Michelle Obama School Lunch Catastrophe

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On January 25th of this year, Michelle Obama and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released the new federal nutrition standards for school meals.

The changes, as far as I know, have little to no real scientific validity.  The changes all stem from outdated presumptions about the cause and cure of obesity.  From what I can tell, the USDA and Michelle consulted with Jillian Michaels, Kate Moss, and Jenny Craig instead of the world’s leading obesity researchers to make this dramatic and assuredly harmful overhaul of public school lunches.

Let’s dissect.  The scariest of the new standards…

1)      Limit Calorie intake… To control portion size, school lunches are now calorie-controlled.  To give an example of the levels of calorie intake, high school-age kids are limited to 850-950 calories for lunch.  Scientific study and personal observation have shown no connection between calorie intake and obesity.  Obesity researcher Linda Bacon has cataloged over 75 studies showing a link between dietary restriction and increased obesity risk.  Obesity ‘reporter’ Paul Campos calls limiting calories “the single biggest predictor of future weight gain.”  Decreased calorie consumption, in many decades of study, has never shown to have a significant long-term impact on bodyweight.  It has shown only to cause short-term weight loss followed by long-term weight regain – equaling or surpassing weights of those who haven’t restricted calories.  High calorie intake probably does have the most significant connection between height, strength, athletic performance, speed, and other virtues.

2)      Limit Starchy vegetable consumption… This is particularly genius, as starch has been the primary source of calories in every major human civilization prior to the recent major rise in obesity.  Ironically, starch has been shown to significantly lower calorie consumption in young children.  Really well-thought out guidelines guys!  As they say, “good enough for government work!”  Watch out for those yams and taters!

3)      Whole milk has been banned… BANNED!!!  Dangerous stuff that whole milk!  Reduced fat milk has not been proven to be effective against obesity.  Neither has low-fat chocolate milk, which kids are drinking more of now that whole milk is gone.  Ironic once again – but there are many leads showing that whole milk might be protective against obesity.  For example, as breast milk becomes higher in calories and fat, it becomes increasingly protective against obesity.  At the very least, whole milk has no known universally fattening effect

1 — Berkey CS, et al. Milk, dairy fat, dietary calcium, and weight gain: a longitudinal study of adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005 Jun;159(6):543-50.

2 — Barba G, et al. Inverse association between body mass and frequency of milk consumption in children. Br J Nutr. 2005 Jan;93(1):15-9.

3 — Pereira MA, et al. Dairy consumption, obesity, and the insulin resistance syndrome in young adults: the CARDIA Study. JAMA. 2002 Apr 24;287(16):2081-9.

4 — Huh SY, et al. Prospective association between milk intake and adiposity in preschool-aged children. J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Apr;110(4):563-70.

According to leading authorities, and the scientific investigation that has been done, these changes will do nothing to improve childhood obesity.  But these are harsh changes.  No longer is a person’s appetite in charge of how many calories they need, but now the decision is based on something that took place amongst a bunch of government employees in cooperation with a publicity move on behalf of the president’s wife?  Now kids can’t drink whole milk, but only milk that has been proven to be inferior to whole milk?

They now have a quota on starchy vegetables that they cannot exceed?  This is crazy.  What’s next?  Only a certain amount of oxygen will be allowed into the school building each day when we discover an overweight lung epidemic?

It’s sick really.  I am left nearly speechless that the government has successfully intervened to decide what kids shall and shall not eat in order to prevent obesity, when there is no known cause and cure for obesity.  While they are at it, why not make the kids have a shot of Goji juice to prevent cancer, put some statins in the water fountain to prevent heart disease, and dance a jig with a handful of beans to cure attention deficit disorder?

But I guess this is the human way – serve up an attempt at a solution when there is no known solution, just because people are desperate for a solution.  I think it’s all an elaborate attempt to “look busy.”

It all reminds me of Uncle Rico trying to solve his problems in life by electrocuting his balls with a magic crystal-powered device.  And in this case, I very much feel like Uncle Rico seeing Napolean (Michelle Obama) wince in pain…

Michelle (in reference to the new food guidelines years from now):  It’s a piece of crap it doesn’t work.

Me:  I coulda told you that.

And Rudy Leibel, Linda Bacon, Jeffrey Friedman, Gina Kolata, and dozens of others “coulda told you that” too.

I look forward to the day that school lunches become a political battleground between our two glorious American political parties.  Maybe Republicans could be low-carb, and Democrats could be low-fat.  Debates will evolve beyond their current level reminiscent of Billy Madison’s shampoo vs. conditioner bath scene and start to sound more like old Miller Lite commercials – “Tastes Great!  Less Filling!”

In closing, looking at what we know about obesity, most obesity-proneness is determined before a child is even born, and during the early developmental period long before the first disgusting school lunch is choked down.  Heredity, low socioeconomic status, length of breastfeeding period, improving quality of mother’s milk, metabolic rate – these are where some progress MIGHT be made.  School lunches?  Not a chance.  A total waste of time.

This is just an annoying and frighteningly Orwellian attempt to fix a problem by doing what we know doesn’t work.  Good job retards.  If you want to play around with other people’s food, I recommend getting jobs at McDonald’s where you belong.  They have salads and apple slices there now.  Oh but you won’t.  Next thing I know I will have a tired, hungry, and irritable obese Girl Scout on a low-calorie diet at my door with freeze dried broccoli florets for sale.  I hope my hands are well-washed from my last tasty meal.  I might lose a finger!

And by the way, if you assume I must be a Republican because I am bashing Michelle Obama’s school lunch intervention, I recommend turning the television off, wiping the drool off of yourself, and taking a moment to think of the possibility that there may be more than two choices for who could represent a nation.  If you would like to show strong support for one of the two main political parties in the United States in the comments section, be sure to check out the Dr. Oz Show, The Doctors, and The Biggest Loser.  You will probably love those shows a lot more than this site.




  1. If limiting calorie intake hampers physical and athletic performance, just think what it does to mental and emotional performance.

    It’s like many people in decision making positions are in a great rush to sink the boat faster.

    • They are in a rush to do something, which is what is scary. The world’s leading obesity researchers aren’t sure what to do about obesity, but Michelle Obama is! I understand though. I used to be real sure about everything too. Damn learning. Ruined everything.

      • “I used to be real sure about everything too. Damn Learning. ”

        With a little tweaking, this could be an excellent bumper-sticker/ Matt Stone catch phrase.

        On a more serious note. Are these standards up for a vote? Can they be appealed and the repealed? Maybe its time for you to pull a Colbert and testify in front of Congress.

      • “They are in a rush to do something, which is what is scary.”

        Exactly. They have to be seen to be taking “decisive action” on anything that tickles the lizard brain in the voting public, otherwise they will vote for the other guy using said lizard brain. Never mind what the actual consequences might be; they’ll be out of office with cushy pensions and speaker fees way before the long term effects of their ill-considered policies ever see the light of day. And practically no one has a long enough attention span or enough scientific acumen to understand or can’t on the the results once they are available anyway. (Or to understand that the best policy for how to act on data is often to try and get more data before you recommend policy!)

        • Argh. Should be *understand or act on the results

      • one of articles linked in a comment below (about maternal diet and fetal birth weight) described the famine in Germany in the 1940’s. Famine level calories = 2400 – way more than any diet, and more than the 1800 recommended for most women!! Do we know how many calories people “used to” eat, say in 1920, as a regular standard?

        • People used to eat a lot. And athletes today still eat a ton. Most top athletes are eating 6,000 calories per day or higher. One example that was interesting to me was Ancel Keys’s Biology of Human Starvation. The men averaged 5’10” and 150 pounds prior to the start of the experiment, and needed an average of 3,500 calories per day to maintain that weight. They were not very active. Not athletes or anything like that.

          • So this begs the question, what exactly happened? Because even the people not trying to lose weight or restrict calories often are not eating like that. And not many skinny people I know eat that many calories. They just seem to be satisfied with fewer.

  2. Have you seen “the weight of the nation” yet? They make some rather interesting statements about the causes and cures for obesity.

    • I wanted to see it, but connection speed was too slow. I’m sure I’ve heard them all before. Some probably have some validity, while others don’t. Am curious to see it and review it though.

      • matt, weight of the nation, it was mostly, ooh snap they are about to say something profound on the right track….,then nope, more dumbness. a few good things sprinkled in very entertaining from the “this world is crazy ” the “I tried this diet stories” angle and of course pretty fat “experts” talking about what makes people fat although they never became un-fat and very skinny people telling people why they are fat having never been fat. Ironically they talk about how advertising is to also ot blame yet show all kinds of advertising clips and food brands in one segment..lol I pounded a ton of food while watching. All in all much better than the boring stuff you were watching lately on your moms big screen but not really doing anything to fix the situation. I will say this it was one of the only times I’ve heard stress causes fat said in the mainstream though.

