Blog - Authors

Understand Research for Weight Loss-Confimation Bias

Posted on July 29th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Matt discusses the phenomenon of confirmation bias, how it applies to research and how the scientific community tries to avoid it.

We feel it’s important for people to understand what exactly it means to have our work supported by high-quality evidence.  This is why we think our weight loss ebook, S.P.E.E.D., will be so incredibly effective!

Multi-joint Exercises for Weight Loss

Posted on July 28th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Matt discusses why multi-joint exercises are great for quick, efficient workouts

HCG and Weight Loss: response to a YouTube comment

Posted on July 27th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

We received a comment at YouTube in response to our recent video entry regarding HCG.  Since YouTube limits the number of characters in the comments section, we posted our response here.  The comment and our response is posted below:

Quote from 1776in2008 : “You’re wrong. The diet ALLOWS the body to release fat, but the HCG causes your body to lose the right kind of fat while protecting LBM and structural fat. Without the HCG, it would be just water and muscle weight. In those so-called ‘trials’ that you site, they only compared the weight that was lost, NOT the type of weight that was lost. Sure, someone will lose around 20 pounds on a 23 day 500 calorie diet too, but it will be water and muscle weight, NOT actual fat, like on the HCG protocol.”

First we’d like to thank you for your comment.  I’ll respond to your post one issue at a time.

“You’re wrong.”

No I’m not.

“The diet ALLOWS the body to release fat”

I believe you mean that a 500 calorie/day diet will put just about anyone in a state of negative energy balance, which will most likely cause the loss of some tissue (fat or muscle for the sake of our discussion)

“but the HCG causes your body to lose the right kind of fat while protecting LBM and structural fat”

First, your use of the term structural fat is incorrect.  This term is antiquated and is only still being used in this way by those in the HCG camp who seem to read nothing but the HCG literature, which has remained largely unchanged since the original work of Dr. Simeons in the 1950s despite many advances in the understanding of the human body, and fat in particular, since then.  You can’t ask the scientific community to prove or disprove HCG’s effects on something that doesn’t even exist.  Why not ask them to disprove the existence of unicorns and Santa Claus while we’re at it?  The term “structural fat” is now typically reserved for the use of fat in cosmetic surgery.  Please begin using the terms visceral and subcutaneous fat and others (brown adipose tissue, white adipose tissue, etc) that have been adopted by the current scientific literature (by current, I mean the last 2 or 3 decades!).

Terminology aside, HCG is not necessary, or proven, for these effects of muscle-sparing and visceral fat targeting.  Exercise has been proven to do this time and again (unlike HCG).  (Hill, Tsuzuku, Layman, Kay)

“Without the HCG, it would be just water and muscle weight.”

This statement is laughable.  It would all be water and muscle weight lost?  A person would lose 20 pounds of water and muscle?  This reveals a gross misunderstanding of basic human physiology and a stern belief in HCG folklore.  In the metabolic ward study by Hill et al., obese women who DID NOT exercise and ate an 800 calorie/day diet lost an average of 57% of their weight as fat after 5 weeks. Exercising women lost almost 75% of the weight lost as fat.  Where is the evidence to support your claim of “water and muscle” loss without HCG?

“In those so-called ‘trials’ that you site, they only compared the weight that was lost, NOT the type of weight that was lost”

Why is trial in quotations?  They are trials.  That’s what they’re called.  And, by the way, they’re the gold standard of proof of causal relationships when performed correctly.  Trials like these are what have allowed the scientific community to distinguish the bad from the good, the lies from the truth.

Yes, these trials compared the amount of total weight lost. And, actually, in addition to weight lost they compared the ability of HCG to affect the subjects’ feelings of hunger, feelings of well-being, anxiety and depression, not to mention HCG’s ability to promote fat re-distribution.  All were found to be negative.

Show me a study that proves HCG promotes positive changes in body composition better than placebo. And if you would be so kind, please also explain the mechanism behind this effect, because the ‘re-setting the hypothalamus” mumbo-jumbo has no merit in relation to your body composition argument, if it ever had any in the first place.

