Monday, January 28, 2013

Announcing the Ideal Weight Program

I often receive requests from people asking for my overall perspective on fat loss and health.  I share my opinions here, but they're scattered throughout hundreds of posts, there's a lot I haven't had a chance to write about, and I rarely give practical recommendations.  However, I knew I'd eventually put everything together into a cohesive fat loss program-- it was only a matter of finding the right opportunity.

That opportunity presented itself in 2011 when I met Dan Pardi, a researcher whose work focuses on sleep and food intake, and the CEO of a company called Dan's Plan.  I was immediately impressed by Dan because he stood out as someone with a high level of expertise in sleep and physical activity, as well as someone who has successfully lost a substantial amount of fat and kept it off for several years.

Dan and his team had developed a set of unique and engaging tools for tracking weight, sleep, and physical activity to help people maintain daily mindfulness over the simple fundamentals of health.  These tools are 100 percent free and incredibly easy to use, particularly if you sync them with an electronic scale and step counter.  When synced with these devices, the Dan's Plan website automatically uploads and displays your weight, sleep, and physical activity score, as well as integrating them all into a single user-friendly Health Zone Score that lets you know your overall performance at a glance.  Even if you have no interest in fat loss, I highly recommend using the free tracking tools on the Dan's Plan site-- I do.

In early 2012, Dan approached me about creating a fat loss program for Dan's Plan that incorporates their unique tracking tools.  This struck me as an excellent opportunity to create a diet and lifestyle program that combines sound science with exciting new technology.  Dan and I both brought science to the table, and Dan also brought the perspective gained from working with others to help them lose fat, as well as his own successful fat loss experience.  Dan and I have been working hard on this project, and we're finally ready to launch.

I'm happy to announce the Ideal Weight Program, an effective new system for fat loss and maintenance.

What is the Ideal Weight Program?

The Ideal Weight Program is a unique system for fat loss and maintenance that draws from the latest science on diet, physical activity, sleep, and behavior modification, and pairs it with engaging tools that help you define your goals and meet them.  It keeps you consistently focused on the everyday factors that really matter for fat loss, and gives you the skills you need to make sustainable diet and lifestyle changes.  Based on your own goals and priorities, you can choose one of two diet strategies for the initial fat loss phase:
  • The Fat Loss and Sustainable Health (FLASH) diet, an intensive high-protein diet for rapid fat loss.
  • The Simple Food Diet, a more flexible diet based on whole, natural foods specifically selected for fat loss.  One important goal of this diet is to teach healthy cooking skills, using recipes and tips provided.
These diets are designed to naturally promote a lower calorie intake and fat loss, without requiring calorie counting.  The Ideal Weight Program also includes important physical activity and sleep components, and explains why these are so critical for fat loss and health.  Dan and I discussed some of the principles underlying the Ideal Weight Program on Chris Kresser's podcast recently.

Here's what you get when you sign up:
  • Detailed documents that walk you through the program
  • Weight, sleep, and physical activity tracking tools tailored for fat loss
  • Simple recipes and cooking tips that work with almost anything in your fridge
  • Videos that explain the key concepts behind fat loss and maintenance
  • An e-book explaining the scientific rationale behind the program
Signing up for the Ideal Weight Program gives you lifetime access to everything.  We've discounted the initial price, because we want to hear your feedback so that we can continue to improve the program over time.  If you follow the link below, first you'll be prompted to sign up for a basic Dan's Plan account, and once you have your account set up, you'll be able to purchase the Ideal Weight Program:

Ideal Weight Program

Financial disclosure: I will receive a portion of the revenue from the sale of the Ideal Weight Program.  I do not receive revenue from the sale of other products associated with Dan's Plan or the Ideal Weight Program (such as the Fitbit, cooking tools, and other programs).


Maxim Okhrimenko said...


fireflyvixen said...

Wow, I am so disappointed. I had all of my UW students following this blog and I had no idea you would be trying to sell stuff.

Steve Parker, M.D. said...

I've not see the Program, but I'll be surprised if a plan with Dr. Guyenet's name on it isn't reasonable and effective.


ann. said...

In the name of science? : )

damin martin said...

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Jane said...

I cannot believe this. I feel like a train hit me. So that's why you never talk to me.

SamAbroad said...

I can't believe the comments from some people. This blog has been a tremendous source of free information for YEARS. I'm delighted Stephan has compiled his thoughts on fat loss in an easily accessible way.

Jeez, the sense of entitlement some people have.

(BTW side note: the captchas have gone ridiculous, it now takes about 8 attempts to comment)

Snare Venetian said...

Congratulations on discovering the fastest way to destroy your hard earned credibility.

George Super BootCamps said...

Wow, the vitriol put your way Stephan, shocking.

Good for you for making something that works toward applying everything you've learned about fat loss in a simple, but complete package. Why the heck shouldn't you charge for this?

Why do people have a problem with anyone wanting to earn money from what they do? Especially when that person has given out fantastic information for YEARS. Does the release of the new program mean that the old information was skewed and preparing you all for buying his stuff?

I suspect not, and would be massively surprised if it did.

Dave said...

I've heard people complain that while Stephan likes to talk alot about science, he doesn't provide much in the form of practical solutions that actually help people. Here's his chance, people should see what this program is all about before bashing Stephan because he's "sold out"

Chase Saunders said...

Stephen, making money is bad! Bad bad bad! I'm afraid you will have to live without the communist wing of your blog from now on.

Dave said...

The only reservations I have about this approach is that its been done a thousand times already. Eating less and exercising more. I respect that they emphasize good quality foods over counting calories, but its the same treatment that doesn't provide long term results.

I'm afraid the solutions that are going to really work are going to involve hormone therapy.

Barry Hill said...

I don't think anyone has a problem with Stephan earning a living. The problem is the obvious and inherent conflict of interest. Being deliberately obtuse about it isn't fooling anyone. Whether or not you think it's a problem depends a lot on how much you trust Stephan.

