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Katie Hopkins: My Fat Story

The starting aim and metrics

“Katie Hopkins: My Fat story” was a programme aired in two parts on TLC on January 2nd and January 3rd 2015.

Katie Hopkins set out the rationale for the programme in the opening words: “To make a point to the two thirds of Brits who are overweight, I’m going to put on three stone and then prove how simple it is to lose weight.”

Katie started the experiment in June 2014 and she aimed to put on three to four stone by the end of August. Her starting weight was 8 stone 13lb and she is 5’ 7”, so her starting BMI was 19.6 – close to clinically underweight. She described herself as a fitness fanatic and the measurements recorded at the start of the experiment showed that she had 15% body fat, which is extremely low (24% being the low end of normal body fat for a 39 year old female).

One of the first scenes in Programme 1 of 2 showed Katie going in to her local rugby club in a bikini to ask some rugby hunks what they thought of her body. The consensus was that she was “underweight”, “skinny”, had “no bum or boobs” and would look much better if she gained a stone or a stone and a half.

The Programme

The programme was shown in two parts, each an hour long with adverts, so there was probably 90 minutes of content in all. The necessary content – Katie gains three stone and then Katie loses quite a bit less than three stone (sorry to give the punch line away) – took up a very small proportion of the programme because, even with Katie doing a video diary, there’s actually not much of interest in eating more/doing less and then eating less/doing more.

Programme 1 was taken up with repeated visits to a doctor to have measurements taken and to have the “we advise you not to do this blah blah” compulsory disclaimer. The stocking fillers in Part 1 were: the rugby club visit; a visit to America – the home of overeating and let’s meet a 57 stone woman while we’re there; a visit back in the UK to a mum of 3 who had had gastric surgery in 2008 and dropped to 9 stone 7lb but was now back up at 14-15 stone (and upset by excess skin); a visit to a psychologist; and a visit to the Miss British Beauty Curve competition in July 2014, where Katie was an unlikely judge.

The programme didn’t flow – it was a series of sketches – and the key insights were largely missed. The most interesting aspect of the visit to the 57 stone woman in North Carolina was that her slim and fit boyfriend was clearly a ‘feeder’. The control psychology of this would have been interesting to explore, but this didn’t happen. The visit to the bariatric surgery mum could have been an interesting exploration of classic weight rebound, following calorie deficit dieting, but this didn’t happen.

The most interesting part of programme 1 for me was the fleeting coverage of Katie meeting a psychologist and sharing that she has epilepsy. The psychologist suggested to Katie “you can’t control your epilepsy but you can control your weight.” Katie admitted that she has no compassion for herself (and the public observes her having no compassion for others). Katie also shared “It’s a lot easier to be tough me when I’m slim.”

There were many twitter comments that this programme gave us the most insight to date into (apparently) Britain’s most hated woman. The twitter support was especially strong during the second programme where general themes were: “I didn’t think I would agree with anything that Katie said, but I do”; “She’s only saying what’s right”; and “I’m seeing a different side to Katie.”

What Katie thinks she proved and what she did prove

Katie claimed at the end of Part 1 “I have proved if you sit on your bum and eat you will get fat.”

Wrong. Katie showed that, for n=1 (i.e. an experiment with 1 subject), someone who has previously eaten carefully and healthily and (over) exercised will gain weight if they stop exercising and consume doughnuts, chocolate milk, crisps, sweets and other junk at the rate of 400+ calories an hour for 16 hours a day. Had Katie sat on her bum for three months and eaten no junk whatsoever, there is no reason why she should have gained weight.

Katie did an #AskKatie on twitter after both programmes. Two further comments made during Friday’s #AskKatie were of interest:

1) “You have to find the exercise you love. It’s not about diet, it’s about working out.”

2) “My show is not pointless – it proves there are no excuses for obesity. It’s simple maths.”

Wrong and wrong again.

1) Katie stopped exercising as soon as she started the experiment and yet she gained no weight for the first two weeks. She realised that she had to massively increase her food intake to achieve weight gain. Similarly in Part 2, had Katie started exercising and continued to eat 6,000 calories a day of junk, she would have made next to no difference to her weight. Weight is about diet; it’s not about working out.