        • Just finished part 3. I hate documentaries. They are all the same. A bunch of oversensationalized stuff taken out of context to make you freak out emotionally while your rational thinking mind takes a vacation for an hour or two.

          The program seems to waffle between desperation at how unsolvable the problem is given current scientific understanding and naive beliefs that switching to whole grains in school lunches and reintroducing P.E. is gonna fix everything.

          Overall a total snooze fest. Was glad to hear Lustig say “genetics and maybe stress or lack of sleep” before he mentioned the other “s” word.

          • that pretty much sums up everything I did not mention lol
            whole grain was a dropped like I drop F bombs

  3. So for all you kids that qualify for free lunch and didn’t have enough things going against you, now you don’t get to eat either.

    • true, and extra scary Carla

  4. It would be *so easy* for her to do something good for school lunches, by, say, striving to increase the mandatory number of vegetables on the plate, trying to encourage local farms/businesses to sponsor garden-growing programs for schools, etc etc. None of those things would *harm*, by anyone’s estimation. Teaching children to grow vegetables they like not only encourages them to eat them, but, since food stamps programs will pay for seeds, it gives families a way to at least attempt to eat more vegetables cheaply, since their kids are learning how to grow them. And lest you say they don’t have space, I have a container garden on my tiny Japanese balcony that grows tons of veggies when I’m here to deal with it. You can make a container garden with old soda/milk/water bottles if you’re so inclined (lets ignore the plastic leeching issue for a minute, bigger fish to fry and all).

    • Perhaps but I send my kids to school to learn such crazy things like math…science…maybe some history. If we give them time to grow gardens at school, we’ll be even more behind other countries that actually expect their kids to learn important things to succeed in modern life. My brothers kid is taught more about “going green” and how his “evil” parents ruined the environment than any other course. Sad.

      • seriously? wow. thats all I have to say.

        • Yup. I am not saying learning to grow things isn’t important, but not in school unless it’s part of a project or something. Learning about carrots won’t get them into college…or a job.

          • Yes, let’s perpetuate the myth that going to college to earn an Official Drone Badge… er, I mean “communications degree”, in order to land a low-skill job that a generation ago would have been obtainable by a “mere” high school graduate, is progress and a desirable way to structure our lives. Wouldn’t want to give them any opportunities to explore non-traditional skills or change the status quo, would we?

          • right on UN. John’s set of values is why the world is so wrecked already. All the bullshit busywork, or overloaded left-brain moneymaking curriculum doesn’t make a human being. Growing plants and all the experiences involved with it helps children develop into human BEINGS… not just HUMAN DOINGS. Not to mention having actual fresh, delicious produce instead of supermarket water bombs.

          • “John’s set of values is why the world is so wrecked already.”

            Wow…so you know my ENTIRE set of values because I don’t think schools have the time to spend teaching kids how to grow gardens??? Really? We are falling so behind in math and sciences right now, I don’t think educated kids at school about beans will do it. Where I come from (and call me crazy here) that parents actually instill this education into thier kids and don’t rely on a nanny state to do it for them.

          • I would assume that katheraw meant the set of values you expressed, that math and history are inherently more important to “education” than understanding how things grow or how ecosystems work, for instance. I tend to agree that systemically ignoring natural sciences and their hands-on counterparts such as gardening and caring for animals is a costly endeavor that is responsible for much of the ignorance of the consequences of ecological malfeasance, which is certainly the most pressing issue likely to threaten the entire human world in the next century.

            It is true that *for students inclined to excel in STEM-oriented subjects*, those subjects are the most important. But the world needs everybody else too, and shoehorning everybody into the same curriculum is not the way to raise a skills-diverse and therefore robust and flexible adult population.

          • I don’t agree 100%, but point taken. :)

          • Just a quick example- I know someone who has a Master’s in engineering who thought that carrots grew on vines, until he saw me pulling some up in my garden. I have met many seemingly well-educated people who are just astoundingly ignorant about the natural world.

          • I don’t like using these kinds of anecdotes to judge a person’s general knowledge as deficient because we *all* have gaps in our knowledge that seem silly to other people, just due to sampling bias of what we’ve seen, heard and remembered. If it’s one example of many that you’ve heard from the same guy, that’s different, but I don’t like to judge based on isolated instances that could just be something they happened not to know.

          • I didn’t say their general knowledge was deficient- I said their knowledge of the natural world was. I also met someone recently who didn’t know that chickens are birds. I have a degree in Biology, but I’m pretty sure I knew that carrots grew in the ground and chickens were birds by the time I was 3, just by virtue of living in the country and having a garden and chickens. Most people living in cities and suburbs don’t have those experiences. I am not judging them, just stating a fact that many people are totally out of touch with nature.

          • thanks, UN, you get me.

          • I’d just like to add that growing plants is science based and can incorporate math.

      • True, but what’s wrong with teaching them about nature and connecting to our planet and what they eat? Taking a little time to work in a garden isn’t going to keep us behind other countries. Not teaching kids how to think critically and explore their world is what is keeping us behind other countries.

        • I agree…I have a garden at home my kids love. However, I don’t think a teacher in school should be spending time talking about gardening. In terms of nutrition, etc., I think it’s the PARENTS job to teach their kids right from wrong…not the school and certainly not the government, who couldn’t manage their way out of a wet paper bag. Who knows what the school will tell them, or what their agenda is…that’s all I meant. As Matt pointed out, it’s the government telling the schools (and hence your kids) how to eat and that’s not right.

          I am all for teaching kids about good foods, planting food, etc….I just think those things are best left to parents/guardians and not school. That’s all. I am not trying to start a fight. :)

          • I agree with this sentiment provisionally, but I don’t think you take it quite far enough. I think this is a pretty good argument for not keeping kids in government school for 8-10 hours 5 days a week. Anything that’s not inherently objective like math is prone to serious ideological bias–so your argument works against English, history, civics, etc. as mandatory government curricula as well.

    • I agree with you Gayle, kids these days know nothing about where their food comes from, they need to learn more than just math, science and history… I was institutionalized my entire childhood.. and I’ve learned more as an adult doing my own research on the internet than I think I learned through standardized tests. Homeschooled kids can learn all their subjects PLUS so much more, but if we could get public schools to stop worrying so much about test scores and more about how to foster a better learning environment then maybe just maybe I’d feel better about sending my kids to school. If acquiring government set information (esp. what is written in history books) is all that people care about then the government will succeed in creating robots to further their agenda. Success in life isn’t about how well our kids are scoring on some stupid test.

      • “Success in life isn’t about how well our kids are scoring on some stupid test.”

        Agreed…but this how the adult life (real life) works. I don’t like it, but unless you want your kids living with you until they are 40, it’s the game.

        • “Agreed…but this how the adult life (real life) works. I don’t like it, but unless you want your kids living with you until they are 40, it’s the game.”

          I’m a little confused. Are you saying the adult “real life” is about scoring on a test? Wow, in my “real” adult life, I haven’t had to take any tests, so I don’t know what you are talking about. I do know some jobs require some sort of test–when I was temping I had to take a skills test but it was really about nothing I learned in school.

          BTW, I consider childhood real life too!

          • I took one. It was a voluntary engineering licensing exam. It was graded pass/fail. I expect it will be the last written exam I take in my life unless I decide to go for my PE in ten years or so.

            I don’t think we do kids any favors by teaching them that playing “the game” is their only option if they don’t want to be unsuccessful losers. What a negative (and false) message. There are more possible ways to make a living than there are people on the planet.

          • “I don’t think we do kids any favors by teaching them that playing “the game” is their only option if they don’t want to be unsuccessful losers”

            Just where did I say that? Conversely, you aren’t doing kids any favors by telling them their tests don’t matter. I know I wouldn’t be where I am if I thought of a score as just a number that doesn’t matter. Like I said, I actually don’t disgree with you, but the reality is just that.

          • There tests don’t matter. Just ask George W. Bush, John Kerry, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Steven Spielberg, Thomas Edison… Should I keep going? Ok then, Nicole Kidman, Jim Carrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Branson, Princess Diana, James Cameron, John Carmack, Andrew Carnegie, Scott Carpenter, Julia Carson, Maverick Carter, PETE CASHMORE, John Catsimatidis, Dov Charney… “I could go on forever baby” If you want to know why american education is circling the drain and why you have this whole delusion to begin with read this http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/chapters/index.htm

          • No I am saying that real life is hard and like it or not, a college or your employer will look at scores and grades…it matters if you want to get ahead is all I meant. I dont DISAGREE with her comment…I don’t…however, I wouldn’t be doing my kids any service by telling them a passing score doesn’t matter.

