Chris Shugart Drops The Hammer

2010 October 1
by Alan Aragon

Loading the Ammo

The screenshot above is from the forum of fitness writer Chris Shugart. He recently posted a comment that would strike a chord with anyone who has studied nutrition or dietetics in a formal university setting. Before I get to that, let’s cover some background about why it was said. To state the obvious, high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is controversial. My blog post critiquing Dr. Robert Lustig’s fructose lecture brewed up a torrent of discussion. This included a 3-round debate between Lustig & I, which Lustig quite obviously lost. A summary of the action can be seen in this follow-up post.

Just when you think the clamoring over HFCS has hit a crescendo, there’s always another peak. Last March, a Princeton University news release claimed that a study done at their home-turf finally showed that HFCS “prompts considerably more weight gain” than sucrose [1]. However, this study has critical flaws that ultimately render it an interesting, but highly inconclusive piece of animal data. A few of the study’s important limitations are:

  • Humans are not rats, especially when it comes to carbohydrate metabolism. The metabolic pathway where carbohydrate is converted to fat within the liver (called de novo lipogenesis, or DNL), is far more efficient in rats than in humans. I discuss this and other physiological differences in my research review.
  • Dosing was irrelevant to human conditions. To quote a valid point made in a counter-release by the CRA“Translating the study’s reported rat intakes to human proportions, the calories gained from high fructose corn syrup would be equivalent to about 3000 kcal/day all from that single source. In comparison, adult humans consume about 2,000 calories per day from all dietary sources.”
  • There was no sucrose-fed control group for part of the short-term experiments and no sucrose-fed control group for the entirety of the long-term experiments in male rats. Missing sucrose control groups in the long-term phases of the experiment make it impossible to conclude that HFCS is uniquely lipogenic compared to sucrose.
  • Inconsistencies in the results simply do not support the headline of the Princeton press release, nor the implications made by the researchers themselves. For example, in the only set of comparators that actually included a sucrose-fed group in the long-term phase of the study, no significant differences were seen in bodyweight or triglyceride levels. For details about the statistical problems of this study, check out this excellent review by James Krieger.

Bang Goes the Hammer

So what did Shugart say that really set things off? The discussion began after he posted a commentary against HFCS (claiming it’s more harmful than sucrose), which he attempted to support by citing the aforementioned Princeton press release. In response to criticism leveled at the research he cited, Shugart decided to take a stiff jab at the dietetics profession. Click the screenshot below to see one of the most disparaging statements I’ve seen towards dietitians and nutrition students.

It’s given that Registered Dietitians (RDs) are better known for their clinical skills than their work with physique competitors and athletic populations in general. In fact, I’ve done my past share of criticizing RDs as a group for not being current in their knowledge of sports nutrition. The difference is, being a former dietetics student, I saw this gap in the curriculum and responded by providing CDR-approved continuing education courses to RDs in order to help beef up their proficiency. Shugart, on the other hand, is quick to belittle and dismiss RDs, while having a considerably less rigorous education in nutritional science than them.

More importantly, however, he attacked their supposedly corrupt governing body instead of attacking the content of their argument. If it was a discussion about the intellectual or academic honesty of governing bodies, then T-Nation vs. the American Dietetic Association would be a fun comparison. Too bad the discussion was about the comparative metabolic effects of HFCS and sucrose.  

Unfortunately for Shugart, a couple of fitness-savvy RDs lurking his forum responded in opposition. One member’s tone was strong enough for Shugart to delete his responses. I personally don’t care how aggressively someone comes off in a debate, but when their valid points get censored, you just have to shake your head. Thus far, Shugart has been unable to logically respond to the contentions put forth by the uncensored RD (and others) in this thread.

I think the moral of the story here is, in any discussion, place your focus on the data presented, not the decorations on the sleeve. 

Reference Cited

  1. Bocarsly ME, et al. High-fructose corn syrup causes characteristics of obesity in rats: Increased body weight, body fat and triglyceride levels. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2010 Feb 26. [Epub ahead of print] [Medline]


Microsoft Word - AARR wide banner 1.doc

82 Responses
  1. Huuugurts hammer permalink
    October 1, 2010

    u mad?

  2. October 1, 2010

    Alan Aragorn, you have used our T-Intellectual Property without our T-Permission. Those screenshots are the t-property of t-muscle LLC.

    Expect to hear from our T-lawyers soon. May God have mercy on your HFCS loving soul.

  3. October 1, 2010

    Oh my T-goodness…

  4. darkseeker permalink
    October 1, 2010

    He’s baaaaaaaack!!! 🙂

    Thanks for calling Shugart out on his ridiculousness. I occasionally visit that forum just for laughs. It’s funny how people will take what he says seriously. Unbelievable how someone with such a twisted view of food has a pretty major platform to create other crazies. Wait, I just described 90% of this industry.

