My Challenge to Dr. Michael Eades and the rest of the madcap MAD brigade: Prove Me Wrong and I’ll Hand Over $20,000!

My Challenge to Dr. Michael Eades and the rest of the madcap MAD brigade:

Prove Me Wrong and I’ll Hand Over $20,000!

By Anthony Colpo
6.50pm (Australian EST),
January 30, 2008.


Dr. Michael Eades (left): Big on insults, short on facts.

Anthony Colpo.

I should be jaded by now, but the truth is I never ceased to be stunned by the endless stupidity, dishonesty and downright sleaziness of those who believe in metabolic advantage dogma (MAD). For those of you who are unfamiliar with MAD, it is an unfounded weight loss theory first popularized by the late Dr. Atkins. The late diet 'guru' claimed that low-carb diets caused greater weight loss when consumed at identical caloric intakes to higher carb diets. He even claimed that it was possible to lose weight on a low-carb diet but gain weight on a high-carb diet of identical caloric content. Atkins, along with others, called this the "metabolic advantage".

I call it bullshit.

As I have explained in detail in Chapter 1 of my book The Fat Loss Bible, over seven decades’ worth of tightly controlled clinical trials have shown that MAD is a load of scientifically untenable nonsense. In metabolic ward trials – the ONLY type of trial where identical caloric intakes can be assured – low-carb diets have repeatedly failed to show any fat-derived weight loss advantage over high-carb diets. The underlying requirement for such weight loss is the creation of a calorie deficit. It doesn’t matter how drastically you cut carbohydrates, or fat, or whatever other novel dietary strategy you employ…if you fail to expend more calories in a given time period than what you ingest, then you will not lose body fat-derived weight. Period.

This has not in any way stopped numerous low-carb diet authors from promoting MAD - and becoming wildly rich in the process. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe the claims made for any product or service – especially one that can greatly impact upon millions of people’s health and happiness - should be ethical and factual. Unfortunately, there are others who clearly disagree.

On September 11, 2007, Dr. Michael Eades, author of the best-selling low-carb book Protein Power, posted on his blog one of the most shamelessly biased pieces of dietary commentary I have ever read. In order to support his beloved MAD dogma, Eades compared the results of two hand picked studies, one involving a low-carb diet, the other a high-carb diet. These studies were conducted decades apart on different continents for different lengths of time using totally dissimilar subjects. Eades then claimed the results of these two studies supported MAD. In doing so, he completely ignored decades’ of evidence from tightly controlled clinical trials that directly compared low- and high-carb diets of isocaloric content (i.e. identical caloric content) and repeatedly found no difference in fat loss.

After completing his absurdly one-sided analysis, Eades then boldly pronounced that anyone who thought weight loss was all about calories was “a fool”. And when one of Eades’ readers mentioned my name in the comments section following his atrociously biased blog post, the famous diet doctor told the world that he thought I was “wrong” for stating what is in fact the indisputable truth – that calories are the ultimate determinant of weight loss and that isocaloric low-carb diets do not cause greater fat loss.

Needless to say, I don’t take too kindly to being labelled “a fool” and “wrong” by some bloke who’s made millions from promoting scientifically untenable weight loss theories. That’s just a wee bit rich for my liking.

Those who promote MAD might be laughing all the way to the bank, but they are doing a disservice to those who want to know the real requirements of weight loss. The indisputable fact is that, to lose weight in the form of body fat, one must eat less calories than what they expend. You can follow a low-carb diet, but if you eat too many calories you will NOT lose weight.

This isn’t merely my opinion. Even the folks from Atkins Nutritionals and the office of South Beach Diet author Arthur Agatston have admitted it. In a USA Today article (which you can read here) the low-carb giants acknowledged that many low-carb dieters were not losing weight because they had “gotten tripped up by eating too many low-carb, high-calorie products”.

Even Eades himself inadvertently admitted the counter-productive effects of MAD hyperbole when he wrote in a November 15 blog post:

"Both MD and I have had patients who complained to us that they were following our program to the letter and weren’t losing any weight. When we asked them for their diet diaries we found that they were consuming huge amounts of food but were rigorously keeping their carbs below 30 grams per day. Sometimes we calculated that these patients were eating 4000+ kcal per day, which could have even been higher given that patients tend to under report what they eat instead of over reporting. What was amazing to us was that they weren’t gaining. They were pretty much maintaining their weight on an enormous number of low-carb calories.

We would explain to them about how they needed to create a caloric deficit to lose. Most people will create the caloric deficit when they go on a low-carb diet because the increased fat and protein in the absence of carbs is extremely satiating."

Eades' comment about his 4,000 calorie per day-eating clients was no doubt posted in an attempt to demonstrate a metabolic advantage for low-carb diets. I will reiterate once more: whatever the comparative weight gain effects of ketogenic and non-ketogenic diets, 7 decades' worth of tightly controlled metabolic ward studies show no difference in weight loss between low- and high-carb diets. The fundamental requirement for weight loss is a calorie deficit: when energy needs are not being met by dietary calories, the body is forced to obtain those calories from other sources: namely, it's own tissues. The goal on any intelligently structured weight loss regimen, of course, is to ensure that these required calories are derived as much as possible from adipose tissue rather than lean tissue.

What these comments do demonstrate is just how backwards the Eades have it when it comes to counselling patients about weight loss. It is only after their patients fail to lose weight that the Eades feel compelled to mention the importance of a calorie deficit! Given that no weight loss will occur without a calorie deficit, this is the very first thing any competent fat loss adviser would relay to someone wishing to lose weight. Those seeking weight loss need to know that they can cut carbs/fat/alcohol/sugar/etc as low as they want, but if this fails to result in a calorie deficit, no weight loss will occur.

If the Eades truly understood that a calorie deficit is absolutely imperative for producing weight loss, the first thing they would do is help their patients estimate their ideal targeted daily calorie intake, one designed to create a calorie deficit of sufficient magnitude to induce weight loss. They would then help their patients devise a meal plan designed to achieve this daily targeted intake. There are a number of formulas that can be used to achieve this (Chapter 7 of The Fat Loss Bible contains a number of such fomulas).

But instead of utilizing this sensible precision strategy, the Eades opt instead for a hit-and-miss approach. They tell their weight loss clients to cut carbs to under 30 grams per day, and with a bit of luck, hopefully the diet will prove sufficiently satiating and they will start losing weight. But as Eades' own writings reveal, luck and hope are not very reliable weight loss agents. As a result of the Eades' haphazard advice, the process is unnecessarily delayed in at least some of their patients because the Eades don't feel it necessary to outline the extreme importance of a calorie deficit right from the word go.

And while the Eades' personal patients at least get a belated reminder to cut their calories, what about the poor folks who buy their Protein Power book? No such emphasis is placed on calories in their best-selling tome - instead people are told that obesity is more closely related to carbohydrate and insulin than calories.

The Eades' emphasis on carbs and insulin instead of calories may explain the following less-than-flattering reviews of Protein Power:

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3FIKZT...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/RTQH782...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1J46CW...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/RESZA60...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R32AL5Q...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3GK71R...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R6CANIE...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2K7N2Z...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/RQL4STA...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R2QXHQT...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R3NCZG3...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R1EC9TL...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/R386CVG...cm_cr_rdp_perm

http://www.amazon.com/review/RX3JGTZ...cm_cr_rdp_perm

The failure of these folks to lose weight on the Protein Power diet is due to one thing - eating too many calories - an unfortunate result of the Eades' claim that carbs and insulin, not calories, are the primary determinants of weight status.

My main point when addressing the MAD hyperbole is – and has always been - that MAD distracts people from the true requirements of weight/fat loss. 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.

MAD proponents seem to have a real hard time comprehending this concept, so I’ll break this down for them in as simple a manner as possible:

MAD not true.

People who follow MAD without calorie deficit don't lose weight.

Promoting MAD for weight loss when MAD false is wrong.

People shouldn’t do wrong thing!

On September 17 I typed the Protein Power author a scathing open letter. In it, I asked Eades to explain why he had conducted such a blatantly one-sided and misleading comparison. I asked him why he continued to peddle the metabolic advantage myth when decades’ worth of tightly controlled metabolic ward studies had completely disproved it.

Eades has never replied to me personally. Instead he tried to salvage his wounded reputation by posting an attempted rebuttal at his blog on September 27, one comprised of a mix of personal insults and a bizarre rant about “lazy” and "obnoxious” teenagers, Karl Popper, irrelevant rodent studies, and some blatantly misleading claims about metabolic ward studies.

On November 8, 2007 I published a free ebook titled They’re All MAD! In it, I thoroughly destroyed the absurd claims made by Eades, including those made in his September 27 post.

Eades, clearly infuriated by the release of this ebook – which you can download for FREE here – proceeded to post a retaliatory piece titled “Learn why Anthony Colpo is MAD and get a free book” on Nov 15, 2007. Again, Eades completely failed to present anything even resembling tightly controlled evidence to support his fallacious MAD beliefs.

Instead, readers were treated to an angry long-winded ad hominem attack on yours truly. Eades whined about everything from my writing style, my shutting down of the old TheOmnivore web site, the “Acknowledgements” page of The Fat Loss Bible, my blasting of a deranged Internet stalker on my web forum, and on and on. None of this of course, had anything to do with the metabolic advantage theory. It was simply a gutter-level attempt by Eades to cast aspersions on my character. Again, for all his insults and character assassination, Eades offered no explanation of why decades of tightly controlled clinical research with real live humans have failed to demonstrate any fat loss advantage for isocaloric low-carb diets.

Eades cited the work of his buddies Richard Feinman and Eugene Fine, insisting that a metabolic advantage must exist because their calculations “predict” it. Eades appears to be oblivious to the fact that predictions are just that: predictions. They cannot be accepted as correct until validated by real world findings. No matter how clever Feinman and Fine’s writings may sound to Eades, their belief in the MAD theory of weight loss has been disproved by metabolic ward studies dating back as far as 1935 (a lengthy destruction of Eades’ Septmber 27 ad hominem attack can be found in the updated version of They’re All MAD! Again, simply click here to read the entire ebook for free).

A problem that often arises when folks like Eades become bitterly angry is that they proceed to make statements, accusations and challenges that they later come to regret. In the heat of the moment, their irrational anger takes over their rational thought processes and causes them to make foolish decisions.

And so it was on September 27. After making a string of libelous and defamatory comments about me, Eades wrote about my book The Fat Loss Bible:

"The first chapter lays out the basis for AC’s belief that there is no metabolic advantage. It is a compendium of misread or misinterpreted studies, the famous “NINETEEN metabolic ward studies” AC mentions in his open letter to me. (There were only SEVENTEEN in the version of the book I read, but who’s counting?)"

(Actually, there are now 26 such studies shown in Table 1, Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible, and I will continue to add relevant metabolic ward studies as they come to hand. My goal is to keep The Fat Loss Bible as thorough and up-to-date as possible).

