Low-carb Drama Timeline

I put this post together as an adjunct to this post.

On September 24th, Melissa McEwen posted a quote from one of my OLD blog posts on her paleodrama tumblr blog. She was presenting me as an example of someone who lost weight and reversed metabolic dysfunction without restricting carbs. I had nothing to do with her post, and the blog post she quoted is over a year old. My original blog post also doesn’t attack or ridicule anyone, although I do express my frustration with low-carb dogma as shortsighted and misguided.

Melissa’s post seems to have ignited a low-carb “War on Go Kaleo”. Several people lashed out viciously at me on facebook (read the comments, Cheeseslave deleted the really mean-spirited ones, but you can get the jist: lots of speculation, accusations and dismissiveness) and on their blogs. It’s the Woo dedicated an entire blog post to ridiculing my appearance and accusing me of using steroids and having an eating disorder and exercise addiction in order to have achieved the results I have. Because everyone knows it’s impossible to lose weight, reverse metabolic dysfunction, and get in shape without restricting carbs. Right? Right? CARBS ARE THE DEBIL!!!!! Woo tried to claim that she was only saying these things because she was ‘concerned for my health’, but comments like ‘she looks like Buffalo Bill in a little girl’s bikini” sort of belie that claim.

For the record, being accused of being ugly and using steroids by low-carbers isn’t new to me, check out this post on my facebook wall which predates Melissa’s paleodrama post. Woo couldn’t even come up with something original. The steroid thing goes way back, people have been throwing that at me since 2009, and making fun of me for looking like a man since middle school.

This shit ain’t new, yo. People who don’t like my message make fun of my appearance and accuse me of using steroids. It’s known as an ad hominem attack, a form of logical fallacy. Been happening for years. You know what it tells me? I’m doing something right.

39 thoughts on “Low-carb Drama Timeline

  1. Just read Woo’s blog post you linked to. What. The. Fuck. How do people rationalize treating others like that? It makes me wish I could bitch slap people through the interwebs.

  2. I’m fairly new to your blog, but I just want you to know how much I enjoy it and how refreshing I find your attitude about health and wellness. You posted something about what Its the Woo wrote about you soon after I started reading your blog. I went to her site to read it and honestly? Her junior high mean girl venom about you and towards others in her posts completely discredits her. Something is not right with her – I’m thinking a personality disorder . That’s a long way of saying I think you should completely ignore whatever she wrote about you. It’s too bad that putting yourself out in the blogosphere opens you up to that kind of craziness, but just know a lot of us appreciate your efforts.

  3. Hmmm. What got us into this mess was a one-size-fits-all definition of food and health. Now we are asking the world for the opportunity to recognize what? That there’s still just a one-size-fits-all definition, it’s just a different definition? As part of the “alternative nutrition” community, I am trying to argue for a stance where our health & wellbeing isn’t defined by a number on a scale or a cholesterol test, but by qualities we get to prioritize for ourselves.

    Can an ambitious fitness agenda bleed over into an eating/exercise disorder? It can, but if it does, only the person who claims that story gets to tell that story. We don’t get to tell it for him/her. Ask InMySkinnyGenes.com. Is a low-carb diet “dysfunctional” eating? Not if that’s what makes your heart and body and mind happy. In that case, it is perfectly functional. A low-carb diet most certainly can reverse metabolic dysfunction if that’s what the metabolic dysfunction responds to. Can metabolic dysfunction be reversed by a different kind of diet and/or exercise approach? No doubt. Who gets to decide? Your body does. My job is to pay attention to my own body and to support my sister in doing the same for her own body–not do it for her.

    Sheesh. As if the B12-deprived vegans and Michael Pollans of the world didn’t depress me enough, now its my invisible friends in the battle to reclaim food.

    • Hi Adele, nice to see you here! :)

      I agree, low carb can be very helpful in mitigating the symptoms of metabolic dysfunction and insulin resistance. I’ve seen very little evidence, though, that it can be helpful for restoring healthy metabolic function. After all, a healthy metabolism can handle carbs just fine, so the continued need to restrict carbs would suggest that metabolic health hasn’t been restored. Some people may be too far gone, and need to restrict carbs for the rest of their lives, but those people are very ill, and carb restriction is a medical necessity.

      It’s the claim that the human body is evolutionarily adapted to low carb, and that it’s an optimal diet for everyone, that I take issue with. I’ve seen no credible science to support this, in fact, the weight of evidence directly contradicts it. Healthy people don’t need to restrict carbs (or anything else). Sick people may benefit from it, but it won’t cure their illness, it will only treat the symptoms.

