Sunday, May 29, 2005

Low-Calorie Advocate Fails In His Attempt To Discredit Low-Carb

Well, well, well, I wondering how long it was going to take until something like this happened.

After reading my blog entry entitled Sioux Falls Health Reporter Should Do Her Homework On Low-Carb on Saturday, an eager reader named "Robert S." felt compelled to respond and challenge me (or more like POUNCE on me!) on my premise that the low-carb lifestyle really is an easy and effective to lose weight and keep it off. Oh, this ought to be fun!

"You seem to be claiming that a cutting out carbs is a completely independent way of losing weight, not related to creating a calorie deficit. In other words, as long as you don't eat carbs, you can eat whatever you want in whatever quantities you want. For example, you could eat 30,000 calories of fatty meat a day and lose weight, because calories have nothing whatsoever to do with it. Is that what you're claiming? Are you aware the Atkins people don't even claim that? Can you provode a source that supports this claim? (Preferably not a blog.)

Okay, before you do anything else, I think you need to get down off your high horse for just a minute and stop hyperbolizing this. It does nothing for your credibility as an intelligent thinker and is not conducive to a civil conversation about any topic. With that said, let me address your concerns.

First, I have never advocated "cutting out carbs" completely nor have I ever told people the absurd notion "don't eat carbs." Why would you create such lies to begin your argument? As I have stated many times previously "low-carb" does NOT mean NO carb. Got it?

Second, the "calorie deficit" is something that low-fat/low-calorie diet advocates like to bring up because they think in order for the body to lose weight you have to burn off more calories that you take in. This is just not true. This study published in the Journal Watch Cardiology compared the effectiveness of both low-fat and low-carb.

The results of the study showed that not only does low-carb eating cause you to lose weight without watching your calories, but study participants lost MORE weight than their low-fat counterparts. Furthermore, the HDL "good" cholesterol of those doing low-carb saw a "marked" 18 percent increase as well as a "significantly greater 12-month reduction in triglyceride levels" (an unbelievable drop of 28 percent!) than those on a low-fat diet (whose triglycerides actually rose by 1 percent and whose HDL cholesterol level on went up a measly 3 percent!). You wanted some real scientific proof that makes the case for low-carb and there you have it. Any questions? Didn't think so.

Third, the point you make about people who are on a low-carb lifestyle thinking they can eat as much as they want of whatever they want to eat as long as the carbs are limited regardless of the calorie content is just another straw man argument. Your extreme example of "30,000 calories of fatty meat" exposes your agenda with this. It's obvious you are one of those radical vegans who opposes anything and everything that has to do with low-carb because of all the tasty, delicious, mouthwatering beef, poultry and pork we are allowed to savor while on this lifestyle.

Nevertheless, to address your point specifically, it is simply ludicrous for someone to even imagine eating THAT many calories in a day even if you weren't counting them! Again, the hyperbole is not helping your cause! But my point is that people who eat more calories on a low-carb program can and will lose more weight than those who eat less calories on a low-fat diet.

Want more scientific medical proof that I'm not just expressing my opinion? Why don't you read about a series of studies conducted by several highly respected medical research centers, including the prestigious Harvard School of Public Health. It's time you got an education about low-carb since you obviously haven't studied up well enough about it to know what you are talking about.

But Robert S. didn't stop there. He had more to say:

"Can you give us some more details about what *you* actually ate, and in what quantities? From the information on your web site, you would have had daily caloric needs of about 4,750 calories when you started, and your current caloric needs are about 3,300. In addition, your first one to three month's loss could be partially explained by the edema that many severely obese people have. Quick weight loss in the beginning can be explained by the water loss associated with edema. Did you have a medical checkup before you started your diet regime?"

If you want to find out exactly what I ate (and still eat today) on my low-carb lifestyle, then you will have to buy my book called "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" that will be released in stores this Fall. Actually, though, I have already shared in previous posts some of the foods I have eaten. But, to be honest, since I haven't counted calories while doing this I couldn't tell you how many calories I have consumed. All I know is I have NEVER been hungry on low-carb and I get to eat a wide selection of incredible-tasting foods, unlike the options on a low-fat diet. Yuck!

As for this whole "water weight" argument, who gives a flying BLEEP what KIND of weight you lose at the beginning of your weight loss on low-carb. The point is that you are losing weight that does not belong on your body. So I guess that 80 pounds I lost in the first three months on low-carb was all water, huh? LOL! That's okay with me because whether it was water or fat (and I contend it was BOTH!), it was weight loss that needed to happen. And I'm glad it did because it motivated me on to lose an additional 100 pounds. This factor should not be underestimated with any weight loss program. The key is to start doing SOMETHING about your weight before it is too late.

And, yes, Bobby boy, I paid a visit to my doctor before starting Atkins. Again, you're gonna have to read my book if you want to know what he said to me, but let's just say the health numbers weren't too pretty before I started and now they are outstanding! And while he did not like the low-carb lifestyle before I started, he's a believer now! It's funny how a real-life success story is all it takes to prove low-carb works and works very well!