          • I think the message ought to be “whatever you decide to do, do your best to excel”. If that’s pursuing a degree and academic qualifications, great. If it’s learning to paint, become a really good painter. The list of possibilities is infinite, and only SOME of the things you could do for a living involve scores and tests. If you pick one of those, then scores matter. If you don’t, they don’t. But being proficient, creative, diligent, prepared and thoughtful (insert other admirable traits here; you get the idea) will get you where you want to go either way.

            Unfortunately, most people don’t get to choose much for themselves until after high school. It makes it really easy to get stuck in a pattern of following the curriculum, working for the grade and never thinking too hard about changing your situation outside of the predefined parameters.

          • Unfortunately, no. Not even after high school do most have a real choice. Only the few who *choose* to think for themselves – and let their children do the same. The rest need to freakin’ wake up. No joke.


          • BTW, I have the perfect solution to the problem of school lunches. Forget about school lunches. School itself is the problem. It’s a sham. It’s programming. Don’t send your kids to school. There, the problem of school lunches… solved.

            And while we’re on the subject, here’s a solution to America’s ill health and obesity epidemic. But first a disclaimer: This may not totally reverse or cure existing conditions for some, if damage already done is too great. But it makes for the best preventive measure, if started from birth.

            Let your kids eat what they want. Their bodies know what they need. And let them think for themselves and be who they are. That’s it. They will grow into happy, healthy, independent adults. And hey this might even still work for you, the parents, the adults, if you’re not already too far gone – physically and/or mentally :)

  5. Funny I read my local paper tonight and they had a story about how the local High School is adapting. Lunches are CAPPED at 750 calories…an example they gave was the usual three pieces of turkey in a sandwich are replaced with LESS THAN ONE slice, and lettuce is tripled on it. These are kids that are still growing and NEED the calories. Students are already complaining that they are still hungry after lunch (this was during a test period) and are being told it’s part of staying thin…HAHA. This is why I send my kids to private school. F’ them…and I can’t wait for the first person who shoots down a government drone hovering over their neighborhood. :)

  6. Since about 2002, per NHANES data, the adolescent obesity rate has plateaued at about 17%. Good news in a world of shit.

  7. I just came across this article on The malnourished baby and infant
    Relationship with Type 2 diabetes.


    Not related to this post, but i thought it’s a good addition to your knowledge Matt.

  8. Don’t let Anthony Colpo see this article. He believes in the first law of thermodynamics and is ready to bitch-slap anyone who believes otherwise.

    (I kind of agree with Colpo. The main problem with measuring in calories is the question of how much is absorbed and how much is dealt with by the sanitation department. High metabolism my ass…)

    • Well, everyone should believe in the 1st Law of Thermodynamics (and the other ones too), since it’s a fundamental Law of the Universe.

      That doesn’t mean it can be accurately summed up for a human body by Estored = Ein – Eout, where Estored is fat calories stored, Ein is calories consumed, and Eout is calories burned. Each of those would need to be further broken out into several terms representing all the places energy can enter and exit the body, and in what forms.

      It also doesn’t follow that changing any one or several of the terms by conscious effort is the right way to alter the energy balance. Since the body is a highly complex and intelligent system with about a bazillion feedback loops, you can’t rely on any of the terms remaining constant when you manipulate one of them. Attempting to eat less for a long period of time will make you tired, hungry, and cold. The hunger WILL affect the quantity you eat unless you are incredibly disciplined and weigh/measure all your food precisely (or you’re in a metabolic ward). It will probably make your gut digest more slowly and efficiently to squeeze a few more calories out of every meal, decreasing the actual deficit. Lethargy will likely decrease your voluntary energy expenditure, even if you exercise religiously, because the aggregate of all your little movements during the day overwhelms an hour of calories burned in a spin class–plus you’ll burn fewer calories in said class since your lowered temperature and weakened muscles will be geared for energy efficiency rather than strength and power output. Lowered body temperature will decrease your involuntary expenditure at the expense of said lethargy, slowed healing, etc. And of course even if you do manage to overcome these obstacles and restrict yourself down to weight loss anyway, there’s no way to control where you lose mass. Could be from your muscles and internal organs as well as from fat.

      So I don’t think absorption vs excretion is the *main* problem with measuring calories by a long shot. The main problem IMO is that it ignores the very real problems of health and well-being that can arise from attempting to diet oneself thin in the pursuit of a one-dimensional measurement.

  9. Dang, boy done got mad. Preach it brother. I’m ready to have us a meetin’ up in hur. Come listen to the high priest of the church of the painful truth!

  10. This is something I’m having a tough time figuring out. I’ve also run the gamut of various diets with little suceess. Low carb seemed like the way for a while but I got tired of avoiding stuff I enjoyed. That’s no way to go through life.

    I’m not fat but have stubborn fat on my midsection that just stays there no matter what. One time a few years ago I got down to 182 lbs at 6’2″ and still had excess flab there. (a bit less but it was still there). My Dad has the same problem. He worked out and was strong but always had that extra stubborn fat in the same area.

    I believe in the law of thermodynamics and it’s all about calories but that doesn’t seem to be holding up. I’m only taking in around 2,000 – 2,500 calories per day but have put on about 5 lbs in the last month.

    I think my weight should be around 200 for my height and frame but can’t seem to stay below 210.

    And I wan’t to shed this flab on my gut once and for all. (I’m over 40 and I work out)

    Any ideas? Thanks

    • hard to say with so little information as a guesstimate i would say your body is a round 165-170 all fat removed which 182/183 would be about the lowest you could go but you would not really want to be there as it would require alot of dedication to sit there. Ideal would be but somewhere in between there and 201. 210/211 if you were really packing serious guns and chest. I suspect you are currently not running very high in terms of metabolism, you should be eating more than 2000 and if you were in between those weights and had a rocking metabolism and a balanced muscularity I suspect you would not have the flab or at least very little of it.

      is it really jiggly fat? where abouts in the midsection ?

      the law of thermodynamics and “it’s all about the calories” are 2 very very different things. Somehow people think because calories are energy the only logical thing to do is control energy intake or output in order to control the amount stored.

      sure fat can’t be gained without an equivalent amount of energy entering the body somehow. Energy can not be destroyed or created but that does not mean every calorie consumed beyond a preconceived baseline is used for such purposes. furthermore this baseline moves up and down and it is not under a persons control but it can be stabilized getting your life together and require no effort.

      • Chiefrox, thanks for your response.

        My fat is around the belly button / lower ab area. Its not really jiggly per se as my stomach is flat when I stand straight. In clothes I look fit.

        When I go over 215 its starts to looks jiggly.

        Right now it just bunches up if I have shorts with elastic waist etc. (213 this morning)

        I don’t think I could be lean at 210. My frame isn’t large enough. The BMI chart says I should not weigh over 194 but I don’t want to go that low. 198 – 200 would be about right.

        I would love to crack this code and figure it out. This has been one of the biggest frustrations of my life. :)

        What I’ve been reading on this blog seems like it could be the answer.

        • AJ usually only the ladies call me chiefroxxx .. lol its a k no worries though lol I cant say if 210 would work, that all depends on how much muscle you are carrying and how wide your shoulders are but I’m pretty certain in your case you will crack that code by continuing to read here and on my blog.

          • Chiefrok,

            Sorry for the misspell :)

            I have been reading your blog and laughing to myself at the amount of food you can put down. Well done sir.

            Between you and the Leangains guy along with Barban / Pilon I think the fasting / feasting thing might be the key.

            I’ve been able to go all the way to dinner a few times without eating but have not done it consistently enough to really get any results.

            Gotta give it a real go this time. Thanks

          • Thanks AJ,

            Pilon has pretty much a semi starvation style weight loss thing going, simply using fasting as a way to put less calories in your body by eating portion controlled meals all day and then skipping a few or several during a week unless of course he has changed his approach and now eats the skipped plates, maybe he read my blog who knows.
            I would avoid this as it will lead to low metabolism and a shitty existence with an ever dwindling calorie allowance you need to count, obsessions, less body/sexual function etc. Calorie restriction is hardly what I do at all. I use fasting for it’s fat store mobilization, body chemistry effects, improved digestion, making it easier to auto regulate calories and simplifying the eating process to give me more time in a day and make travel less complicated. The real key with fasting is to make up for the lack of eating like any sane animal would do after a fast.

            martin of Leangains has got a great understanding of things but is a little to focused on abs for my liking. I recently started reading his blog and although I find it hard to fully understand what his views or process is I do like his writing. I’m not sure yet if fab abs are possible for everyone without calorie counting and meal planning. It certainly is drastically more difficult the taller and bigger framed a person is. I will be experimenting on that with my next fat loss experiment this year to see if it can be maintained in a “self regulated by the body” lifestyle. I probably get 100 times the client request for ab hunters than anything else. it would be nice to write a post and no longer need to answer ab questions maybe sell an e book to fanatical ab hunters and give away the proceeds or whatever. I can certainly get someone there if thats what they want but I don’t take many of those people as clients because it isn’t as important to me as helping someone improve their quality of life such as a 100 pound weight loss does.

