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CNN Larry King Live

Are Fatty Foods Good For You?

Aired October 19, 2007 - 21:00   ET


JOY BEHAR, GUEST HOST: Tonight on LARRY KING LIVE, what if everything we thought about diet was wrong?
What if fat doesn't make you fat?

What if exercise does?

And what if carbohydrates makes you sick?

Calories and controversy -- there's an explosive new book about what is best and works for us. We've got the author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories". And we're joined by Oprah's health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz, Dr. Andrew Weil, and from The Biggest Loser, Kathy Kramer, who lost more than 100 pounds the hard way.

If you're starving yourself, stop right now and start eating.

Food fight next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Hi, Joy Behar in for Larry tonight, as we get into the hottest diet debate since Dr. Atkins.

What if fat doesn't really doesn't make you fat?

What if cholesterol and eating fiber don't matter?

What if exercise is not necessary for good heart health?

A controversial new book raises all of those questions and more. It's called "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and it challenges a lot of the medical research on diet and health.

With us tonight is the author, Gary Taubes.

Good evening, Gary.

How are you?


Hi, Joy.

BEHAR: Now, you say in your book that exercise doesn't make you lame. You say that sugar is more dangerous than cigarettes. And you say that carbs can cause Alzheimer's.

Those are pretty extreme claims.

Let's start with the first one.

Why don't I have to exercise?

TAUBES: Well, exercise may be good for you for a lot of different reasons. And I'm saying that it's not. I'm just pointing out that one thing we've never been able to demonstrate is that you can lose weight exercising. And the answer has always been fairly obvious. If you asked somebody 50 years ago what the result was of going for a long hike or a run or playing 18 holes of golf or a couple of sets of tennis, they would have said you work up an appetite.

BEHAR: Right.

TAUBES: That's what exercise does. It makes you work up an appetite. You get hungry.

BEHAR: But I mean take somebody like Lance Armstrong.

TAUBES: Right.

BEHAR: This is a guy who's on his bicycle and he really works out and he's very lean. I mean I think that that probably contributes to his being lean.

TAUBES: No, would I say he works out a lot because he's lean. This book...

BEHAR: Oh, so it's a chicken-egg problem.

TAUBES: It's a chicken-egg problem. It's a causality problem, to use a scientific term.

BEHAR: So first you're skinny, then you exercise, is that how it goes?

TAUBES: Basically, your body doesn't want to store fat. So your body -- this is -- this whole -- when I talk about obesity -- the book about a lot of things, as you mentioned, you know, chronic disease, sugar, Alzheimer's, cancer. The bulk of it -- the real sort of challenge to the paradigm is in obesity, because we've been taught that you get fat by overeating.


TAUBES: We either eat too much or we're sedentary. I mean people now talk about spending $100 million to put sidewalks in suburbia, like this will cure fat children because they can walk more.

BEHAR: What do you think of that?

TAUBES: I think it's putting -- I think it's inane, frankly.

BEHAR: It's inane? TAUBES: Because that's not why they're fat. They're not fat because they're sedentary. They're fat because their bodies are now being told to store calories as fat?


TAUBES: Because obesity is the disorder of excess fat accumulation. You have too much fat. So you look at what regulates the fat tissue. And that was worked out in the '50s and '60s.


TAUBES: What regulates fat tissues is this hormone, insulin. Like literally, you raise insulin levels, you raise...

BEHAR: This sounds very much like Atkins.


BEHAR: It sounds a lot like the South beach diet.

TAUBES: Well, they basically -- first, I mean Atkins read a lot of the same research I did. He just read it 40 years ago. I'm not a diet doctor, I'm a journalist, you know?

BEHAR: Yes, I understand.

TAUBES: And I'm a science journalist so...


TAUBES: science.

BEHAR: Where did you come up with carbs can cause Alzheimer's?

This I've heard.

TAUBES: Well, this is...

BEHAR: I mean I would that to be true.

TAUBES: Again, remember...

BEHAR: If that were true, nobody would eat a carb, trust me.

TAUBES: You know, this work on insulin degrading enzyme was done by two guys at Harvard who are leading figures in the field. It was published in "Science" and "Nature," the leading journals.


TAUBES: And what they say is we now know enough that we think we could prevent or cure Alzheimer's if we could free up insulin- degrading enzyme. So we have to come up with a drug that mimics the effect of reducing insulin levels.

BEHAR: So you're...

TAUBES: So you say to them, well, why don't you just tell people to eat less carbohydrates?

BEHAR: Right.

TAUBES: That does the same thing.

BEHAR: And the answer?

TAUBES: They don't think like that...

BEHAR: But we...

TAUBES: Because that's -- they're not -- they're compartmentalized. They're thinking, you know, I'm a molecular biologist, I want to come up with a drug target to cure a disease. They don't read the nutrition and if they do they think well, if we tell them -- and I've had people say this to me -- well, if I tell them to eat less carbs, then they have to eat more fat and then they'll get heart disease.

BEHAR: All right...

TAUBES: You know, so...

BEHAR: We're going to -- we have to take a break.

But this is interesting stuff, because I think people are very interested in Alzheimer's Disease.

TAUBES: It's scary.

BEHAR: And if you can come up with a secret, you might become very, very famous, Gary.

TAUBES: Oh, no. I would just like to get people to take this seriously tonight.

BEHAR: OK. Well, let's see, because up next, Oprah's health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz, joins the debate.

And as we go to break, one of the many stars who have come on LARRY KING LIVE to go public about her battle with weight, Winona Judd.