Eades continued: "Here is what I propose to do. Since this chapter of this book is the foundation for AC’s bedrock belief in the non-existence of a metabolic advantage, I will go through it and in meticulous detail demonstrate just what a shaky foundation that is."

Despite the fact that Eades clearly resented me deeply for publicly attacking his untenable claims, and despite his cocksure claim that he had the evidence to discredit me, he first felt compelled to take a vote from his readers as to whether or not he should post his “meticulous” analysis:

"...I will do it only if you - the readers of this blog - want me to. It will take a little time that could otherwise be spent in posting on the stuff I usually post on. You can vote with your comments. I’m not going to respond to any of these comments, but I will put them up and tally them. If the yeas outnumber the nays, I’ll do the critique."

On December 16, 2007, the title on Eades blog triumphantly proclaimed “The votes are in: Dissect it is!” According to Eades, his readers had voted in favor of his so-called dissection, and Eades assured he would promptly give his readers what they wanted. According to Eades: “It will take me a couple of days because even though I’ve already done the work, I have to write it up. I’ll continue to post on other subjects in the interim, but I should have the exegesis posted this week.”

Well, that was over 6 weeks ago. Not surprisingly, a lot of people are wondering what has happened to Eades’ definitive dissection of Chapter 1 from my book. It’s not like Eades has decided to forget about me and move onto other things, as he still finds the time to routinely issue personal insults about me on his blog. But nowhere is his threatened dissection to be found.

On January 12, one of Eades’ readers asked him how his critique of The Fat Loss Bible was coming along to which Eades replied:

“The critique of The Fat Loss Bible proceeds apace. Problem is that it’s so easy to critique, but it takes a lot of space to do it. There is so much misinformation contained in the FLB it will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all. The book is so dreary, pompous and self-serving that any critique that takes it apart limb from limb will be kind of dreary as well. And every time I get ready to start putting all the stuff on paper (so to speak) something pops up that’s more immediate and requiring a shorter blog, so I opt for that and put Anthony off for another day. All my professional friends - who have stayed out of the fray - are encouraging me to forget it because it will look like piling on since at the core Anthony is really only an amateur. Why give some young, clueless prat the attention he craves? they all say. But I’m committed and I will eventually put up the critique.
Cheers–
MRE”

Eades evidently believes his readers are a bunch of gullible fools, and judging by the comments they leave on his blog, I totally agree. Nonetheless, I’m starting to get a little tired of his pathetically transparent “the dog ate my homework” routine. Eades has had six weeks to post a dissection that he originally promised within a week, and it’s nowhere to be seen. Yet he and his followers still see fit to issue insults and accuse me of dishonesty and impropriety.

Enough is enough. It’s time to finally show the world what Eades and his fellow MAD believers are really about. They have repeatedly attempted to assassinate my character, but have not even come close to providing anything resembling tightly controlled evidence with real live humans validating the MAD theory of weight loss. All their insults and malicious accusations are just a façade designed to draw attention away from the fact that they have no valid science to back up their claims. Because they cannot fault my scientific arguments, they must instead rely on casting fallacious aspersions on my character in the hope that people won’t take me seriously.

Well, as they say in motocross circles, “When the start gate drops, the bullshit stops”. It’s time for a little challenge to sort out who really is the duplicitous, dishonest, and misleading party in this whole debate.

Unlike Eades and his MAD-believing followers, who cowardly attack me from behind the anonymous safety of their computer screens, I’m prepared to stand up and put my money where my mouth is.

So here’s my challenge: If Eades can meet the following conditions (and if all his cocksure boasting is based on anything other than hot air, he should have no problem doing so) then I will donate $20,000 U.S. dollars to the legitimate, registered and non-profit charity of his choice.

This challenge, by the way, is not exclusively aimed at Eades. Any other MAD proponent/believer who can meet the following requirements is also encouraged to rise to the occasion. The first person to meet the following requirements by midnight of March 1, 2008 (Australian EST) – be it Eades or someone else - will be able to nominate the legitimate, registered and non-profit charity of their choice to receive US $20,000.

If however, neither Eades nor his fellow MAD believers cannot meet this challenge, then they will merely confirm that their beloved MAD theory of weight loss is simply a load of misleading and counterproductive bullshit. It will also confirm that they are a bunch of disgruntled malevolents who vigorously attack me, not because I am wrong, but because I have had the temerity to publicly state that their own cherished beliefs to be wrong.

Here are the requirements they must meet to win the challenge:

1. Show me 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.

This research must be reported in a full text paper (abstracts will not be accepted) published in a reputable peer-reviewed English-language scientific journal. To prevent the possibility of collusion with unethical researchers, the research must have been published on or before November 19, 2007, the day Eades announced that he would go ahead with his dissection.

For obvious reasons, research conducted or funded (partly or wholly) by those who profit from or otherwise have a vested financial interest in low-carbohydrate nutrition (e.g., from the sale of low-carbohydrate books/supplements/food products/dietary advice/etc) will not be accepted.

The research must involve trials conducted under tightly controlled ward conditions where the researchers controlled food intake and ensured isocaloric intakes among the participants. The trials must have been conducted in:

  1. Randomized fashion involving groups of subjects with similar baseline characteristics, with one group assigned to follow a low-carb diet for a period of no less than 3 weeks, and another group of subjects assigned to follow a high-carb diet of identical caloric content for a similar period, or;
  2. Randomized crossover fashion, where within each trial the same subjects each followed both diets for similar periods of time, with a minimum duration of 3 weeks for each diet.

The low-carb diet/s must involve a carbohydrate intake equal to or less than 100 grams of carbohydrate per day.

The research must show statistically significant greater weight loss (in which the greater weight loss was confirmed as comprised of greater fat loss, not greater water, glycogen, fecal, muscle, bone, organ or other lean tissue losses) on the isocaloric low-carb diet. I have set the minimum duration of 3 weeks as this will automatically exclude many studies in which greater weight loss was due to water losses. This shouldn’t in any way pose a problem, as MAD proponents have never imposed a time limitation for the effect of MAD.

I know Eades and the MAD crowd hate the very idea of metabolic ward studies, because they have the annoying habit of consistently showing MAD to be complete nonsense. Too bad. The fact remains that metabolic ward studies are the only type of trial where isocaloric intakes can be ensured on both the low- and high-carb diets.

So don’t even think about citing free-living studies, where the caloric intake of the subjects cannot be verified. These studies are notoriously prone to misreporting – even Eades himself has acknowledged that, to quote his own words, " patients tend to under report what they eat instead of over reporting".

You must not cite studies showing greater fat loss on low-carb diets in which the protein content was higher than the high-carb diet. The fact that increased protein intake can slightly increase fat losses and simultaneously decrease muscle losses (without affecting the overall rate of weight loss) is not in question – it has been shown numerous times in controlled trials, as I have already explained inThe Fat Loss Bible. This muscle-sparing effect of increased dietary protein is independent of carbohydrate intake, and is seen at both low and high carbohydrate intakes. You are claiming that low-carb intakes per se cause increased fat-derived weight loss, so you prove it.

Don’t insult my intelligence by citing animal studies. The fat loss claims of MAD promoters are directed at human customers, not members of other animal species. So show me metabolic ward studies in which the participants were real live humans. Eades has already tried his hand at citing rodent studies, a dubious tactic that I proceeded to shoot down in flames. Rodents possess markedly different fat and glucose metabolisms, making the extrapolation of rodent data to humans irrelevant.

And don’t be a smart-ass and cite studies showing greater weight loss that is attributable to nausea, diarrhea and/or greater fluid, fecal, glycogen or lean tissue losses. You and I both know damn well that MAD lures people with its tantalizing promise of greater body fat loss. MAD proponents repeatedly claim greater body fat losses for isocaloric low-carb diets, so they shouldn’t have any trouble providing the evidence to show this is true. Unless of course, the evidence does not exist…

Also, don’t attempt to switch contexts by citing studies examining the comparative weight gain effects of hypercaloric low-carb versus high-carb diets, or the weight loss/body composition effects of low-carb versus high-carb diets in patients with rare health disorders such as Type 1 diabetes. MAD proponents have enthusiastically promoted the metabolic advantage theory, without qualification, to the general public for weight loss. So show me the metabolic ward data that justifies the promotion of MAD to the general public for weight loss.

And don’t waste my time by citing the theoretical musings of researchers such as Richard Feinman and Eugene Fine. I’m not interested in pseudo-intellectual self-pleasuring that “predicts” the existence of a metabolic advantage. If the weather bureau predicts a fine sunny day and it proceeds to rain down in buckets, then the bureau clearly got it wrong. Feinman and Fine might be able to impress their fellow MAD believers with their MAD hypothesizing, but tightly controlled clinical trials that have actually put the hypothesis to test in real live human beings have repeatedly shown it to be a fantasy.

Once you have presented the requested metabolic ward research – which for unexplained reasons you have chosen to withhold to date – you can then proceed to meet the next requirement:

2. You must 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.

In Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible, I report the results of every metabolic ward study I have been able to find comparing the weight loss effects of lower- and higher-carbohydrate diets. None of them have shown statistically significant greater fat losses arising from lower-carb (nor higher-carb) diets. Only 3 of the 26 studies I have cited reported greater weight loss; in one of these, the greater weight loss was comprised of water and a non-statistically significant (ie, likely due to chance) greater fat loss (1 kg). In the other 2 studies, the researchers did not measure the composition of weight loss, but the changes in markers of lean mass status strongly suggest that the extra weight loss was derived from lean tissue, glycogen and/or water losses.

The remainder of the studies show no difference in weight loss among isocaloric low- and high-carb diets. Those that measured the composition of lost weight found no difference in fat loss excepting, in some studies, that attributable to higher protein intake on the low-carb diet.

However, Eades has claimed that Chapter 1 of my book “is a compendium of misread or misinterpreted studies”. Interestingly Eades is the only person who has read my book to make such an accusation – which I’m sure has nothing to do with his fury and embarrassment resulting from my public highlighting of his untenable claims, no sirree.

And after 6 weeks, Eades has still completely failed to verify his allegation that I “misread” and “misinterpreted” the metabolic ward studies cited in Chapter1 of The Fat Loss Bible. So I think it’s time to give Eades a little prodding.

I vehemently deny any allegation that I have “misread” and “misinterpreted” the metabolic ward studies cited in Chapter 1. I have simply reported the findings of the researchers in a factual, objective manner as any impartial person who has read the chapter and then checked the studies would know. If Eades or his followers believe otherwise, then here’s their chance to prove it.

After citing the metabolic ward research requested in requirement 1, they must then invalidate each and every one of the metabolic ward studies I have cited in Chapter 1 in which the lower-carb group ate less than 100 grams of carbohydrate per day. They must provide conclusive evidence that these studies did in fact find statistically significant greater fat losses on the lower carb diets, but that the researchers – by accident or design – misreported this data and instead claimed no difference in weight/fat losses.