          • That’s a really great point you make regarding taller / larger framed people and having crazy abs. I’m not sure I’ve ever noticed it before myself.

            While it would be great to have, I don’t think it’s possible for most unless, as you mentioned, you have deal with all the restrictions and obsessive lifestyle that goes with it.

          • Aj, you just have to look at UFC fighters, all of them try to be in the best shape possible but only a significant amount of the little guys have abs galore the big guys have ripped ass arms and quite a bit of chub in comparison. In the guys I train the most of the shorter and more narrow shouldered ones get auto abs. body fat percentages between a 5ft 2 inch guy and 6 ft 1 inch guy will yield different fat masses.

          • I noticed the same thing about UFC fighters. The heavies all have a good amount of bodyfat, despite being well conditioned. Even Junior Dos Santos has some flab in the gut but looks jacked in a t-shirt. He’s even got a bit of gyno methinks.

            Those lights at the weigh ins are unforgiving!

            I’ve also read that a lot of Navy Seals aren’t as ripped as people would believe. This is due to the constant stress they’re under with training and being in the cold water causes them to store bodyfat.

          • There are many misconceptions for sure. For one, size does not equal strength. And leanness does not equal fitness. I have known many guys half my size that are stronger than I am, and many soft, flabby guys who were in way better shape than I was even when I had abs showing.

          • You don’t think it may have something to do with the lighter classes need to do a hard cut to make weight and the heavies don’t?

          • Not at all mack, I’ve trained a lot of people and the same applies to regular joes and not so famous MMA fighters. It’s not an absolute but most little guys look ripped with alot less work.

            It that kind of sport constant training leads to lower bodyfat in all weight classes and everyone except for the super heavyweights would be subject to cutting as they would need to make weight just like featherweights so I don’t think it is cutting at play. Maybe a few of the big guys might say fuck it and not work as hard at it but this is not the majority. The days of Emanuel Yarbourough in the ufc are long gone. Most guys are trying to be as low as possible. This phenomenon is not 100% clearcut but as a general rule it’s tougher for the taller and bigger you are to drop enough fat to get poppin’ abs. 5 pound fat loss on a 220 pound 6ft 2 guy is way different than a 5 pound fat loss on a 5ft 4 guy weighing 115. In both individuals it’s roughly 3500 calories a pound of fat so an equal amount of expenditure will translate to significantly more dramatic effect on a guy half my size while cutting.

          • Yes, Martin Berhkan takes it to the extreme…But,

            I think his program is quite beneficial for the average person who does not care about taking as far as he does. I have used it to lose 8 lbs while getting stronger, with only a few days per week of counting calories.

            It doesn’t matter that the guys in the Minnesota starvation study had an average of 3,500 calories per day. They lived in such a different world than we do now, and of course our daily caloric expenditure is going to be less than that. Unless you live in a city and walk everywhere, out extra caloric burn from activities beyond natural metabolism have gone down greatly thanks to modern technology. Don’t get me wrong, I love cars, microwaves, escalators, elevators, automatic garage doors, trams, trolleys, buses, Segways, scooters, bikes, and don’t forget the abundance of office jobs, but if I don’t make time to actually exercise and somewhat control my, then I over time tend to slowly get fatter (I drink a shitload of beer, too).

            Again, no need to take it to extreme levels, but its a solid program that leads to good results IF you are in tune with your body.

          • If you are unsure about his program, I can give you an example of what I do. I did not get a program from him personally, but just figured it out based on interviews and hearing from other people who are trying it. My own personal knowledge has also focused my approach to Leangains.

  11. low cal low fat low carb high protein… on and on it goes.

  12. BTW, the real obesity contribution of the school lunch program is not lunch; it is breakfast. Many schools serve it, and it is often sweet. There is always room for desert. As a result, many kids eat two breakfasts.

    Having some breakfast food is a good idea — for those who didn’t get breakfast at home. But make it bland. No sugary waffles. The kid who is hungry will eat a boiled egg or a sweet potato. The kid who is not truly hungry will opt for the playground.

    And those with kids should learn from experience: sugary waffles and school concentration do not mix. It’s pretty much ADD on a plate.

    • yep bland, that is the best obesity solution yet. good old bland!
      we should throw in a calorie chart and make them count everything they are about to eat while they are in line too. Then in gym class they receive a points card that works like calorie-money when they go to lunch and if they didn’t run enough no food. Poor chubby jimmy that gets picked last will only be earn an apple and paleo friendly low fat no bread sandwich.

      hmmm but wait
      Research has actually shown kids will skip cookies too when they are not hungry which points to palatability not being the issue when they are allowed free access.
      try the all cookie diet for a while and see for yourself.

      for growing kids waffles are not as bad as people think and a pile of raw veggies would do them some serious damage and some of those are bland as can be! I certainly wouldn’t suggest a mandatory raw vegan diet with lots of lettuce in schools either just so it doesn’t stimulate too much flavor response.

      I mean no disrespect my friend, I only hope to help people understand and bland is not a solution or the issue.

      • Sorry Chief but I disagree if you are saying what I think you are saying…

        Kids needs access to as much food as possible as long as it is mostly healthy natural foods. Not vegetables instead things like milk, cheese, meat, starches, fruit, yogurt, eggs, and more. They don’t need a lot of access to high calorie processed foods. Having them from time to time is no biggie at all, but the main diet should at least include copious natural foods over crappy but tasty foods.

        Matt, I feel that a lot of people have this idea that you are recommending a crappy SAD diet. I know you are not, but for some reason other bloggers who read only parts of your work seem to think that you are pushing a very shitty diet on everyone and think that a person can be healthy off of a permanent junk food diet. What do you think you can do about this?

        • Sorry Swede you didn’t understand me correctly. I wasn’t talking about unlimited access to industrialized food. I’m not advocating a 100% junk food diet either. I think a lot of people do not realize how tasty healthy food is supposed to be or what actually healthy food is. Furthermore I don’t think people realize some junk food isn’t nearly as bad as they think. I don’t think waffles or maple syrup contribute to obesity in any way directly by virtue of what they are, how tasty they are or their calorie density. Processing food doesn’t automatically mean it has to be void of nutrition, my people have eaten cornbread for 1000’s of years without any sign of obesity and it is a processed food. the cheese and yogourt you mentioned are processed foods and the list could go on and on.

          what I was illustrating with the kids passing up cookies is part of the appeal of junk food is the restriction. trying to get kids to eat salads and then saying see “my kids don’t eat vegetables” is some of that same stupidity. the calorie density is too low and being a little kid with not much available space to waste on leafy veggies, they will be starving calorie wise with a big pile of greens. Naturally their body rejects raw veggies as a food option. When you let them intuitively eat freely and expose them to as many options as possible they will pick the highly palatable healthy foods.

          • Well said Chief! Spot on…

          • Thank you that really makes sense. My boy has been asking for muffins, ice cream and coconut oil fried potatoes. Didn’t finish his cookie.

        • Perhaps my upcoming interview on Real Food with Sean Croxton will help.

          • It would really help if you would write a post or two about what you think actually constitutes the basis of a decent diet, what areas you think have more or less room for variation, etc. There is a super lack of basic “start here” information on your site and all we get from you on a day to day is “eat the food” and lots of talking about ice cream and junk food. Which is all well and good but it does give a very selective impression to people like me who only started following you, say, this year, and dn’t want to dig through 100s of videos and posts to ferret out the guidelines. A “confused? Start here!” link would be, well, extremely helpful. Por favor, con cereza arriba?

          • I definitely agree! I really like this site and the openness of ideas, discussion, etc.; I am also relatively new and have only been reading in the past few months or so.

            I experimented with vegetarianism due to the influence of a roommate, dropped dairy to try and alleviate asthma and nasal allergies, but was never completely on board with both and couldn’t see any large positive impact of those changes. (Also, it felt so bad to cut out foods that I love, particularly dairy!) THEN I found WAPF/”real food” and relaxed about what I was eating, and THEN read about GAPS and finally came here. I didn’t strictly implement either of the last two diets because I was beginning to see how complicated this picture really is… and am filled with overall confusion and doubt.

            My impression of the book “Diet Recovery” is that it’s aimed towards people who have been on an extremely limiting diet. Therefore, I’ve been hesitant to purchase it because I’m not sure if it applies to me. What about those eaters who are kind of “middle of the road”, in that they eat either the SAD or are on a relatively non-restrictive whole foods diet, and yet are still dissatisfied with their fatigue, weight, metabolism, etc?