It seems, based on your comment, that the HCG camp is changing their tune regarding what HCG is supposed to do.  Since it’s been shot down on all the original claims (increased weight loss, reduced hunger, anxiety, depression, increased feelings of well-being, the ability to take fat away from ‘problem areas’) now you must say it changes the composition of the weight lost, that it targets the “right kind of fat while protecting LBM and structural fat”.  Well, the onus is on you to provide evidence that it works.

Dr. Simeons even stated in the forward to his original manuscript:

“Thus, when I make what reads like a factual statement, the professional reader may have to translate into: clinical experience seems to suggest that such and such an observation might be tentatively explained by such and such a working hypothesis, requiring a vast amount of further research before the hypothesis can be considered a valid theory.”

Where is this vast amount of research? If you can provide real proof that HCG does anything it’s purported to do in regards to body composition and weight loss, I’ll post a video trumpeting the benefits of HCG for body composition, Jeff and I will edit our HCG special report to reflect the new information and I’ll admit I was wrong.  Go ahead, show me proof.  Scientific proof.

These are scientific references, providing proof for claims made above.  You can get your own at a library near you:

Hill, J. O., Sparling, P. B., Shields, T. W., & Heller, P. A. (1987). Effects of exercise and food restriction on body composition and metabolic rate in obese women. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 46(4), 622-630.

Layman, D. K., Evans, E., Baurn, J. I., Seyler, J., Erickson, D. J., & Boileau, R. A. (2005). Dietary protein and exercise have additive effects on body composition during weight loss in adult women. Journal of Nutrition, 135(8), 1903-1910.

Kay S.J., Fiatarone Singh M.A. The influence of physical activity on abdominal fat: a systematic review of the literature. Obesity Reviews. 2006;7: 183–200

Simeons ATW. Pounds and inches-a new approach to obesity. Rome, privately printed 1967.

Tsuzuku S, Kajioka T, Endo H, Abbott RD, Curb JD, Yano K. Favorable eVects of non-instrumental resistance training on fat distribution and metabolic proWles in healthy elderly people. Eur J Appl Physiol . 2007;99:549–555

Anecdotal Evidence and HCG

Posted on July 24th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Vegan athlete Brendan Brazier and his book

Posted on July 9th, 2009 by Jeff Thiboutot M.S.

Brendan Brazier: Vegan Athlete

I (Jeff) just got back from a talk by Brendan Brazier at a local Whole Foods store. He is the author of Thrive: The Vegan Nutrition Guide to Optimal Performance in Sports and Life and formulator of Vega nutritional products.

I went to this because I like to hear what some other authors are saying. Plus, I was curious on how he was spinning the vegan athlete thing. For those who are not sure what vegan is, it is a completely animal product free diet. No dairy, eggs, chicken, fish etc. Interestingly, about 11 years ago, I actually followed a vegan diet for a couple of years.

I looked over his book and listened to him speak for about 60 minutes. Regrettably, it was what I expected, mostly the same old stuff that most vegans and raw food advocates spew. Basically, get yourself alkaline, plant foods are the best, you will have more energy if you eat raw foods, animal products are not very good for us, and cooked/processed foods are stressful for the body because they have no enzymes. He also emphasized the importance of keeping cortisol levels down because this hormone will basically make you fat, sick, and tired.

There are so many things that I could say but don’t have the time to cover now. I will try to give you a couple of take home messages. First, I do agree that chronically elevated cortisol levels are not a good thing. But, a vegan and/or raw diet does not automatically bring this down. His book had no in-text citations, but there is a reference section in the back. Therefore, we don’t know if there is any good evidence (I did it and I feel great, lost weight, etc. is not good evidence) that a vegan diet does what he says. It is not likely that it would bring down cortisol any better than an omnivore diet (animal products and plant products). It seems that there is an important ratio of testosterone to cortisol. The increase in one tends to decrease the other (Volek et al) (this is an in-text citation). The Volek et al (1997) paper states “Vegetarians also consume less fat, SFA, and a higher PUFA/SFA ratio compared with omnivores, and vegetarians exhibit lower concentrations of T compared with omnivores” (p.51). This would typically mean that cortisol levels would be higher in the vegetarian.

