Big Fat Lies! “Fat Head” Movie Review

September 23, 2009 · 92 comments

Fat Head

Would you like to see THE most clear and entertaining real story on some of the biggest dietary misconceptions out there?

If you haven’t yet seen the movie, Fat Head, there’s no question that you have to get a copy or rent it from your library like I did.  (Although I’m buying our own now so I can show everyone.)  If you HAVE seen it, please share your thoughts in the comments!  I couldn’t wait to dig in because I knew that Sally Fallon and Mary Enig, as well as doctors Mike & Mary Eades, were all in this film, and I trust their nutritional advice.

In the movie, Fat Head, you’ll learn:

  • How the “lipid hypothesis” began (the myth that saturated fats will kill us – read more on healthy fats.)
  • How obesity and diabetes develop in our bodies.
  • Why lowering carbohydrate intake, and increasing animal fats, is so good for us.

My only negative comment about the movie:

Just be aware that you may be a little confused in the beginning of the film.  Before the best parts begin, it almost feels like the movie maker, Tom Naughton, wants us to eat fast food.  He’s mainly challenging the logic in the movie, “Supersize Me”, to help people realize that it’s not the meat at fast food restaurants (or the saturated fats they contain) that make you sick; and that it’s everyone’s choice as to whether they’ll eat fast food or Supersized Coke & fries.

I only wish he would’ve clarified some things.

Making the point that meat isn’t bad for us is great, but how much better if he also got the message across on the vast differences in nutrition between a fast food burger and a grass fed burger from a farmer you trust.  He also doesn’t tell us that fast food is usually made with the unhealthy vegetable oils that he so perfectly slams in the second part of the movie.

I emailed Tom Naughton to ask him about these concerns, and he was nice enough to reply and also let me post his answers here…

Before we go further, though, are you wondering how in the world we’re supposed to know who to believe?

When there are such gaps between what your doctor might be saying (“saturated fats cause heart disease!”) and what you see in this movie or hear about at this site (“saturated fats got a bad rap!”), you must wonder like I used to, “How do we know who to believe?”  While there still may be some areas that seem muddled (one example that comes to mind:  do we really need supplements?), in most cases, and in my mind anyway, figuring this out has become very simple because it all comes down to common sense.  Read more about the criteria I use to find the truth on health & nutrition topics.

My email to Tom Naughton:

“I LOVED your movie and I’m working on a review of it for my site. I’m wondering something… I truly believe that Fat Head has the most clear and understandable information debunking the saturated fat myth that I’ve ever seen. (It’s also very entertaining and makes us laugh as we’re learning!) However, I thought the beginning of the movie was a bit confusing. I’m curious why you told people they could eat fast food and not get fat, without also telling them about the crap vegetable oils that fast food joints usually use; and then in the next section, you so brilliantly showed everyone why all they’ve learned about saturated fats is wrong. And I get your point, that no one is forced to eat fast food, but I thought Spurlock had a lot of good in his movie.  For example, one of my favorite scenes was where he showed us how long fries can sit on the counter without going bad – gross! While you may not like how he did it, I see him as being “on our side”, because he’s encouraging people to steer clear of fast food.”

His reply:

Hey, Kelly —

The vegetable oils are garbage, indeed, but if you avoid French fries, which I did, you won’t be consuming much of them. I ate some fried chicken strips, which is most likely why my HDL dropped during that month. If I were to repeat the experiment, I’d avoid those as well.

My beef (pardon the pun) with Spurlock was his premise that it’s because of fast food that we’re becoming obese. I see what people put in their carts at the grocery store, and it’s the same garbage … starches, sugars, products full of HFCS and mutant vegetable oils. Therefore I thought picking on fast food specifically was taking aim at the wrong target, which doesn’t help people understand obesity or avoid it.

He was also pushing the idea that saturated fat is bad and championing a vegetarian diet. As you know, I have issues with both. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up a vegetarian product to read the label and seen soybean oil as a primary ingredient. Yuck.

That being said, I thought his film was amusing. I just don’t believe people learn anything useful from it.

Best,
Tom

My last question for him:

“I’d love to know (and share with my readers) how YOU found the truth about saturated fats?  I call my story my “food conversion“, and I’m wondering what led to yours?

This will make a great post!  Thanks so much.

Kelly”

His reply:

Once I decided to live on a fast-food diet for the film, I started doing research into nutrition and health so I could explore those topics. I started coming across articles that dispute the whole idea that saturated fat is a health hazard, which led me eventually to people like Uffe Ravnskov, Malcolm Kendrick, Sally Fallon, Al Sears, Mike Eades, Gary Taubes, etc. The more I read, the more I concluded that while they’re in the minority, the evidence is on their side.

You’ve seen the film, so you know I used myself as a lab rat by consuming a diet very high in saturated fat for a month after I’d finished the fast-food diet. (That was based on a bit of challenge from Mike Eades.) The “saturated fat pigout” diet, however, included no processed vegetable oils, sugar or starch, except a small amount of low-sugar fruit. You saw the results: cholesterol dropped, HDL went up, LDL went down.”

Buy the movie, Fat Head , and show your friends!  Visit Tom Naughton’s blog.

Here are a few clips – I love these!

Toward the end of this next one with Sally Fallon (from the Weston A. Price Foundation), she talks about the dangers of trans fats and also why Canola oil was developed and what’s so rotten about it:

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  • { 83 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 Dawn @ SmallFootprintFamily September 23, 2009 at 12:56 am

    I rented this on your suggestion and it was very, very funny and enlightening. I too am going to buy it now so I can show it around. Thanks for the review and for sharing what Tom Naughton had to say.

    Reply

    2 Kara @ Home With Purpose September 23, 2009 at 1:46 am

    I had the exact same reaction to the movie and had the exact same questions that you asked! It was a great movie, ESPECIALLY the second half, and I’ve been loving reading his blogs for the last few weeks.

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    3 Betsy September 23, 2009 at 5:02 am

    I got it from NetFlix on someone’s recommendation, didn’t know much about it and couldn’t remember who recommended it or why. So when it started, I was confused, too, having expected it to be “slanted” in favor of our way of eating. It got better. ;) Not that it wasn’t entertaining from the beginning!

    I may put this on my Xmas list, too, or at least rent it again and make DH watch it, lol.

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    4 leah September 23, 2009 at 9:07 am

    This looks like a great movie!

    Is Anne Marie having technical problems again? There’s no RFW post up yet at her blog…

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    5 Motherhen68 September 23, 2009 at 9:18 am

    I rented this from Netflix after Jimmy Moore recommended it last year. It took FOREVER to come since it was an “extremely long wait”. When I finally received it, I loved it!

    The best part for me was when Tom talked about statins, especially statins and women. I asked my mom the next day if she was taking statins and her reply was “of course, I have high blood pressure”. She wouldn’t even watch the film and is convinced that by eating food cooked in lard and coffee w/heavy cream which I eat, will kill me and she’s doing the right thing. What are you going to do?? It’s so frustrating, but she is a grown woman.

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    6 CHEESESLAVE September 23, 2009 at 9:22 am

    I love this movie! I’m only halfway through — it’s in my DVD player now. (I also got it from Netflix)

    Loved your comments Kelly — I thought the same things.

    Oh, and — I was so inspired by this movie (still only having only watched half), I reduced my calorie intake and started getting more exercise — and I lost 4 pounds the first week!

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    7 Local Nourishment September 23, 2009 at 9:28 am

    This has been on my Netflix queue since January and the demand is just so strong for it that we can’t ever get it! I love your post, Kelly, lots of great information. Thanks!

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    8 KitchenKop September 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

    Leah, it’s early there (CA), I think she’s working on it right now.

    Motherhen, I KNOW! That is so sad and frustrating. It’s easier to take if they’d just listen, absorb it and then choose to disagree. I can handle that better than if they’re never open to hearing the truth at all.

