White Coat Underground

WWJE (What would Jenny McCarthy eat?)

Apparently not much. From her new Oprah-fied blog:

If I can really do it I will officially have a diet that looks like this…

    No wheat
    No dairy
    No refined sugar
    No caffeine
    No alcohol
    No smoking
    No yeast

I can forgive simple category errors, like putting smoking in the diet column. I’m certainly curious why she feels the need to eliminate the rest of these things. Here are possible justifications:

Wheat: gluten, mostly in wheat products, must be avoided if you have celiac disease.

Dairy: best to avoid if you have lactose intolerance. Rare instances of severe milk-protein allergies.

Refined sugar: no justification for complete abstinence

Caffeine: can cause breast pain, heart palpitations, migraine headaches, and a variety of other problems. Couldn’t hurt to quit.

Alcohol: abstinence good for alcoholics, and it’s pretty unnecessary to consume (unless you live with Jenny McCarthy).

Smoking: as stated, not a dietary issue, but really, really bad for you

Yeast: assuming she means common yeasts used to bake breads, no justification for abstinence

So, there you have it. In addition to being a dangerous idiot (through her efforts to promote infectious diseases), Jenny is a lactose-intolerant, migraine-suffering, alcoholic with celiac disease.

Or she’s just crazy.


  1. #1 Brownian
    May 11, 2009

    Why is Botox not on that list? Too hard to give up?

  2. #2 Aaron Golas
    May 11, 2009

    Yeah, I noticed that myself. Didn’t she drop gluten from her son’s diet to help “cure” his “autism”, or am I misremembering that?

    Oh, and yeast causes yeast infections, so clearly it’s not safe to eat.

  3. #3 Andrew Nguyen
    May 11, 2009

    Wow, she is just incredible.

  4. #4 Will TS
    May 11, 2009

    I am intrigued by the ‘no yeast’ movement. Apparently, a bunch of female celebs believe that vaginal yeast infections are caused by consuming bread. What kind of bread are they eating and where are they putting it?

  5. #5 simba
    May 11, 2009

    Actually, I know someone who does a very similar diet to this for a few months every year, except he doesn’t have anything about yeast on it, and his is more restrictive. The idea is you eat a lot of fruit and staples, but can’t eat out during the day or snack. The absence of caffeine or alcohol means that you can only drink a lot of water, which is less fattening.

    Of course he intends it as a restrictive self-denial thing, to improve his self-control, and doesn’t pretend it’s for health reasons.

  6. #6 Tsu Dho Nimh
    May 11, 2009

    No refined sugar, but she will eat “agave nectar” … which is extremely refined. As the Flying Spaghetti Monster designed it, agave juice is a faintly sweet, slightly gummy liquid.

    It takes a lot of chemical processing style plants to go from there to the “natural nectar” … and if you don’t, you get pulque and a hangover.

  7. #7 Mu
    May 11, 2009

    So Jenny lives off red meat and potatoes. Not too bad of a diet, but for the lack of butter on the potatoes and beer to wash it down with.

  8. #8 Isis the Scientist
    May 11, 2009

    I have decided to begin a new diet which eliminates fruits, vegetables, and meat. That pretty much leaves me with coffee, liquor, and cake.

    Thact actually sounds a lot like my current diet.

  9. #9 PalMD
    May 11, 2009

    That actually sounds a lot like my current diet.

    …which explains your total hotness…

  10. #10 eddie
    May 11, 2009

    I’d never thought of using marmite as a sex aid, until now ;-(
    Another reason to stay away from JM the measles mom.
    Also, Hey Isis, staying off meat is not a good strategy in the Porterhouse Challenge.

  11. #11 eddie
    May 11, 2009

    If I was a celebrity pretend-health pretend-expert with a raging candida infestation, I’d do something like this too.

  12. #12 nospil 1
    May 11, 2009

    Add to her list:

    NO FUN

  13. #13 Noadi
    May 11, 2009

    I don’t smoke or drink so those parts of the diet not too bad. However is there anything left that’s worth eating other than meat once you take out bread, pasta, and cheese?

    I don’t just eat yeast I’m currently encouraging it’s growth with my sourdough starter and love to bake bread. Funny, in my entire life I’ve never yet had a yeast infection.