At the end of the 12 week eat less/move more phase, Katie had lost 2 stone 3lb – she was 11lb heavier than at the start of the experiment. The programme tried to gloss over this by saying she was underweight before and looked better with a fuller face. True and true, but that doesn’t change the fact that Katie failed to lose weight gained deliberately and quickly. She failed to lose 26% of her gained weight to be precise – despite doing 20,000 steps a day and running three times a week. Had she ditched the junk, she may have shown us the power of eating clean.

2) Katie didn’t prove the simple maths – she disproved it, assuming that by “simple maths” she is referring to the calorie theory. Programme 1 stated that Katie had consumed 504,000 calories in 12 weeks. During that time she went from 8 stone 13lb to just under 12 stone – a 3 stone (42lb) gain.

The average calorie requirement for a female is 2,000 calories. Over 12 weeks, this would add up to 168,000 calories. Katie consumed an excess of 336,000 calories in 12 weeks. According to the calorie theory, she should have gained 96lb of fat alone and more on top in water and lean tissue. She gained less than half of the 96lb of fat, let alone the c. 110lb of weight that she should have gained.

The show was pointless, as n=1 is not an indication of the general population and a three month binge and correction is in no way a reflection of the obesity paradox (people so desperately wanting to be slim and yet two thirds not being).

What Katie showed was that, for n=1, where n is a lifelong slim person, quickly on = quickly off when it comes to weight (although not all of it necessarily). Indeed for anyone at a fairly constant weight, normal or otherwise, any weight quickly gained (due to illness/holiday) can be just as quickly lost (again – not all of it necessarily as some serial holiday gainers will know).

What Katie absolutely did not prove is that someone who has been, let’s say, overweight since childhood and obese in adulthood can lose weight and keep it off with a calorie deficit diet. All the evidence since Benedict (1917), Keys (1950), Stunkard & McLaren Hume (1959), Franz (2007) shows that weight lost with a calorie deficit is, in almost all circumstances, regained and often more. This was exactly what the bariatric surgery mum was trying to share, but it was lost on Katie who just thinks that people need to eat less and move more.

As a relevant comparison, if Katie had smoked for 3 months and then quit, would this have shown that a lifelong smoker had no excuse for giving up? We know that the maximum smoking cessation odds are 2%, which can be doubled by quitting with a friend/support group and can be doubled again to 8% with smoking cessation products (reference – I worked for SmithKline Beecham when patches were first launched!) We similarly know that 95-98% of diets fail.

If Katie proved anything beyond quickly on = (mostly) quickly off with this experiment, she proved the set point theory of weight. The evidence from the work of Benedict to Franz mentioned above shows that calorie deficits lead to a short term deviation from the starting weight and then a return to that starting weight, or higher, in the medium to long term. The Franz review of 26,000 people in 80 different weight loss studies, showed that six months is the key marker. Up to six months, calorie deficits lead to weight loss and then the weight starts to be regained around the six month point and most people are back where they were within 48 months or sooner. The greater the calorie deficit, the greater the short term loss and the greater the subsequent regain.

Just as Katie went from c. 9 stone to c. 12 stone and back to c. 10 stone, supporting the set point theory of weight, so another person could have gone from 12 stone to 9 stone and back to 12-13 stone in little more than that time. Katie may, somewhat ironically, have proven the futility of eating less and doing more. The only way to escape the known outcome of calorie deficit dieting is never to do it and to sign up to eating better instead.



Francis G. Benedict, Human Vitality and efficiency under prolonged restricted diet, (study 1917, published 1919).
Ancel Keys, The Biology of Human Starvation, (study 1944-45, report 1950).
Albert Stunkard and Mavis McLaren-Hume, “The results of treatment for obesity: a review of the literature and report of a series”, Archives of Internal Medicine, (1959).
Marion J. Franz, Jeffrey J. VanWormer, A. Lauren Crain, Jackie L. Boucher, Trina Histon, William Caplan, Jill Bowman, Nicolas Pronk. “Weight Loss Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Weight Loss Clinical Trials with a Minimum 1-Year Follow-Up”, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, (2007).


27 thoughts on “Katie Hopkins: My Fat Story

  • Hello Zoe,
    Unfortunately, one of the links is broken. I found this anchor text “(24% being the low end of normal body fat for a 39 year old female).” has a broken link. Thank you

  • Im not sure what to think about this. I only heard about this because my mother was talking about how she made fun of kelly Clarkson, then i heard. Well, errrm. Im not sure about the calorie deficit thing. i mean, mathematically it seems like it would have to work for weight loss, unless you have

    • It seems like it should be as simple as calories out being higher than calories in should equal weight loss. However, our bodies are not as simple as putting a pot of water on the stove and boiling it off to reduce the quantity.