    Ann Marie, did you mean you reduced your carb intake or your calorie intake? I know you know this, but some things like cream have a lot of calories, but they’re good calories. :)

    Kelly

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    9 KitchenKop September 23, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Ann Marie’s RFW post is up! :)

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    10 Kyle September 23, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    I’m going to have to look for this, I’d love to show it to other people! It sounds like I could learn some things too. Way to go at emailing him!

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    11 Jeanmarie September 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I love this movie. I bought it from Amazon.com as soon as I heard of it a couple of months ago and I’ve watched it a couple of times. The extra interviews are also very good.

    I hope people don’t take away from this that a fast-food diet is okay over the long term… what Fathead does is brilliantly refute the misinformation spouted by Morgan Spurlock and his (apparently) vegan agenda. I enjoyed Supersize me when I saw it but it always bothered me how Spurlock ignored the implications of the guy who ate a Big Mac every day but was lean and healthy. Why? He didn’t force-feed himself 5,000 calories a day, and he didn’t eat the fries or the sodas or all the other extras (that incidentally probably have the biggest profit margins. I know when I worked at a Sizzler steak house as a teen I was told to push sodas as they were low-cost, high-margin to the restaurant). Maybe he even got some exercise!

    I do think McDonald’s is a terrible company in many respects (see the wonderful Indie documentary McLibel about a British couple who refused to bow under the weight of legal persecution by McDonald’s Corp.), but Naughton is correct that they do not twist people’s arms to get them to eat their food. We have to be responsible for our choices. We have to care enough about our health to learn about what promotes health and do that.

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    12 Charity Grace September 23, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Hmmmm, I did have to read this just as I was pulling a pan of cookies out of the oven! ;) And also as soon as I had another nudge toward improving my family’s health as much as possible.

    I enjoyed supersize me (Spurlock reminded me of a family member so much it was truly eerie), but I was really troubled by the implication that it was the fat that caused all Spurlock’s health problems. They only briefly pointed out that in the course of the month he ate THIRTY-FIVE pounds of sugar!!! The doctors were quick to assume that his health went downhill because of the fat alone…Not, perhaps, because the meat, eggs, and milk were of poor quality, or because he ate SO MUCH sugar, or because of the vegetable oils. I think it was helpful in pointing out the dangers of fast foods, but still led in the wrong direction.

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    13 Dana September 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    FYI, back in the early 20th century it was considered normal for grown people to eat 2900-3000 calories a day, if not much more for those doing manual labor. And even 1500 calories of fat is not going to do the same things to you as 1500 calories of wheat–they produce entirely different endocrine responses, and have different effects on fat storage. Most carbs and all dietary fats are stored in adipose tissue immediately after ingestion–but in healthy people that storage is supposed to be temporary, because in healthy people their insulin level drops down to just about nothing between meals. That doesn’t happen in people who tend toward obesity due to metabolic damage, which is a heck of a lot of us, including Spurlock when he was consuming 35 pounds of sugar in a month. And I’d be willing to lay money that was only the actual food sugar they counted, not all the other starchy carbs he got which turned into sugar in his body as well.

    And it’s one thing to say “take responsibility for your health” and quite another to understand what that means. I suspect a lot more people at least think they are trying to take responsibility than we might guess from the results. But they’re being lied to. If you don’t know what you believe is a lie, why would you ever seek out the truth?

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    14 Karen September 23, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    I hadn’t even heard of this before – but can’t wait to see it…thanks, Kelly!

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    15 Cathy Payne September 23, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    I agree with you as well, Kelly. The clips are the best parts of the film, but you have to wait 45 minutes to get to the good part. I would have preferred to skip all the defense of fast food. It does contain some good information debunking myths but doesn’t really provide good guidelines for what are healthy food choices.

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    16 Vin - NaturalBias September 24, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Hi Kelly,

    I was reading Tom’s blog (which is great) for a while before I actually watched Fat Head which gave me very high expectations for it. I too was a bit shocked by it’s beginning which I mentioned in the article I wrote about it. As great as the movie is, I think it would have been even better with a quick explanation of the low quality of fast food meat and that he was only consuming it to prove a point. However, I suppose that would have put some of the blame back on the fast food industry which takes away from the point that Tom intended to make.

    Either way, it’s still a great movie and I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it.

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    17 angie September 24, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    great post thanks for sharing this useful information

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    18 'Becca September 24, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I agree, there is a big difference between a fast-food burger and naturally raised beef on real bread! His e-mail to you should say, “…if you avoid French fries and all deep-fried foods.” Anything deep-fried, such as a fried chicken or fish sandwich, is loaded with the same horrifying oil as the French fries.

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    19 Jeanmarie September 24, 2009 at 4:16 pm

    I agree, Dana, that there’s much more to it than personal responsibility. When the media and store shelves are awash in misinformation and health-destroying products, you really have to go the extra mile to seek out more complete information. On a personal level, we need to take responsibility for our health, because no one will care more for us than ourselves. That doesn’t negate the fact that on a societal level, misinformation and bad advice can have devastating public health consequences

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    20 marie72 June 7, 2010 at 1:48 am

    What about Oatmeal does it convert to sugar right away,everything on Oatmeal is all positive…How much of it should we eat??

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    21 KitchenKop June 14, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    Sorry, I just found this comment buried in my inbox…

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe oatmeal doesn’t turn to sugar as quickly because of its higher fiber content. Oatmeal is high in phytic acid and should be soaked before eating, such as in this recipe: http://www.kellythekitchenkop.com/2008/02/organic-oatmeal-recipe.html or this one that everyone loves: http://kellythekitchenkop.com/2009/03/healthy-breakfast-recipe-from-sue-baked-soaked-oatmeal.html.

    As to how much I’d say it depends on how much you’re watching your carbs. If you’re avoiding carbs then little to NO oatmeal, for a while at least, until you achieve your weight goals or whatever your reason might be for going low-carb. I know a lot of people who eat oatmeal daily who tolerate it well and have no weight issues. They eat it with plenty of butter or real cream and some fresh fruit and it’s their favorite breakfast. I’d say that’s fine, too, as long as you soak it like mentioned above.

    Kelly

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    22 Tim February 14, 2011 at 6:32 pm

    My experience was a lot like Kelly’s. I recently rented the movie from our local library and now I want to buy it. What a life-changing movie!
    After my wife and I watched it, I put it on for my kids (ages 7 and 9) to watch it and to my surprise, it kept their interest for the entire movie (they particularly liked the cartoons and especially laughed when “the guy from CSPI” said, “That’s because you’re evil!…and you’re stupid!”…it’s like a family catch phrase now).

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    23 Jml March 1, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    This is ridiculous. Are really trying to justify you’re eating habit with a movie! You have to know that the amount of sodium and saturated fat from a mcdonalds meal cannot be good for your body! This is a case a semi fat man who thinks he looks good, deciding to do slanted research to make himself feel better about his poor diet. Of course no one forces you to eat French fries at mcdonalds or nor do they force you to order crap from taco bell but that does not mean that the food is good for you or that they actually care about your health. If you take the few facts from this film and decide that eating a triple baconator followed up by a deep fried apple pies then you can literally eat shit and die as far as I’m concerned.

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    24 Eric March 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    JML,

    Did you even watch this movie? I know you didnt because your post has no relation whatsoever to the premise of the movie. He never claims that McDonald’s is good for your body. And as far as your saturated fat comment, he uses very good research to suggest that we, and obviously you, have been duped by the lipid hypothesis. In fact, the research he uses is far less slanted, as you point out, than the very research used to convince us that saturated fat is the bad guy, and that vegetable oils are the good ones. It’s nothing more than media and industry using shady research in order to sell and subsidize, agricultural products. Watch the movie before you trash it pretending like you did.

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    25 Jill March 6, 2011 at 7:04 pm

    You can’t actually belief that ANY fast food place is good for you or ANYTHING that they sell is good for you. Do some real research! Why do you think that so many people have preventable illnesses like diabetes, maybe it’s because of people like you that are saying that fast food is good for you. Before the industrial revolution where we threw-away any nutritional concerns for our food and replaced them with profit, we were 100 times healthier. Why do you think that you can’t even run a mile, why do ATHLETES NOT eat fast-food. Why are most athletes vegetarians. If you’d pay attention at school you would of known that meat has .1 percent of the energy of the original plant that got it from the sun. You’ve got to be catching on here!