WYNONNA JUDD: In our country, everything is about food. You know that. In every culture it's about sitting around that supper table. Success and failure for me was there was always food there. You know, you can't get away from food. You can get away from alcohol, but you have to eat everyday.

We're not meant to -- to face these things alone, and yet we continue to try to isolate ourselves from people. It's like I knew I had a problem, but I didn't really understand what -- how bad the addiction was. And now I reach for relationships, not food.



BEHAR: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

I'm Joy Behar in for Larry tonight, with Gary Taubes, author of the extremely controversial new book, "Good Calories, Bad Calories".

And joining us now, Dr. Mehmet Oz, health expert on "The Oprah Show," vice chairman of surgery at Columbia University and best- selling author of "You On A Diet."


OZ: I like the way you did that.

BEHAR: You, on a diet.


OZ: That was coming from you (ph).


So, Dr. Oz, respond to Gary.

What do you think about what he said?

Let's start with the exercise thing.

OZ: Well, I mean I disagree with Gary on all three points.

That stated, I want to be very clear on this. The thing that Gary is doing that's so valuable for American medicine is he's being the honest skeptic. He's going out there and saying, you know, you really don't know that as well as you think you do. That is usually valuable for us, because science only advances if we identify what's not right and discard it. And we don't do that well in medicine.

BEHAR: But which part did you disagree with?

OZ: Well, for one, I think it's true that just by walking on the treadmill, you won't by itself cause yourself to gain or lose weight. That stated, if you...

BEHAR: But what about heart health on the treadmill?

OZ: I'm going to come back to heart health, because there are different kinds of exercise.

BEHAR: All right. OZ: If you're walking along, it has a value because you're consuming calories, but you'll probably eat a little bit more. If you're building muscle mass, muscle consumes a lot more calories than fat does, right?

BEHAR: Right.

OZ: The purpose of fat is to store fat and calories. Therefore, the purpose of muscle is to be a metabolic furnace, to chew up those calories.

BEHAR: Isn't that the reason that men lose weight so much faster than women, because they have more muscle?

OZ: It is true.

BEHAR: That's basically the problem.

OZ: But in addition, to go one step further, when women go through menopause, their ovaries don't just stop making estrogen, they stop making testosterone. So they start losing muscle mass.

TAUBES: First of all, people don't build muscle during aerobic exercise.

OZ: No, but I was going to get to that.


BEHAR: They don't?

OZ: No. It's weightlifting you have to do.

BEHAR: Weightlifting, right.

OZ: If you lift weights you build muscle mass.

And you agree that muscle burns more calories than fat?

TAUBES: Yes, but what I'm saying is if you burn more calories, you're just going to be hungrier.

OZ: Not.

BEHAR: Are you saying that you shouldn't work out because...

TAUBES: No, no, no, no, no.


TAUBES: Believe me, I've been an...


BEHAR: Clarify that... TAUBES: whole life. I go to the gym twice a week. I do yoga twice a week. I love exercising. I hope it's making me live longer, but that's not why I do it.


TAUBES: I do it because I like it and I like the benefits of exercise.

BEHAR: Oh, because you like it?

TAUBES: I feel better.

OZ: I think you're absolutely on target that simple carbs are the biggest health challenge we have in our dietary system right now. I agree with you. But my argument, fundamentally, comes down to the reality that it's not about carbs versus fats versus proteins. It's about healthy fats, healthy carbs...

BEHAR: Right.

OZ: ...versus unhealthy versions (INAUDIBLE)...

BEHAR: Do you agree with that, Gary?

TAUBES: No. Because my argument is...

BEHAR: You don't?

TAUBES: ...when you actually look at the biology of fat tissue, the world is full of fat people...


TAUBES: ...who eat...

BEHAR: Who are eating simple carbs.

TAUBES: ...who eat exactly the way Mehmet wants them to eat and they're still obese.


TAUBES: And they're...


BEHAR: And your reason for that is...

TAUBES: And the world is full of children...

BEHAR: And your...

TAUBES: ...who can eat exactly the way he wants them to eat...

BEHAR: And you -- but you... TAUBES: ...and will get obese.

BEHAR: What's your reason for that, all those fat people in the world?

TAUBES: Because the way they're -- they respond to the carbohydrates they consume, even the complex ones, you literally need carbohydrates to store excess fat.

BEHAR: So you don't need...

TAUBES: If you don't have carbs in your diet...


BEHAR: Wait.

Do you not eat any carbs all day?

TAUBES: No. I have...

BEHAR: What carbs do you eat?

TAUBES: know, I have vegetables. I eat plenty of vegetables.

BEHAR: Do you eat...

TAUBES: I have tomatoes with breakfast. I have...


OZ: But, Joy, (INAUDIBLE) to your question.


OZ: The reason you want to diet -- I'm a heart surgeon, you know?

I -- just before I came on this show, I was elbow deep in someone's chest dealing with the ravages of obesity. I wish it was as simple as just ruling out simple carbohydrates. The reality is there is no simple solution.

"You On A Diet" was written not to get people to lose a little bit of weight here and there, but it was focused on belly fat. Because belly fat, the so-called omenco fat (ph) was fat that's particularly detrimental to our well-being, because it puts pressure on our kidneys, drives up high blood pressure...

TAUBES: Do you know why belly fat accumulates fat so readily?

OZ: I do. And the reason that it accumulates is because it sucks up steroids. It's a rich receptor.

TAUBES: It sucks up insulin.

OZ: Also, insulin.

TAUBES: It is -- that's why it's the fat that is most responsible...

OZ: It's both. But if you're stressed out, right, which a thousand years ago was not coming on this show, it was the fact that you didn't have enough food. That's what stress was...