            I understand that there ARE a lot of things a “middle of the road” eater can implement from reading this site, such as 1) sleeping a lot more and 2) finding ways to de-stress… but specifics about a dietary approach are hard to piece together, as Uncephalized and Swede (in his 2nd paragraph) were saying. If that’s your preference, then it’s fine… just figured I’d make my thoughts explicit on the subject.

            Thanks for all the exploration that you do. It’s hard to sift through it all.

      • Potatoes are plenty calorie dense, as are soft boiled, eggs, etc. Highly sweetened foods can be eaten after satiation has been achieved. “There is always room for dessert.” And try getting a kid to sit down and study after a sugar bomb such as waffles. Doesn’t work. Gotta agree with Morgan Spurlock on that one.

        • “sugar makes kids hyper” is a myth, It’s been studied quite a bit goole around.

          I’ve personally taken a group of young kids and got them all hyper after their moms said their kids don’t get hyper because they feed them raw veggies instead of candy. they were hysterical in 2 minutes. Feed em candy and dim the lights for story time they chill out give em veggies ant tell them to chase the big crazy guy with a mohawk all over a jungle gym they go nutty. Most people don’t realize the setting in which kids eat alot of sugar plays a bigger role, they eat ice cream and cake at a birthday party with a bunch of other crazy kids with clowns and air bounce rides and all that kid crack of course they are going to go apeshit even all hyped up on salads.

          I do like the school lunch program from the school in Wisconsin showcased in Spurlock’s Documentary but my reasoning differs from morgan’s a bit.
          Personally I eat sweetened foods in the middle of a meal, why would you eat it after satiation is achieved? that in itself is force feeding and circumvent your body’s natural calorie counting mechanism.

  13. I definitely agree with not being restrictive with school lunch calories, but how do we decide how many calories are appropriate for a school lunch? My question is not “What number of calories should we restrict them to?” but “How many calories should be on the plate (minimum) to make sure we’re giving the kids enough?”

    On a side note, I gave birth to my second child and was given a pamphlet on breastfeeding. It said that I should be eating about 500 extra calories a day to make up for the calories lost during breastfeeding. The pamphlet proceeded to give a sample day’s diet, capping the calories at 2000. Does this mean that they’re suggesting that normal adult women should always be eating 1500 calories per day? Maybe I’m just a big, fat fatty, but 1500 calories per day seems a bit restrictive to me! Pamphlets make me angry.

    • “How many calories should be on the plate (minimum) to make sure we’re giving the kids enough?”

      I would say, as many as they want to eat. Give them a plate, let them choose from several healthy options with lots of nutritional density and energy content, and then let them come back for seconds if they’re still hungry. Caloric and nutrition needs in growing kids (and adults, for that matter) can vary hugely from day to day so there’s no way to try and set the amount for any individual kid ahead of time.

      In large groups they’ll still average out to about the same amount of food each day/week so it’s not like it would pose an insurmountable planning problem.

      • I second the buffet at school program :)

      • Excellent idea. I would really like to see this at our public schools.

    • There’s an old children’s book called bread and jam for frances. One of the character’s home brought lunch had a boiled egg, salt and pepper shakers, milk, a sandwich, a piece of fruit and maybe more. I agree 1500 cals is restrictive.

  14. These school lunch standards seem like they’re aiming to keep the food industry happy while paying lip service to the idea that it might address obesity. Instead of taking chemicals out of food, they take out the salt, fat and calories. No one with an ounce of common sense would think these guidelines are actually helping. What would our grandmothers have said? Will be interesting (sad) to see what these children look like after being raised on a diet of malnourishment. Maybe the coaches will step in when they see what it does to athletic performance. Although I think it’s likely the kids will just end up spending their money (if they have it) on junk food to fill up.

  15. Also, Matt, I don’t know if it’s true that school lunches have “no chance” at making a dent in the obesity epidemic. MSG, other “obesigens,” aspartame, refined vegetable oils. If all of these were taken out, it could have an effect. Not if kids were eating all this stuff at home, maybe. However, Weston A. Price cured kids’ health with one very nutritious meal a day. If schools started providing extremely nutritious lunches with organic food grown in health soil, grass-fed milk and meat, etc.(i.e., no chemicals), it could very well have an impact. At the very least, it would impact the kids’ health and athletic performance.

  16. Wow, after reading this it’s amazing civilization still exists as we know it and we are not on some mad max beyond thunderdome type shit yet. I wonder what they would do if they knew structuring schools and learning the way it is in the context of the modern world was actually part of the problem. I can’t wait till it is proven obesity rates do not change, their test scores worsen dramatically and behavior issues sky rocket which leads to less learning which I am 100% sure will occur. Idiocracy here we come !

  17. Gar! I thought I outta post about my little discovery. It’s Robert who was unable to get his temps up in the last post about cholesterol.
    I decided to add some extra milk as a way to get some cheap extra-nutrition in and because I was feeling thirsty and added some extra sugary treats, reduced the salt a bit and who knows if it was anything to do with these things or not but my temp went up a few degrees. Suddenly went off my food during the day with a slight nausea.
    This was shortly before the weather got hotter in the uk. I started pooping more and just felt a little better, even though I was ill.
    Long story short, got some good 98’s readings in the armpit on a few days and was glad but then they dropped again. I remembered Matt talking about the anal reading and it had sat in the back of my mind. My highest armpit reading is usually pretty much the same as my mouth readings but the difference between armpits is often quite large and they switch throughout the day, one higher, the other lower.
    I thought sod this and stuck the thermometer up my ass to reveal a perfect 98.6 which is consistently this high day after day, after a short walk over 100 easily.
    Today I woke up rectal temp just fine again but armpit temps highest reading was 95.1. I do feel much better but that could be the sense of normality returning from when I was ill. I’m wondering if I’d just stuck the thermometer in sooner what I’d have discovered about my basal temperature. Armpits and mouth to a lesser extent have no relation to anal temp. Isn’t the anal temp meant to be more reliable? Weird and somewhat relieving.

  18. “serve up an attempt at a solution when there is no known solution, just because people are desperate for a solution” — An oft-repeated theme in the history of humanity.
    Just from memory, most school food was rather unappetizing anyway. The only days we looked forward to school lunches was when they offered Pizza Hut, which was once or twice a week. Most students just skipped the entree and went for the $0.25 Nutty Bars or $0.60 giant cookies (AND they still have soda in the vending machines).
    I have no hope for institutionalized food.

    • I remember school food being terrible! The food was either fried to a crisp or dripped in a batter of some sort. I think this is a step in the right direction. Children won’t be served the calorie loaded foods that CAN lead to obesity. I don’t feel like the child will be LIMITED since child can still eat more can’t they? Schools are loaded with vending machines and they can bring snacks form their homes. I agree that it won’t end obesity – that starts in the home with healthy eating habits from the start and plenty of exercise, but at least some one is doing something about the terrible meals these children are being served!

      • Yes, someone is doing something about awful school lunch! Making it more awful!

  19. This is really too bad… I get sick to my stomach thinking about all the harm that will be done through such weak methods…

    On a side note, I read in a comment you made on another post that said TV lowers metabolism by reducing brain activity. I was just going to ask whether you meant it lowers basal metabolism and body temperature or just total energy expenditure.

    • Lowers basal metabolism and presumably body temperature along with it. I think it has something to do with decreased brain activity to go along with the inactivity of the body, whereas other sedentary activities like reading, writing, video games, etc. don’t have that effect. But I imagine staring into a campfire probably has the same effect as television – inducing that trance-like low alpha wave state.

      • Very nicely put! Thanks for the response bud!

      • Firelight at least has the advantage of making one sleepy, however, while TV tends to keep you in a zombie state indefinitely and messes with your circadians. Blue light vs. red and so on, supposedly.

  20. You have got to be kidding me Mrs Obama! Limit calories? (energy) bann whole milk (the only milk with any kind of nutritional value that is legal to sell since raw milk is not legal), and limit starchy veggies?? Limit energy, nutrition and variety? What about taste? Come on! Go to any waldorf school and see how they feed the children. Or how about consulting with science? Do we want smarter more focussed children in the IS or sicker children who cannot pay attention
    . Not like I expected them to go organic, raw, or add super foods… But this is so disappointing since our world leaders have access to so much information.

    Matt, thank God you write with a sense of humor, I guess because I’m a mom I got extra fueled about this. My anger almost melted my iPad.

  21. I have read a lot on this site, and wonder Matt how many calories you think a woman should eat?

    I am 5ft2 weigh 66kg, and am not fat at all- though not skinny;
    and exercise hard – mainly with weights,
    I eat around 3200 cals a day to maintain that weight, I could easily eat much more if I truly ate to appetite, but keep it in that calorie range purely for cosmetic reasons because eating more causes rapid weight gain.