  5. S. Harding permalink
    October 1, 2010

    Hey Alan,

    I thoroughly enjoyed your critique of the Princeton study in AARR, but it’s also nice to see that you can deliver in a more lay-friendly way here in your blog. Also, roasting the well-deserved is always a welcome read. Keep up the good work, good to have you back.

    Oh, almost forgot, thanks SO MUCH for the AARR index.

  6. Matthew permalink
    October 2, 2010

    Just one point that always amuses me, particularly when it comes to nutritional research.

    1. A rat study produces results I disagree with = rats arn’t humans, the results are irrelevant.

    2. A rat study produces results I agree with = I knew it, this is totally now true for humans!

    I find it strange how often these opposing interpretations of the value of animal research are held by the same person at different times.

  7. October 2, 2010

    Matthew — Who are you referring to, anyone specifically? I have always viewed animal research (especially in the realm of nutrition) as hypothesis-generating. It’s highly tentative until confirmed by well-designed human research.

    All — Thanks for stopping in & dropping some feedback.

  8. Alderms permalink
    October 2, 2010

    I guess you’re always right on a forum where you have the power to delete all the posts that prove otherwise.

    T-nation is just a big propaganda machine

    Keep up the good work Alan 🙂

  9. RayCinLA permalink
    October 2, 2010

    @ Alan:

    We must all have a moment of silence to thank Chris Shugart and the nutjobs at T-Nation for such great topics for you to play with. I love those guys. Excellent article, buddy. Your writing is just tits on in this one.

    @ Matthew:

    If you’re describinh the way supplement companies work when they use research to sell products, then yes you’re right.

  10. jasper permalink
    October 2, 2010

    why would I take advice from a guy who isn’t ‘educated’ in the field, doesn’t reference any sources or any research; doesn’t make critical observations about these findings and logical statements from the conclusions

  11. RayCinLA permalink
    October 2, 2010

    @ Jasper:

    Are you trying to describe Shugart? If so, good job.

  12. jasper permalink
    October 2, 2010

    ow yeah woops, forgot to mention who I was talking about,
    obv it’s Shugart

  13. October 2, 2010

    Hi Alan, thanks for this post. I was really starting to think that HFCS was poisonous. I suppose that the poison is in the dose and not the nature, where such things are concerned. However, it may be a bit difficult to believe if you consider that burgers from McD’s have shown disgusting results after immersion in HCl.

    I don’t like drinking carbonated drinks in general, so it doesn’t really concern me. However, instant coffee contains sweeteners that have HFCS in it. I’m just glad to know that I won’t get fat from 2 cups of instant coffee a day.


  14. Matthew permalink
    October 2, 2010

    Alan – Sorry I was not very celar, I agree with your view. I meant that people who have a strong attachment to one dietary dogma or believe a nutrient, food or supplement is good or bad often do it.

    The use of that study as evidence of how bad HFCS is just made me think of this, people are usually not critical of research that confirms their opinion. The problems you mention with the study are clear just from the press release.

  15. Eric permalink
    October 2, 2010

    That thread is a textbook example of a motive fallacy in action. Attacking the motives of the dieticians as if that would prove what they are saying is false. I’ve been reading Crimes Against Logic and its interesting to see the chapters in action out in the real world. If we were to do an online bookstudy the comments on the site would be perfect for examples.

    I wasn’t going to waste my time reading that thread but I did, just in case the CS camp made some valid points, I was sorely disappointed. I was waiting for the “show me your body to prove your point” argument that frequently appears in these types of threads…and sure enough it appeared. As if appearance proved anything. Which reminds me of a riddle:

    A man is driving through a town for a business meeting and is in need of a haircut. There are only two barber in town. The first one’s shop is a complete mess; hairs, magazines, trash strewn about, and messy hair. The second guy’s shop is clean and well kept and a great set of hair. Who does the man go to and why?

    okay the riddle is easy and maybe quite moronic but it does show that appearances should not be taken into account when making a decision or making an argument. Would you take financial advice from someone solely based on the fact that he is rich? Look at the argument being presented to see if it has any validity. Then take a look at who is.making the argument to see if bias played a part. then we might be able to finally have a good discussion without attacking.anyone.

  16. Bradley Grunner permalink
    October 2, 2010

    Alan, I’m not sure if you saw this here in which I (Bricknyce on TN) speak to him as politely as possible and actually show him the realities that RDs actually deal with and go through educationally and professionally.

  17. Andrew permalink
    October 2, 2010


  18. SkyNett permalink
    October 2, 2010

    Alan – great piece. Thank you – I really appreciate you taking the time to stick up for us.

    You are someone I defintely want to learn from.

    Shugart’s worst nightmare is a bodybuilder who is also an RD – then he loses the one thing that “sets him apart” – which is not being “mainstream”. So, if I have the fitness experience, and also the education, then he doesn’t have much to take shots at – but he tries anyway.

    He has NO college level education in biochemistry or any life science for that matter.

    Thanks again – made my day!

  19. Elie RD permalink
    October 2, 2010

    I am an RD here speaking and I find his post like many other T-nation ones very ignorant.

