Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Ohio University Students Need An Education On Low-Carb

Just when you think the education system in this country couldn't get any worse than it already had, along comes a story like this that'll have you pulling your hair out about just how uninformed even college students are about the healthiness of doing a low-carb lifestyle.

This story appears in an independent Ohio University student-run daily newspaper called The Post Online and was written by the "Stuff Writer" (that's the title used beneath the author's name) named Kallie Hinton.

While I am sure Hinton meant well with her article, it just goes to show you how inadequately educated both she and her fellow students at Ohio University are regarding healthy living. It's not entirely their fault because the prevailing lesson they've heard their entire lives regarding weight loss and improving health has been limited to eating a low-fat diet.

But it's time they discover there is a much better way to permanent weight loss and improved health by livin' la vida low-carb.

One student in the story is quoted as saying: "I think it is important to read up on nutrition and learn how your body works to maintain a healthy lifestyle."

Now you're talking. That's exactly what I encourage people to do regarding the low-carb lifestyle. Study after study has found that eating low-carb is a safe and delicious way to "maintain a healthy lifestyle." But the student told Hinton that most of her classmates believe livin' la vida low-carb is just another one of those "fad diets" that is too "unrealistic and unhealthy."

Who says? Dr. Robert Atkins as well as many others have written extensively on the low-carb approach to healthy eating. If people who make such incredibly misinformed statements like this regarding low-carb would read about it for themselves, then we wouldn't keep hearing these same insane comments over and over again. That's the kind of education you can take with you into the real world!

Mary Frances Astrom, the staff nutritionist at Ohio University, warns that "dieting is not the correct solution to weight loss."

"If you are thinking about dieting, that is a problem."

That is sound advice that I give people all the time. I often get asked if I am "off my diet" now that I've lost 180 pounds. Since I never considered myself on a "diet" to begin with, it is very hard to answer that question. I usually tell them that I am continuing on with my change in eating habits as a lifestyle. The nutritionist acknowledges that changes in how you eat and exercise are essential to losing and maintaining weight. These are the same principles that so many on low-carb programs have applied to their own lives as well.

Noting the big business that the weight loss industry has become, Hinton noted that Americans spend 50 times more money on weight loss products than the United Nations spends on hunger relief around the world.

While that may be true, I don't get the connection. There are many more organizations that provide hunger relief than the United Nations. Regardless, you can't blame Americans for wanting to do something about their own problems first (i.e. weight loss) before providing for the needs of others.

If something isn't done about the obesity problem in the United States very soon, then we will be losing a lot of potential donors to the world hunger drive because they will experience failing health or even death. I don't care how you do it, but you must lose weight if you are overweight or obese. I believe the low-carb lifestyle is the best approach, but at least do SOMETHING before it's too late!

The students interviewed by Hinton added that "low carbohydrate diets were effective for the short term but could be detrimental to one's health because a nutrient that is needed by the body is cut out of the diet."

Which nutrient is that? Are they referring to carbs? If so, then NEWSFLASH! You still get to eat carbs on a low-carb lifestyle. Note it's called LOW-carb and not NO-carb. This is yet another myth often spread about this lifestyle choice that frustates me as I talk with people. You still eat carbs (and good ones, too!) and some people can have as many as 100 grams a day! Gee, imagine that!

One student attempts to explain why she thinks low-carb is "a temporary solution" for weight loss.

"I really disagree with the Atkins diet. I know there are hormones in your body connected to carbohydrates that affect your emotions and physical state. I had a friend who went on the Atkins diet and for the first couple of weeks all she did was sleep, and she was a total bitch. I just don't think it is a good idea to take something away from your body that it needs."

I will give the student some benefit of the doubt because she is so young and naive, but frankly she hasn't got a clue about what she is talking about. Just about everybody I know who has done a low-carb lifestyle (myself included) has experienced a dramatic change during those first two weeks on the Induction phase. As I stated in an earlier post, that's your body ridding itself of years and years of bad eating habits and purging what it no longer needs. It's not a comfortable experience and it shouldn't be! You know you've made bad decisions regarding food and now you have to pay the consequences for those actions.

But the good news is once your body is finished with this amazing process, the weight begins to pour off like never before and you feel absolutely fantastic for the remainder of your weight loss. It's a very difficult process, but so worth it in the end if you can endure through a temporary condition. I'm a living, breathing example that the healthy alternative that low-carb living offers can and will work if you allow it to be a part of your life.

"I think they are difficult for people to live on long term; whether they are safe or not, I still think that's up in the air," the student added.

Oh, yeah. Well try telling that to me and the millions of others just like me who have not only found livin' la vida to be easy to follow over the long haul, but incredibly effective for maintaining excellent health after the weight loss. Every major health indicator has improved for me since starting low-carb, including an enormous drop in my bad cholesterol and a rise in my good cholesterol, lowering my blood pressure, slowing my heart rate, and much much more! I could not have asked for a more simple, effective plan for restoring my overall health than low-carb.

Hinton uses an oft-repeated lie that we've heard our entire lives about weight loss at the end of her story: "Although many programs are advertised to help lose weight, the only proven long-term and safe method is to burn more calories than you consume, according to the National Institutes of Health."

Yikes! The miseducation continues. With phrases like "only proven" and "safe method" used to promote the low-fat/low-calorie diets, Hinton infers that any other way to lose weight is unproven and unsafe. So many of us low-carbers have tried that failed approach to weight loss and applaud anyone who can do it like that. But we can't because it's not effective for us.

Our decision to switch to a low-carb lifestyle was made because we found low-carb to be more compatible for us. There's nothing wrong with offering people another choice. But people who are on low-fat/low-calorie diets are always hungry and jealous of the foods we can eat on low-carb. I just don't understand the hatred that comes from those who oppose low-carb! Aren't we all trying to reach the same goals of permanent weight loss? Who cares how you do it, just do it!

The article ends with a student offering her own advice for people wanting to lose weight: "Exercise, eating right and getting plenty of sleep should help you lose weight or maintain it."

I couldn't agree more. Exercise is an essential element combined with limiting your carb intake to the amount your body is allowed while remaining in ketosis and giving your body the rest it needs. This is an equation for healthy living that even a college student at Ohio University can understand!

05/18/2005 UPDATE: The author of the article sent me an e-mail with a surprising response of her own regarding her personal experience with low-carb:

Hi Jimmy,
It was interesting to read your response. Actually I, myself, went on the South Beach diet and it did help me lose about 25 pounds and which I haven't gained back, but as the author of the story, I could not include this information. Thanks for the response, I think if the low carb diets are done with low carbs, not no carbs, they are in fact very healthy.

Kallie Hinton
Women's Issues Writer
The Post Ohio University

Gee, I wonder why as the author of a story about low-carb she couldn't include her own anectodal evidence that would show the effectiveness of this lifestyle? It makes you wonder how much of this same mentality exists across the media all for the sake of pushing the low-fat/low-calorie agenda down our throats. I'm glad Kallie is one of us, but I wish she could write a follow-up story telling people the truth about low-carb. How about it, Kallie? If you think she should do this, then send her an e-mail encouraging her to tell her story of success through livin' la vida low-carb.

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Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Well, I was hoping I wouldn't have to make people register to leave a comment. But this idiot who posted an advertisement for his vitamin product has given me no choice but to have you sign up to make comments.

Rest assured that I will not do anything with your information and you will be allowed to make any comments about my posts that you would like if you register with "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb."

I apologize that I am having to do this, but I have no choice. Thanks for your understanding.

5/19/2005 8:06 AM  

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