TAUBES: Well, let me...

OZ: One second. If you faced that stress, what would happen is your body would send out signals that you needed to eat.


OZ: And you eat everything you can and you eat a lot of it. We accumulate omento (ph) fat in part because of stress, in part because of simple carbs...

TAUBES: But...

OZ: part because of unsaturated...

TAUBES: But the...

OZ: part because of saturated and trans fats.

TAUBES: No, no, no, no, no, no.

OZ: And we can't forget that.

TAUBES: You are not -- because you can find populations that cannot gain weight that eat plenty of saturated fats. For instance, you can find a 1928 report, two University of Chicago economists go to a Sioux Indian reservation in the Midwest. These people are poor beyond our imagination. And they have 30 percent obesity rates and 20 percent malnutrition rates. Their children are starving, but they're...

OZ: Actually, there's the Amish. Forget about (INAUDIBLE)...

TAUBES: No, no, no, no, no.

OZ: The Amish in Pennsylvania, they walk, on average, 16,000 steps a day.

TAUBES: No. But the point is...

OZ: The obesity rate in men among the Amish is 1 percent.

TAUBES: I k. But Mehmet...

OZ: So it does actually...


BEHAR: Because they're walking.

You think it's because they're walking?

And building houses and everything else.

TAUBES: The point that you're missing is that you can find populations that are obese without saturated fats in the diet, without trans fats in the diet.


TAUBES: OK, so the fact that...

BEHAR: All right...

TAUBES: can find people who walk a lot and are lean, I mean you can say Lance Armstrong rides his bike three hours a day and is lean...

OZ: He's scary.

TAUBES: doesn't mean...

OZ: As a physician, my job is to look at someone like Joy, who's coming into my office, who's suffering from not just obesity, but the ravages of it...

BEHAR: I beg your pardon.

OZ: ...and I have to give...

BEHAR: First I'm a pot head, now I'm a fat pig.


BEHAR: Go ahead.

OZ: But I've got to give you advice. And that is really ultimately the question here...

TAUBES: Yes, but the point is...

OZ: what advice do we give the average American?

TAUBES: ...telling them to eat less and exercise more -- people have been told that for 150 years.

BEHAR: All right, we have to go to a break.


BEHAR: I'd love to listen to this...

OZ: I'm not saying that.

BEHAR: ...indefinitely. BEHAR: But, listen...

OZ: That's not what I'm saying.

TAUBES: Well, then you (INAUDIBLE)...

BEHAR: Guys.

I want to plug your book.


BEHAR: By the way, I want to mention that Dr. Oz will be on "Oprah" every Monday for the next three Mondays. We look forward to that.

When we come back, another best-selling health expert, Dr. Andrew Weil. He's going to tell you two where to go. He'll be joining us.

And as we go to break, Kirstie Alley, another of the stars to sit in Larry's guest chair and go public on her weight issues.

Kirstie Alley.


LARRY KING, HOST: How did it start?

KIRSTIE ALLEY: The fatness?

KING: Yes. The in -- I mean what did you weigh at your prime, on "Cheers," you were working?

ALLEY: Most of my life I've weighed about anywhere from 120, which is too little, to about 135, 138, which...

KING: And what height?

ALLEY: I'm 5'8".

KING: So that's in the right range, right in there.

ALLEY: That is good. That looks good.

KING: What happened?


KING: What happened?

ALLEY: I ate too much.


ALLEY: I ate too much.



BEHAR: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

Joy Behar here for Larry -- the extremely obese Joy Behar.

The controversy, what really makes us fat?

Could the medical research be wrong?

Gary Taubes, author of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" is here with Oprah's health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

And joining us now, another of America's most trusted health advisers, Dr. Andrew Weil, leader in the field of integrative medicine.

How -- how are you, Andrew?

Great to see you.


Good to see you.

BEHAR: We've seen each other many times on "The View".

It's lovely to see you.

WEIL: Truly.

BEHAR: What do you think about these two guys?

They're fighting.


They're having big fights over here.

WEIL: Well, I'm not going to -- I'm all -- I am not going to talk about Mehmet Oz. I'm here to talk about Gary Taubes' book, which I read in its entirety and very carefully.

BEHAR: Really?

WEIL: I think this is a very important book. I have been recommending it to my medical colleagues and students. He raises big questions and I think there are some very big ideas in this book.

One of them is that there is absolutely no scientific evidence for the belief that fat is the driver of obesity.

Secondly, the idea that it's carbohydrate which is central to this process and that obesity is mostly a hormonal disorder, genetically influenced, in which insulin is a central player; that overeating and under activity are not causes of obesity, but symptoms of that underlying disorder.

That is, it's not that people eat too much and don't exercise because of some defect of will or some behavioral problem, it's that this is behavior that is controlled by a hormonal disturbance.

BEHAR: Really?

WEIL: And -- really. And I think he's done a meticulous job of showing that many of the assumptions that are held by the conventional medical community simply rest on nothing.


WEIL: That there's no scientific evidence for.

Now, I will also say I don't agree with all of his conclusions, but I think these are...

BEHAR: What don't you agree with?

WEIL: Well, I don't agree that the way to -- to process this is to eat a diet that's mostly meat and no carbohydrate. I think there are -- it's very important for people to understand how carbohydrates affect them and the differences in carbohydrate food. And that's not a matter of simple versus complex. It's how carbohydrates are handled by the body, how they affect blood sugar.

And not everybody is in this spectrum. There are some people who are not sensitive to carbohydrates and won't get fat no matter how much they eat.