It's much harder, however, to trust the advice of a person who is trying to sell you the very thing they claim you need to solve your problem.

Jane said...

It isn't the money. It's the sudden transformation of Stephan from disinterested scientist to entrepreneur. I've seen scientists do this before, and it always ends badly.

Dave said...

For what its worth, Stephan wasn't even listed as a member of the team. So that means he probably just provided some outside consultation, probably in the area of nutrition for the diets and recipes they provide.

Thomas said...


I guess you just can't win with some people.

Here's a thought: write a crappy book full of misinformation on the science of low carb dieting and human physiology. Charge $20 for the book. Try to discredit all those who disagree with you.

If you do this, you may finally find approval from your blog readers.

Paul Healey said...

I agree. If Dr. Guyenet had simply written a book about his findings on weight loss, and charged the same $39.99 for it, people would be complimenting him on his achievement. I don't see how one is "selling out" and the other is not.

Andrew said...

Very cool, Stefan. Many people have been wanting such a resource for a while. You are doing them a service by providing this. Let the haters hate.

James said...

Thank you Stephan for giving everyone exactly what they've been begging you for!

Spilt Ink said...

I don't think the FLASH program is a very good idea. Although effective, the rapid loss of fat will give you stretch marks and if you're losing weight to look attractive, you're completely missing the point that way.

Simon Carter said...

Good man, Stephan! Show me the money! This really is the best thing for you, the weight of trying to be a real scientist will be lifted from your shoulders. I think it will do wonders for your outlook and well being. So when will you be on Jimmy Moore, giving us all the details? Will you be able to make the cruise?

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Folks,

Thanks for the support. I think this program has a lot of potential and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

To the critics,

I'm blown away by the sense of entitlement I'm seeing in some of these comments. This program is basically a more effective version of a book. It is designed to help people achieve a constructive goal, and it's completely optional. In other words, no one is forcing you to buy it, and you can continue reading the free material I provide here with no restrictions.

I've written this blog since 2008, literally putting in thousands of uncompensated hours providing free material for anyone who wants to read it. I have no obligation to do this-- I do it because I want to help people and I enjoy it.

We designed the most effective fat loss program we were able to, but putting together something like this requires money. It is not reasonable to expect people to design a fat loss program for free. I plan to receive financial compensation for my work, and I am not in any way ashamed of receiving money in exchange for a valuable service.

I'm not trying to "sell stuff". What I'm doing is informing my readers of a service that I helped create, which people can accept or decline as they please.

Unknown said...

Stephan Guyenet said:
I'm not trying to "sell stuff". What I'm doing is informing my readers of a service that I helped create, which people can accept or decline as they please.

Um, that is trying to "sell stuff."

If they don't have the option of accepting or declining, it's called "extortion."

Medjoub said...

I've been reading this blog since 2008, have repeatedly utilized its various recipes and health-strategies, have pondered its theories and analyses as they've developed through the years, and it has cost me nothing to do so.

Unfortunately, Dr. Guyenet, it is inevitable that a mere few of your readers understand the relationship between producing meaningful work and the costs such work requires. Between being a product-oriented shill, "selling stuff", and offering a dynamic service for which you are compensated (and, my guess is, fairly minimally so). Books, software, art, ideas -- these things usually just appear magically in thin air and fall happily into our entitled little hands.

Eades, as a single example, has been slinging supplements and books he's written and books others have written (for which he's often written an intro or some such) for years -- I wonder if it is because he has always been doing so that folks are simply inured to the fact? That they seem to still take him seriously despite those financial interests?

I guess that the underlying fear is whether or not a program that is designed with certain scientific assumptions in mind is truly subject to the changes it might require as the science develops...

Medjoub said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Hargrove said...


I have been very disappointed to see all the negative comments you have been receiving of late and wanted to put in a comment to let you know that I greatly appreciate all the free and high quality information you have provided over the years. I have no doubt that your blog has had a very positive effect on the health of me and my family.

Best of luck with Dan's Plan, it sounds like a great program.

Unknown said...

I have nothing against commerce, Medjoub, but your comparison is unfair: Eades never started a diet program built around affiliate marketing.

But your "others whore, too" argument is beside the point. What's more relevant Stephan has been positioning himself as morally superior. In fact, he slagged Taubes in his very last post for "promoting" NuSI -- a non-profit research organization.

And now Stephan is adamant that he's not trying to "sell stuff" by launching a business with all the standard internet diet scheme hallmarks:

- built around affiliate commissions
- requires high-margin purchases like wifi scales, activity trackers, etc.
- high-markup vitamins
- high-markup daily meal delivery
- snappy acronym (Give me a break.)

As I said, I think there's nothing wrong with making a lot of money. It all depends upon what you want out of life. I'd rather own Dr. Mercola's real estate portfolio than Dr. Johnson's. But I know who I respect more. And Stephan, if you think you can straddle both personas, I'm betting you're in for a surprise.

One thing's for sure, Stephan -- now that you're an affiliate marketer, you'll need to condescend less.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi "unknown",

First of all, I was not criticizing Taubes for promoting NuSI-- all I said is that he promoted it. That part of his letter was perfectly legitimate; he was informing the research community of a new funding mechanism. As I've said in the past, I support NuSI, and that's why I linked to it in my post. Furthermore, it is totally irrelevant to the subject at hand because it isn't a commercial venture for Taubes (to my knowledge).

Second, I've created a useful service that people can purchase if they choose. I have never criticized anyone else for selling things, even though much of what is sold is questionable. As for my supposed air of "superiority" and "condescension", I will continue to maintain a high level of science on this blog and not tolerate misinformation, bias, and ignorance. If some people take that as condescension, so be it. They can take a hike if they don't like the free expertise I provide.

Medjoub said...


You missed my point. I wasn't appealing to Eades's efforts in any way other than to ask why the disparity in the response to such efforts. As I'm comfortable dropping the subject, I'll just say you should probably investigate his enterprises more carefully if you find the comparison unfair. He does advertise his "Sous Vide Supreme" on his blog, after all, and as far as I can tell it has zilch to do with science.