      Depending on the type of molecule, the calories we eat can be used in different ways and not necessarily as energy. For example, protein could be broken down for energy or it could be used to rebuild muscle. The metabolic process for glucose and fructose are different even though they are both sugars – fructose is metabolized similarly to alcohol (and too much can lead to non-alcoholic fatty liver).

      Fewer calories can cause weight loss, but only looking at that factor ignores your body’s biochemistry and hormone signaling. Leptin signaling (which tells the brain that the body has enough fat stores) is inhibited when there is a significant amount of sugar & insulin in the blood stream.

      Calories in vs calories out is a nice, simple and clean equation, but it doesn’t account for all possible factors.

      • The fact is, it’s that simple, calories in and calories out, the factors you class as unseen is if you have a medical condition that slows your metabolism down such as an underactive thyroid, what most people think is “well this makes you fat” it doesn’t, you failing to ajust your calories intake makes you fat.

        Fat people have been looking at everything other themselves as the reason of their issue.

        There are many people who have diesases that make it easier to put on weight, avoid doing so, it’s simple “I’m not a normal person who burns 2000calories in my avg day.. so I don’t eat 2000 calories” it’s seriously not rocket science.

        I’ve been practically an expert on diet from losing weight and putting on weight(muscle), I’ve read every stupid fad diet there is. I agree all our bodies are different however the simple rule remains scientifically proven more calories than out = FAT! You don’t just magically get fat without putting the calories down your throat haha cmon!

  • I know there is a need to provide an answer to someone like Katie Hopkins but quite frankly, I wouldn’t give someone like her house room, let alone the air the breathe her poisonous point of view. She is clearly a dysfunctional woman who has a particular perspective and won’t accept that she is wrong. So please use her as an example of those people who use the facts to fit their idea of the world instead of the actual truth.

  • I think that the point she is missing is that it is not a matter of over weight people not wanting to loose the weight bad enough. For someone who is very thin and deliberately puts on weight to make a point, they have the motivation to take it off again. For alot of people the reason they put the weight on in the first place has to do with underlying issues. So just wanting to take the weight off is not enough. You need to address the underlying issues before you can tackle the weight loss. I think she is just over simplifying things and hence make large people feel worse than they already do. I am not saying that it is not a problem and shouldn’t be address but it is not a case of 1 fix fits all.

  • I am surprised that Ms. Hopkins is so intent on critizing others. I’ve found that until you’ve walked in someone’s shoes, you don’t know anything. The fact that Ms. Hopkins feels the need to bburt in othera’ lives speaks more about her and not the person she has in her sights. Bullying others for entertainment is not cool.

  • Pingback: Hopkins has Some Sketchy Arithmetic Skills and No Ability for Empathy | Jessica Veldstra

  • You know, when talking about simple maths you shouldn’t make the mistake of applying an average to an individual. Ms Hopkins could, depending on activity level, be using 3,000+ Kcal a day, which kind of compromises your rebuttal.

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  • Oooh I was looking forward to your possible post on this Zoe and I’m so glad that you actually did one. This program made me really mad because, like you said, she didn’t prove anything! I have struggled with excess fat for YEARS and for one whole year I lived off 850-1000 calories without losing weight, so I know the calorie deficit theory doesn’t work. What I really hate is that she has basically claimed that the theory does work…when it doesn’t and it didn’t for HER either!

    None of it made sense and I’m surprised that everyone is acting like her ‘experiment’ proved the calorie deficit theory, which it didn’t. I would have really like to see more experts brought into the show as well as a wildcard (that could have been you!) challenging her to eat MORE calories from different food. That would have been much more interesting. Because when you’re struggling with excess fat as I am, I don’t know if a fit person’s body is an indication of how *my* body would respond in the same situation, I don’t know if it is. Like many fat people, I have ruined my metabolism so this overly simplified diet principle is nothing more than trashy TV. A wasted opportunity in my opinion.