    Clinical dietitians deserve a little more respect. Those of us specializing in critical care choose to do so to help save lives.

  20. October 3, 2010

    I’m new here. I’ve noticed that very few health professionals seem inclined to investigate controversies. Rather, the tendency is to rely on consensus of opinion.

    In the field of nutrition, consensus is whatever the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion declares to be evidence based doctrine. There must be some strong disincentives in the health care professions to think and act independently.

  21. October 3, 2010

    This post makes it clear that Alan hates freedom. And America. Hell, he’s probably a pinko, as “everybody” knows the pinkos love HFCS because it’s killing Americans. Because it’s poison.

    Alan Aragon: Bad for America and average Jibs everywhere.

  22. October 3, 2010

    Oops. I have visited this site before and commented as well. I clicked on “this thread” above thinking it would connect me to the T-Nation thread.

    For this blog I have this to say. There is close connection between the corporate world and academia, government agencies, and health organizations. The truth about excessive sugar intake in general and excessive fructose intake in particular is obfuscated by all parties because that connection. The same holds for the other component in the food supply that promotes inflammation and fat storage; omega-6.

    As for dietitians, apparently most are more inclined to follow directives than review research articles. This is no reflection on their character. It’s simply a dominant human trait to be complaint, to embrace consensus of opinion. However, there should be enough information about fructose and omega-6 being noised about these days to generate some debate in the dietetic community. But I don’t see that happening. I just see business as usual – demonize saturated fat, promote the low fat approach for weight control, mild warnings regarding sugar intake, and no warnings about excessive omega-6 intake.

    For you dietitians who follow this blog, do investigate the omega-6 problem. Here’s a good place to begin: and

  23. Walter Smitty permalink
    October 3, 2010

    I often wonder how many people suffer damage from variou gurus and online personalities simply because they fall into pieces written by these individuals, adopt some of the beliefes, and end up having them ingrained before they even realize it. If enough information that is either dubious or at least far from set in stone based upon current understanding seeps into one’s cranium, it can be a major uphill battle to reprogram the mind, even in the face of solid evidence against whatever your current belief set may include.

    When I see people with a notable presence in the health/fitness/nutrition world, such as a Dr. Mercola or a Charles Poliquin, it’s hard not to speculate as to how many people are unwittingly brainwashed simply for having had the inclination to start exploring the internet for information on various sub-topics from the aforementioned areas. Whether it is the former personality warning against HFCS because of GMO corn or the latter making people think that anything over the mark of 25 grams or so of fructose a day will put you in deep trouble (or alternatively pitching any one of the products from his ever-increasing stable of supplements), these are people who have come to be regarded as authorities on various topics, and there seems to be more smoke and mirrors than substance to many (most?) of the claims.

    Worst of all is when you have uninformed people bashing a profession as a whole. No system is ever going to be perfect, and all you can ask is that professionals in any realm continue to try and refine/improve their skillset and show a care for those whom they work with and for on a daily basis. Thanks to people like you, Alan, there’s high-quality sources out there, so the only mistake is not altering one’s stance in light of new evidence that is presented. And it is becoming increasingly embarrassing seeing entire professions slandered simply because there are subsets (as there are in any profession) among the ranks that choose to remain in the dark ages in certain areas.

  24. Brad Zwingley permalink
    October 4, 2010


    On the topic of HFCS, I was wondering how big a deal is the issue of GM corn being used to produce it? If you have a moment, the 5:43 mark of the following video has the type of claim I see a number of nutrition folks make, but as an outsider with no formal scientific background, I can never tell whether such statements are quasi-experts blowing hot air/making unsubstantiated claims or possibly onto something, albeit an issue which we will not have a broader perspective on for many more years. I’m not one for hearsay, which is why I wish I had a briader background in analyzing scientific papers, so that I could confirm or debunk claims like those made about the supposed dangers of GM crops.

  25. October 4, 2010

    @David Brown : you are most likely shooting yourself in the foot by making the same mistake that has been done with saturated fat before : You are NOT differentiating enough, omega 6 is a fatty acid group and some of them are highly beneficial. Even Kurt Harris, being a hardcore paleo MD has noted that it is the ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 that is more important and that some omega 6 fatty acids do have vital components in our bodies.

  26. October 4, 2010

    Great post, Alan!

    James Krieger’s post about ‘Ad Hominem’, would probably be a good read for Shugart;

  27. James permalink
    October 4, 2010

    I tried to link to your blog on the HFCS thread, as I post on T-nation sometimes. Oddly enough the comment never showed up.

  28. jem permalink
    October 4, 2010

    Maybe this will clear things up.