  4. Hey guys, please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. There are a few facts that aren’t going away: 1.) we, as a society, are extremely fat and getting fatter. 2.) we don’t, conclusively, know why. 3.) This is a (relatively) recent phenomenon. 4.) No diet — whether low carb, raw vegan, paleo, low fat, high carb, low calorie — works for a majority of people, regardless of the metric.
    But, from reading GoKaleo and the commenters, it seems like everyone is drawing a line in the sand, they they are so sure that “their” method works and everone else is stupid or going to hurt themselves. Some are more polite than others. But everyone here seems to be saying “my way or the highway”. Whether it’s carbs or no-carbs, all of you have a firm belief and, despite the veneer of politeness, some snippets of snarkiness show through. I’m NOT knocking the politeness, just saying that we can’t use that as a disguise for the fact that we are still being rigid in our beliefs while mocking/belittling others for being so rigid. And that’s a wide net because some of us who aren’t so rigid yet who have found that other ways of eating have helped us get caught in it as well. As someone who has found that — despite all efforts to the contrary — cyclical low carb is working better for me I find that the tone on these posts and comments is that I’m an idiot and might as well go hang out with the Woooo.
    I am prob older than most of you (39). I have tried all manner of dieting and exercise since I was about 21 (was a VERY skinny kid. The “Freshman 15″ was a bit more ambitious…) I have tried it all. I have read it all. And guess what? Weight is still an issue, albeit it controllable and, in clothing, most would say that I look ok. I was doing Paleo when I started to read GoKaleo and Melissa and Stephan Guyenet. I happily added carbs back, inc the lovely potato. (I stay away from wheat because of migraines). Unfortunately, those carbs (introduced in a slow, reasonable, healthy manner) led to a steady weight gain, lethargy, and mood issues. I wasn’t eating anything processed — no sugary snacks, no donuts, etc. I stuck it out, tried everything. Now I’m 20lb heavier than I was and my weightlifting has suffered. But that’s just me. I would love to eat potatoes again — and dammit I will! But I can’t escape the fact that I tracked data and this is what the data showed for me. “Eating balanced” or maintaining energy balance sounds great — but when the foods you eat make you feel hungry and want to expend less energy, then what? I don’t see that addressed anywhere here, the idea that for some people, this is a real phenomenon. I wish it weren’t, but there you have it: I eat rich carbs and I have less satiety. So I don’ think that carbs are the debil, but low-carb isn’t “extreme”, either. There are some of us who track themselves meticulously and just because my findings don’t match what works for some of you, doesn’t mean that I’m any less valid. Understand that even if you’re not saying this directly, the tone of the comments underscores your real feelings about this lifestyle. Even if it is done nicely.

    • I don’t actually have a ‘way’, and I don’t advocate any specific diet. I rarely even talk about what I eat anymore, because too many people take it as a mandate that they should eat the same way.

      The ridiculous part of all this is that I don’t have a problem with low carb diets or with people who eat low carb diets. I have a problem with ANY dogma that vilifies a nutrient or food and claims it is the source of illness and obesity. I’ve pissed off paleos and vegans and pretty much everyone else who subscribes to a dietary dogma, but it is ONLY the low-carbers who’ve declared war on me. Why no vegan blogs dedicated to calling me ugly? No primal wars on Go Kaleo? Why don’t the raw foodists come to my blog and argue with me about what I eat? Why don’t the people selling MLM meal replacement products make fun of me on facebook? I’ve criticized all of those dogmas. It’s only low-carbers who target me.

      And they target me by making shit up about me. I don’t ridicule people. I don’t have a low-carb vendetta. I don’t sell diets plans. I don’t tell people what to eat. I barely even tell people what I eat. I don’t have an eating disorder or exercise obsessively or take steroids. I back up my claims with actual scientific studies, and encourage people to read the studies themselves and then make up their OWN mind.

      My overarching message is: eat the food that works best for you, and take responsibility for your health and weight by changing the habits that created the issues you’re dealing with now.

      PS, I’ll be 40 in two months.

      • I can’t believe this topic is still popping up in my email…I see absolutely nothing wrong with what you represent/claim/argue/whatever. Skimming through your blog, it seems as simple as you figuring out that the whole ‘low carb’ deal isn’t your bag; that’s awesome; right?! Carbs or not carbs; you found it. I personally screwed myself up in the past and finally figured out, AT THE AGE OF 40, that lower carb works better for me and I’ve always loaded myself with carbs without issue. Our bodies change with every passing minute and I hope mine goes back to loving carbs. In the meantime, as someone who has to work with a lower carb diet, I encourage you as you progress with that perfect thing that seems to work for you. Blah, blah, blah…sorry you have to get inundated with such passionate responses about food! Now, I think I'll take my 40 year old ass and do some yoga.