But I think his basic ideas here are very important and it's very important to get these out in the medical community, because a lot of the ways we try to prevent and treat obesity are based on assumptions that have no scientific evidence for them.

BEHAR: OK, so how do you -- he loves you.

TAUBES: I agree with everything he...

BEHAR: That's a Valentine he just gave you.

TAUBES: Yes, I know.

BEHAR: You see that?

TAUBES: I want to send Andrew...

BEHAR: Mehmet?

TAUBES: And I would like to...



TAUBES: Hold on a second.


TAUBES: Let me just say, I -- I agree with everything he said. (INAUDIBLE)

BEHAR: Oh, but you -- why shouldn't you?

TAUBES: His assessment of my book was exactly what I would want the medical research community to take out of it. All I say in the book about meat is -- and, again, it's everyone reacts to carbohydrates differently. You know, Atkins, who got crucified for writing his book 40 years ago, the one thing he said was give up carbs, get down to the weight you want and then find out what your body can tolerate.

BEHAR: Dr. Weil, what do you say to that?

Somebody who says I can't live without carbs?

WEIL: The problem -- OK. Here's the problem. I think anytime you tell people to follow a very restricted diet, you set them up for failure...

BEHAR: Right.

WEIL: ...because at some point, you're going to get completely frustrated with that and you're going to go binge on the thing that you haven't been eating. So you've got to devise an eating plan that people can live with long-term that's going to satisfy them and that also conforms to these principals that Gary Taubes has uncovered scientific evidence for.

I've tried to do that. In my book, "Healthy Aging," I have what I call an anti-inflammatory diet, which is a modified Mediterranean diet that takes account of this information on carbohydrate and its effect on insulin, on fat. And I think it is a way of eating that can be completely satisfying.

Joy, I'd like you to try that -- it's not a diet, it's a way of eating -- and see what happens over (INAUDIBLE) months.

BEHAR: Well, I come from an Italian family and we ate fresh spinach and fresh broccoli and broccoli rabe and chicken when I was a kid. We really never had any tans fats or any of that crap. We really did eat well.

But lately, you know, you get into some other stuff, you know?

WEIL: But -- if you...

BEHAR: What do you think about the Mediterranean diet, you guys?

I like that one. OZ: I like the Mediterranean diet a lot.


OZ: And I must say, I actually eat a relatively low carb diet.

BEHAR: You do?

Is that how you stay thin, because you're very slim?

OZ: It is. I really think simple carbohydrates are a big problem.

WEIL: No, Mehmet stays thin because he is a thin person.


WEIL: He does not have the biochemical and hormonal disorder that Gary Taubes points out.

BEHAR: Yes, but what about (INAUDIBLE) obesity?

WEIL: And he's active for the same reason.

BEHAR: But not all of those kids can be naturally fat. They're getting fatter.

WEIL: But, you know, I...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, there is...

WEIL: ...a lot of us have genes...

BEHAR: What about that?


WEIL: ...that -- a lot of us have genes that predispose us to develop obesity if we are exposed to the kinds of foods that trigger these hormonal problems. And our diet is now flooded with those. It's all of the sweetened drinks, high fructose corn syrup, things made from flour of all kinds, from starch. All of that stuff, which kids are eating in huge quantities, are reacting with their genetics to produce this disorder.

TAUBES: There's another factor here...


Yes, go ahead.

TAUBES: ...which is that in the womb, children are also exposed to glucose, the same carbohydrates we're talking about. And the heavier their mothers, the more likely their mothers are diabetic or just stationary diabetic (ph), where they become diabetic during pregnancy, the higher their blood sugar levels. And the higher the blood sugar of the mother, the more blood sugar -- the more glucose the child sees in the womb.

BEHAR: So you haven't got a chance if you have a fat mother.

TAUBES: Basically, as mothers are getting heavier and as mothers -- as more people are getting diabetic -- and if you gain a lot of weight during pregnancy, you will give birth to a child who is more likely to get fat and diabetic.

BEHAR: I see. That's interesting.

TAUBES: So, in one answer to your question, why are kids so fat now, again you have to...

BEHAR: It's because their mothers are fat.

TAUBES: In part because their mothers ate these carbohydrates.


TAUBES: The scientific obligation is to establish the cause of obesity, of heart disease, of cancer and to do it beyond a doubt. You know, until we knew that cigarettes caused lung cancer, it was hard to stop smoking.

WEIL: Yes.

TAUBES: Once you know it's going to kill you -- and that's one of the issues I talked about in the book is that for the past 40 years, people have kept saying we have to make the message simple, we have to do -- tell people things that they'll follow. And then they started to believe (INAUDIBLE)...

BEHAR: So you're saying -- are you saying that bad carbs will kill me, just yes or no?

TAUBES: Yes. I think bad carbs are...


We've heard from some medical experts.

Next, a former Bigger Loser contestant weighs in.

We'll meet the actress/comedienne who dropped 100 pounds. And one of show's trainers, right after this on LARRY KING LIVE.



(INAUDIBLE) pounds.

I say nothing less than the best.

I train people very intensely, because when they learn how strong they are physically, it transcends into every facet of their lives.



BEHAR: And welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE.

I'm Joy Behar in for Larry.

And tonight's topic, a controversial new book that challenges a lot of the conventional wisdom and the medical research on what really makes us fat.

The book is called "Good Calories, Bad Calories" and author Gary Taubes is with us here.

Also tonight, Oprah's health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz.

And joining us now, someone who is 5'2" and weighed 232 pounds before she became an at home contestant on The Biggest Loser.

Before we meet Poppi Kramer, take a look at her before and after. She dropped a full 100 pounds.