  29. October 7, 2010

    David — In the case of fructose and omega-6, it’s a matter of dosage & context (fructose has been covered extensively here). I’ll reiterate what I’ve posted before: While I agree that omega-3 FAs are generally underconsumed (esp. in terms of proportion with omega-6 FAs), I wouldn’t cut out foods I liked on those grounds. I’d just eat less of them, or I’d eat more omega-3 FA. There’s magic in peanut butter, you didn’t know this? I think people can go overboard in their zeal for omega-3 as well, taking a more-is-better approach & swinging the pendulum too far in the other direction. Throwing out peanuts on the sole basis of FA proportion may be a case of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. More reading for you:

    Brad — The video you linked appears to be an interview with a zealot of sorts, rather than someone weighing the evidence in terms of pros and cons. I can’t give you a definitive answer here because a) there might not be close to one, and b) I have not yet investigated this topic with any degree of depth to form an opinion. I will leave you with a lay-friendly counter-perspective of related principles, check this video out (he addresses GM food at 12:10):

    All — Thanks so much for your commentary.

  30. Dennis permalink
    October 8, 2010

    According to Christian Thibaudeau, “it might be the only TRUE breakthrough in the world of high-performance nutrition in the past 20 years.”

    It’s thermoanabolic don’t you know

  31. jesse permalink
    October 8, 2010

    I BODYBUILDER was a disaster in our eyes, but so far there’s only positive feedback. If it continues like this, there will a lot of fire coming from Alan and his people. I know there will be fire if there’s negative feedback. But if people keep on saying they’re getting good results, oh man shit just got real.

  32. jesse permalink
    October 8, 2010

    I meant for the mag 10 fast.

  33. Dennis permalink
    October 9, 2010

    The mag-10 fast is essentially a way of disguising a low calorie day where you consume nothing but protein, my guesses are most people who follow it will get leaner due to a change in calories in vs calories out. Over a 36hour period you consume 100g of protein and a few other misc. pieces for a total of about 600 calories. It’s essentially a well disguised IF approach, two days per week you’re lowering your calories intake and taking in solely protein. They’re probably training fasted at this point too.

    Purported benefits of fasted training:

    Just seems like a way to reap the benefits of IF while also selling boat loads of Mag-10.

  34. jesse permalink
    October 9, 2010

    Actually I think you’re right. 100 g?! Geez. I had no clue I would taking in that much protein during the fast. I still wanna give it one shot partly because it sounds pretty damn easy as like you said it was well designed. Also, if it gives the results, it’s money well spent. If not, I have concrete testimony it’s bs.

  35. October 9, 2010

    Dennis – That’s exactly what it looks like. Plus the protein supp (casein hydrolysate) you’re dishing out $$$ for doesn’t have sound research-based justification for its use instead cheaper alternatives.

  36. jesse permalink
    October 9, 2010

    When I get the money to try it out(probably in 12 months), I’ll get back to you with my testimony. I’m not trying to step on science, but say diet and training are kept the same, and I actually do get the results they promised. How could it be explained? It’s just a what if for it it happens, which although I’m excited to try it, I doubt it.

  37. October 10, 2010

    Jesse — Let’s imagine I was a lay person, and someone I really respected & admired told me that wearing a special pendant or bracelet would increase my strength in the gym. Guess what? It just might work, through a little thing called expectation bias. Hopefully your hope and latent expectations come through for you when you dish out your hard-earned money for stuff that costs double the regular stuff, but in reality, needs a WHOLE LOT OF MARKETING HYPE to work its magic.

  38. Dennis permalink
    October 10, 2010

    Alan, found this study, I don’t have time to read through it myself right now.

    The effects of protein hydrolysate ingestion on blood amino acid levels, muscle protein anabolism, body composition, exercise performance and muscle glycogen resynthesis are discussed.

  39. October 10, 2010

    Hmm, idiots!
    Steaks and eggs is what it’s all about! 😉

    Anyhow; I know it really dosen’t matter, but just curious; are casein hydrolysate absorbed faster then whey isolate hydrolysate?

  40. Dennis permalink
    October 10, 2010

    Oh and Jesse, I think the same thing could be accomplished with a standard protein mix that contains casein. Casein helps to stave off hunger longer and thus is quite useful on this fast. Pretty sure you can grab a decent mix, e.g.

    Take that, take 12g spaced evenly through the day, voila, 100g or protein, low calories.

  41. October 10, 2010

    Fredrik — I’m not familiar with (or am simply forgetting about) any research that has directly compared them for purposes we care about. If you run across any, please link it here.

    Dennis — I’ve read that review, and when the author discusses its effect on concrete endpoints such as strength & bodycomp, you’ll find that there’s only 2 non-acute studis he cites showing the supsriority of WPH. One of the 2 is an AST-funded study involving their WPH product called VP2. The lead investigator of the study (Paul Cribb) happens to be AST’s director of research.

    For those unfamiliar with the jargon, acute means immediate-effect or short-term. Currently, the body of non-acute studies on slow vs fast proteins are about even when it comes to body comp or performance measures. This means that it apparently doesn’t make enough difference to justify pissing money down the drain for the expensive stuff that boasts either super-speed or super-slowness.

  42. Dennis permalink
    October 10, 2010

    Thanks Alan.