Unknown said...

I think I got your point just fine, Medjoub. Your point, which you're pretending you weren't making, was that Stephan wasn't as bad as Eades.

But affiliate marketing is uniquely sleazy. And affiliate marketing is actively hostile to "science." Stephan is staking himself financially to a fixed dietary position. That's why the commenters who are most upset are people like Jane...they know what it means when there's money on the line.

Oh, by the way, I'm comfortable dropping the subject, too.

Jim said...

Hahahahaha!!! The critical comments are discouraging on so many levels.

How is someone supposed to make a living these days? You pour thousands of hours into helping people, and you're supposed to give it all away for free?? Forever ???


It's fair to ask something like this:

"Hey Stephan, now that you're financially interested in this diet program, what assurances can you give us that the money won't bias you, and that you'll remain willing to see contrary evidence if it shows up, and adjust your views accordingly?"

... that's a legitimate question.

I would think Stephan has earned enough credibility over the years for us to give him the benefit of the doubt here, but it's a fair question, nonetheless.

What's not fair is to ASSUME that everything he's done before is of no value because he's now offering a service.

What's not fair is to ASSUME that he will be irredeemably biased in favor of the advice in the book, regardless of any new evidence to the contrary.

And what's not fair is to require Stephan to slave away for years doing good work without any compensation.


On another note, I purchased the program last week (found it through Chris Kresser). It's solid stuff -- though ordering was far from straightforward.

Medjoub said...


Actually, I was intending to make a different point. Perhaps wrote too hastily. My point, clarified: what is it about certain key players in the diet scene, particularly those that espouse some sort libertarian or anarcho-capitalist personal philosophy, that somehow allows immunity to the kinds of criticism being leveled at Stephan? Perhaps I sounded more rhetorical initially than I intended. I actually like Eades. He's smart, well-read, and cranky (read: fun to read). But he does sell loads of stuff, and doesn't seem to get taken to task in such a outraged way. I imagine he would counter suggestions of his being a "whore" -- your words/scare quotes, not mine -- with an expression of some aspects of his personal philosophy. I remember a lot of heat being generated around the subject of Archevore/Harris and his economic-philosophic outlook, as well.

I don't know much about "affiliate marketing", so I won't attempt to counter you there. But perhaps you could stand to tone down your accusations?

Unknown said...

Medjoub, I don't agree with your premise that Eades is given a pass. He is attacked with extraordinary viciousness, particularly by Stephan's friends.

Google (without the quotes) " eades"

729 results on that domain alone!

nathan sauve said...

Hi Jim,

As you've ordered the program, could you give any info on what the ebook actually is? Table of contents etc? It receives only a bullet point in the program advertising so I assume it's just a short pamphlet type of thing. Any info is appreciated.


George Henderson said...

I think that people like Eades or Atkins who sold diet plans before diet became the basis of a community will always have an easier ride than those who come later.
Everyone thinks they own this thing now. Carbsane won't let Jimmy Moore convert to paleo in case he dirties the water with his creationist past or low-carb beliefs.
Whenever someone becomes a big fish in a small pond, some people will get out the dynamite.
The diet plan? Thyme will tell. (apparently herb restriction is involved, which is at least a point of difference that should get it talked about)

aluchko said...


I can understand your reasoning and really enjoy your blog but I'm not sure you understand the source of the criticism.

First is the impartiality. We thought your motive was just to disseminate information, but by using it to promote your business, you've damaged your role as a impartial observer. You say you've been working on it since early 2012 with an expectation of a financial reward, so how do we trust the posts since that time? Even if you were trying to be impartial you'd have a natural bias towards promoting the approaches that your product is using. There's a reason journals have conflict of interest rules, bias is the default human condition and it's really hard to avoid.

But I think the bigger issue is the blogger/reader relationship. The best bloggers are people who want to communicate and inform, as you said "I do it because I want to help people and I enjoy it." It's the attention economy where there's a social transaction of the blogger sharing their writing and the reader paying with their attention (translating into comments, admiration, validation, and sometimes ad revenues or donations). Books are generally seen as an extension of the blogging so people don't have any problem with it.

But this changes the nature of the agreement we thought we had, we thought you expected the attention and comments we were giving. Instead we now feel like you were also thinking of us as potential customers, it's not the deal we thought we had which makes us feel betrayed.

If your post read something like, 'oh yeah, this researcher Dan asked for some input on his product and I helped and now have some financial interest" then I think people would have been fine. We would have thought it came from the same place as your blogging, a desire to communicate and help, and make some monetary compensation as a bonus. But the post reads more like a press release, which suggests a strong emotional investment with the product and a relationship with the reader of salesman/customer rather than blogger/reader.

I hope this helps you understand the reaction and why some people feel betrayed. I hope you do well with the product but if you want to maintain the readership of the blog you need to re-establish your credibility and your relationship with the readers.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Nathan,

The ebook is a 58-page, 172-reference explanation of the science underlying the program.

Hi Todd,

Thanks for your support.

Hi Jim,

Glad you like the program. To answer the question of whether or not it will influence my scientific judgment, it will not. Part of this is because I can change the program at any time to adjust to changing science, so I'm not fixed to a position as I might be with a book. But in any case, there's no need to believe my assurances-- you can judge me by my actions.

LeonRover said...

I suggest that diet promoters and practitioners should desist from a naming practice which suggests that they have reached the Ultima Thule;

including descriptors such as Optimal, Perfect or Ideal offers hostages to Fortune, which I believe will find no favour from that Fickle Goddess.

Medjoub said...

Dr. Guyenet,

I'm interested in whether you follow Dr. Ayers's sporadically updated blog? In his more recent posts, he seems to be edging toward a perspective that a simple diet -- of perhaps any ideological stripe -- is the best for promoting the proper diversity of gut flora. Of course, his general slant is LC but I find these recent changes interesting, as they run against his older claims that a diverse, spice/herb-laden diet is best for flora. Perhaps his findings lend credence to reward theory, albeit from an unexplored angle? Are you or any of your colleagues onto the gut flora tip?