  • Hi Zoe –
    My husband and I are great fans of yours because you cut through the “crap” and tell the truth. Based on your Katie Hopkins blog I youtubed the programme and was honestly disgusted by the dishonesty of the lady involved. She kept claiming that she hated fat people because they made her do this – they didn’t. She did it to herself because she wanted to and what was even sadder – at the end at 3 stone heavier although not model slim she was not a fat person. At the Beauty contest she was the slimmest there and looked out of place. What I took out of the show was
    – Katie was inaccurate in her assumptions of what people ate and how quickly they put
    on weight
    – people don’t eat like Katie did – I found that a little offensive really.
    – it takes years to put on a lot of weight
    – some people do judge a book by its cover and are proud of it
    – it is easier to exercise all day when you have both time and money

    It was a scary programme.

    • Hi Tracy – many thanks for your kind words and your insights are bang on. We had a discussion in our club and a common theme was the “people don’t eat 400 cals an hour for 16 hours for goodness sake!” As Anna says – you can live off 850-1000 cals without losing weight (most anorexics maintain on c. 500 cals a day.) The ‘time/most people need to earn a living’ factor was also raised – oh to be paid for 3 months for eating and then running!
      The twitter response was the most interesting (and scary) – I lost count of the number of people rushing out to buy a pedometer thinking that was the answer!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      • I live in USA . I happened to catch the second half of the first episode when it was half way. I have never heard of her before. I couldn’t believe how mean she is. I have dealt with weight issues most of my adult life. I’m the heaviest I have ever been. I do not sit around and eat all day . In fact it’s 2 pm and I just had a bowl of oatmeal. That is all I’ve had so far today. I also have suffered from Rheumatoid arthritis since I was a small child. People like KH do not understand this at all. Thin people always assume heavy people do nothing but eat. Maybe for some overweight people it could be true. I couldn’t even imagine eating as much as she did in one day , I’d be sooooo sick. But people like her don’t help the people who are overweight by insulting them and making them feel worse than I’m sure they already do ( I beat myself up constantly ) . Due to my arthritis I have limited mobility and as I get older it’s getting worse. I need a new hip and the other one not far behind
        Its hard to exercise when it hurts. I can’t even sleep because of pain. I saw an orthopedic surgeon and he in so many words told me my hip issues are due to my weight (not that I’ve had a crippling disease since childhood that has taken away the cartridge between them ) . It’s people like that and KH who ate both thin and have no clue in the world what it’s like to be overweight and miserable with people making comments at you all the time . If it were only eating less calories I’d be super thin because some days I barely eat. So she proved nothing other than she’s a very cruel mean horrible person . Who must really deep down must hate herself that it makes her and others like her feel better somehow by hurting others. I feel sorry for her children . I hope they don’t grow up to be like her . This world has enough people like that.
        So Thank you for saying something about what she did and making me not feel as bad as she did. You know what they say about Karma. Maybe someday this will backfire . She is only 39 I have 10 years on her and I look younger . So being too isn’t the answer either . I hope this makes her realize all the mean things she has said about heavy people isn’t as true as she thought

        Thank you

        • Then your problem is you are consuming too much calories, the only reason your body will put weight on is if it’s getting calories in and not depleting enough calories out.

          yes you have an illness etc (me too, one that keeps me bedbound) However this isn’t the issue, all this means is you need to consume less calories, when you put weight on your body is telling you are eating too much, you will not die by eating less, infact by eating less and eating healthy (please read what healthy is, because a lot of over weight people are very confused on this) you will lose weight, you CAN lose weight without lifting a finger, TRUST ME I know. yes it’s hard, and yes it’s not preferable to running, an activity i miss sorely, but it just means we need to eat LESS calories, if you think it’s not from your eating then ask yourself, “where is this extra mass coming from” it can’t just magically exist, it comes from the food you eat. Sorry but sometimes people just need the cold hard truth, you’ve had people all your life telling you one thing, but Katie is saying what most us medium/thin people think.

    • Tracy, Katie did not say “if you eat what I eat you wont get fat” she’s saying that people who are fat are basically that way because of themselves, and this is utterly and completely true, however I do have more sympathy for young children who clearly it’s the fault of the adult, and said adult should be done for abuse.

      How can people always find a reason to put their health 2nd to everything “– it is easier to exercise all day when you have both time and money” does it matter when it’s your health! Katie is a mother, a wife, a VERY busy person, she was very busy during the recording of this doing many interviews and traveling loads, yet she still managed..
      “– it takes years to put on a lot of weight” yeah how does that relate to anything? The object of the argument is a point,that point being it’s easy to lose weight, if katie hadn’t put on a scary amount of weight (yes 3 and a bit stone) then she’d not be able to prove she could lose it.
      “– some people do judge a book by its cover and are proud of it” Well.. when your cover says “Hey I over eat, I give up on my health (I don’t care about appearance myself, but health is everything) then how are we meant to think “okay they can’t look after themselves and I’m going trust them in my company?” Sometimes we judge.. no that’s a lie, we ALL JUDGE, you’ve judged her for her opinion just as she judges fat people… but hey.