  14. #14 leigh
    May 11, 2009

    i’m waiting for the gigantic expose on Big Wheat and Big Dairy, personally.

  15. #15 Rogue Epidemiologist
    May 11, 2009

    The yeast retriction is strange. I know a lot of vegans who swear by nutritive yeast flakes. I’m a carnivore, but on those nights when I’m chowing down on brown rice and tofu, I like dumping a pile of nutri-yeast on my dinner. It’s tasty, kinda savory and earthy. And it’s full of B vitamins.

    Whatever, though. Restrictive diets are the new asceticism.

  16. #16 Dianne
    May 11, 2009

    Drinking a moderate amount of alcohol does seem to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease compared to complete abstinence. So it may be healthy for non-alcoholics to drink a little (up to one glass of wine per day.)

  17. #17 RMM Barrie
    May 11, 2009

    Aaron Golas @2

    drop gluten from her son’s diet to help “cure” his “autism”, or am I misremembering that?

    Almost perfect memory; from her website:

    “One treatment Jenny decided to try was a change in eating habits. She immediately started eliminating gluten and casein, found in wheat and dairy products, from Evan’s diet.”

    So that explains wheat and dairy.

    Again her website: “most of the published science deals with autism, which we feel is equally relevant for a child with ADD/ADHD” ( will let PalMD explain that “association” )

    So that explains refined sugar because everybody “knows” it worsens ADHD which by observation fits her attention span, as McCarthy admits in the same post that she: “ had 88 Sprinkles cupcakes delivered to the house for Evan’s birthday party” All makes sense so far does it not?

    Now the last four on the list leaves some room for conjecture. Since she ends the post by saying that “..Jim. He’s probably hoping sex doesn’t end up on that list.” she again loses focus. So, caffeine, alcohol, smoking and yeast get sorted out this way. With no caffeine she can really be asleep, he will not have to put isopropyl alcohol on the Botox injection sites, no smoke with both sleeping and get Jim tested for a yeast infection.

    I will humbly add to “crazy,” flighty stupid. Alternate or additional appendages being accepted.

    Sources: http://www.generationrescue.org/evan.html and http://www.generationrescue.org/studies.html

    :-)) & 🙁

  18. #18 daedalus2u
    May 11, 2009

    Actually cake is made with soft wheat flour, which contains less gluten than does hard wheat. So cake must be better for you than bread (according to Jenny).

  19. #19 T. Bruce McNeely
    May 11, 2009

    The type of yeast that is used for leavening bread and fermentation of alcohol and is also used in supplements is the Saccharomyces genus. Yeast infections are caused by members of the Candida genus, most commonly Candida albicans. The idea that yeast infections can be caused by eating yeast or yeast products is nonsense.

    Besides which, the thought of eating bread leavened with Candida albicans is enough to make me barf.

  20. #20 Lena
    May 11, 2009

    Coeliac disease and non-Coeliac gluten intolerance is woefully undiagnosed, according to my gastroenterologist. It used to be thought 1 in 5000 had it, but now it’s estimated more like 1 in 130, and most don’t know they have it and have diagnoses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome or chronic anemia, if anything. Many family practioners aren’t aware of the latest diagnostic methods and their reliability either, sadly. (Even the gold standard bowel biopsy can fail to diagnose if not enough samples are taken or the pathologist doesn’t know new standards.) The malabsobrtion and bowel disturbances it causes can cause behavioural and cognitive problems in children and adults, resembling various learning disabilities, attention disorders or personalityp problems, depending on individual response. The problems disappear with removal of gluten from the diet.

    However, there’s no known correlation with autism, unless a parent’s diagnosed the intolerance symptoms themselves as “autism”. Hell, there’s some evidence that untreated gluten intolerance contributes to heart disease, what with the chronic inflammation. And gluten and lactose and/or casein intolerance are correlated.

    I can’t eat gluten. Causes me great ill. My husband can’t eat gluten or lactose. I also have other Actual Health Problems that mean our diets are reasonably restricted, and why on earth anyone would VOLUNTARILY take on a diet like this is beyond me. It’s a pain in the ass. You do a lot of wholesome home cooking, though, which has its health benefits. And there are plenty of gluten-free breads and pastas on the market these days.

    People who don’t have actual intolerances but are just following some trendy diet annoy me because they contribute to the idea that I am just following a trendy diet, too.

