Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Low-Carb Wars Episode III: Revenge of Robert S.

It seems we've touched off a nerve in our new friend Bobby today who decides to lash back at my post about his extreme radical anti-Atkins, low-calorie supporting views. I'm not even gonna comment on this because I have already said everything that needed to be said about it in my post on Sunday.

But, for your entertainment and amusement, here is his latest rant:

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!

Do you see what kind of idiots I have to deal with (I'm sure you know a few people like this Bobby character yourself)? Ahhhh, it's nice knowing us low-carbers treat each other with decency and respect and don't make personal attacks against anyone just because they disagree with them. It's childish and I refuse to engage in an intellectual debate with someone who cannot present some semblance of maturity.

Just like the Star Wars series, the final chapter is now in the books on this!


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home