  5. I don’t understand why any adult would think it’s okay to call a woman “ugly” or make fun of the way she looks just because they do not like it. I called out a friend out the other day for such immature and ridiculous behavior. And all because they don’t like a particular method of eating? If they DO in fact believe you have an eating disorder or body image issue then calling you names is the last thing they should do. I don’t get it. It’s so silly and hateful.

  6. What a sad shit-storm the “real food movement” is devolving into. Something that should be helping people achieve less overall stress in their life and better self esteem is instead hung up on attacking those that have different macro-nutrient preferences. Unbelievable! Thanks Kaleo, for (trying) to keep it sane. Any dietary movement that shuns scientific data in favor of promoting their own agenda (low-fat, paleo, low-carb, raw vegan) is doomed to fail. Here’s to intellectual and dietary freedom!

    • Word. When I first discovered the ‘real food community’ and paleo I was really enamored of it, I loved the sheen of scientific credibility the focus on evolutionary health imparted. As I delved deeper, though, I began to feel uncomfortable with the illogical focus on body fat, especially in regard to women. I realized that to totally embrace ‘ancestral health’ dogma, I’d need to set aside my hard-earned self respect, and buy into an ideal that wasn’t any healthier than popular culture’s fixation on thinness (which makes the accusation that I’m ‘too lean’ all the more ridiculous. Have you SEEN my ass?). So I stepped back and separated myself from the ‘community’. In the time since I’ve seen tribal bickering take over and completely drown out and semblance of sane and balanced discourse there once was. I hope it pulls out of it’s nose dive. in the meantime, I’m ‘The Call’ (Kaleo in Greek) of reason: there’s another way! Self respect, balanced eating, and exercise you enjoy!

  7. Wow. Maybe a few of these responders need to focus on their 'behavior', eh? I’m sure they’re well aware that stress initiates excess production of cortisol, which of course, results in a gut'or is it from eating bread too late at night resulting in an utter flip flop of hormones'or gluten'oh wait, it was that lentil that somehow snuck into that Paleo dish'if not, surely it was the pasteurized dairy. In any case, one of the books that line the bestseller shelf will give them the answer. It's highly understandable why they're getting so offended that you challenge and report your own personal experience. I for one, am super pissed at you; you crappy person, you ;)

  8. Oh please! Who is the real drama queen here?

    You get back what you put out. You ridicule people who have dared to lose weight differently from how you lost your weight and it is coming back to you. Carbs are “the debil” for some people and your refusal to acknowledge that fact and your dedication to mocking, ridiculing and attempting to invalidate those who eat and live differently from you is a clear indication of who you really are. Who you REALLY are. Stop acting like a victim. You brought this shit on yourself honey.

    • I never ridicule anyone. Find a post where I ridiculed someone. I dare you.

      This is what is known as a straw man. Pretty much all the accusations hurled at me lately have been straw men. This is good. It means people can’t actually come up with an argument against what I’m really saying, so they must resort to personal attacks (also known as ad hominem attacks) and misrepresentations to try to discredit me.

      Keep it coming.

  9. You’re right, but beware of getting too friendly with Melissa. She’s just the shrillest voice in the Paleo Harpy Brigade at the moment. Richard Nikoley – though guilty of most likely a multitude of sins – managed to stumble upon the simple truth of the matter: be very wary of little girls with unresolved relationship issues – and lot of time and money they don’t have to work for.

  10. Id give anything to have ur physique…u are my fitness role model! Dont give these naysayers anymore attention….devote ur blog to spreading YOUR good word instead! Anyone with half a brain can figure out who has it “right”….plus, i love how u dont attack back. U keep ur dignity under the adversity and that shows ur credibility and character. U inspire me, kaleo…in more ways than one!

    Ps, regarding the carb issue, how much do u get a day (%)? Same question goes for fat anf pro?

    • I agree about not giving them attention, but I wanted to use these attacks to illustrate a point in my Food Villain post, which is why I put this post together. :)

      My macro breakdown usually averages 50-55% carb, 20-25% protein and 25-30% fat. My calories average 2800-3200 a day, so 350-450 grams of carbs a day, give or take.

      • Just out of curiosity I decided to check when Wooo put a blog post about you. Wow, it was so recently as October 4. I don’t know how about everybody else, but I found it funny. Ya, don’t give them too much attention!