    Wow, that got ranty. But the Jenny McCarthys irritate me so much for contributing to stupid diet ideas and wrong ideas about gluten intolerance.

  21. #21 Brian X
    May 12, 2009

    There’s a term called orthorexia that describes an OCD-like obsession with eating right. There’s quite a bit of dispute over whether that qualifies as an actual condition, but it would certainly fit in cases like this.

  22. #22 daedalus2u
    May 12, 2009

    The reason gluten is difficult to digest is because it has a lot of disulfide double bonds. These double bonds are the reason that gluten is necessary to make good bread. It is the double bonds that provide the elasticity to the dough and allow it to rise and stay together while baking so you form a porous bread and not a hard lump.

    The reason those double bonds are hard to digest is because they have to be reduced from a disulfide double bond to two thiols. Normally this occurs in the lysosome, where the bonds are reduced by cysteine ported in with cystine being ported out. With the double bonds reduced, the proteins can open up, and proteases can gain access to the protein chain and cleave it into smaller bits. There are defects in cystine transport caused by a mutation in the cystine transporter which is powered by the pH gradient set up by ATP powered proton pumps. This causes cystinosis, the accumulation of cystine in lysosomes.

    It is the ratio of cysteine to cystine that sets up the redox potential and determines if any particular disulfide bond is stable or not. There are enzymes that catalyze the reduction, protein disulfide isomerase and thioredoxin for example.

    If disulfide bonds can’t be reduced, the proteins containing them can’t be digested. The cell can’t allow them to just sit there, so the cell exocytoses the indigestible nugget into the extracellular space where other cells can gain access to it. A major class of cells are dendritic cells and other immune cells. They pick up extraneous debris in the extracellular space, port it into their own lysosomes and digest it. These are the same cells that hunt for bacteria and other invaders and when digested produce signals to raise antibodies against them. When that happens to gluten, then one becomes immunogenically sensitized to gluten and generates antibodies to attack it.

    When gluten is attacked, it sets up inflammation which causes local oxidative stress. This is unfortunate because oxidative stress shifts the digestion of extracellular bits into a more immunogenic pathway. Oxidative stress also reduces the pH gradient by inhibiting the ATP powered proton pump in the lysosome. This impairs digestion of gluten in the first place, exacerbating the whole process.

    Oxidative stress leading to impaired digestion in the lysosome and exocytosis of undigested nuggets is a generic mechanism for generation of autoimmune antibodies. All cellular contents are digested in the lysosome, and under conditions of oxidative stress that digestion is impaired and can lead to autoimmune sensitization to anything. This is where the anti-mitochondrial and anti-nuclear antibodies come from in primary biliary cirrhosis, and the specific antibodies in things such as stiff person syndrome. The antibodies are not the cause, they are an effect.

    Any condition that is characterized by oxidative stress will impair digestion of proteins containing lots of disulfide double bonds. If one consumes such things and is unable to digest them, then eventually immune sensitization is likely to occur which will greatly exacerbate it. Similarly if one has anti-mitochondrial or anti-nuclear antibodies, then one needs to ensure that one is not in a state of oxidative stress such that those things can be processed normally and not produce local inflammation.

    Autism is a state of oxidative stress, and like any state of oxidative stress can be associated with reduced processing of proteins with disulfide double bonds and eventually lead to immune sensitization. Avoiding things like gluten under such circumstances is probably a good idea. It isn’t the partially digested peptides that are the problem; it is the oxidative stress due to the inflammation. Switching from a state of oxidative stress dominated by superoxide to a state of non-oxidative stress dominated by NO is an even better approach.

  23. #23 humorix
    May 12, 2009

    On January 18th, Kathy Freston ( HuffPost) spoke of stopping(arresting) of food of the meat during 1 day. No milk. No leather. No fertilizer. Not of HuffPost

  24. #24 #1 Dinosaur
    May 12, 2009

    Dammit, Deadalus! You had me going there. Right up to, “Autism is a state of oxidative stress.” You’re fine on the micro level, but the outrageous jump to the macro is where you come screeching to a crazee, altie halt.