    So in the end, this protocol they’re pushing is going to get people results, but the product they’re pushing with it is an overpriced pile of hype?

    Seems to me you could just pick a basic protein blend, take 100g protein total in 10 doses over a period of a day and probably see the same results.

  43. October 10, 2010

    Their product & protocol is crammed with hype, so are the results promised. There’s no backing there other than “we’re cool, and we just know this is awesome, trust us”….. There’s squat’s worth of scientific justification behind both the products & the protocol. Just a literal shitload of hype.

  44. jesse permalink
    October 11, 2010

    I’m not tryna hate, but I out for the truth too, but at the same time, I’m not gonna knock it til I’ve tried it. For example, I admire you, Alan, and your people, for delving deep into research to find what works and what doesn’t but I’m going to be honest: I’m not gonna knock Christian Thibaudeau or whoever in tmuscle until I’ve actually spoke to them and have trained with them in person. For example, back when I was an idiot, I thought you were just a science nerd who loves to hate on the meatheads: the ones that just shut up and lift(no offense to anyone). Then I started seeing the credentials, which was not much, but then the testimonials came through, especially kelechi’s(I still can’t believe some people think kelechi is on roids)and I was like, “Alan, you’re the man.”

    On the subject of expectation bias, I’m not sure if placebo effect is a synonym but that’s what I’m thinking. Hey, I’ve said before, if it works it works. I’m not disproving science in anyway, but if for some reason, I tried, let’s say, IBB, and, and a low carb diet, and it actually made me put on 10 lb and lose 5 lb of fat(outrageous yep), I’m not going to sit around and say, “Oh, I just got lucky. This program is still doomed for failure.” I can’t. The results are there.

    So my point is I have an open mind. I’m not being stupid, just being truthful. I mean, most of us aren’t like you, Alan, or JC or whoever. If I kept on getting consistent results on some bs that was skewed like IBB and Anaconda, and I mean good results, both gaining muscle and leanness, I and all the others probably wouldn’t be lurking around forums or blogs. If we ended up bigger and leaner month after month, we’d probably leave, shut up, and continue to do what was working for us, regardless of what anyone was saying. I mean wouldn’t you?
    One more example: say a skinny young scientist puts all the knowledge to the test and he literally can back up every single thing he’d say about gaining muscle and losing fat. Say he had concrete proof that reps above 3 is absolutely useless for maximum muscle building. He lifts weights too though. He tells you his findings but because you absolutely hate the fact 3 reps is too short, you and your buddies continue doing 5 reps 3 sets that you guys tweak for your own pleasure(just the story). For some reason, each and every one of you ends up bigger and leaner week by week. Would you still listen to him then? I mean he has the knowledge, he’s studied this for 20 years, and has tested it time and time again and it’s completely erroneous, period. But you’re getting results for five years which are completely unreal to anybody else. Of course, you and your friends keep plugging away with the method you all created, despite his advice.
    See what I’m saying? Those tmuscle people can be real ignoramuses and t-jerks, but if it’s working for them in their eyes, and they seem to be getting good results even in their tmuscle peers’ eyes, they’re not gonna give a damn about you saying IBB or Anaconda or Mag-10 is bullshit. I’m not on their side, because frankly you back up your sh*t hard. I’m just saying I’m open to trying new things, and if they work, they work. And if they don’t when I try Mag-10, I’ll be glad to let you know my negative testimony, which will let everybody else know it could be bullsh*t.

  45. October 11, 2010

    Jesse, you don’t have to hit yourself in the head with a hammer to know that it hurts. The “don’t know it till you try it” argument is similar bullshit.

    I’d hate to see how you were when you actually were an idiot.

  46. BMJ permalink
    October 12, 2010


    Alan’s not gonna hate on you for not hating on him thinking you were hating on him when you weren’t hating on him thinking he was hating on you while hating on nothing. Just go bro, nobody’s hating on you for wasting your hard earned money while yer not hating on Thibs who was hating on you for not kicking down the money on his products and hype. I mean, no need to hate just because T-slum exaggerate their products and make fake names hyping their non-hating products. They don’t hate, they just like to take your money and delete all the facts that they are, well, hating SOB’s who sell garbage. Damn I hate that I just wrote all this. peace!

  47. Andrew permalink
    October 12, 2010

    “I thought you were just a science nerd who loves to hate on the meatheads”

    Alan, you have angered the t-bros :[

  48. RayCinLA permalink
    October 12, 2010

    @ Jesse:

    That’s good you have an open mind, but you have to realize Thibs is a supplement sales person by trade. It’s his job to get you excited about their latest tub of snake oil. It’s their job to sucker you in to buying it. Lucky for them, a sucker is born every minute! Hooray for snake oil sales! It works, as long as they make you believe it works.

  49. Jesse permalink
    October 12, 2010

    See, right there. I won’t pass judgement because I dont know them personally. I would rather set it straight by trying out the product or training under christian, then ridiculing if outcomes are horrible.