        Well, I used to managed my weight with diet and exercise until 45 years old, nowadays I am almost 52 and on a LC diet since November 2007. I wish I started sooner, but at least now I really need it. . I mostly appreciate ketosis not for a weight loss, but for other health benefits, like keeping mood very stable and preventing migraines.

        I wish you to stay in a good shape forever, but be prepared to change your tactics if you body starts acting out. Carbs could become a problem, especially when dealing with sport injuries, and premenopausal changes in your body may change your macro-nutrient needs Not necessary, of course. We never know what is in a future.

          • How would adopting an “extreme” diet such as low-carb/ketosis help with metabolic dysfunction? Sorry, but fixing dysfunction with dysfunctional eating doesnt seem conducive. Wouldnt a more balanced approach be the ticket to fixing metabolic dysfunction?

            Perhaps these low-carbers are experiencing “good results” is because they are cutting the processed crapola out of their diet. But, i bet 99% of them would experience even better health if they replaced those processed carbs with whole sources, such as legumes, starchy veg, and GF grains

            Just my 2 cents

          • I’m with ya, Stacy. It wouldn’t help with the metabolic dysfunction, it would just help with the SYMPTOMS (like elevated blood glucose). If a person can’t metabolize carbs properly, they are not metabolically healthy. Hacking the system is a poor substitute for actually doing the work to fix the system.

          • Hmm, seems like a catch 22. If eating a balanced diet would cure metabolic syndrome, but eating carbs exaserbate the symptoms, then how does this get fixed?

      • Thanks kaleo! U are an shining example of health and balance. May i request an updated “diet log/what i eat” blog, similar to those popular “what i eat wednesday” blogs? It would be awesome to see how u balance things into meals, as well as give us good meal ideas!….added bonus, it would give those low-carbeers something to salivate on, haha

        Keep rockin!

        • Ha! Today it was pretty tame: oatmeal for breakfast, 2 large sweet potatoes and a scoop of raw protein in water for lunch, 3 bananas and a larabar for snacks, and I’m still deciding on dinner. Salad? Ice cream?

          • What do u do for protein, besides the GOL?

            And for ur dinner, i vote for u to have a banana/spinach/date “icecream”…all the taste of the dairy stuff, yet much sweeter and more nutritious. Add in some vanilla extract, cinnamon, and perhaps carob, and ur tongue/tummy will be in heaven. Its the dinner of champions! =)

          • And YOU do? What makes YOU qualified, galina? My qualifications includ degrees in nurising, nutrition, and exercise. So, yeah…i think i know what im talking about

          • You think you can judge what is the right diet for a person who is in a different metabolic state than you. People are different in that regard. I am at the situation when I have to eat a LC diet now. My experience makes me qualified to conclude that you are talking nonsense because I used to be a person who could be in a decent shape by eating “balanced diet” and exercising. I never relayed on a junk food for my meals. Metabolism will change for the most due to a normal age process even if a person leaves a healthy life-style, on the top of it, after years of intense physical activity there are accumulated sport and overuse injuries. I had to drop something like step classes and high-impact aerobic, probably Zumba class is the next activity to go. There are more joints-friendly types of cardio. I gave a LC diet a try 5 years ago when nothing else worked for me any longer. The result was outstanding and completely exceeded my expectations. Besides loosing weight I wanted to loose, all my other health issues either got resolved or disappeared, during 5 years I never had a single flue or infection,I am never hungry, with a lots of energy. I am thinking now, that I would start it earlier if I knew. I would appreciate then the lack of seasonal flues,PMS, urinary tract infections and asthma sooner, and it is great not to exercise a will-power to conquer a hunger. Why is it dysfunctional if everything improved? I don’t want to say that everybody should avoid carbohydrates, but you are implying with inappropriate confidence that LC diets just wrong for everyone. Plain ignorance.

          • Im not judging. Why r u picking a battle with me when the other commenters (and the blog author) all essentially said the same thing, and i happened to agree with them

            Whatever works for u is great….keep it up and i hope u continue to prosper

  11. Pingback: Magic Pills, Food Villains and the Allure of the Shiny Red Herring | Go Kaleo

  12. Well, there’s so much I could say here but I’ll just reaffirm that you are HELPING people more than their junior high school girl drama is so I’d say you certainly are doing something right! And who can take a look at that ass and say you look like a man LOL Still my biggest inspiration and role model in the fitness world. I’m nowhere near where you are but I’m getting there.

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