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    26 Eric March 6, 2011 at 7:38 pm

    Jill,

    Please tell me where in my post I claimed, insinuated, or suggested that fast food is good for you. I dont think you paid any attention to what I wrote, so maybe you should pay attention to what you read before you say somebody should pay attention in school. And, if you make a claim that “most atheletes are vegetarian,” please be prepared to offer some references or research (scientific, not magazine articles) that will support that claim. I work in an athelete infused industry, and do not know one who is vegetarian. Perhaps I’m wrong and they’re all lying. Are you catching on?

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    27 Eric March 6, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    One more thing. Since I apparently missed the lecture in kindergarten about the .1 percent of energy from the sun in meat blah blah blah, and you’re so smart, could you please convert the irrational equivalent of .1 repeated? BTW, I run 5k every day after work, (I take the weekends off, when I walk with my 5 year old daughter for a mile whle she rides her training wheel assistsed bike), and I’m 41 years old. You call me ignorant and the best you can come up with is some lowest common denominator insult like “why do you think you cant even run a mile?”

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    28 Jill March 7, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    I didn’t mean anything directed at you. I just was venting on how people think that they can just eat junky fast-food and tell people that they are “healthy”. I run 100k’s and I’m 37 and I’m a vegetarian, and through my experiences, I’ve learned that the Paleolithic diet is the most “giving” way to eat, providing energy. I just don’t feel like I shouldn’t put up a fight towards people eating excessive amounts of processed meat and corn products. I just went about it the wrong way. Sorry

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    29 Eric March 7, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    I got defensive and I apologize for my own rant. I respect anybody’s choice on diet, particularly if that choice is an educated one. I have never, and probably will never, make a case against vegetarianism. Personally, I eat meat and animal products and believe that is best for me. BTW, a steak dinner to me is my wife, me, and our daughter sharing an 8 oz. piece. That being obviously more than you would consume, it is far less than the average American’s gut wrenching serving, much of which often ends up in the trash. I am very aware of your concerns regarding planet/eco/responsibility and make a point to meet the needs of my family without being wasteful or manipulative. And last, I really dont eat that much fast food. I’d be lying if I said none, but as little as possible. I love to cook. Cheers!

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    30 Jill March 7, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    I feel really bad now, in actuality, I never fully read your argument. I just watched the movie and didn’t agree with it all of the way. So I just displayed my views in a non-adult fashion. Thanks for being so forgiving.
    – Jill

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    31 Eric March 7, 2011 at 10:05 pm
    32 Megan August 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    This is probably the nicest and most reasonable comments section argument I’ve even seen :)

    33 Patrick_M March 5, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    I finally saw this film last evening, and I was greatly disappointed. I am impressed with the work of Gary Taubes and others, and I tend to agree that the conventional wisdom about the “lipid hypothesis” is now in grave doubt. Fat Head is at its best in the rather brief section that explains the gylcemic index, insulin etc.

    However Fat Head is at its worst in the long and semi-coherent attack on Morgan Spurlock’s film, which is really completely unnecessary to teaching the viewer about the theory behind lowering the intake of carbs and sugar, which of course are a BIG part of what McDonalds fare is all about.

    Likewise, the right-wing anti-government rant that underlies the entire film (even using an editor of a Libertarian magazine as one of his experts) is extremely tedious and produces some downright bizarre assertions, like the contention that the poor are disproportionately obese because non-whites are genetically disposed to have “thicker” bodies, and that court-mandated busing to achieve school desegregation caused children to become overweight.

    The “humor” is consistently tedious and juvenile, as when Naughton asks people on the street if they have ever experienced a heart attack after eating a plate of fettuccine.

    It would be great to see a documentary that takes an objective and critical look at the quality of the science on either side of the low fat vs. low carb debate. I suspect the low carb advocates would gain many new supporters as a result. Naughton’s rambling, petulant, and egotistical film, on the other hand, with its grandiose anti-government ideological sub-text, unfortunately subverts its own strong thesis, and may repel at least as many viewers as it persuades.

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    34 Eric March 6, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    Patrick,

    While I enjoyed the movie a great deal, I agree with your review up to the “right-wing anti-government rant” statement. Spurlock’s take on McDonalds was meant to be more entertaining than it was educational, while I received the opposite from Fat Head. Also, that editor from the Libertarian magazine (Reason) was also interviewed in Super Size Me. What I got from the “right wing rant” was an answer to a question a staunch Liberal often asks me when I question the validity of man-made global warming. He asks “why would they lie when they are trying to save us?” Naughton answers in , yes a slightly condescending tone, “follow the money.”

    I also really thought the research used was objective and critical, but I dont disagree that Naughton’s approach and method of delivery, was, as you state, “rambling, petulant, and egotistical.” However I will argue that the anti-government rhetoric was necessary. After all, it is the government that has been feeding us the information he attempts to disprove.

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    35 Patrick_M March 7, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Eric –

    I have no problem with pointing out that the government has been a source of incorrect information and counter-productive policy. However, some viewers would then logically conclude that the best remedy would be for the government to provide correct information and better policy, rather than playing no role at all. And Naughton will alienate that very significant segment of the audience.

    Naughton perceives a conspiracy surroundng a vegetarian staffer on the McGovern committee, while saying nothing at all about the sweeping changes of policy under Nixon’s Ag Sec, Earl Butz, which helped enable all of the highly corporate processed faux food products from inedible corn, like HFCS. The incendiary Naughton statements about poor people being fatter due to their racial genetics, and linking court-ordered school desegregation to weight gain, are inevitably going to turn off segments of the audience and torpedo the central purpose of the documentary. Even for conservative and libertarian viewers, there are likely to be individual points of strong disagreement with the many personal opinions that Naughton feels obliged to trumpet during the course of the film.

    If you persuade people that government health and food policy is wrong, then people will form their own conclusions about whether the problem is that government is too big and intrusive upon individual liberties, or whether government is too beholden to corporations and monied interests and does too little to act in the public interest. Naughton’s documentary will alienate people in the latter camp, and thereby risks not persuading them on the central thesis (that the conventional wisdom is wrong).

    Naughton is free to believe and argue any political analysis he wants to, I just think it would have been more wise to make that argument in a separate forum. I’d prefer to get everyone on the same page about the science first, and then we can hash out the political implications (where people will inevitably have some differences of opinion) once we have a new consensus. Even if you entirely agree with Naughton’s political orientation, you know that not everyone will, so the front-loading of Naughton’s personal political beliefs inevitably can only serve to reduce his ability to persuade a broad audience about the science.

    If you read recent viewer comments at Netflix (and there are many, because Netflix has just begun streaming the movie over the past couple of weeks), you’ll see that many viewers think the movie is bunk, and some can’t even sit all the way through it, because they interpret the film as a contrived political advocacy piece, and/or as a corporate advocacy piece for McDonalds and its ilk. Fat Head shoots itself in the foot, and I think that’s really unfortunate.

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    36 Eric March 7, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Patrick,

    Both of your posts here are well constructed and make very good arguments. I think had Naughton been less cynical, this movie would have been accepted by a wider set of viewers. I did like that he challenged some age old theories regarding nutirition, and used some interviews and data to support it. In fact, in the scientific/nutrition arena, his claims as well as those he argues are theory, not law.

    I have personally been involved in research projects in the education field, and have experienced first hand how people manipulate their samples or results to support their own pre-conceived solutions. In fact, I spent 14 months researching the National School Lunch Program and concluded that if site-administered, could be administered to ALL public school students at a lower cost, while nearly eliminating processed foods. Naughton adequately supported (not proved) his theory with good data. Of course, his research was mostly unscientific, so was accepted by me as argumentative and nothing more.

    While I hardly can say who is more trustworthy; government or business, I would give the same response. It behooves all of us to question what they tell us. Michael Moore, whom I disagree with politically and is essentially the antithesis of Naughton politically, provides us with a perspective that should not be ignored. However, if one forms his or her own perspective soley on his, then they would be beholden to his blank check. I would say the same for anybody who did the same in regard to Fat Head. Cheers!