    The truth is that I like eating more and function better with it- but I dont like getting fatter and have inner conflicts with it.

    • That’s a good level of calories. If you are truly eating below appetite it probably wouldn’t hurt to slowly inch those calorie levels up. Doing it suddenly will cause some fat gain and probably freak you out if that 66kg body is really that important to you. But all in all it sounds like you must have a pretty strong metabolism if you are really eating almost 50 calories per kg of bodyweight each day. I think 55 is the highest I’ve ever gotten, but that was just temporary. I’ve eaten as low as 30 calories per kg of bodyweight and still had a pretty good body temperature, and decent, but not optimal, function.

    • Wow, 3200 calories ! I’m 6’1 and I doubt if I can regularly eat that much. What does a day’s worth for food look like for you? I had lunch at ihop yesterday which was about 1100 calories. So I guess you could have that thrice a day (3300) and have room for more – that is pretty incredible. How often do you weigh train?

  22. The government controlling what kids can eat in school lunches = one more reason I’ll add to the already long list of reasons I homeschool!

  23. once upon a time, I spent the day with my 4th grade step kid. The worst part of the day was lunch. It was so horrible that I enforced bring your own lunch with stuff like turkey sandwiches, grilled cheese, soup etc. She did great on that..until.. dun dun dun High school. She claimed the food was better there, had some cash.. and she got fat, fast. She is still fat, still has acne and turns 21 soon. Breaks my heart that she makes such poor food choices. oh and if you think she did not have access to junk, her mothers ‘home lunch’ consisted of over sweetened yogurts, ding dongs, soda, packs of doritios etc. .. how do I know? She threw all of it away. It was fucking disgusting, even to her.
    Enter my kid.. home lunch fed daily.. she begs me to try school lunch in first grade.. I said ok.. after about 2 times she has never asked again. She’s going into middle school now. I am creative, pack as much food as she will eat, don’t give her much fruit (won’t eat it) add cookies sometimes and yes, even some candy. She’s pretty happy with it most of the time. I pray she does not go the way of her sister and gorge on crappy school food.. low calorie or whatever, it is seriously prison quality food.
    Rant over.
    It’s enough to make me home school. Almost.

  24. spent the day AT SCHOOL I meant!

  25. What a mistake! All of my eating issues started with my mother banning “bad foods”. Now the government is doing it?! Blargh! Why can’t we focus on something actually helpful, like sustainable farming.

      • BTW, I have had plans to release something very similar to this in the future. So don’t think I’m plagiarizing in a couple of years when I come out with something eerily alike!

        • TRES awesome, that shit was so us, it should be called Matt Rok or Chief Stone.com I actually tried to register fuckadiet and something about my ultra conservative hosting service they refunded and denied all my curse word related domains 24 hours later after I went on a curse word domain name binge ha ha I called and asked them about it and the guy said he is not permitted to even spell the domain out loud.. ha ha I say fuck it alot, fuck a diet, I always badass eat, buffet badass is kinda like my other name, I use bad ass alot in everyday speech and ….. I like the site! and I’m working on some sustainable farming at the moment …erie like the lake mang

          good thing I love plagiarism so much ( Im a copyright is copywrong kinda guy) Don’t know if I influenced it at all if so thats awesome if not, tell people I stole all my best shit from you! when ideas are free people will truly be free.

          • badass is a GREAT word

          • yeah, I like the site a lot too- thanks!

        • Well I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that I am very inspired by YOUR blog. So as long as we can be internet buddies, I bring on the plagiarism :-)

          • we are buddies ? :) but how come I’m not in your cool people’s list like matt and cheese slave?

          • You are on MY cool guys list.

          • haha, the buddies was to matt, don’t know why they formatted it as a response to you. BUT I am sure I will become your buddy in no time and add MANY a cool person to my measly cool people section

        • glad you said few years.. couple of things to look into before you give up!

  26. Two points: 1) I have kids in school and there is a simple solution. [Drum roll] Pack your kids lunch that you make at home in a brown bag and send them to school with it.

    2) Look, I don’t particularly like the dietary recommendations that Michelle Obama came up with, but let’s pretend for a moment that she decided to look outside of mainstream recommendations and choose a diet from among the Whacky-Ass Alternative Diets, would she find consensus? No, she wouldn’t. I bet most people on this board have gone through a number of these diets, each time thinking they had found “the TRUE DIET”.

    Somebody wrote there should be more vegetables. Well, if Michelle happened to talk to Ray Peat, he would tell her that except for a raw carrot, or maybe some root vegetables, they don’t need much in the way of vegetables. And, oh, by the way, despite his fame for popularizing ice-cream, Ray Peat has recently said that he drinks 2 percent fat milk and that drinking low-fat milk is what should be done if one wants to avoid gaining too much weight when following his recommendations.

    Of course, if she spoke with a Paleo, she would be told to increase meat and fat, decrease dairy, throw out the fruit and grains, etc. If she spoke to a vegan, she would be told to get rid of meat , increase grains, increase fruit, vegetables and nuts. If she spoke with Matt….well, you get the idea.

    I can understand pointing out where you disagree with Michelle’s program. However, after all the whacky diets (some diametrically opposed to the others) that most people on here have tried (probably each time proclaiming the given diet as “scientific” and “the final word”) AND FAILED ON (including me by the way), you need to get off your high horses. People turn to diets, like quarterbacks turn to “Hail Mary Passes”. It’s true of Michelle Obama, and it’s true of you, “Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!”

    • that’s why a buffet solves it all, they can eat whatever wacky diet their parents teach them to eat in whatever amount they choose. Responsibility falls on the shoulders of the parents (where it should be) in the same way a brown bag lunch would. The main difference would be all of these , “I just don’t have time” parents would still give their kids a fighting chance.

      • Chiefrok, I like your buffet idea but there is not a buffet on earth expansive enough to accomodate all of the Whacky-ass diets. If there were, that would be one BROKE school district :)

    • on pack your own, as I mentioned above, not all parents are created alike.
      Saddest Lunch Ever: on a field trip a girl in 2nd grade had the following:
      Quart of Red Gatorade
      Med. size bag of Doritios someflamingshit flavor
      A dealie of sugar donuts, the 7-11 kind
      > obviously all of this was purchased there.<
      The teacher threw it out and gave her the 'school lunch' prepak of a sandwich and milk and some other shit.An apple maybe.
      Kids will eat the craziest shit they can wrap their mouths around. It's up to Parents to widen their vista food wise. The buffet really could be the answer but somehow I picture kids with their mouths open under the soft serve ice cream spout. Ha! Love ya Chief!

      • and for the record, my kid took steak bimibamp korean bowl (rice, veg, egg, spicy kimchee other fermented crap), roasted seaweed and some strawberries to school for lunch. I saw no signs that she gnawed her arm off so I am guessing it was enough food for her :-)

      • Deb, I knew my suburban card wasn’t expired in your books and your on my cool gal list, lova ya too I especially loved the someflamingshit flavor
        Now why would all the other kids go and do that to the soft serve dispenser …. just because they saw me do it ?

        Thomas Seay
        I’m pretty sure I’ve been to more than a few buffets that would easily accommodate most of the wacky diets, even with a slight alteration to the toilet facilities it could accommodate even Aajonus Vonderplanitz!

        in all actuality most people don’t have the experience to know from hitting up buffets like crazy. You start to chill out after a while and the term “all you can eat” doesn’t hook people that have that much food available 24/7. People that do not have the scarcity mentality that is so prevalent in a consumer society don’t go out of their way to eat as much as they can based on it’s monetary value. Not everyone kills buffets, buffet’s would not be able to stay in business an make profit at 8.99$ if the volume of food was the main make or break issue. Most 4th graders don’t do 7 plates at a buffet as well. I’m 100% positive a non profit community based school lunch buffet would be able to provide a buffet at more or less the same cost as the national average junk food lunch. Maybe not Obamanomics meal rations lunch prices, that’s probably going to be a little cheaper by means of underfeeding them.

    • Thomas, I think you make some really great points. This is actually why I think the only smart thing to do is take out the chemicals and just have a normal old diet that our grandparents would recognize. I’ve stopped giving any sort of dietary advice other than “listen to your body”, “go with your appetite” and “eat real food – no diet anything or chemicals”, because I totally agree that no one really knows what the best diet is. I actually think most people would probably be okay if we just all ate real food to appetite, in decently balanced meals (carbs, protein, fat), listening to our bodies. So, probably the main point is Michelle shouldn’t be giving diet advice at all.

      If you ask me (and I’m open to being wrong about this), the only think we should do is switch to organic food and take out the chemical additives as well as hormones, pesticides, etc., and the kids would probably all do just fine on that and could gravitate to more meat, more starches, or whatever it is they feel like eating.