  50. BMJ permalink
    October 12, 2010

    Jesse, you seem like a nice guy, and trust me, we’ve all been swayed in by marketing of supplements once or twice in our past. I hate to see people like yourself, who are open and trying to do the right thing, get taken.

    You stated:
    “I’m not disproving science in anyway, but if for some reason, I tried, let’s say, IBB, and, and a low carb diet, and it actually made me put on 10 lb and lose 5 lb of fat(outrageous yep), I’m not going to sit around and say, “Oh, I just got lucky. This program is still doomed for failure.” I can’t. The results are there.”

    You could do that protocol, and you may even get results, but how do you know that the testimonies on T-mag are not Shills, or staff posting as users? You do know this is a VERY common practice, don’t you? What most people like Alan are stating, is that these supplemental results can be accomplished by just adjusting your food intake (or macronutrient ratio) amounts. If you put a big ol’ fat fancy label on something similar to sugar water and state that it makes you feel pumped-up when you take it after training, why would you pay more for it, when you could just as easily save money by eating that same amount of calories from carbs, or sugars from your own preparation….for CHEAP?

    Your example about the weight training rep of x3 scenario is an extreme measure, and that is not something even remotely close to what this topic is about. There will never be 1 “only way to train” program, there is too many factors involved, outside of training, that will influence a single program, you have to figure in the context.

    Yes, you are correct, if something is working for you, and you are happy with it, then yes, you have no pressing need to really change your routine. However, following training systems are free, while pushing crap hyped up supplements that are bought by naive individuals, such as yourself (not trying to be a jerk), who probably work hard for their money, is a whole different matter, and is unacceptable.

    You wrote:
    “See what I’m saying? Those tmuscle people can be real ignoramuses and t-jerks, but if it’s working for them in their eyes, and they seem to be getting good results even in their tmuscle peers’ eyes, they’re not gonna give a damn about you saying IBB or Anaconda or Mag-10 is bullshit. I’m not on their side, because frankly you back up your sh*t hard. I’m just saying I’m open to trying new things, and if they work, they work. And if they don’t when I try Mag-10, I’ll be glad to let you know my negative testimony, which will let everybody else know it could be bullsh*t.”

    Question: Why would you want to buy anything from people who are “ignoramuses and t-jerks?” If you can admit their true colors, what makes you think they are not hyping other things, and why would you even waste your money on them?

    It “working for them in their eyes,” because they are suckering people into buying there over-hyped, expensive products, and GETTING RICH….from naive individuals who fall into their traps.

    I don’t think Alan, or anybody who dislikes T-mag for that matter, really cares about what that site and it’s affiliates think about them, I sure wouldn’t. What matters, is the fact that people are getting ripped off for over-hyped junk. Alan and others write these things FOR FREE, with the hopes of opening the eyes of people like yourself. You are a prime example of the subjects Alan and others are trying to HELP.

    There is nothing wrong with wanting to try new products, just don’t get suckered from the hype. Know why it is that you are using such product, and then ask yourself, is it really worth the $$$$ to gain 0.4572-lbs of extra muscle in a year (that more than likely wasn’t even from the product itself), and that otherwise could have been spent on FOOD, etc.

    I probably went off the mark a little, but most of us have been in your shoes before, and are trying to prevent people like yourself from falling prey, like we did.

    Good luck!


  51. S. Harding permalink
    October 12, 2010


    Thanks for the great post, now I finally have a link to give the many looney tunes who hang their bets on that Princeton study. As for T-Nation, they never cease to amuse.

  52. jesse permalink
    October 12, 2010

    I thank you for your time, BMJ, but I’m just the guy who says, “You don’t know til u don’t try. I thank everyone who cares a bit much to the point they can’t sleep at night knowing some people are getting “ripped off.” But honestly, I just want to try it, and report back, that’s all. That way, if somebody comes along and says, “should I try mag-10?” I’ll have my own experience and Alan’s knowledge to tell him to back away from it. Of course, at that point, if he still wants to try it, hey everyone wants to try it. But I’m not gonna flame him for it.

  53. Andrew permalink
    October 13, 2010

    “I’m just the guy who says, “You don’t know til u don’t try”

    So you’re saying that one cannot discredit something until he’s tried it?

    Example: Friend says the ultimate way to build muscle is to drink tuna-egg protein shakes exactly 45 seconds after working out.

    That’s ridiculous. Would you really say “don’t knock it til you’ve tried it”?

  54. RayCinLA permalink
    October 13, 2010

    @ Andrew:

    You’re not marketing the tuna-egg protein shake every 45 seconds well enough. All you need to do is get a big steroid user to endorse it, maybe a couple of buzzwords like “thermoanabolic” and “hyooge ripped gains fast”. Now you’ve got a product worthy of trying!

  55. October 13, 2010

    jesse; you can’t try everything 😉

  56. October 13, 2010

    The ultimate anabolic is shoving a razor filled cucumber in your butthole during your workout.

    Report back to us how that works, Jesse.