"For the normal thin person, your current daily caloric needs (and my figures assume not much in the way of exercise) of 3,300 calories is a huge amount of food. I can see how you might be led to believe that you can eat anything you want with 3,300 calories to play with. To account for your one year's weight loss, you would have to have been on a somewhat restricted caloric intake diet. One explanation would be a starting caloric intake of 1,200 or so calories (or up to several hundred calories more, depending on edema and exercise) rising to 3,300 calories at the end. Again, why don't you post sample daily menus of what you actually typically ate. There's some non 'pseudo-science' 'empirical' research you could contribute to the discussion."

Oooooooh, testy, testy, are we? The snobiness of this Robert character is so transparent. But, let's look at his silly statements to learn some lessons about low-carb. I have said it before and I'll keep saying it until I'm blue in the face, but I have never counted calories on low-carb. You just don't have to do it. Let me say it again in case you weren't paying attention. YOU DON'T HAVE TO COUNT CALORIES ON LOW-CARB! You don't, you just don't. I never have and I never will. What you do count is carbohydrates and you keep them at a level where your body can remain in ketosis for further weight loss and/or weight maintenance.

Since you like to have scientific proof, here's yet another study that makes my point for me. Published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, the study found that people who follow a low-carb plan actually volunteered to reduce their calorie intake because they were so satisfied with the food choices that kept them full longer than low-fat diets. And therin lies the source of jealously for people like Robert and his low-fat friends. They are disgusted that we low-carbers get to eat tender juicy steaks while they have to suck on rabbit food with gross fat free dressings all the time. I'd be ornery if that's all I had to eat, too! So this has very little to do with the calorie debate and more to do with what we get to eat. All I can say is, GET OVER IT and start livin' la vida low-carb for yourself if you want what we've got!

And, one last time, if you want my menus, you're gonna have to buy my book. Sorry! :)

"The bottom line: you lose weight because you eat fewer calories than you burn. Diets work because in some way they manage to motivate people to eat fewer calories than they burn. Atkins may do this by requiring food that, in large quantities, tends to be somewhat gross (like bacon), or somewhat expensive. In addition, true believers get psyched up about their diet systems and that can inhibit calorie intake.

Oh, there's a "bottom line." I guess that means he doesn't have much else to say and he's gonna recap everything he's already said all over again. And that's exactly what he did. Since I've already addressed the calories argument above, let me address his snide comments about Atkins. So it's all just some mind-game conspiracy on the part of Atkins to fool people into eating less calories, eh Bobby? Have you ever eaten a big plate of bacon before? It's anything but gross. It is absolutely delicious as you take in bite after delicious bite of the most incredible foods. Okay, wake me up because I'm craving bacon now! LOL!

And while it is not cheap to do the low-carb lifestyle, I know I am saving a lot of money on health care costs I will not incur now that I am healthy. Finally, what's wrong with getting "psyched up" about losing weight? That is the ultimate goal, right, so you can make it happen and then keep it off over the long-term? Who cares that it took low-carb to get you to a healthy weight, the point is to get to that healthy weight!

"By the way, the TV reporter's reference to fat was not a claim that fat has some sort of mystical properties related to weight gain; just that fat has 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates, so it's easier to lose weight (or let your diet get out of control) if you don't pay attention to fat relative to the other two."

Me thinks Robert was asked by the television reporter to defend her since she didn't have the guts to do it herself. It is a little bit coincidental that within hours after sending my blog entry to her I get this diatribe from Robert. Hmmmm?

As for the "fat has 9 calories per gram versus 4 calories per gram for protein and carbohydrates" argument, who cares?! I have told you I don't count calories, so I really don't care a bit in the world about it. Is that so hard to understand or do I need to make it in another language. All I know is I eat a whole lotta fat in the foods I eat and I still was able to lose 180 pounds and have kept it off very nicely thank you very much. What more could I ask for?

The answer to the question is in the last question our pal Bobby presents to me:

"Finally, your weight still puts you in the 'obese' BMI category (unless you are 7 feet tall). Why not lose the rest, if low carb is so simple?"

I addressed the BMI index issue in this article I wrote in January 2005. Let me quote from that article:

"According to the National Institutes of Health Body Mass Index Calculator, my current BMI is 29.4 (235 pounds at 6'3"), which puts me on the borderline between being obese and overweight. Of course, this is down nearly 22 points from the 51.2 percent BMI I had when I was 410 pounds! But this standard for measuring body fat unnecessarily creates an obesity crisis where one should not exist.

In order for me to be considered a 'normal' weight according to the BMI index, I would need to weigh between 175-190. Expecting me to be in that weight range is just plain silly! As skinny as I have gotten by losing 175 pounds over the past year, this standard would force me to lose another 50 pounds to be removed from the 'overweight' category.

Is it any wonder why two-thirds of Americans are considered 'overweight' or 'obese?' A change is needed in what classifies someone diagnosed as having a weight problem. I contend that the number of overweight people would be cut by at least half if the 'normal' weight was more in line with reality."

We all like to point out that two-thirds of Americans have an issue with weight. I do it because it makes a great point that a lot of people need to get serious about bringing their weight under control before it is too late. If that's what it takes, then that's what needs to be said.