      She wasn’t fat at 3 stone heavier?! Did you not see her THIRD chin? HER HUGE ghastly gut? It was hideous and it’s called FAT, that’s a very unhealthy weight for her height and gender, I’m sorry but you like many have been conditioned to believe that the average person on the street is medium, when infact 1/3 are obese,1/3 are fat to normal, the rest are medium to low, that means we have a very unhealthy nation and it’s getting worse! They cost us NHS (one of the biggest costs infact), they make life worse for those who do public transport(no room.. and the smell :( ), we pay taxes to fund their laziness, they are less likely to work, more likely to have time off work, and for what a preventable issue. This fat acceptance is not only terrible for their quality of life, but our present quality and letting kids thing “hey it’s okay to be fat” has already proved we now have the first decade of kids that will die younger than their parents, how disgusting is that, yet still this fat acceptance movement moves on.. CRAZY!

      I’m not sure if it’s a lack of food education but people think “oh I can’t be thin because I can’t exercise, it’s too hard, I’m too poorly” blah blah blah.. In fact you can be thin/avg by not eating the calories that a healthy person who does exercise eats! People who are fat are fat because they put more calories in than they burn, do you know you won’t die if you ate 1500 calories as a normal women if you decide not to exercise, even less if you have a thyroid problem or any other pathetic excuse. What we are told by the government to the delight of over weight lazy people is “men should eat 2500cal and women 2000cal a day” This means you see many fat people who may eat 2000cal a day(but lets be honest most lie) then wonder why they are still fat, they forget the bit where it says “healthy adult, who exercises an hour a day”

      It defies logic to healthy people when we see fat people who cry about being fat then eat too much, if you are being told you are eating the right amount and putting on weight, your body is disagreeing and you should act appropriately, don’t give in to greed! (I’m talking to anybody who’s overweight reading this, not you Tracy, unless you are indeed over weight)

  • I haven’t watched the programme, however I have followed all the written documents regarding this,
    Firstly, this woman is just horrid and will do anything to gain attention!
    Secondly she has quite clearly proved nothing by her fake experiment,
    Myself being 5ft 6 small boned, always grew up very slim (untill children) I never went over a size 14 or 12 stone but for me that’s big and overweight, I have on several occasions crashed dieted and lost weight went in 14 weeks from 12 stone to 10 following a juice plan, after then introducing food again I then kept the weight off for a good 6 months, then put 7 lb on and kept that for a good year…….. Tragedy then struck (and this is the interesting bit for me) I moved house and ended up binging for 6 months, eating take aways, chocolate, and generally picking at food, not exercising
    So I decided to diet! This time I am clean eating, meat, eggs, fish. Vegetables, salad and fruit, I’ve also don’t 30 minutes of Hihg intensity training daily and I have lost 12 lb in 8 days! Just goes to show these crash diets are shit and you need to train and clean eat too loose weight efficacy

  • Thanks for this article, Zoe.

    Programmes like this make me cringe on so many levels so a) I’m glad I missed spotting it was on, and b) that you’ve done a write-up for us.

    It’s a pity the commentary/conclusions weren’t more honest and then the prog may have generated some real, helpful debate.