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    37 Patrick_M March 7, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Eric –

    Thank you for your articulate replies, we actually do have almost complete common ground. Just one more thought I have to share (which is meant only as an observation and is not meant to be argumentative in the slightest).

    One of my problems with Naughton was less that he expressed so many personal opinions, but that so often those opinions were stated and then not supported, at least when it came to his socio-political theories. For example –

    In the anti-Spurlock segment, he takes up the question of how McDonalds discloses nutritional information. Spurlock bemoaned the fact that the information was not sufficiently obvious, or not made available at all, at every franchise. Naughton mocks this complaint, and talks about how inner city dwellers could obtain the information by going on the Web at the public library, or by walking to a different neighborhood where the next franchise might have the information on display. These arguments are not only weak on their face, but also lack the courage to state the clear Libertarian position, which would be that business should not be forced to require that disclosure at all, and that they should do so only voluntarily if customer-driven free market forces suggest it seems to be a good idea (or if they just want to do it out of the goodness of their corporate hearts, I suppose). I think one can make an argument for or against mandatory disclosure of the content of all things being offered for human beings to ingest, but Naughton won’t really come out either way (at least in his film) and instead just adopts a weird non-position in order to mock the specifics of Spurlock’s complaint.

    Also Naughton takes his annoying man-on-the-street approach on this same topic to try and prove that people “with a functioning brain” already know that a cheeseburger & fries is a fattening choice without the mandatory disclosure — the implication being that consumers don’t need or even want the government to require restaurants to provide that information (which of course is a completely different and un-asked question).

    I live in a state where medium-to-large chains are required to post the calorie count of each item right on the menu. In my experience, this has not discouraged people from going to the chains, but I have overheard many conversations in line where people reading the menu have expressed surprise that (for example) the guacamole burger has more calories than the bacon burger, and conversations in which people decide to order the higher calorie items for lunch, but form a plan to at least partially offset that decision by having a much lighter meal at dinner. Just because knowing the information won’t drive people away from fast food does not mean that many people will not appreciate being able to make a more easily and fully informed set of choices, and this probability should be self-evident. Too often Naughton’s mode of analysis is so very flawed on its face, and he chases after such trivial targets, during the non-science sections of the film.

    Likewise, if one is going to toss out a bombshell, like the poor carrying additional weight primarily because of their genetics, one ought to immediately nail that down with overwhelming supporting evidence. Naughton tosses off that un-supported remark in a very casual fashion and that simply leaves the audience with their jaws hanging (and undoubtedly leaving some viewers actually offended).

    For me, even in the non-political elements, there are many “hey wait!” moments that the film that ought to have been nailed down. One example is when Naughton’s doctor goes over the lipid panel results after the initial month of exclusively fast food. Naughton’s total serum cholesterol level has dropped about 10 points, but his doctor makes the assertion that the same blood sample could fall 10 points higher or lower on running the test again ON THE SAME SAMPLE, so the 10 point drop is statistically meaningless. Say what?

    That made me sit up in my chair. Is Naughton’s doctor correct that these tests have a 20 point swing of potential inaccuracy? If that’s true, would that not mean that many people are currently incorrectly diagnosed as slightly high (as well as incorrectly “normal”), based on the current magic numbers, and (if so) should not every test for cholesterol be run multiple times (to determine an average reading) to get a reasonably accurate result? Would that not mean (even accepting the conventional cholesterol wisdom) that many people are needlessly (even by the conventional wisdom) being prescribed statins?

    Yet this little question (with its big implications) is raised in the film, and there is no analysis of the truth of the doctor’s statement (or its implications). Those of us in the audience with “a functioning brain” are left to wonder whether Naughton’s doctor is stating a fact, or whether he has a complete mis-impression of the accuracy of the key blood work that he orders for his patients. And I still don’t know.

    Naughton does best when he delves into the history of the low fat movement and the flaws of the lipid hypothesis, because there he lets a variety of people, most of whom have at least some actual credentials, do the talking and make the case. But even here, I would have preferred to see a little back and forth with some representation from the other side. If you have read the exchanges that took place between (ironically) Reason magazine and Taubes, and between Taubes and Sally Squire at the Washington Post (in the wake of publication Taubes’ 2002 NYT article that first questioned the conventional wisdom on the effects of saturated fat in the diet), there you’ve seen each side doing its best to rigorously and fairly challenge the evidence of the other. I think Taubes got the best of these exchanges, and that they were at a much higher intellectual level than making funny face cartoons of Ancel Keys, or placing a caption saying “Real Scientist” under one of your expert commentators. So, while I think this section of “Fat Head” is sufficiently sturdy and far better than the rest of the movie, I still think it could have been significantly stronger had we heard from even a single voice on behalf of what Taubes calls the “dogma” that still won’t go away. You mention Michael Moore, who often stacks the deck, but at least in Moore’s films he always attempts to confront the individuals and institutions that he attacks, and engage them in some kind of a dialog. In fact, it is a key part of the particular trademark style in his film-making.

    I completely agree that nobody should form final conclusions from a single source, be it Michael Moore, Tom Naughton, or anyone else. My hope is that many viewers who might not be persuaded by the film will continue to read the literature, and eventually will become skeptical of the mainstream medical and dietary dogma. But I also think that Naughton’s presentational errors will only harden existing opposition among many, as the many dismissive comments at Netflix tend to indicate is happening now, as the film begins to reach a wider audience.

    That was my final two cents, and I apologize to you (and to all) for the considerable amount of space I have taken up expressing my thoughts.

    Cheers to you as well, Eric! I enjoyed our dialog.

    Reply

    38 KitchenKop March 7, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I enjoyed it too, thanks everyone! :)

    Reply

    39 Eric March 7, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    By no means a waste of space…in fact, space well utilized. I live in a state where a piece of meat served between two slices of white bread is considered exceptional fare. Far different from where I was raised and what I prefer. Thanks for your insights and respectful tone. Thanks to KitchenKop as well for providing this forum.

    Reply

    40 Jamianne May 3, 2011 at 7:41 am

    Patrick, it was not a “bizarre assertion” on the part of Naughton that non-whites are genetically pre-disposed to have “thicker” bodies. It is actually true that there are differences in many areas, including bone density. Unfortunately, everyone is so afraid of being “racially insensitive” these days that to even mention differences which are absolutely valid will make some people cry foul.

    http://www.nature.com/oby/journal/v11/n7/full/oby2003124a.html

    Epidemiological evidence has supported differences among individuals of various backgrounds in different obesity-related traits, including BMI and resting metabolic rate (RMR),1 particularly when African-American women are compared with European-American women. For example, obesity is more prevalent in African-American women than their white counterparts, even after controlling for socioeconomic status (SES) (1). In addition, there are reports of lower levels of energy expenditure in African-American women (2, 3, 4, 5). Higher bone mineral density (BMD) in African-American individuals when compared with European Americans has also been reported (6, 7)

    Don’t be so quick to jump on Naughton. The guy did his homework.

    As for the part about desegregation busing, his point was that many kids were forced to spend hours on the bus because of the ruling and this in turn eliminated the exercise they would have gotten walking to a local school. My personal note is that when segregation was no longer mandatesd the “busing” idea was simply forced integration. Lets face it, there were many neighborhoods which were predominantly white or black. Even after the end of mandated segregation, due to the population in particular areas, many of the schools remained all white or all black. The busing was NOT needed to end the segregation laws. Instead, it was somehow decided that the kids needed to be bused to a location (sometimes unreasonably far) because the races “should be mixed together”. Its one thing for segregation to be outlawed. But mandating that kids needed to be bused to schools outside of their area to purposefully create a “blend” of races is entirely different. The practice of desegregation busing has withered over the years for the most part even though many schools in certain areas still have dominant races (and always will since there will always be areas with a predominant race.) Again, not everything has a racist undertone and I did not gather one hint of racism in any of the points made in Fat Head, It is totally reasonable to conclude that kids who walked to school before being forced to take a bus to a different school were getting less exercise as a result of the change. Naughton made his point and i see nothing bizarre about it…

    Reply

    41 Patrick_M May 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Jamianne,

    I am perfectly aware that “it is actually true that there are differences in many areas” between races. However, I do not think one can attribute the higher incidence of obesity and related diseases among persons living in poverty to race, and dismiss dietary habits as a critical factor, as Naughton tries to do.