But does anyone who is "normal" really fall into their BMI category? According to BMI, Michael Jordan is obese, Russell Crowe is obese, Tom Cruise is obese, need I go on? There are plenty more! The point is BMI is bunk. It's not a good indicator or your ideal weight. I think it is about 20 percent lower than it should be for each category.

Other factors also have an effect on BMI, including height, age, exercise routine, muscular build, etc. It is virtually impossible to think BMI can factor in all of that and pop out an accurate weight for everyone. But I have no intentions of "losing the rest" as Robert suggests. With that said, I haven't stopped eating the way that got me thin. Low-carb is still my choice. By the way, since I wrote that article 5 months ago, my body fat has dropped from 29.4 down to 24.6 with another five pound reduction in my weight. My work outs are shaping my body into the physical specimen I want it to be. YEAH, BABY!

I guess I could ostensibly cut back on my carbs even more and get down to that disgusting 170 pounds for my big-boned 6'3" body, but I'd prefer to remain the healthy ox I am today. It is VERY easy to do for anyone who is willing to ignore alarmists like Bobby who obviously hasn't studied up enough about low-carb himself to even make an intelligent enough argument against it!

Nice try, Bobby, but you didn't convince anyone with your tall tales today! Next time you wanna pick a fight, why don't you come out from behind the shadows and tell the whole world who you REALLY are rather than pretending to be something other than the anti-Atkins person you are?!

ROUND ONE - Low-carb: 1 Low-fat: ZIP!


Blogger robert said...

Well, well, well, Jimbo. Is that the best you can do? WAH-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!

First of all, I'm not advocating a low-fat, low-calorie diet. I'm not advocating avoiding or not avoiding any macronutrient (protein, carbohydrates, fats). I'm not advocating losing or gaining weight. I'm not advocating explicity counting calories. I'm just saying that IF someone loses weight over a period of time, THEN they have consumed less energy (which we measure in calories) than they expended. IF someone gains weight over a period of time, THEN they have consumed more energy than they expended. IF someone maintains a constant weight, THEN they have consumed the precise amount of energy that they have expended.

It's true in the human diet, and it's true in any self-contained physical system. It's the second law of thermodynamics. It's why you can't make a perpetual motion machine.

The studies you cited don't purport to prove the preceding wrong, so you evidently didn't understand my point in the first place. For instance, the first study compared a low-carb diet OF NO DEFINED NUMBER OF CALORIES, with a low-fat diet of from 1,200-1,800 calories per day (depending on the person). The missing data points here: (1) How many calories did the low-carbers eat? D'oh! We forgot to track that! (2) What was the average energy expenditure (basal metabolism plus daily activity) for EACH group over the period of time? D'oh! Forgot that too!

We need to know the calories consumed by each group and the calorie expenditure of each group to figure out each group's calorie deficit, which will then give us the anticipated number of pounds that should be lost. This of course would need to be adjusted to take account of edema and water loss.

I'm not saying that the Atkins diet doesn't "work." I'm saying that the method by which it works is by, at the end of the day, somehow getting you to put fewer
calories in your mouth than you are using, whether or not you are aware of those calories, you are counting those calories, you think those calories are important or not, or you are satiated or not by those calories. So there may be a lot of psychological hocus pocus going on in Atkins that (1) motivates people to control calorie intake without counting calories, (2) keeps people feeling satiated and not denied of food, and (3) gets them to be more active and burn more calories. But at the end to the day, they are losing weight the old fashioned way: calorie deficit.

As for your weight of 230 pounds, from what you wrote you seem to be saying that you (like Michael Jordon, who I'm sure you are similar to in many respects) are misclassified by the BMI. That if somehow you lost another 50 pounds (say you were shipwrecked or something), the minute you got back to where you could eat, you would quickly scarf down as much food as possible to regain your "ideal weight" of 230 pounds, because 180 would be dangerously, unhealthily low for you? Is that what you're saying?

Can't wait for your book, Jimmy-Bud. Who's the publisher? Wait, let me guess:, the vanity press preferred by 98.6% of quack diet book publishers? I just love the dense black toner from those Xerox DocuTech printers. And I hear they actually perfect-bind the books these days rather than just stapling the pages together.

ROUND TWO - Rationality: 10, Low-carb: ZIP!

5/31/2005 3:03 AM  
Blogger DavidCyrus said...

I understand that the basis of this current back & forth exchange stems from exaggerations and over-simplifications, but I can find them in your argument as well.

You state that a person loses weight only by using more calories than he puts in his mouth. This is an over-simplification.

A person does not have to "use" or burn up calories to rid himself of them. We are constantly taking in more calories than we use, and most of this does not end up as weight gain- it ends up as bodily waste. Diets and other mechanisms that increase the amount of caloric intake eliminated from the body as waste have routinely been proven to be effective for weight loss.

However, Jimmy's opinion that he is now at his optimum healthy weight is completely unsupportable. Simply stating that he feels he's the right weight for himself is a excuse mechanism that plenty of overweight people routinely use.

8/03/2005 12:59 PM  

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