  25. #25 RMM Barrie
    May 12, 2009


    Register that, before the end of the day, because you are about to appear at Generation Rescue. You got bread to rise without that nasty candida albicans. However, the real unknown breakthrough, that has been hidden from us for so long, is tying oxidative stress to autism. This means more exercise to cure autism, and prevent future diabetes, so there goes the vitamins C and E.

    Citation: Antioxidants prevent health-promoting effects of physical exercise in humans
    PNAS published online before print May 11, 2009, doi:10.1073/pnas.0903485106 ( Open Access )

    :-)) & 🙁

  26. #26 Michael Simpson
    May 12, 2009

    daedalus2u wrote:

    Autism is a state of oxidative stress…

    Really? Do tell.

  27. #27 Joe
    May 12, 2009


    Disulfide bonds are not double bonds.

    Moreover, ingested-proteins are digested in the lumen of the gut; not inside cells. Bovine insulin has three disulfide bonds; but it is not orally active since it is broken-down in, and not absorbed from, the gut.

  28. #28 Kim
    May 12, 2009

    I assume she felt the need to do the trendy thing and get cupcakes from the hot baker du jour rather than sticking her guests with whatever foods are acceptable in her household. Or maybe she does encourage the kid to cheat on his randomly selected diet. Who knows.

    I have an actual gluten intolerance and there is no way in hell I would restrict wheat from my diet “just because” if it didn’t save me from swift and miserable digestive retribution. I also can’t imagine removing additional foods from my diet “just because”: once you lose a major ingredient — class of ingredients, really — like wheat, you’re already pretty compromised in terms of finding food in unfamiliar locations and such.

  29. #29 daedalus2u
    May 12, 2009

    The state of oxidative stress is not determined by dietary quantities of antioxidants. Supplemental antioxidants do nothing to decrease a state of oxidative stress. They can increase it because the body’s response to excess antioxidants is to destroy them via generating more superoxide.

    Supplemental antioxidants do not reduce oxidative stress. Not vitamin E, C, A, B’s, etc. Organisms learned to regulate their state of oxidative stress 2+ billion years ago. If they couldn’t regulate it very precisely, they couldn’t use O2 and reducing equivalents to generate ATP. Autism is a state of oxidative stress. GR doesn’t understand what that actually means. They certainly don’t know how to deal with it.

    Disulfide bonds have two sulfur atoms. That is the only sense I was meaning that it was a double bond. I agree that is a poor way of expressing it, I was being sloppy and inarticulate.

    Most digestion of food is in the lumen of the gut, but not all. Terminal digestion of some food components is inside of cells. The only pathway for antibody formation is by digestion of antigens inside of antigen presenting cells. If no food components were ever digested inside of cells, there could never be any antibodies generated to food components. If there ever are antibodies to food components, that is only because those food components have been digested inside of cells and have generated an immune response. If you have another mechanism, please provide a link.

    The major problem with gluten sensitivity is anti-gluten antibodies and the inflammation that results.

  30. #30 Toaster
    May 12, 2009



    Antibodies are generated in response to phagocytosed material that has been processed by dendritic cells, and to a much lesser degree macrophages and B-cells, and loaded into MHC proteins for presentation to antigen-specific T-cells. Antibodies are NOT made by enterocytes, and enterocytes play no known role in eliciting a humoral immune response.

    Yes, some food products finish getting broken down inside cells, like complex fats and carbohydrates, but the stomach and gut are chock full of proteases that will dice up any proteins there. Gluten is a protein. Gluten gets broken down just the same.

    Food allergies, in general, are due to early survival and differentiation of an allergen-specific T-cell clone. These allergies manifest with no prior exposure to the food in question, so how could the body have developed antibodies against them?

    And, lastly, disulfide bonds are NOT double bonds. They are single covalent bonds between the sulfur atoms of 2 cysteine residues in a protein. The other free orbital of that sulfur is taken up by carbon binding it to the amino group.

    RE: oxidative stress. Every cell’s mitochondria are continually under oxidative stress from the free radicals that invariably do get formed during oxidative respiration. Luckily we have superoxide dismutase, catalase, and vitamins C and E to catch them. So how is autism an disorder caused by oxidative stress? And what does that have to do with food allergies? Or are you trying to claim than an allergic response to foods is causing systemic inflammation in which mast cells and eosinophils are selectively getting across the blood-brain-barrier and attacking neurons to cause the symptoms of autism? Because that sounds like you’re trying to link inborn food allergies to the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis, and surely you know that that’s dishonest.