If anyone can invalidate all the relevant metabolic ward studies in Table 1, Chapter 1 in the manner requested and present the previously requested metabolic ward research that does demonstrate a fat loss metabolic advantage for low-carb diets, then clearly the weight of current evidence will be in favor of MAD. Under that scenario, I will gladly hand over $20,000. But as it stands, seventy years’ worth of tightly controlled metabolic ward studies completely fail to prove the MAD paradigm.

Even half of the free-living studies conducted so far fail to support MAD. This is despite the fact that the tendency for greater satiety on low-carb diets and greater underreporting among subjects following low-fat diets favors the low-carb groups in allegedly ‘isocaloric’ free-living studies.

In other words, even when allowing the inclusion of free-living studies, the overwhelming majority of clinical trials have still completely failed to show any weight/fat loss advantage for low-carb diets. I have repeatedly requested that MAD promoters explain why they ignore the non-supportive studies and focus only on the minority of supportive fee-living studies.

I’m still waiting for a response…

3. The evidence requested above must be presented on an internet web site readily viewable by the general public by Midnight, March 1, 2008, Australian EST.

I am imposing this deadline because Eades has already had 6 weeks to post his dissection, but keeps using pathetic “the dog ate my homework”-style excuses to avoid having to deliver the goods.

As for the rest of the MAD crowd, their repeated and highly virulent criticism of me would indicate complete confidence in the scientific backing of their position, so they should have no problem promptly compiling this evidence.

When I was recently the subject of false and malicious allegations by the disgruntled promoter of a “Super Slow” weight training system (who just happens to be a co-author of Eades), I posted my rebuttal within hours of being notified of his diatribe:
http://anthonycolpo.com/fred_hahn.html

So if an “amateur” like me can knock up an effective rebuttal in a matter of hours, I’m sure the intellectual giants that characterize the MAD movement can write something up in 4 weeks!

So there it is: Eades and fellow MAD believers have until March 1, 2008 to prove me wrong and relieve me of 20,000 greenbacks. It’s time to cease and desist with their pissy little insults and cowardly accusations and show that they have something to bring to his debate other than vitriolic bullshit.

I eagerly await their response.

‘Pre-emptive’ FAQ

To pre-empt the usual idiotic and boringly predictable criticisms that will no doubt be made by the MAD crowd (I say predictable as most of these ‘criticisms’ have already been made on numerous occasions by said crowd):

“This is just a publicity stunt by Colpo to promote his book The Fat Loss Bible.”

Yeah right. If I wanted to draw further attention to my book, I’d do something truly attention-grabbing… like scaling a tall building naked, with nothing but a picture of The The Fat Loss Bible covering my family jewels.

I could care less for such exhibitionism. My goal is to demonstrate to all those with a functioning brain just how dubious and intellectually bankrupt the MAD crowd truly are.

“Dr. Michael Eades is my hero - how dare you challenge him or his dietary theories!”

I suggest you find a new hero. Unless of course, you think it’s perfectly OK to idolize someone who unashamedly promotes scientifically untenable dietary theories and personally attacks those with the temerity to state the plain truth.

“You are not helping the low-carb cause by attacking the metabolic advantage theory”

If you are truly concerned about advancing the “low-carb cause”, I suggest you petition those who promote MAD to cease and desist with their unscientific behavior. MAD is a scientifically untenable theory that prevents many serious researchers from treating low-carbohydrate diets with the respect and attention they deserve. No reputable scientist wants anything to do with charlatanism.

Furthermore, many people have followed the instructions of MAD-promoting authors, and have failed to lose weight due to the lack of a calorie deficit. Not realizing that calories are the key to weight loss, many of these folks have decided that low-carb diets are a waste of time and have gone looking for the next diet fad. This is a pity, because if they were told the truth about weight loss, they would realize that intelligently structured low-carbohydrate diets can be an excellent weight loss aid.

Low-carbohydrate diet authors and followers have the same obligation to act ethically and truthfully as everyone else. If they instead choose to behave like a bunch of hucksters then that’s their fault, not mine.

"Your insistence on metabolic ward studies is unreasonable. Real people don’t live in metabolic wards."

You’re joking, right? The participants of metabolic ward studies are indeed real live human beings, not aliens from another planet. They have lungs that inhale oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, they have hearts that pump blood around their bodies, they eat and digest food and excrete waste, and they put their pants on one leg at a time – just like you and I. They are recruited from the greater community and required to live in a confined area under the watch of researchers for the duration of the study. Their physiology does not suddenly undergo some unusual and atypical transformation when the study commences. Their bodies continue to function in the same manner they always have. The only difference is that whilst confined to the research facilities, they are fed controlled amounts of food to ensure isocaloric intakes on the low- and high-carbohydrate diets. This is the only way one can honestly test the hypothesis that isocaloric diets of varying macronutrient composition have differing weight loss effects.

"Even if Eades can’t meet your challenge it won’t prove anything to me. I believe a metabolic advantage exists, it’s just that science is yet to prove it."

If science is yet to prove a metabolic advantage, then what on Earth are the MAD crowd doing promoting it as if it were established fact?!?

As for what you wish to “believe”, it’s no big secret that people believe all sorts of bizarre nonsense. I only care about what has been demonstrated as tenable in carefully controlled clinical studies. The reality-evading wishful thinking of MAD believers such as yourself does not in any way constitute reliable evidence.

Your mentality is so typical of MAD believers. You simply refuse to accept that your dietary theory has been repeatedly disproved in tightly controlled clinical trials. Clearly, your priority is unwavering devotion to dogma, not discovering the scientific facts. You completely and wilfully abandon the scientific method in favor of cultism.

I really don’t know what to say to people like you, except to stick your head back up your butt and continue on your merry way, fumbling through life in a perpetual state of wilful ignorance.

“I don’t understand why Colpo is attacking the low-carb community, the same community that has given him so much support.”

Get a grip. I’m not attacking the low-carb “community” – I follow a low-carbohydrate diet myself and have always been a staunch defender of low-carb diets that are structured in an intelligent manner (which automatically excludes most of the well-known low-carb plans). I am attacking the scientifically untenable MAD theory of weight loss, and I am challenging the acid-tongued promoters of this theory to once and for all step up and provide the scientific evidence that justifies their continuous and unbridled vitriol.

I am extremely grateful to all those in the low-carb “community”, along with those in the academic, medical, athletic and even low-fat and vegetarian “communities”, who over the years have expressed positive sentiment about me and my writings and supported me financially by purchasing my books. But it’s only fair to mention that my most venomous and underhanded critics have also emanated from the low-carb “community”.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t care less what “community” one comes from. I write for those whose greatest concern is uncovering the true facts, not those whose prime concern is unthinking and unwavering devotion to closely held dogma.

"Who made you a self-appointed expert/guardian of the diet industry?"

The same environment that has made so many MAD believers such hopelessly gullible victims of the diet industry. The main difference is that I choose to think for myself and actually check what, if any, scientific validation exists for diet and health claims. Blindly supporting some hyperbolic diet guru simply because he’s telling me what I want to hear is hardly what I consider to be critical and independent thinking.

As for the “self-appointed expert/guardian” tag, that’s your label, not mine. I am simply exercising my inalienable right to free speech. I have attracted praise and favorable commentary from a readership base that extends all around the globe, so clearly there are a lot of people who are glad that I have exercised this right.

Of course, I have also attracted my fair share of nutters who resent me for saying things they don’t want to hear, no matter how scientifically valid. If you are annoyed that you cannot disprove my contentions, and must instead resort to impotent jabs about “self-appointed” expert status…well, that’s a rather sad reflection on you, not me.

"If we MAD believers can come up with even a single supportive metabolic ward trial meeting your requirements then that should be good enough to win the challenge. We should not be required to disprove the studies in Chapter 1. After all, it only takes one contradictory study to invalidate a hypothesis."

Ah, the old “it only takes one contradictory study to invalidate a hypothesis” cliché, a favorite of none other than Eades himself. Small-minded folks just love clichés and other simplistic overgeneralizations that reduce the volume of information they must critically assess on individual merit.

The problem with the claim that “it only takes one contradictory study to invalidate a hypothesis” is that it is self-contradictory. If MAD believers find a study that contradicts my anti-MAD contentions then they maintain that would prove my contentions wrong. But the opposite must logically be true – if I find a single study contradicting their pro-MAD contentions (let’s forget for a moment that I actually already have over 2 dozen such studies and they have none…) then that would automatically mean their contentions are wrong. But what if we both have research data that contradicts the other side’s contentions? Do you see where this is going? We can’t both be right – either there is a weight loss metabolic advantage, or there isn’t.

At the end of the day, one must consider the totality of the evidence. If one research group attains a certain finding, but over 20 other research groups fail to confirm this finding, we must ask why.

One of the key requirements of clinical research is that, for the findings to be accepted as valid, they must be able to be replicated by other researchers.

Let’s say you are a researcher who has just conducted a clinical trial and uncovered certain findings. If other trials conducted with similar subjects and under similar conditions by different researchers repeatedly fail to confirm these findings then they cannot be considered valid. The lack of corroboration raises the possibility that your findings were simply a fluke occurrence, that you falsified the findings, that your subjects did not comply with the study protocol, or one of endless other possible confounders.

An example of this phenomenon is research conducted several years back that allegedly showed greater weight loss among subjects eating a high-calcium diet. Based on the results of this research by a single group of researchers, diet and health writers around the world began enthusiastically singing the praises of high-calcium dairy products for weight loss. As you can imagine, the dairy industry was especially pleased and began running ad campaigns titled "Milk your diet. Lose weight!" and "3-a-day. Burn more fat, lose weight."

However, when numerous other groups of researchers tried to replicate these results, they repeatedly drew a blank. Even a subsequent trial by the original researchers who started all the commotion failed to replicate their own earlier results. It appears that the results in their earliest trial were simply an artifact of lower caloric consumption in the high-calcium group (an occurrence that would have been alleviated had the trial been conducted under ward conditions). In 2007, the Federal Trade Commission ordered the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the nation's dairy industry to desist from relating dairy products to weight management and loss.

I will reiterate: the MAD crowd must show me legitimate metabolic ward research showing statistically significant greater fat losses on an isocaloric low-carb diet. They must then invalidate the far greater number of non-supportive metabolic ward studies as stated in requirement 2. If they cannot do this, then they should cease and desist with their baseless pro-MAD propaganda.

To read Michael Eades' email reply, dated February 1, to Anthony Colpo about this challenge, see below.

Update: March 16, 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen,

the March 1 deadline has passed and neither Eades nor anyone else even attempted to meet the $20,000 challenge.

For all their hyperbole and for all their rabid vitriol against anyone who dares challenge the MAD theory of weight loss, the MAD movement appear to be a little shy when it comes to fronting up with the actual human evidence to support their theory.

Either that, or they don't have any such evidence.