    Poor people of all races are more apt to have a poor diet than their affluent counterparts of the same race. It is about economic circumstances, and the marketing, availability and pricing of healthy vs. unhealthy foods in poor neighborhoods, not about the race of the persons living in those neighborhoods.

    If you don’t believe that busing was a valid strategy to break up the “separate but equal” and de facto segregation of schools in this country, that is fine, you are perfectly free to hold that belief. But to suggest, as Naughton does, that mandatory busing caused childhood obesity is absurd.

    You say “It is totally reasonable to conclude that kids who walked to school before being forced to take a bus to a different school were getting less exercise as a result of the change.” Um, I suppose that nobody could argue with that. But kids have been riding school buses, under voluntary as well as mandatory conditions, for decades, and there have always been skinny kids, of all races, riding inside those buses. The obesity epidemic comes along as forced busing is being phased out, and you can correlate the epidemic far more closely to the explosion of fast food franchising, and to the explosion of subsidized corn-based junk food, sugars, and refined carbs in the markets, than to the existence of court-ordered desegregation.

    I am not saying that Naughton is “racist.” Not at all. I am saying that he is approaching the subject as a rabid anti-government libertarian, and turning logical cartwheels throughout the movie against anything at all that government might do, such as simply requiring the people who sell us our food to provide immediately accessible information about nutritional content. And I am saying that his constant gratuitous tangential libertarian ranting detracts from the valid science that is to be found in the film’s worthy parts.

    It is ironic that in parts of the film, Naughton says that the rise in obesity is just a myth, and that he actually claims he can’t find any overweight people out in public to film. Yet in other parts of the film, he attempts to explain away the rise in obesity (hey I thought it was just a myth?) to school buses and other ills of big government. There HAVE been problems with government policy that promoted obesity, diabetes, and related diseases, but the real problems are found in areas like the agricultural policies and subsidies that have encouraged the explosion of cheap sugars and carbs, not in requiring nutritional content disclosure. Watch the far superior documentary “King Corn” for a far more coherent analysis of US government policy gone terribly wrong.

    This film is simply a mess, and that’s unfortunate, because the basic dietary information at the core of the film is valid, and deserves to be presented much more effectively.

    Reply

    42 beth March 6, 2011 at 8:51 am

    I saw this movie last night. I also saw Supersize Me several years ago- and enjoyed it as well. Once again, we humans must put everything in neat littel boxes- life is not that black and white. I do this myself- so I am including myself in the short-sightedness. I find it disturbing that a post above said, “you can eat shit and die, for all i care” Wow, really? That much anger? For what? We Americans have been struggling to find our way to health- and I think we can all agree the experts are wrong repeatedly. I lived in Greece for years, and when I was there I tried to lose 20 pounds. I went on a low-fat diet in my husband’s village, big smart American that I am, and when his 92 year old aunt asked me why I was eating bread insted of olive oil, she laughed and said, “No, my dear, you will never lose weight eating bread” I thought she was old and mis-informed. Funny, she was 92, strong, eating meat, olive oil, and cheese and is still alive now at 101! I am not saying run out and eat only meat- certianly this is an extreme that can nnot be good when thinking of all the steriods and deplorable farming conditions, but let’s not pretend this healthy carbs is doing this country any good either.

    Reply

    43 beth March 6, 2011 at 8:53 am

    sorry for the typos kids…too early

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    44 casey March 11, 2011 at 8:01 pm

    i couldnt believe all that this movie put into light. it just proves how completely retarded our government can be.

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    45 Freebies May 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    It’s funny- this movie is on Netflix and I sat down to watch it one night- but only made it maybe 20 minutes in.. but it was because he was only talking about fast food.. I think I will have to revisit it.

    jenetta

    Reply

    46 Patrick_M May 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

    jenetta,

    My advice is to skip this one, and watch King Corn on Netflix instead.

    Reply

    47 Eric March 27, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Watch them both.

    Reply

    48 Shauna July 13, 2011 at 12:11 am

    So, Kelly, does this mean all carbs are bad? I sure hope not, because I’m a carb junkie! I know, I eat too much of it, and that’s part of why I’m overweight. But isn’t whole wheat bread good for you, as well as oatmeal and such?

    Reply

    49 Kelly the Kitchen Kop July 13, 2011 at 12:28 am

    For some with blood sugar or weight issues I’d say all carbs might be bad, at least for a time, for others eating good carbs is no problem for them. Keep in mind that ww bread & oats have phytic acid, which blocks mineral absorption unless these grains are properly prepared.
    Kelly

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    50 Emily August 24, 2011 at 4:52 pm

    There was so much wrong with fat head I hardly know where to begin. The movie begins watching him eat disgusting poor quality processed food for what reason? Proving that mc Donalds is not to blame? Or just to prove Morgan spurlock wrong? Both battles lead to no winners nor america getting healthier. Watching him accuse others of assuming poor people are stupid was then exactly what he proceeded to do when he stood in front of a counter and said no when asked if he would like french fries. If it is that simple we all must be weak and dumb If we cannot do the same!

    Later in the movie my head began to spin when he finally started to make an educated argument against processed grains. I was however confused he was losing weight eating grains in fast food form. What do most farms especially the ones who sell to large corporations fees their chickens and cows?? He talks alot about the way we were meant to eat, that is nice and all but the reality today is that our meat and dairy is not the quality product it was when man was evolving. With out mass agriculture and cheap grains there would be no chicken nugget nor big mac.
    He totally ignores the socioeconomic aspect of food availability not to mention his sodium intake! I am a nurse and I am on the front lines battling what he denies is an epidemic. If he were to spend one day in my shoes watching families and patients suffer from the many diseases caused by poor diet he might not so smugly deny its existence. Perhaps it’s not as much as estimated but it is a huge problem. It is not a joke or balogna. The addiction aspect was also made into an over simplified joke. I am glad he did not get addicted but others do. He went on and on about it’s what we love and crave
    and how satisfying it is yet denies that one could develop an addiction to it whether it be the taste convienence or price like an addiction people keep going back regardless of it’s negative impact on their life.
    I wish that he could of presented his research and opinions that would have not included the news to eat fast food to prove someone wrong. Super size me made as many if not more real arguments for the need for Americans to
    change their lifestyle. So thank you newly skinny white guy for joining all the others on telling us what we already know.
    If I video tape myself losing eating only sugary breakfast cereal would that make you wrong and me right?

    Reply

    51 Patrick_M August 24, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Very well said, Emily.

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    52 LM October 22, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    Not so much. Having studied pharmacy, and knowing how critical reading comprehension and spelling skills are in that field (we DO like to get the right drugs, don’t we?), this gal’s lack of proper spelling and such would scare me to death if I for one moment actually believed she WAS a nurse.

    PLEASE.

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    53 MB February 1, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Wow, you misread his intent when he replied “no” to the “French Fries” question. He was refuting the accusation that poor people are stupid, not impying that he was smarter than “them”. In Super Size Me, Spurlock bought and ate whatever someone asked him to add on, fries or super size meals. Naughton was merely making the point that informed people have a choice. Even the most educated consumer might make a counter productive choice from time to time, but it is still a choice. Having a large, expensive HD television damages your financial health as well as contributing to a sedentary lifestyle, but I don’t hear anyone calling for regulations on buying those detrimental products.
    There is quite a large difference between meat from a grain consuming animal and the grain itself. While grass fed beef might have some nutrients, in no way does grain fed beef contain a higher amount of carbs than grass fed.

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    54 chris August 31, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    The entire film is Weston A Price Foundation rubbish. They’re a beef and dairy lobby group.