Sue Staltari said...

Good luck with it all Stephan.

Jim said...

" But in any case, there's no need to believe my assurances-- you can judge me by my actions. "

Amen, brother!

And let's just add that, in addition to the ebook, there are some very nice videos, with an easy-to-follow explanation of the science behind the diet plan.

You really did a nice job in those videos -- distilling things down to about as simple an explanation as the subject matter can bear. Really nice job.

And there are some nice tracking tools as well. I'm not using those, but I can see how they would be very helpful.

So, yeah, here's the deal I got:

I got to hire a top-notch mind to study the relationships between neurobiology and obesity for several years.

I got another to study the relationship between sleep and obesity for a few years.

I got one of them to spend several months to work and re-work the explanation of the science so it's easy to understand -- and then put that explanation into both a nice simple series of videos, and a little more detailed (and well-documented) set of documents for me.

And I got the other one to take time to develop some nice tracking tools (which I'm not using, but could and might).

And you know what I had to pay these top minds to do all this for me?


I feel so used. Seriously.

glib said...

To put it all in perspective: you can not write a University textbook these days (at least science and technology) without some serious software attached. And it seems to me that diet advice needs software support even more badly than course learning.

There is a lot that a good script can do. For example, being paleo in Iowa or California are two very different things. I keep being amazed at how uninformed and helpless people are. Surely some of the how-to info can be provided by the software, Turbo tax style.

Finally, if the dietetic advice comes from Stephan, it is going to be a lot better than the zero-science quackery freely available on the web. Stephan has spent a huge amount of time (and surely money) on this blog. When does he get his payback?

glib said...

To put it all in perspective: you can not write a University textbook these days (at least science and technology) without some serious software attached. And it seems to me that diet advice needs software support even more badly than course learning.

There is a lot that a good script can do. For example, being paleo in Iowa or California are two very different things. I keep being amazed at how uninformed and helpless people are. Surely some of the how-to info can be provided by the software, Turbo tax style.

Finally, if the dietetic advice comes from Stephan, it is going to be a lot better than the zero-science quackery freely available on the web. Stephan has spent a huge amount of time (and surely money) on this blog. When does he get his payback?

(boy this validation software is rotten, this is my 6th attempt)

George Henderson said...

@ Leonrover,

today I am announcing the launch of the Provisional Diet Plan.

The programmers assure me that the updates will be almost as frequent and time-consuming to install as the updates for Windows Vista.

May you reach your penultimate healthy goal weight,

I. M. Not A. Quack

glib said...

Unknown - I still don't see, at this time, much wrong out of it. If the diet advice closely follows the theories developed here, I am OK with it.

I have also never paid for or read a diet book, because I always wanted to understand things scientifically. The blog as it is, the present body of work, is a nice, well researched, and most important scientifically solid synthesis of what we know about human nutrition.

What I say is we already have something here, even if Stephan goes on to a (I augur successful) business enterprise and never posts again. I found this place while researching the Kitava study. I had already read Gun, Germs and Steel, and I was already eating only grass fed meat, and taking cod liver oil. I had a large garden.

But I needed to fill a lot of gaps, and this blog was just what I needed. I am not sure that there are many knowledge gaps left to be explored, at least from the point of view of the end user.

I have also experimented with food over 25 years and I know my body fairly well, and some of the things I saw were explained here, and anyway at some point all of us should take the plunge and start experimenting, using theory as a general guideline. What needs to be done appears to be very clear, simply on the evidence presented so far on this blog.

IMHO, there is still a lot to be said about the subject: the practicalities and solutions given budget or climate constraints, entomophagy, and how a healthy diet for many fits within environmental constraints. But these were never frontline topics on this blog.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks, I'm glad you like the program.

Hi Glib,

Thanks. I may eventually switch away from Blogger to avoid the nasty captcha among other issues.

Hi Unknown,

You're out of here for acting like a jerk to me and other commenters-- I've deleted your last two comments.

I'm tired of anonymous harpies hijacking my comments. I'm most likely going to begin moderating so that only people with something constructive to add can post.

Barry Van Clief said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fritzrips said...

The negative comments are amusing. Who are these people to think you are their nutrition/health/research slave?

Are they donating to your site? I bet not.

Keep up the good work, and good luck with the program.

Dave said...

"You say you've been working on it since early 2012 with an expectation of a financial reward, so how do we trust the posts since that time?"

How about using your own critical thinking skills to determine whether you should trust Stephan?

"Even if you were trying to be impartial you'd have a natural bias towards promoting the approaches that your product is using. There's a reason journals have conflict of interest rules, bias is the default human condition and it's really hard to avoid."

So is this a conflict of interest and should Stephan take down his FREE blog?

"But this changes the nature of the agreement we thought we had, we thought you expected the attention and comments we were giving. Instead we now feel like you were also thinking of us as potential customers, it's not the deal we thought we had which makes us feel betrayed."

I didn't realize there was some implied agreement that I had with Stephan when he writes posts and I occasionally write comments.

Betrayed, seriously? Why don't you wait for some concrete examples of Stephan betraying you as a result of this venture before even going there.

Stephan, this poster certainly doesn't speak for me or probably a sizable number of followers here.

Sanjeev said...

> (boy this validation software is rotten, this is my 6th attempt)

Maybe you could more clearly see the challenge if you increase the zoom

In Firefox just hit


hold the control key down and press the plus key (same as the equals key)

When the challenge is unclear to me I just hit + 5 or six times & it gets clear as ... as something really, really clear.

To get back to normal size hit - (control-minus) the same number of times.

Sanjeev said...

wonderful ... Google ate parts of my comment

the bare + should be


> I just hit + 5 or six times

should be
I just hit <ctrl>+ five or six times

> back to normal size hit - (control-minus)

hit <ctrl>-

Sanjeev said...