For those who still believe in MAD - despite the overwhelming lack of evidence and the abundance of contradictory clinical data - here's my advice:

Please keep believing in MAD. Please do not listen to anyone who tells you that MAD is scientifically untenable, no matter how much evidence they present to support their case. Please ignore reality and keep engaging in the mental masturbation necessary to sustain your MAD fantasy. That way, you'll end up with the sad, flabby, uninspiring body you deserve.

Regards,

Anthony Colpo.

[This article originally appeared at AnthonyColpo.com, January 30, 2008.]

Eades' reply to Anthony's $20,000 challenge: More Bullshit, a Cynical Bribe, and a Request for Dishonest Collusion that Backfires

Michael Eades to A Colpo

Date        Feb 1, 2008 9:54 AM
subjectThe MAD Challenge

Hey Anthony--

Thought I would drop you a note and give you an email address to write to me directly instead of through the Protein Power website.  I often don't get emails that come through the site for several days since I don't take them down.

Your challenge intrigues me, but it is, of course, rigged in your favor.  The second condition is one I can't meet because I don't think the studies listed in the FLB have been misreported by their authors.  I think the data from those studies are what they are.  What I believe is incorrect is your interpretation of that data, which has nothing to do with the #2 condition.  So, I can't possibly grab the twenty grand, because of the way you have the 'challenge' constructed.

Also, before I would ever engage in such an idiotic activity designed basically to generate publicity for you, you would have to put the $20,000 (which I doubt you have to give away should I triumph anyway) in an escrow account in advance so that it would really a) exist, and b) be available should I win.  And we would have to agree on a panel of experts to make the determination as to whether I collect or not.  Much though I like and trust you, I wouldn't rely on your interpretation of my challenge to be the deciding factor as to whether or not you parted with said twenty grand.

Besides, I'm going to dissect the first chapter of the FLB for free.  You won't have to worry about paying the $20K.  Your accusation that I'm resorting to the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse for not having posted it already is ludicrous, as you would know if you had any inkling of my schedule.  Since we started this little spat I've been in a half dozen countries in two different continents and back and forth from coast to coast in the US a couple of times.  Plus I've written a book proposal and gotten a book contract with a short deadline, which I'm working apace on.  I'm involved in three different companies that require a lot of my time, and I post on my blog almost every day.  I've had to quit answering comments on said blog because I've run out of time.  So don't think I haven't dealt with our situation because I can't.  I simply haven't had the time.  I envy you the time you obviously have to write these long, repetitive pieces that you do.  Which, by the way, have a high noise to signal ratio.  You really need to work to sharpen your writing style.

Speaking of which, let me give you some advice.  I don't know you from Adam's off ox, but I suspect that what you enjoy doing is researching (library researching; not bench researching) and writing.  I do, too.  I suspect you would like to be paid for the work you do, which, I suspect, is why you write it in books that you sell.  I do, too.  The difference between us is that I do make a good living from writing.  The reason I do and you don't is that I have credentials.  That doesn't mean that I'm smarter than you - it simply means that I have a bunch of merit badges that you don't.  These merit badges allow me to get published while your lack of merit badges hampers you.  The sad truth about the publishing business (a truth that has taken me a long time to learn) is that to publishers the content of the book doesn't matter a whit.  Sad but true.  What publishers look for is someone whom they can promote.  And to publishers, the more merit badges one has the easier to promote.

If I were you (here comes the advice) I would put my Omnivore site back up start writing new material for it.  This will give you a platform, which is the big word in publishing these days.  When someone tells a publisher about a great book that someone has written, the publisher's first question is: What's his/her platform?  Meaning does this person have a way to sell his/her book because, God knows, the publishers don't have a clue as to how to sell it.  Publishers seem to be in the book printing business, not the book selling business.  And if they have an author who can sell his/her own book, the publishers are willing to pay an advance and buy the book.  But no platform means no book contract.

You were well on your way to developing a pretty good platform with the Omnivore website.  As you gain readers (who are often a pain in the rear and want all kinds of info free that you've worked hard to dig out - but that's the price you have to pay) and the site grows in content, then you have a platform that publishers will pay attention to.  And pay for.  You will have a built-in readership that they figure they can sell books to.

And you've got to quit alienating everyone in the low-carb field.  These are all people who can help you.  I know Richard Feinman and Loren Cordain very well, and I consider both of them close friends.  But I don't agree with them on everything.  In fact, I have the same disagreement with Loren over the saturated fat issue that you do, but he's still a close friend.  I didn't know who you were until Feinman mentioned you to me.  He told me you had written a pretty good book on the the cholesterol idiocy that all of academia was consumed with.  He told me he would send me a copy.  Before his copy had reached me, you sent me an online copy.  At that time, Richard Feinman was an ally of yours; now he probably wouldn't give you the time of day.  You can (and should) disagree with people when you have a solid basis for disagreement, but you don't have to do it so vituperatively so that it severs the relationship.

The disagreement you have with me is a case in point.  I suspect we have much more in common than points on which we disagree.  Arguing about the issue of the metabolic advantage is almost as ludicrous as arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  We're talking about a few hundred calories at most under specific circumstances.  You've managed to convert what is at best a molehill into a giant mountain.

Don't think for a minute that I'm trying to get you to back off because I'm not.  I'm planning on destroying your argument and giving you no quarter.  Your behavior demands nothing less.  I'm simply encouraging you to think next time before you leap into such a chasm of idiocy over so minor an issue.

Having said that and despite your recent relentless public barrage of insulting and unfounded attacks on my integrity and upon me personally, I'm not one who holds a grudge (except where [name edited] is concerned - he's the exception), so while we go at each other publicly, I can maybe help you a little privately.  In order to get a publishing contract you have got to have an agent.  I can at least get an agent to look at your stuff.  I don't know how many copies of The Great Cholesterol Con you've sold, but the magic number seems to be around 10,000.  In other words, if you sell 10,000 publishers will be interested.  A friend of mine named Ray Audette self published a little book titled Neanderthin.  I wrote the foreword for it.  Ray is much like you - he has no credentials but he's a smart guy and a good researcher and integrator of what he reads.  He managed to sell about 10,000 copies on his own and ended up getting a nice advance from St. Martin's Press for a hardcover version.  There's no reason you can't do the same.  You would have to be willing to change the title because of Kendrick's book.  Or you may be able to sell the FLB.  I don't know.  But I can at least get a big time agent to look at the stuff.

Let me know.

Best--

Mike

P.S. I don't have a problem with any of our published stuff (i.e., books, blogs, internet writings, idiotic challenges, etc.) to be fair game in our little spat, but let's keep our email exchanges private.  Thanks.

My reply to Dr. Michael Eades' email is reprinted below.

A Colpo to Michael Eades
dateFeb 3, 2008 4:50 PM
subjectRe: The MAD Challenge

Dear Michael,

thank you for your reply. I’ll be honest and admit that I’m not quite sure what to make of your email. I’m unsure whether this is your way of extending the olive branch, or simply a ploy to get me off your back, your assurances to the contrary notwithstanding. Given the recent animosity between us, I’m sure you’ll understand if I’m a little sceptical.

I must say that I am pleased that your email – for the most part – is absent of the slanderous ad hominem diatribe that has characterized every other attempt you have made to address my criticisms of your work. Unfortunately, your email is not completely free of derogatory innuendo.

Let me address your comments one by one:

“Your challenge intrigues me, but it is, of course, rigged in your favor.  The second condition is one I can't meet because I don't think the studies listed in the FLB have been misreported by their authors.  I think the data from those studies are what they are.  What I believe is incorrect is your interpretation of that data, which has nothing to do with the #2 condition.  So, I can't possibly grab the twenty grand, because of the way you have the 'challenge' constructed.”

Your accusation that the study is “rigged” is untenable. I have made a number of clearly articulated requirements, and if you can meet those requirements I will donate US $20,000 to the registered, non-profit charity of your choice.

The requirements are not at all unreasonable. If the phenomenon of MAD exists in human beings, as you and other MAD proponents so enthusiastically insist, then you should have no problem presenting clinical trial evidence that supports this claim. If you cannot supply this evidence, then it merely confirms my insistence that you are making claims with no scientific basis.

MAD claims that human beings lose more fat-derived weight when consuming a low-carb diet than when consuming a higher-carb diet of identical calorie (isocaloric) content.

The only way to prove this contention is to take real live human beings – not rats or mice, but real live human beings – and conduct tightly controlled clinical trials to test the hypothesis. In these studies, volunteers would be fed isocaloric low-carb and high-carb diets, either in parallel group fashion or in crossover fashion.

The very nature of the hypothesis necessitates that these studies be conducted under ward conditions in order to ensure isocaloric intakes. Free-living studies, where food intake is totally uncontrolled and dietary misreporting is common could not even begin to be relied upon when isocaloric dietary intakes are a pivotal requirement for testing the hypothesis. You yourself have publicly acknowledged that “patients tend to underreport”.

So all I’m asking is that you provide the clinical research showing that MAD exists, which I don’t think is at all unreasonable. You make a claim, you provide the relevant evidence to back it up.

You admit you cannot meet requirement 2; actually, I think we both know you cannot meet requirement 1 either.

In Chapter 1 of The Fat Loss Bible, I factually report the actual results of the metabolic ward studies shown in Table 1. When Joe Researcher compares isocaloric low-carb and high-carb diets and finds no statistically significant difference in weight or fat loss, and I write “Joe Researcher compared isocaloric low-carb and high-carb diets and found no statistically significant difference in weight or fat loss”, then I’m really not sure what part of my report constitutes “misreading” and “misinterpreting”. But hey, I’m all ears…

In the context of the challenge, requirement 2 is also not at all unreasonable. If you somehow manage to find a metabolic ward study supporting MAD, you must then explain why numerous other researchers have failed to replicate these findings. After all, a key requirement before clinical research findings can be accepted as valid is replication. If the findings repeatedly fail to be replicated under similar conditions by other groups of researchers, they can hardly be considered valid.

Over seven decades’ worth of metabolic ward trials have failed to demonstrate MAD. Did the researchers who conducted these studies misreport their results? You have just admitted that you cannot fault their data, which has completely failed to find evidence of greater fat-derived weight loss in individuals.

The bottom line is that I have simply asked for the human evidence that proves MAD, and you now acknowledge that you cannot furnish it.

“Also, before I would ever engage in such an idiotic activity designed basically to generate publicity for you, you would have to put the $20,000 (which I doubt you have to give away should I triumph anyway) in an escrow account in advance so that it would really a) exist, and b) be available should I win.  And we would have to agree on a panel of experts to make the determination as to whether I collect or not.  Much though I like and trust you, I wouldn't rely on your interpretation of my challenge to be the deciding factor as to whether or not you parted with said twenty grand.”

Now, now, let’s not fall back on name-calling and innuendo.

You think the challenge is “idiotic”? I have defined 3 very clear, specific requirements. You meet those requirements, I will donate $20,000 to the charity of your choice, be it one that helps sick children, provides refuge for victims of domestic violence, nurtures abandoned babies, fights slavery, feeds starving refugees, or one of any other numerous worthy causes. What’s so “idiotic” about that?