      • AMY ,
        organic pesticide free food would be a great addition and it would certainly help but it won’t change the obesity rates as there are plenty of overweight people eating 100% organic out there. There is also many that don’t eat organic but mostly because they can’t afford it.

      • Amy, I could not agree with you more. If you put reasonably “clean” food (by that, meaning simply food without truly artificial junk in it), kids would probably gravitate towards what they need. This is the solution. My point, which I think you understood quite well, is that Michelle’s “restrictions” are probably no better, nor worse than the restrictions most “Diet Heads” would impose. In any case, agree that the best bet is to give a wide variety of foods and let the kids have a go out of it. I guess this is what the people proposing a buffet had in mind also.

        Obviously if kids have been indoctrinated by their “Diet Head” parents, even this might not work for all, but it would be the best of all solutions, nonetheless.

        • At the very least it would make kids healthier, regardless of the effect on weight

  27. [OFF-TOPIC] I notice that my avatar is a picture of someone who is NOT ME. As far as I know, I never posted a photo up here and am wondering how I can get this removed. Sorry to bother everyone with this question, but if you could direct me, I would appreciate it.

    • http://en.gravatar.com/ you can change your pic on there, perhaps the email you used was associated with a wordpress account with that pic somehow not a gravatar expert but they did link up like voltron with wordpress.

      • Chiefrok, you’re a boss. Thanks for the link. I had forgotten about my gravatar account.

  28. Thank you for writing on this important topic. However, it’s unfortunate that you chose to use the “r” word — makes it hard to send this/recommend this to friends…..

    • Which “r” word are you talking about?

      • I’m going the way of will and changing my name to “The Real Amy” (no offense to the other. The comment above is hers, not mine. This is too confusing.

        • do you by any chance be the wife of the real Will?

          • I do not know how would became Do … lol damn multi tasking

      • She means “retard,” probably

  29. Thanks for your answer re calories Matt.
    It is interesting that you say that 3200 cals is a good amount of calories for my size- maybe I am better off than what I thought I am! It is good to hear.

    I have done many diets (the whole gamut, over 20+ yrs), and have at times dieted myself to a maintenance level of well below 2000.
    But over the past years I have been working to go the opposite way!
    Mainly by eating more and accepting the weight gain, then trying to slowly edge it off without
    drastically reducing calories –
    calorie cycling has also been useful for me in this regard.

    I know I can eat a great deal more, and when I do eat more my strength goes up – which tells me that my body functions more optimally on more calories? Thats how I interpret it anyway.

    Nonetheless- for cosmetic purposes I restrain myself;
    though I may again try to edge up my metabolism a bit higher – as you have suggested.
    It can be time consuming though and requires effort, control and diet jimmying! And sometimes I am sick of that.


    • A woman in the Weight of the Nation documentary just slightly smaller than you eats 1,100 calories per day and walks 10 miles every day! So you are definitely alright!

      • lol, yeah, I will stop complaining and just eat up!

  30. Hi Narain

    Re your comment about what I eat for 3200 cals;
    most days I eat about 1200 for breakfast= chocolate, biscuits and homemade pikelets with jam and cream;
    3 hrs or so later- another 300 cals- coconut cream jelly (cocoa, coconut cream, gelatine), or cereal or chocolate;
    then I eat 3 more times later in the day, roughly 500 cals each time;
    omelets, meatloaf, veges with grated cheese,steak, chicken, rice, fruit, oats, more coconut cream jelly –
    and just generally good quality whole foods with a reasonable amount of protein.

    I train every second day- for about 1.5 hrs in the gym- mainly heavy weights with a metabolic component (ala Scott Abels MET training).
    In between I just do a bit of light walking

    I am strong for a woman- can barbell benchpress 65kg , lunges 100kg, deadlift 110kg, all for 5 reps – so maybe that is part of the equation.

    Believe me- I could put away 4000 – 5000 cals easily!

    • Nola, that is very impressive. After rrarfing I gained more than 10 lbs in about a month and am at 180 lb now. At 6’1, I get far fewer calories than you do. One thing I noticed though was that you were eating ‘bodybuilder style’ – meaning multiple meals instead of 3 square meals. I guess that’s probably what i’m missing as its hard to cram large calorie meals every meal with the added problem that I try to eat within an specific time window for circadian rhythm normalization. So I’ll try your approach of one large meal followed by smaller ones even though its pretty inconvenient when you are at work !

      You should definitely think about blogging about your experience. I’m sure a lot of women (and men) would be interested. I don’t know any women who eat 3k + calories a day and most only pick at their food !

      • Hi Narain

        I can also eat a lot in one sitting- 3000cals no problem.
        I dont know why I can eat so much more than someone like you without any problem- but I can! I in no way feel stuffed either. In fact get hungry all the time..lol

        Last year for 3 weeks I did a calorie cycle,
        5500cals one day and 1500 the next. (average= 3500 daily)
        Then another 3 weeks,
        6500cals one day and 1500 the next.(average= 4000 daily)
        I gained some weight with these..

        But it was experimental to see if big feeding followed by minimal intake , would result in weight gain or not , if calories were over maintenance level.

        I would eat the bulk of calories in a 4-5 hr window in the morning- so about 4500 cals and 5500 cals respectively on each cycle eaten in a few hrs. Then for the next day and a half, little food (relatively speaking).

        I was trying to see if you could jack up the metabolism this way without gaining weight- but it didnt work. However the weight did come off easily when returning to lower levels of calories.

        Most women I think eat too little and have reduced metabolisms due to dieting. They are used to going hungry and having subfunctioning levels of health and energy from too low food intake.
        And because of all the dieting they usually cant eat more without gaining weight.
        This is the cycle I have spent many yrs trying to get off, since I started dieting at 12 yrs of age .
        But even though I eat 3000+ calories, there still is a discrepancy between hunger and level of calories it takes to maintain weight.
        ie, If I eat to appetite – I gain weight.
        This is the conundrum I am trying to overcome :
        I either have to accept a fatter weight;
        Something like leptin or something else askew needs to change in my body so that hunger levels are equivalent to maintenance calories;
        Or I find a way to increase metabolism so that I can eat more without gaining.

        Overall I feel better eating more food- I did it for a stint earlier in the year- ate till full satisfaction for a month or so. I felt good, energy more stable and stronger in the gym..
        But I gained weight, and decided after a bit I didnt want to gain more!.

        I also found last yr when I did the big eating windows- packing away a lot of calories in a few hrs, that my digestion and elimination seemed to improve. I interpreted this as the body adapting and learning how to process food more quickly and efficiently, because it was being overloaded for a short period of time.

        I have never blogged ..lol

        • Nola, GRRR I’m starting to hate you now :-) Its incredible you can down that many calories with no stomach issues. I could do somewhat the same when i was younger but the only time I can easily eat big is after exercise. For losing weight and gaining strength, the leangains approach is something to consider as well. I am planning to give a modified version of that a try. That emphasizes IF, high protein and cycling of carbs and fat.

          I have copied your diet here to another thread on ‘How much protein you need’ where some folks are asserting that sugar and processed foods are necessary to get adequate calories. And hey, once I figure things out, I’ll invite you to write a post on my blog ;)

          • Believe me I do know all about stomach issues! I had IBS by the age of about 20, and spent many many years trying to find answers/healing.
            I am 43 yrs now and my stomach is pretty good.

            For me- I discovered that whole grains suck, and also too much fiber, onions always create gas- though small well-cooked amount is tolerable, raw vegetables create bloating, gas, abdominal distension etc..
            Fresh fruit is problematic- a small amount ok. Dried fruit mainy ok..
            White processed foods , chocolate, sugar , fat- these things I can eat with impunity.
            Wholegrains like rice and oats are fine in medium quantites if they are well cooked or fermented (sourdough).
            Well cooked vegetables are ok.
            Meats eggs and animal proteins all good.
            Too much cheese constipating, and in fact even cream has a slowing effect on me. However I love HWC and cheese, and I live in New Zealand- the land of grass fed cows and abundant dairy!

            Basically- my stomach is in pretty good shape now, and I can tolerate a lot- though I still work around primarily avoiding things that do cause issues.

            I tried every diet under the sun along the way –
            but when I went low carb and suddenly had a cessation of gas, abdominal bloating etc,
            the first light bulb went off.
            Then I read all about phytates, enzyme inhibitors, and hard to digest factors of whole grains- and that was another piece of the jigsaw.
            Then I read Konstantin Monastryskys work- fiber menace ; and that was a big key too.

            I tried raw foods for about a year- with lots of juicing, salads, fruit, enzymes , acidophilus, and many healing supplements- I had a lot of gas/bloating and stomach issues that year! lol.. it did not work to heal my gut..