KRAMER: When I started the show, I was a whopping 232 pounds. My weight was my fear of success. I put my weight in front of me to give myself the reason why I wasn't successful.

Since The Biggest Loser ended, I do six to nine hours of cardio a week and I always do about two to three hours of strength training. But the thing that I took from this whole experience of being on the "Biggest Loser," why not give yourself the best opportunity to live the healthiest life you can?


BEHAR: We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE Poppi Kramer, actress, comedienne and one time "Biggest Loser" contestant, and a trainer from the show, Jillian Michaels.

Welcome, ladies.

How are you?


How are you doing?

JILLIAN MICHAELS: Good. Thank you.

BEHAR: First of all, how did you lose the weight, Poppi?

KRAMER: Diet and exercise. It was exactly what you hear here today except, for me, I did actually have carbs, not the white, refined, not the rice...

BEHAR: The good carbs, not the bad carbs.

KRAMER: ...I had the whole grains. I actually did have fruit. I apologize. But I did. I had some melon. I know it's like cheating on your diet, but...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Tell us what you were eating prior to that and what did you give up?

KRAMER: Prior to that, I was eating anything I wanted.


KRAMER: I ate pretty much anything that was placed in front of me, including furniture, pets...


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. Those are complex carbs, so...


KRAMER: OK. The furniture. Yes, well, I actually -- I felt awful. I was eating anything. I was having about two meals a day. I went from that and then what I went to is about five meals a day, carefully measured, counted, everything. And I worked out about two hours a day (INAUDIBLE).

BEHAR: So what about all the exercise that -- that Poppi did?

MICHAELS: Well, exercise is essential to losing weight, just simply because weight is an energy equation. At the end of the day, Joy, the reason you're not losing weight on a low carb diet is because you're probably eating too many calories. And protein can be converted into fat.

BEHAR: Gary says exercise makes you hungry and so you eat more.

MICHAELS: Actually, I find that to be untrue in most cases. Exercise releases a series of different hormones, not just insulin.

TAUBES: You ever hear the concept of working up an appetite?

BEHAR: Go, go.

MICHAELS: Gary, if you can show me -- Gary, if you can show me one person you have taken 100 pounds off, then maybe we can apply your theory.

TAUBES: I'm not a diet doctor here. I'm just trying to say ...

MICHAELS: I appreciate that. But here's the thing ...

TAUBES: If you look at the actual evidence when people do clinical trials. Again, she changed a lot of things. She's changed her diet. She changed the way she ate. She exercised. All of those things might have had an effect. But the question is if you're actually doing a clinical trial where you randomize people who exercise versus sedentary lifestyle, you find that you can't show an effect from exercise?

MICHAELS: Wait a second. First of all, exercise actually releases serotonin and endorphins, which have been shown to decrease appetite. They release hormones like your thyroid hormones go up, your estradiol goes up, your testosterone goes up, your HGH goes up.

These hormones, not just insuin, are integral to controlling metabolism, body fat and muscle mass. You are a scientist. You appreciate the fact that science must be applied for a theory to be proven true. Your theory falls short when applied practically because I've applied it.

BEHAR: He disagrees completely with you. All right. Can I ask you one question, Poppi? Why didn't you get the gastric bypass surgery? You had 100 pounds to lose, why did you do this?

KRAMER: Because I fully believe -- and this is probably controversial to say, but I fully believe unless somebody has to break down the wall of your house and Richard Simmons comes with a flat-bed truck and Jerry Springer and they have to cart you out, you can do it yourself. I knew I could do it. I had lost weight before.

BEHAR: But they are saying it's almost like impossible. It's almost impossible.

KRAMER: It's not impossible. I'm proof it's not impossible.

TAUBES: The point is because our medical community has screwed this up so mightily.

OZ: Gary. At the end of the day, the biological of blubber runs the show. The reason many of us can be seen by Google Earth, we don't understand that fundamental biology.

TAUBES: We do understand it, that's the point.

OZ: The reason I disagree, is because we talked about these trials and in the absence of variables, they all work. But the fact is none of us are perfect at any diet we are on. So when we do studies looking at large numbers of folks, unless you're taking a bunch of prime mates and locking them in cages, and restricting them in cages, we often can't get the results we want. Here is the big story, I think.

First of all, the obesity epidemic is about 100 calorie a day of extra food intake over what comes out of you. That's what the data shows of people who have lost weight.

BEHAR: Just 100 calories?

OZ: Just 100 calories. Here's why. People have lost weight two years or longer and kept it off almost always report back that same thing. Number two, all of the diets work. Any diet works if you can stay on it. And we know if folks do these things, individuals do these things, they, as individuals, get benefits.

BEHAR: And you need to work out a little bit. You have to walk. You have to move your body. You've got to.

OZ: You have to build muscle mass. It's not just walking along. You have to build muscle back. All of that said and done, at the end of the day, it's imperative -- these are steps that you take on your own. There's not one simple answer here or there.

BEHAR: Hold that thought. When we come back, more on the carbs and calories controversy with our guests and answers to some of your e-mails. Don't go away.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you quitting?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Beatings, beatings, beatings, beatings.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nothing left. Pick it up! Aren't you the ones who were not chosen? Don't let me find a reason why. Pack up!


BEHAR: Welcome back. Joy Behar in for Larry King tonight with Gary Taubes, author of the controversial new book "Good Calories: Bad Calories." Dr Mehmet Oz, Oprah's health expert. And from "The Biggest Loser," former contestant Poppi Kramer and her trainer Gillian Michaels. Let's go to an e-mail question, OK?