Have you ever seen this Stephan - the T-fal actifry - a form of frying that allegedly minimizes the amount of oil used.


seems like an OK idea but also definitely looks like a way to start down the path of high reward seeking.

Jesse said...

Sad to see all of these people attacking Stephan after all of the free information he has provided over the years.

Do you not recognize everything he has done for you already?

Thanks Stephan for all of your hard work.

I don't mind in the least that you are now charging for some of it.

I have the choice to buy it, based on whether I think it is of value or not, and so does everyone else.

Jane said...

There is another aspect to this. Stephan writes this blog in his spare time, but reading the literature is part of his job. All scientists have to do it, and some do it in their spare time. If his salary comes from the taxpayer, it can be argued that the material on his blog is the property of the taxpayer. Now he is selling it.

LeonRover said...

" . . . it can be argued that the material on his blog is the property of the taxpayer. Now he is selling it."

But it is a specious argument.

Yoni Freedhoff said...

Good luck with your new venture Stephan!

For those who are shocked and appalled that Stephan has decided to actually make his own decisions in life without consulting those who freely read his blog....and certainly for those upset enough to have posted here about their newly found disdain, might I suggest you watch this very enlightening video:

Jin said...

Hi Stephan,

Congratulations! I'm looking forward to checking out the program at Dan's Plan!

I've learned so much over the years here at Whole Health Source. I like the way the blog challenges what I think I know.

Thank you!

Paul Jaminet said...

Stephan, congratulations, I hope you help a lot of people with this!

For those who think that helping others and earning money are incompatible activities and those who combine them should be shunned, I hope your home never catches on fire so you won't have to turn away all the salaried firefighters; and that you never get injured in a location at which all the local hospitals pay their staff. It would be a shame to have to forego care.

For those who will only accept scholarship that is uncompensated, please write to Pubmed and ask them to put an "unpaid researchers" filter in so we can more easily find the trustworthy papers.

Brendan Coburn said...

What the F is wrong with you people?? Nothing is free in life, what's wrong with making a living providing a service and doing something you love??? Isn't that what we all want?? There's nothing wrong with making money people, grow the $@!^ up, no one is making you buy it, what on earth are you complaining about?? Stop expecting everything for free

bloglog said...

Wow. Good riddance to all the freeloaders!

One more show of support for the author from me. I can't wait to use the stuff they've put together.

Dinis Correia said...

Hi Stephan,

This is amazing. I had already checked the website and it looked like a great tracking tool. Knowing that you're on aboard makes it even more awesome!

Also, shocked by all the negative comments on this. Seriously, people getting mad because you're posting about something *you're working on*? Geez.

Oh well, keep up the good work!

fireflyvixen said...

Let me clarify about "selling stuff" since I am the one who made that comment. I am a University of Washington professor and I just asked the students in my Psychology of Food class to subscribe to Stephan's blog as a way to start learning about nutrition directly from a researcher at their university. The goal of the assignment was to get students more personally connected and interested in science. The FIRST post that came up was the post selling a product, which confused the students and also made the entire blog look (understandably) suspect to them. It was a huge turn-off and wound up making the students suspicious of scientists' motivations. I don't have a problem with Stephan being compensated for his work, but I think there is a conflict given what I thought was the target audience. Perhaps I misunderstood the purposes of the blog. For those of you who perceive this position as "communist", you should in fact know that there is an inherent conflict of interest between pure science and capitalism -- you can look at the pharmaceutical industry as an example of corrupted scientific practice in order to turn profits.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Yoni, Jin, Paul, Brendan, blogblog, and Dinis,

Thank you very much for your support.

Hi Jane,

Don't be silly. Neither the government nor the taxpayers own my free time because I work for government grants. Nor do they own the expertise I gained working as a researcher. The grants I receive pay for me to do research, and I fulfill that obligation by doing research. They don't prohibit me from using my expertise in other ways in my spare time.

Hi fireflyvixen,

I understand why the timing of my post created an awkward situation for you-- my apologies.

aluchko said...

"How about using your own critical thinking skills to determine whether you should trust Stephan?"

I do, but part of my critical thinking comes from knowing the motives of the source. I'm not an expert in obesity research, that's one of the reasons I read this blog, and if Stephan gave a slightly distorted view of some research as a result of his business interests I wouldn't have the knowledge to tell from the data. Frankly my only good indicator would be looking for signs of bias (unfortunately this post is one).

"So is this a conflict of interest and should Stephan take down his FREE blog?"

I never said that. What I stated is that he had an unstated conflict of interest for a long time which is why some readers felt blindsided.

"I didn't realize there was some implied agreement that I had with Stephan when he writes posts and I occasionally write comments.

Betrayed, seriously? Why don't you wait for some concrete examples of Stephan betraying you as a result of this venture before even going there."

I've done some open source development so the relationship of unpaid contributor and user is something I've thought about quite a bit. Any social interaction is established on certain underlying assumptions, and make no mistake, the blogger/reader relationship is fundamentally social, and when some of the assumptions around a social relationship are shown to be wrong or changed people can feel betrayed.

"Stephan, this poster certainly doesn't speak for me or probably a sizable number of followers here."

That may be but I was trying to explain the motivations of people who do feel betrayed. Note that personally while I got a bit of a weird vibe I'm not going unsubcribe or stop reading and I hope he does well with the product. But I do think he made a mistake in how he presented it and I was trying to explain why.

cowsforsale said...

What surprises me is why you, as a scientist, continue to associate the quack that is Chris Kresser..

aluchko said...

"There is another aspect to this. Stephan writes this blog in his spare time, but reading the literature is part of his job. All scientists have to do it, and some do it in their spare time. If his salary comes from the taxpayer, it can be argued that the material on his blog is the property of the taxpayer. Now he is selling it."

If he wrote the book and helped with the product on his institution's dime then you might have a point. But instead he's selling his skills and knowledge, his brain still belongs to him (evil NDAs notwithstanding) and he's free to do with it as he pleases.