Second, typically these types of books, vegan/vegetarian/raw, are based on strong philosophical and environmental views. This means that eating certain foods or food manufacturing processes are bad for animals and/or for the planet. There is a good amount of factual information that backs up some of these views. However, there is typically a lot of faulty logic and poor or no evidence to support their views on what certain foods do to people’s health or athletic ability.

There is a lot more to this issue but for now just realize that most of what he talks about is not supported with good evidence and is not likely useful.


Volek, J. et al (1997). Testosterone and cortisol in relationship to dietary nutrients and resistance exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 82(1): 49–54

HCG for Weight Loss – Practitioners Should Know Better

Posted on July 9th, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

Today, I got an email from a practitioner I respect announcing the use of HCG in their facility. The message touted all the usual HCG nonsense; re-setting the hypothalamus, three kinds of fat… all the stuff straight out of Simeons’ and Trudeau’s books. Here’s a quote from the email:

“The third type of fat is the abnormal Secure Fat Reserve. This third fat is also a reserve of fuel, but unlike the normal, readily accessible fat reserves spread throughout the body, this fat is located in what is called the “problem areas” and is virtually inaccessible.”

Fat around these areas is not virtually inaccessible. They just tend to be the places the body preferentially stores fat, and this is regulated by the difference in hormones between sexes.(Power) Continue losing weight and it will come off these areas eventually.

What about the fact that stored fat in the hip area is correlated with good health? Yup, that’s right. Here’s an excerpt from our upcoming weight loss ebook:

“…larger hip and thigh measurements, commonly due to subcutaneous fat, are negatively associated with increased health risks. (Janssen) This means your risk goes down.”

One more thing.  Promoters of the HCG diet commonly take text straight from Simeons’ book, written far too long ago.  Can they at least update it with the current vocabulary?  Maybe mention visceral fat and subcutaneous fat instead of structural fat and the fat reserve?  The HCG diet and nearly everything I’ve seen written that promotes it is just plain nonsense.

Please, read our HCG report and pass it on to as many people as possible.

Hey! HCG Promoters! Look Here! This is what real research looks like:

Power MP, Schulkin J. Sex differences in fat storage, fat metabolism, and the health risks from
obesity: possible evolutionary origins. Br J Nutr. 2008;99:931–940

Janssen, I. et al (2004). Waist circumference and not body mass index explains obesity-related health risks. American J Clinical Nutrition; 79: 379-384.

Feedback on our report, HCG & Weight Loss: Enough Already!

Posted on July 8th, 2009 by admin

So, we’ve gotten some comments about our HCG report that attack us for taking the wind out of people’s sails. This is not our intention! We are supportive of people who can stick to a difficult diet plan like the one commonly associated with the HCG protocol. We hope anyone who has tried, or is in the process of following the HCG plan loses unwanted fat and keeps it off.

Our intention while writing the report was to show that the HCG shots have not been scientifically proven to do anything! So, the people who follow the HCG plan and get results do it all by themselves, with no help from any HCG shot. Good for them!

We would like to warn anyone who is thinking of trying the HCG plan that the shots will be NO HELP and that they’ll be wasting their money on a placebo. This is our reason for writing the HCG report. We don’t like to see people get duped into a technique or supplement that has no proof behind it what-so-ever. We like proof and when we find it, we’ll pass it on to you.



S.P.E.E.D. Special Report – HCG & Weight Loss: Enough Already!

Posted on July 1st, 2009 by Matt Schoeneberger

HCG & Weight Loss:
Enough Already!

This special report revealing why HCG  for weight loss is NOT an effective option is posted at Just click on HCG Special Report in the navigation section at the bottom of our home page and you’ll be there!

Please share with as many of your friends and family as you’d like.

In Health,