As for the claim that it is a publicity stunt, as a successful marketer I think you know full well that there are much better ways to generate publicity for my book. The real reason that I am issuing this challenge is to show that, unlike you and the rest of the MAD propagators who have so vigorously attacked my honesty and character, I’m prepared to put my money where my mouth is. The challenge is simple and straightforward: MAD propagators insist that a weight loss metabolic advantage exists, and I’m asking them to prove it.

So please make your comments on the challenge factual and matter of fact. I’m not interested in your personal opinion of the challenge. Hey, I’m not expecting you to like it, as it is a challenge that you cannot meet and therefore casts you and your claims in a negative manner. All I want to know is whether you have the evidence required to win the challenge. You have just acknowledged that you don’t. That is what I really wanted to know; I could care less for name-calling.

You claim to like me and trust me (again, forgive me for being rather wary of this claim based on our past history), but in the same paragraph state that you doubt I have the money to hand over should you “triumph”. While I may not live the jet-setting lifestyle you boast of, after 40 years on this planet I have managed to accumulate a heck of a lot more than $20,000. I do indeed have the money required to meet the challenge, but as you have already acknowledged that you cannot meet the requirements of the challenge, I guess you won’t be seeing it anytime soon.

“Besides, I'm going to dissect the first chapter of the FLB for free.  You won't have to worry about paying the $20K.”

I was never worried about having to fork over the 20 grand. MAD is a sham that has been repeatedly contradicted by tightly controlled research. My goal is to alert others to this fact, and to do my bit get the weight loss arena back on track – i.e. to work on feasible and sustainable ways in which it can help overweight people achieve a calorie deficit. Feeding people a load of untenable hogwash about a non-existent weight loss metabolic advantage does not assist this aim.

“Your accusation that I'm resorting to the-dog-ate-my-homework excuse for not having posted it already is ludicrous, as you would know if you had any inkling of my schedule.  Since we started this little spat I've been in a half dozen countries in two different continents and back and forth from coast to coast in the US a couple of times.  Plus I've written a book proposal and gotten a book contract with a short deadline, which I'm working apace on.  I'm involved in three different companies that require a lot of my time, and I post on my blog almost every day.  I've had to quit answering comments on said blog because I've run out of time.  So don't think I haven't dealt with our situation because I can't.  I simply haven't had the time.”

As for the claim that you have not had time to finish your “exegesis”, this is what you wrote on November 19, 2007:

“It will take me a couple of days because even though I’ve already done the work, I have to write it up. I’ll continue to post on other subjects in the interim, but I should have the exegesis posted this week.”

Did you take all your international trips within the remainder of that week?

On December 9, almost 3 weeks later, you wrote:

“I’ve just had a lot going on lately and haven’t been able to give it the attention it needs.”

And then on January 12, 2008:

The critique of The Fat Loss Bible proceeds apace. Problem is that it’s so easy to critique, but it takes a lot of space to do it. There is so much misinformation contained in the FLB it will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all. The book is so dreary, pompous and self-serving that any critique that takes it apart limb from limb will be kind of dreary as well. And every time I get ready to start putting all the stuff on paper (so to speak) something pops up that’s more immediate and requiring a shorter blog, so I opt for that and put Anthony off for another day. All my professional friends - who have stayed out of the fray - are encouraging me to forget it because it will look like piling on since at the core Anthony is really only an amateur. Why give some young, clueless prat the attention he craves? they all say. But I’m committed and I will eventually put up the critique.”

So over 6 weeks ago you claimed that you had already done the work and just needed to write it up, and that this would only take a few days. And now you’re claiming that it’s a whopping big job that requires a significant chunk of time to be set aside for completion.

As you have been so gracious to offer me free advice, let me return the favor. Here’s my first piece of advice:

Don’t make promises you can’t keep. If you don’t intend to write something, don’t promise it to your readers. If you do intend to write it, don’t promise to deliver it within a few days when it allegedly “will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all.” People can’t help but doubt your authenticity when, after several weeks, you fail to deliver something that you originally promised within a few days.

“I envy you the time you obviously have to write these long, repetitive pieces that you do.”

Actually, with a busy schedule that includes reading, researching, writing, training, consulting, and a host of other non-health-related commitments that I won’t divulge here because they are no-one else’s business, I don’t have a whole lot of spare time on my hands. So I likewise envy someone like you who has the time to go scouring through posts on both my own and other low-carb forums in search of quotes that can be used in a lengthy ad hominem diatribe against me, such as that which constituted your September 27 blog post. This post contributed no new scientific evidence to the debate whatsoever, it was simply an underhanded attempt to attack my persona.

On every occasion that I have answered your MAD claims throughout this “spat”, I have cited specific studies. You, on the other hand, initially made attempts to appeal to the scientific literature, but when I consistently demolished these attempts you appear to have become increasingly frustrated and angry. You eventually gave up citing the literature and relied solely on issuing personal insults at me. You claim a dire shortage of spare time, but you still have found plenty of time to keep up the mudslinging.

So here’s my second piece of advice to you:

If you cannot support your claims with valid scientific evidence, don’t abandon the scientific method and resort to slander and ad hominem attacks. It simply demonstrates that… you cannot support your claims with valid scientific and must therefore resort to slander and ad hominem attacks.

“Which, by the way, have a high noise to signal ratio.  You really need to work to sharpen your writing style.”

OK, while we’re all in the mood for critiquing writing styles, let me offer my assessment of your writing style:

You have an exceedingly high slander to fact ratio.

As I stated above, I have consistently demolished each and every one of your MAD claims using specific references to the scientific literature. You, on the other hand, initially made attempts to cite supportive scientific literature, but when I consistently demolished these attempts you evidently became increasingly frustrated and angry and eventually gave up citing the literature and started relying solely on issuing personal insults.

While I was uncovering even more tightly controlled ward studies examining (and further disproving MAD) you were not citing any new evidence to bolster your case. Instead you and your readers were busy inferring that I was a mentally unstable steroid-abuser. Some of the choice terms you have used to describe me during our “spat” include “pipsqueak”, “snivelling dreck”, “a legend in his own mind”, “a pretty slippery fellow”, “pigheadedness”, “humorless”, and “young, clueless prat”. These are among the ones that I am aware of – no doubt there are plenty more, but unlike yourself I don’t have the time to go scouring through your blog archives for more examples.

After all this, you then have the temerity to accuse me of being vituperative! This, from the same guy who claims that: "There is far too little civility in today’s world, and I try to do my part to contribute. I’ve always believed in civility in my personal encounters and in my online encounters and try to stay true to my beliefs."

And let’s not forget the repeated accusations of dishonesty/duplicity that you and your readers seem to be especially fond of issuing. BTW, would you or any of your followers like to prove this? Would any of you be prepared to place $20,000 in an “escrow account” and it hand it over if you cannot prove your claims that I have deliberately misled anyone on the MAD issue?

Don’t all jump at once now…

If we were to tally up the citation of actual scientific studies by yourself and I, and then the number of childish names and unfounded allegations, it would be no contest - your insult to fact ratio would be higher than mine by a massive margin.

I’ll be the first to admit that my initial open letter to you was hardly a textbook example of social nicety. But after 2 years of having my integrity repeatedly assailed by malicious Internet assholes simply because I have had the temerity to state the plain facts about MAD, and then reading your highly biased blog post of September 11, 2007 in which you claimed folks like me were fools, and then publicly stating that you thought I was wrong, well…you figure the rest out.

And you of all people are hardly in any position to be acting high and mighty about the issue of aggressively addressing the questionable claims of others. In fact, your conduct in this area clearly leaves much to be desired. Let’s consider the little matter of a March 30, 2007 blog post you write titled “Fisking Repovich and Peterson”:
http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/uncategorized/fisking-repovich-and-peterson/

Note the date - it was long before I posted my open letter to you.

Now let’s see, how does the “civil” Michael Eades choose to address a couple of female exercise physiologists who committed the heinous crime of presenting what they considered to be the “Top 10 Nutrition Myths” at an American College of Sports Medicine Summit?

Why, in a post that is clearly hostile and personal, he calls them “idiots”, condescendingly refers to them as “chicks”, and describes their work as “idiocy” and “breathtakingly stupid”!

Is this how you choose to promote “civility” in “your online encounters”? By acting like an uncouth bully towards a couple of relatively harmless female academics?

Did these ladies previously infer you were a “fool” and “wrong” for making valid claims, as you did to me? Did their demented followers repeatedly, publicly and wrongly insist that you were dishonest, as the MAD crowd have repeatedly claimed of me? Have they persisted in that claim even though you have provided evidence to prove them wrong? Did any of them come on your forum with the sole purpose of anatagonizing you, then have the temerity to ask you for training and diet advice? And when you justifiably told that person/s to stick their request where the sun doesn’t shine, did that person/s then proceed to turn into a deranged stalker, rejoining your forum under dozens of different usernames after repeatedly being banned, and making vile statements about your sexual habits…as has happened to me?

If not, then why did you feel the need to rip on these ladies in a post dripping with ridicule and hostility?

You have no qualms about associating with someone like Loren Cordain, who enthusiastically promotes the low-fat, anti-saturate, anti-cholesterol paradigm. He promotes this paradigm – which, by distracting people from the real cause of heart disease, has probably killed millions of people - in popular format books and numerous journal articles. That evidently doesn’t bother you, but you did feel the need to launch a most aggressive and rather chauvinistic attack on a couple of female exercise physiologists who presented a single and rather inconsequential presentation on low-fat sports nutrition at an ACSM meeting in Texas? Their contribution to furthering anti-saturated propaganda would completely pale in comparison that that of Cordain; mention the names Wendy Repovich and Janet Peterson and most people will draw a blank. You felt compelled to scorch them, but you are quite OK with the idea of taking beach holidays with Loren Cordain and his family?

You don’t see any contradiction or incongruence in that?

Here’s my third piece of advice:

People in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones. Don’t treat others like crap and then complain when you are subsequently treated in the exact same manner.

And cut the ladies a little slack. I’m not sure what your true attitude towards women is, but if you do harbor any misogynistic tendencies I suggest you accept the fact that other women besides your own wife are involved in academic pursuits. And like your wife, I doubt these women would appreciate being called “stupid”, “idiots” and being condescendingly dismissed as “chicks” instead of their appropriate academic title.

“Speaking of which, let me give you some advice.  I don't know you from Adam's off ox, but I suspect that what you enjoy doing is researching (library researching; not bench researching) and writing.  I do, too.  I suspect you would like to be paid for the work you do, which, I suspect, is why you write it in books that you sell.  I do, too.  The difference between us is that I do make a good living from writing.  The reason I do and you don't is that I have credentials.  That doesn't mean that I'm smarter than you - it simply means that I have a bunch of merit badges that you don't.  These merit badges allow me to get published while your lack of merit badges hampers you.  The sad truth about the publishing business (a truth that has taken me a long time to learn) is that to publishers the content of the book doesn't matter a whit.  Sad but true.  What publishers look for is someone whom they can promote.  And to publishers, the more merit badges one has the easier to promote.”