  57. jesse permalink
    October 13, 2010

    No harm in trying. But I do have one question now that someone says Daryl endorsed it or whatever, even though Christian has stated Daryl came to here on his own bill, Idk if that’s true or not. What could make him gain the extreme thickness in his back and make him overall bigger? Couldn’t be steroids as the guy is 35, which means he is very lucky to gain this late in the game, I think. Training alone could not help him gain 11 lb in 6 weeks, and this is during dieting. So what helped him come into the competition bigger and heavier than ever, and some quote that Daryl is in his best shape ever? I’m not being smart, I’m only looking for someone to reply back because I’m confused.

  58. RayCinLA permalink
    October 13, 2010

    @ Jesse:

    You’re confused about what an advertising campaign is. Everything from T-Nation has one goal in mind: to sell you their supplements. This isn’t rocket science, kid. It’s called marketing, and you’ve fallen hook, line, and sinker.

  59. jesse permalink
    October 13, 2010

    Sure, maybe I have. So tell me how exactly Daryl got bigger and heavier WHILE DIETING. Sure you can say it’s marketing but that’s wasn’t my question. How?

  60. RayCinLA permalink
    October 13, 2010

    @ Jesse:

    Did it ever occur to you that Daryl could have been coming off of a de-training phase, just like Thibs did when he gave his tesimonial of the greatness of Anaconda? Don’t be so naive. Next thing you know, they will try to sell people leucine powder as the magic pixie dust… OH WAIT.

  61. darkseeker permalink
    October 13, 2010

    Jesse, no offense but you are the perfect study in how the public gets conned. Easily.

  62. Jesse permalink
    October 14, 2010

    That’s all I wanted. I’m leaning towards not trying it, but coming off a detraining phase can yield a gain of…11 LB OF MUSCLE?

  63. October 14, 2010

    Well, RayCinLA; You can’t say that everything from T-nation is BS, the have many good articles from great guys, too!

  64. October 14, 2010

    This is just painful.

    Jesse, they’re trying to sell you a product. They’re going to LIE, STRETCH THE TRUTH, EXAGERATE, MISLEAD. Do you really believe the results that they report? Really? They censor their forum so that negative reviews don’t come through. Why do you think they do that? Why can’t their products and training programs stand up to open and honest critical review?

    Here’s a few novel thoughts. Keep adding weight to the bar. Eat for your goals. Stop trying to find the magic bullet via supplementation.

  65. October 14, 2010

    best advice I ever had, save all the money you’d spend on sups and buy solid foods instead.
    stuff your face

  66. October 14, 2010

    Alan, you know that popular fitness sites and mags are all entertainment right. So, everyone should know these are fictional reads. At least, a few fitness editors have informed me that it’s all about the bucks. Yet, millions of readers are not aware this little joke.

    In reality, it is a fucking shame, and it should come as no surprise that T-Nation or any other site of this type perpetuates unfounded, irrational claims.

    I would agree that T-Nation might have a few good characterisitics, but I would also like to suggest that Hitler, and Manson probably have at least one desirable quality.

  67. Paul Skavland permalink
    October 14, 2010

    “It has become almost a cliché to remark that nobody boasts of ignorance of literature, but it is socially acceptable to boast ignorance of science.” — Richard Dawkins

    I also like the quote, “There’s this thing called being so open-minded your brains drop out.” (same author)

    @Jesse – if you’re still reading here I commend you on that, at least. But bro, if I dance around in a circle three times before I open my car door, that will WORK. I could tell all my friends I danced around in a circle and my car door opened. They could try it and it would “work” for them, too. But all that was really necessary to open my car door was my car key. Most of the supplements for sale out there are simply dancing around in a circle, for a lot of money.

    Think about this: any supplement that really provides amazing results gets banned from sports or banned from commercial sales entirely (ephedrine, various prohormones, etc).

    When I tell people this stuff doesn’t work, I’m not “hating” on anyone, I’m just trying to save innocent victims some money. I have personally wasted hundreds, no, thousands (sigh) on HMB, CLA and other stuff that amounted to a lot of BS. But hey, it’s your wallet. Do what you want.

    “Human beings, who are almost unique in their ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” — Douglas Adams

  68. Andrew permalink
    October 15, 2010

    @Paul – wait, I don’t have to dance around for the car door to open?

  69. jesse permalink
    October 16, 2010

    Awesome. Honestly, I’m just going to sit back and wait a few years, see how far supplements, and nutrition can go. Thanks for getting my head out of my ass. NO SUPPLEMENT IS WORTH SPENDING HALF A PAYCHECK EVERY MONTH, unless I was so rich I could buy a new shirt every week. For right now, I’m just trying to do good with what I got. But I got a couple questions. Alan, I know you were recently interviewed by la times, and I was SHOCKED to see that you didn’t recommend 1.5 per lb, which is good for me. For those of us who are no longer newbs(but judging by muscularity, still am lol), what would be your current recommendations of protein intake for both cutting and bulking? Is it the same as you said in the article?

