Thursday, May 19, 2005

If You Think Low-Carb Is A 'Fad' Diet...

Whenever you read a media account about the low-carb lifestyle these days, it's usually described with the "f" word. No, not that "f" word, I'm talking about "fad."

I scratch my head when I hear how my eating lifestyle of choice is portrayed because not only is livin' la vida low-carb NOT a fad, but it has and continues to be the healthy living choice by tens of millions of Americans. Whether the media and low-fat supporters like it or not, low-carb is here to stay.

But speaking of "fad" diets, this article from The Sun News in my backyard of Myrtle Beach, SC takes a closer look at some of the more outrageous and genuine quack weight loss methods that people have tried to lose weight.

Sometimes you have to wonder if what you're doing when you're on a diet is a little crazy.

Well, after reading some of these, I'd think you're crazy too if you tried them!

The Cabbage Soup Diet

Consisting of 6 large green onions, 2 green peppers, 1-2 cans diced tomatoes, 1 bunch celery, 1 package Lipton Onion Soup Mix, optional buillion cubes and 1 head of cabbage. The diet recommends you eat this soup whenever you are hungry, and as much as you want. Otherwise, follow a strict menu of fruits and raw vegetables.

The Grapefruit Diet

Eat a ½ grapefruit with every meal.

Scarsdale Diet Plan

A precursor to low-carb theory in the '70s, the Scarsdale diet involved a lot of low-carb food staples, except with ½ grapefruit eaten every morning.

The Coffee Diet

A new coffee brand, Java-Fit, promises to help people lose weight while drinking its herbal-infused java.

The Apple Vinegar Diet

Add a cup of warm water and a teaspoon of apple vinegar before each meal. Expect many trips to the bathroom with this one.

The Myrtle Beach Diet

Features some vaguely scientific discussion of carbohydrates. And pictures of attractive people.

Discusses metabolism rates and features a picture of a cartoon woman saying "I'm an certified idiot."

While most of these obviously "fad" diets are about as useless as buying a lottery ticket, people still are so desperate that they'll try anything.

That's why I encourage people to use common sense along with reading up on what makes a weight loss program work. This strategy is exactly what attracted me to the low-carb lifestyle and why I am still on it a year and a half after starting. Although I've lost 180 pounds doing this lifestyle, I'm still a relatively newbie when it comes to the long-term success that so many people have enjoyed. I plan on being a part of the low-carb lifestyle for the rest of my life so I will never have to put up with being 410 pounds ever again!

The story says one woman believes "the Atkins diet rates high on her 'crazed diet' meter."

Uh, okay. But why? What's so crazy about it? I know, I know, we've heard the excuses about too much fat and too many calories and how you aren't supposed to enjoy the foods you eat when you are losing weight. By golly, if I'm gonna have to suffer eating rabbit food on this nasty low-fat/low-calorie diet, then you should have to suffer, too! You laugh, but that undoubtedly has to play a role in the vitriol hatred and jealousy of the people who so heavily criticize the low-carb lifestyle.

I am offering an open invitation to anyone who would like to clearly and specifically explain why the low-carb approach to losing weight is crazy. Feel free to make the case for the low-fat/low-calorie lifestyle and I will post your comments in a future blog entry. Is anyone willing to defend the low-fat diet plan when it has been proven to fail so many people for so many years?

There's a quote at the end of the article that expresses a great sentiment about the low-carb lifestyle's ability to last:"What are the things we're eating going to look like in 20 years? Are we going to look back on the whole Atkins phase and laugh, though knowing that it's helped a lot of people?"

That's exactly right. What will they do with those of us who lost a whole lot of weight and kept it off by livin' la vida low-carb? Will people living a low-carb lifestyle actually be the ones to have the last laugh?

05/19/2005 UPDATE: I just received the following e-mail from the author of the story I mentioned in this blog entry with an amazing revelation!

Hi Jimmy,

Hope you're doing well today!

Well, working on that story was strange, because I have lost 130 pounds following a low carb lifestyle (plus 5 days of intense cardio and three days of lifting) myself, and have 20 more to go. But the sources with whom I spoke very much lumped low-carb eating in with things like the Apple Cider Vineager diet. It's one of those odd situations you find yourself in as a journalist ... I didn't feel it appropriate for me to not include the low-carb element in that story just because it's worked for me. I never really said it in the article, but in a lot of ways, what's a "fad" is very much in the eye of the beholder.

But I definitely wanted to congratulate you on your success, and I'll definitely remember you when I'm scheduling stories for my section. Thanks for writing!

Russ Lane
The Sun News

This is twice in two days that a journalist didn't feel compelled to share with their readers the tremendous success that they and others have had on low-carb. While I appreciate their desire for journalistic integrity in their stories, I believe they are actually doing a disservice to their readers for not presenting all sides of the weight loss and health debate. Feel free to share your comments with Russ Lane and let him know you want to read stories that show the positive aspects of low-carb. As a fellow low-carber, I'm sure he will be delighted to hear your encouraging comments to him since he is a part of the dark side (sorry, got "Star Wars" on the mind today!) known as the media!


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