Calories, Apartheid, Austrian “Backwater,” and All Else

Saturday, December 16, 2006
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Looks like I’ll get into a tit-for-tat with the “starve-yourself” crowd. I wrote about this NY Times piece two months ago because I was so horrified when I saw the photo of Mike Linksvayer, a CR (calorie restriction) advocate.

Someone just sent me this piece from Mr. Linksvayer – he has a blog – wherein he took me to task for my criticism. So again, let me clarify the inconsistencies that I see regardng these folks. First off, in the NY Times piece, Mr. Linksvayer described his typical, daily diet and claimed he took in about 2,100 calories per day. The two did not add up – not even close. The diet he described was nowhere near 2,100 calories, and indeed, one look at his photo and you know his body is not on the receiving end of that many calories per day. In his blog post, Linksvayer went on to claim that the diet described in the story did not include various other portions in his daily diet.

I can see where DeCoster might get those numbers from the pictures, but as I mentioned in an earlier post, they leave out dessert and multiple servings of lunch and dinner.

So now, what the article described as his normal, daily diet was not accurate? Hmmm. To Mike: the “numbers I get,” Mike, are from the diet you described in the article and the picture of your stooped-over, emaciated, brittle body that looks like it’ll break in two the first time you try to turn your torso. Pictures say a thousand words, eh? In the physical sense, you look abnormal and sickly. And indeed, you also noted your weekend “fasts.” My question, then, would be asking you what the nutritional benefits are of starving yourself periodically?


Another worthy point: Linksvayer links to this piece about “a 37-year-old former body builder went from 4000 to 2000 calories a day. And to conserve energy, he surfs four hours a week instead of his usual 20.”

And? First, this is not calorie restriction at all. It is merely a change of lifestyle and adapting one’s nutritional/caloric needs to that lifestyle. When one stops bodybuilding, the nutritional and caloric needs change immensely, and so of course, if a change in nutrition and eating habits does not immediately follow, the body will gain fat. This is a no-brainer. People leading lives with normal activity levels do not need 4,000 calories. Bodybuilders do, and oftentimes, they eat much more than that. Thus the man above is no example of calorie restriction.

The article also discusses the notion of a 20% decrease in caloric intake. And I’ll say it again – and? The majority of Americans can use that 20% cut, and heck, many can cut back much more than that. People are just plain fat! As my readers know, I often criticize the fat, lazy lifestyle led by so many Americans who are addicted to white sugar, white flour, white rice, white pasta, and processed, ready-to-eat, garbage foods. They eat like shit and, by golly, they look like shit. Thus we see Big Guv stepping in to hand out its usual “cures,” which, in the end, are always far worse than the disease – and totalitarian to boot.

However, what these folks like Linksvayer advocate is near-starvation, not caloric restriction. One look at his photo tells the story. And yes, Mike, I have been reading up on your CR movement for some time now. I am aware of the extreme calorie restriction that the CR advocates promote. However, what I note in these folks is the bizarre obsession they have with longer lifespans. So they destroy and emaciate their bodies for 30-40 years so that they may have the chance to live a few years longer with arthritis, wearing diapers, and everything else that extreme old age brings.

My last question would be – What do these guys make of one of their gurus, Dr. Roy Walford, who died of Lou Gehrig’s disease? I’ll tell you what to make of it. Life can be a shot in the dark, and there are many aspects of health that you cannot control. Severely obese people who smoke, drink, eat fast food, and sit on a chair all day live into their 70s with few health problems. Bodybuilders, runners, and weekend fitness enthusiasts drop dead at youthful ages from cancer and myriad other diseases. Children die all the time from cancers and rare disorders. When it comes to health, we are only partially in the driver’s seat. My view is that you take as much of the wheel as you can and steer things in the right direction. Somewhere, there’s a really happy medium between obese and emaciated.

A last interesting point as regards Linksvayer… he says:

I am particularly amused that DeCoster wrote on I used to have a love/hate relationship with this and its sister site, Trenchant and extreme anti-war and anti-government commentary, including against intellectual protectionism. But the occasional Christian apologia, pro-apartheid writers, and general nuts really put me off. Then there’s the despicable Hoppe. Fortunately I am able to no longer care. There are many substitutes on the topics those sites were good on, and I am mostly convinced by Bryan Caplan on Austrian economics that the school does not just appear to be an ignorable backwater, it is.

Unfortunately, Linksvayer did not link to the “pro-apartheid” article he claims are standard fare for Thus we assume he’s slinging rhetoric and making false charges. But he also hates Hoppe.

On the other hand, he praises Helmut Schoek’s wonderful book Envy. Very nice Mike!

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