    Reply

    55 1ofeach September 22, 2011 at 9:25 am

    I’m watching this on Netflix streaming right now. Thanks so much, Kelly!

    It seems the Lord is leading me in the same place you are. We’ve been in similar circles for a while now. I’m glad I have you to go through this journey and research with. You sure make it easier!

    Reply

    56 KitchenKop September 22, 2011 at 9:34 am

    What a sweet comment! Yes, it’s always nice to muddle our way through issues with someone else. :)

    Kel

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    57 L McBride October 20, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    After watching the vids, I have a few questions I hope you will find the time to answer. My husband had a quad bypass 2 years ago, and so this is very important to me. I note that the two countries the first vid lists which have high fat intakes are Holland and Norway–where we might assume a very large part of that intake is fish fatty acids–which Dr.s recommend we increase anyway. I do recall reading, way back in the 70’s, a book that talked about how a guy got lost up in Alaska and nearly died, even though he had plenty of very lean meat. He ran across an Eskimo (according to the author) who gave him some walrus fat which the guy (according to the author) said saved his life. I also note that, though the vid talks about how we as a race lived mostly on animal fats until quite recently, there is no mention made of the fact that folks died at much earlier ages than we do now–for the founding fathers of this country, 35-40 years old was the life expectancy–and I learned this in college history classes, not a place that would have a vested interest in shining us on about those stats, so I’m wondering how you factor this kind of info in to your thinking here. I am honestly looking to see both sides of this before I draw my conclusions–I studied pharmacy, and, believe me, I know doctors are certainly not gods (more like experimenters on human guinea pigs). I really think it is time folks demanded a forum where we can ask hard questions of both sides, and see who ducks first. (I also think we need to factor in that it is in doctors’ best interests to create for themselves a self-perpetuating market, and to take a hard look at the monsters that health industry markets have become. Thanks for your time in advance. I’m enjoying the site very much.

    Reply

    58 'Becca October 21, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    You raise an important issue: Just because humans ate lots of animal fat earlier in history, does not mean that it is the healthiest diet for us.

    However, I have to say it’s hard to judge the effects of diet on life expectancy when you are comparing the people of 200 years ago to the people of today. Then, many people died of contagious diseases that we now have medications or vaccines for. Then, many people died from accidental injuries because cooking and laundry were done over open fires and many other dangerous jobs were done by hand instead of by machine. Then, injured people were more likely to die because infection control was not well understood. Most people who died at 30-40 years old were NOT dying of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or other illnesses likely caused by poor diet.

    Still, it is my opinion that the experts saying a plant-based diet is healthiest are better supported by science than the sources Kelly believes to be most trustworthy. I mean no offense to Kelly, but I see good reasons to be suspicious of the recent direction of the Weston A. Price movement. In my personal experience, I do need SOME saturated fat to feel well, but I can easily get enough from butter and coconut oil. Eating meat more than a couple times a week cuts my energy level, makes my skin break out and nails get white spots, depresses my immune system, and makes me constipated. I am wondering if there are several “types” of people with different optimum diets–but I am sure that a high-meat diet is not healthy for ME.

    Reply

    59 L McBride October 22, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    See, now THAT’S the kind of intelligent dialogue we need on this subject! That was a well thought out and articulate answer that made a whole lot of sense. For myself, I have to eat red meat every few weeks at most, and once a month at the least–and this because I suffer from extremely heavy menstrual cycles. But if I eat it more than once a week at other times, I feel sluggish and get constipated too. (During my cycles I feel that way anyhow, but can actually get really shaky if I don’t eat any red meat, so it’s a matter of the lesser of the two evils.) We eat pretty small portions of any meat we eat–and I think this makes sense, as most folks through the ages could not afford to eat the huge honking portions we Americans are so fond of. And most folks around the world now don’t eat as much as we do, either. But I will say, if I’m going to eat a steak, I am not trimming the fat on mine. I don’t eat them all that often, and for me, that’s the best part! My real weakness though is carbs, but I’ve been surprized to find how much better I like whole grain pasta and rice than their white counterparts. They just TASTE a lot better. And I’ve developed a real taste for veggies, but they can sure take your food budget through the roof. Anyway, thanks for your answer. I’m going to go check out those links you posted now. ;-)

    Reply

    60 KitchenKop October 23, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Hi Becca & L McBride,

    I think Becca made great points about life expectancies.

    Regarding the article you linked to (“reasons to be suspicious of the WAPF” – an article by John Robbins), I found another interesting article about a book by him on the WAPF site. I assume he wasn’t happy with his “thumbs down” book review: http://www.westonaprice.org/thumbs-down-reviews/healthy-at-100

    As far as both of your points about eating meet: In one area that Weston Price studied, they only had meat once a week (it’s all they could afford) and the rest of the week they filled in with bone broths, animal fats, eggs, etc. and were very healthy. It’s good that you’re finding what works for you. :)

    L McBride, keep researching – it’s great that you’re looking at all sides to help your husband!

    Kelly

    Reply

    61 L McBride October 23, 2011 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks Kelly. I am definitely making this site a place to visit frequently. I like the way you can talk here without some of the sort of fanatical pushiness I’ve seen on some other sites. I know that folks can get kind of evangelistic in their zeal for something that has made a real difference in their own lives, but I also know from my pharmacy classes that every person is an individual, and a good doctor or pharmacist will take that into account when evaluating patient reaction to drugs.

    One thing many of us don’t realize is that even the fillers some companies put in our OTC (um, over the counter for those not familiar with the term) can make a big difference in how a person reacts to the main ingredient. For example, I can’t take any allergy med that uses iron oxide as a filler, so I look for carnauba wax in the inactive ingredient list instead.

    Though, if you think about it, since we also use iron oxide as a sunscreen–it’s that thick white paste you used to see on people’s noses in the movies–anyone who can tolerate that stuff must have a cast iron stomach! ;-P Just some of the things drug companies are still allowed to use as fillers quite frankly scare me (we won’t go into the new meds being touted as ‘miracle cures’ and then recalled soon after they have killed or disabled a lot of people). Anyway, thanks for such a great site, and I will be checking out as much of it as I can as often as I can! :-)

    Reply

    62 KitchenKop October 23, 2011 at 5:50 pm

    Once in a while I’ll get going on something I feel strongly about, but in most cases there’s waaaaay too much I don’t know for me to get pushy. :)

    I look forward to many more great comments and discussions with you here!

    Kelly

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    63 'Becca October 24, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Thanks for the link, Kelly. I haven’t read that book, but it does appear that Robbins was very selective in his interpretations of some research! I have about as many quibbles with an ALL-plant diet like he advocates as I do with a heavy-on-animal-fat diet.

    L McBride, when I anticipate heavy bleeding I eat extra lentils, raisins, sorghum syrup, broccoli, and other plant foods high in iron. (If you’ve never tried sorghum syrup, check it out–a sweetener packed with nutrients, including as much iron per ounce as beef!) But there are times when I don’t get enough, and it is true that one big steak sandwich from a local restaurant where I can see into the kitchen (so I know they’re handling that meat in a sanitary manner!) will perk me up enormously. Moderation in all things!

    Reply

    64 Ki December 31, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    I know this is old, but this post shows my biggest issue with Food Inc too, and why I loved Fat Head so much more. Attacking the fast food industry is silly, it’s exactly like attacking the diabetic for being fat and telling him he needs to “lose weight to get control of his blood sugar.” It’s backwards thinking. Food Inc says that “this whole mess started with fast food.” That’s a big fat lie. It did no such thing. It started with the buying up of family farms by mega argi-businesses in the Great Depression. That led to cheap “garbage” food, which then led to fast food’s boom. All of this is based on the fact that we allowed our food supply to be tainted by fascism. Once the government began “regulating” and “subsidizing” and all that other crap, everything went downhill. I think the great thing about Fat Head is that it shows that it’s not the fault of the fast food place, it’s the fault of the consumer for choosing to eat that crap. Just like they just did in Boliva, we need to all stop going to those places, and they will eventually go away.

