Friday, June 27, 2003

Calling B.S.: Michael Fumento has spent many, many years debunking popular health myths – Agent Orange, Gulf War Syndrome, Erin Brockovich, etc. He has argued that SARS is primarily a matter of hysteria and the Atkins diet is little more than modern day snake oil. Contrary to most of what you read in the press his opinions are researched and documented.

One other advantage he has over most health journalists is that he writes in a passionate, confrontational style that makes for lively reading. It also generates a great deal of Hate Mail which is an out and out riot. Here's a sample from the latest hate mail page.

Subject: Low Carb Friends

Mr. Fumento,

It's really too bad that you are so uneducated about the Atkins diet. Just last week, Primetime Live did a study on 6 overweight people doing 6 different kinds of diets and guess what???? The Atkins diet resulted in more weight loss than any of the others. As a matter of fact, several of the others said they felt they were starving and losing squat. Several research instituations (sic) are doing and have done studies on the Atkins diet versus other so-called healthy diets and found the same. I don't have all the technical information but am sure that even if I did, it would be wasted on you. And really, why bother, there are plenty of other low-carbers sending you all the pertinent info as we speak, through this same email address.

Btw, the reason obesity have steadily crept higher and higher during the last twenty years or so certainly isn't because of the Atkins diet. It's because the rising amounts of refined sugars and grains that the "low-fat" craze started, not to mention the upside down food pyramid. Ask any farmer and he will tell you the best way to get his livestock to gain weight is through an increase in carbohydrates, specifically corn and grain. And amazingly, the formula for hog grain, matches nicely to the food pyramid ratio.

But anyways (sic), say what you want, I've been low-carbing for three years and maintaining for two and nothing you say can take that away from me or MILLIONS of others who are living their life skinnier, healthier, and longer.

Enjoy your spaghetti you putz

[omitted] Wilburn

Dear Mr. Wilburn:

Prime-Time Live? Funny, I've never heard of that medical journal. Where is it published and how does it pick referees for peer review? I'm also impressed by the fact that its Atkins cohort comprised a grand total of one (1) person. That sure beats the heck out of that recent JAMA review that I mentioned surveying 107 articles comprising 3,268 participants that found "insufficient evidence to conclude that lower-carbohydrate content is independently associated with greater weight loss compared with higher-carbohydrate content." And those "several institutions" you've named; none of them have published their findings. But again, I can see how you would find that more impressive than those 107 studies. In any case, I discussed those findings at great length in earlier articles. Too bad the only thing you seem to know how to read is what's posted at that Atkins propaganda site, "low-carb friends."

I think that if I "asked any farmer" he would tell me that corn is a grain and he wouldn't think much of you for not knowing either that or that the feed grains that farmers use are employed not because they are high in carbohydrates but because they are high in fats and protein. The main ones in this country are corn and soybeans. Does it strike you as coincidence that two of the most popular cooking oils come from those two grains?

As I discussed at length in one of those articles you neglected to read, Americans are growing fatter for one simple reason: They are eating more of everything. More fat, more carbohydrates, and more protein. But certainly you'd think that 15 million successful Atkins dieters would have an impact on the obesity epidemic, wouldn't you? But they haven't. Why? Because while 15 million people may have started it, virtually nobody has been able to stick to it. Your "millions" figure is sheer fabrication.

Finally, I do eat spaghetti and absolutely anything else I want. I just eat it in moderate proportions and I exercise. Finally, if I'm a putz, I'm one that's in excellent shape as shown in pictures posted to my website. And my data are strong enough that I don't feel the need to hurl epithets instead of responding with numbers. Or is being so sour, like being constipated, a result of the Atkins diet?

Michael Fumento

Chortle. There's plenty more. The articles are sharp, the mail is fun. Spend some time there.