There are cases where IP law does come into effect with researchers monetizing aspects of their research but this isn't one of them.

aluchko said...


I'm leaving too many comments as is but you made a good example of one of the problems I had. I read a lot of blogs and things, to some I donate, to some I don't. There's no shame in reading a blog for free, or deciding that something you get for free isn't worth the time (which is why every blog doesn't have 2 billion readers). I don't think Stephen wants those readers who don't pay to go away, but there's now an implication that we're 'freeloaders' and that's what annoys people.

ann. said...

It's communist, hate, vitriol, bashing, entitlement to question the objectivity and consequently the credibility of an obesity researcher endorsing a commercial diet program (that can be yours- and for only $39.99)?

WHS isn't some dime a dozen fad diet blog. Just because I and others think Stephan's involvement in the Ideal Weight Program might reflect badly on his credibility as a scientist it doesn't follow we wish Stephan ill and begrudge him his income. Or that we've joined ranks with Peter D and Woo(o?). Did it occur to anyone that someone could be critical not because of entitlement but because they actually care about Stephan as a researcher and the work he does and what will happen to it? Because we think it's very important work? If not, that can be understood after the recent pathetic bullying antics on Hyperlipid. But despite what happened there, some humour and self-deprecation can go a long way and unfortunately, the tone seems to have taken another turn here as well lately.

And the freeloading. This is not much I know, but I think there are quite a few of us who have followed and enjoyed Stephan's blog for many years who have tried to do at least a little bit right by his efforts by discussing, recommending and leaving links to WHS on other blogs and forums.

Anyway Stephan, thank you and best wishes, of course.

Ned said...

I trust Stephan's smarts and impartiality as much as I trust anything I read anywhere. That trust comes from reading his blog for a long time, comparing to other sources, and thinking.

Still, it was inevitable, I think, that some would be startled by his new project. We don't begrudge Stephan remuneration, but the concept reminds us of times when the mingling of science and commerce has gone awry.

For example, Dr. M has given the impression in the past that his special brand of krill oil is the only one that will cure us instead of kill us.

A corporation that arose out of the legitimate efforts of Dr. A promotes its products heavily. Would they come out and tell us if they found out that their low-carb peanut butter cups and protein bars are not really a part of a healthy reduced-carb diet?

That said, you pays your money, you takes your choice. There are a lot of diets that can improve one's health, if followed. I bet that Stephan's plan is in the top tier.

Dan said...

I think Stephan is perfectly within his rights to make use of his expertise outside of the lab. In fact, I think this kind of thing is desirable from a societal point of view -- surely we eventually want science to be applied in the real world and put to good use for as many people as possible. And, at least in my opinion, for Stephan to get more first-hand experience working with people is a good thing from a scientific perspective as well -- this is the type of experience that helps you generate worthwhile hypotheses to test.

Of course, this also comes with some difficulties such as the possibility for a conflict of interest and it is reasonable to raise some questions, but that doesn't mean these potential pitfalls cannot be handled in a reasonable way.

Jane said...

I am not talking about the law. I am talking about how this might look to the taxpayer if things go wrong. A lot of public money goes into biomedical science and the public believes it's being used to find cures for their diseases. Suppose a cure for obesity suddenly turns up* and it isn't Stephan's? Might it not look as if he was trying to do something like Weight Watchers, which was shown on British TV only this week to be a scam?

*See 'Scientists link obesity to gut bacteria'

Stephan Guyenet said...

Jane, let me see if I'm following your argument. If a researcher discovers a miracle cure for obesity tomorrow, and that researcher wasn't me, then I'm at fault even though this endeavor has no impact on my work time? Couldn't you apply the same argument to my blog writing?

Let's envision a different, much more likely scenario. I continue doing my work in the lab, and advance our understanding of obesity in ways that are helpful but don't provide an instant miracle cure, and in fact have limited direct practical application to human obesity. At the same time, I collaborate with a startup company and other researchers to create a fat loss program that is successful and helps a lot of people lose fat and improve their health.

This is a way for me to directly impact public health in a way that I can't in the lab, and I'm doing it without cutting into my research time.

psp said...

I have never seen such heated discussion on this blog in my 3+ years of reading it. You have my support and appreciation for providing us with your blog, which I consider an excellent resource, as well as the new anti-obesity program. I bought it to support your work and pay you back for what you've done already. Cheers!

Stephan Guyenet said...

Thank you PSP.

Lucas said...

OK haters,
I signed up for the plan, and glancing through the ebook/videos, it looks pretty tame. Energy balance, food reward, the science of satiety, paleo/ancestral diet, etc. It looks like much of the material has appeared on this blog in a less well-organized form and without meal plans.

The only thing I find odd is that his name is nowhere to be seen. His voice clearly narrates the videos and (I'm guessing) that he wrote the ebook himself, but he's not listed as a scientific advisor or as an author of any of it.

As for the "conflict of interest", give me a break. Dan's Plan looks to be making money by (1) selling weight loss/health plans like this one (yoga forthcoming) and (2) affiliate marketing on fitness tracking devices which integrate with their tracking tools. There's no promotion of supplements, alternative medicine or anything like that.

Yes, there are flakes out to make a buck selling supplements, alternative medicine and expensive diagnostics like Mercola or Amen. There are also more sincere researchers interested in public health who have written popular books like Dean Ornish, Robert Lustig, David Kessler, etc. They happen to make money off of giving their expert advice, but I don't see any reason to doubt its sincerity.

If Dr. Guyenet starts acting like one of the hucksters, feel free to vilify him. I'll be right there with you. Until then, stop making unsubstantiated accusations, concocting bizarre conspiracy theories about NIH intellectual property, etc.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Lucas,

Thanks! A good chunk of the information the program is based on has indeed appeared on this blog, though it's scattered among dozens of posts and it's usually not associated with practical information on how to apply it. Also, in the IWP we offer that information in condensed, practical form, integrated with tracking tools and cooking guidance that make it a much more comprehensive package than anything I could offer on my blog.