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    65 Patrick_M January 2, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    Hah.

    The message of Fat Head is hardly that “we need to all stop going to those places, and they will eventually go away.” If that is your view it is hard to see why you “loved” Fat Head.

    If an industry delivers an unhealthy product, then that industry should not be subsidized with tax payer money, that industry should be well-regulated, and people should be educated about the harmful nature of the industry’s product.

    “Attacking” the fast food industry is certainly not the equivalent of attacking a diabetic. Corporate predators and their victims are not equivalent.

    Reply

    66 Eric March 27, 2012 at 9:39 pm

    Patrick,

    In reply to “Corporate predators and their victims are not equivalent.”

    I agree, but let’s educate the victim so they’re smarter than the corporate marketeers.

    E

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    67 Missing Pieces March 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    “He doesn’t mention that fast food is usually made with the unhealthy vegetable oils that he so perfectly slams in the second part of the movie.”

    Actually he DOES mention this, early on when he’s talking about McDonalds, he mentioned that they USED to use animal fasts but were forced to switch to vegetable oils by the screaming of misinformed politicos and public. They resisted for a long time while other fast foods outlets capitulated, because the vegetable oils turned out lousy fries, like Burger King’s alway lousy ones! Only when they spent millions to develop a decent fry from vegetable oil, did they make the now ‘damned switch’. Now you want them to go back? lol

    Reply

    68 David March 27, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    If these Fat Head people in the movie and videos above are so healthy then why are they so fat?

    I think I would rather believe someone that has had some success than someone going Blah, Blah, Blah. Hey listen to me I know it all, Blah, Blah, Blah.

    Reply

    69 Eric March 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Dude, your whole resonse was “blah blah blah blah.” There ar some good discussions on this thread, and many that contradict my feelings, but unfortunately, yours is not one of them.

    Reply

    70 David March 27, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    We could have discussions all night or all week or all month. In the end the best debater would win. But doesn’t it really boil down to taking advise from people who are credible and not those that just try to give American what she wants to hear?

    Wading through all the BS it is obvious who the credible authorities are when it comes to diet and disease. In my mind the credible ones are:

    T. Colin Campbell
    Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr
    Joel Fuhrman, MD
    Neal Barnard, M.D
    Dr. Douglas Graham
    Joel Fuhrman, MD

    And in case you haven’t noticed these credible authorities are all healthy, LEAN, and fit. Not overweight people like the guy in the movie and the cooky AUTHORITIES in the videos above.

    If you eat fast food or oil or refined carbohydrates or processed food then your going to get fat. Unless you restrict your calories, which you are not going to be able to do for long. Fatso Fat Head did it for a month. That doesn’t prove anything. These foods are full of addictive substances. Great for their business but bad for you because eventually, no matter who you are, you will go beyond the 2000 calorie a day starvation level and you are going to blow up into a big Fatso.

    So this is the expanded version of my original comment which I am sure will also “contradict your feelings”

    Reply

    71 Lorna November 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

    The “experts” you name are not simply lean and fit. They are stick figures who are emaciated and have no muscle mass. These diet book authors are quacks who have found ways to pick up on the latest fads to make a quick buck selling their books. When I talk with vegetarians, they almost always mention T. Colin Campbell’s China Study as their “expert.” They don’t know that Campbell cherrypicked his actual study of Chinese diets to “prove” that vegan diets are best. In the book, “The China Study,” he also mentions early rat studies he did that supposedly also prove his point. What he didn’t say is that he did those rat studies several decades ago when his interest was the hazards of protein *deficiency*. At that time, he found out that the vegetarian-fed rats died earlier from the effects of protein deficiency, and didn’t live long enough to *get* cancer. This guy’s a total fraud.

    One of my recent favorites, though, is Fuhrman. He’s managing to sell millions of people on a strict fruit and vegetable diet with little or no starches, dairy, or meat–and then convince them to ignore their hunger pangs because they aren’t real. That takes some real marketing skill and a gullible public.

    The hallmark of both of these guys is that they *insist* on the ultimate respect as experts. If anyone finds fault with their work, their response can be summed up as, “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM? WHO ARE YOU TO CRITICIZE ME? I AM A PhD!” They rarely provide a substantive response. Quacks, all.

    Reply

    72 Eric March 27, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    David,

    This is not so much the expanded version, as it is the one that gave me the impression you are educated rather than just angry. I occasionally eat fast food, but more so I dine at home and do almost all of the cooking for my family myself. Some days I blow away my ideal calorie count, and others I am way below. I am smack dab in my weight/height ratio, and even better in my weight/frame ratio. My cholesteral levels and blood pressure are above average for a man 20 years my youth, and I eat “fast food or oil or refined carbohydrates or processed foods.” I just follow my cravings and exercise regularly.

    I dont mean to debate, and have no desire to “win.” A lot of people who post on this thread are downright angry (at what I dont know), but seem to forget this is a movie. I found it entertaining, thought-provoking, and rightfully argumentative of the current mainstream nutrition-mongers of the current regime. And, I didnt get the point that he promoted junk food, rather he provided an antithesis to Spurloc’s hyposthesis. It was no more possible for Spurlock to be near death from his diet in a month, than it was for Naughton to prove that fast food will help you lose weight in the same timeframe. BTW, I guess I need to watch it again, as I didnt notice anybody outrageously fat.

    E

    Reply

    73 Eric March 27, 2012 at 11:30 pm

    David,

    I have to re-reply. Having no familiarity to any of the Doctor’s you referenced, with exception to Dr. Fuhrman, I did a bit of research. They are all vegans. I have no problem with that choice, but to indirectly reference them as evidence of an ideal diet is at best a correlation, and at worst, evidence of a causal effect. Heck, the list would be nearly infinite if we listed healthy and fit people, but in no way could they all share a similar dietary lifestyle.

    What’s absolutely absurd is Campbell’s assertion that “Eating foods that contain any cholesterol above 0 mg is unhealthy.” Cholesteral is essential for the health of cells, bile, and hormones. While our bodies produce it through the consumption of other fats and oils (including saturated fats), it is still a healthy nutrient when consumed in balance with our own body’s production.

    I still have no intent on arguing your diet preference in relation to mine, nor would I argue that mine is better for any other sound minded individual.

    Reply

    74 David March 28, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    I wrote a big reply but after I hit Submit it just went away. Oh Well, best wishes.

    Reply

    75 David March 30, 2012 at 9:25 am

    Since I can’t seem to get the words typed down, here is a Fat Head movie review which just came out today that I happen to agree with.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKCNY7SFcoo&feature=uploademail

    Reply

    76 Eric March 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

    OK, I did my best to make it through that “review.” It was more in line with an ego-maniac’s promotion of his own lifestyle. He lost me completely when he falsely asserts that Fathead promotes sitting on your butt eating plates of butter in front of the TV. That is so nonsensical it just makes me like Fathead even more. This guy completely misses that fact that Naughton walks, help me out folks, five miles per day? He also consumes massive amounts of fresh vegetables along with his animal portion of his meals. He simply cuts out processed grains from his diet, not carbs.

    Reply

    77 Kevin January 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Hello all,
    I know that this is an old thread, but I just saw the film, on Hulu, and decided to see what others think.
    I must say that I am dismayed to see so much angst and misinterpreting of the movie and what Mr. Naughton said and/or implied.

    First off, while not siting his sources, he claims that Latinos and African Americans are “thicker” built than whites. While there is some anecdotal evidence that this may be true, there is more real evidence that they have heavier bone structures. These heavier bone structures MAY correlate to thicker bodies. But there is no substantive evidence that this is the case.

    He states that kids got more exercise in the past because of the need to walk to school instead of riding on a bus. Now we all know that not ALL kids walked to school, but certainly more did then, than do now. Schools required what we called PE classes, where we were MADE to exercise. Now PE is being phased out of many schools across America. Kids spend more time in front of what my father called the “Idiot Box” (TV) than we ever did. Most kids seem to eschew playing tag, softball, football and kickball, and instead, choose to reach for a bag of carbohydrates and plop down in front of the “idiot box” as soon as they get home from school. Where are the parents? Sitting right next to them. In my opinion,”Show me obese parents, and I’ll show you obese children.”

