1700 kcal range and are quite satisfied. At that level of caloric intake, they need a fair amount of their own body fat to make up the difference between their dietary intake and the 2400-2600 kcal (or more) that they burn every day. As they consume this body fat, they lose weight.”
“Once people settle in to low-carb diets, a couple of things happen. First, they lose some weight, which reduces their energy expenditure. A smaller body doesn’t burn as many calories as a larger body, so the gap between what they consume and what they need gets smaller. And as it does, their weight loss slows down a little. Second, they start fiddling with the diet. At first, the luxury of eating steak, bacon, whole eggs, real butter and all the rest of the high-fat foods that go along with low-carbing is enough to keep most people satisfied…for a while. They eat until they’re full, then they quit. And they don’t consume all that many calories.”
Hey, wait a minute! This is what I’ve been saying all along! And it’s exactly what I say in The Fat Loss Bible, right from the word go in Chapter 1, which Eades has described as “a compendium of misread or misinterpreted studies”. Eades has described my book as containing “so much misinformation [that] it will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all.”
And yet Eades is now publicly acknowledging that the main contentions of my book are in fact 100% correct!
-Calorie restriction – not carbohydrate restriction – is the key requirement for weight loss;
-The abolition of the initial calorie deficit by subsequently reduced calorie burn is the real cause of weight loss plateaus, and;
-The real reason people lose weight on low-carbohydrate diets is because greater satiety on these diets allows them to eat less and establish a calorie deficit.
Let the record show that Eades initially and strenuously resisted my assertions, but is now writing them up on his blog like he always believed and taught them. Let the record show that it was not until well after I made these assertions public, and that the noise between Eades and I faded somewhat, that he embraced them. Eades has clearly learnt something from our dispute and my book. Obviously he will never publicly admit this, but only the dopiest of his followers (admittedly, they’re a pretty damn dopey bunch) will fail to see what’s going on here. I guess I should be quite proud – getting through to a pigheaded, vituperative old prat like Eades is no small feat!
Of course, Eades still won’t let go of his cherished MAD nonsense, at least not publicly. Reader “Kevin” writes in the comments section of Eades’ blog:
“So it seems that Anthony Colpo is right; There is no metabolic advantage except perhaps in cases of extreme obesity. For everyone else, calories count. If one can’t lose beyond a certain point, they aren’t being honest with themselves about calorie intake.”
“I knew that sooner or later I would get this comment. No, I don’t think Anthony Colpo is right on the metabolic advantage issue. In the post I wrote that a caloric deficit is required for weight loss. A metabolic advantage implies that a different caloric deficit may be created as a function of the type of diet consumed. In other words, a low-carb diet of 1800 kcal may provide a caloric deficit whereas a 1600 kcal low-fat diet wouldn’t. The difference is the metabolic advantage created by the low-carb diet. In the case of the above example: 200 kcal.
The body does three things with calories: it uses them for energy, it uses them (proteins and some fats) for rebuilding tissues, and it wastes them. If the body wastes more calories on diet A than it does on diet B, then diet A is said to provide a metabolic advantage.
Both Anthony Colpo (and I think I am speaking for him correctly on this) and I believe that there has to be a caloric deficit for weight loss to take place. I believe (and he doesn’t) that different diets waste different amounts of calories, meaning that diets that waste more – low-carb diets – create more of a caloric deficit with a caloric intake identical to diets that don’t waste more calories – low-fat diets.”
I’ll simply reiterate once again that Eades’ assertion that low-carb diets cause greater calorie “wastage” and hence greater weight loss is disproved by seven decades’ worth of tightly controlled clinical trials and that not even a $20,000 sweetener could draw any evidence to the contrary.
But hey, it’s great to see that Eades finally appears to be embracing the indisputable truth that calories, not carbohydrates, are the kings of weight loss!
Maybe there’s hope for him and his legion of fanatical followers after all! Maybe, but first I suggest Mike seeks some help on a couple of other rather persistent problems he appears to suffer…
King of the Hypocrites?
If I were to tell you that I am thoroughly convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that Dr Michael Eades is an idiotic pipsqueak, a vituperative, clueless, humourless, slippery prat, a dull, pigheaded, snivelling dreck, a legend in his own mind, and that his writings on fat loss are breathtakingly stupid…well, Eades would no doubt blow a gasket and many of you reading this would no doubt email me to angrily denounce such rudeness and hostility.
It would pay to keep in mind that the above paragraph does not contain a single derogatory term that Eades himself has not already used to denigrate others, including yours truly.
Let he who has not sinned…
Eades repeatedly boasts about what a wonderfully civil and diplomatic individual he is and takes extreme offence to anyone who unmercifully calls BS on him. Meanwhile, he is more than happy to unleash a barrage of vitriol on anyone who writes or says something he disagrees with. When two female exercise physiologists presented what they thought were the top 10 nutrition myths at a Texas ACSM summit, Eades angrily penned a misogynistic piece of commentary. Confirming what a master of diplomacy, tact and social nicety he was, he condescendingly referred to the female academics as “chicks”, and “idiots” who displayed “breathtaking stupidity”.
Eades carried out the online equivalent of an acid attack on these two unsuspecting academics because they made statements supporting the low-fat/high-carbohydrate/anti-cholesterol paradigm. However, Eades is quite happy to boast about his close friendship with none other than Loren Cordain, the fat-phobic researcher who has done far more to promote the low-fat/anti-cholesterol paradigm than any pair of female exercise physiologists could ever dream of! To say that Eades is somewhat incongruent is putting it very mildly…
Eades is more than happy to post a ridiculous and sensationalist web post, using blatantly one-sided and cherry-picked data to support the misleading metabolic advantage theory. But when I revealed his antics and dissected the utterly biased and fallacious nature of his claims for all the world to see, he then had the temerity to accuse me of “making a mountain out of a molehill”. I guess sensationalism is only acceptable when it can be used to your own advantage, huh Mike?