You make a good point that my name should appear more. That's mostly because we're a (very) small operation and getting the details ironed out is going to take time. I'll make sure my name is more clearly associated with the program. That being said, although I want people to know that I co-created the program, I don't want to use my name/photo as a sales tool because I don't want to come across as a salesman. That's why it isn't the "Guyenet diet" with a big photo of me on the site. I'm still trying to find the right balance for this endeavor, but in general I'm pretty conservative about conspicuously applying my name to things.

The user experience is better if you have a Fitbit, just because it's an awesome tracking device, but I receive no revenue from the sale of products on the Dan's Plan site (including Fitbit). The only thing I receive revenue from is people purchasing the program. As you remarked, the program is not a platform for selling products. It's a stand-alone fat loss program that can be integrated with additional tools that are optional but improve the experience.

Joe said...

Kudos. Your work has been vital to my own research efforts and I could hardly begrudge you of any attempt to gain from it.

I haven't examined the plan yet, but I may soon. If your past work is any indication it will be excellent.

I hope you make some money off this venture and continue to advance your understanding of the situation. I can also see how the laboratory setting may not be conducive to any actual implementation.

Perhaps my only irk would be that someone else got you on board before I could.

Jane said...

I agree. As far as I am concerned, you have done nothing wrong. But I know all too well how people can twist things. I don't want to see you having to do battle again as you did on Hyperlipid. I think that battle was probably a good thing, to get everything out in the open, but still your enemies are using it to drag your name still further into the mud.


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Sanjeev said...

Hey Stephan

Does your co author have an internet presence, so we can get an idea of his work too?

Not Dan Pardi, the behaviourist researcher - I think you told Skeptical Accupuncturist ; ) Chris Kresser his name's Lawrence

Sanjeev said...

I found nothing googling for

"behavioural scientist" "larry carter"
"behavioral scientist" "larry carter"

Sanjeev said...

#Lucas said...
#OK haters,
# I signed up for the plan, and glancing through the ebook/videos, it looks pretty tame.

Is the cooking doable for those who can only "cook" scrambled eggs, frozen corn and hot dogs? (low skill, very limited number of cooking implements, and a tiny apartment so I do NOT want to buy a single more spoon, much less a pot)

Sanjeev said...

# do NOT want to buy a single more spoon, much less a pot

main reason I haven't gotten the actifry. Almost all the reviews were good, just too big.

Stephan Guyenet said...

He is adjunct faculty at the U of Arkansas dept of psychiatry. He is a highly trained, very intelligent, and extremely capable scientist who currently works for Jazz pharmaceuticals. His research focuses on behavioral pharmacology. If you want to see his publication record, search for "Carter LP" on Pubmed. Here is his bio:

Larry Carter, PhD - Scientific Advisor
Larry is a Scientific Advisor and a co-founder of Dan's Plan. A Michigan native, Larry earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology and Psychology from Kalamazoo College where he studied medicinal plants deep in the Amazonian rain forest and played middle and strong-side linebacker on the football team. After college, Larry completed a PhD in Pharmacology from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, which resulted in over a dozen scientific, peer-reviewed publications and earned him the Armand J. Guarino Award for Academic Excellence in Doctoral Studies (the highest student recognition awarded by the school). Subsequently, he completed a Clinical Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University and joined the faculty at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences where he remains an Adjunct Assistant Professor. During that time he published another dozen papers, contributed to two books, served on the Medical School's IRB, and served as an on-camera clinical pharmacology expert for the local ABC and Fox affiliate television stations in Little Rock. Larry has a wealth of development and regulatory experience having served as a Special Government Employee for FDA, having presented before the European Medicines Agency, and having served as a consultant to several pharmaceutical companies. He has given national and international invited presentations, including seminars at the NIH, Columbia University, and Johns Hopkins University, and he has served as an expert reviewer for over two dozen scientific and medical journals. Larry also has a track record of working for small and innovative companies. He founded his first business at the age of 13 when he started painting fences in the Detroit area.

Sanjeev said...

Thanks, the bio looks very interesting, will definitely check it out.

I had the impression from the interview (or maybe just the 'behavioural' in the description) his work was in the same line as Dr Wansink.

Diana said...

"Eades never started a diet program built around affiliate marketing."

So what? He is a nasty fraud. I had the temerity to mention something inconvenient on his stupid blog and he mocked me by name at one of those Ancestral Health symposia.

This is behavior befitting an MD? Where I come from, we call people like him "putz."

Clara said...

Thank you for all the tips how to live healthier - your blog is very inspiring to change my whole life.

I also found this video about taking care of your body

Richard Nikoley said...

Well, good thing I had my No Good Deed Goes Unpunished File sitting right here on my desk.


Gillian said...

While much of the Paleo world is directed toward weight loss, there are a few of us who are looking to it as a hope for help from gut dybiosis and other illnesses that have caused us to lose weight. Thus, we are looking for healthy weight gain, recovery from malnourishment, and intestinal health (i.e, no yeast infections, bacterial overgrowth, etc.). We have all heard testimonies of colon-health recovery via the paleo-world.

Yet, for someone of extremely, extremely low body-weight, the low-carb can present a concern. Yet, there are certain aspects that make a lot of sense to go low-carb, ie., the reduction of inflammation, starches/sugars feeding infections, anti-body attack against starches/grains, etc.

My general question is—what would you suggest for healthy weight gain for those of us with extremely low body weight?

What is a good macronutrient ratio? I.e., I have heard a 50% fat, 30% carb, and 20% protein; or a 60-20-20 or a 40-30-30 respectively ratio. Is there one that is better to gain weight?

More specific questions that pertain to us all follow:
The paleo-world talks about the body being able to make all its glucose needs from fats and proteins. What about someone who has no body fat to lose? Will it all come from the fat consumption in the diet without endangering further loss of body fat or eating muscles? I.e., I have heard that 100g of glucose forming carbs will raise insulin sufficient to shut down ketone production --is ketone production bad or good for a person trying to gain weight? Or something that may potentially bring health to the intestinal system?