    Sources: Immunology from Janeway’s Immunobiology, 6th ed.; Biochemistry from Lehninger’s Principles of Biochemistry, 4th ed..

  31. #31 daedalus2u
    May 12, 2009

    Sorry Toaster, no.

    Where did the first T-cell sensitized to gluten come from?


    Look at figure 2.

    Glutathione levels (i.e. oxidative stress) regulates Th1 versus Th2 response patterns.


    Free radicals are important signaling molecules. You need an amount that is “just right”. Too much is bad, as is too little. There are multiple pathways to prevent there from being too many free radicals, dietary antioxidants are relatively unimportant.

    Every large, long duration, blinded, placebo controlled prospective study has shown no positive effects of supplemental antioxidants on every measure of health that has been looked at. Supplemental dietary antioxidants are unimportant in determining a state of oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is too important for organisms to allow it to be set by the whims of diet composition.

    Dietary antioxidants are unimportant in setting the state of oxidative stress.

    Fevers, which can increase NO levels via expression of iNOS can improve autism symptoms.


    Mitochondria generate superoxide for a reason, because they need to for proper regulation.


  32. #32 SimonG
    May 12, 2009

    Noadi said:

    However is there anything left that’s worth eating…

    Well, you’ve still got all that’s necessary for a full English breakfast apart from the fried bread, and provided the ban on yeast doesn’t extend to other fungi.

    Or you could do proper fish and chips, fried in beef dripping.

    Actually, that’s getting scary. Maybe she’s preparing to move over here. 🙁

    Oh, wait, it’s OK. She won’t be able to cope with steak and kidney pudding. Phew!

  33. #33 edo
    May 13, 2009

    My first question would be WTFIJM? Who the f… is Jenny McCarthy? And the follow up WTHC? Who the hell cares?

  34. #34 daedalus2u
    May 13, 2009

    Toaster, I put in a comment last night which is still in moderation. If you look at my blog you will get an idea where I am coming from regarding autism, it is not as you have imagined.

  35. #35 Enkidu
    May 13, 2009

    So before starting this diet Jenny used to eat cigarettes?

  36. #36 Eike Scholz
    May 13, 2009

    Well I heard of drinking until someone ugly seems to be beautiful, but drinking until someone stupid seems intelligent is new to me.

  37. #37 Aaron Golas
    May 13, 2009

    Oh, jeezy creezy, y’all might want to be wary of her latest post. It, um, goes into a little more detail on the yeast thing.

  38. #38 Uncle Glenny
    May 14, 2009

    Oh, jeezy creezy, y’all might want to be wary of her latest post. It, um, goes into a little more detail on the yeast thing.

    Oh my dog! Bacteria in poop? Who knew?

  39. #39 Denice Walter
    May 14, 2009

    Even worse: (5/11/09) She takes medical advice from Suzanne Somers.

  40. #40 Kathryn
    May 15, 2009

    I was shocked that the only allergist in my small town handed me a list of foods to avoid–on the basis of yeast. I don’t have any food allergies, but reacted slightly on a skin test to Candida albicans. So they want me to stop eating Saccharomyces spp. Riiight. And their list didn’t even have its food science straight; they said baking powder contained yeast. No, baking powder contains acids and bases that react to produce carbon dioxide when mixed with liquid and heated.

    They insisted on giving me anti-Candida allergy shots (along with the usual pollen etc. antigens) until I finally told my primary care doc I was tired of undergoing quack treatment. She insisted they stop, and they still don’t understand. They thought I was complaining that my allergy shot swelled up too much–no, I just don’t see the need to take shots against a commensal organism.

    I will be so glad to move back to a real city after grad school so I can switch allergists if someone pushes quackery on me!

  41. #41 nostrum
    May 15, 2009

    My son is autistic, and we took dairy out of his diet. Because of JM and her ilk, we have to clarify every single time someone asks. No, removing dairy isn’t an autism treatment. It’s a lactose intolerance treatment. Yes, he can eat that cracker. But not the cheese ones.

    And just removing dairy is enough of a pain. I can’t imagine taking bunches of other items out. You could never eat anywhere, buy anything but raw ingredients, or worry about interacting with your child while you slaved away trying to cook meals from scratch all the time.

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