            I have had a look at leangains earlier in the year- and tried fasting for a couple of mornings to see how it would feel- it was pretty hard for me. I like the approach and have started reading Chiefroks stuff too. However right now I am finding that a constant stream of energy going into my body feels right and healing. Maybe down the track I can add some of the feast/fasting techniques.
            I liked something Chiefrok said on his site where he said he is trying to make himself fat proof (something like that) this is essentially what I am trying to do- to create such a strong metabolism and healthy body that it doesnt need to accumulate fat in any way.

            For me I dont need sugar and processed foods to get adequate calories, but ironically I have found over the years that these things dont seem to harm me much! And can create less stomach issues than wholegrains and raw salads.

          • I have to add- that my problem is that I find it hard to keep my calories low enough to prevent weight gain rather than fighting to get enough! lol

            I am restraining my appetite eating 3200 cals a day.

            And that when I was younger- for some years I would eat a packet of lollies as breakfast- because I liked it, and because this was one thing I had worked out didnt cause me stomach issues!

            Hmm- I dont know if I publicly broadcast that..

          • Thanks for sharing what you find helped with your IBS issues Nola. I think I have come to the same conclusion as you as to what causes gas and bloating. I too find that refined and cooked foods are much easier for me to digest.

            You mention HWC above, sorry for being thick, but what is that??

            I also live in NZ by the way :)

          • HWC is heavy whipping cream
            ie, our ordinary cream here in NZ.
            In America they have all kinds of other funky versions.. lol

            I am glad my comments helped.

          • Thinking about it Narain- if getting in more calories without stomach issues is your goal- I would go for the white counterparts.
            I can say definitively whether white processed food and sugar is beneficial or not- but it definitely is neutral in terms of affecting my stomach. And I cannot say the same of whole foods- which I can tolerate to a degree- but not infinitely!

            In terms of nutrition – well, I realise now that over the years I have not really been digesting my whole foods- so have I really been getting any decent nutrition from them or not? I would say , probably not..

            It is a big debate I realise- but I am swinging more to the white foods side, with still keeping some more easily digested whole foods in there for valuable nutrients.

            My 2 cents

          • typos sorry…
            “I cant say definitively whether white processed food…”

            I also threw up a salad one day- 4 hrs after eating it (I was sick for some reason);
            and it was virtually whole undigested lettuce, sunflower seeds etc.
            And I remember thinking –
            “This is all supposedly easily digestable good quality raw food- and I have taken expensive food enzymes with it as well, and it is basically undigested after 4 hrs! Something is not right here..”

            I would say I was getting negligible value from that food.
            I know now that cellulose is hard to digest ,especially so for me- causes bloating , gas , abdominal distension etc..

          • Nola, thanks again for sharing your thoughts. A raw salad as part of a highly processed food diet may not sit well. Since I started Rrarfing, I can’t even bear to look at raw salads as they seem so un-appetizing. But as part of a raw vegan diet, I never had any stomach issues with them.

            Hmm regarding the evil white foods, I do ok eating rice but eating a bagel does not make me feel great. Its so thick and dense that I have trouble thinking of it as an easily digestible food. What are your favorite easily digestible processed foods ?

            I’m starting to wonder about the meaning behind Jack Lalanne’s words “Exercise is King, Nutrition is Queen” – perhaps as long as we exercise well, nutrition can take second place ? Or if he meant the British Queen, then it would be the other way
            around :)

          • Lol, about the King and Queen.. I dont know if Jack Lalanne is right or not. I think exercise does help you to be more tolerant of carbs/glucose though!
            I have always exercised a lot- and have to be careful not to overtrain because that creates its own strain on the body.
            Just being fit and healthy in general makes the body more able to process food.

            The two processed foods I eat most currently are cookies (we call them biscuits here), and chocolate- they are just tasty and convenient.
            These sit well with me.
            I always try to find shop-bought foods with saturated fats over polyunsaturates though- that is one of my main caveats at the moment – and a lesser list of bastardized ingredients- additives etc.
            My favourite homemade food is chocolate sauce pudding with whipped cream.
            In fact anything with whipped cream on goes well for me; cakes, pikelets/pancakes, scones (I think you call these biscuits), cookies, puddings etc.
            Bagels are not really a NZ food, so I dont know about them much.
            Generally it seems I am fine with most things made with white wheat flour and fat and sugar.

            On the healthier side of things- white rice and potatoes are easily digestible and can be up-caloried by additions of cream, butter, cheese etc.
            Sweet rice with cream/milk and sugar.
            Potatoes cooked with lots of fat, and cheese on top.
            Rice with lots of butter, soya sauce and cheese
            Frozen bananas with chocolate topping (coconut oil, cocoa, sweetener) – with whipped cream too if u like that..

  31. Umm yes, I really absolutely do eat 3200, if anything I undercount because I dont count non-starchy vege calories,
    and am a bit loose and liberal in my counting.

  32. You guys should check out what Freelee at 30bananas can pack away! When it comes to the calories, I think she is right up there with you, Nola. I’m very impressed! :-)

    Blessings and love,

  33. Okay, I’m really curious about your political views now… skimmed the comments and didn’t see any specifics.

    And I thought of you when I went to a Chinese medicine practitioner (my daughter has autism and this is the 92455th thing I’ve tried) and he recommended less water, she should only be peeing 4 times a day and it should be dark yellow. Total 180 from mainstream or ‘holistic’ medicine. But that, or something else that he did, is totally working and she’s way improved.

  34. Actually limiting calorie intake has a mountain of scientifc evidence behind it:


    “Reduced-calorie diets result in clinically meaningful weight loss regardless of which macronutrients they emphasize.”


    “Most overweight and obese patients and their clinicians remain alert for ‘the’ diet that results in meaningful and sustained weight loss. The most obvious answer is to simply eat less.”


    “Excess energy intake contributes to weight gain. Although energy output can help balance energy intake for weight control over time, weight loss for most sedentary people can be achieved only by reducing energy intake.”

    The reason why so many people do not lose weight when counting calories is that they aren’t able to do it correctly:


    “Persons with obesity may be poor estimators of caloric content of food. (…) obese individuals had a poor understanding of the quantitative relationship between caloric deficit and weight loss.”

    • It is obvious that your knowledge of weight regulation is very superficial and simplistic. I can easily provide a counter study to each one of those, and have written separate articles about many of those short-sighted conclusions.

      • No, Matt, this was about you stating that “scientific study (…) ha[s] shown no connection between calorie intake and obesity” which is obviously not the case.

        I have also looked every article of yours on here referencing calories and scientific research, in the hopes of finding you mention any peer-reviewed studies where caloric restriction was not causal to weight loss. Instead I only found various mention of Dr. Mercola, whose dubious claims have already gotten him into legal trouble:


        • Well, I hope you are able to think your way out of this foolish belief. A study that shows someone loses weight for 6 months when you reduce his or her calorie intake doesn’t establish a connection between calorie intake and obesity. That is not a scientific study at all (and scientific study is very misleading at best, only enabling one to see a few factors removed from any meaningful context). Only inquiry into the matter that accounts for the after effects, psychological effects, metabolic effects, and long-term results holds any relevancy to whether or not consciously and intentionally restricting food intake is a viable and effective strategy for weight loss. For 5-10% of people sure, restricting food intake might result in a net long-term weight loss. The rest break even or gain weight, making it an abysmal failure on a statistical basis. But even this doesn’t account for the known metabolic consequences of doing so, as once someone loses a signficant amount of body fat, metabolic rate is permanently reduced below that of a normal functioning human being of equal size, age, gender, and body composition.

          Trying to criticize me based on a mention of Dr. Mercola, whom I frequently ridicule, and proves that you have no comprehensive understanding of my work, is a strong indicator that your skills of argumentation and intellect is extremely lacking.

  35. Great post. In Sweden we have ‘free’ school lunches, many municipalities spend very little on their food budget, including the one we live in. My kid would come home ravishingly hungry every day, poor guy. At school he’d only eat raw vegetables cause the meat is mushy and the starches are low quality and/or boiled to death. But even when he does like something, the portions are small and they only get 15 min to eat (I told his teacher once that he says he doesn’t have time to go for seconds, and she responded ‘we have an entire 15 minutes to eat!’).
    He grew up on my home cooked food and will not eat low quality food. He eats a ton at home, is lean and strong, very active. I only hope before next semester we’re out of this horrible country as school days will get longer and I fear he won’t be able to handle the stress of going hungry. I’ve tried reasoning with school staff to bring along food or let him come home to eat (we live close), but they’re not interested in kids’ health. If Swedes weren’t so happy about calling CPS, I’d just say f**k it and bring him home every day…:(

  36. My kids at school was straved, there is many process food in it , our school staff say poor kids so straved during day time ,



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