We have a few e-mails tonight. Here's the first one. It's from Roseann in the Bronx. Ooh, Roseann. She asks, what's the difference between sugar and alcohol sugar and which worse?" I guess she's asking for simple sugars and the surer that's in a glass of wine and glass of gin.

OZ: There's no difference between those sugars. You get the benefit of alcohol for your health but sugar is sugar.

TAUBES: The alcohol sugar is more likely to result in traffic accidents.

BEHAR: I will tell you something else about alcohol sugar, it makes you eat more. Once I have a glass of wine, I throw all caution to the wind and just shovel it in.

OZ: The biggest danger is when you go out to eat every night are the first 10 minutes or last 10 minutes. The first 10 minutes Satan incarnate brings you white flour bread and butter. The last 10 minutes, of course, simple carbohydrates with dessert, which is a modern invention, by the way. Our ancestors did not have dessert. If you're going to drink wine, which alcohol does have a health benefit, you ought to order it late in the meal and milk it to a dessert. Because you can't have a Chianti with tiramisu.

BEHAR: Nobody wants wine late in the meal. They want wine when they first sit down in order to get that buzz, you have to ...

OZ: The four satiety centers in the brain, hunger, water, sex, you want to talk about sex, and sleep. Those are of the four satiety centers.

BEHAR: Say it again.

OZ: Hunger for food, thrust for water, sex for sex, and sleep. If you don't get enough of one, you're going to crave more of the other: that's what your satiety center and the hypothalamus tells you.

BEHAR: Some people never want to have sex. Let's get real.

OZ: There are people who go on sex diets, absolutely.

BEHAR: That's where booze comes in, exactly. You have to have a glass of wine to want the sex.

OZ: It disinhibits you so your rational mind can't control ...

BEHAR: One will do it.

OZ: We have Roseann answer.

BEHAR: Let's take another question. Let's do another question. OK. Comes from Lily in Mansfield, Georgia. "What about blood type diets, anything to those." She's asking -- they say if you're type O, you eat certain foods.

TAUBES: I never paid attention to them. Don't understand how these diet doctors could have determined, what studies they could have done that would have told them these diets are better from one blood type or another.

BEHAR: It doesn't make sense to me.

TAUBES: To me, it smells of quackery.

BEHAR: Smells of quackery.

OZ: I think it means, the one nuance to it, it's possible our blood types predicted where we came from. Because in fact they do a little bit.

BEHAR: That's what they say.

OZ: So it is possible our ancestors ate more of a certain kind of food than another. I say this to raise the issue of customization.

There's probably not going to be one diet that's good for all four of us.

BEHAR: Yeah. OZ: There's going to be some element of a diet that appeals to us. I love nuts. I can eat them all the day long. They satiate me. I don't gain weight.

BEHAR: They are very high fat, nuts.

OZ: They are high fat but you don't use all of the fat from that. Only 85 percent of the calories of a nut gets absorbed into your system.

BEHAR: Do you like nuts, also?

TAUBES: I'm fond of nuts but every time Mehmet said it's all about how many calories you assume or expend, I start to want to interrupt him. It's not about how many calories you consume -- when he said the obesity epidemic is caused by 100 calories a day extra. Never in the past has anyone been able to show if you add 100 calories to a diet or decrease by 100 calories, your weight will change by a gram because your body will adjust.

OZ: The largest study we have today in this country are people who have lost substantial amounts of weight and kept it off shows us that it's 100 calories a day. Now, Gary, we may disagree about whether a one diet versus another make it's easier for them to do that. But that's actually what the data does tell us. Now, I'm not ...

TAUBES: The data you talked about -- we disagree about virtually everything.

OZ: Perfect.

TAUBES: We went to college together but we disagree about virtually everything.

BEHAR: You did, you went to college together?

TAUBES: I'm older. I was a little ahead.

OZ: We both went to Harvard.

BEHAR: You have the gray hair. Obviously, you're older.

OZ: It is the hair.

TAUBES: All right. But these kinds of studies that Mehmet and I talk about are terrible science. For instance, if 30 million Americans go on a diet -- don't know what the number is, might be 60 million, and some people who -- they send out questionnaires, diet center are recommending low-fat diets and recommending people exercise.

BEHAR: Right.

TAUBES: And those people get collected into a registry and lo and behold the 3,000 out of millions who say they successfully lost are the ones who ate low-fat diets and exercised because they were the ones who were getting those questionnaires. "Consumers Report" does a study, they ask of their people who lose weight and those people, 4,000 write in, we lost 30 pounds and kept it off with low-carb diets.

OZ: I'm not arguing for low fat diets at all.

TAUBES: I'm just saying, when we discuss the issue, some of the studies, to call them science is to -- is to inform them with an authority they are ...

BEHAR: I want to know, I really have to know this before we go. Because we are running out of time now. I have to know what you guys eat. I want to know what you eat. We know what you eat because we watch your show. I really want to know this. Tell me just quickly, what did you have for breakfast this morning?

TAUBES: Let me tell what you I don't eat. I don't eat rice, potatoes, pasta, sweets anymore. For breakfast, I had scrambled eggs with cheese, probably made in lard because I get it in a Greek diner ...

BEHAR: Made in lard?

TAUBES: Probably cooked with lard. You have to cook with lard in Greek diners in New York because they can't use trans fats anymore. Tomatoes, sausage.

BEHAR: Why not use olive oil t he way everyone else does.

TAUBES: Greeks diners do not use olive oil.

BEHAR: So you have eggs and sausage and cheese in the morning no bread with that, no bagels.

TAUBES: I did not have bread, did not have the potatoes.

BEHAR: And you're full until lunch? That holds you.