Poor Eades. As we say here in Australia, he doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going.
Eades Can’t Handle the Truth – So He Embraces Ad Hominem BS
Throughout our disagreement, I have endeavoured to keep the argument focused on the science, to the extent that I actually proceeded to uncover more evidence (evidence that further discredited the fallacious metabolic advantage theory). Eades however, became increasingly frustrated and angered by my ability to consistently and effortlessly demolish all his arguments, and eventually gave up any attempt at appealing to the science. Eades instead adopted the time-honoured sleazeball method of debate – after totally failing to refute my scientific arguments, he instead attempted to discredit me by launching a series of personal attacks on me.
The most recent such attempt that I am aware of (contrary to what some people believe, I do not frequent Eades’ website unless someone writes to me or posts on my forum to inform me of his latest slander. As I recently remarked to a friend, visiting Eades’ website is a lot like using the toilets at Melbourne’s Flinders Street station – something I only do if I really have to) is a long-winded 14,000-word piece that, ironically, claimed I was “obsessed” with him. Eades arrived at this most unlikely conclusion after mistakenly assuming that I tracked down the poor reviews of his book Protein Power by spending countless hours scouring through each and every one of the hundreds of reviews on Amazon.com. The poor schmuck was totally ignorant of the fact that readers can retrieve all the 1- and 2 –star reviews of any book on Amazon with just a single mouse click. When a reader later pointed this out to Eades, he sheepishly admitted that he was unaware of such a function on Amazon. This is hardly surprising – as anyone who has read They’re All MAD will know, Eades has repeatedly demonstrated he has no qualms about making bold claims on matters he knows nothing about.
As someone who is fanatical about cars/music/training, I do indeed have my obsessions – but none of them involve ignorant, crusty, flabby old blowhards masquerading as diet gurus. Sorry Mike, but you’ll need to find someone else to fulfil your homo-erotic fantasies – my blood runs redder than the duco on Kimi Raikkonen’s Ferrari.
I’m really not sure what poor Mike was trying to achieve by evading the science and attacking me personally. The opinions of the people that really matter in my life – my friends and family – are hardly going to be influenced by the venomous rantings of some angry, disgruntled and discredited old fart in America. If Eades was trying to hurt me financially by slowing down sales of my highly praised book The Fat Loss Bible, he also lucked out. The book hardly constitutes my main source of income, and even if it did, Eades’ desperate antics have had no discernable impact on sales. In fact, after some of my rebuttals to Eades’ ad hominem garbage, I noted a distinct upward spike in book sales.
Of course, this has never been about the money for me, something that Eades evidently cannot understand. That, I suspect, is why he became so frustrated when his attempt to lure me into silence with his rather dubious offer of assistance in getting a book deal failed, and why he then resorted to penning an angry 14,000-word diatribe attempting to portray me as a “man obsessed”. Unlike Eades, I don’t rely on writing as my main source of income, so any attempt at luring me with potential financial incentives was doomed right from the outset.
I firmly believe that the truth should always take vigorous precedence over hyperbolic bullshit, and have always admired people who are prepared to stand up, often at great personal cost, and defend the truth. I was under the naïve impression that people would appreciate being told the truth. I have since come to fully understand that being told what they want to hear is a far greater priority for most people than being told the truth. Being told what we have already decided to believe is comforting and non-disruptive; receiving new information that contradicts what we have already decided to believe can be highly unsettling and discomforting to many people. They simply don’t have the intellectual capacity and internal fortitude to carefully and impartially re-examine their closely held beliefs. Instead, they shut out any information that doesn’t gel with what they already believe, and vigorously denounce any person or party that has the temerity to present such conflicting information.
The Biggest Loser
There is a reason that Eades abandoned any attempt at scientific discourse and instead resorted solely to ad hominem attacks – he had no scientific evidence to dispute what I was saying. The smartest thing for Eades to do would been to have simply shut his mouth, but sometimes a man (I use the term loosely) just can’t stop his ego from getting the better of him.
While Eades’ ego has clearly taken a pounding throughout this whole ordeal, the people who have suffered the most are the gullible readers who have been taken in by his nonsensical MAD ramblings. It’s hard to build the body of your dreams using information that is utterly false. If you think you are going to build a healthy, sculpted, lean body and keep it that way by disregarding calories, then you’re sadly mistaken – as increasing numbers of Eades’ followers are obviously now finding out.
My bet is that Eades will now incorporate the primary role of calories into his next book, in a manner that would suggest he believed it all along. I can just picture it now:
The Revolutionary New Diet Plan that Enables You to Control Calories for Quick and Effortless Weight Loss!
While Eades frantically revises history, my advice to all those of you who have followed his deluded MAD advice is to get yourself a copy of the real deal – the one and only The Fat Loss Bible – and start learning about the very principles that I and others use to get shredded with little fuss and no frustration. It’s the book that famous diet ‘gurus’ themselves read to learn the real facts about fat loss! You can learn more about the book here:
Good day and good luck,
[This article originally appeared at AnthonyColpo.com, June 1, 2008.]
Anthony Colpo is an independent researcher, physical conditioning specialist, and author of the groundbreaking books The Fat Loss Bible and The Great Cholesterol Con. For more information, visit TheFatLossBible.net or TheGreatCholesterolCon.com
Copyright © Anthony Colpo.
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