  70. darkseeker permalink
    October 16, 2010

    Jesse, Alan recently posted on Lyle’s board that those figures were his relay of what’s in been seen the research, but the article didn’t have enough space to talk about his views on the limitations of the research. If you subscribed to his research review (which you obviously don’t) you’d see he mostly has his bodybuilding and fitness clients on 2-3 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. There’s a lot more to it, but I’d rather let Alan respond.

  71. BMJ permalink
    October 16, 2010

    Jesse, congrats, you made the right decision. And to paraphrase Lyle (somewhat poorly mind you), were not anti-supplement per se, but anti-crap [supplements]. There’s a ‘few’ that work, but a whole lot more, over-whelmingly so, that don’t, and are hyped-up crap. If you had mentioned wanting to try something like cratine mono, then i’m sure just about everybody would have said to give it a try….but pointed you to cheaper sources for the same product:)

    Just to add onto what darkseeker stated, and Alan can correct me if I am wrong, but if Alan would have stated something that he could not have backed-up with research, then there would have been a million Aragon haters (most likely T-nation or paleotards or fruit haters) wanting to take a shot at him for recommending soemthing that is not supported. In other words, he didn’t want to post something he could not at least show some science and documentation on. As darkseeker further stated, if he would have had more ‘room’ to explain his views, then he probably would have stated other examples of possible use from higher protein intakes from his trial ansd errors, and also from others anecdotal experiences. Sometimes stating less is better when it comes to publications like as such, due to people taking briefly stated information out of context and starting strawman fallacies….and such.

  72. Josh permalink
    October 17, 2010

    I guess I was unaware that most of the RDs out there worked with Geriatrics and just pushed Ensure LOL. I also find it amusing that people seem to think that clinical RDs, especially those that are board-certified in specialty areas (CNSC, Renal, etc..) just couldn’t possibly be as in-the-know as those who work out and lead a fitness lifestyle. I mean writing TPN recs for the critically ill pt is nowhere near as complicated as creating a diet plan for the moderatly strong 185lber who’s going through a midlife crisis and wants get his college body back.

  73. Tim permalink
    October 19, 2010

    Gosh, I know I’m late to the party, but I hope none of you mind if I ask a question that is (slightly?=P) derailing the topic at-hand.

    But it relates to how “humans are not rats.” (I have read your article Alan and I agree with you 100%). There are several “students” in my nutrition classes that have fallen prey to “The China Study.” Believing a very black/white approach that animal protein = bad and plant protein = good.

    Does anyone have any great references that dispute The China Study? Thank you!

  74. October 25, 2010


    I can’t thank you enough for this blog. I have a buddy in Chiropractic school and he is anti-HFCS with the best of them. I don’t understand the science as well as he does…but you sure do and you make me smarter because of it and that allows me to win a lot of debates with him, thanks!

  75. May 12, 2011

    HFCS has 55% fructose, while table sugar (sucrose) has 50%.
    The difference is 10%. Over time, 10% extra fructose will have a highly detrimental effect on our metabolism. Indeed, four decades after this never-tested artificial substance was allowed into our food supply by an out-to-lunch FDA, we have an obesity rate of one in three American adults. And we all know there’s an epidemic of childhood obesity–plus widespread metabolic syndrome in the general population (obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver, hypertension, pancreatic cancer). This disease rise correlates perfectly with the introduction of HFCS–now ubiquitous and nearly unavoidable to consume. Because HFCS is artificial and was never tested, we who are forced to eat this stuff must demand that it be removed from our food supply–until they do the lab work proving it safe, or unsafe.

  76. Daniel Han permalink
    October 30, 2011

    This is a pointless debate. NEITHER sucrose nor HFCS should be consumed in any significant quantity. There is a reason bacteria don’t eat sugar and that it is actually used in history as a preservative, there’s zero nutrition. metabolism of glucose for bioenergy requires all sorts of vitamins/minerals/nutrients, hence real food is a total package and processed stuff doesn’t even mold. leave mcdonalds out for 6mo and the quarter pounder becomes a living room replica.

  77. January 21, 2012

    Sucrose is a natural sugar found in the body anyway. However, that wouldn’t prompt me to start gobbling up loads of pure sucrose. I think I can manage without HFCS, and stick to more recognizable fuel sources.

    Also, I am surprised that people can boldly claim the nutritional effects of a food source on a human being, based “purely” upon the effect it may have on a lab rat. There are many differences between humans and other mammals. For example, we can ingest plenty of chocolate without it damaging our health. In fact, a small amount is actually very good for your heart. However, if you gave to much chocolate to a dog, it could actually kill it – all because of a chemical called Theobromine.

  78. Jay permalink
    June 24, 2014

    Funny I ran across this. Chris Shugart banned my comments on T Nation for simply stating that real food was better for you than supplements and you should base your diet on that rather than supplements.

  79. William permalink
    January 30, 2017

    Thank you so much.

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