TAUBES: I have lunch at 2:00 or 3:00, and half a roast chicken with spinach. You just --New York, you tend to eat out simply every meal.

BEHAR: Half a roast chicken for lunch.

TAUBES: And don't give me the potatoes. Give me two orders of spinach.

BEHAR: And then I want to know -- when we come back -- what you eat. What happens at dinner?

TAUBES: Pretty much the same thing.

OZ: He's in the emergency room by dinner. They are pumping his stomach.

BEHAR: At dinner, what do you have, a steak? TAUBES: Here's the thing, there have been clinical trials done of people eating these kinds of diets and their cholesterol profiles improve. All they do is get rid of carbohydrates so their fat content has gone up and yet their cholesterol profiles have ...

BEHAR: How did Atkins die? Did he have a heart attack?

TAUBES: Atkins slipped on the ice and cracked a skull.

BEHAR: He slipped on the ice. He didn't have any stroke or anything that made him slip on the ice?

TAUBES: No, no.

BEHAR: Are you sure?

TAUBES: As far as I understand it ...

BEHAR: I'm just wondering.

TAUBES: As far as I know, doctors who worked in the hospital. How Atkins died, J.J. Rodali, the founder of the ...

BEHAR: I have to take a break. I hate to interrupt you. I can listen to this indefinitely. A lot more on this to come. So keep your big, fat butts where they are. As we go to break Valerie Bertinelli coming clean to Larry King about her own weight issues.


LARRY KING, CNN HOST: You always had a weight problem?

VALERIE BERTINELLI, ACTRESS: Yes, I think I really have. Whether it's been in my head or in reality. It's always been there. Because there's been times when I have been a perfectly normal weight and I think I'm fat. We always have that "fat voice" in our heads, which is stupid. Once again, something about society and how you grow up. I was told I was chubby and chunky when I was 13 so I believed that my whole life.



BEHAR: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Joy Behar, in for Larry. We are debating whether exercise can make you fatter than fat itself, whether sugar is more dangerous than cigarettes, stuff like that. Now, I really have to know, Dr. Oz, we know what he eats. Half a chicken with lunch with spinach, eggs with all sorts of cheese on it and sausages in the morning and at night he probably just has a steak with more broccoli or something, right?

TAUBES: Probably. Something like that.

BEHAR: And sweet tooth for blueberries, maybe?

TAUBES: If I have a sweet tooth, yes.

BEHAR: That's his day. What about you?

OZ: This morning I had 100 percent whole grain cereal. I happen to have it with Rice Dream, but you can have it with whatever you want ...

BEHAR: Rice Dream?

OZ: It's an alternative to milk. Low-fat milk. If you don't like it, don't eat that. Find something you like and eat that.

BEHAR: Whole wheat sort of cereal. OK.

OZ: And usually a magic drink, a drink with soy protein and a number of fibers. Five minutes to make and it's purple so the kids like it.

BEHAR: You have a mixed drink, shake.

OZ: Without the alcohol because I go in the operating room. I have nuts because I get hungry all the time. I eat every couple hours. I never think about it much but keep nuts by me. They need to be tree nuts.

BEHAR: Almonds? Mostly?

OZ: Walnuts usually.

BEHAR: You like walnuts.

OZ: But walnuts have a lot of omega 3s in them. But you can eat any nuts and they do have calories. But I agree, Gary, I don't like simple carbs at all and almost eat no simple carbs.

BEHAR: Lunch today?

OZ: Lunch I happened to have quinoa.

BEHAR: Ken who?

OZ: It's a grain that looks like pasta.

BEHAR: I thought it was an ice skater.

OZ: My wife's a vegetarian and I can't boil water. So we had tofu and quinoa last night. I get leftovers today.

BEHAR: Tofu and Quinoa, I don't want that. What else?

OZ: You can have chicken and quinoa. But it tastes me to me. I like it. Nuts again and I have fruit. I don't mind carbs.

BEHAR: Living on nuts. You're like a squirrel. How many nuts can you eat?

OZ: They are in my pocket. Want some?

BEHAR: So dinner was what?

OZ: Fish.

BEHAR: Fish. Even with the mercury problem. You don't care about that?

OZ: I have too much memory.

BEHAR: And dessert? What do you have for dessert?

OZ: I almost never have dessert. And I don't actually feel like I want dessert usually. But that's a big issue for a lot of folks and I appreciate that. But dessert is a big no-no.

BEHAR: All right. Gillian, are you there?


BEHAR: Give us a quickie on what you ate today.

MICHAELS: Eight grain cereal with low-fat organic yogurt for breakfast, salmon salad for lunch with a piece of whole grain toast. I'm going to have probably some nuts and piece of fruit as a snack and for dinner I will have protein, vegetables and probably a half a cup of whole gain brown rice or quinoa.

BEHAR: Again with the quinoa.

MEHMET: You rather look like Gillian or you rather look like Gary? Ask yourself at home.

BEHAR: I would rather look like me. I had enough of your insults tonight.

What did you eat today, missy?

KRAMER: Today I actually soy sausage.

BEHAR: Soy sausage? Eww.

KRAMER: It's delicious.

BEHAR: It sounds horrible.

TAUBES: Show is over.

KRAMER: Soy sausage and a grilled chicken breast with some greens on the side with balsamic vinegar.

BEHAR: It all sounds like portion control. Very suspiciously, everything that you told me now sounds small.

TAUBES: There's nothing I have told you today that about portion control. BEHAR: Not you but the rest of them.

TAUBES: That's right. That's why this book says it's a challenge of the conventional wisdom. It is not a diet book.

BEHAR: No. I know that.