  • Hi Zoe,

    I apologise for putting this long letter in the comments section of your blog, but wasn’t sure where else to contact you. I have recently read your book “The Obesity Epidemic” with interest and it has given me a lot to think about, particularly as I practice as a diabetes specialist dietitian. Your book did confirm some of my personal beliefs I have held around the whole fat / carbohydrate debate and I am working out how I can combine practicing what I believe is right with complying with my professional body. I have always been very careful to emphasise to patients that a reduction of carbohydrate intake is the key factor in managing their diabetes.
    I do have some queries after reading your book and would appreciate your thoughts on these issues. I apologise if they are already covered somewhere in your blog. Firstly, my understanding is that a widespread increase in meat and dairy consumption would have a huge negative environmental impact in terms of amount of land required for agriculture, production of greenhouse gases and this would not be environmental sustainable. I have heard that our consumption of meat will have to decrease in the future as we could not produce enough meat to sustain the growing population. Have you any thoughts on the environmental impact of reducing our intake of grains and replacing this with animal products?
    Secondly, I understand your assertion that a calorie is not a calorie and that different macronutrients act totally differently in the body. I understand the concept of limiting carbohydrate intake to support weight loss. However, thinking of my own patients and what might happen if I told them to eat as much fat as they wanted but reduce carbohydrate. I don’t imagine many of them being able to cut out their carbohydrate intake to levels at which they would be in a state of ketosis, particularly not in the long term. Humans are creatures of habit and people who have been basing their meals around cereals, potatoes and bread on a daily basis for 50 years will really struggle physiologically and mentally to cut that out. If they are still having a sufficient amount of carbohydrate to be in a fat storing state despite reducing their carbohydrate intake, and they are also concurrently increasing their fat intake, the increase in fat intake would be bringing in significantly more calories to be stored by the body, in this case I would presume a calorie is a calorie and the individual would gain weight.
    So I believe someone who moderately reduces their carbohydrate intake whilst increasing their fat intake will gain weight, where someone who moderately reduced their carbohydrate intake and also kept their fat intake down would be more likely to lose weight. Does that make sense? For example a patient of mine thought she was following a low carbohydrate diet because she made small changes like swapping her thick bread for a wrap and using more high fat products like olive oil and she gained weight.
    Finally, I just wondered if you have given thought to people who cannot prepare fresh food. You use the mantra “Eat Real Food” a lot, which is great, but I have a lot of patients who are bed bound our house bound and rely on ready meals, or people who have sadly never learnt the skills to use any cooking utensil but a micro-wave. Do you have any thoughts on how you can make your advice realistic and achievable for these groups of patients. I often resort to advising them to choose a “healthier” ready meal, as I don’t see any alternative.

    Many thanks in advance for your response.

    • Hi Becky
      Great questions and it’s wonderful to hear of someone doing the right thing in diabetes care – we need more of you!

      1) Is the issue that ended my own 20 years as a vegetarian. I discovered that actually the opposite is true – grains and soy are destroying top soil and forestry faster than any grazing animals (indeed plant food is displacing the natural habitats of animals from the amazon to the home counties). This blog may help with the top soil explanation – the whole book is so well worth a read ( I’ve just started a book by Graham Harvey – the farming advisor to the Archers and environmental author and campaigner. It’s called The Carbon Fields and I can tell from the introduction that it is going to go to the heart of this issue and argue that the ONLY way in which we can feed the planet without destroying the planet is to return to pasture driven food supplies – no money in this for the fake food companies, Monsanto, agri business, petro chemicals, pesticides etc – hence why it will be vigorously resisted, but it’s the only way to save any top soil we still have left.#

      2) This video may help with this one:
      I am a real foodie rather than a LCHF. I can see that, when you choose the most nutritious foods to get the micronutrients you need, you will naturally choose meat, fish, eggs, dark green leafy veg/sunflower seeds etc rather than grains – this may help ( – and this will make one’s diet lower in carb and higher in fat as an outcome. However, I’m not in the 20g a day carb group and unlimited fat – and I think you’re right – fat can only be pretty much unlimited if carb intake is so low that the person is in ketosis. I advise real food as the first choice therefore and The Harcombe Diet has a number of phases – the first 5 days still allowing oats/quinoa/brown rice and unlimited veg (not potatoes) and then the phase 2 allowing fruit/dairy/more grains – if the person is OK with them. I do think (and you will see more of this than me in your world) that some people are so carb sensitive/insulin resistant, that they really are best advised to avoid all starchy foods and to get carbs from veg/salad/dairy/dark choc/nuts/seeds etc. That’s when working with individuals can be so powerful.

      3) I still think that real food can be accessible to anyone. It is quicker and easier to open a tin of fish and chuck it on some leaves than it is to microwave a meal (15 second vs at least 3 mins?!) I’ve not seen many ready meals for less than the price of a tin of fish (shop around). Boiling water added to porridge oats takes the time it takes the kettle to boil (better still boil some milk in the wave for 90 secs and make proper porridge). Supermarket own oats cost pence for several meals. Get to know your local butcher/fishmonger and they tell you when the bargains are most likely to be offered. They also tell you how to cook anything they sell. A pork chop under the grill is within a 7 year old’s capability. Cooking bacon/liver in the own fat of the bacon is cheap/super healthy and quick. There’s nothing wrong with guiding them down the ‘healthier’ ready meal option to start with but don’t give up on real food being an option.