Ah, it’s good to hear the plain truth straight from the horse’s mouth. I have commented publicly several times, big publishers couldn’t give a damn about the scientific credibility of what they publish, so long as it makes them money. As I have stated, fame and notoriety are far more important requirements for attracting the affections of publishers than honesty and meticulous research habits. When folks like Andrew Weil and Dr Phil McGraw, who clearly could use a little slimming advice themselves, score diet/health book publishing deals, but folks like Jamie Hale, Lyle McDonald and myself are forced to self-publish, well, I think that in itself speaks volumes.

Of course, as someone who was unsuccessful in attracting agency or publisher interest in my book The Great Cholesterol Con, many people may be tempted to erroneously dismiss my statements as the disgruntled whining of a spurned author. So it’s good to hear from a best-selling author who has no reason whatsoever to whine that publishers really don’t give a rat’s ass about the contents of the books they publish.

“If I were you (here comes the advice) I would put my Omnivore site back up start writing new material for it.  This will give you a platform, which is the big word in publishing these days.  When someone tells a publisher about a great book that someone has written, the publisher's first question is: What's his/her platform?  Meaning does this person have a way to sell his/her book because, God knows, the publishers don't have a clue as to how to sell it.  Publishers seem to be in the book printing business, not the book selling business.  And if they have an author who can sell his/her own book, the publishers are willing to pay an advance and buy the book.  But no platform means no book contract.

You were well on your way to developing a pretty good platform with the Omnivore website.  As you gain readers (who are often a pain in the rear and want all kinds of info free that you've worked hard to dig out - but that's the price you have to pay) and the site grows in content, then you have a platform that publishers will pay attention to.  And pay for.  You will have a built-in readership that they figure they can sell books to.”

Make no mistake, TheOmnivore website is dead and buried. When I look back upon that website, the question I ask myself is not whether or not I should have shut it down, but what took me so long to do so. While that website did bring me in touch with some great folks (most notably Uffe Ravnskov, who I admire greatly) it also brought way too many screwballs into my world, and I like it much better now that most are gone (I say “most” as there still lurks the pungent odor of ketosis-breathed MAD fanatics).

Plus, to be quite honest, I’m a little over the whole cholesterol thing. Forgive my jaded attitude, but reading about the finer points of Apolipoprotein A or reading yet another so-called research paper that is actually nothing more than thinly disguised statin propaganda just doesn’t do it for me anymore. In fact, it downright bores me to tears. There are very capable folks like Uffe, Duane Graveline, and Malcolm Kendrick that still give a damn about that stuff, so I’ll leave the cholesterol fight to them.

Training, diet, performance, fitness, and matters of body composition are my main research interest, and are much more 'fun' topics for me personally, so that is where my future writing efforts will be directed.

“And you've got to quit alienating everyone in the low-carb field.  These are all people who can help you.  I know Richard Feinman and Loren Cordain very well, and I consider both of them close friends.  But I don't agree with them on everything.  In fact, I have the same disagreement with Loren over the saturated fat issue that you do, but he's still a close friend.  I didn't know who you were until Feinman mentioned you to me.  He told me you had written a pretty good book on the the cholesterol idiocy that all of academia was consumed with.  He told me he would send me a copy.  Before his copy had reached me, you sent me an online copy.  At that time, Richard Feinman was an ally of yours; now he probably wouldn't give you the time of day.  You can (and should) disagree with people when you have a solid basis for disagreement, but you don't have to do it so vituperatively so that it severs the relationship.”

Thanks for the advice, but let it be known that I am not into kissing up to people I have little regard for just because it might advance my writing career. I’m not joking when I say I have an extremely low regard for the “research” of Feinman and Fine. And if you can hang out with someone like Cordain, who enthusiastically promotes the scientifically untenable anti-cholesterol paradigm, more power to you. Personally, I couldn’t.

“The disagreement you have with me is a case in point.  I suspect we have much more in common than points on which we disagree.  Arguing about the issue of the metabolic advantage is almost as ludicrous as arguing over how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.  We're talking about a few hundred calories at most under specific circumstances.  You've managed to convert what is at best a molehill into a giant mountain.”

Whoa, wait a minute! First your book Protein Power makes the astounding revelation that obesity is more closely related to carbs and insulin than calories. Then you unabashedly claim in a sensationalist post on your blog, complete with scary pictures, that following a low-carb diet instead of an isocaloric high-carb diet can mean the difference between losing weight and feeling great or becoming an emaciated, finger-chomping psychotic.

After I highlighted the folly of the aforementioned post, you then cited rodent studies, once again in a most exuberant manner, claiming they demonstrated a metabolic advantage. When I destroyed that line of argument, you then began changing your tune: “Look, Colpo is making a mountain out of a molehill here, we’re only talking a few hundred calories a day difference.”

I don’t care how many calories per day difference you and folks like Feinman and Fine arrive at via your elaborate theorizing – the indisputable fact is that isocaloric low- and high-carb diets show no difference in weight loss that cannot be attributed to greater water/lean losses. Over seven decades’ worth of tightly controlled metabolic ward studies show this.

So my next piece of advice is:

Don’t make exuberant claims for a phenomenon that you can’t prove exists. When you later back pedal away from these exuberant claims and start issuing watered down qualifiers, don’t accuse others of making a mountain out of a molehill. If you really thought it were a molehill at the outset, you shouldn’t have come dressed as a mountaineer.

And let’s not forget the bigger issue: obesity. This is an alarmingly common problem with a wide array of potential adverse psychosocial and physical health effects. The problem has been steadily worsening over the last three decades, including the last decade in which low-carb diets rose and fell. Part of the reason for the bubble-like rise and fall in low-carb’s popularity was the unfulfilled promises made by many of its promoters. Namely, such claims as you can eat all you want and still lose weight because carbs and not calories are allegedly the true determinants of weight gain. The end result of such nonsense is that many people failed to lose weight because they did not create a calorie deficit, or they hit a plateau after that deficit was negated and could not understand why.

This is what happens when you feed people nonsense information. It distracts them from what they really need to do in order to achieve their goals. This is my beef with the cholesterol theory and with MAD. Neither heart disease nor obesity are “molehills” – they are both exceedingly common health problems that have a very real and harmful impact on the lives of millions of people around the world.

“Don't think for a minute that I'm trying to get you to back off because I'm not.  I'm planning on destroying your argument and giving you no quarter.  Your behavior demands nothing less.  I'm simply encouraging you to think next time before you leap into such a chasm of idiocy over so minor an issue.”

Knock yourself out. Just remember that I will destroy any attempted attack on my book by you just as decisively as I have destroyed all your previous failed attempts to rebut my contentions.

“Having said that and despite your recent relentless public barrage of insulting and unfounded attacks on my integrity and upon me personally, I'm not one who holds a grudge (except where [name edited] is concerned - he's the exception), so while we go at each other publicly, I can maybe help you a little privately.  In order to get a publishing contract you have got to have an agent.  I can at least get an agent to look at your stuff.  I don't know how many copies of The Great Cholesterol Con you've sold, but the magic number seems to be around 10,000.  In other words, if you sell 10,000 publishers will be interested.  A friend of mine named Ray Audette self published a little book titled Neanderthin.  I wrote the foreword for it.  Ray is much like you - he has no credentials but he's a smart guy and a good researcher and integrator of what he reads.  He managed to sell about 10,000 copies on his own and ended up getting a nice advance from St. Martin's Press for a hardcover version.  There's no reason you can't do the same.  You would have to be willing to change the title because of Kendrick's book.  Or you may be able to sell the FLB.  I don't know.  But I can at least get a big time agent to look at the stuff.”

Now this is where I become really perplexed. First let me state that, if your offer is genuine, then you have my sincere gratitude.

But you mention the possibility of getting a book deal not only for The Great Cholesterol Con but also The Fat Loss Bible. The latter, remember, is the book you have publicly described as “dreary, pompous and self-serving “ and containing “so much misinformation [that] it will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all.”

You claim it is written by someone who “at the core…is really only an amateur”, a “young, clueless prat”. The same guy, remember, that you claim has “misinterpreted” and “misread” the results of dozens of key studies in chapter 1 of the same book.

To paraphrase Denzel Washington’s character in Philadelphia: “OK Mike, explain it to me like I'm a four-year-old". Why on Earth you would ever want to assist in bringing a book to market if you truly believe it to be misleading, dreary, pompous and self-serving? If I truly felt that way about a book, I’d be doing the exact opposite – I’d be doing all I could to ensure that it did not make it to the mainstream market! I guess I’m one of these strange, old-fashioned people who doesn’t promote things he strongly disagrees with.

“P.S. I don't have a problem with any of our published stuff (i.e., books, blogs, internet writings, idiotic challenges, etc.) to be fair game in our little spat, but let's keep our email exchanges private.  Thanks.”

I can’t believe you’re really asking this. We are having a very public dispute that is being keenly followed by thousands of people. I think we owe it to these folks to be perfectly upfront and transparent about the nature of our relationship and communications. I’m not prepared to conduct one style of interaction for public consumption involving you and I in “books, blogs, internet writings, idiotic challenges, etc”, but then another covert one in private. I think that’s rather dubious and misleading.

How would your readers feel if they knew you had made such a request? I guess you’ll soon find out, because I am going to publish your email and my reply on my website. Please be aware that I will do the same for any and all future communications on the MAD issue. If this is unacceptable to you, then I suggest you cease and desist in sending such emails.

Obviously, certain things are not fit to be shared with third parties. However, we’re not discussing confidential business, financial, or family matters, nor private health issues, nor your affair with that woman who works at the local Kinkos (just kidding Mary Dan!!!).

We are discussing a very public disagreement you and I have been having on the MAD issue, and I think we both owe it to our readers to be perfectly upfront and honest about the nature of that dispute at all times. I don’t see how keeping “our email exchanges private” in any way aids that goal. So like I said, I will be letting people know we have made contact. And I will do so by sharing our conversation in full – failure to do so would no doubt result in more of the usual malicious accusations of dishonesty and duplicity from the more slanderous members of your following.

I’m sure you’ll understand. If you had read the email exchanges that I used to publish on TheOmnivore, then you’ll already know that I value transparency.

Rest assured that I will not publish your private email address. Who you give that to is your business. I have also edited out the name of the researcher you state you have a grudge against, as I’m not sure whether you wish the extent of your disdain for him to be made public. And at any rate, he has nothing to do with the MAD issue (at least not to my knowledge).

Regards,

Anthony.

Michael Eades to A Colpo

Date       Feb 4, 2008 8:25 AM
subjectRe: The MAD Challenge

Hey Anthony--

I'm sorry that you've disregarded my request to keep our emails between the two of us.  I don't want to engage in the MAD debate via email anyway, which wasn't my purpose in emailing you.  I will continue the debate on my own website.