    Mr. Naughton seems to be pointing out valid concerns that our government is guilty of PUSHING an agenda on us. Really? A government pushing an agenda? Sarcasm. He also goes on to point out how he comes to this conclusion, even going so far as to show actual footage of Sen. McGovern berating the very panel of scientists that he convened for not agreeing with his Pritikin Diet beliefs. Albeit he does it in, what many would believe to be, a humorous way (he is, after all a reformed stand-up comedian). I took his whispered “Follow the money” bit for what it was meant to be, a spoof on schlocky spy film informants whispering from the shadows Deep Throat (remember him?) style.

    We must all remember that he stated that his goal wasn’t to promote a fast food diet, but to debunk Mr. Spurlock’s proclamation that the high calorie, high fat foods of quick serve restaurants are what are ipso-facto causing the obesity “epidemic” in America.

    His opinion (that I agree with) is that if we are indeed becoming more obese, it is due to more complex reasons. His film humorously points out that we do still have the option of free choice in America. Nobody in the fast food industry “forces” anyone to enjoy their offerings. And most Americans are, indeed, bright enough to know that a diet of just burgers, soda pop and fries, coupled with zero exercise is a recipe for disaster. All of the labeling that our government has mandated, in order to lead us to more informed decisions, has, according to our government, not worked. So their response is to mandate MORE labeling? One definition of insanity is to repeat an act over and over and over, expecting a different result each time.

    To those who are members of the Evangelical Vegan religion, I say, you are certainly entitled to your “opinions”. But please realize that they are just opinions.

    My opinion is that we humans have developed over the millennia into mammals that require a balance of vegetables, grains and meats in our diets. We do, after all, have canine teeth. If we had evolved into strictly vegetarian creatures, it would stand to reason that evolution would have rid us of these.

    Through my observation, almost all of my vegan friends are ill far more often than others, and certainly more often than what is normal. And, I’m sorry, but I’ve never seen or even heard of a vegan athlete.

    My conclusion from watching the film is that…
    …we Americans have free will and exercise that free will when we overeat, eat too much fat or sugar or whatever. Nobody puts a gun to our heads and forces us to do these things…
    … There is more than meets the eye when it comes to federally mandated rules as it pertains to the foods that we eat…
    …When Mom told us kids to turn the darned TV off and go outside and play, and would only let us eat one helping of bread, pasta, potatoes or rice at supper time, she was right…
    …We should all do our own objective research and adjust how we live according to well informed conclusions…
    …we should all lighten up a bit, find humor in our lives.

    Reply

    78 Eric January 21, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    Kevin,
    Thank you for your thoughtful addition to this dialogue. And you summed it up with your closing statement: …we should all lighten up a bit, find humor in our lives.

    Reply

    79 'Becca January 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

    Here is a list of vegan athletes. Amazing what you can find if you spend a few seconds on Google instead of spending those seconds typing that you’ve never heard of something personally–as if that means it doesn’t exist.

    I’m not arguing that a vegan diet is optimum, just that it does seem to be possible to make it work even for a serious athlete.

    Your evolutionary argument is pretty silly. We have a number of body parts we no longer use for their original purpose that do nothing but (sometimes) cause trouble, like the appendix. Evolution takes a long time and does not always remove all traces of things that are no longer needed. The fact that our bodies CAN eat meat does not mean it is REQUIRED, just that we could do so if it were necessary to our survival. We can survive drinking our own urine, and some people argue that it’s a good idea, but it certainly isn’t required for good health.

    Reply

    80 Kevin January 22, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    Becca, Becca, Becca. I merely stated that I have never heard of a vegan athlete. You assumed that that I meant that none have ever existed. And we all know what happens when one assumes…Your list of swimmers and tandem bicyclists is impressive.
    In my research, I discovered that often, vegan websites list former athletes who became vegetarians after retiring as being vegetarian athletes. While this is technically true, it misleads many into believing that they were vegans during their careers.

    As for having body parts that we no longer need…I can think of none. Duke researchers have discovered that the appendix is used to “reboot” our digestive system with beneficial bacteria when needed.

    “Amazing what you can find if you spend a few seconds on Google instead of spending those seconds typing” that “We have a number of body parts we no longer use for their original purpose that do nothing but (sometimes) cause trouble, like the appendix”. Sorry, your quotes.

    It seems that the posters on this blog with the most snarkey and venomous responses are the vegetarians and vegans. I don’t understand why that is. All we are discussing here are opinions. One should be able to disagree without being disagreeable.

    I do not regard myself as an expert on this subject, and have never said so. I merely speak of my opinions, that I have developed through my own experiences in life.

    And I repeat…we should all lighten up a bit, find humor in our lives.

    Reply

    81 Jon May 3, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    These comments and this show makes me want bang my head against a wall. This “documentary” was basically a huge ad for some of these “experts” (and their dieting systems) and fast food restaurants (plenty of liberal placement of their brands throughout the movie). Throw in some conspiracy theories (oh, it’s actually the government and 99% of scientists feeding us lies!) and gross misinformation, then bam, you have a fake documentary that gets people’s attention. Has anyone even looked up the names of all the “experts” that appear on his movie, such as Al Sears?

    As the movie progressed, it started spewing out outright, made-up facts, such as our ancestors have been eating an almost all-meat diet for millions of years, or how you should get 50% of your calories from saturated fats to reduce your cholesterol levels. What? And it’s also interesting how many of the “facts” that appear in this movie is backed up by Naughton simply mentioning “experts”. Conveniently, he also mentions “experts” when pretending to debunk information in his movie (by expertly calling them baloney).

    What’s next, a movie about how vaccines actually spreads diseases and everything we’ve know about vaccines is actually an elaborate conspiracy funded by the Illuminati?

    Reply

    82 Marcelo May 21, 2013 at 9:55 am

    I am changing my diet that’s for sure. I am not surprise about the blame in the government. A good friend of mine was told by his teacher ( while studying to be a doctor ) that diabetes was curable ,but no government is interested in finding the cure because diabetes is a big chunk of the “medicine ” industry ( we are talking billions here ). In a different area Monsanto is a monster corn company that works like a “mafia”. Judges , politics etc have shares at Monsanto that’s why corn is pushed bad and corn syrup is the sweetener used in most processed foods and its really bad for human health. Good luck going against these industries.

    Reply

    83 Lorna November 2, 2013 at 10:57 am

    I finally found out about this movie yesterday and watched it, then read all the well-thought-out comments here. Which sparked some thoughts:

    We Americans really are batted around with conflicting information about diet, aren’t we? Always looking for the “magic” food that will make us live forever. I’ve been there, done that. Tried vegetarianism, blood-type diet, various vitamins/minerals, counting calories (tedious!), all of it–only to come back to the idea that generally, the healthiest diet is our traditional balanced diet of real food with a bit less meat and starches, and more vegetables. Lots of variety. I watch my portions so I don’t even have to count calories.

    I generally liked this movie for the counterbalance to the vegetarian/vegan propaganda we get every day. I fear for our country as that trend takes hold. Heck, they’re even instituting vegetarian lunch days in some schools now. Will they learn that growing kids need animal protein to stay healthy–or even to stay awake all afternoon? I hope they learn real quick, before *every* day is vegetarian day in schools.

    The strong part of “Fat Head” was the visual images of how insulin and cholesterol interact. The month-long experiment was a good idea, in that it provided a direct counterpoint to “Supersize.” Through this, Naughton could take on those points directly, and I didn’t see that he was trying to tell us eating fast food every day is good.

    As other people noted, there are some inconsistencies, like when it’s convenient to prove his point, obesity is sometimes an epidemic, and at other times not. Some of his points about the unintended effects of government regulation are valid when taken in context. However, the weakest parts of the movie, IMO, were the libertarian rants. My brain goes into *distrust* mode every time people bring in the conspiracy theories, no matter which side.

    Reply

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