      I hope this helps!
      Best wishes – Zoe

      • Hi Zoe, thanks for your response and clarification. Very interested regarding the environmental information. I will have a read of the books you mentioned. I guess this applies only if farm animals are grass fed and not grain fed. Do you think that we would be able to feed the growing world population using only organic processes and grass fed animals? I felt that the yield is so much lower this way that it wouldn’t be sufficient.

        • Hi there – absolutely – ruminants (cows, sheep, goats) have a unique compartment stomach system which is nature’s perfect fermentation partner for soil and the environment. Cows (for example) eat micro organisms in the grass/host them/regurgtate them – it’s all part of the brilliant life cycle. Ruminants are even less able to metabolise grains than humans are. They must be left to graze and save the top soil.

          You ask the right question in one way but the wrong question in another. The question we should be asking is – what is the consequence of continuing down the road we are now of cutting down rain forests for soy and grain plantations; destroying the American Prairie (read anything by Joel Salatin and Fred Pearce: When the rivers dun dry) and destroying the planet’s ability to grow food? It is not a question that will be asked because it suits none of the big fake food/agri/chemical businesses for this question to be asked. They will not rest until the planet can feed no one and they control the food supply from petri dishes. We simply must go the grass fed root and as fast as possible – before any more of the planet is trashed.

          Best wishes – Zoe

          • Hello,
            what you say about grain and soy is true; companies are cutting down rainforests for plantations, but that’s grain used for animal feed that is destroying the planet, not grain used for people.


            In some cases (rocky land for example) livestock is the most ecological option available, but in many cases, the land would be better used for produce than livestock. We need to drastically reduce our meat consumption if we want to save the rainforests. Advocating meat-eating as a more ecological option is very misleading, and most people can’t afford the grass-fed meat which would (partly) justify a meaty diet…


  • Thanks for the tip; I didn’t know about this documentary, so I just watched it on You Tube- (well, the first part anyway. I wanted to watch the 2nd part today, but it was taken off; that was quick!). Even though it was unscientific and basically bad, I find these documentaries nevertheless fascinating, for other reasons. I am left with several impressions- well, questions really- which I don’t have the answers to:

    1) When she finally did manage to gain weight, she looked very strange; basically, all the weight went to her stomach; it was not proportioned at all, not like most overweight people. She looked like a skinny person with a hugely bloated stomach. I am not sure why this would be so; is it because she tried so hard to gain weight that she wasn’t “meant” to gain? (By the way, I totally agree that she proved the “set point” theory of weight rather than “calories in/calories out”. Didn’t it dawn on her that it was relatively hard for her to gain weight? The people I know who are overweight don’t eat anywhere close to the amount of calories she consumed!)

    2) At a certain point during her weight gain she started becoming emotional; crying, feeling depressed, acting more vulnerable. At one point I almost thought I detected a glimmer of empathy- (empathy is obviously normally not her strong point!)- but then that seemed to disappear when she changed her habits again. Though the psychological references were interesting, could it also be possible that there was something physiological going on? Maybe the food she was eating was partly to blame, or the endocrine changes that were taking place in her body. I find that subject interesting, but nobody touched on that either.

    3) She seemed horribly depressed about being sedentary. Which just proves Gary Taubes’ point that excess fat causes sedentary behavior, not the other way around. Again, she had to force herself to do something that was unnatural for her, in order to gain weight.

    The strangest part of the whole 1st part, for me, was when she said “I hate fat people for making me do this”. Huh? Where did she get that idea?? Blame fat people for everything, even her own choices in life? She came across as a very disturbed woman.

    • I didn’t see this film but your comments are very interesting. The belly bloating would have been in large part, I imagine, because of a build up of visceral fat brought about by introducing more added sugars and other simple carbs into her diet.

      As for that last comment, “I hate fat people for making me do this” – it would be funny if it weren’t so sad!

  • From what I remember, in the first two weeks, when she didn’t lose any weight, she’d also increased her calories to 4,500. This, to me, disproved her theory within the first fifteen minutes of the first show.

    • Brett, agreed. She couldn’t put on weight very easily at all, could she? Does she honestly believe that all overweight people sit around over consuming food at a rate of 400 calories an hour? Perhaps she does. I can put on weight eating far less than that.

      What she also failed to acknowledge was that forced feeding raises metabolism, at least initially.

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