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STILL COUNTING CALORIES? THEY’RE NOT ALL CREATED EQUAL: Well, if you eat too much, you’ll get fat. But it turns out that it does matter what you eat, as well:

Despite conventional advice to eat less fat, weight loss was greatest among people who ate more yogurt and nuts, including peanut butter, over each four-year period. . . . But, consistent with the new study’s findings, metabolism takes a hit from refined carbohydrates — sugars and starches stripped of their fiber, like white flour. When Dr. David Ludwig of Children’s Hospital Boston compared the effects of refined carbohydrates with the effects of whole grains in both animals and people, he found that metabolism, which determines how many calories are used at rest, slowed with the consumption of refined grains but stayed the same after consumption of whole grains.

Overall, this sounds pretty consistent with Gary Taubes’ thesis, which has become pretty popular in the blogosphere. Personally, I lost about 10 pounds last semester through a combination of the Livestrong app for my iPhone — which does count calories — and an increased avoidance of refined carbs, per Taubes advice. It was pretty painless.

YESTERDAY, I LINKED A DISCUSSION OF THE NEW EPIDEMIC OF NON-ALCOHOLIC FATTY LIVER DISEASE, and a lot of readers think that there’s a Gary Taubes point to be made.

Reader Scott Loftfield sends this link to the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet, and reader Jeffrey Bentley writes:

I read on Instapundit the finding about high incident rate of NASH in the US.

I was diagnosed with NASH in 1999 or so when my liver started failing.

They spent two years running just about any test or imaging scan they could think of, as my liver slowly developed fibrosis. I was one of those people that were told I’d need a liver transplant in 5-10 years. To buy myself some time my gastroenterologists recommended losing weight, but doing it healthily by going to a nutritionist to develop a custom diet. Many typical weight-loss diets put stress on the liver, so doing a “low impact” weight reduction diet was critical for me.

The nutritionist I went to was a semi-retired surgeon, fatigued from years of transplant surgery, that decided to start a clinic devoted to preventing disease.

She basically saved my life.

In doing her intake on me as a patient, she looked over the pile of data, quizzed me on the effects certain foods have on me, and realized that I may have difficulty processing fructose.

She put me on a diet restrictive of fructose. I had to give up the fruits and fruit juices that I loved, I had to give up food with high fructose corn syrup, and I had to give up table sugar, as that is processed by the body into fructose and glucose.

Within 6 months my liver enzymes were normal and within a year my ultrasounds showed a normal-sized liver. No more NASH.

I have pretty much stayed on this diet, lost 30 pounds on it, and have had no problems with my liver. I put a couple tablespoons of sugar in my coffee every morning, otherwise, I avoid it.

As to why fructose would have this effect, we have no idea. My liver was treating it as a harmful substance that needed to be eliminated, the process of which was taking a heavy toll on my liver, much as if I was drinking a lot of alcohol. There seems to be no readily identifiable reason why this was so, but when I backslid on my diet and started eating fructose again, I did start having lots of pain in my liver and developed jaundice. When I stopped eating fructose, the jaundice and pain went away.

This is just my personal experience, and may not be the same for the others afflicted with NASH. But it’s easily tested on an individual basis. Just watch what you eat, skipping sucrose and fructose in your meals, and see if it helps.

More here, and also here. Plus, more on a fructose connection. (Thanks to reader Laurie Weakley for the links). I have to say that the Taubes thesis is looking better in numerous ways.

GARY TAUBES: Is Sugar Toxic? “If Lustig is right, then our excessive consumption of sugar is the primary reason that the numbers of obese and diabetic Americans have skyrocketed in the past 30 years. But his argument implies more than that. If Lustig is right, it would mean that sugar is also the likely dietary cause of several other chronic ailments widely considered to be diseases of Western lifestyles — heart disease, hypertension and many common cancers among them.” Tom Maguire has more, including evidence that Jack LaLanne was ahead of his time. But we knew that!

TOM MAGUIRE WANTS TO BRING TOGETHER Michelle Obama and Gary Taubes. On the other hand, Michelle has a lot of nerve suggesting that the rest of us need to be run through basic training.

AN INTERVIEW with Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It.

R.I.P. JACK LALANNE.

Plus, nutrition. Still good advice, and remarkably similar to, say, Gary Taubes’ advice today.

TOM MAGUIRE has thoughts on Gary Taubes’ Why We Get Fat: And What To Do About It.

Plus, here’s Michael Fumento on Taubes, and Taubes on Michael Fumento.

IN THE MAIL: From Gary Taubes, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It.

WEIGHT-LOSS ADVICE from author Gary Taubes.

GARY TAUBES: The Inanity Of Overeating. “First, obese people tend to be weight stable for long periods of their life, just like lean people. So when they’re weight stable, the obese and overweight are obviously in energy balance. They’re not overeating during these periods of stable weight. They’re eating to match their expenditure, doing exactly what the lean do (and get copious credit for). So one obvious question is why the overweight and obese are only in energy balance when they’re carrying 10, 20, 30 or maybe 100 pounds of excess fat, and lean people are in energy balance without the excess? What’s the culprit for that? Because the problem isn’t that the obese overeat when they’re obese, it’s that they overeat when they’re lean and they continue to overeat until they become obese.”

His book, Why We Get Fat, And What To Do About It, is now out.

FAT: NOT SO BAD AFTER ALL? Plus this: “If Americans could eliminate sugary beverages, potatoes, white bread, pasta, white rice and sugary snacks, we would wipe out almost all the problems we have with weight and diabetes and other metabolic diseases.”

That, of course, is the thesis behind various “paleo” diets and Gary Taubes’ book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, which I found fairly compelling. And Tim Ferriss is pushing pretty much the same line in his new book, The 4-Hour Body. It didn’t stop me from having french fries at lunch, though.

ONE WAY TO GET PUBLISHED: Threaten a lawsuit! David Appell and Rishawn Biddle (who calls Gary Taubes’ piece a “bruised ego-soother “) have the scoop, with links.