I can see that there are a couple of basic differences between you and me.  One is that I'm able to separate people from their beliefs and opinions.  Both Loren Cordain and Richard Feinman are warm, friendly, generous, helpful people that I like and respect very much.  The fact that their opinions differ from mine on a few issues doesn't mean that I can't enjoy their company.  Many of my best friends have political views that are diametrically opposite of mine, yet we continue  mutually beneficial friendships.  If the only friends one has are those who agree with him 100 percent on every issue, it would - in my opinion - make for a very dull life.  Which was the main reason I emailed you.  Since I don't really have a problem being friends, even with those whom I disagree with on many issues, I was simply reaching out to perhaps establish some sort of personal relationship outside of our public internet quarrel.  I wasn't offering an olive branch, nor was I trying to get you off my back.  I was also throwing out a fleece to confirm my analysis of your intentions.  I suspected this whole affair was not so much an ideological debate, but an effort on your part to generate publicity for yourself.  Had you agreed to abide by my request to keep our correspondence between the two of us, it would have gone a long way to disabusing me of my suspicions as to your intent with all the folderol.  But you played into my hands and rushed my letter sent to you into print on your website despite my request to keep it private.  Not a gentlemanly thing to do, but given your proclivities, it was expected.  And, as I say, it confirmed my suspicions.

As to the offer to help you with your publishing efforts, that offer was genuine.  Still is. I stand by my critique of the writing style of the FLB, but it would be made better by an editor, as would TGCC.  And I don't really care whether the book disagrees with me or not. I'm comfortable enough with my own opinions and ego that I don't mind competing books on the shelves. Despite my critique of the FLB, I suspect it will appeal to and help a subset of people who fall into two categories: a) those who would, for whatever reason, not read my own books, b) those who buy and read every weight loss book around, and c) those into hardcore body building.  I've even said that Ornish's books helped people if they do nothing else but initiate a change from the Standard American Diet, almost any deviation from which is bound to promote better health.  Besides, the more books out there that promote some form of low-carb dieting, the more low-carb will make it into the mainstream. The world would be a much healthier place if all the arguments and niggling were over which particular low-carb diet works best or whether or not a metabolic advantage exists with low-carb dieting rather than over whether or not low-carb diets are fad diets.

The other reason I made the offer is that I genuinely admire autodidacts.  I'm one myself.  I didn't learn 99 percent of the stuff I now know about nutrition in medical school - I've learned it on my own.  Fortunately, I did go to medical school and post-graduate training and was in practice for a long time so I got to see what worked and what didn't first hand by taking care of literally thousands of patients.  All of which got me the merit badges I referred to in the last email.  And which made it easier for publishers to buy my first book proposal, coming to them from a complete unknown.  Had I submitted the very same proposal without having an MD degree and without having a large practice, it would never have sold.

In the publishing biz the toughest step is getting an agent because agents know how the game is played.  They make their money only if a book gets sold to a publisher, and if an agents don't think a book will sell for whatever reason, they're not inclined to waste their time taking it on.  But if an agent takes it on, the publishers all figure that the agent has done the diligence on the book and are willing to at least take a look at it.

I can get you a reading with a big time New York agent who has a host of bestselling authors under her belt.  I can't guarantee that said agent will take it on, and I can't guarantee that if even if the agent takes it the book will sell to a publisher.  But if the agent takes it your chances are much, much greater.

But let me tell you a tale of how the publishing business works that will give you pause.

When MD and I were filming our TV cooking show, we made it a habit after the long days of shooting to head to an Irish pub near our hotel and grab a cider to unwind.  One night I happened to be sitting at the bar next to a guy who was working feverishly on some kind of document.  I'm pretty much of a private, keep-to-myself kind of guy in these situations, so I just sat and drank my cider.  The guy on the other side of him, however, struck up a conversation, asking him what he was working on so hard.  The guy told him he had written a book and was working on the marketing plan for it.  Of course, my ears perked up at that.

I asked the guy the question all people in the book biz ask: who is your publisher?  He told me that he was self-publishing.  As we talked on I found out that his book was a business book, and as he described it, it sounded like he had a pretty fresh take on a lot of business situations.  I ended up liking the guy and, as I've done with you, offered to see if my agent would take a look at his book to see if maybe it would be salable to a mainstream publisher.  I ran it by my agent who said, Sure, have him send it to me.

He sent it, the agent loved it, and proceeded to help him get it in shape to present to publishers.  Typically the way the publishing process works is this: agents 'do lunch' with specific agents they think would be possible buyers.  At lunch they briefly describe the book, and the editor always says Send me the proposal.  The agent then sends out a dozen or so proposals to these wined and dined editors.  And the agent puts a closing date on the  'auction.'  Usually nothing much happens until the week or so before the closing date (typically, the closing date is a month or so after the proposals are sent out).  A week before the agent starts getting bombarded with questions.  And sometimes potential publishers even want to have a phone conference with the author. A couple of days before the closing date, editors who are not interested begin sending their letters saying they won't be in the auction.  On the closing date, the interested publishers send in their offers.  The agent then takes the best one.  Or, even better, if there are a couple that are the same, a bidding war can ensue.

In the case of the author of the business book, my agent started getting questions within a few days after sending off the proposals.  Publishers loved the book - they thought the content was spectacular.  Then they asked the dreaded question:  What is the author's platform?  Meaning is he a big-time professor at a business school?  Does he do seminars?  Does he have Fortune 500 clients?  In other words, can he help us sell this book?  When told that he wasn't any of the above, but that he was a small business turn-around consultant in a mid-sized midwestern city who happened to be a real smart guy who had figured out a bunch of good stuff, all interest evaporated.

This is the horror story of publishing right now.  It hasn't always been that way and it probably won't always be that way.  But that's the way it is now.  So if you have no platform, you get no book contract regardless of quality of the content.  (These rules, of course, apply only to non-fiction.  Fiction publishers are always on the lookout for fresh, new voices.)   With non-fiction it is the author and the author's platform that count, not the content.  Which is why I recommend that you do something to get yourself a platform, which I thought you were well on your way to with the Omnivore site.  If you've can confirm that you've sold at least 10,000 copies of either book, that will also give you a platform. Without some platform (a word I've really come to hate), though, other than just an angry guy who does a few interviews and trashes anyone who disagrees with him, I doubt that you have much of a chance with mainstream publishing.  But that doesn't mean you can't give it a shot.

And, BTW, you totally misunderstood my criticism of #2 in your challenge.  I didn't write that I thought the studies were rigged, but that the #2 component of the challenge was rigged.  But I'll take that up on my own site.

Best--

Mike

P.S. How did you find out about the woman at Kinkos? 🙂

A Colpo to Michael Eades

Date       Feb 4, 2008 3:47 PM
subjectRe: The MAD Challenge

Dear Michael,

"I'm sorry that you've disregarded my request to keep our emails between the two of us.  I don't want to engage in the MAD debate via email anyway, which wasn't my purpose in emailing you.  I will continue the debate on my own website."

Do as you please, but don’t pretend it’s a “debate” when you are not prepared to engage me directly. Personally, I think it reflects very poorly on you that you have never been prepared to debate the matter with me directly. Instead you rely on insults and absurd excursions in pseudo-science. All of which appears perfectly acceptable to many of your readers, who never get to see my answers.

I invited you to my forum to conduct a debate with the guarantee that no-one else would be allowed to participate, as I didn’t want any debate to degenerate into a slanging match between your followers and mine (and I demonstrated the authenticity of this promise when I promptly removed a post from a member of the forum who disregarded the request).

Now you have the opportunity to engage me directly via email, and you are refusing to do so. This is an opportunity for a 2-way debate on the matter that can be reprinted on both your website and mine, but you clearly are not up to it.

That’s fine, but I would have a lot more respect for you if you just admitted that you cannot defend your MAD nonsense, instead of hiding behind a cloak of feigned indignity and righteousness.

"I can see that there are a couple of basic differences between you and me.  One is that I'm able to separate people from their beliefs and opinions.  Both Loren Cordain and Richard Feinman are warm, friendly, generous, helpful people that I like and respect very much.  The fact that their opinions differ from mine on a few issues doesn't mean that I can't enjoy their company.  Many of my best friends have political views that are diametrically opposite of mine, yet we continue  mutually beneficial friendships.  If the only friends one has are those who agree with him 100 percent on every issue, it would - in my opinion - make for a very dull life.  Which was the main reason I emailed you.  Since I don't really have a problem being friends, even with those whom I disagree with on many issues, I was simply reaching out to perhaps establish some sort of personal relationship outside of our public internet quarrel.  I wasn't offering an olive branch, nor was I trying to get you off my back.  I was also throwing out a fleece to confirm my analysis of your intentions.  I suspected this whole affair was not so much an ideological debate, but an effort on your part to generate publicity for yourself.  Had you agreed to abide by my request to keep our correspondence between the two of us, it would have gone a long way to disabusing me of my suspicions as to your intent with all the folderol.  But you played into my hands and rushed my letter sent to you into print on your website despite my request to keep it private.  Not a gentlemanly thing to do, but given your proclivities, it was expected.  And, as I say, it confirmed my suspicions."

And your email once again confirmed my suspicions: that you are an individual who behaves in a most dubious manner. Don’t ever write to me again asking me to participate in actions that are patently misleading to my (and your) readers, using the prospect of a publishing deal as some sort of bait.

As for my “proclivities”, do you mean my proclivity for being perfectly upfront and honest in my dealings with others? The same proclivity that automatically led me to refuse your request to conduct a public charade, hiding the fact that we had established email contact? Am I supposed to be ashamed of that proclivity?

I’m not.

Do me a favor and spare me the piety. It is you that made the rather dubious request to hide our “private” conversations. I explained to you quite clearly that I can not in good conscience do this. But I guess you would need a conscience to understand that.

I didn’t fall into any “trap”. It is you that has been caught red-handed attempting to cajole me into joining you in duplicitous behavior. In my case, I just did what I’ve always done, and what I will always continue to do. If you had spent even a modicum of time reading the old TheOmnivore website (which your own comments would indicate is the case), you would know full well that I regularly reprinted the full email exchanges of critics and myself.

And if you truly have nothing to hide, then you have absolutely no reason to fear or object to my insistence on transparency.

As for the claim that I “rushed” to get your letter “into print”, I’m really not sure how taking two days to respond to and post your email constitutes a “rush”

As for the world being a rather dull place if everyone agreed 100% on the same thing, I totally agree. I’ll happily tolerate disagreement with my mates about whether Hugi or Chris King make the best road bike hubs or whether Randy Couture could ever beat Fedor, but I wouldn’t even consider being “best friends” with someone who was a devoted adherent of, for example, communism or xenophobia. Nor would I ever consider being good friends with someone who enthusiastically promoted dietary or health paradigms that were unfounded, counterproductive, and even downright harmful. If you can maintain friendships with such people, good luck to you. Again, I cannot, and I’m not about to apologize to you or anyone else for that.