If one was trying to eliminate sugars that feed bacteria, yet ensure enough calories and weight gain, should “safe” starches be included (white potatoes, taro, yucca, sweet potatoes, squash, white rice)? Or should a greater number of sugary vegetables (beets, carrots, tomatoes, squash) be included? Is one type better than another then, i.e. if a carrot has glucose is it better than a glucose molecule from a starch?

Related, will a cup of salsa that has a lot of the sugary vegetables (onions and tomatoes) raise blood sugar just as much as one of the maligned starches, i.e., potato?

Is the sugar in beets better than starch to not feed unhealthy bacteria? The GAPS diet advocates the elimination of starch because they feed the bad bacteria--but would a non-ketogenic diet that has a lot of squash and beets and the "sugary" vegetables feed it just as much?

Depression and serotonin deficiency often accompanies a low body weight and malnutrition. I have heard concerns of low serotonin and cortisol levels on a low-carb diet (but it is not defined what "low" is). How grams of carbs, or ratio of calorie consumption, does one need to CREATE good serotonin and cortisol levels?

Thank you so much!

Eric W said...

Stephan, Dan's plan calls for people to eat organic produce. How important is this for weight loss and overall health?

Charles Grashow said...

Stephan – in your interview with Chris Kresser you said "One of the easiest aspects of this program to describe and understand is its focus on the concept of satiety or fullness. In addition to these long-term feedback loops that we’ve discussed at length that regulate body fatness, there are feedback loops that regulate meal-to-meal calorie intake. Basically when you eat food, your digestive system detects what you’re eating, and it sends signals back to your brain to make you feel full. It turns out that there’s been a lot of research on this, and the amount of fullness that you experience is only loosely correlated with the number of calories that you’re eating. So, there are ways to manipulate your food so that on a meal-to-meal basis you feel fuller with fewer calories. One of the main factors here is protein. There are tons of studies showing that high-protein diets are useful for weight loss, and I think that’s really emerging as one of the key factors in an effective weight loss program. Protein, when eaten, it releases a hormone called glucagon, and glucagon has a satiety-promoting effect. There may be also other reasons why protein is satiating, but that appears to be one of them. Protein is the most satiating per calorie, so for every calorie of protein you eat, you’re going to feel more full than if you eat fat and carbohydrate. Carbohydrate is the second most satiating per calorie, and fat is the least."
Isn’t satiation a completely subjective experience? After all no one can tell another person what is satiating. If yes then one of the central underpinnings of your theory is incorrect.

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Charles,

The sensation of satiety is subjective, but it relates to food intake, which isn't subjective. A number of studies have shown that a higher proportion of protein in the diet leads to lower calorie intake, even if it replaces fat.

Pamela said...

Good heavens! I've gotten my exercise for today by wading through these comments!

OK, so, I have signed up with Dan's Plan and I have paid my $39.99 for IWP, but I'm baffled by the user interface. Because the IWP program is embedded in DP, I can't get to it. I have logged out of DP and logged back in again, no change. My Dan's Plan Dashboard still says I'm in the free plan.

Pamela said...

Oh, sorry, never mind, I found the right link for IWP on the DP dashboard - My Programs, not My Info. By the way, I'm Pamela. Sorry I forgot to introduce myself!

newenglander2 said...

I just discovered your blog. I am very impressed with your scientific approach to wellness. I think Dan is right on when it comes to the effects of sleep on weight and that it should be tracked. Blogging all this information is a huge commitment and takes a lot of time, research and passion. Thanks for posting!

Kieran said...

Kudos! This is no different than Chris Masterjohn charging for his "special reports" or Chris kresser charging for his healthy baby code. I say, you want an amazing product you better plan on paying for it. If you aren't, you're saying the product isn't worth the price. Our experience with Mr. Guyenet's work verifies that indeed it is worth the price. Shame on you mooching, holier-than-thou, haters of free enterprise! Congrats on your product Stephen!

Unknown said...

Hi Stephan,
I couldn't be happier to know about a losing weight program you helped design. For years I've been "eating" all the academic info you provide here, but didn't know how to put it all together on a plan...also, never felt ok with flooding the comments with personal questions about how to make a losing weight plan...40.00 is more than worth paying for a plan designed by an expert that built credibility not only on this blog, but in his academic carreer. THANKS!

Canard said...

I've been using the Dan's Plan tracking, and I love it. Even though I've tracked a lot of health-related metrics (on and off) for years, there's something surprisingly motivating about getting a score every day that I can try to improve.

After a couple weeks of using the tracking program, I've purchased the Ideal Weight Program. I've read a fair amount about reward and satiety here on your blog and in other places, so I think I understand the principles behind the FLASH diet practices, except for one thing:

Why the total exclusion of foods like salmon, whole eggs, and avocado, and the insistence on very lean meats? Is it just to keep overall calories down, or is there another reason?

The text says that added fats increase the calorie density of foods without increasing satiety, but the rationale for excluding foods that are natural carriers of (healthy) fats is not addressed.


Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Canard,

The FLASH diet is a rapid fat loss diet that focuses on protein at the expense of carbohydrate and fat, so we have excluded fatty meats. That includes the fattiest types of fish (e.g. sockeye salmon). This is intended as a temporary fat loss phase to be followed by a more flexible maintenance phase.

The Simple Food Diet allows all types of salmon, avocados and whole eggs.

Elina Mark said...

To determine how much you should weigh (your ideal body weight) several factors should be considered, including age, muscle-fat ratio, height, sex, and bone density.

Some people suggest that calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) is the best way to decide whether your body weight is ideal. Others say that BMI is faulty as it does not account for muscle mass and that waist-hip ratio is better.

One person's ideal body weight may be completely different from another's. If you compare yourself to family and friends you risk either aiming too high if you are surrounded by obese or overweight people, or too low if everyone around you works as fashion models.