TAUBES: This book -- I hate to say it, because my editors will kill me, but it's a serious book. It's to change not just the way we eat, the lay public, but change the way Mehmet thinks, change the way thinks young doctors think so when they do actually do give the advice he's saying, it's based on science and not some sort of belief system about what's a healthy life.

OZ: I actually think that simple carbohydrates will change how much you eat. The issue of portion control is eating foods that make it easy for to you do it. If it's not effortless, if it's not automatic, will you not do it. But I do want to pay you tribute. I think it's a very important piece of work, not just for the lay community and folks watching the show right knew but for the medical community. There are going to be a lot of doctors who read this. It's a very thoughtful and well worked out piece of research.

BEHAR: Even though you disagree with.

OZ: In science, we should be free to disagree. The academic tradition is we should be responsible for what we say but not to what we say. If we make a mistake, I want to be the first person to say I'm wrong. Gary's onto something. I want to pursue that. We may have arguments about mechanisms and subtleties along the pathway and completely different opinions about why it's right. But I think for the average person watching the show, the reality is what we agree -- and the reasons are different -- but what we agree on is simple carbs, get rid of them.

BEHAR: Everybody agrees with that. You agree with that? Gillian, you agree with that?

MICHAELS: I completely agree with that. I think exercise is a massive disservice. Your statement about exercise is a massive disservice and wildly convenient to come up with to sell books.

OZ: To say, Gary, I know how psychotic you are. I think you really believe it's true. And you have something to show that. I disagree. But the reason I disagree, perhaps I have not been educated well enough or we have not looked at the same bits of data. Perhaps although the penal anecdote is not data, the reality the clinician, you deal with people every single day that look across from my table like you do and those beautiful eyes, what do I do today? I have to take information that's incomplete frequently and translate it to practical advice. That's where we are going to end up disagreeing until the science catches up and refutes what we're saying.

BEHAR: I think it's so confusing to people and they just don't know what to do.

TAUBES: It's not confusing. Because the general message is the same.

BEHAR: Yeah.

TAUBES: We disagree about whether whole grains are going to make people thin or make them fat. But the general message is to avoid these easily digestible carbohydrates.

BEHAR: That we know.

TAUBES: And the sugars.

BEHAR: First it's eat less and exercise more. Then eat more and exercise less. The whole thing ...

OZ: There's a concept called complementarity, just to blown your brain for a second. This is actually a concept of physics. You can have two mutually exclusive ideas that are both right. And that's what I think we are looking at.

TAUBES: Yeah. You can also have two mutually exclusive ideas, one of which is right and one of which is wrong.

OZ: That's possible. But I think what we are looking at if you eat the right foods, portion control is effortless. If you build muscle mass, you can eat more than a peacock and still look great and have the weight you desire. Most importantly, the reason we want people to lose weight is to lose the belly fat. It's about a health concern.

BEHAR: The belly fat. The pooch.

OZ: If you get rid of the high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, you want to talk about the health care debate in America, it's not about what we pay who for what. The reason we pay twice as much money in America than Europe, we are twice as sick. If we can get rid of the belly fat, and I do think we have to take healthy approaches that will reduce what we pay into the system, the best success story of all is that it is not just about a new way of thinking about how we put fat on.

BEHAR: It's funny about this conversation. It makes me want to eat a banana split. I don't know why. More on this weighty debate to come when LARRY KING LIVE returns.


BEHAR: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Joy Behar for Larry. As we wrap up this eye-opening debate on carbs, calories and controversy. OK. Before we go, I want you to each tell me, Gillian, pay attention here, one thing -- one that you would say to -- if you were a doctor, let's say, if you were a doctor ...

OZ: I will pretend.

BEHAR: You too, pretend, Gary.

Gillian, you pretend and I will pretend. The one thing you would say to a patient who was obese. One thing you would say.

OZ: Think about waste management, not your weight. Focus on your belly size. The best way to lose belly fat is through building muscle mass and walking is a wonderful way to start. In fact, the next bunch of Mondays all our shows on "Oprah"are focusing on longevity and it turns out that's one of the big keys.

BEHAR: So walking.

OZ: Walking to build up muscle mass.

BEHAR: OK. Gary?

TAUBES: I will say the leanest he can be is on the diet with the least carbohydrates. I am not going to guarantee he will be as lean as he wants to be, or she, but the leanest he will be on the diet with the least amount of carbs.

BEHAR: That I can grab hold of. That I can do. I will try that. Gillian?

MICHAELS: I agree completely with regard to eating non-processed whole foods but at the end of the day, it's an energy equation. You have to be mindful of how many calories you're burning and how many calories you're taking in.

BEHAR: So you say calories in, calories out. Yours is low carbs. Yours is walking. How about you, Poppi?

KRAMER: Start cooking and get off the couch. Stop watching these shows.

BEHAR: Geez, that's a really good idea. Just kill our careers, why don't you.

OZ: What's your conclusion? What did you learn?

BEHAR: I have learned that I'm not doing it right. I have not been doing it right. But I was thin when I was younger. Why do I have to go into menopause and get fat, that's what I want to know ...


BEHAR: Next on LARRY KING LIVE. And before we go, a reminder to check out Larry's Web site, You can download his latest podcast with Stephen Colbert, very funny and you will find quick votes, Web extras and guest commentaries, too. You can sign up for Larry's newsletter.

That's all at

I would really like to thank al of my guests tonight. I had fun. Did you gave fun?


OZ: Yes.

BEHAR: Thanks all of you and of course a big, big thanks for Larry for letting me keep his chair warm to tonight.

ANDERSON COOPER 360 starts right now.