Believe it or not, some people tend to gravitate towards friends with similar interests and ideologies. Imagine that!

And you still have not explained why, if you believe it so important to be extraordinarily accommodating to those with conflicting viewpoints, you chose to act like an acidic chauvinist boor towards Wendy Repovich and Janet Peterson. Were you separating them from their beliefs and opinions when you called them “idiots” and belittled their academic status by referring to them as “chicks”?

I think you really need to take a moment to sit down and get it into your head that you are in no position to be getting high and mighty here. Like I said, people in glasshouses shouldn’t throw stones – the fact is that you yourself are guilty of the exact same things you accuse me of. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m no angel, but I’m not about to be lectured by someone who acts like an uncouth yobbo towards a couple of women whose only crime was to give a rather tepid and inconsequential presentation at an ACSM summit. Not a gentlemanly thing to do!

You are indeed correct when you state that there are a number of differences between you and I. One glaring example is that I am always ready to admit I’m no angel, while you flatly refuse to acknowledge and accept responsibility for your own behavior, which to date has been far from exemplary. You repeatedly avoid the issue of why you think it’s perfectly acceptable for you to refer to others with such endearing terms as “idiots”, “pipsqueak”, “snivelling dreck”, “a legend in his own mind”, “slippery”, “pigheadedness”, and “clueless prat”, but a major violation when someone unmercifully calls BS on your own untenable nonsense?

You can’t have it both ways mate. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and you are one extremely vituperative gander.

So again, spare me the piety – it’s nauseously hypocritical.

"As to the offer to help you with your publishing efforts, that offer was genuine.  Still is. I stand by my critique of the writing style of the FLB, but it would be made better by an editor, as would TGCC.  And I don't really care whether the book disagrees with me or not. I'm comfortable enough with my own opinions and ego that I don't mind competing books on the shelves. Despite my critique of the FLB, I suspect it will appeal to and help a subset of people who fall into two categories: a) those who would, for whatever reason, not read my own books, b) those who buy and read every weight loss book around, and c) those into hardcore body building.  I've even said that Ornish's books helped people if they do nothing else but initiate a change from the Standard American Diet, almost any deviation from which is bound to promote better health.  Besides, the more books out there that promote some form of low-carb dieting, the more low-carb will make it into the mainstream. The world would be a much healthier place if all the arguments and niggling were over which particular low-carb diet works best or whether or not a metabolic advantage exists with low-carb dieting rather than over whether or not low-carb diets are fad diets."

Do you, or do you not stand by your claim that The Fat Loss Bible is “dreary, pompous and self-serving “ and containing “so much misinformation [that] it will take a blog post the size of Texas to refute it all”?

Do you, or do you not stand by your claim that it is written by someone who “at the core…is really only an amateur”, a “young, clueless prat”. The same guy, remember, that you claim has “misinterpreted” and “misread” the results of dozens of key studies in chapter 1 of the same book.

Dreariness and pompousness can indeed easily be alleviated by editing; patently misleading information from an allegedly “amateur” and “clueless” author cannot. One of the underlying premises of the book is that calories, not carbohydrates, are the key determinant of weight loss. Chapter 1, which you claim is based on “misread” and “misinterpreted” studies, is pivotal in establishing the scientific basis for this stance - a stance that you vehemently oppose.

So again, please explain to me why someone who doesn’t read your own books, why someone who is a prolific diet book purchaser, or someone who is a serious bodybuilder (that’s three categories by the way, not two…) deserves to be subjected to a book that you claim is so blatantly misleading?

Do you hold some sort of grudge against these groups, one that inspires you to ensure they remain misinformed? Or is it that you actually think my book is fine, but you made your comments in a fit of anger, in an attempt to discredit me and attempt to scare people away from it? Or is your moral make-up truly structured in a manner that allows you to have no qualms assisting the publication of a book you so strongly believe to be misleading?

Again, if I truly thought a book was misleading and written by a clueless amateur, I would not in any way be acting to assist its publication.

As for helping low-carb diets crack the mainstream, I think I have made it perfectly clear that I believe one of the best ways to facilitate this goal is to ensure any claims made for low-carb diets are based on sound, valid scientific evidence. I truly don’t know how you could even begin to claim that MAD meets that requirement when decades of tightly controlled ward trials show that the whole MAD-weight loss concept is nonsense.

You keep trying to dismiss the argument over MAD as “niggling” and making “a mountain out of a molehill”, but you, Atkins and others were quite happy to let the MAD concept grow into a mountain, so long as your wealth and popularity grew in step.

What MAD does is distract a lot of people from the true requirement of a calorie deficit. Even you admit as much:

"Both MD and I have had patients who complained to us that they were following our program to the letter and weren’t losing any weight. When we asked them for their diet diaries we found that they were consuming huge amounts of food but were rigorously keeping their carbs below 30 grams per day. Sometimes we calculated that these patients were eating 4000+ kcal per day, which could have even been higher given that patients tend to under report what they eat instead of over reporting. What was amazing to us was that they weren’t gaining. They were pretty much maintaining their weight on an enormous number of low-carb calories.

We would explain to them about how they needed to create a caloric deficit to lose. Most people will create the caloric deficit when they go on a low-carb diet because the increased fat and protein in the absence of carbs is extremely satiating."

So there it is - there’s no avoiding reality, even when you’re the patient of a best-selling diet author. Calories, not carbohydrates are the ultimate arbiter of weight loss. No calorie deficit, no weight loss. Period.

"The other reason I made the offer is that I genuinely admire autodidacts.  I'm one myself.  I didn't learn 99 percent of the stuff I now know about nutrition in medical school - I've learned it on my own.  Fortunately, I did go to medical school and post-graduate training and was in practice for a long time so I got to see what worked and what didn't first hand by taking care of literally thousands of patients.  All of which got me the merit badges I referred to in the last email.  And which made it easier for publishers to buy my first book proposal, coming to them from a complete unknown.  Had I submitted the very same proposal without having an MD degree and without having a large practice, it would never have sold.

In the publishing biz the toughest step is getting an agent because agents know how the game is played.  They make their money only if a book gets sold to a publisher, and if an agents don't think a book will sell for whatever reason, they're not inclined to waste their time taking it on.  But if an agent takes it on, the publishers all figure that the agent has done the diligence on the book and are willing to at least take a look at it.

I can get you a reading with a big time New York agent who has a host of bestselling authors under her belt.  I can't guarantee that said agent will take it on, and I can't guarantee that if even if the agent takes it the book will sell to a publisher.  But if the agent takes it your chances are much, much greater.

But let me tell you a tale of how the publishing business works that will give you pause.

When MD and I were filming our TV cooking show, we made it a habit after the long days of shooting to head to an Irish pub near our hotel and grab a cider to unwind.  One night I happened to be sitting at the bar next to a guy who was working feverishly on some kind of document.  I'm pretty much of a private, keep-to-myself kind of guy in these situations, so I just sat and drank my cider.  The guy on the other side of him, however, struck up a conversation, asking him what he was working on so hard.  The guy told him he had written a book and was working on the marketing plan for it.  Of course, my ears perked up at that.

I asked the guy the question all people in the book biz ask: who is your publisher?  He told me that he was self-publishing.  As we talked on I found out that his book was a business book, and as he described it, it sounded like he had a pretty fresh take on a lot of business situations.  I ended up liking the guy and, as I've done with you, offered to see if my agent would take a look at his book to see if maybe it would be salable to a mainstream publisher.  I ran it by my agent who said, Sure, have him send it to me.

He sent it, the agent loved it, and proceeded to help him get it in shape to present to publishers.  Typically the way the publishing process works is this: agents 'do lunch' with specific agents they think would be possible buyers.  At lunch they briefly describe the book, and the editor always says Send me the proposal.  The agent then sends out a dozen or so proposals to these wined and dined editors.  And the agent puts a closing date on the  'auction.'  Usually nothing much happens until the week or so before the closing date (typically, the closing date is a month or so after the proposals are sent out).  A week before the agent starts getting bombarded with questions.  And sometimes potential publishers even want to have a phone conference with the author. A couple of days before the closing date, editors who are not interested begin sending their letters saying they won't be in the auction.  On the closing date, the interested publishers send in their offers.  The agent then takes the best one.  Or, even better, if there are a couple that are the same, a bidding war can ensue.

In the case of the author of the business book, my agent started getting questions within a few days after sending off the proposals.  Publishers loved the book - they thought the content was spectacular.  Then they asked the dreaded question:  What is the author's platform?  Meaning is he a big-time professor at a business school?  Does he do seminars?  Does he have Fortune 500 clients?  In other words, can he help us sell this book?  When told that he wasn't any of the above, but that he was a small business turn-around consultant in a mid-sized midwestern city who happened to be a real smart guy who had figured out a bunch of good stuff, all interest evaporated.

This is the horror story of publishing right now.  It hasn't always been that way and it probably won't always be that way.  But that's the way it is now.  So if you have no platform, you get no book contract regardless of quality of the content.  (These rules, of course, apply only to non-fiction.  Fiction publishers are always on the lookout for fresh, new voices.)   With non-fiction it is the author and the author's platform that count, not the content.  Which is why I recommend that you do something to get yourself a platform, which I thought you were well on your way to with the Omnivore site.  If you've can confirm that you've sold at least 10,000 copies of either book, that will also give you a platform. Without some platform (a word I've really come to hate), though, other than just an angry guy who does a few interviews and trashes anyone who disagrees with him, I doubt that you have much of a chance with mainstream publishing.  But that doesn't mean you can't give it a shot".

Thanks for the tale, but let’s not waste any more of each other’s time. As I stated, TheOmnivore is dead and buried, and it will stay that way. If a big publisher feels that I am not famous or notorious enough, so be it. I guess I’ll just have to keep following the lead of folks like Leo Costa, who wrote a terrific best-selling training program without any help whatsoever from mainstream publishers.

So having said that, and if you are not prepared to debate the MAD issue via email, I really don’t see the point in any future email contact. It’s a bit rich for my liking to receive lectures about my alleged misbehavior from someone of advanced age (I assume you are at least in your 60s) who himself behaves like a spoilt tantrum-throwing brat when his arguments don’t hold sway, but then accuses me of doing the same; who happily acts like a hostile jerk towards a couple of female exercise physiologists, but then rabidly protests when I similarly highlight his own absurd claims; who pompously boasts about his superior level of civility but then proceeds to call me a “pipsqueek”, “prat”,”sniveling dreck”, “pigheaded” etc, etc, etc…

"And, BTW, you totally misunderstood my criticism of #2 in your challenge.  I didn't write that I thought the studies were rigged, but that the #2 component of the challenge was rigged.  But I'll take that up on my own site."

Keep calling it “rigged” if it makes you feel better, but the bottom line is that you cannot prove MAD. That’s because MAD is garbage.

"P.S. How did you find out about the woman at Kinkos? :-)"

I’ve been seeing her younger and more attractive sister 🙂

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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